'In the Service of the Honourable East India Company': Politics and Identity in Dean Mahomet's Travels (1794)

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Abstract

The successful career of Dean Mahomet (1759-1851) as a migrant from India to Ireland (and later, England) has led to scholarly and popular interest in his work. His Travels through several parts of India in the Service of the Honourable East India Company (1794) published by subscription in Cork is reputedly the first English book by an Indian, and has been seen to counterbalance the many accounts of India by western travellers, and to assert, in autobiographical form, his identity as an Indian in 1790s Ireland. My paper analyses this text in relation to moral and economic criticisms of the East India Company in the eighteenth century, and in particular to legislation of 1793 which defined the role of the Company in Ireland’s trade with the east. These aspects of colonial politics involving Ireland and India as subject nations of Britain are shown to shape Mahomet’s discursive strategies and the complex identity produced in his text.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-134
Number of pages20
JournalEighteenth-Century Ireland
Volume24
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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