In 1811, Maria Nugent left her four young children behind in England to accompany her husband, General George Nugent, on his posting as commander-in-chief in India. After a dizzying six months at the head of Calcutta society, the couple embarked on a 14-month tour of the British military stations in northern India, a journey that took them to the very edge of the imperial frontier. On these travels, Lady Nugent met a series of extraordinary figures from Indian history including Mir Jafar's widow, Munni Begum; the Indian grandmother of a British prime minister, the Begum Johnson; and the infamous adventuress and ruthless military leader, the Begum Samru. In Delhi, she enjoyed an audience with the Mughal Emperor, and in the royal zenana she was entertained by his wives and daughters, who were themselves politically astute women. An account of Lady and General Nugent's remarkable journey across colonial India, this critical edition contextualizes Lady Nugent's East India Journal in the history of India and the British Empire, and the tradition of travel writing.
It offers a window into the rarely glimpsed intimate social and domestic worlds of colonial households in British India, and also connects and compares Lady Nugent's time in India with her earlier voyage to Jamaica recorded in her West India journal.
Ashley L. Cohen teaches eighteenth-century British and transatlantic literature in the Department of English at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Contents List ; List of Plates ; Acknowledgements ; List of Abbreviations ; Introduction ; Lady Nugent: A Global Chronology ; A Note on the Text ; Part 1: Voyage Out and Calcutta: June 1, 1811-June 31, 1812 ; Part 2: Tour of the Upper Provinces: July 1, 1812-August 9, 1813 ; Part 3: Calcutta and Voyage Home: August 10, 1813-June 18, 1815 ; Appendices ; A. Gen. Nugent Seeks the Office of Commander-in-Chief ; 1. Gen. Nugent to Lord Grenville, 22 May 1806 ; 2. Gen. Nugent to Lord Grenville, 24 January 1811 ; B. Letters Home ; 1. Gen. Nugent to Lord Temple, March 1812 ; 2. Lady Nugent to Lady Temple, 23 April 1812 ; 3. Gen. Nugent to Lord Buckingham, 15 August 1812 ; C. Arrangements for the Care of the Nugent's Children ; 1. 'Memoranda for Miss Dewey ', 13 June 1811 ; 2. Miss Dewey to Lady Temple, 17 April 1812 ; 3. Lady Temple to Lady Nugent, 18 April 1812 ; 4. Gen. Nugent to Lord Temple, 7 December 1812 ; 5. Lady Nugent to Lady Temple, 7 December 1812 ; Glossary ; Select Bibliography ; Index ; About the Editor