Jody Baker: Mrs. Baynes And The Afghan Wars (In Seven Parts)

Part Two

Friday, April 12, 2013 - by Jody Baker

I was looking forward to a continuation of our discussion about the First and Second Afghan Wars. As you should know by now, a discussion with Mrs. Baynes consists mainly of listening. But she had worked hard on the text of her report, forming and reforming her sentences, shaping and reshaping her paragraphs, so I sat back and prepared to listen. 

The time for this discussion was ideal. It was a bright Saturday morning, and I was off duty at the constabulary from the Saturday to the Monday, next. The air outside was crisp and brittle, with a touch of frost still in the Spring air. The coals were ablaze in the hearth fire to take the chill off the room, and Mrs. Baynes was settled comfortably in her armchair with her manuscript pad of text before her.

" I think, Inspector," she began, "that if one is to understand the British presence in India, one must begin with an understanding of the East India Company. That was the private, and very profitable, trading company that so greatly influenced the early shaping of the Empire. And to understand the East India Company, one must step backward in history to the Company's origin. 

" In 1588 the English defeated the Spanish Armada and gained a control of the sea lanes. In 1600 Queen Elizabeth chartered The East India Company, a small private trading venture, and assigned it the task of establishing a foreign trading presence with the aim of enlarging our presence and working toward trade expansion. A select group of 80 London merchants were assembled and were granted a monopoly of all trade east of the Cape of Good Hope. In return for that grant, they agreed to finance and undertake the risky venture, and to preserve and protect the English interests. This was a private business venture engaged in commerce. It later adopted a military and territorial function.

 "

The East India Company began in this manner: ` ... a small and struggling affair, with a capital of only     72,000 [pounds]. Dazzling dividends were to be won from this investment. The British Empire in India, which was painfully built up in the course of the next three centuries, owes its origins to the charter granted by Queen Elizabeth to a group of London merchants and financiers in the year 1600.’ ” (See Churchill's “History of the English Speaking People,”  Cassell and Co. Ltd., London, 1956-58) 

I interrupted the discourse. "That's interesting, Mrs. Baynes, but is it relevant?"

"You bet your sweet biffy, it’s relevant," she replied. "As we progress through history, it will become clear that the wound received by Dr. Watson was the result of the confluence of several streams of historical events which were set in motion more than a century before. The wellsprings of these streams are to be found in the activities of the East India Company." 

Mrs. Baynes returned to her notes and continued her exposition:   " Initially, there was resistance from the Portuguese and the Dutch. But it was during the 1700's and the conflict with the French that events brought the East India Company to a position of power and influence unparalleled in history. This began and gained its greatness through the brilliant leadership of a 25 year old civilian clerk of the East Indian Company. Circumstances had put him in precisely the right place at exactly the right time in history. His name, Robert Clive, became legend.

"The story of Robert Clive is a story of failures and successes, of heroics and disasters, of fame and of shame. And it is a story not entirely unrelated to Dr. Watson's wound. It is the historical prelude to the circumstances leading to both the First and the Second Afghan Wars." 

Respectfully,  Inspector Baynes


(Jody Baker is a Chattanooga attorney, who specializes in Sherlock Holmes lore. He can be reached at josiahbaker@bkhcw.com.)


Keep Local Plumbers Involved In WWTA Work

It doesn't make any sense for the WWTA to want to bring in outside plumbers to do the work that local companies are willing to do. The citizens of Hamilton County work hard to earn their money and it is not right that WWTA had rather the money go to outsiders. The taxpayers should have a say in where and how their money is spent. Betty Gregory (click for more)

New Walmart Neighborhood Market Is A Step Back For The East Brainerd Community

Driving out East Brainerd Road recently, I was excited to see that what I thought was the run down strip center being renovated was actually a new Walmart Neighborhood Market.  I believe that this is the same type facility that was proposed for Middle Valley, but was rejected by the local citizens living in that area. I don't recalling hearing anything about any neighborhood ... (click for more)

Muslim Advocacy Group Questions House Arrest For Signal Mountain Man Charged In Threats Against Muslim Village In New York

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, on Saturday questioned the release of a Signal Mountain man who admitted to planning what it called "a Charleston-style terror attack" on a Muslim community in New York. CAIR also called for stepped up protection for the community targeted in the plot. Judge ... (click for more)

Plumbers Bring Complaints To WWTA; Told New Contracts Are Ready

Several plumbers on Thursday brought complaints to a committee of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) and got little response other than being told that new contracts are ready. Kay Keefe of Keefe Plumbing said the small number of plumbing companies still participating in the program to repair leaky lines to homes, have long been operating without ... (click for more)

Weather Clears. Lookouts Drop Double-Header To Barons Friday

The Chattanooga Lookouts (44-31) dropped both game one, 3-1, and game two, 6-1, of tonight's doubleheader against the Birmingham Barons (38-38) in front of a sold-out crowd of 6,371.  This was the largest crowd of the year for Chattanooga and their first sell out of 2015. The Barons improved to 6-11 overall and 4-2 on the road against the Lookouts. Birmingham pulled even ... (click for more)

TSWA Announces All-State Softball Teams

 The Tennessee Sports Writers Association has announced its all-state high school softball teams for 2015. Local selections include: AAA - Kayla Boseman (Fr), Ooltewah and Hallie Davis (Sr), Walker Valley; AA - Kaili Crawley (Fr) of Central; A - McKenna Morgan (Jr), Sale Creek; and, Division II-AA - Lauren Lewis (Sr), Kayla Hughes (Sr) and Cheyenne Lindsey (Fr) of Baylor.  ... (click for more)