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.)


Lessons From My Dad, Marty Haynes

Enough is enough. I have heard Marty Haynes’ name drug through the mud for far too long. Let me tell you a few things that I have learned from my father, that now as a family man myself I realize are far more important than anything else.  1. Be Faithful in your Service- My dad learned this trait from my grandparents, Dub and Norma Haynes- Mr. and Mrs. Hixson High 1951, ... (click for more)

TVA Coal Reductions Could Come With High Price Tag

Reliable, low-cost electricity has always been the backbone of the Tennessee Valley economy. Low-cost power from the Tennessee Valley Authority, generated by a balanced mix of coal, natural gas and nuclear, drives the valley’s manufacturing economy and makes the region an attractive destination for business. In the process, Tennessee has developed the fourth largest automotive manufacturing ... (click for more)

Firefighters Stop Fire At Local IHOP Restaurant

Chattanooga firefighters did not have far to go when fire broke out at the IHOP on Highway 153 in Hixson around  9 a.m.  on Friday. Battalion Chief Don Bowman and firefighters with Quint 16 had just enjoyed a nice breakfast there while having a morning staff meeting. When the firefighters returned to their fire truck and were getting ready to drive off, one of the firefighters ... (click for more)

City Councilman Chris Anderson Gearing Up For Election A Year Away

City Councilman Chris Anderson is already gearing up for the next city election, though it is over a year away. In the financial disclosures due Feb. 1, he reported receiving $24,165 for the reporting period from July 16, 2015 to Jan. 16. He spent $4,887 during that period. Councilman Yusuf Hakeem took in $11,110 during the period. Councilman Russell Gilbert reported ... (click for more)

Near-Perfect Red Bank Leads Region 2-A/AA Wrestling

High school wrestling coaches are always looking for perfection and Red Bank's Shane Turner almost got it Friday night in the opening day of the Region 2-A/AA tournament at Hixson Middle School. The Lions advanced all 14 of their wrestlers to Saturday morning's championship semifinal round and lead the 14-team field with 52 points. Hixson advanced 10 to the semis and hold ... (click for more)

CCS Finishes Regular Season With Wins Over Grundy County

The Chattanooga Christian girls and boys basketball teams had a big night Friday as they hosted district rival Grundy County.   The boys team sealed the top seed going into the district 7-AA tournament with a comfortable 73-39 over the visiting Jackets.  The Lady Chargers avoided a 7-AA tournament opener on the road with a 69-65 comeback win over the Lady ... (click for more)