An in-depth study of the British traders who extended British commercial activity beyond the area controlled by the East India Company.
This book provides an in-depth analysis of the British private traders who engaged in the intra-Asian trade, known to contemporaries as the "country trade", between 1770 and 1820, providing much detail on who the traders were, howthey conducted their operations, and how they interacted with indigenous societies in a complex and very volatile region. It examines their relations with East India Company, and their moves beyond the Company's orbit to open upindependently new spheres of British commercial, political, and imperial influence. It discusses their social and political interaction with Malays, their good understanding of local societies, their use of the Malay language, their adoption of local practices and procedures, and their gathering of many forms of useful knowledge, all of which underpinned the growth in commercial activity and made the traders indispensable to East India Company officials. It explores their often fractious rivalry with the Dutch, and analyses the decline of the country trade following the establishment of Singapore in 1819. Throughout, the book provides many case studies of individual traders. W.G. Miller was Southeast Asian Studies Librarian at the Australian National University from 1974 to 1997 and a Visiting Fellow at the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University from 2004 to 2018.