THE political history of the British in India begins in the 18th century with the French wars in the Karnatik. Fort St. George, the nucleus of Madras, founded by Francis Day in 1639, was our earliest possession. The French settlement of Pondicherri, about 100 miles lower down the Coromandel coast, was established in 1674; and for many years the English and French traded side by side without rivalry or territorial ambition. The English paid a rent of 1200 pagodas (£500) to the deputies of the Mughal Empire when Aurangzeb annexed the south, and on two occasions bought off a besieging army by a heavy bribc.