Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Tellicherry in the 1850.

Figure 1. A photograph taken in about 1900 showing houses to the north of the Tellicherry Fort lived in by senior officials, including possibly the Master Attendant described below. Please click on this and subsequent images for a larger version.

The following fascinating account of life in Tellicherry appears in a magazine published in England in 1854 called "The Home Friend, A Weekly Miscellany of Amusement etc."

Sadly, I cannot identify the author of the article, but it is possible from events described in the article to date his visit to 1850.

"Tellicherry is a pretty little straggling town on the sea-coast of Malabar, between the considerable military cantonment of Cananore and the French settlement Mahe or Mai. It may be said to consist of two, divisions or parts; the flat ground constituting Tellicherry Proper, and the high ground, or cliffs, called Deramapatam. We were on two separate occasions for several months resident at Tellicherry, and are consequently familiar with every nook and corner in it.

Tellicherry Proper, or the town of Tellicherry, is built on a low ground, almost on a level with the sea. The town consists of some two hundred irregularly-built European houses; the bazaars; the marketplace; a few so-called shops; an immense prison, built on a lofty bastion facing the sea, which prison includes the dens for criminals and the debtors' gaol, comprising also a lunatic asylum; the Zillah Court, and a species of chapel. Besides these, there is a Catholic chapel and a Protestant church, and the burial-grounds of both creeds, situated on a high mound nearly overhanging the sea. Outside of the town itself, and between it and Deramapatam, are a few straggling country-houses, and the court-house of the now no longer existing judges of circuit, who were three in number, besides the registrar. Beyond these, again, runs a rapid and deep stream, over which a couple of ferry-boats are continually plying; and on the other side of the stream rise the lofty cliffs and high tableland which constitutes that portion of Tellicherry styled by the natives Durhamupatnum, consisting of a few scattered villages, occupied almost exclusively by native fishermen, and two immense mansions, more like palaces than private houses, and heretofore the residence of two of the judges stationed at Tellicherry.

We will, if the reader pleases, imagine ourselves on board of the large Bombay China-ship, the ' Lowjee Family,' or if you object to that name, the ' Pestonjee Bomanjee[1],' just coming to an anchor in the roadstead to land some passengers and a few mess stores for the troops in the immediate interior, and then proceed on her voyage to China.

The morning is bright and cloudless; the water as smooth as a millpond, and the fine fresh land-wind that has favoured us all night, fast dying away to give place to the approaching sea-breeze, whose advent is clearly perceptible on the distant blue horizon, now richly spangled with the foaming bubbles of the sportive waves. This is one great blessing to the mariner that navigates the coast of Malabar; he is never at a loss far a favourable wind, either going-up or coming down the coast. The land and sea breezes are regular to their time, the space intervening between the departure of the one and the arrival of the other being just all sufficient for the requisite alterations in trimming the sails. Captains acquainted with the coast stand off the land about an hour before daybreak, the dawn appearing throughout the year within not many minutes' difference of the usual time, about a quarter to six, and at about ten A.M. they get beyond the influence of the land-wind and into the approaching sea-breeze. This they carry with them the whole day; and towards evening again the vessel stands in towards the laud to avail itself of the night shore-winds. These are regular, excepting during the two monsoons, at which period vessels rarely approach within sight of the land."

Figure 2. The shoreline below Tellicherry Fort, from a photograph dating to about 1900. One of the large houses referred to in this article, is quite probably the large white building seen in this photo.

The author then goes on to describe the journey through the surf from the ship to the shore.

This was the way that the vast majority of European visitors to Tellicherry arrived. By 1850 Tellicherry had lost most of its importance, so there were far fewer ships arriving than in earlier days, and Tellicherry was now mainly a stop over on a journey into the interior, often to Ootacamund in order to restore ones health in the cooler climate found in the Nilgiris.

"The anchor is gone, the sails are furled, the boat lowered; the jolly, good-natured skipper, with a huge bundle of papers and letters under one arm, an umbrella under the other, and a pocket-book full of bills of lading held firmly between his teeth, slides rapidly over the vessel's side into the boat, takes up his position in the stern-sheets, and away we go, under his skilful steering, safe and sound through the foaming surf, notwithstanding the many "crabs," to use a nautical expression, that the three young apprentices catch while rowing us on shore, sadly to their own discomfort, and not much to our own convenience, as we get splashed from head to toe with salt water: however, the heat of the sun soon dries us again, and no one allows himself to be put out by such a trifling circumstance, except a dirty-looking old Italian friar, who, as he has confidentially informed us himself more than once upon the voyage, looks upon the silly custom of bathing the body as very deleterious to the health in hot climates ; in confirmation of which startling announcement he solemnly affirms that, with the exception of his hands and feet and face, no water has touched any part of him for the last forty years, and that he has enjoyed uninterrupted health during that long period. We are not sorry to get rid of our dirty friend on landing; and so soon as we set foot on shore we are beset with hospitable invitations, and almost hauled by main force into half-a-dozen separate tonjons.[2]

There are no such things as hotels at Tellicherry, nor, indeed, at any of the up-country stations; for the English residents are, with a very few exceptions, princes of hospitality, and everybody knows everybody in the Madras Presidency.

The master-attendant's house commands an extensive view of the surrounding ocean. It is a neatly-built edifice, comprising every imaginable comfort, and an extensive and carefully-laid-out garden—all his own property, and has been his own property ever since he was first appointed, which was somewhere about the year 1790—a long period to remain at one place; and if anything argues in favour of the climate, it is the appearance of the old gentleman, who looks as fresh as any of oar country squires, and is as hearty and jolly as though he were only just in the prime of life, instead of being an octogenarian ; no man better able or more willing to give a stranger every assistance and useful information. From his house we proceed first to the Protestant burial ground, which is situated immediately on the left-hand side after passing the gates of the master-attendant's compound. The churchyard also commands an extensive view of the sea. Here are many tombstones of antiquated date, looking as new as the day they were first completed; whilst others, comparatively modern, were utterly neglected and in ruins, the inscriptions being barely legible. The sun shines brightly over the graves of the slumbering multitude, and the sea-breeze sports merrily with the tall rank grass as we quit this solemn place, and proceed to a still more gloomy memento of the wages of sin, even in life—this is the prison before alluded to. The outside looks dingy and wretched enough, and now we pass under the guarded gateway, and mount the apparently interminable stone steps, narrow and dark and damp, and in many parts much worn and slippery. Gradually your eyes get accustomed to the obscure light, and you then discover that these steps have at least one advantage, that of being kept perfectly clean, for they are washed and swept regularly, morning and evening. The heavy clanking of the chains of the criminals now reaches the attentive ear; a sudden turning brings you into the full glow of glorious daylight; you pass another arch with a massive iron door, also strictly guarded, and find yourself in an extensive arena, enclosed on three sides by very lofty buildings, and on the fourth (the side facing the town) a strongly-built, stupendous wall. Passing in regular order through the place, we come first to the court-house of the Zillah judge; but to get to it we must first mount a broad flight of not less than forty stone steps. Here we find an extensive, airy room, at the head of which, railed off from the plebeian herd of half-caste Portuguese and native writers and clerks, are the desks of the judge, the registrar, the pundit, and other officers of the court. Prisoners in the custody of multifarious peons—their accusers, and the witnesses on both sides—are quietly waiting for the coming of the judge, and beguiling the time by chatting with each other on terms of the greatest familiarity and apparent friendship, the prisoners entering into the gist of the argument with all the nonchalance imaginable, though many amongst them are Thugs, those Burkists of India. Their conversation is confined to that one all-absorbing topic amongst the Indians, money."

Figure 3. The Gateway into the Fort. Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Gething

Our traveller goes on to visit the old gaol situated inside the Fort. The building used to house the gaol also acted as the court house at this time.

"The court itself is in a delightfully-cool position, having several windows facing the sea, all of which, however, -are secured with massive iron bars. Adjoining the court-house is a room, sometimes used as a chapel. We look in en passant, and see a few rough, wooden benches, half-a-dozen chairs, and a large accumulation of dust. The chaplain at Cananore occasionally visits Tellicherry, and sometimes one of the judges performs Divine service: on such occasions this room is in requisition, as the church is all crumbling to ruins. Coming down the steps again we proceed on our visit of inspection; and the first thing that attracts attention, from the noisy hilarity going on inside, is the debtors' prison. We peep through the bars of an iron window, and are gratified with a sight of the occupants, who chiefly consist of natives, with perhaps a few lamentably-poor black Portuguese. Most of them are playing at a species of Indian draughts, using, instead of a board, a cloth patchwork, in the shape of a perfect cross, every square of which is of a different colour ; the draughtsmen are painted green and red, and they substitute cowry shells for dice. On the whole they are very happy and contented, for they can take exercise in the yard, and are allowed to cook their own victuals; and eating, drinking, and sleeping are just what suit their constitutions to a nicety. They are entirely supported by their wives and families; and in one respect all Orientals surpass Europeans—I mean in a feeling of pity for their poor and distressed connections, whom they never suffer to want so long as they have the wherewithal to support them. Next in order, we visit the dens allotted to criminals; and it requires no physiognomist to interpret the crimes and brutalities of which the greater mass of those here confined have been guilty. Such as have already been adjudged to different terms of imprisonment and hard labour, arc working, shackled separately or by couples, on the high roads, or else erecting or repairing public edifices. Those within the walls during the day are such as are awaiting some opportunity to convey them to the penal settlements in the Straits of Malacca, or those that have not yet been tried and sentenced by the Superior Court. In a ward, separated from the men, are the female criminals, also under sentence of transportation, or awaiting their trial. Some amongst these are perhaps guilty of crimes even more atrocious than those committed by the worst of male criminals; for as many women are hung in India for murder as there are men punished in a like manner for a similar offence."

Figure 4. The building inside the fort at Tellicherry that used to hold the gaol described in the article. The court was on the upper floor, and the cells below. The photo was taken during restoration in 2006.

In the following paragraph the author describes a lunatic asylum situated inside the fort. The East India Company correspondence suggests that there was an asylum in Tellicherry as early as 1795 but it doesn't say where or who went into it, but it must have been a deeply depressing place.

"Now let us hurry along from these sad spectacles. Next to the criminals' cell is the lunatic asylum, as you may guess by the bellowing of one unfortunate inmate, who imagines himself a' bull. Then there is the hospital, and then the condemned cells; and then we hurry down the steps again, and are thankful to find ourselves breathing a purer atmosphere—a breeze untainted by crimes and misery.

We enter the street; they are not very famous ones, but still they admit of a carriage or two passing abreast. The houses are mostly one story high, of a great variety of shapes and colours, according with the tastes of the various proprietors; and each house has a small compound attached to it, which is securely walled in all round. In the compound are the outhouses, such as the kitchen, stables, etc., a sprinkling of flowers, a few fruit-trees, a duck-pond, a well, and a pacottah, a species of seesaw machine, on which two men balance each other, or both balance themselves against the water, drawn up in a large leathern bag, which, as soon as it reaches the surface of the well, is capsized into a reservoir by an attendant imp, the son of one of the balancers. As soon as the reservoir is filled the men descend, and, taking out the plug from the reservoir, the water is conducted by aqueducts all over the garden, which is watered twice a-day throughout the year, except during the heavy rains. This practice extends all over the Madras Presidency.

Having watched their proceedings for a few minutes, we walk on. The yellow house with the yellow railings and thickly-set marigolds and sunflowers is the property of Mr. Jose de Silva, whose ancestors were originally white Portuguese, but intermarrying with natives some generations before Mr. Jose's birth, that gentleman, much to his discomfort, is decidedly black. He is head cashier to the Circuit Court, and his favourite colour is yellow—hence the colour of his house, his railing, and the flowers he most patronises: the two young ladies, his daughters, are also of the same tinge, and so is his palanquin, his tonjon, and his bundy, or cab; and if such a thing as a bright yellow horse could be had for his money, he would not mind standing a couple of thousand rupees; for the old fellow is quite a Croesus for Tellicherry, though he does go to office every week-day in a very faded suit of nankeen, and a wretchedly bad hat— things that you could never believe him guilty of, if you chanced to meet him at chapel of a Sunday, or when he is receiving a select circle at home on feast days.

The red house next to his belongs to another Portuguese, who is something in the revenue department, and who has a thorough contempt of his neighbours in the judicial line, considering the collectorate the only respectable service in India, and so on."

Figure 5. Typical house in the part of Tellicherry formerly inhabited mainly by Indo-Portuguese. Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Gething.

The area of Tellicherry immediately south of the fort, and extending about one mile south along the beach, and extending for 200 or 300 yards inland had been the home of the Indo Portuguese community in Tellicherry for over a hundred years before our visitor walked through its shady lanes. This community had been established in the town from the earliest days of the settlements history. The earlier Portuguese had been the translators for the East India Company, and had acted as middlemen in all of their proceedings with the local Indian Rajah's.

With Hyder and Tipu Sultan's invasions, the original community had grown rapidly with many Portuguese and Indo Portuguese refugees from other settlements along the coast moving into the town.

We pass a variety of gaudily-painted houses, all, with very few exceptions, the property of wealthy half-castes and Portuguese, who form a class of society amongst themselves, give dinners and evening parties, balls and social suppers, discuss politics, talk law, hatch scandal, and are painfully addicted to fiddles. You can scarce pass through the streets of a night for the villainous discord that fills the air, resounding from shockingly bad scrapers.

There is a fine esplanade just outside of the town, which juts out like a little promontory into the sea. At the extreme end rises a solitary tree, under the shade of which some benign individual in times past constructed a bench; and this extreme point is designated, in the topography of Tellicherry, Scandal Point. Here, in the cool of the evening, the Tellicherians promenade to and fro, and when fatigued repose.

The English residents at Tellicherry were at all times very few, but of late years their numbers have been grievously diminished by the abolition of the circuit court, and the consequent removal of the three sessions judges, the registrar, and their families. The few residing at Tellicherry when I was last there were on terms of the greatest intimacy. In the town itself resided the sub-collector, the Zillah judge, the lieutenant commanding the detachment, and the master-attendant; along the seashore resided the doctor, and one or two other families; and on the other side of the ferry, in Deramapatam, in the only house then habitable (the other one where I had resided on a former occasion having fallen in), Mr. B., one of the judges of the circuit court, the friend with whom I was staying. We had occasional reunions, which were very agreeable, as the ladies of our society, though few, were very accomplished musicians, and one or two of them sang admirably.

Tellicherry is famous in a commercial view for the vast quantities of pepper that the district yields, most of which is dried for shipment on the spot. Cardamums thrive here also, and the cinnamon-tree exists. Fruits, vegetables, and poultry are abundant and cheap, and the market is perfectly overstocked with fish and shell-fish. Amongst the fruit produced at Tellicherry there is a species, rare even there, and which I never met with in any other part of the world that I have visited—the natives called it the " Jumma Malak." The fruit was as large as a good-sized peach, and very much resembled one in shape; but the great beauty of it consisted in its complexion, if I may use such a term, which was of the most delicate white straw colour, with pale, rose-coloured cheeks. It had, like the peach, a kernel, was almost transparent, and its flavour a something between the mango and the mangostein. A tree which yielded fruit plentifully grew in the garden attached to the sub-collector's house. This tree grows to a considerable height above the ordinary run of mangotrees ; and its leaves resemble those of the mango.

Off Deramapatam, near the sea-beach that runs under the cliffs, there are extensive oyster-beds; and many a day have I—bread, pepper, and vinegar in one hand, and an oyster-knife in the other—waded through the waves to these rocks at low-water, and feasted to my heart's content on oysters, fresh from the bed. On one or two occasions I chanced to come across a pearl oyster, but the pearls were small and of little value.

The climate of Tellicherry,especially Deramapatam, is very healthy, and the houses are built so as to exclude damp during the monsoon seasons. The thunder-storms along the whole coast are terrific, though I never heard of a single accident resulting from them.

The native population of Tellicherry
consists of the Moplays, Nayars, Malgalams, and the Clings, or Pariahs, from Madras. There are also a few Mahometans and Brahmins, some Malabars of high caste, a few Gentoos, and three or four Parsees. Of these, by far the most fanatical and lawless is the Moplays, who are chiefly merchants, and whose unquenchable hatred to the English has on several occasions displayed itself; on one, especially, about the district of Mangalore. where, not further back than last year, a young officer of the 43rd regiment Madras native infantry was, in endeavouring to quell an insurrection, assassinated by these ruthless people, the Sepoys having ignominiously fled, leaving their officer single-handed to contend against an overwhelming force.

The young officer from the 43rd Regiment whose death is described here is almost certainly Ensign Wyse. On the 25th of August 1849 Torangal Unniyan killed another Indian called Paditodi Teyyunni, and then with four other men went off to join a band of Dacoits led by Attan Gurikkal. This man was the son of an earlier Dacoit or insurgent, and he seems to have been leader of a number of determined individuals.

It is not clear if his intentions were entirely criminal, or whether he had other political motives as well. On the 26th of August they killed a servant belonging to Marat Nambutiri, and two other individuals, before entering a Hindu Temple at Majeri. They set the temple on fire after defiling it.

A detachment of the 43rd Native Infantry Regiment under Captain Watt set out from Malapuram to Manjeri, with a plan to attack the insurgents in the temple on the 28th of August.

Ensign Wyse and his company were sent to attack the temple across some paddy fields, where the rebels who numbered about 32 men were holed up.

Mr. Collett, the Assistant Magistrate and a reserve force had remained on a nearby hill which had the Taluk Cutcherry on it to await events.

As Wyse and his men approached the temple the rebels came rushing out of the temple, and although Wyse was able to kill the first man who reached him, he and four others were killed.

As Mr. Collett wrote in his report, written later that day,

"Others now came down upon Ensign Wyse, and I am informed that one of them seized him by the jacket and he received a wound, when he appears to have fallen and was of course quickly put to death: but by this time three of the insurgents had fallen, and now those men in the detachment who alone had emulated their officer, fell, one of them having first gallantly bayonetted the man who gave Mr. Wyse his death wound."

The event was sufficiently serious for a second party of British troops to be sent for. A detachment of Her Majesties 94th Regiment under Major Dennis was brought down from Cannanore reaching Manjeri on the 3rd of September. After another fierce battle the insurgents were killed, but only after two more privates of the 94th Regiment had been killed, and six men including two officers had been wounded.

A detailed report based on Captain Watt's court marshal appeared in Allen's Indian Mail, dated, Saturday, November 1, 1851.

"in the year 1849, a detachment of the 43rd regiment of Madras Native Infantry, consisting of about 120 men, under Capt. R. P. K. Watt, was sent to disperse a party of these fierce zealots (between sixty and seventy in number), who had committed great disorders in the neighbourhood of Calicut.

Capt. Watt pushed forward half his party in advance, under
Ensign Wyse. About fifteen Moplahs rushed out from a mosque, in which they were posted, when nearly all the sepoys, though outnumbering the fanatics four to one, fired at random, and, without waiting for a collision, fled, leaving Ensign Wyse and six gallant fellows who stood by him to be cut to pieces. Capt. Watt was unable to rally the fugitives, whose panic infected the party he was bringing up, who refused to obey his orders, and' he retired to the cutcherry of the collector of the district, which, observing the state of his men, he barricaded, the petty band of fanatics being allowed to approach the cutcherry and abuse the sepoys with impunity.

A detachment of European troops (of the 94th Foot) was sent for, by whom the Moplahs were speedily routed and slain. Capt. Watt was tried by a court-martial, and found guilty of " not having taken sufficient measures to restore confidence in his men," and of allowing them to be insulted by the insurgents " without making any effort to rouse them to resistance."

The Court sentenced him to lose rank, and to be severely reprimanded,— a sentence which the Commander-in-Chief thought too lenient. The last occurrence, so similar in its circumstances, will, perhaps, raise a doubt whether Capt. Watt was not treated with an undue degree of rigour, and whether it was in his power to have "restored confidence" in his men, and animated them to resistance.

These events must still have been fresh in peoples minds when our author visited Tellicherry the following year. The insurgent band wasn't destroyed in the operation, and other Mappilla insurgents were active in October 1850 and 1851.[3]

Our author goes on to describe the other more peaceable main inhabitants of the town..

"The Nayars are tillers of the ground, and masons. Many of them are in the military service of the Rajah of Travancore. The Nair brigade, stationed at Trevandrem, is commanded by an officer in the company's army, and the other officers are mostly English. Both men and women are fair-complexioned for the East, and very handsome in figure and face; the men middle-sized and athletic, the women slim and graceful.

The Malgalams are principally fishermen, and all the other classes are tradesmen—such as shopkeepers, boatmen, coolies, domestic servants, etc. The principal shop at Tellicherry was kept by a Parsee, a leper (and I may here remark in parentheses that this fearful disorder seems to be almost exclusively confined to the Parsees both at Bombay and on the Malabar coast). The shop was scantily furnished, and the articles it contained of a very inferior quality, and exorbitantly dear. Occasionally Madras hawkers and travelling Arab merchants visited the coast; the former brought all kinds of odds and ends picked up at public auctions—such as palmerinos, books, muslins, chintzes, lavender-water, soap, &c.; the latter confined themselves to creature comforts, such as dried figs, Arabian dates, and drugs and gums of various descriptions, with an occasional valuable horse or two. But the greatest treat imaginable to us Tellicherians, quite a prize in rainy weather, was the itinerant book-hawkers, who, picking up books at every auction they attend, and being solely guided in their choice by the cheapness or the binding of the volumes, amass, in space of time, a singular collection of odd volumes— annuals, travels, religious tracts, plays, Bibles, novels, periodicals, and music, the very overhauling of which proves a vast source of amusement, and amongst which one occasionally stumbles across a valuable addition to a library.

Watching the vessels passing to and fro half a mile within the cliffs, on which the house of mine hospitable host was situated, was a pastime to the dilettanti at Tellicherry; and a stroll along the fine, sandy beach, which ran for many miles close under the cliffs, was an untiring source of amusement to the " butchas" of the family, and not less relished by some of the grown-up children. The many gaily-coloured shells which were an inestimable treasure to the baby; the scampering after legions of crabs, which we occasionally captured and more often lost; the not unfrequent wettings we got by unwarily pursuing the prey beyond the limits of prudence; the terror depicted in little missy's face, as she fled precipitately from the quick-approaching wave; the merry, clear little laugh of the youngsters to witness the utter despair of some incautious one, ankle deep in the foaming surge; the horrid dizzy sensation as the wave retreated again, causing you to all appearance to be swept back with it into the bosom of the troubled ocean, all these are scenes and recollections fresh and dear to memory, and they are some of the few scenes of past life that one loves to look back upon, and to pause and meditate during the retrospective glance.

From Tellicherry we coast along southward to Alway, near Cochin."[4]

I would very much like to identify the author, as well as the individuals named. It is quite probable that the Master Attendant referred to was Edward Brennan. However, the author must be mistaken in thinking that Brennan had been at Tellicherry since 1790, as Mr. Oakes had previously been Master Attendant for many years before his death in 1819.

Like Brennan, Oakes was also a philanthropist who devoted much of his private time and fortune to helping the poor and deprived Indian's who had settled around the inland fringes of the town in squatter camps, that had existed ever since the wars in the 1780 to 1799 period.

I would be especially keen to hear from you if yu are connected to any of the Portuguese community described in the account. It would be fascinating to learn more about the lives that community led.

[1]Pestonjee Bomanjee, a large Country built ship named after the famous Pharsee Shipbuilder of that name who was active in the Bombay dockyards until about 1817. This ship went on to transport convicts to Tasmania in 1853.
[2]Hobson Jobson gives the following for Tonjon. Forms in Hind. tāmjhām and thāmjān. The word is perhaps adopted from some trans-gangetic language. A rude contrivance of this kind in Malabar is described by Col. Welsh under the name of a 'Tellicherry chair' (ii. 40). c. 1804.-- "I had a tonjon, or open palanquin, in which I rode."
[3] William Logan, Malabar Manual, Volume 1, page 560 to 562.
[4] From the Home Friend, A Weekly Miscellany of Amusement etc; Instruction. Published in 1854.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Palakkad [or Palghat] Fort, the Early Sieges. Part 2.

Figure 1. Palakkad or Palghat Fort.

By 1766 Hyder Ali had over reached himself in the wars he was fighting below the ghats in Malabar.

The Travancore Raja had built up the formidable Travancore Lines, a long system of earthen defensive banks, stockades and ditches that ran for many miles until they reached the Dutch forts at Cranganore.

Unable to breach these lines before the weather broke and unable to frighten the Raja into submission Hyder was forced to reconsider his options.

As the South West Monsoon swept in, Hyder had to retire inland with his main forces. This allowed the Malabar Rajah's precious time to regroup, and as the British were later to learn, it is one thing to conqueror Kerala in the dry season, but quite another to hold it through the monsoon.

Meanwhile the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Mahrattas had sensed their opportunity to attack Hyder Ali in the Deccan while his army was bogged down in Malabar.

The East India Company sent forces from the Coromandel Coast to assist in these attacks on Mysore. A bitter war commenced on several fronts that ran on from then until 1769.

During this period Palghat fell to local forces assisted by the East India Company. It is not clear when this occurred or how, but it is likely that the fort at this time was either quite weak or possibly was incomplete at the time.

It is possible that it was little more than a stockade. There is no account that I am aware of currently of its requiring a formal siege to take.

In November 1768 Hyder Ali sent a force under Fazulla Khan down the Palghat Gap in one column while he attacked EIC forces under Colonel Wood who were occupying Coimbatore and Salem.

Colonel Wood survived the campaign, but it is clear from the lack of surviving accounts that the East India Company afterwards found Wood's defeat deeply embarrassing.

Quite possibly this was because in truth the forces commanded by Colonels Wood and Smith were ridiculously small in comparison with the task they were expected to perform.

These tiny forces were spread out in tiny garrisons over a very wide area, which had little real chance of resisting Hyder's much larger forces. Colonel Wood probably had less than 1,000 men under his command in garrisons often fifty or more miles apart. They were incapable of supporting each other, and most posts had less than 100 men in each.

When news of Hyder Ali's renewal of the war and the ineffectiveness of Colonel Smith & Wood's forces reached London in May 1769, East India Company shares fell in value by 60% within a few days. [1]

The best account of these events covering much of southern India I can find comes from Wilks.

Hyder, on his return from the west, had relieved Fuzzul Oolla Khan from the command of Bangalore, and sent him to Seringapatam. The commandants of all the principal garrisons and field corps, had, in conformity to a general instruction, been employed, since the commencement of the war, in procuring new levies, which were now sufficiently instructed to take the garrison and provincial duties; and the old troops, including the respectable detachment from Malabar, had been directed to repair to Seringapatam, where Fuzzul Oolla Khan continued to be actively employed, in giving them the requisite organization and equipments, as a field force. Early in November, this officer took the field with a well-composed corps of 7,000 cavalry and infantry, and ten guns, and a command over the irregular infantry, which was intermixed with the mass of the inhabitants below the ghauts : he knew that he should be aided by the active exertions of this numerous class, and by the best wishes of a population driven to despair, by the horrible exactions of Mohammed Ali's collectors of revenue, whose system of misrule left at an humble distance all the oppression that had ever been experienced from the iron government of Hyder: but proceeding with a skilful caution, he moved towards the passes of Caveripooram and Gujjelhutty, to obtain a perfect knowledge of the number and nature of the English posts before he should attack them. At the former of these, an honest and brave Serjeant, named Hoskan, who commanded the advanced post of two companies and one gun in a ruined mud fort, repelled the attempts of Fuzzul Oolla to take it by a coup de main; and without the most remote suspicion of his perilous situation, after modestly reporting the fact to his officer, adds, with the most interesting confidence and simplicity, " I expect them again to-morrow morning in two parties with guns: I will take the guns from them with the help of God." But his confidence was disappointed, for after the post had been made a heap of ruins, it was carried by a sanguinary assault; but I am unable to satisfy the reader's anxiety for the fate of the brave serjeant. The other posts fell in succession : that at Gujjelhutty, where a Lieutenant Andrews commanded, stood two regular assaults; but he was killed in the second, and the place surrendered on the 19th of November. The troops in the pass, under the command of Captain Orton, who, until the moment of attack, continued to maintain the absurd doctrines of Colonel Wood, successively abandoned their positions and their guns, and retreated with precipitation to Satimungul; and from thence to concentrate the remaining force at Erode. Among the strange military anomalies of Colonel Wood and his coadjutor the fiscal agent of Mohammed Ah' ; the former commandant of Coimbatore, who had betrayed it to the English, was continued in the command of the irregular troops of his former garrison—as killedar of the place, exercising a joint non-descript authority, with the European officer, who commanded the regular troops. While the greater part of these were out at exercise on the 29th of November, with the willing aid of the inhabitants, he seized the occasion to massacre all those within, to shut the gates, and, assisted by a body of cavalry, who had approached for the purpose, made prisoners the men at exercise, who, as usual, had only blunt cartridges. Fuzzul Oolla Khan who had concerted the plan, waited for its accomplishment before he should descend the Gujjelhutty pass, with his main body, and immediately sent a dispatch to Hyder, to report that he should have completed his descent by the 4th of December; the treachery at Coimbatore, and a similar exploit at Denaikancota gave just cause of alarm to all those officers -whose garrisons were not exclusively composed of English sepoys; all of them being aware, that they had no means of defence. In a few days the rumour of Hyder's approach from the north was abundantly confirmed. Captain Johnson who commanded at Darapoor, with 400 faithful sepoys; made good his retreat to Trichinopoly, in the face of Fuzzul Oolla's whole force; a gallant and skilful achievement, which deservedly fixed the reputation of that respectable officer. Lieutenant Bryant who commanded at Palghaut, with a small detachment of his own sepoys, and the remaining part of the garrison, composed of Nabob's troops, and irregulars hired in the country, having certain intelligence of a plan of massacre within, and the evidence of being invested without, concerted with his faithful sepoys the means of escaping from these complicated dangers : they withdrew unperceived in the night, and following a secret path known to one of the sepoys, through the woods and mountains, to the south-west, arrived in safety at Travancore; and thence returned by Cape Comorin to the southeastern dependencies of Madras."[2],

Lieutenant Bryant's escape was probably the only course of action left open to him, as his supply routes to the east had been cut off, and the British had at that time only limited number of bases on the Malabar Coast at that time at Anjengo, and Tellicherry from which they could operate from. The countryside outside those two settlements that only extended a mile or so from the forts at each location was filled with potentially hostile enemy forces, and an armed population who were not necessarily going to be friendly.

Hyder had forces in Calicut and the surrounding districts, astride the only viable route up from the coast so that running supplies into Palghat from the west was probably not possible, even if they had been available to send.

Hyder Ali was now at the peak of his powers, and I believe that it was during the period following the recapture of the fort that it was reconstructed in stone. Perhaps Hyder had decided that he did not want to lose it a second time.

The fort as it was constructed at this time appears to have been designed to be defended by musketry and wall guns or very small cannon, below 6 pounders in size, as later surveys made in 1799 comment on the lack of embrasures for cannon and on the fact that the walls were too weak to bear even small cannons of this size unless they were upgraded and thickened.

The fort was also overlooked by several hills within 300 to 400 metres of the walls, and these hills reached heights level with or just above the tops of the walls that had been built, so it was unlikely that the forts designers expected to face European style siege warfare where 18 pounder guns capable of firing out to 500 or more metres could be expected.

It is easy to criticise the original designers for these failings, but in 1770 the English forces were still very few in number, and incapable of moving larger cannon very far inland, so it was probably a reasonable assumption to make at that time, that the fort would only have to face light infantry, most probably in the form of Nairs, and that it could therefore be defended by muskets and bows.

More puzzling is the fact that they left several deep gullies or wadis unfilled that came very close to the walls, which could have provided ready made approaches along which infantry could have approached the walls unseen.

These gullies have been subsequently filled in by the British in 1799.

We know that the walls were built of stone by 1781, and we know that the stonework was laid with the narrow or header side facing outwards. The longer side of the stones were tied into the core of the wall.

This can help us to identify the fabric of the original fort.

The robustness of the original stonework at Palghat was still remembered in 1820's by Edward Lake as being particular strong.

"If the ramparts of an Indian Fortress are of stone, the curtain should generally be battered in preference to the towers, as the shot are apt to be reflected from the latter, owing to their circular form, and the hardness of the material of which they are built. The propriety of this rule was exemplified in a remarkable way at the siege of Palghaut, in 1781, [3] where the besiegers in vain attempted to breach one of the round towers of the Fort, which was composed of very large blocks of granite, laid in the manner technically called "headers," in architecture, so as to present their ends, not their sides, to the shot. In 1790, when the Fort was again attacked, one of the curtains was breached in a few hours." [4]

Figure 2. Showing the Header Masonry Work most probably undertaken in Hyder's period.

Figure 2 shows two distinct colours of masonry block work. The stone in the retaining walls to the moat appears to be lighter in colour and to be possibly a sandstone, where as the stone work in the tower is much darker in colour. Is this from another quarry?

Or is the darker colour a response to weathering over the past 220 monsoons, where the lower work was protected by being covered in water?

If the upper gun emplacement embrasures are British what did the fort look like in 1782?

It is hard to say with certainty, and although many forts in India survive, I am unable to find many examples of forts built as late as the 1770 to 1780 period. Forts like that at Bidar do however have merlons that date from the musket period, and I believe that these enable us to get an idea of what the upper parts of the walls looked like when Colonel Humberstone arrived in April 1782.

Figure 3. Typical Merlons or Machicolations from Indian 17th Century Forts
fitted for muskets. [5]

[1] The History of England: from the Accession of King George from the Accession etc. by John Adolphus. page 353, volume I.
[2]Historical Sketches of the South of India, in an Attempt to Trace the History Of Mysoor. etc. Colonel Mark Wilks. Vol i. Pages 357 to 359.
[3] 1781 is a mistake because the next attack on the fort was that made by Colonel Humberstone took place in 1782, as will be described later.
[4]Journals of the sieges of the Madras Army, in the years 1817, 1818, and 1819 ...
By Edward Lake, published in 1825, page 321
[5] Taken from Indian Castles 1206-1526, by Konstantin Nossov and illustrated by Brian Delf, published by Osprey Publishing in 2006.

Palakkad [or Palghat] Fort] Early History 1757-1766 Part 1.

Figure 1. Palakkad Fort, Courtesy of Google Earth. [ Please click on this image and subsequent ones for larger images.]

For anyone with an interest in forts who travels to Kerala, Palakkad or Palghat Fort has to be one of the most interesting sites to visit.

This austere and irregular fort is however also a puzzle as it is neither entirely Indian in form, nor yet is it a "European" fort. It represents a sort of fusion or transitional fort featuring aspects of both Indian and European design.

Very little is recorded in readily available sources about the fort except its capture on three occasions by the British, and recapture on two occasions by the Mysorean's, and so although I have known about the fort for several years, I could find out very little about its history.

A couple of days ago however whilst researching other forts in Thalassery and Kannur, I stumbled onto some most fascinating documents in the British Library from 1797 and 1798.

These throw new light onto the history of the fort, and enable us to date several of the features in the fort, and to even detail how much they cost to build.

Figure 2. Palakkad's strategic position.

From Figure 2, it can be seen that the fort at Palghat occupies a very important location astride almost the only pass in the entire chain of the Western Ghats that can be easily passed by a cavalry army. There are other passes at places like Periah, but these are extremely steep and in Hyder Ali's time, were limited in use to Tribals and merchants carrying goods very largely by porters on what were little more than steep footpaths.

Hyder, the new Muslim ruler of the Deccan, tried to, but failed to break the stranglehold on the East or Coromandel Coast ports, controlled by hostile French, Dutch and English Companies, he hoped to break out to the west coast by invading the predominantly Hindu states on the Malabar coast.

Trade had been carried on for centuries from ports like Cochin, Calicut, Cannanore and Ponnani by Moplah merchants to the Gulf and Red Sea. Much of this trade in precious goods had travelled through the Palghat region.

An extremely good article on the importance of the Palghat Gap to trade in southern India during the period before 1770 can be found on Manmadhan Ullattil's blog post of 20th February 2010 in his "Historic Alleys" blog. [1]

Hyder's army was a predominantly cavalry army and it was experienced in using cannons to take the many forts that were dotted across the Deccan plains.

The coastal Rajah's armies in the 18th Century Malabar region were made up almost entirely of infantry, and these were mainly recruited from a caste of warrior farmers called Nairs.

The area to the west of the crest of the Ghats was thickly covered in dense forests or marshy valleys filled with Paddy fields. It was ideal for what is now known as Guerrilla warfare.

As the East India Company was to find out for itself, any army approaching the Ghats would soon find itself being ambushed by archers concealed along the forest edge and opposed at stockades built across passes.

The Malabaris don't appear to have built forts for themselves in the way that the other Indian states had before the arrival of the Muslims from central Asia or the later European's.

They relied on the forests, rivers and swamps for protection from invasion.

With the arrival of first the Portuguese and then the Dutch these coastal rulers experienced the power of European forts. The Travancore rulers were the first to adopt forts, using captured Dutch soldiers under Eustachius De Lannoy. [2]

Hyder knew however that in order to defeat the coastal Rajah's at Calicut, Cochin and Cannanore, he would have to defeat these Rajah's European allies.

Over the previous century the European's had built up a series of coastal forts, initially to protect their trade goods as these were assembled for the annual arrival of the trading ships from Europe, but which were increasingly being used to wage war on the other European settlements or to hold down client Rajah's as the balance of power subtly changed from the European's being present in Cochin, Calicut and elsewhere on sufferance, to their increasingly dominating affairs in these settlements.

Hyder would have to bring cannon and supplies for what was going to be a protracted campaign and process of colonisation.

He was going to occupy and establish his own Empire on the coast.

Palghat Fort's earliest history is little known. Before 1757 the area was ruled by the Palghat Achchan, and was nominally under the rule of the Zamorin's of Calicut. The Zamorin's were however becoming much less powerful than they had previously been. The Palghat Achchan seems to have taken the opportunity to try to break away, and faced by a counter attack from the Zamorin he appealed for support to Hyder Ali Naik, a rising military officer in the Mysore state.

In 1756-7, the Zamorin had advanced his forces into the Palghat area seizing an area he called Naduvattam. The Palghat Raja sent a deputation to Hyder Ali who was Foujar of Dindigul, a major fort about 95 miles to the south east of the Palghat gap.

Hyder sent his brother in law Mukhdum Sahib with 2,000 horse and 5,000 infantry and some guns to Palghat and these forces were able to push down the Ponnani Valley defeating the Zamorin's army. A fine of 1,200,000 Rupees was claimed from the Zamorin, and the Zamorin tried to stop Hyder by appealing to the Mysore Court over his head. They approached Deo Raju, who sent Rajput troops under Herri Sing to try to collect the monies owed to Hyder Ali from the Zamorin. On the 19th of June Deo Raj was killed at Seringapatam, and Herri Sing was killed by a force under Mukhdum Sahib a few days later. Hyder had removed one of the last barriers to his taking over power at the Mysore Court. He also had the pretext of the unpaid indemnity to use when he next wished to invade the Malabar again.

Hyder Ali [3] first seriously came to notice of the European's on the west coast of India in January 1763, when he attacked and captured Bednur and later Mangalore. The Muslim's on the Malabar Coast had at times a difficult relationship with many of the Hindu Rajah's. As the numbers of Muslim's grew they sort to expand out from the small settlements into Hindu areas. This led to petty covert wars and even overt warfare.

The Rajah's of Travancore and Cochin and the Zamorin from Calicut were also at war with each other in 1762.

This next invasion was not long in coming. When seriously threatened the coastal Muslim communities appealed again for support from their co-religionists to Hyder Ali. At this stage there is no mention of the presence forts at Palghat.

In 1766 Hyder invaded the Malabar in force, and it was in support of this attack which affected the entire coast from Cannanore to Cochin that I believe Hyder ordered the fort at Palakkad to be built. [4]

Hyder was aware of the improved military techniques that the French in particular were bringing to India. The Mysore forces contained a number of French engineering officers familiar with cannons and artillery fortifications.

By the 15th of March 1766 Hyder's army was on the boundaries of Cannanore and Tellicherry.

They entered Mahé on the 6th of April, and entered Calicut shortly after, causing the Zamorin to commit suicide by setting his own palace on fire whilst he himself remained inside.

The army under Hyder intended to stay, and Logan says that his forces established block houses called lakkidikottas or wooden forts. Hyder's advance slowed as he approached the Travancore Lines previously built under the instruction of De Lannoy.

Hyder then sent off east to return to his home territory before the onset of the approaching monsoon. He left a force of 3,000 men on the coast supported by a force from the Ali Raja of Cannanore. An experienced official called Madanna was left to leveé contributions from the area.

Shortly after Hyder's main force had left the region a rebellion or uprising broke out in which the local Rajah's, Nairs and others rapidly over ran the smaller Mysorean garrisons and forts.

Hyder's garrisons at Calicut and Ponnani were besieged and the routes back to Coimbatore were cut so that messengers could not get through.

Reza Sahib, Hyder's local commander eventually got a message out by paying a Portuguese sailor to navigate his way overland by compass, presumably so that he could cut across country to avoid the tracks that the Nairs would have under observation.

Hyder was forced to re-invade the country that autumn during the Monsoon. The Nairs built an entrenched camp near a village called Pondiaghari, which was in the Ponnani Valley. The attack on this village was led for Hyder by a mixed group of English, Portuguese and French soldiers and renegades from their respective countries East India Company forces.

Following a bitter battle lasting many hours the stockades around the village were stormed and Nairs defeated. Following this victory a campaign of oppression and reprisal followed with many Nairs marched off to Mysore and many others forced to convert.

Returning to Mysore Hyder, mindful of the recent uprising and the cutting of communications is believed to have instructed his officers to build the fort at Palghat.

In the next part, I will explore the forts construction by Hyder and the sieges it suffered.

[1] http://historicalleys.blogspot.com/
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eustachius_De_Lannoy
[3] For a good brief account of Hyder Ali's early years see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyder_Ali
[4] See William Logan's Malabar Manual, Volume I pages 399 to 437 for a veery good account of these events.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

The outbreak of the war with Coorg 1834.

The Coorg Rulers Banqueting House and Fort.

The following letters are transcripts of letters sent by Karanakera Menon from south western frontier of Coorg.

Menon had been sent to observe the activities of the Coorg Rajah and his armies who had been mobilising to resist what they saw as overbearing attempts by the East India Company to dive roads and trade through their country.

The Rajah's father had been a strong ally of the East India Company and had greatly helped the EIC in its wars with Tipu Sultan. They had allowed the EIC to send forces through Coorg in both wars with Tipu. He had also been the hereditary enemy of the Pazhassi Raja and had therefore supported the British by keeping the Pazhassi Rajah out of Coorg.

In 1833 the British had become aware that the current Rajah was a very different type of person to his father. He appears to have been extremely sexually active, and besides his thirteen wives he was forcing his attentions onto many local women and even his sisters.

One of his sisters and her husband Chinna Bassawan, a senior official at the palace fled to Mysore to the protection of the Collector there, Mr. Casamayor.

The Rajah was facing increasing opposition from the families of the many women he was forcing into sex as well as many of his own family who had fled the country.

Fearing internal rebellions and quite possibly attacks from Coorg exiles, the Rajah sent assassins to Mysore in an attempt to kill is brother and sister in law. These were recognised and captured by the EIC authorities before they could undertake their mission.

In 1833 Thomas Baber was living in Bombay, with no official post in the Malabar, but with a house in Tellicherry and a strong interest in events there.

The local collector in the Northern Malabar Mr Clementson was in charge of affairs on the western Coorg border.

Appreciating the need for intelligence on what was going on in Coorg he had brought Thomas Baber's old Sheristan out of retirement.

Kulpilly Karanakera Menon was sent up the road from Cannanore to the Stone River on the border with Coorg. It was not possible to sent spies into Coorg as the local population could easily spot them and they would soon be killed or apprehended.

However the road from Cannanore through Coorg to the east was used by grain merchants and these were in the habit of attending the market in the capital of Coorg.

Menon sent up his post in the rest houses that these returning Moplah merchants were using along the road to gather up to date information on events in Coorg.

Somehow he was spotted by the Coorg authorities and they lured him into a position where they could kidnap him.

The kidnapping of Kulpilly Karanakera Menon was the final straw or pretext that the East India Company needed to launch their forces over the border into Coorg.

Here is the story of those events in Kulpilly Karanakeras words.

T. Clementson Esqr.
Principal Collector and Magistrate of Malabar.

The arzee of Sheristedar Kulpally Karoonagara Menon

Mr. Grame having been appointed by Government as Special Agent for settling the affairs of Coorg that Gentleman wrote to you to send me to that country, and to myself also on the same subject.

Accordingly on the 12th October, I, with your permission left Calicut and arrived at Stony river on the 17th, but not withstanding my having shown the Rahadary which Mr. Grame sent me, the Coorg Rajah’s servants would not allow me to enter that District, in consequence of which I returned to Vyatoor and remained there till the 24th of that month. Making enquiries of what was going on in Coorg, as well as respecting the Rajah’s hostile intentions and submitted to you under dates the 18th, 20th, 21st and 24th October 1833, Reports containing the result of my enquiries and a further memorandum after I joined the Cutcherry at Tellicherry on the 28th of that month.

On the 1st of November, you having received a letter from Mr. Graeme, written from Periapatam, requesting you to send me, without loss of time to Muddakery and stating that, that Gentleman would immediately proceed to that place via Wettawoor, you were pleased to communicate the same to me on which occasion I observed, that after what I had heard of the Rajah’s evil intensions, it did not appear to me that matters could be brought to a satisfactory settlement, when you were pleased to say, that as the matter was of importance, and as Mr. Grame stated in his letter that I would be useful to him, that I should lose no time in setting out.

In the meanwhile you furnished me with a Rahadary. Accordingly, I started from Tellicherry on the 2nd I enquired of the Rajah’s people stationed there, whether Mr. Graeme had arrived at Maddakery. November, and on my arrival at Stony River they said that three Gentlemen had arrived at Maddakery, and that they received orders to allow me to pass without delay and two musketmen accompanied me from Stony River.

We arrived at Maddakery on the 5th November, from which date I was, without any reason whatever, placed in confinement, and was not released until after a period of five months, just on the 6th April 1834. In the course of the confinement I had fourteen interviews with the Rajah, and beg to subjoin what passed in the course of each of them.

At 3 P. M. on the 5th of November when I arrived at Ookadap in the Maddakery Hill, the sentry proceeded to report my arrival to the Rajah, and returned saying that permission has been granted to allow me and the people with me to go into the Fort after leaving the arms outside. We accordingly went in and were made to wait in the compound until night, when three Coorghers, and three Telangahs came and said that the Rajah’s orders were not to allow me to remain at Maddakery, but to take me to a Bungalow at the foot of a Hill near the high road about a mile South from Maddakery. They accordingly conveyed us to the said Bungalow, allowing us to take our arms as we went out. Of the six men who were sent as a guard over us, the Head Man was Jamadar called Moottayan; who had orders not to allow any one to come to us in the Bungalow, or to permit us to speak to anyone, nor allow us to go out unaccompanied by the guard. About 100 yards North West of the Bungalow stands a Hobly Cutcherry, in which there was a Parbody with abut 10 men, these persons also had orders to look after us. In the South East of the Bungalow there is a shop belonging to Congany Gunapan, who was permitted to sell us rice and other articles we required. We accordingly purchased from him what we required and had our meals prepared on the bank of a nullah inside the walls with which the Bungalow was surrounded. In the compound there is a granite pond, about 11/2 yards square, into which water from the said nullah flows: in this pond I used to bathe. The guard over us had orders to report about us to the Soobedar at Maddakery every morning and evening. On the 11th November I had an audience with the Rajah, when he stated that he had written to Mr. Graeme to come in and asked me, “Is he good person or is he, like Casamayor a deceitful one? Are you well acquainted with Mr. Graeme?

I answered that Mr. Graeme was a very respectable and honorable Gentleman and that I was well acquainted with him. I had scarcely made the answer when the Dewan Bassawapen observed nearly in these words, ‘Samy! This person (alluding to me) came last year to Stony River, Vyathoor, Payanoor, made inquiries about matters relating to this Samstanom. And said that the whiskers of all the Coorghers would be shaved off and people from Malabar employed in this country.

This was related by persons who came from Malabar."This is the man who formerly seized the Kotiote Rajah, and he is friends to the Phiranghies."

His object in coming here is merely to obtain information about this country.’

On which I stated, that there are many Brahmins and people of their caste, carrying whiskers employed in the Cutcherries in Malabar. That if ever it should be required to employ in that country as public servants people from Malabar, the Hussoor Cutcherry alone contained a sufficient number.

That I had heard that many persons sent to that country and by making false representations, such as they knew would be acceptable, returned after receiving presents.

That stories of such persons should not be relied upon and that the Gentlemen under the Hon’ble Company never deviated from truth.

The Rajah then said ‘We shall talk further tomorrow.I am now going on a hunting excursion and offered me some flowers on which I presented to the Rajah a Bottle of Lavender. On the 13th I had another interview with the Rajah, when the letters which he addressed to the Governors of Bengal, Madras and Bombay and some other Gentlemen, respecting the flight of Chinna Bassawan and his wife, together with the replies received thereto, were read over to me. The Rajah then observed, that Mr. Graeme’s letters was couched in disrespectful terms. On which I remarked, that on the letter being translated from English into Canarese it may not have been properly worded.

That in a letter which Mr. Graeme sent to you, containing the purport of a Canarese paper, it was not correctly stated and that the difference may have arisen from the person who made the translation not understanding the real meaning. The Rajah then asked me whether Mr. Graeme had no one with him who could make correct translation from Canarese into English. I answered that when Mr. Graeme came from Nagpore to the Nilgherries that Gentleman did not bring any one with him. And that it was therefore that Mr. Graeme sent for me. The Rajah hereupon said that if I wished to write to Mr. Graeme or to you, I should let him know. That he would then send a person who would write in Canarese, that if written in Malayalam or Tamool, he would not be made acquainted with the contents of my letter and that this measure was necessary to prevent deceit. I replied that I would attend to his wishes in this respect, that as far as I have heard read the Letter written by the Rajah to the Hon’ble Gentlemen above alluded to, it appeared to me that they contained language calculated to inspire distrust and anger. And that as the letter to Mr. Graeme was irrelevant to the matter at issue I doubted much whether Mr. Graeme would come. The Rajah then observed that adverting to the contents of the letters written to him by the Gentlemen it appears that they wish that matters should be managed in his country agreeably to their will and pleasure. That those who had escaped from his country had been honorably received by the Sirkar. That he had been informed that measures are in progress to deprive him of his country and many other things.

On the 15th I had a third interview with the Rajah when he said, that he feared Mr. Graeme was not coming. That those who had escaped from his country, after killing a Jemadar and his brother, have been honorably received by Casamayor who even allowed them to sit in his presence and afforded them respectable Lodging.

That when the Rajah sent people to seize and bring them back. Mr. Casamayor would not allow them to do so. That to prevent people of his country from entering Mysore, Troopers were stationed on the Frontier. That therefore the Rajah’s subjects are disposed to wage war. That it was with a view of not violating the friendship which has long subsisted between himself and the Honorable Company that he did not all this while take any such measure; but that he could not forbear any longer and that accordingly he would, without delay, send a force to seize and bring back those who had escaped from his country. That if the Company wished to resist him, let them to do so. That the wish of possessing themselves of his Country will be the ruin of the Company. They would lose their authority and his (the Rajah’s) Government would rise and extend itself. And that Persons well acquainted with the state of things have written them so.” To this I observed that he would not succeed in carrying on a war against the Hon’ble Company. That they have extensive Forces and Territories.

Out of the latter, Malabar alone, which is under your Superintendence, contains upwards of 11 lacs of souls, out of whom 2 lacs may be estimated as good fighting men; so that if they were required to take the field there would be more men than trees in the jungle of Coorg. That therefore any measure he intended to adopt should be after due considerations of the Hon’ble Company’s powers and the discipline of their troops and his own means and circumstances. That if measures be adopted without due considerations, I further mentioned that Veley Tamby, a former Dewan of the Travancore Sirkar, thoughtlessly and from not knowing better, attempted to wage war with the Hon’ble Company; the result was an immense loss to that Sirkar.

That the Dewan himself was executed and the Ellia Rajah, who joined in his plans banished to Chingleput. The Rajah hereupon observed that none would ever be able to do any thing of the kind towards his Samstanom, of which proof would soon be evinced.

On the 18th, I had a fourth interview with the Rajah when the Subject of a letter received from Mr. Graeme was mentioned to me and myself desired to sign on Arzee which was previously prepared, requesting Mr. Graeme to come to Coorg, and which was read over to me. I affixed my signature to it, and just I was leaving the palace, I was called back and a copy of the letter which M. Graeme addressed to the Rajah, and a letter which that Gentleman wrote to me, were delivered to me. I perused them and then observed that Mr. Graeme is a very respectable Gentleman, holding a high situation under Government, that he has been made to wait at Periapatam about 20 days, and suggested that, instead of displeasing him further, means should be adopted to induce him to come in and settle everything in a satisfactory way. To which the Rajah answered, “It will never do to trust the Gentleman. You must have heard when you came to Payaoor, Vyathoor and other places last year, that I had then made preparations for war.”

I replied that myself and the Gentlemen had heard that all the Bungalows had been washed black. That stockades had been erected in the principal roads. That plates had been struck and his subjects ordered to carry the same around their necks, and that warlike preparations were being made. Whereupon the Rajah said, that all that was done because he had determined to carry on war against the Phirangies.

That the Shuvamoodrah (plate) would protect his people against destruction. And that therefore he ordered all his subjects to wear them and to come with them to pay him reverence. I answered that if he persevered in such hostile views, if he continued to shelter Sayapa Naik, his Samstanom would be ruined, that then it would be too late to remedy the evil, and suggested again that whatever he meant to do should be done after mature consideration. The Rajah answered, “Everything will be known the course of a short time.”

On the 19th of November the Rajah came near to the Bungalow in which I resided, and returned after making some enquiries about me.

On the 26th the Dewan Bassawapen and two other servants brought to me nine letters which you and Mr. Graeme wrote to me, and required me to let him know the purport of them, which I communicated to them and they put down the same in writing.

On the 1st of December I had a fifth meeting with the Rajah when I mentioned that Mr. Graeme’s letter to me related to the revised letter addressed to the Rajah, the first one having been incorrectly written, and that you directed me to return to Malabar, when the Rajah stated that he was convinced of what I first mentioned respecting the translation. That if Vakeels be sent similar mistakes are likely to happen and that Darashaw had arrived. The Rajah next spoke all the answers to be returned by me to Mr. Graeme. I requested permission to write my answer in Tamool, as mistakes were likely to occur if written in Canarese when the Rajah said that there was no one there who understood well either Tamool or Malayalam.

That it was necessary he should know whatever I write to any one and that therefore he would, as hitherto send a person to write in Canarese. I then represented that Orders and Rahadaries were received from you and Mr. Graeme requiring me to return to Malabar, and requested I might be allowed to go back, or, if he wished it, to send Darashaw with me to Bangalore, and we would endeavour to settle matters in a satisfactory way. The Rajah answered that he had not confidence enough in Darashaw to send him up as a Vakeel, that he would wait until he may finally know whether or not Mr. Grame will come and that I should wait there till then. I stated in reply that I had a great deal of public business to attend to in Malabar, that I have orders to make enquiries respecting upland cultivation in Cavay Tallok and its vicinity, that I shall be at Vyathoor or Payawoor, that I had brought with me no more than what would suffice for 10 or 15 days. That if Mr. Graeme should come I would also return.

Whereupon the Rajah said that if I wanted money for my expenses he would supply me therewith, that as Darashaw was come he intended to hold a consultation before finally determining upon any thing. When the Rajah had said this his Dewan Bassawapen and the Moonshies present observed, “That Phirangy called Graeme will never come here, Swamy. This man (alluding to me) is said to be even by people who came from Malabar a deceitful person and his object in coming here is no other than to gain intelligence. There is no occasion for further consideration.We only entreat permission to go and seize those who ran away from hence.”

They said many other things in haughty and improper language. On the 4th December I went up to Cokadap and met the Rajah there and both of us proceeded to where Darashaw was. The Rajah then said that the Letter which I addressed to Mr. Graeme on the 2nd was not despatched. That an answer to the Letter which the Rajah wrote requesting Mr. Graeme to come to Maddakery is expected in two days.

That after the receipt of the expected answer it will be determined what to write to that Gentleman. The Rajah having ceased to speak Darashaw said, “Swamy! Whatever the person (alluding to me) may write to Mr. Graeme, the Governor or any other Gentlemen will be attended to. In consideration of his having seized the Kotiote Rajah the Sarkar has presented him with a Palankeen with a separate allowance for it. On receipt of his letter Mr. Graeme will not fail to come.

If you were to see the testimonials which several Gentlemen gave him, you will be convinced of what I now say. He will exert in forwarding the Swamy’s cause.

During the life time of the Valia Swamy (former Rajah) he came twice here with Mr. Baber. He is well acquainted with the tenor of the Karar (agreement or Treaty) of this country. On the 7th I had another interview with the Rajah on which occasion he asked me whether I had not met and spoken with Darashaw before he started. I answered, I saw him going away, but as I was not permitted, I did not speak to him. The Rajah then began dictating a letter which he purposed I should address Mr. Graeme on which I observed that it was not at all probable that Mr. Graeme would come. That Darashaw having been sent back to Tellicherry was not well done. That unless it was meant to settle matters in a proper way, it was of no use to detain me there, and several other things, to which the Rajah answered that Darashaw was permitted to go back because he did not wish to employ him as his Vakeel. That after a reply is received from Mr. Graeme to the letter proposed to be addressed to him, some thing final will be determined upon. That since I was already there Mr. Grame would not fail to come also and that Darashaw had told this and many other things about me to the Rajah. The Rajah added that Darashaw is now very old, and there is no consistency in what he says, in consequence of which he is unfit to be employed as a Vakeel, that accordingly he was allowed to go back. In an interview which took place on the 14th the Rajah delivered to me the letter which you sent written in Malayalam and Canarese directing me to return without delay as well as one or two other letters; and on my communicating the purport of them, the Rajah said that a letter from Mr. Graeme had been received and that it can be read tomorrow. I again represented that there was a great deal for me to do in Malabar, while it was of no use remaining there; to which the Rajah replied that as Mr. Graeme had particularly sent for me there, I might return after that Gentleman shall have settled every thing and proposed to send to Mr. Graeme the letter which was about to be prepared for that purpose. But with the exception of professing to write to Mr. Graeme the letter accordingly to the draft to be prepared under the Rajah’s direction, no one was sent to me to write such Letter.

On the 11th January I was required to attend at Ookadah, and five of the Rajah’s servants brought to me two arzees which were prepared in my name according to the Rajah’s directives. One addressed to Mr. Graeme the other to you and they insisted upon my signing them. I said that I had some thing to represent to the Rajah, to which they answered that the Rajah would soon come, that his orders were that those arzees should be signed and kept ready against his arrival. And finding on the arzees being read over to me, that the language was not very objectionable, I wishing some how or other that you Gentlemen, might know that I was in existence signed the arzee but in the usual way. The Rajah soon after came, but halting about 100 yards distant from the Bungalow in which I was sent for his Karistans, spoke to them for a while and went away without giving me an opportunity of speaking to him. On the 1st February I was again sent for the Cokadah and met the Karistans there, who said that Mr. Graeme’s answer to the letter addressed on the 11th January (as above described) was received, that a reply thereto in my name was prepared and that the Rajah ordered me to sign it.

I remarked I had not seen the letter which Mr. Graeme was said to have written me. That unless I was made acquainted with the real state of things, I would not sign what it pleased them to prepare for my signature. They answered that the order is that I must sign, if I would not do so, I must stand the consequence and accordingly desired me to hear the arzee read over. On its being read over to me I found it was written in an improper style in consequence of which I said I would not affix my signature to it, they then saying that they would report my refusal to the Rajah went into the Fort. Shortly after the Rajah came out of the Fort and sent for and asked me what was the reason for my not signing the Paper which was written out for that purpose. I replied that I never saw the Letter which Mr. Graeme is said to have written to me, and submitted the impropriety of my signing the reply to a letter which I had never seen. On which the Rajah said that, that Letter was unfit to be read over to me, nevertheless that I might hear it read which was then read out, and I found it to contain that if a hair of my head was hurt that Samstanom would be crushed and many other things which incensed the Rajah very much.

He then observed “come what will I have determined upon declaring war. If those who ran away from hence be sent back from Mysore you will be allowed to return, if not you will suffer the consequence when War is commenced.” The Rajah said many other things in an authoritative tone. I had not other alternative but to put down my signature, but in this instance also not in the usual way.

On the 7th February the Rajah sent for me. When I went up he was standing over the monuments of his Father and Grand-father and observed to me that it was some days since any news had been received.

That Mr. Baber had arrived at Cannanore, that a letter sent by Mr. Baber for me was received on the preceding day, in which matters relating to both the Rajah and myself were properly written. That considering that Mr. Baber was coming from Bombay there was reason to believe that he is deputed by the Bombay Government to settle the Rajah’s Business. The Rajah changed the subject of the conversation saying that he would speak further about the matter on the following day, and that I should wait on him on the next day; and then observed, “It is long since you have been absent from your family. Had not you better send for your brother Ram Menon and your family?

I shall give such assistance as may be required in the way of Horses, Dhooly etc.” The Rajah then talked on sundry matters of no importance.

After this interview the Rajah never sent for me, but I have seen him three times going and returning by the Road opposite to the Bungalow in which I was kept on route to and from Veerarajapett whither he had proceeded on hunting excursions as well as to look after the preparations then in progress for the War.

I was never on those occasions allowed to speak to him.On one of these occasions, he halted opposite to the Parboothy Cutcherry about 100 yards distant from the Bungalow in which I was, caused large plantain trees to be cut, had three of them lashed together and with one blow of the Crooked knife severed them in two.

This and sundry other manoeuvres were performed with the view of intimidating me.

On the 20th of March 1 Kariakar and 8 men came by order of the Rajah to the place where I was and said, that the Rajah had directed that we should move our resistance to the Shetrom in the vicinity of the Fort and desired us to make haste in preparing for the movement. He accordingly started and on reaching the Sentry placed near the Bungalow in Ookadah, we were desired to part with our arms, on which I observed that we did not come to hurt any one, that we made no bad use of them during the four and a half months we had them in our possession. That if any distrust was entertained they might take away the Powder and Cartridge, and thus declined to give up our arms. One of the Guard then went to report this to the Rajah who was about 150 yards from the Bungalow in which we halted. In the interim I asked the Kariakar who was sent to remove us from our former residence what was the cause of the removal. And he said that the Phiranghee’s people had come to the four sides of that Country for the purpose of carrying me away. In consequence of which orders were issued to secure my person .

By this time the person who went up to the Rajah returned saying that orders were again given to take away from us all the arms belts etc. Accordingly we surrendered as follows:

3 double barrelled Guns

1 single ditto

1 sword with tambac hilt

4 do with silver hilts

7 sword sticks

1 ditto mounted with gold

3 Crooked knives

1 Lance

54 cartridges pouches and sword belts with silver clasps

1 silver breast plate worn by the Deloget and

2 brass ditto ditto by the Peons.

These articles were taken away to the Rajah with which he returned to the Fort. We were then taken to a sugar cane garden, below the Fort and made to live in a house standing therein with 10 men as a Guard over us with orders not to allow us to stir beyond 50 yards of it. As there was no water we dug a hole and made use of the water procured by this means. The Rajah at this time gave orders to remove all his property from Maddakkery to Makanad, for which purpose a large number of men and elephants were employed for 8 or 9 days, and on the 18th of March the Rajah himself with his family proceeded to Makanad. I heard that the removal of his Treasure required two trips of 24 Elephants and 20 Horses. On the night of the 20th orders were likewise received to remove me and the 13 persons with me in to the Fort. We were that night shut up in a Stable Room and closely watched, in which state we continued for two days without permission to stir out. The Brahmin with me was the only person allowed to grant (sic) to prepare rice for me.

On the 1st April Tuesday the Dewan Bassawapa and Moonshee Kallyaman returned from Makanaad for the purpose of sending away Sundry articles which still remained in the Fort and they on the same occasion sent me and the people with me to Makanaad. We reached that place at 10 o’clock at night and were made to put up in a house newly finished at the foot of the Hill near to the Palace with orders to keep us shut up day and night except at meal time which was to be prepared on the bank of a nullah close to it. About 10 yards from the House in which we were locked up, stands a large House in which the Dewan Bassawapa and his family resided.

On the morning of the 2nd the Dewan came to the House in which I was and after looking about told the Guard not to oppress me much, to allow me to walk about in the compound during the day time. I then called the Dewan aside and asked him what was the object of the great preparations which were going on and of my person being thus detained. He answered that there was no objections to telling me the cause. And then said that large force belonging to the Pherangees had reached the Frontiers by five different roads for the purpose of carrying me away. That by that time War must have commenced. That he was at a loss to know what would be the result, that I was the cause of all this and asked me what was to be done?

This was spoken privately. I answered, that I had already predicted this. More than once. That if war had commenced the Hon’ble Company would not fail to seize the country and the Rajah run the risk of losing his Life.

If my life was lost the Sirkar would lose nothing. But that many lives in this country should be lost on my account was a matter of much concern to me. The Dewan hereupon asked me what was proper to be done to avoid the War and I replied that no time should be lost in sending out white flags signifying Kabool (submission) and that if I together with Vakeels was sent out to the Camp, I would exert my utmost to settle the matter in a satisfactory way after seeing Mr. Graeme, the Collector and other Gentlemen. The Dewan became sensible of the propriety of my suggestions, and said he would communicate the same to the Swamy. That except my assistance they had now no other alternative left. Begged me not to think of what had passed and said that the Lord Sahib, with whom I was acquainted had come to the Neelgherry Hills. The Dewan then left me to go and see the Rajah.

On the morning of the 4th Friday at about the Rajah accompanied by four persons came on foot to an elevated spot near the House in which I was and sent for me.

On my approaching him, the attendants were desired to withdraw to a distance and the Rajah said that he is fully sensible of all that I had previously stated to him.

That the Dewan communicated to him the conversation I had with him. That the Kabool flag was already sent out and asked me what else to be done in order that matters might be settled without injury to himself. This was spoken in an intreating and distressful tone. I asked the Rajah whether Hostilities had commenced. He answered that intelligence was received that they had in some quarters.

I observed that matters were then in a wrong way. That all the assistance in my power would be afforded. On which the Rajah proposed a return to the Palace and consider the subject. We accordingly walked up to the Palace, which was about a quarter of a mile distant, and the attendants were again desired to withdraw.

When both of us were seated the Rajah resumed the subject saying that after he sent out the Flag, the firing from the party coming up the Stony River Road ceased but that they continue to advance and asked me in a sorrowful way what was to be done. I proposed that myself and the Vakeels should be immediately sent to the Troops coming up the Stony river road, as it was likely the Collector and other Gentlemen would be in the Camp. The Rajah then said that the Lord Sahibs of Bengal and Madras were on the Neelgherries. That as I was acquainted with the Lord Sahib of Bengal, was a good opportunity for me to exert my endeavours.

That this Samstanom would never forget the assistance that I might render it and that I should not think of the conduct evinced towards me until then. All this and many other things were said in an entreating way, to which I replied, that I would assuredly afford such assistance as laid in my power and tried to comfort the Rajah.

The Rajah then said, that when he thinks of what he had hitherto done me, he cannot feel convinced of the sincerity of my promise. That the only way of removing the doubts in his mind would be for me to swear upon the Sala Gramom (Holy Stone from Cassy) and execute a Kaychit.

That as I had not up to that time any thing from him for my expenses, I should accept some trifling Presents, and that I should take my meal there that day. To which I replied that nothing of what he mentioned was required to induce him to trust to me, and that I will render him all the assistance in my power. The Rajah then observed that as his mind was in a distressed state, I should not oppose his wishes.

Recollecting that the Rajah was a person devoid of good sense, and wishing to obviate further trouble which he might be induced to occasion at that critical period, as well as to escape with my life somehow or other, I assented to subscribe to the oath and Kychit he proposed. The letter was accordingly prepared and on hearing it read over I found that my name was inserted as Sheristedar Karoonagara Menon, and that it contented some other objectionable words.

On which I observed that “Sheristedar” was my public designation which I could not make use of without the Sirkar’s Permission. And suggested that my name should be simply used.

This was acceded to and the Kychit having been drawn out accordingly, I affixed my Signature there, a copy of which I beg to submit herewith. The Rajah then ordered that the Dewan Bassawapan Moonshee Kallyaman and a Brahmin should accompany me taking with them the Sala Gramom in order that I may swear upon it after bathing myself.

The Rajah also directed that the Guard placed over me may be withdrawn and a place near the Palace prepared for me for that night.

And desired me to return in the evening as he had to consult with me on several matters. I promised to do so and left the Palace accompanied by the Dewan and the Moonshee. Reaching the place of my Habitation I bathed and took the oath to the effect specified in the Kychit.

The Guards immediately withdrew and the Karistan returned to the Rajah. At 4 o’clock P. M. a messenger came to desire I should proceed to the Palace taking with me my Baggage and the people with me. We went up and stopt under a Pandal erected in the Compound and at 8 o’clock Moonshee Kallyaman came to me from the Rajah and asked me what road I purposed taking the following day; and what was required.

I replied I intended to write to Periapatam and Stony Rover intimating that I was coming. That as soon as I get my arms, Palankeen and Horse I would proceed to Veerarajapett and after enquiring the Road by which Mr. Grame and the Collector were coming in I would proceed to join them.

I asked the Moonshee whether the Kabool Flags had reached the Troops entering by the other four routes and whether the firing had ceased and that if it was not known that it should be soon ascertained. The Moonshee went and communicated the above to the Rajah and returned to me at 12 o’clock of the same night and said that no information has been received of the Kabool Flags having reached the force coming by any other road than that of Stony River, that intelligence had been received of the latter force having ascended the Ghaut and advanced so far as Kandyl that therefore the Rajah wished me to start the following morning. I answered that I would do so at 6 o’clock on the morning of the 5th. The Rajah’s messenger came and desired me to proceed to the Rajah.

I went up and the Rajah bid me to sit down near him. A stout aged Mussalman with another rather black and of a slender tall make were there present, together with Dewan Bassawapen and one or two other public servants.

The Rajah again begged me not to think of the past and added, if I would protect that Samstanom my Tarwadd (Family) would feel the good effects of it as long as it lasts and that as far as experienced persons have said, there appeared reason to expect that that Samstanom would prosper. What the Rajah said was seconded by the stout Mussalman.

The Rajah next said that as I should forthwith start for Virarajapett he had ordered a Canarese Writer to be in readiness to accompany me, and begged me to set out without delay.

On which I said that I would start as soon as I got back my arms, Palankeen, Horse, Breast Plates etc. In which the Rajah said that in the bustle and confusion which occurred some of my guns and other things had been mislaid.

That 3 swords and 2 pistols were only forthcoming, that they could not find the Breast plates. That the whole would follow me and that I should not delay on that account. I replied that it would be quite enough if the arms were sent after me, but that I should wish to have the Peon’s breast plates.

The rajah then ordered another search when the Belts were found but no plates. The Swords and Pistols were then returned to me, and the Rajah then presented me with a Crooked Knife the handle of which is covered with Gold, with the waist belt in which it is fixed, the whole is worth about 80 Rupees and I begged the Rajah to accept of a Sword with a Silver belt and other apparatus worth about 120 Rupees. On which the Rajah observed that what I have him in return was worth double the value of what he gave me; and wished me therefore to accept of a further present of a Donate and Turband, and after I left him, he sent me a Kincab Mungarkah and a pair of Silk Trowser, the whole wll be worth about 200 Rupees. The Guns and Swords were from time to time sent to me, but I did not get back Crooked Knife, 4 Belts with Silver Clasps, the Gun case, shooting tackle and sundry other articles, the whole worth about 100 Rupees as well as 1 Silver breast plate belonging to the Sirkar.

About 11 o’clock in the forenoon of the 5th a letter was received by the Rajah from Colonel Fraser requiring my immediate release and the Rajah to go and meet the Colonel. The Rajah asked me what was to be done, and I answered that as it appeared that Colonel Fraser is sent as an agent of the Lord Sahib, the Rajah should lose no time in proceeding to that Gentleman. He answered that he was not acquainted with that Sahib, that as it was time of War he could not so soon wait on the Colonel, that after the troops should withdraw, and his own force be recalled, he would fix upon a spot to meet the Colonel.

This was said after a consultation with the Mussalman and other Servants then present on which I observed that the Troops advancing by different routes would not stop until they reached Maddakery and again suggested that the Rajah should without loss of time go and see the Colonel. That he was not acquainted with the Colonel and the other Gentlemen’s temper. That it required some consideration before he could determine upon going to meet them, that I should forthwith proceed to Colonel Fraser by the Maddakery road along with two Karistans, that he would write a letter to Colonel Fraser requesting the Troops to halt where they are without advancing and entering the Maddakery Fort. That if after our arrival in the Camp, we should find that there would be no harm in the Rajah’s going to meet the Colonel, to send a messenger to him to that effect, and if he should also receive a suitable answer from the Colonel he would not hesitate to go and see him. I answered the Rajah that I would go but that he should furnish me with an order directing his people to attend to my advice; and to afford me assistance which he agreed to do.

Accordingly myself with two Karistans were despatched from Maknaad, and before I started the Rajah delivered to me some letters which yourself and Mr. Graeme wrote to me which were not made over in due time.

Some of them had been opened by the Rajah.2 o’clock the Rajah sent me a Rahadary directing his subjects to attend to my advice and to furnish me with the required supplies and sent also my Peon and Palankeen. The Rajah also gave presents of Cloth to the people with me, the whole valued about 60 Rupees.

A copy of the said Rahadary is herewith submitted. When I was about to start from Makinaad I observed that the Rajah had there upwards of 3000 men 8 large Guns and upward of 200 horses. Of the men 1500 were people from Mysore whom the Rajah had employed, and I advised the Rajah to dismiss them without delay.

For if Colonel Fraser were to know it, it might retard the reconciliation. The Rajah promised to pay them off without delay. This was immediately known to the Mysore people above alluded to. The consequence was that wherever I met them they used to abuse me with epithets of “Kaffar Sooar you have thrown dirt into the mouths of a great many persons” and such other abusive languages, all which I put up with.

It was 3 P. M. when we started from Maknaad and at day break the next morning reached Madakkery and I showed the Rahadary to the people in the Fort, and desired them to keep only about 70 persons as guard in the Fort and to hoist a white Flag and thence we proceeded to the Camp about four miles to the East of the Fort.

I waited to Colonel Fraser and other Gentlemen and briefly mentioned that a white Flag was hoisted in the Fort as well as what the Rajah charged me to communicate.

The Colonel said he received the Rajah’s answer, in which it is stated that I was sent back, that a Moplah and Karoonagara Menon (myself) were deputed as his Vakeels, that we would represent everything, but that the Rajah did not say when he would himself come. That the Troops would march to Maddakery soon after a Letter is sent to the Rajah, desiring him to come in, and that I should also go along with them.

The Colonel also asked me what number of Guns there were on the Fort and I answered there were only 70 men and two Guns in the Fort. Colonel Fraser then said he would talk further the next day in the Fort and seeing that I was unwell was pleased to give me a Palankeen and bearers. After 12 o’clock, the troops marched, entered the Maddakery Fort at 4 o’clock and hoisted the British Flag on its wall under a royal Salute.

European Soldiers and Sepoys were placed as Sentries and the Troops encamped about half a mile to the north of the Fort. I waited on Colonel Fraser the following day and mentioned the circumstances of the Letters written to me by Mr. Graeme, of the answers prepared by the Rajah in my name, contrary to all usage and answered such questions as the Colonel was pleased to put to me.

When the Colonel observed that I had affixed my signature I said that if what was required to be done at critical periods was not done I should not have been able to preserve my Life; that I thought Mr. Graeme was not displeased at it, as the Letters which the Rajah delivered to me at the moment of my release showed, and I produced to Colonel Fraser those letters some of which were not opened.

The Colonel desired me to peruse the Letters and asked me whether I wished to go. I replied that I wished to act as the Colonel might be pleased to direct.

That Gentleman then said that as I was under your orders I had better return to you soon. That if I wished to go to the Lord Sahib I should go by the Periapatam road, that there was no interruption for posting or cause for fear on the road. I begged the Colonel to allow me a Guard for my protection on the road, and that Gentleman said that until the Rajah shall have come and settled every thing no Guard could be spared but if I wanted money I might have it. I stated I would call the next day and make known my determination. The next day my brother Ram Menon and the Tahsildar of Kotiote Koonda Menon, with some others arrived at Maddakery and went to Colonel Fraser. I also went up to the Gentleman, when he was pleased to say that as my Brother and the Tahsildar were come, it would be better for me to return with them, as no Guard or Bearer could then be spared, and accordingly desired me to return.

As Darrashaw was in the Camp as the Colonel had desired me to return and considering many other circumstances I thought it would not be proper for me to remain any longer at Maddakery. Accordingly on the 9th I quitted that place and on my way waited on Colonel Fraser and other Gentlemen, who came with the Force from Cannanore which was encamped about eight miles to the South of Maddakery.

Those Gentlemen were much pleased at seeing me, and asked me many questions. And I gave them all the information in my power.Colonel Joules then proposed to me to stay there until the Rajah should come in, as I might be useful in obtaining intelligence. I remained there that day. The next day some of the persons who were at Maknaad with the Rajah came to me and said that the Rajah had started from that place with the intention of meeting the Gentlemen at Maddakery and I took them to Colonel Joules and communicated the intelligence. The Colonel gave them a present of 2 Rupees and at 2 o’clock P. M. gave me leave to proceed on. And as there was a Havildar Party returning to Cannanore they were directed to go along with me.

The Colonel also desired me to procure and send from Veerarajapett a quantity of Horse Gram. We reached Veerarajapett at 8 P. M. and I waited on Colonel Brack and the other Gentlemen and gave them a brief account of what had occurred. The Colonel then said that I had better defer my journey to the next day making previously some arrangement for procuring supplies as the required quantity was not to be had.

The Colonel gave a Naik’s Party for my protection that night. The next day I sent a Bullock load of Horse Gram to Colonel Joules’s Camp for which Koonda Menon Tahsildar paid. I then sent for the Rajah’s Karistans and the merchant in the Pettah and showed the Rajah’s Rahadary and made arrangements for the necessary supplies being furnished. This settled I took them to Colonel Brack, and with that Gentleman’s leave, left the Place soon after. On the road I met the Gentleman at Kandy Wadikel and from hence returned the Guard that accompanied me. At Keyparamaba Koona Menon Tahsildar remained behind for the purpose of sending up Provisions, and I proceeded on to Tellicherry, which place I reached on the 13th April.

During the five Months that I remained confined in Coorg viz. from 5th November 1833 to 5th April 1834 and out of this period 4½ months in the Bungalow about a mile South of Muddakery I did not receive anything whatever for my Expenses from the Rajah. From the 19th of March my place of confinement was changed to the Muddakery Fort and Maknaad, at the latter place there is no Bazar from which Rice and other articles could be procured in consequence of which I was obliged to receive from the Rajah’s people the following articles viz. 36 seers of rice, 4 Paloms of Tamarind, 2 Palams of chillies 1½ measures of Ghee, I seer of salt, 3 seers milk, ½ measure Gingely oil (the latter at Muddakery ) in all to the value of about 2Rs and I had previously given to the Rajah a bottle of Lavender.

All things considered it appears to me that what has happened may be attributed to the Rajah’s youth and pride, the bad advice of his servants, and the Mussalman who came from Mysore. The Circumstance of Government not having taken notice of the bits of oppression formerly practised with the view of preventing recurrences. The delusion inspired by the Letters received from Casey setting forth that all Countries would fall under the Halery Samstanom, and that the Hon’ble Company would be ruined.

During the time that I was confined in the Bungalow namely 4 ½ months there was no want of anything. The only annoyance we experienced was we being laughed at by the people who daily passed by the Bungalow (which stood near the high road ) on their way to and from the fairs and other passengers. One incident happened which gave me much concern. One day I ventured to ask a Putter an astrologer the day which the anniversary of the death of my mother would fall. This was reported to the Rajah. The consequence was that the Putter was seized and bound with a rope round his waist, furnished with 36 stripes and placed in confinement and he was not released until the day I was set at liberty. Such are the arbitrary acts practised there. I myself witnessed to Putter being carried with a rope tied round his waist. And when he came to me, after being released from confinement, I saw the marks of the stripes inflicted on him. The greatest restriction was laid to out walking and speaking to people passing by and to writing. From the 20th March to 5th April being 15 days, the period I was alternately confined near the Maddakery Fort, within that fort and Maknad. I experienced the greatest deprivations and hardship for during some days we were actually in close confinement with locked up doors, without a sufficiency of rice and water and the smallest comfort denied us.

After the English troops entered the Muddakery Fort and hoisted the Flag under a salute, I went to Muddakery ambalom (temple). A man of the Bhuadar caste aged about 20 years used to cook for the Dewan Bassavapen was also there. This person told my servant, as what he heard the Dewan say, that the real object of remaining me to the fort, was to nail me and the 13 persons who were with me to the tree standing on the road through which the English Force might pass, for which purpose nails had already been prepared. That the Rajah’s palace within the fort as well as the new one constructed outside of it was to be burnt down, for which purpose they were filled with firewood that we might consider ourselves very fortunate in having escaped the fate that awaited us. On this being mentioned to me I enquired after the man but could not find him out. On sending people to both of the Palaces, all the rooms had firewood placed in them, some of them in the palace within the fort, were being closed (sic – cleared?) for the Rajah’s residence on his return.

The general belief is that the lives of myself and of the others with me were not put an end to in the evil manner that was intended in consequence of the Rajah having been frightened from what was stated in the letter addressed by Mr Graeme and by the Right Hon’ble the Lord Sahib as well as in the proclamation for they strongly stated that if my life was put an end to or any injury done to me the Rajah would meet with the same fate and lose his Country.

It is now 33 years since I have served the Hon’ble Company enjoying their support and protection. To evince my sense of it I undertook this arduous business. The consequence was that I endured the evils detailed above. I am now about 60 years of age and otherwise in a bad state of health and inform accordingly, I trust to your goodness to do what would ensure me honor and credit and that you will be so good as to send to Mr Graeme, and to the Government for their information.

Dated 21st April 1834

Signed) Karunagara Menon



If the Maha Swamy Avargul be so good towards us to send me to the English People, I will bravely and faithfully attend to the Good of all that concerns the Maha Rajah Avargul. I will not to the least thing which may be bad. If I am not true in this, may God deny me a place in this and the other world, and punish me to the uttermost. In truth of this, if of my own free will I mean upon the Sala Gramam. Written on Friday by A. K. R Timagan.

Signed) Karoonakara Menon

The Sannad issued by Maha Rajah Veer Rajendra Waddiar of the Haliery Samstanom to the Servants of the Dewan Cutcherry Talook Soobedar Parbuttikars the Watchmen at the Gokkadahs:

Whereas Kulpully Karoonagara Menon Sheristedar of is deputed on Business of the Sirkar, on his arrival in any of your Talooks, Bazars and Gokadahs, you will pay him every attention supplying on account of the Sirkar every articles of provision which he may require. Moreover if he should desire any of you to do what may be conducive to the good of the Sirkar, you will attend and execute the same.

The said Sheristedar is not to meet with any opposition, with molestation nor delay or inattention in the matter.

Written by order on Saturday the 27th of Palgoonom of the Kalee year 4935 by K. Surasyet Soobrow.

The Rajah’s Signature
Karoonagara Menon Canara Menon’s Memorandum
P. Collector.

After word had been received that Karanakera Menon had been seized, four East India Company columns were sent across the borders into Coorg. These columns had a fierce campaign fighting their way into high canopy forest along sunken roads built as part of a complex defensive system not unlike that developed by the Maoris in New Zealand at very much the same time.

"The country of Coorg is of small extent, being about fifty miles long, and thirty-five broad in its greatest breadth: it lies to the westward of Mysore, being comprised within the twelfth degree of north latitude and 75th and 76th degrees east of longitude. But in compensation of its small extent, it is naturally a very strong country, being surrounded by lofty mountains with a few difficult passes leading into the interior, whilst other wooded hills thickly stud its surface.

The Rajah of this petty state, after a long course of oppression exercised upon his subjects, he being himself under the protection of the British government, addressed a series of insulting letters to the authorities of the latter, and eventually proceeded to the length of placing a native emissary, who had been sent to open a friendly negotiation with him, under forcible restraint. In consequence, hostilities were declared against him by the government of Fort St. George in a Proclamation dated 2d April 1834, by which date the various columns, that had been put in motion during the preceding month, had already arrived on the frontiers.

These columns were as follows: - brigadier Lindesay C.B., of H.M.’s 39th Regt. commanded the whole; the eastern column, under lieut.-colonel Steuart, was composed of part of H.M.’s 39th regiment, the 4th, the 36th and 38th N.I. and a detachment of artillery, and sappers and miners: lieut.-colonel Foulis commanded the western column, consisting of H.M.’s 48th regiment, and the 20th and 32nd N.I. with artillery; lieut.-colonel Waugh commanded the northern column, composed of H.M.’s 55th regiment N.I. artillery, sappers and miners, 9th and 31st L.I the western auxiliary column, under lieut.-colonel Jackson was composed of a detachment of H.M.’s 48th and 40th N.I. whilst the 51st N.I. was employed in Wynaud.

Colonel Lindesay, who accompanied the eastern column crossed the frontier on 1st April without encountering any opposition. On the 2d colonel Steuart broke ground from Periapatam at three a.m., and by noon, reached the eastern bank of the Cavery at Kungas Amoodum, the distance being only 14 or 15 miles, but, it having latterly been necessary to cut a road through the jungle, the progress of the column was retarded. The enemy had thrown up a simple breastwork upon the opposite side, apparently not possessing sufficient military knowledge to have given flanks to it. As they here disputed the passage, lieutenant Montgomery, commanding the artillery with the column, brought up a gun to bear upon it, and, whilst it was firing a few rounds, two companies crossed below, and two, above the breastwork taking it in flank, the enemy hastily evacuating it. The bottom of the river at the ford being excessively rocky and uneven, the guns did not get across until four andhalf p.m., when the force encamped.

At noon on the 3d, the column resumed its march, and, afterwards, arrived in front of the town and barrier of Nunjarpet, where a slight resistance, similar to that of the preceding day and attended with the same results, took place. At five a.m. of the 4thit again broke ground, and by sunset reached Aracanel, distant eight miles. On the 7th it arrived at Muddekerry, the capital of Coorg. The casualties were only one private of H.M.’s 39th, one drummer of the 4th N.I. and one private of the sappers and miners, wounded, throughout the advance.

The western column under colonel Foulis arrived at noon of the 2d of April within two miles of Stony river, and at 2 p.m. a reconnoitring party discovered the enemy drawn up in position within 200 yards of the Company’s territory. Marching the next morning at six o’clock, the artillery, under captain C. Taylor, gave the stockade three rounds of canister and grape, after which it was stormed with trifling loss.

Between this and three and a half p.m. two stockades and two breastworks were stormed, the column having to fight its way over felled trees. At four p.m. it took up a position at Stony nullah, three and a half miles from the foot of the Huggul ghaut, a gun and a mortar occupying a strong advance post. This was attacked during the night, but the enemy were driven back by the artillery.

At six a.m. of the 4th April, the column ascended the Huggul ghaut and were met by a flag of truce. On the 5th it reached Veerachunderpett, and on the 7th, Mootoodanoor. The casualties on the 3d and 4th were, killed, H.M.’s 48th regiment, one lieutenant, four privates, one dresser; 20th N.I., two privates, 32d N.I., three privates; sappers and miners, one private wounded, staff, one captain; artillery, one serjeant, one corporal, one gunner; H.M.’s 48th regiment, one lieutenant, one serjeant, one corporal, fourteen privates; 20th N.I., two privates; 32d N.I., eight privates; sappers and miners, five privates: total killed and wounded, forty-eight.

The following is an extract from colonel Foulis’ despatch dated 7th April “To officers commanding corps he is greatly indebted for the steady manner in which they led their men, especially to captain Corlandt Taylor, commanding the artillery, who in the most gallant manner, brought his guns to bear within 70 yards of the first stockade, and ensured the capture which followed. The unwearied exertions of this officer, (though suffering from a sprained ancle) in always having his guns up a steep ghaut and prepared for action are beyond all praise”. The loss of the enemy was about 250 killed and wounded, including four chiefs.

The northern column under colonel Waugh was not so successful as the two preceding ones. The enemy was strongly stockaded at Bukh, on the brow of a steep ascent, to which a narrow pathway led,impracticable for artillery, until the work should be carried. Two parties were detached on the 3d April to turn the flanks of the work; but met in front of it. A destructive fire was opened on them; and, after four hours spent in vain attempts to carry it, they were obliged to retreat with the following heavy loss: killed H.M.’s 55 regiment, one lieutenant-colonel, three serjeants, one corporal, one drummer and twenty-three privates; sappers and miners, one European private, one havildar and four privates; rifle company, one private; 9th N.I., one ensign; 31st L.I., one ensign, one jemidar, one naigue and eight privates; total killed, forty-eight; wounded: artillery, two gunners; H.M.’s 55th regiment, one captain, two lieutenants, one adjutant, four serjeants, three corporals, one drummer and sixty privates; sappers and miners, eleven native privates; rifle company, one private; 9th N.I., one serjeant, one naigue, one drummer and four privates;31st L.I., one captain, one lieutenant, one subadar, one havildar, one naigue and twenty privates; total wounded 118; total killed and wounded, 166.

The western auxiliary column, under colonel Jackson, which was unaccompanied by artillery, was likewise repulsed, with the loss of killed, detachment of H.M.’s 48th regt., one serjeant, eight rank and file; 40th N.I., one subaltern, two havildars, one drummer and seventeen rank and file; native followers, four; total killed, 34; wounded, H.M.’s 48th, one subaltern and six rank and file; 40th N.I., one havildar and twenty-eight rank and file; two followers; total wounded, 38; total killed and wounded, 72.

On 10th April, Rajah Veerarjander Woodiah surrendered to brigadier Lindesay, and the following passage occurs in that officer’s despatch of the 11th announcing that event, and the consequent termination of hostilities.

“To major Poole of His Majesties 39th regiment, whom I placed in immediate command of the infantry brigade, to captain Seton, commanding the artillery and captain Underwood, the chief engineer, I have been indebted for the most zealous and able assistance, and I do but justice in reporting that the officers and soldiers of every rank and degree have, under all circumstances and in all respects, merited my most perfect approbration.”

The following artillery order was issued by captain Seton, dated Camp, Muddekerry, 24th April 1834. “Captain Seton, being about to proceed to Bangalore, considers it an imperative duty to express the high sense he entertains of the exertions of all ranks composing the artillery in the Coorg field force, during the period of their employment.

“The difficulties that each of the parties, attached to the several columns, have had to encounter, have been very great; and the manner, in which they have been overcome, is highly creditable to the skill and energy of those engaged."

“Captain C. Taylor, lieutenant Montgomery and lieutenant Timins, have been detached throughout the service, and the commanding officer has reason to know that each has merited and received the praises due to his exertions"

“Captain Seton wishes lieutenant Bell, commanding A company, 2d battalion, artillery, to accept his best thanks, which are due also in an especial manner to lieutenant Brice for the zeal and activity he has always displayed in the performance of his duties as brigade major, and to lieutenant Mawdesley whose alertness and minute attention to everything connected with his duty has been very conspicuous” With the following well earned tribute to the golundauze contained in captain Taylor’s report to the commandant of artillery, dated 6th April 1834, we close the notice of the brief Coorg campaign. “It is a duty I owe to the golundauze of the detachment to mention to the commandant that they brought their guns into play on the morning of the 3d instant, against a strongly manned stockade with all the coolness of the best soldiers; and their exertions during the day,>as well as their devotion whilst forcing our way up an unusually strong ghaut, and fighting from six a.m. till half past two p.m. was most exemplary.

To lieutenant Denman, who was with the advance of the column with me, much praise is due, and I should be further wanting in duty, were I not to particularize Oomed Allie, subadar of golundauze, and Boodar Cawn, jemadar of the lascars.” [2]

There is a very good blog by Murali Rama Varma on the history of the Coorg Royal family here http://muralirvarma.blogspot.com/2010/05/princely-coorg-and-chikka-veera.html

[1] Transcript from OIOC files sent to me by Prema Menon.
[2] Extract from ‘Services of the Madras Artillery’ by Begbie