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FROM 1805 TO 1836. 











2j^^. ^' Z-^*?. 


Priated by S. ft J. Bbntlct, Wilson, «nd Flct, 
Bangor House, Shoe Lsne. 


When I consented to carry a new edition of 
Mill's History of British India through the press, I 
engaged to continue the History to the date at 
which the East India Company's charter was last 
renewed. The engagement was somewhat ill-con- 
sidered. It was acceded to under an anticipation 
that the task could be accomplished with compara- 
tive facility, as a residence in Bengal during nearly 
the entire interval had made me familiar with the 
general course of the events which had occurred, 
and some of which I had at various times attempted 
to record. It was soon evident that I had much 

However lively the impression which had been 
made by the interesting and important character of 
the transactions I had witnessed, I felt it to be my 
duty, before undertaking to narrate them, to consult 
all the available authorities of an original and au- 
thentic description in which they were to be traced. 
Foremost among these were the valuable but volumi- 


nous Records at the India House; an unreserved 
access to which was readily granted by Sir John 
Hobhouse, the President of the Board of Controul, 
and W. B. Bayley, Esq., then Chairman of the 
Court of Directors. The obligation of making use 
of this privilege, however imperfectly, has caused 
an amount of labour and expenditure of time far 
exceeding my expectations. 

Beside the manuscript volumes, to which the 
great bulk of the Records is necessarily confined, 
very extensive portions of them have been occa- 
sionally printed by order of Parliament, or under 
the authority of the Court of Directors. To these, 
also, it was necessary to refer, and the reference was 
not effected without incurring additional trouble 
and delay. 

The third and last class of authorities to which 
extensive application has been made, consists of the 
published accounts of persons engaged or interested 
in the occurrences which they have related. There 
is a great body of contemporary evidence of this 
description, varying in merit and in weight, but 
exacting attention from all who wish to obtain an 
accurate knowledge of the origin and progress of 
events. The perusal in more or less detail of as 
many publications of this class as I could meet with, 
has contributed to retard the completion of my task 
beyond the limits within which I had trusted that 
it would have been concluded. 



I have thouglit it uecessary thus to accouut for 
the delay which has occurred, aud which is not yet 
at an end. It has been occasioned by an anxious 
wish to oifer to the public an historical work in 
which they may place some trust. Whether that 
object has been attained, remains to be determined ; 
but the desire to merit confidence will, perhaps, 
be accepted as a sufiicient excuse for the apparent 
tardiness of the writer. 

H. H. Wilson. 

25th November, 1844. 




From thb Conclusion of Pbacb with the Mahbattas, 1805, to 
THE Rbnbwal op THB East India Company's Chabter, 1813. 



General View of the Political State of India. — Relations of 
the British Government with the Native States. — Accessions 
of Territory. — Protection of Shah Alem. — Bundelkhand, 
Sketch of its History and Condition. — Native Princes. — 
Mohammedans, — Kino op Delhi. — Conduct of Prince Je- 
hangir. — Nawab of Oude. — Vicious Administration of the 
Principality. — Nizam op Hyderabad. — Discontent — Deter- 
mination of the British Government to maintain the Alliance. 
— Career of Raja Mahipat Ram. — Death of Mir Alem. — 
Hindus. — Mahrattas. — Peshwa. — Attempts to recover his 
Political Consideration. — Gaekwar. — Pecuniary Embarrass- 
ments. — British Interference.— Settlement of Kattiwar. — In- 
trigues at Baroda. — Raja of Berar. — Dissatisfaction. — Re- 
linquishment of Sambhalpur. — Sindhia. — Pecuniary Difficul- 
ties. — Decline of Power. — Quarrels at his Court. — Conduct to 
Bhopal. — HoLKAR. — Exactions from the surrounding States. 
— Death of his Nephew, Kandi Rao — of his Brother, Kasi 
Rao. — Derangement. — Tulasi Bhai, Regent. — Amir Khan. 
— His Rise and Power. — Rajputs. — RanaofUdaypur, Rajas 
op Jodhpur and Jaypur. — Contest for the Hand of Krish- 
na Kumari, Princess of Udaypur. — Mahratta Extortion.-— Ap- 
plication of Jaypur for British Interference— refused. — Policy 
of Holkar and Sindhia. — Amir Khan joins the Rana. — Death 
of the Princess. — Other Rajput Princes. — Bikaner, Kota, 
BuNDi, Macheri. — Jdts, — Raja of Bhurtporb. — Rana of 
GoHUD. — Treaty with him annulled. — Sik/ts, their Origin and 
Constitution. — Rise of Ranjit Sing.^Rcmarks 1 



Sir George Barlow, Govemor-GeneraL — State of the Fi- 
nances. — Retrenchments. — Supplies. — Judicial and Revenue 
Arrangements for Cuttack, the Doab, and Bundelkhand. — 
Revenue Settlements in the Ceded and Conquered Provinces. 
— Separation of Judicial and Revenue Functions at Madras. 
— Murder of Europeans at Vellore. — Arrival of the Dra- 
goons. — Fort retaken. — Military Inquiry. — Disposal of the 
Prisoners. — Causes and Circumstances of the Mutiny. — Its 
Origin in religious panic occasioned by military Orders. — 
Similar Alarms at Hyderabad, Walajabad, and Nandidrtig 
allayed or suppressed. — Lord W. Bentinck and Sir John Cra- 
dock recalled. — Ultimate Decision of the Court of Directors. 1 06 


Proceedings in England* — Refusal of the Directors tocon- 
cur in the Appointment of the Earl of Lauderdale as Gover- 
nor-GeneraL — Sir George Barlow recalled by the King's 
sign-manual. — Discussions in Parliament and with the Board 
of Controul. — Lord Minto appointed Govemor-GeneraL— 
Proceedings in the House of Commons. — Impeachment of 
Lord Wellesley by Mr. Paull. — Papers moved for. — Charges 
relating to the Nawab of Oude. — Nawab of Furruckabad. — 
Zemindar of Sasnee and others. — Proceedings interrupted by 
dissolution of Parliament. — Renewed by Lord Folkestone. — 
Impeachment abandoned. — Condemnatory Resolutions nega- 
tived. — Merits of the Oude question. — Motion for an Inquiry 
into the Assumption of the Camatic negatived. — Censure of 
Lord Wellesley *s Policy by the Court of Proprietors. — Ap- 
pointment of a Select Committee of the House of Commons. 
-—Diminished Import Trade of the Company ] 46 


Lord Minto Govemor-GeneraL — Sir G. Barlow Govemor 
of Fort St. George. — Character and Policy of the Governor- 
General. — Determination to establish Order in Bundelkhand. 
— Description of the Hilly district of the province. — Colonel 
Martindell sent against Ajaygerh. — Affair of Rajaoli. — Ajay- 



gerh surrendered. — Lakshman Dawa sets off to Calcutta — 
leaves it again suddenly. — His Family put to death by his 
Father-in-law. — Operations against Gopal Sing. — Nature of 
his Incursions* — His submission. — Storm of Kalinjar — re- 
pulsed. — ^Fortress surrendered^ — Treaties with the Raja of 
Rewa. — Settlement of Hariana. — The Sikh Chiefs east of the 
Setlej taken under protection. — Treaty with Ranjit Sing« — 
Embassy to Peshawar. — Revolutions of Afghanistan. — Disas- 
trous Life of Shah Shuja. — Return of the Embassy. — Mission 
to Sindh.* — Revolutions in the Government of that country. — 
Failure of Negociation. — Intercourse between France and Per- 
sia. — Ill-concerted measures of the British Authorities. — Sir 
Harford Jones sent as Ambassador from England. — Sir John 
Malcolm from India. — Unsatisfactory result of the latter Mis- 
sion. — Return of the Envoy. — A military Expedition to the 
Gulph projected by the Bengal Government. — Sir Harford 
Jones departs from Bombay — proceeds to Shiraz. — Prosecu- 
tion of the Mission prohibited. — He perseveres — reaches 
Tehran — concludes a preliminary Treaty. — Disavowed by 
the Indian Government. — The Treaty confirmed. — Diplomatic 
relations with Persia taken under the management of the Bri- 
tish Ministry. — Sir Gore Ouseley Ambassador. — Definitive 
Treaty concluded — productive of little advantage 169 


Appointment of Sir G. Barlow to the Government of Ma- 
dras — unacceptable to the settlement. — The state of popular 
feeling. — Commencement of agitation. — Case of Mr. Sher- 
son. — Proceedings of the Commission for the Investigation of 
the Debts of the Nawab of the Carnatic. — Trials of Reddy 
Rao — ^his Conviction. — ^his Pardon and Death. — Affairs of 
Travancore. — Disputes between the Raja and the Resident. — 
Enmity of the Dewan — sets on foot an Insurrection — abet- 
ted by the Dewan of Cochin. — Troops ordered to Travancore. 
— The Resident's house attacked — ^his escape. — Operations of 
the Subsidiary Force. — Murder of Europeans by the Dewan. — 
Army sent to the Province under Colonel St. Leger. — Storm 
of the Arambuli Lines. — Defeat of the Nairs at Quilon. — Ad- 
vance to the Capital. — Submission of the Raja. — Flight of the 


Dewan. — Sanctuary violated. — Death of the Dewan. — Seizure 

and Execution of his Brother. — The body of the Dewan gib- 
beted.— Sentimentsof the Bengal Government — Disorganised 
Condition of Travancore. — Administration of Affairs by the 
Resident as Dewan under the Raja and his Successors. — Re- 
storation of prosperity. — Similar system and results in Cochin. 
— Disputes between the Governor and Commander-in-chief. — 
The latter refused a seat in Council by the Court — his dissa- 
tisfaction and resignation. — Discontents of the Oificers of the 
Coast Army — their causes. — Tent contract abolished. — Rea- 
sons assigned in the Quarter-Master-GeneraFs Report offen- 
sive to Officers commanding Corps— demand a Court-martial 
on Colonel Munro. — The Commander-in-chief places Colonel 
Munro in arrest. — Grovemment cancels the arrest. — General 
Macdowall issues a General Order on the subject^ and em- 
barks for England. — Counter Order by the Government — 
Subsequent severity. — Suspension of Major Boles. — Effect 
upon the Officers* — Orders of the Ist of May. — Violent pro- 
ceedings at Hyderabad. — Mutinous Conduct of the Garrison at 
Masulipatam. — Threatened march of the Troops to Madras. — 
Firmness of the Government. — Consequent arrangements. — 
Test proposed to the European Officers. — Appeal to the Na- 
tive Troops — their all^iance. — The Garrison at Seringapa- 
tam in open rebellion. — Colonel Close sent to Hyderabad. — 
Officers of the Subsidiary Force sign the test — their example 
followed. — Arrival of the Governor-General at Madras. — 
Courts-martial. — Sir Samuel Auchmuty Commander-in-chief 
and Member of Council. — Proceedings in England. — Warm 
Disputes in the Court of Directors. — Officers restored to the 
service. — Sir G. Barlow finally recalled 2S'i 


Foreign Policy of Lord Minto's Administration. — Invasion 
of Berar by Amir Khan. — A force sent to the aid of the Raja. 
— Amir Khan's defeat by the Berar troops. — Retires before 
the British. — Disputes between the Peshwa and the Southern 
Jagirdars. — Compulsory adjustment — Suppression of Piracy 
by the states of Wari and Kolapur.— Expedition against the 
Pirates of the Persian Gulph. — Joasmis —their ferocity. — De- 


struction of Ras-al-Khaima and other Pirate stations.— Expe- 
dition to Macao. — Operations against the French and Dutch 
Colonies in the Indian Seas. — Successful Depredations of the 
French Cniizers. — Expedition against Rodriguez — its occupa- 
tion. — Descent upon Bourbon. — Garrison of Rodriguez rein- 
forced. — Second descent upon Bourbon, and capture.— Naval 
Transactions at the Isle of France. — French frigates in the 
harbour of Grand Port attacked by the English squadron. — 
Destruction of the English vessels. — Naval actions off the 
Islands between the blockading ships and the French frigates. 
— Arrival of the Armaments from Bengal and Madras. — 
Landing of the forces in Grande Baye. — March to Port Louts. 
— Capitulation with the French Grovemor. — Blockade of the 
Dutch Islands. — Expedition against the Moluccas. — Capture 
of Amboyna — of Banda— and of Temate.-~Expedition against 
Java — accompanied by Lord Minto. — Difficulties of the voy- 
age — overcome. — Former operations. — Destruction of Dutch 
vessels at Gresik.-r-Mea8ures of General Daendels and of his 
successor^ Creneral Jansens. — Arrival of the fleet in the Roads 
of Batavia.— 'Landing of the troops. — Occupation of Batavia. 
— Advance to Weltevreeden. — Strength of Fort Comelis. — 
Assault* — March of Colonel Gillespie's column. — Surprise of 
the outwork. — Defences forced. — Explosion of a Redoubt — 
the Fort taken — the Pursuit and Dispersion of the Enemy. — 
Cheribon and Madura occupied.— -Final defeat of General Jan- 
sens. — Surrender of Java and its Dependencies. — Mr. Raffles 
appointed Governor. — Colonel Gillespie Commander of the 
Forces. — Capture of Yodhyakarta. — Expedition against Pa- 
lembang.— Sultan deposed. — Views of the Court of Directors. 
— Beneficial results of the British administration in Java. ... 302 


Return of the Governor-General from Java. — Internal Ad- 
ministration«-»Indications of future Hostilities. — Relations 
with Hyderabad and Nagpore. — Miagovemment of Oude. — 
Interference of the Government of Bengal. — Differences be- 
tween the Nawab and the Resident — The latter supported by 
Lord Minto. — Defects in the Judicial and Revenue Systems 
of the British Government. — Mohammedan and latter Hindu 


Systems. — Concentration of Functions. — Judicial Officers. — 
CircumslaDcea counteracting defective Administration. — State 
of Civil and Criminal Justice. — Consequences of establishing 
Civil Courta — multiplication of Suits — arrears of Decisions-— 
no effective remedy applied. — State of Criminal Judicature — 
similar arrears. — State of Police. — Classes of Robbers — preva- 
lence of Dakoiti, or Gang robbery — Atrocities perpetrated.— 
Difficulty of Detection and Conviction. — Evils of excluding Na- 
tive co-operation — attempts to recover it — failures* — Superin- 
tendents of PoUce and Special Magistrates appointed. — Em- 
ployment of Informers. — Diminution of Dakoiti. — Revenue 
System — review of. — Proprietary right of the Sovereigpi not 
of Hindu but of Mohammedan origin. — Doctrines of the latter. 
— Notions of the people. — Nature and extent of public de- 
mand under the HuKbs and Mohammedans in earlier and 
later times — from whom demanded. — Variety of Proprietary 
rights. — Village Communities — their origin — legislation — co- 
lonisation — conquest.^ — Traces of property extinguished by 
the exactions of the Government, and Village communities 
destroyed — ^m some provinces — not in all. — Variety of Orga- 
nization — different rights of the members — peculiarities of 
constitution — general identity. — Classes of tenants — ^perpetual 
— temporary. — The Public Revenue how realised. — Revenue 
Officers.— *-Head-men of Villages — modifications of the office. 
— Function of Zemindar — degree of his proprietary right — 
contingent advantages — consideration among the people. — 
Course adopted by the British Government — Permanent Ze- 
mindari Settlement ordered for Madras. — Commencement of 
Ryotwar Settlement. — Pk'indples of assessment urged by Lord 
W. Bentinck — abandoned by the Government of Madras. — 
Village settlements formed. — Perpetual settlement at Madras 
prohibited by the Court of Directors. — Settlement of the Ceded 
and Conquered Provinces of Bengal. — Commission of Inquiry 
— reconmieod delay of a permanent assessment — recommend- 
ation disregarded by the Government. — Expected advantages 
of permanency — ^not realisable — illusory nature of the provi- 
sion — ^moderate assessment all that is essential — principle dis- 
countenanced in England. — Permanent Settlement of the Ce- 
ded and Conquered Provinces forbidden. — Regulations for the 
protection of the Ryots. — House-tax — resistance at Benares — 



repealed. — Religious riot at Benares — Missionaries in Bengal 

—established at Serampore — checked by the Government. — 

Lord Minto's encouragement of Oriental Literature — interest 

in the College of Fort William. — Financial operations. — Close 

of Lord Minto's Administration 371 


Embarrassed Finances of the Company. — Application to 
Parliament for assistance. — A Loan gpranted. — Inquiry into 
abuse of patronage. — Renewal of the Charter. — Previous Cor- 
respondence with the Board. — Demands of the Court. — Pro- 
positions of Mr. Dundas — objections of the Court — communi- 
cation suspended — ^revived. — Determination of Ministers to 
open the Trade with India resisted, but finally acceded to by 
the Company. — Claims of the Outports. — Change of the 
Ministry. — Lord Buckinghamshire President of the Board. — 
Consequences of delay. — Resistance to the claims of the Out- 
ports. — Appeal to Parliament. — Resolutions proposed by Lord 
Castlereagh in the House of Commons ; by Lord Bucking- 
hamshire in the House of Lords. — Application of the Com- 
pany to be heard by Counsel gpranted. — Questions at issue — 
political — commerciaL — Trade with India — and with China, 
peculiarities of the latter — secured to the Company. — Struggle 
for the Trade with India. — Arguments of the Company — of 
the Merchants.— ^Company consent to take off Restrictions 
from the Export, not from the Import trade. — Financial and 
political evils anticipated and denied — attempt to substantiate 
them by evidence. — Opinions of Warren Hastings and others 
respecting the unrestricted admission of Europeans. — Exten- 
sion of Trade — independent resort of Missionaries, &c. — 
Debates in the House of Commons — first and second Reso- 
lution carried— debate on the third. — Debates on the Report 
of the Committee. — Thirteenth Resolution adjourned — 
debate on it resumed — carried. — Other clauses suggested. — 
Bill finally passed in the Commons. — Debates in the House 
of Lords — previous discussions. — Bill passed — Proceedings 
in the Court of Proprietors — Charter accepted. — Remarks... 492 

Appendix 581 





CHARTER, 1813. 


General View of the Political State of India.— Rda- book i. 

CHAP. 1. 

tions of the British Government with tfie Native 

States. — Accessions of Territory. — Protection of 
Shah Alem. — Bundelkhandy Sketch of its History 
and Condition. — Native Princes. — Mohamme- 
dans. — King of Delhi. — Condmt of Prince 
Jehangir. — Nawab of Oude. — Vicious Admi- 
nistration of the Principality. — Nizam of Hy- 
derabad. — Discontent. — Determination of the 
British Government to maintain t/te Alliance. — 
Career of Raja Mahipat Ram. — Death of Mir Alem. 
— Hindus. — Mahrattas. — Pesh wa. — A ttempts to 
recover his Political Consideration. — Gaekwar. — 
Pecuniary Embarrassments. — British Interference. 
— Settletnent of Kattiwar. — Intrigues at Baroda. — 

VOL. I. 



BOOK I. Raja of Berar. — Dissatisfaction. — Relinquish^ 
^^^^' '• ment of Sambhalpur. — Sindhia. — Pecuniary Diffi- 
1805. culties. — Decline of Power, — Quarrels at his Court. 
— Conduct to Bhopal. — Holk ar. — Enactions from 
the surrounding States. — Death of his Nephew^ Kan- 
di RaOy — of his Brother^ Kasi Rao. — Derange-- 
ment. — Tulasi Bhai^ Regent. — Amir Khan. — His 
Rise and Power. — Rajputs. — Rana of Udaypur. 
Rajas of Jodhpur and Jaypur. — Contest for tJie 
Hand of Krishna Kumariy Princess of Udaypur. 
— Mahrdtta EMortion. — Application of Jaypur for 
British hiterferencCy — refused. — Policy of Holkar 
and Sindhia. — Amir Khan joins tJie Rana. — Death 
of the Princess. — Other Rajput Princes. — Bikaner, 
KoTA, Bundi, Macheri.— Jats. — Raja of Bhurt- 
PORE. — Rana of Gohud. — Treaty with him an-- 
nuUed. — Sikhs, their Origin and Constitution. — Rise 
of Ranjit Sifig. — Remarks. 

The recent hostilities between the British Govern- 
ment of India and the chiefs of the principal 
Mahratta states had entirely altered the relative 
position of the contending parties, and had engen- 
dered the elements of still more momentous change. 
The Mahrattas had occupied through the latter 
half of the eighteenth century the chief place 
amongst the native states of India : they had brought 
under their sway the widest and most valuable 
portions of Hindustan, and had possessed them- 
selves of the name and person of the Emperor of 
Delhi. On the first occasion on which they had 
come into collision with the British arms, they had 
inflicted upon them discomfiture and discredit ; and 


they had plunged into the late struggle, strong both book i. 
in military resources and reputation, and confident ^^^^' ^ 
that they should rid themselves of a dangerous and isos. 
encroaching rival. The result had disappointed their 
hopes, and accelerated the aggrandisement of that 
power which they had trusted to overthrow. 

In the outset of the contest, native opinion had 
inclined to the Mahrattas ; the close of the war had 
shaken belief in their superiority. Still, however, 
much of the prepossession in their favour survived 
their reverses, and the full consequences of the en- 
counter seem to have been but imperfectly appreciat- 
ed even by those who had been engaged in the strife. 
Engrossed by the care of providing for immediate 
pecuniary embarrassments, the British Government 
overlooked all political considerations; and, in its 
impatience to relieve financial pressure, threw away 
some actual and some prospective advantages, shrunk 
from the commanding elevation to which it had 
been raised, and by unseasonable moderation dis- 
seminated doubts of its vigour, and held out en- 
couragement to future aggression. The Mahratta 
leaders, justly ascribing much of their adversity to 
internal disunion, misinterpreting the motives of 
their enemy's forbearance, and fretting under the 
losses and indignities they had sustained, accustomed 
themselves to undervalue the resources and energies 
of their conquerors, and to look forward to some 
&vourable opportunity of repairing their reputation 
and recovering their territory. At the same time, 
with the improvidence inseparable from the charac- 
ter of Indian princes, they set on foot no adequate 
preparations for the realisation of their purposes. 

b2 - 


BOOK I. Instead of profiting by the experience of the past, 
' and the respite which had been granted to them ; 
1805. instead of husbanding their means, consolidating 
their power, and cementing that union in which 
alone lay their safety, they wasted their strength in 
a petty and predatory warfare with the princes of 
Rajputana, or in intestine dissensions ; and with ter- 
ritories almost depopulated, revenues utterly ex- 
hausted, troops wholly disorganized, and mutual 
animosities incurably exacerbated, they again pro- 
voked the resentment of the British Government 
when in the full exercise of its energies, and 
awakened to a clear perception of its true interests 
and of those of Hindustan. The last act of this 
extraordinary drama was then consummated. The 
Marquis of Hastings completed what Clive had 
begun, and all India acknowledged the supremacy 
of Great Britain. 

As some time intervened before the predomi- 
nance of the British power throughout India was 
finally established, we may, for the present, pause to 
contemplate the political condition of the country 
at the period at which the narrative recommences ; 
and for a few years following ; so as to form a correct 
notion of the extent of British dominion and au- 
thority, and of the circumstances and objects of the 
principal native states. We shall thus be better 
able to understand the character of those transactions 
which led to a renewal of the struggle, and to the 
final attainment of that commanding attitude which 
the British Government, after repeated proofs of for- 
bearance, was at last compelled to assume. 

The capture of Seringapatam and death of Tippoo 


Saltan, in 1799, put an end to all fear of any for- book i. 
midable enmity in the south of India. Those events ^^^^' ^' 
had added largely to the Company's territory in the I805. 
Peninsula ^ and had restored the principality of 
Mysore to the representative of its former Hindu 
Rajas, on conditions the avowed intentions of which 
were, the entire command of the resources of the 
country in time of war, and a general controuling 
power over its government in time of peace. Tri- 
bute under the denomination of subsidy was also 
imposed upon the Raja, and provision was made for 
appropriating the whole of the revenue, subject to a 
pension to be paid to him in the event of his failing 
to fulfill his obligations.^ The Raja, Krishna Raja 
Udayavar, was a minor, and the administration of 
the affairs of the state was intrusted to a native 
minister named Pumia, a Brahman, a man of ability 
and judgment, who distinctly understood the position 
in which Mysore was placed, and its entire depend- 
ence upon the power to which it owed its existence. 
As long as he lived, the connexion was maintained 
in a spirit of sincere submission on the part of the 
inferior, and of implicit confidence on that of the 
superior ; rendering Mysore virtually an integral por- 
tion of the British Indian Empire. 

The western coast of the Peninsula was, with a 
few exceptions, British territory. At the southern 

' By the Partition Treaty of Mysore, July 1799, territory yielding an 
annual revenue of 1S,74,000 Cantarai Pagodas was reserv-ed to the Mysore 
Baja. To the Company was assigned a portion that was valued at C. Ps. 
7,77,000 ; to the Nizam lands to the amount of C. Ps. 6,07,000, and of 
C. Ps. 2,6S,957 to the Peshwa. The shares of the two latter were sub- 
sequently transferred to the Company. — Collection of Treaties and Engage- 
ments with Native Princes and States of Asia, published in 1812, p. 441. 

' Treaty with Mysore, 8th July, 1799, and supplementary treaties, 1803 
and 1807.— CoU. of Treaties, pp. 464, 248, 303. 




K I. extremity, the petty states of Cochin and Travan- 
core were governed by their own Rajas. These 

1806. princes had been rescued by the interposition of the 
British arms from the tyranny of Tippoo, and had 
agreed to pay a stipulated subsidy for the protection 
which they received.^ The amount had however 
been determined without an equitable regard to the 
advantages for which it was an equivalent, or to the 
sources from which it was derived.' The demand 
became an exaction, and the payment speedily fell 
into arrear. A perpetual and undignified inter- 
change of requisition and evasion ensued, and mu- 
tual dissatisfaction was the unavoidable result. This 
was more especially the case with the Raja of Tra- 
vancore, as, upon the plea of danger from the designs 
of France, an additional subsidy had been levied 
upon him subsequently to the capture of Seringapa- 
tam ; and, as he neither understood nor dreaded the 
peril, the cost of arming against its occurrence was 
felt to be both onerous and unjust. Discontent and 
indignation were consequently brooding over the 
councils of Travancore, and their dictates shortly 
afterwards impelled the Raja to an unavailing eflTort 
to throw off the burden under which he laboured. 
Proceeding along the Malabar coast towards the 

' The Raja of Cochin was made to pay to the Company a lakh of rupees 
annually ; treaty, 1791. — Collection of Treaties,p. 421. An agreement was 
made in 1788 with the Raja of Travancore, by which he engaged to sub- 
sidize two battalions of Sipahis. In 1795, he agreed to maintain con- 
stantly one battalion. This was extended, in 1797, to three battalions, and 
one company of European artillery. In 1805, the Raja was compelled to 
pay for a fourth battalion. — Collection of Treaties, pp. 174, 170, 283. 

^ The gross revenue of Cochin was estimated at five lakhs of rupees, from 
which the charges of collection were to be deducted. The tribute was 
therefore about one-fourth of the net receipts. The total revenues of Tra- 
vancore, in 1807, were estimated by the Resident at twenty lakhs of rupees : 
the Company's claim was nearly eight lakhs. — MS. Records. 


north, a few districts of limited extent were subject book i. 
to petty Mahratta chiefs, feudntories of Poena : and 


Goa, and a narrow territory around it, still remained 1^)5. 
to the Portuguese : as amicable relations subsisted 
with the superior states, the subordinate character 
of these dependencies, as well as their insignificance, 
divested them of all political consideration. Goa, 
indeed, was occupied by an English garrison. Far- 
ther to the north, the coast belonged to the Gaek- 
war or ruler of Guzerat ; whom a subsidiary treaty, 
and a connexion of the most intimate nature, at- 
tached inseparably to the interests of the British 
Government. Cutch, the adjacent country to the 
west, although independent, was distracted by civil 
broils, the chief parties in which appealed for assist- 
ance to the Presidency of Bombay. Sindh, the 
boundary province of India in this direction, was 
governed by independent princes, who had shewn 
themselves disinclined to entertain any correspond- 
ence with the Company's authorities. They exer- 
cised little or no influence upon the politics of India, 
as their situation and circumstances restricted their 
intercourse in a great degree to their western and 
northern neighbours, the Baluchis and Afghans. 

The whole of the eastern or Coromandel coast 
of the Peninsula was British, with the exception 
of a small tract occupied by the Danish settle- 
ment of Tranquebar. The Nawab of the Carnatic 
and the Raja of Tanjore had been deprived of 
territorial revenue and political importance, and 
had been reduced to the irrevocable condition of 
pensioners of the East India Company. The pro- 
vince of Cuttack, which under the Mahratta govern- 


BOOK I. ment of Berar had intercepted the communication 
between the Presidencies of Bengal and Madras, 
1805. now served to connect them ; as it had been taken 
from the Raja in the late war, and had been perma- 
nently annexed to the Company's possessions, which 
now extended along the whole line of coast from 
the Gulph of Manar to the Delta of the Granges. 
Important additions to the British dominions in 
Hindustan had been effected by treaty or conquest 
during the administration of Marquis Wellesley. 
At its commencement, the Bengal Presidency was 
bounded on the north by the course of the Grandak 
river, and by the confluence of the Ganges and the 
Jumna. The cession of Gorakhpur by the Nawab 
Vizir, Sadat Ali, carried the boundary across the 
Gandak to the foot of the mountains of Nepal; 
and the transfer of the lower Doab, Furruckabad, 
and Bareilly, by the same prince, extended the 
British authority over the country of the Rohillas. 
The victorious career of Lord Lake rescued the 
upper provinces of the Doab from Mahratta spo- 
liation, and brought them as far as to the north- 
west of Delhi under British influence or rule. Of 
the conquests on the west bank of the Jumna, 
a narrow strip of land alone had been retained; 
but its valufe was more than commensurate with 
its extent, as it included the important cities Agra, 
Mathura, and Delhi, — the first celebrated for its 
reliques of Mogul magnificence, the second sanc- 
tified by the religious veneration of the Hindus, 
and the third selected in every age of the history 
of India for the capital of those Hindu and Mo- 
hammedan monarchs who aspired to the universal 


sceptre of Hindustan. Along with this imperial book i. 
city the British became possessed of the person 
and family of the representative of the fallen dy- 1805. 
nasty of Timur, the venerable Shah Alem, alike 
distinguished by his descent and his misfortunes. 
Indebted to the British in the dawp of life for 
safety and support, he had passed through man- 
hood to old age amidst an unvarying succession 
of danger, tumult, treachery, and disaster, and was 
happy to end his days in peace and security under 
the shelter of his early friends. However trifling the 
accession to the real power of the victors which might 
be thought to accrue from their holding in their 
hands the titular sovereign of Hindustan, and al- 
though the charge was not unattended by circum- 
stances of anxiety and embarrassment, yet that 
the keeping of the person of Shah Alem was not 
devoid of political value might be inferred from 
the eagerness with which the prize had been dis- 
puted by military adventurers both Mohammedans 
and Hindus, and by the weight which chieftains 
the most lawless, and princes the most powerful, 
still attached to an order or a grant that bore 
the seal of the emperor, even though the docu- 
ment conferred but a nominal title to the honours 
or possessions which it purported to Bestow. Shah 
Alem himself was an object of general sympathy, 
from the injuries or indignities which he had un- 
dergone from his own rebellious servants or his 
Mabratta allies ; and the respectful and benevolent 
treatment which he experienced from his new guar- 
dians contrasted favourably with the conduct pur- 
sued towards him by their predecessors. There 


BOOK I. can be no doubt that the change was most accept- 


* able to the Mohammedans of Hindustan, and con- 

1805. tributed essentially to conciliate their good-Mdll 
and gain their allegiance. 

The greater portion of the territory on the west 
of the Jumna which had been wrested from the 
Mahrattas was precipitately relinquished by Mar- 
quis CJoniwallis and Sir George Barlow, but on 
the south-west the extensive province of Bundel- 
khand was permanently comprehended within the 
limits of the Presidency of Bengal. The district 
had been ceded by the Peshwa in commutation of 
territory in the south of India, which he had at 
first assigned to the Company in place of the 
amount which he had agreed to pay for a subsi- 
diary force.^ At the time when this exchange was 
effected, the authority of the Peshwa over any 
part of Bundelkhand was little more than nominal, 
and his claims were at best of a questionable cha- 
racter, as will be evident upon a brief review of 
the history of the province. 

The Rajas of Bundelkhand pretend to trace their 
pedigree from the Solar dynasty of Hindu kings; 
Kusa, one of the sons of the mytho-heroic prince 
Ramachandra, having, it is said, migrated from 
Ayodhya or *Oude, and settled in Bundelkhand. 
The traditions of the Hindus in general do not 
countenance such a genealogy; and it seems not 
unlikely that the Bundela tribe were, foreigners 

^ The annual revenue of these lands was computed to be 26 lakhs of 
rupees. Treaty of Bassein, 1802. Portions to the value of 19 lakhs were 
restored to the Peshwa, in lieu of which he ceded territory in Bundelkhand 
of the estimated annual value of 36 lakhs. Supplementary treaty, 180S. — 
Ck>ll. of Treaties, pp. 233, 242. 


and conquerors, who immigrated into the country^ book i. 
in comparatively modem times. They long strug- 


gled, with varied success, to maintain their inde- I8O6. 
pendence against the Mohammedan kings of Delhi ; 
but they sunk under a vigorous effort made in 
the beginning of the reign of Shah Jehan, and 
were compelled to acknowledge for a season the 
supremacy of the Mogul. This state of things was 
of no long duration : encouraged by the distracted 
condition of the empire during the latter years 
of Shah Jehan's reign, a chieftain named Champat 
Eai* led the way to the reassertion of the na- 
tional independence. The task was prosecuted 
with improved i^ccess by his more celebrated son 
Chatrasal, and a new dynasty was founded by the 
latter, which reigned over the eastern division of 
the province : the western division was restored to 
the representatives of the ancient Rajas, who, how- 
ever, renewed their professions of fealty to the 
throne of Delhi. 

The elevation of Chatrasal to the rank and 
power of Raja took place towards the end of the 
reign of Aurangzeb. The successors of that em- 
peror, unable to make good their pretensions to 

' Bundel-klMuid, ^tiie portion of the Bundela,'* is not named in any ancient 
writingB or inscriptiont. The country is denominated Chaidya, the land 
of the Chedi, or Chandel, the name still borne by the agricultural popula- 
tion. The term Bundela is confined to the military chiefs, who never con- 
detcend to engage in the cultivation of the soil, and of whom the first is 
said to have been Devada Bir, a Rajput, who invaded and occupied the 
country some time in the 14th century. — Memoir on Bundelkhand, by 
Capt J. Franklin ; Tr. Royal Asiatic Society, i. 259. 

* Authorities differ with respect to the birth and station of Champat Rai. 
One account makes him an officer in the service of the Raja of 
Urduu — ^Franklin, as above. Another affirms his being a member of the 
ruling dynasty, and Rfga of Urcha himself. — Pogson, Hist, of the Bunde- 
Its, p. 44. This could scarcely have been the case, although he might 
have been a kinsman of the Ri^a, 


BOOK I. supremacy, acknowledged the new Raja. In the 


' reign of Mohammed Shah, however, Bangash Khan, 
1805. the Afghan governor of Allahabad, fell suddenly 
upon Chatrasal with an overwhelming force, and 
dispossessed him of his dominions. Chatrasal had 
recourse to the Mahrattas, who under the first 
Peshwa, Baji Rao, were at this time advancing 
slowly through Kandesh and Malwa to Hindus- 
tan. The opportunity of establishing their ascen- 
dancy in Bundelkhand, which was afforded by the 
application of the Raja, was promptly embraced; 
and Baji Rao with a large force surprised and 
defeated Bangash Khan, who was glad to escape 
with his life. The Mohammedan yoke was now 
thrown off for ever, but one not less oppressive 
was imposed, in the domination of the Mahrattaj9. 
In the first instance they replaced Chatrasal in his 
principality; but upon his death, which happened 
not long afterwards, the Peshwa, whom he had 
adopted bs a son, succeeded by virtue of that adop- 
tion to one-third of the territory:^ the other two- 
thirds were equally divided between the two dons 
of Chatrasal; one of whom, Hirdi Sah, became 
Raja of Panna, the other, Jagat Sah, of Jetpur.* 

' The Mahratta records assert that this disposition of his Rig was the 
spontaneous effect of the Raja's gratitude. — Grant Duff, Hist, of the 
Mahrattas, i. 515. It is more probable that the cession was the price of 
the Peshwa's assistance, as intimated in the Seir Mutakherin, i. 282. In 
the memoirs of Amir Khan it is stated, that, after the expulsion of the 
Afghan, Chatrasdl adopted the Peshwa, and at once dirided his Raj into 
four parts, of which he retained one, and apportioned the other three be- 
tween the Peshwa and his sons. Goyind Pandit was nominated manager 
of the Peshwa's share, which included S&gar, Jhansi, and Kalpi, or a 
line of country in the centre of the province from the Nerbudda to the 
Jumna, by which the Mahrattas could readily march from the Dekhin to 
the Doab. — Mem. of Amir Khan, 55. 

' The Raja of Panna, and the Rajas of Ajaygerh, Charkari, Bijawar, 
Jetpur, and Sarila, are respectively descended from these princes. 


It was a condition of the arrangement made in ^^9?/- 
favour of the Peshwa, that the government of 


Poona should guarantee to the descendants of I805. 
Cbatrasal the portions of the inheritance set apart 
for bis sons. The stipulation was for some time 
faithfully observed; the sons of Cbatrasal enjoyed 
their portions in peace, and parcelled them at their 
death amongst their posterity. Their example was 
imitated by their successors, subdivisions were in- 
finitely multiplied, and Bundelkhand was filled with 
a swarm of petty Rajas too weak to defend them- 
selves against M abratta aggression, and too turbulent 
to refrain from those mutual hostilities by which 
their weakness was aggravated : the state of confu- 
sion and anarchy into which the province was thrown 
by the intestine divisions of its rulers, offered it as a 
tempting bait to military adventure ; and a follower 
of Sindhia, Ali Bahadur, was induced to avail him- 
self of the favourable opportunity. 

Ali Bahadur* was a Sirdar of some repute in the 
service of the Peshwa when he was dispatched by 
Nana Fumavez, the minister of Poona, with a body 
of troops to co-operate with Madhoji Sindhia in 
his incursion into Hindustan. He bore an ef&cient 
part in the operations which gave Delhi and Shah 
Alem to Sindhia, but was not altogether satisfied 
with the requital which his exertions had received. 
Ali Bahadur*, therefore, quitted Sindhia, and at the 

* The father of Ali Bahadur^ Shamshir Bahadur, was the son of the 
Peshwa Bigi Rao, a Brahman, by a Mohammedan woman. Agreeably to 
the ancient Hindu law, he was of the caste, which in this case was equi- 
Talent to the religion, of his mother ; a characteristic illustration of the 
laxity of manners of the Mahratta court, and of Hindu indifference to re- 
ligious creeds. 

* According to Malcolm, Ali Bahadur separated from Sindhia upon 


BOOK I. instigation of Himmat Bahadur, who was the mili- 


tary leader and spiritual head of a large body of 

1805. armed Gosains, combining the characters of reli- 
gious vagrants and mercenary soldiers, and who had 
acquired some territory in Bimdelkhand, he marched 

A. D. 1790. into the province with a considerable force, and in a 
few years reduced under his authority the greater 
part of the territories which had been distributed 
amongst the unworthy descendants of Chatras&l. 
The stronghold of Kalinjar alone resisted his im- 
petuosity, and, after a siege of two years, he died in 

A. D. 1802. camp before its walls.^ He left two sons, Shamshir 
Bahadur, and Zulfikar Ali. The former at the 
date of his father's death was at Poona : the latter, 
who was an infant, was thereupon raised to the prin- 
cipality by his uncle Ghani Bahadur ; but Shamshir 
Bahadur speedily arrived to vindicate his claim to 
the succession, put his uncle to death, and assumed 
the sovereignty over his father's conquests. He was 
not long able to maintain his authority. 

The exchange of territory accomplished by the 
Peshwa was a genuine exemplification of Mahratta 
diplomacy, for it transferred to the British Govern- 
ment the trouble of enforcing claims of questionable 

the advance of the latter to Delhi. — Central India. Grant Duff states the 
separation to have taken place after the capture of Delhi. — Hist. Mahr. 
iii. 75. The memoirs of Amir Khan (p. 86) assert that he invaded Bun- 
delkhand by command of the Peshwa. He no doubt professed to act as 
the Peshwa*8 officer, and hoisted the Zari Patka or regal standard of 

* Ali Bahadur, to evince his determination not to relinquish the siege until 
the capture of the fortress, caused a house to be built near the fort for his 
residence. The Kiladar, not to be surpassed in bravado, sent him a pre- 
sent of some mango-seeds to sow in the garden to be attached to the new 
edifice, with an intimation that he might hope to take Kalinjar when the 
seeds should have grown to trees, and the trees should have borne fruit,^- 
Pogson*s Bundelas, p. 122. 


validity, and granted to them districts over which booki. 
the court of Poona had never exercised actual sove- ' 

reignty. The cessions were taken chiefly from the ^^^* 
recent conquests of Ali Bahadur, whose right had 
neither become confirmed by time nor by the recog- 
nition of the subjugated people ; and whose posses- 
sions, although, inasmuch as they had fallen to a 
subject and officer of the Peshwa, they might be 
considered as in some degree dependent upon the 
head of the Mahratta state, yet had never acknow- 
ledged such dependence, nor contributed in any 
manner to his power or resources. The attempt of 
Shamshir Bahadur to establish himself in the 
country which his father had conquered was as 
much opposed to the pretensions of the Peshwa, as 
to the claims of the English founded upon them, 
and he was consequently treated as the enemy of 
both. His father's friend and coadjutor, the Gosain 
Himmat Bahadur, foreseeing the inability of Sham- 
shir Bahadur to resist this combination against him, 
speedily made terms with the British, and joined 
their forces on their advance into Bundelkhand. 
After an ineffectual show of resistance, Shamshir 
Bahadur was content to desist from opposition, and 
to accept a pension for himself and for his family, 
with permission to reside at Banda.^ Himmat Ba- 
hadur soon after died ; his armed bands were dis- 
missed upon the return of peace, and his descend- 
ants were settled upon a Jagir in the Doab.* So 
far, little difficulty was foimd in the introduction of 

' The titalar Nawab of Banda is at present Zulfikar Ali, the brother of 
Shamshir Bahadur, who resides near Banda, and receives a pension of four 
lakhs of rupees. — Bengal and Agra Gazetteer, 1841, yq). ii. part 2, p. 283. 

' Sekandra, in the district of Cawnpore. Ibid. p. 287. 


BOOK I. British authority into those portions of Bundel- 
______ khand which were nearest to the Jumna and the 

1805. division of Allahabad. 

The establishment of a government in Bimdel- 
khand that proclaimed order and insisted upon obe- 
dience was, however, no easy task. The feuds of 
the numerous petty Rajas, and the depredations of 
the Mahrattas, had filled the country with military 
adventurers, few of whom had other means of sup- 
porting themselves and their followers than levying 
contributions on the peaceable inhabitants, and 
plundering those who resisted their exactions. Nor 
did they respect the new acquisitions of the Com- 
pany ; and, as these had been left imperfectly guard- 
ed by the precipitate dismissal of the irregular bat- 
talions which during the war had been taken into 
British pay, and by the improvident reduction of the 
regular force below the necessity for its services, the 
leaders of the marauding bands were long suffered 
to disturb the tranquillity of the country, and pre- 
vent its return to order and good government. The 
inhabitants themselves, a bold and resolute race, 
habituated to the use of arms, and unaccustomed to 
legal controul, were little inclined to submit to civil 
jurisdiction or fiscal regulations ; and, when unable to 
resist the enforcement of the laws or the collection 
of the revenues, they deserted their villages and 
augmented the ranks of the banditti. Where this 
was not the case, they not imfrequently entered into 
a compact with the predatory leaders to defraud the 
state of its dues, by paying to them a sum less than 
the public demand, and receiving in return an ac- 
quittance for the whole. With this evidence of 


their having been compelled to pay their revenue, ^^^ ^- 

they claimed exemption from farther payment, alleg- 

ing, with sufficient plausibility, that a Grovemment, ^^^' 
which could not defend them, could not claim ful« 
filment of their obligations, and pleading the impos- 
sibility of their paying double the amount at which 
they were assessed. The plea was admitted until its 
collusive origin was detected, and the refusal to 
grant exemptions on this account tended to put a 
stop to the fraud ; but not. until a loss of revenue 
had been sustained, the amount of which would 
have economically defrayed the expense of a protect- 
ing military force. Both the marauding chiefs and 
the refractory villagers derived support in their 
resistance to Government from the numerous small 
forts with which the province was studded : at the 
time of its occupation there were not fewer than 
one hundred and fifty within the limits of the Com- 
pany's acquired territory, the greater proportion of 
which were eventually demolished, but not without 

Amidst the many strongholds which were erect- 
ed in Bundelkhand, two were remarkable for their 
position and strength. These were Ajaygerh and 
Kalinjar. They were both in the hands of adven- 
turers who had risen to power by the usual methods 
of militaiy rapine and violence, and who, by their 
own armed adherents, or the marauding hordes to 
whom they afforded shelter, spread desolation and 
alarm through the adjacent country. A vigorous 
effort, early made, might have planted the British 
standard on their walls with little difficulty ; but as 
it was the policy of the Government to conciliate, 

VOL. I. c 


BOOK 1. where to duppress and overawe would be attended 
' with expense, it was detennined in the councils of 
1806. Calcutta that "a certain extent of dominion, local 
power, and revenue would be cheaply sacrificed for 
tranquillity and security within a more contracted 
circle." It was argued, that " it was not to be appre- 
hended that the furtive depredations of roving ban- 
ditti could be supposed to have intimidated the 
military power which had overthrown the combined 
force of the Mahratta confederacy, and that there 
was every reason to believe that the concessions 
which were proposed were not calculated to excite 
a renewal of the disorders by which they had been 
obtained."^ Upon these principles, falsified as they 
were by the history of all past ages, and opposed to 
the opinions and recommendations of the principal! 
civil and military functionaries and of the com- 
mander-in-chief,^ the occupants of Ajaygerh and 
Kalinjar were left in possession of their fortresses ; 
and to them' and to other usurping chiefs the Gfo- 
vernment granted sunnuds, formally recognising and 
confirming their right of occupancy, upon conditions 
of general submission and allegiance. In like man- 
ner, but upon more legitimate grounds, the descend- 
ants of Chatrasal, who still retained portions of their 
patrimony, were confirmed in their possessions, but 

* MS. Records. Proceedings of Bengal Government, 10th July, 1806. 

^ Lord Lake in a letter to the Government, recorded the 17th Jaly, 1806, 
expressed his conviction, that, until Ajaygerh and Kalinjar were in pos* 
session of the Government, it would be impossible to maintain peace in 
Bundelkhand. Events fully corroborated the justice of his prediction. 

' Lakshman Dawa, the Kilad4r of Ajaygerh, was allowed to keep his 
fort for two years upon payment of a small annual tribute, and to hold the 
district adjacent in perpetual farm. Darya Sing Chaub^, the Kilad^r of 
Kalinjar, was confirmed in the occupancy of that fort and the adjacent dis- 
trict ; 8th December, 180G. 


their promise of allegiance was not to entitle them book l 
to protection ; and so far was the doctrine of non- ' 

interference carried, that they were suffered to de- iso^- 
cide by the sword those disputes amongst themselves, 
to which the complicated questions of proprietary 
right to lands that had repeatedly changed masters 
could not fail to give rise. It was not until a change 
of administration in Calcutta had taken place that 
" it was deemed essential, not only to the preserva- 
tion of political influence over the chiefs of Bun- 
delkhand and its consequent advantages, but also to 
the dignity and reputation of the British Govern- 
ment, to interfere for the suppression of intestine 
disorder, by compelling that submission which it had 
till then been found impracticable to conciliate or 
command." ^ 

The western portion of Bundelkhand was dis- 
tributed among the Rajas of Dattea, Tehri, and 
Sampthar. They were descended from the ancient 
Bajas. They were acknowledged by the British as 
independent princes, and were bound to them by 
treaties of amity and alliance. No submission waj9 
required from them, and care was taken to avoid any 
obligation to defend them against foreign aggression. 
They remained, consequently, many years exposed 
to Mahratta insolence and spoliation, and were re- 
duced to the verge of annihilation, when the course 
of events, and altered political views, brought them 
finally within the pale of British protection. 

Such were the principal accessions to the terri- 
tory of British India during the administration of 

^ Proceedinga of Bengal Goverament, 8th September, 1807. Lord 
Bfmto had recently assumed charge of the GoTemment. 



BOOK I. Marquis Wellesley, and the position in which it was 

__^_i^ placed at the close of that of Sir G. Barlow with 

1806. relation to some of the neighbouring princes. The 

situation and circumstances of the more important 

native states it will now be necessaiy to describe. 

The great distinction of the native ruling powers 
was two-fold. They were either Mohammedan or 
Hindu. The latter comprised several varieties, and 
were mainly distinguishable as Mahrattas, Bajputs, 
Jats, and Sikhs. 

Although extensive and populous territories still 
acknowledged the sway of some of the descendants 
of the Mohammedan conquerors of India, yet their 
political power was, in every instance of any import- 
ance, extinct; and, with one or two exceptions of 
little note or influence, they were either directly or 
indirectly dependent upon the British Government. 
They were its pensioners, or its subsidiary allies : the 
former compelled to forego all the attributes of sove- 
reignty, except an empty title ; the lattef obliged to 
sheath their swords for ever, and rely for defence 
upon troops whom they alienated their dominions 
to pay, but over whom they held no command. At 
the head of the former class was the Great Mogul 
himself, the descendant and representative of Timur- 

The actual occupant of the throne of Delhi did 
not long survive his transition from a rigorous to a 
respectful state of captivity. Shah Alem died on 
the 18th of December, 1806. He was succeeded 
by his eldest surviving son, who took the title of 
Shah Akbar the Second. The father had experi- 
enced the misfortunes inseparable from a j)owerless 


sceptre too severely to regret its resignation into book i. 
hands able to wield it with vigour : the son, although J^||^^^J^ 
no stranger to distress and peril, anticipated from 1807. 
the indulgence or indifference of his protectors a 
greater share of real power than it was convenient 
or safe to permit him to exercise. His attempts to 
break through the limits prescribed to him were for 
some time after his accession frequent and persever- 
ing ; but they were for the most part of little con- 
sideration, except as paving the way for pretensions of 
a more ambitious tendency, and they were checked 
without much trouble or the exhibition of severity.* 
On one subject alone it was necessary to act with 
energy; and the manifestation of power and will, 
which was then called for, terminated the aspira- 
tions of Akbar the Second to become a king in 
more than name. 

The King of Dellii had several sons : of these, 
the eldest was considered to be entitled to the desig- 
nation of heir-apparent, agreeably to the laws of suc- 
cession upheld by the British Indian Government ; 

' A priocipal object of hb majesty's ambition was the presentation of 
Khelats, of honorary dresses, to the princes of Hindustan, and, above 
all, to tl^ Goremor-General. As the acceptance of such a compliment is 
an adoiission of inferiority, it was of course declined. Having, however, 
obtained leave to send an agent to Calcutta to represent to the Government 
matters of public and private interest. Shah Akbar endeavoured to carry 
the point of the khelat by a little ingenuity. His envoy was instructed to 
preient to Lord Minto an old cloak, which the king himself had worn, as 
a maik of personal regard ; but he was to contrive to do this at a public 
tndience, when the present would have assumed the character of an hono- 
rary di»tinction conferred upon the Governor-General by the King of Delhi. 
The device was easily seen through, and as easily frustrated : the cloak 
was thankfully accepted as a private gift, but the bearer was compelled to 
tnnsmit it through the usual channel of communication, through the office 
of the Persian secretary. Such were the strange vicissitudes of fortune, 
that the Great Mogul was reduced to the necessity of trying to trick the 
chief functionary of a trading company into the acceptance of the greatest 
honoar in native estimation which it was in his power to bestow ! 


BOOK I. but, influenced by his favourite queen, Akbar Shah 
' strove pertinaciously to obtain the recognition of his 
1808. third son, Mirza Jehangir, of whom she was the 
mother, in that capacity. Although willing to with- 
hold from the eldest son the immediate assumption 
of the title which it considered as his birthright, 
the Government of Bengal refused to gratiiy the 
wish of the king ; and obliged him, on one occasion, 
to cancel and counteract honours and privileges 
which he had granted to Mirza Jehangir as indica- 
tions of a purpose to raise him to the rank of heir- 
apparent.* Although obliged to give way for a 
season, the king, unable to resist female blandish- 
ments and tears, resumed his project ; and the sub- 
ject of debate might have long continued to estrange 
him from his European advisers, had not the rashness 
and presumption of the prince given occasion to the 
British Government to act decisively, and remove 
Mirza Jehangir from Delhi altogether. 

Mirza Jehangir, having been empowered by the 
injudicious liberality of his mother to take into 
pay a body of armed retainers, occasioned so much 
discomfort and alarm within the palace by the 
turbulence which he encouraged and the excesses 
of which he partook, that his parents were at 
last convinced of the necessity of subjecting him 
to some controul, and the king was prevailed upon 
to allow the Company's Sipahis to mount guard at 

* These were, 1, the use of the AA&bi, a flat circular parasol, carried 
by an attendant, not over the head, but on the side of a person, or palan* 
kin, whkh is next the sun; 2, the Tapach, a state cushion; and, S, the 
Nalki, open state palankln. They were conferred in full Durbar, with 
the customary solemnities. By desire of the Govemmeot the Aft&bi was 
discontinued, and the use of the other aKicles extended to all the princes, 
su as to deprive them of any specific significance. 


the palace gates. A guard was accordingly stationed book i. 
at the outer gates, when the followers of Jehangir ' 
took up a menacing position at the inner gateway, I809. 
and insisted that the Sipahis should be withdrawn. 
The British Resident, Mr. Seton, advancing to ex- 
postulate with them, was fired at and narrowly es-> 
caped being shot, as the ball struck the cap of a 
soldier who was close by his side. The Sipahis 
were then ordered to take forcible possession of 
the inner gates ; snd after a short conflict, in which 
some of the assailants were wounded, and several 
of their opponents were killed, the gates were 
carried, and the followers of the prince were dis- 
persed. The prince gave himself up to the Re- 24th July. 
sident, and was sent a state prisoner to Allahabad, 
where he resided until his death, abandoning all 
hopes of succession to a titular crown and passing 
his days in indolence and indulgence.* The king 
gradually ceased to exhibit outwardly any concern 
for his fate, and abstained from all endeavours to 
interfere with the disposal of the throne, or to ac- 
quire a greater portion of authority than it was 
thought fit to intrust him with: this resignation 
was rewarded by an increase of his pension, which 

> He was at first lodged in the fort of Allahabad, but was afterwards 
removed to a buildiug that had been a Mohammedan mausoleum, part of 
the monument of Sultan Khosru, without the city. The author saw 
him here in 1820. He was allowed considerable personal liberty, and 
was treated with as much consideration as was compatible with his 
security. He seemed to be cheerful and reconciled to his situation, and 
was said to have both the means and the inclination to forget political dis- 
appointments in personal enjoyment. He was a man of small stature and 
delicate features, of a pleasing though very dark countenance, and of ele- 
gant manners. He wore no turban nor any corering on his head, but let 
his long black hair, which shewed symptoms of more than ordinary care 
bestowed upon it, hang full upon his shoulders. It was impossible not to 
feel some sympathy for his humiliation, although there was nothing in his 
character or conduct to inspire respect. 


BOOK I. had been promised conditionally by Marquis Welles- 
' ley, and was granted by Lord Minto.^ 
1806. A prince, second only to the King of Delhi in 
Mohammedan estimation, and far superior to that 
sovereign in wealth and power, the Nawab of Oude, 
was connected with the British Grovemment by a 
subsidiary alliance. The precise nature of the con- 
nexion will have been made known by the ample 
details and discussions relating to it inserted in the 
preceding pages. For all objects of exterior policy 
the Nawab was a nonentity, and even in his interior 
administration he was expected to refer questions 
of any moment to the consideration of the British 
Resident, and to adopt no measures of importance 
without the concurrence of the Governor-General. 
The reigning Nawab, Sadat Ali Khan, was far from 
easy under the bonds which attached him to the 

' The original pension was fixed at 76,600 rupees a month,, to be pro- 
vided for out of the revenues of certain lands in the district of Delhi set 
apart for that purpose ; and a promise was made, that the allowance should 
be increased when the funds admitted of it. The extent of the increase 
was not specified. In 1800, the revenues of the assigned territory conti- 
nued still short of the pension, but it was determined to increase the latter 
to one lakh of rupees per month, of which 7000 rupees were to be appro- 
priated to the heir-apparent. — Govemor-Generars Minute, 17th June, 
1809. Other augmentations have been since made, making the allowance, 
including stipendg to members of the family both at Delhi and Benares, 
fifteen lakhs of rupees (150,000/.) per annum. — Uengal and Agra Gazetteer, 
ii. part 2. 362. His majesty has been long urgent for a farther increase, 
upon the plea that the revenues of the assigned lands have improved, but 
** it was never proposed either to limit the stipends by the amount of the 
" produce of the territory, or to augment them to an extent equal to the 
** revenue which the territory might eventually yield : the obligation which 
** the British Government had imposed on itself was that of providing 
** adequate means for the support of the king and his household in a man- 
'* ner suitable to the condition in which he was placed, while in policy it 
" was inexpedient that the provision granted should exceed an amount suf- 
" ficient for that purpose.** — Minute quoted by Captain Sutherland. The 
same authority states, that, if the civil and military charges upon what 
may be possibly meant by the assigned lands were deducted from their 
revenue, little w6uld remain for the payment of the stipend of the King of 
Delhi.— Sketches of the Relations between the British Government of 
India and Native States ; by Captain J. Sutherland, Calcutta, 18S3. 


British ; bnt he had been raised by them to the book i. 
throne, and, being of a timid and inactive character, ^^^^' ^ 
could scarcely have maintained his dignity without 18O6. 
the support of his allies. Even under their guar- 
dianship he lived in constant dread of domestic 
intrigue, and was perpetually haunted by unfounded 
suspicions that his nearest relatives were plotting 
against his throne and his life.^ His chief grati- 
fication was the accumulation of treasure; and the 
curtailment of his revenues, consequent upon the 
enforced alienation of a valuable portion of his 
territory in commutation of the subsidy, was the 
main-spring of his dissatisfaction with the relations 
in which he stood to the Government of Bengal. 
He felt aggrieved, also, by the immunity from transit 
duties claimed by trading boats on the Ganges where 
it formed the boundary of Oude, under passes from 
the Company's custom-offices on the opposite bank, 
and agreeably to a commercial treaty into which he 
had reluctantly entered. The interference of the 
Resident was not unfrequently a source of mortifica- 
tion to him. So far had his discontent proceeded, 
that he renewed to Sir G. Barlow the proposition 
he had made to Lord Wellesley, to traiftfer the ma- 
nagement of his dominions to his eldest son and 
make a pilgrimage to Mecca. When, however, the 
acquiescence of the Government was expressed, the 
project was apparently abandoned, as the proposal 
was never repeated. In his personal expenditure 

' His own brothers^ Mirza Mehdi and Shah&mat Ali, were accused by 
bjm of having instigated attempts to procure his assassination. The 
charges were investigated by the Resident under orders from the Govern - 
meat, and were proved to be void of any foundation. To appease tlie 
fears of the Nawab, the princes were obliged to leave Luckuow, and 
take up their residence at Patna in the Company's territories. 


BOOK I. Sadat Ali was meanly parsimonious, and the amount 
CHAP. I. ^£ ^j^^ public revenue was more than adequate to 

1807. the public disbursements. The landholders were 
nevertheless exposed to the systematic extortion of 
contractors, to whom the Nawab farmed the assess- 
ments, and whom he authorised to levy their de- 
mands by the most violent and oppressive means/ 
Their exactions were as systematically resisted, and 
the Zemindars became habituated to refuse pay- 
ment even of what was justly claimable, unless 
compelled by superior power. Their villages were 
not unusually fortified, and they resided in mud 
forts which were not easily captured by the un- 
aided military of the Nawab. In this emergency 
it became necessary to have recourse to the subsi- 
diary force, and the Company's battalions were em- 
ployed to reduce refractory landholders and collect 
the revenue. As obvious objections to such a duty 
existed, the aid of the troops was always granted 
with reluctance; another subject of grievance to 
the Nawab, who considered himself entitled to com- 
mand the services of a force which he virtually 
paid. The evil was not so serious in the early part 
of the reign*of Sadat Ali as it subsequently became, 
and, upon the whole, the province of Oude was in 
a peaceable and improving condition ; while the 
character and situation of the reigning prince en- 

' The contractors rarely benefited by their bargains, as S&dat Ali was 
well versed in the art of squeezing the sponge when it had done its oflSce. 
As soon as the contractors were thought to be sufficiently gorged, complaints 
against their oppression, which were never wanting, were readily listened to, 
and they were seized and imprisoned until they had poured into the Na wab's 
treasury the whole or greater portion of their spoils. Their incarcera- 
tion depended upon their tenaciousness of the booty. In 1807, the Resi- 
dent stated there were fourteen farmers of the revenue in prison, in Luck- 
now, some of whom had been confined for years. — MS. Records. 


sured his entire subservience to the political views book i. 

CHAP* !• 

and interests of the British Government. ' 

Another native Mohammedan sovereign, Sekan- ^soe. 
dar Jah, titular Nizam, Subahdar, or viceroy of the 
Dekhin, possessed of equally extensive territories, 
was also a subsidiary ally of the Company.^ The 
alliance was more distasteful to him than to the 
Vizir ; and his capricious and violent temper, and the 
frontier position of his cotmtry in contiguity to in- 
dependent states, rendered the preservation of the 
political relations which had been established with 
him a subject of solicitude and apprehension. He 
had succeeded to the principality upon the demise 
of his father Nizam Ali, in 1803, without opposi- 
tion, through the support of the British authorities ; 
by whose interposition the menaced competition of 
one of his brothers, who enjoyed much more exten- 
sive popularity with the nobles and people of Hy- 
derabad, was prevented. The sense of gratitude for 
this obligation was soon obliterated by the conscious- 
ness of loss of independence ; and the ill-concealed 
discontent of the Nizam gave courage to many of 
his followers to organize a system of opposition to 
the British councils, and still further estrange the 
mind of their master from the connexion : they 
even contemplated its dissolution, and persuaded the 

> By the treaty with the Nizam, dated 12th October, 1800, the subsidized 
force was finally fixed at eight battalions of Sipahis, or eight thousand 
firelocks, and two regiments of caralry, or one thousand horse, with their 
complement of guns, European artillerymen, lascars, and pioneers. For 
tite payment of this force the territories acquired by the Nizam under the 
treaty of Seringapatam, 18th March, 1792, and that of Mysore, 22nd June, 
1709, were given back to the Company, with the exception of some dis- 
tricts noKh of the Tiimbhadra river, for which Adoni and others to the 
south of it were exchanged : the annual revenues of the whole were 
efUmated^at twenty-six lakhs of Kanterai pagodas, about 874,0002. — 
CollectioD of Treaties, p. 188. 


BOOK I. Niziani, and perhaps credited it themselves, that it 

CHAP* !• 

was practicable to form a combination with the 

1806. Mahrattas by which the British might be humbled, 
and perhaps expelled from Hindustan. These sug- 
gestions gratified the enmity and flattered the pride 
of the Nizam; but he was too fondly addicted to 
low and sensual indulgence, too irresolute in pur- 
pose and contracted in intellect, to be capable of 
prosecuting a dangerous design with the steadiness, 
determination, and foresight indispensable to its suc- 
cess. Fortunately also for the ultimate preservation 
of his throne, his prime minister, Mir Alem, who 
had grown old in the service of the state, and had 
been an actor in many of the great events which 
had occurred in the Peninsula during the reign of 
the late Nizam,^ was well aware of the relative 
strength of the British and Maliratta powers, and 
accurately appreciated his sovereign's situation. He 
knew, in fact, that the government of Hyderabad 
subsisted only as long as it remained imder British 
protection, and that, the moment such protection 
should be withdrawn, the principality would be de- 
fenceless against Mahratta ambition, and would, at 
no remote period, fall under their yoke ; he there- 
fore sedulously advocated British influence at the 
court of Hyderabad, and was in requital supported 

> Mir Alem was first employed in 1789 on a mission to Lord Ck>m- 
wallis, and afterwards accompanied the Nizam's army to Sering^patam, 
where he conducted the negociations for peace. In 1794 he was deputed 
to Poona, but failed in his negociation. In 1798 he negociated with the 
British Resident the treaty with the Nizam, and commanded the army which 
joined the British troops in the capture of Seringapatam. Some time after 
his return he fell into disgrace, and was unemployed between 1800 and 
1803. In 1804, upon the death of Azim ul Omra, the prime minister, and 
at tlie recommendation of the British Resident, he was appoint^ to that 
office. He died in the 5Gth year of his age* 


by that influence against the eflects of his master's book i. 
caprice and displeasure. ' 

Notwithstanding the eflbrts of Mir Alem and of i8«7. 
several of the most respectable members of the 
court of Hyderabad to preserve unimpaired the 
continued friendship of the British Government, the 
conduct of the Nizam so manifestly threatened its 
forfeiture and the dissolution of the alliance, that 
even Sir George Barlow deemed the occasion such 
as to justify avowed interference. Mir Alem was 
in danger of assassination, and obliged to seek shel- 
ter with the Resident : secret communications were 
opened with Sindhia and Holkar : all appointments 
of influence and trust were conferred upon individ- 
uals notoriously inimical to the British connexion, 
and considerable bodies of armed men were in 
course of assemblage at Hyderabad. It became a 
question whether the menaced separation should be 
anticipated, or prevented; whether the connexion 
should be spontaneously relinquished, or its continu- 
ation should be authoritatively perpetuated. The 
conclusion was, that it should be maintained at all 
hazards. "The alliance with Hyderabad,'^ it was 
argued, " could not be dissolved without subverting 
the foundations of the British power and ascendancy 
in the political scale of India, and without becoming 
the signal and instrument of the downfall of the 
remaining fabric of our political relations. If the 
subsidiary force were withdrawn, the territory alien- 
ated for its support would be required to be restored ; 
and the power and resources which the British 
Government had a right to demand for its own sup- 
port and security would be placed in the hands of a 


BOOK I. hostile party, avowedly eager, not merely for the 
' abolition of the alliance, but for the destruction of 

1807. the British Indian Empire : the weapons of which 
we were now masters would be turned against us ; 
universal agitation, alarm, distrust, and turbulence 
would ensue ; and elements of a renewed combina- 
tion of hostile states against us would acquire an 
uncontroulable latitude of action and efficient means 
of success."* Sir G. Barlow, therefore, concluded 
that the Nizam had no right to depart from the 
obligations of the connexion, and that they must be 
vigorously enforced. The political wisdom of the 
conclusion was undeniable, however at variance with 
the doctrine of non-interference, which even in 
regard to the Nizam had not long before been 
inculcated by the Bengal Government. The argu- 
ments upon which the resolution was formed are 
applicable to all similar relations, indicating the true 
character of subsidiary alliances as well as the diffi- 
culty and danger of their dissolution. The question 
of right has different aspects, according to the differ- 
ent positions of the contracting parties. The Bri- 
tish Government might have the right, as it had the 
power, to enforce obligations which it considered 
essential to its own security and support; but the 
Nizam had an equal right to claim their abrogation, 
if he regarded them as non-essential to his security, 
repugnant to his feelings, derogatory to his charac- 
ter, and detrimental to the happiness and prosperity 
of his dominions. It was not a question of right, 
but of power; and, as the Subahdar of the Dekhin 
was no longer in a condition to assert his indepen- 

' Minute of the Goyernor-General. 


di^ice, he was tinder the necessity of submitting to book i. 
whatever terms his European masters were pleased ' 
to impose. I807. 

The Nizam was indeed thoroughly alarmed by 
the tone which the Resident was authorised to as^ 
sume. A ready source of intimidation always exists 
in the minds of native princes in the indeterminate 
laws of succession, and the readiness with which 
the ties of relationship are sacrificed to the temp- 
tations of ambition. The Nizam, like the Nawab 
Vizir, had brothers of whom he stood in fear, and 
of whose promptitude to become the instruments of 
British vindictiveness no native courtier or politi'*- 
cian could entertain a doubt. That he would be 
deposed in favour of his younger brother was the 
immediate suggestion of his own suspicions, and 
they were confirmed by the sympathising fears of 
his family and adherents. He therefore changed 
the tenor of his conduct, readily acquiesced in 
the conditions^ to which his assent was required, 
promised to repose entire confidence in Mir Alem 
and in the Resident, and engaged to dismiss from 
their offices, whether of a public or personal nature, 
and banish from his capital, certain individuals 
known to be hostile to the British interest, and ap- 
point to their duties persons in whom the Resident 

' They were, the dismissal from his presence and from office of per- 
sons hostile to the raiDister and the British alliance ; the separation of the 
military from the ciril command on the northern frontier, and the ap- 
pointBent to both duties of persons ia the confidence of the Resident ; 
admittance of the Resident to an andience wheneyer he requested it, with- 
out any conditioBS ; due attention to the jnst claims of the British Go- 
▼enunent ; the commonication of all petitions and statements of a public 
nature without resenre to the minister ; and, should any difierence with 
htm arise, the question should be referred to the British Resident — MS. 


BOOK I. could confide. This last stipulation was not accom- 

plished without the emplojnnent of military force 

1807. for an object, and with results strikingly character- 
istic of the disorganised state of the native princi- 
palities, and which therefore it may be of use to 
describe in some detail. 

The chief favourite and principal adviser of the 
Nizam was Raja Mahipat Ram, a Hindu, who was 
originally employed as Dewan, or man of business, 
by Monsieur Raymond the commander of the French 
brigades. In this situation he had formed an inti- 
macy with the prince Sekandar Jah, and upon the 
dispersion of the French force was taken into his 
service and obtained his confidence. Upon the 
elevation of the prince to the throne, Mahipat Ram 
received the honorary title of Raja, and was ap- 
pointed to the united civil and military command 
of the north-west or Berar frontier. His public 
functions he discharged by deputy, and resided at 
Hyderabad, the intimate associate and secret coun- 
sellor of the prince. Aspiring to the supreme di- 
rection of public affairs, he became the opponent 
and enemy of the prime minister, and of those by 
whom he was upheld. His early connexions, and 
the injury to his fortunes consequent upon the break- 
ing up of Raymond's corps, had no doubt disposed 
him to cherish unfriendly feelings towards Mir 
Alem's English friends ; and he may honestly have 
desired, however inconsiderately he may have pro- 
posed, to liberate his sovereign from dependence 
upon a foreign power. Whatever may have been 
his motives, he was known to be implacably hostile 
to the British alliance, and he was one of those 


whose removal from the court was inflexibly in- book i. 
sisted on. He was also dismissed from his com- ^^^^' '' 
mand, and ordered to withdraw to his personal Jagir. I8O8. 
However unpalateable to the Nizam and to his 
favourite, Mahipat Ram, after some ineffectual 
endeavours to obtain a milder doom, was com- 
pelled to retire to his feudatory estates. 

Raja Mahipat Ram was incapable of leading 
an inactive life, or abstaining from turbulence and 
intrigue. He collected a force of five thousand 
horse, whom he employed to dispossess some of his 
brother feudatories of their territories, and to levy 
contributions even upon the districts immediately 
subject to the officers of the Nizam ; not, as there 
was good reason to suspect, without the connivance 
of his prince, who preferred the vexation and em- 
barrassment of his minister to the peace of his 
subjects and the maintenance of his own authority. 
The remonstrances of the Resident compelled the 
Nizam at length to send a force against his vassal, 
but it was defeated ; and Mr. Gordon, an officer 
who commanded one of his disciplined battalions, 
being wounded in the action and taken prisoner, was 
put to death after the engagement in the presence 
of the Raja. The Nizam's troops being either un- 
able or unwilling to suppress the insurrection, it be- 
came necessary to adopt more vigorous measures ; 
and a considerable portion of the subsidiary forced 
under its commandant Lieutenant-Colonel Mon- 
tresor, marched against the Raja at Shahpur, whilst 22nd Feb. 
other divisions moved from the north and the south 

^ Fire companies H. M. 33rd ; two battalions N. I. ; two regiments 
N.C. ; a brigade of artillery ; and a body of tlie Nizam*s troops. 

VOL. I. D 


BOOK 1. to intercept him in the event of his attempting to 
_^^^^|J^ retire into the adjacent Mahratta districts. Unable 
1808. to face the force sent against him, Mahipat Ram 
retreated towards Berar with the utmost expedi- 
tion, and was followed by Colonel Montresor with 
equal celerity. The Raja contrived for three 
months to evade his pursuers, but with the loss 
of his guns, his baggage, and his infantry. His 
flight into Berar, where it was apprehended he 
would find numerous adherents, was prevented by 
the judicious movements of Colonel Montresor, and 
the advance of Lieutenant-Colonel Doveton with 
a division of the subsidiary force from the fron- 
tier of that province. Thus foiled in his purpose, 
Mahipat Ram directed his course to Kandesh. 
Turning to the west he crossed the Godaveri, 
May 23rd. Tapti, and Ncrbudda rivers ; and threw himself 
into the territory of Holkar, whither his pursuers 
did not consider themselves authorised to follow 
him. The detachment under Colonel Doveton was 
left to guard the frontier, and the main body re- 
turned to Hyderabad. Raja Mahipat Ram was no 
longer formidable: he was now a mere military 
adventurer at the head of a party of roving horse, 
willing to be retained by any foreign prince by the 
promise of pay and the prospect of plunder. He 
was accordingly engaged by Holkar ; but the situa- 
tion of that chief, his illness, and the troubles that 
distracted his court, rendered the engagement of 
little other value than the personal protection which 
it afforded him. 

It was still thought advisable, in order to obviate 
the recurrence of mischievous intrigues at Hydera- 


bad, to obtain possession of the person of Mahipat book i. 
Ram, and applications to that effect were made to ^" ^''' '' 
Holkar. In reply, the Mahratta declared that it I8O8. 
was, and had always been, the Raja's intention to 
proceed to Calcutta and appeal to the Governor- 
General against Mir Alem and the Resident, to 
whose personal animosity he attributed his misfor- 
tunes ; professing himself ready to retire from public 
life and settle at Benares, if the liberality of the 
British Government afforded him the means. This 
arrangement had been proposed before his insurrec- 
tion, but he was now held to have forfeited any 
claim to favour ; and a pension, although granted to 
his family, was refused to himself: his unconditional 
surrender was demanded, with which he declined to 
comply. There is no reason to suppose he was 
sincere in his professions, as at the same time he 
was writing to the Nizam, offering, if his sanction 
were declared, to come to Hyderabad witli fifty 
thousand horse, which he affirmed Holkar and Amir 
Khan were prepared to dispatch to his assistance to 
enable him to shake off the English yoke. 

It was not-in the power, if it had ever been the 
practice, of Holkar to observe punctuality in the 
payment of his soldiery ; and the funds of Mahipat 
Ram, although assisted by secret contributions from 
the Nizam, soon fell short of the means of main- 
taining a corps of any strength. After repeated 
mutinies for arrears of pay, the principal part of his 
followers deserted him : with the remainder he at- 
tached himself to the party in Holkar's camp which 
after that chieftain's insanity aimed at the direction 
of affairs, under the guidance of Tulasi Bhai, his 



BOOK I. wife. The opposite faction, headed by a military 

CHAP la 

leader named Dharma Koar, having acquired a 
1009. temporary superiority, Mahipat Ram was ordered to 
quit the encampment. Delaying to obey the order, 
he was attacked by a party of Dharma Koar's 
troops at a time when his own men were dispersed ; 
and whilst he was remonstrating against the ag- 
gression, and i)rofessing his readiness to depart, he 
was shot in the tumult : his head was cut off, and 
cast like that of a common malefactor before the 
threshold of Holkar s tent. It was, however, given 
up to the entreaties of his friends, and burnt with 
the body ; but his effects were confiscated, and the 
horses of his troopers were seized for the use of the 
state. Such was the fate of an individual whose 
influence had threatened to subvert the alliance 
between the Nizam and the British Government, 
and had endangered the tranquillity of India. He 
seems to have been a man of an active and enter- 
prising character, whose chief error was embarking 
rashly in undertakings in which he had no possible 
chance of success. 

The minister of the Nizam, Mir Alem, died on 
the 8th of Januar}% 1809. A negociation for the 
nomination of a successor ensued, which was not 
unattended with difficulties ; the British Government 
professing to leave it to the Nizam, whilst stedfastly 
resolved to suffer no one unfriendly to its interests 
to exercise the administration, and the Nizam with 
equal insincerity pretending to defer to the wishes of 
the Bengal Government, whilst secretly striving to 
secure its acknowledgment of a favourite of his om ii. 
A compromise was at length effected. Monir ul 


Miilk, the choice of the Nawab, was a])poiiited mi- book i. 
nister under a written engagement to maintain the *^ 
British connexion unimpaired ; but, as ho was inconi- I809. 
potent to the duties of his office, the real adminis- 
tration was vested in the hands of Chandu Lai as 
Lis Peshkar or deputy, a Hindu of experience and 
talent, who had been employed by Mir Alem in a 
similar capacity, and who, like him, was deeply im- 
pressed with the essential importance of the Resi- 
dent's support, both to his own authority and to tlie 
integrity of the Nizam's dominions. The connexion 
with Hyderabad, after the brief interruption which 
has been described, was established on a firmer foot- 
ing than before ; and the growing habits of excess in 
which the Nizam indulged, as well as his natural 
timidity and indolence, enfeebled his own sentiments 
of aversion, and rendered them no longer objects of 

A subsidiary alliance^ united the Peshwa also with I805. 
the British Government of India, but the connexion 
was distinguished by some essential differences from 
those which had been formed with the Mohanmie- 
<lan princes: it was of more recent date and less 
stringent obligations : the M ahratta prince retained 
a much larger share of independence and power, and 
more consistently contemplated the opportunity of 
ridding himself of a controul which ho equally 
felt to be intolerable, but which he had the policy 

' By this, commonly called the Treaty of BasseiOi dated Slst Decem- 
ber, 1802, the Peshwa agreed to receive a permanent subsidiary furce 
of not less than 6000 regular infantry, with the usual proportion of field- 
pieces and European artillerymen ; for the regular payment of which, 
certain districts in the Dekhin were ut first assigue<l, but were, as already 
noticed, commuted for others in Bundelkhand by a supplemental treaty, 
December, 1803. — Coll. of Treaties, p. 233. 


BOOK I. to affect to submit to with cheerfulness and satisfac- 
' tion.* Baji Rao had entered into the alliance in a 
1805. moment of despair, when no other means were open 
to him of escaping from the violence of Holkar, but 
the treaty was scarcely concluded when he was 
busied in intrigues with the other Mahratta princes 
for its infraction. The unexpected close of the 
war with Sindhia and the Raja of Berar disap- 
pointed his projects, the discomfiture of the con- 
federates showed him that it was vain to expect 
immediate release from his engagements, and his 
next object was to turn them to his advantage : 
. there, also, he encountered various disappointments, 
and these contributed to enhance his discontent with 
the British Government, however veiled beneath the 
show of cordiality and good-humour. The Court of 
Poona entertained heavy pecuniary claims upon the 
Gaekwar and the Nizam for arrears of tribute, or 
for payments stipulated by treaty* : these claims the 
British Government undertook to investigate and 
adjust, but the accounts were long and complicated, 
and the equity of the demand not unfrequently 

' For a time he appears to have imposed upon the M^emment of Ben- 
gal ; as the satisfaction which he expressed was one of the argnments 
employed by Sir G. Barlow against the modifications of the treaty of 
Bassein, proposed by the Secret Committee. — Malcolm, Political History 
of India, i. 380. 

' The amount of the demand upon the Gaekwar was nearly three mil- 
lions sterling ; upon the Nizam about six hundred thousand pounds. As 
an instructive illustration of the nature of such claims, and the unfailing 
source of dispute which they furnished to the native states of India, the 
Peshwa*s account with the Gaekwar is particularised in the Appendix. 
It is clear that such an account never could be settled, and that it pro- 
vided a permanent plea of quarrel whenever the creditor thought himself 
strong enough to insist upon a partial payment, another name for a con-, 
tribution ; or whenever the debtor, in the same belief of his power, thought 
fit to demand an abatement of the claim. The ascendancy of an umpire 
whose award is not to be disputed has put an end to all such grounds of 


questiouable. The investigation proceeded slowly, book i. 
and adjustment was deferred until the patience of '^"^'^' ^ 
the Peshw^a was exhausted, and he felt as a griev- 1807. 
ance that interposition which barred his attempting 
to realise at least a portion of his demands by a 
more summary process. Another subject of griev- 
ance was the decided refusal of the Government to 
allow the Peshwa to use the subsidiary force as an 
instrument for the establishment of an unprece- 
dented controul over some of his feudatories, and 
for their forcible expulsion from their Jagirs : this 
was especially the case with regard to Parasuram 
Srinivas, the Pratinidhi or principal hereditary no- 
ble of the Mahratta state, between whom and 
Baji Rao an inveterate feud had for some time 
subsisted.^ The Peshwa advanced also unfounded 
pecuniary claims upon portions of Bundelkhand not 
included in the cessions he had made to the British; 
and demanded arrears of Chouth, the Mahratta tri- 
bute, from the independent Rajas of the province, 
as well as from the rulers of Jhansi, Kalpi, and 
Sdgar, which his relations with the British, that pre- 
vented him from engaging in hostilities or entering 
into negociation with other princes without their 
participation, disabled him from asserting in the 
manner most agreeable to Mahratta policy. He 
likewise claimed a share of the contributions ex- 
torted by Holkar and Sindhia from the princes of 
Rajputana ; and, attributing the difficulty of realising 
these demands to the non-appointment of such a 
representative in Hindustan as had been charged 
with the interests of the Peshwa anterior to the 

* History of the Mahrattas, iii. 341. 



BOOK I. date of the British connexion, he was urgent with 


. his allies to sanction the revival of the office of 

1807. Sir-subha, or Peshwa's representative, in which cha- 
racter he proposed to send one of his principal 
officers into Bundelkhand. To this proposition an 
unqualified refusal was given, as it was obviously 
designed to replace the Peshwa in the position of 
titular head of the Mahratta confederacy, and to 
renew that system of combination which it had 
been the especial object of the treaty of Bassein 
to overturn. The nomination of an officer who 
should be acknowledged by Sindhia and Holkar as 
the Peshwa's delegate was also an infringement of 
the stipulation in the treaties with those princes, 
as well as with the Peshwa, by which internegocia- 
tion of a political tendency was prohibited. The 
British Government, therefore, required the Peshwa 
to desist from the appointment of a Sir-subha, offer- 
ing at the same time to mediate between him and 
the chiefs of Bundelkhand for the recovery of his 
just demands. The firm opposition made by Sir G. 
Barlow to this insidious project, in which it was 
ascertained that both Sindhia and Holkar had se- 
cretly concurred, inflicted upon Baji Rao severe 
disappointment and mortification. He professed, 
indeed, to place entire confidence in the wisdom 
and friendship of his allies, but it was evident that 
little reliance on his sincerity could be entertained ; 
nor were positive proofs wanting of his being con- 
cerned in negociations incompatible with the spirit 
and letter of his engagements to the British;^ and it 

' The villages taken from Siudhia, and transferred tu the Peshwa, after 
the war had been secretly suffered to remain in the possession of the 


was obvious that his conviction of the impossibility book l 
of forming an effective combination against their 


power, alone deterred him from new intrigues cal- 1807. 
culated to disturb the existing relations and endan- 
ger the tranquillity of India. The other members 
of the Mahratta confederacy were not in a situation 
favourable to their co-operation in his designs. 

The bonds of union with the Gaekwar or Mah- iso-i. 
ratta ruler of Guzerat were of the most intimate 
description ; and the maintenance of his authority, * 
his very existence as a political power, depended 
entirely upon the assistance and support of his 
English allies. The contest for the occupation of 
Guzerat, adverted to in a former page, terminated 
in the acknowledgment of Fattih Sing.^ Upon his 
death, in 1793, Govind Rao was recognised by the 
Government of Poena as Raja. He died in 1800, 
and was succeeded by his eldest son, Anand Rao, a 
prince of weak intellect and indolent disposition, who 
was incapable of conducting an efficient administra- 
tion. A struggle for the management of affairs 
ensued. Kanhoji Rao, the eldest illegitimate son 
of Govind R^o, a bold and ambitious young man, 
at first secured to himself and his partisans all 

former. The nomination of a Sir-subba, as mentioned in tbe text, was 
with the private concurrence of Sindhia and Hoikar. When a quarrel had 
ensued between those two chiefs after the return of the latter to Hindustan, 
an enYoy was sent by the Peshwa to mediate between them. As this was 
a palpable infraction of the treaty of Bassein, Baji Kao was called upon 
for an explanation. He at once disavowed his agent, and, in proof of his 
fidelity to his engagements, produced what were also evidences of his 
intercourse with the other chiefs, letters from Hoikar and Siudhia decla- 
ratory of their desire to renew their subordination to the Puona (voveru- 
ment. Baji Rao at the same time pretended a conviction that, although 
these proposals might have for their object the advantage of tlie writers, it 
was for his own advantage to adhere to the terms of the subsidiary alli- 
ance. — MS. Records ; also Hist, of the Mahrattas, iii. 333. 

' iu. 602. 


BOOK I. the principal offices of the state ; but after a short 
___^J]_ time he was disj)ossessed of them by one to whom 
1803. the authority could be more safely and beneficially 
entrusted, Raoji Appa, who had been the minister 
of Govind Rao, a man of ability whose exercise of 
authority was not incompatible with the continua- 
tion of Anand Rao as titular sovereign. Kanhoji 
had recourse to Mulhar Rao, a cousin of his late 
father, who held an extensive Jagir under the Gaek- 
war, and was a chief of talent and enterprise. Rao- 
ji Appa, unable to oppose this combination, made 
urgent application to the Government of Bombay 
for the formation of a subsidiary alliance. The pro- 
posal was acceded to, and Major Walker, with a 
military detachment, was sent to his succour.* Mul- 
har Rao and Kanhoji were defeated : the former 
declared his submission to the new order of things ; 
but Kanhoji kept aloof, and for sopie time devas- 
tated the country at the head of a predatory body 
of horse. He was ultimately routed by a British 
division under Major Holmes, and driven out of 
Guzerat. Raoji Appa retained the functions of 
prime minister and virtual ruler undisturbed, and 
Major Walker was appointed Resident at Baroda, 
the capital of the Gaekwar.* 

' By the agreement entered into, the Gaekwar engaged to pay for the 
expenses of the military assistance granted to him, and for a permanent 
force to be furnished by the Company ; and to cede in perpetuity the Per- 
gunna of Chikli in the dependencies of Surat, with his share of the chouth 
or contribution levied on that city. These engagements were confirmed by 
a formal treaty in June, 1802. It was also provided that an assignment 
of territory should be made to the Company of the estimated annual reve- 
nue of 7,80,000 rupees, for the maintenance of 2000 native infantry ; and, 
as the number was subsequently raised to 3000, with a company of Euro- 
pean artillery, other lands were made over by a treaty dated in April, 
1805, yielding with the former a total revenue of 11,70,000 rupees. — 
Coll. of Treaties, pp. 665-594, and schedule A. p. 601. 

' Hist, of the Mahr. iu. 216. 


When tranquillity was re-established, and oppor- book i. 
tunity was afforded for an inquiry into the condition 


of the Gaekwar's affairs, it was found that they were i803. 
so irretrievably involved, that it was indispensably 
necessary, if it were thought desirable to continue 
the connexion, to extend the assistance to be af- 
forded beyond military support, and to prop the 
rapidly declining resources of the principality with 
the funds and credit of the British Government. The 
annual disbursements greatly exceeded the annual 
receipts of the public treasury ;^ the revenues were 
intercepted by appropriations and mortgages, the 
fruits of former improvidence ; heavy debts, bearing 
a ruinous rate of interest, were owing to the bank- 
ers and monied men ; and long arrears of pay were 
due to the troops, the discharge of whidh was a 
necessary preliminary to their dismissal, and con- 
sequent diminution of public expenditure. The ad- 
ditional burthen imposed upon the state by the 
subsidy to be paid to the British force was quite 
incapable of being sustained; and it was evident 
not only that the engagement could not be fulfilled, 
but that national insolvency, general confusion 
and distress, and the dissolution of the Gaekwar's 
power, were unavoidable, unless vigorous means 
were promptly employed to administer present re- 
lief and ensure future amelioration. Fortunately 
the Resident was endowed with more than ordinary 
abilities, industry, energy, and judgment ; enjoyed 
the unreserved confidence of his own Government ; 
and sj)eedily commanded the same implicit credit 

' The revenue uf Guzerat was entimated at 50 lakhs of rupees per anaum ; 
the expenditure exceeded 82 lakhs. — MS. Rec. 



BOOK I. with the Gaekwar, his minister, his chief officers, 
and the nionied and commercial members of the 

1803. community.^ 

The first measure of reduced expenditure that 
was adopted, was, the discharge of the Gaekwar's 
troops, the need of whom was superseded by the 
subsidiary force ; but for this purpose it was requi- 
site to pay the arrears due to them, and the funds 
were to be raised. The British Government agreed 
to advance part of the sum required for this object, 
and to guarantee repayment of the remainder to 
opulent individuals, who, under that security, were 
willing to furnish what was requisite. The ad- 
vances in both cases were to be liquidated out of 
assignments of territor}% the revenues of which 
were to be collected and accounted for by the 
Company.* The money was supplied, but the 

* This is strikingly expressed in the counterpart of the treaty of 1805, 
written by the Gaekwar himself, anticipating the possibility of his falling 
into the hands of his rebellious subjects or mutinous troops. He enjoins 
that, '* in such a situation, his subjects will pay no attention to his orders, 
but hear what M^ior Walker has to say, strictly following his instruc- 
tions.** And the document concludes with these provisions : '* Conformably 
to Major Walker's suggestions and wishes, the articles contained in this 
declaration were written, and to them I have given my assent ; but in the 
event of any evil-disposed persons attempting anything unfair or unrea- 
sonable against my person, my Dewan, Uaoji Appaji, his son, his brother, 
nephew, or relations, and Madhu Itao T^ntia Mazamdar, or even should 
I myself, or my successors, commit anything improper or unjust, the Eng- 
lish Government shall interfere, and see in either case that it is settled 
according to equity and reason. I have also required of Major Walker on 
the part of the Company to promise that my state and government shall 
be permanent, and shall descend to the lineal heirs of the Musnud, and 
that the Dewanship shall be preserved to Uaoji Appaji. In tlie last place, 
I desire to form the most intimate connexion with the Company, and that 
all business with the Poona Durbar may be jointly managed by the 
English Resident and* my Vakeel. Given at Baroda, 28th July, 1802. 
(Signed) Anaud Kao, Gaekwar; Sena-kh&skhel, Shamshir Bahadur.*' — 
Coll. of Treaties, p. 569. These may have been the sentiments of the 
minister rather tliau of the Raja, but they were generally consistent with 
the conduct of Anand Rao. 

3 The amount required was 41,38,000 rupees (£41 3,800), of which the 
British Government advanced 19,67,000 rupees (1' 196,700) : the rest was 


reduction of the troops was not effected by pecu- book i. 
niaiy means alone. 

CHAP. 1. 

The most efficient portion of the Gaekwar s army laos. 
consisted of a body of about seven tliousand Arabs, 
a description of mercenaries whom it was formerly 
a frequent practice in the Peninsula to engage, and 
who bore a high reputation for fidelity and courage, 
but were equally characterised by turbulence and 
rapacity. These troops formed the garrison of Ba- 
roda, and were extremely averse to the loss of pay 
and privileges with which they were threatened. 
In order to evade their dismissal, they advanced the 
most extravagant demands, and, seizing upon the 
capital and person of the Gaekwar, refused to set 
him at liberty unless their claims were satisfied. 
Major Walker having endeavoured in vain to bring 
them to reasonable terms, Baroda was invested by 
the subsidiary force under Colonel Woodington, 
strengthened by a European regiment from Bom- 
bay. The Arabs defended themselves with spirit, 
and inflicted some loss on their assailants ; but, after 
a siege of ten days, a practicable breach having 
been made in the walls, they capitulated on the 
promise that all arrears justly due to them should 
be paid, and they engaged in that event to disband 
and leave the country. 

This transaction, and the flight of Kanhoji, re- 
stored tranquillity to Guzerat, and enabled the 
minister and the Resident to proceed without in- 
provided by different Sardfs or bankers at Baroda under tlie Company's 
Bli4nd4ri — a general assurance that they should be repaid, not an a()9olute 
surety for repayment. An annual territorial revenue of 12,95,000 rupees 
was appropriated to the liquidation of the principal, with interest at nine 
per cent, per annum until the whole should be redeemed. — Coll. of 
Treaties, p. 601. 


BOOK I. temiptioii in their projects of reform. Raoji Appa 
died in January, 1803, and was succeeded in his 
1806. office of Dewan by his nephew Sitaraui, who pro- 
fessed the same principles, and for a time pursued 
the same policy, as his uncle. The reduction of 
the expenditure proved however no easy task, as 
extravagance and dishonesty pervaded every de- 
partment, and little reliance could be placed upon 
the co-operation of the servants of the state, who 
were themselves the chief plunderers and default- 
ers. Sitaram soon became weary of a duty so 
troublesome and unpopular, and lent himself to 
the prevailing practice of profusion ; so that the 
whole labour and odium fell upon the Resident. 
He was ably assisted by Gangadhar Sastri, an ac- 
countant in his employment, who acquired at a 
subsequent date a melancholy celebrity in the po- 
litical history of the Peninsula, as we shall have 
occasion to relate. The Resident was also firmly 
supported by the bankers and public creditors, who 
had a deep personal interest in the success of his 

The avowed exercise of British controul over the 
internal administration of the Gaekwar, which com- 
menced under the authority of Marquis Wellesley, 
was continued on the same footing by Sir G. Bar- 
low, although an admitted departure from his policy 
of non-interference. " The peculiar situation," he 
observed "of the affairs of the Gaekwar state, and 
the circumstances under which our connexion with 
that state has been established, and has become in a 
manner interwoven with its internal concerns, dis- 
tinguish our relations with Baroda from those which 


subsist with the other powers of India, although the book i. 
general political relations and obligations are the ^^^^' '' 
same. The interference, therefore, which we are 1807. 
called upon to exercise, cannot be considered to 
constitute a deviation from those principles of po- 
licy which in our intercourse with other allies pre- 
clude our interference in the management of their 
internal concerns. It is evident that the alternative 
of our interference for the reform of the affairs of 
the Gaekwar is not merely the loss of the advan- 
tages to be derived from the efficacy of the alliance, 
but the positive dangers to which the certain ruin 
of the state would expose our most essential inte- 
rests in that quarter of the Peninsula.^ These ob- 
servations were undoubtedly just, but the spirit 
which they evince was eminently selfish, and no 
consideration of the benefit accruing to the Gaek- 
war was allowed to influence the maintenance of 
the connexion. 

At the same time that the right and policy of in- 
terference were thus explicitly recognised, the eco- 
nomical timidity of the Bengal Government sus- 
pended the execution of a measure recommended 
by the Resident as essential to the realisation of the 
resources of Guzerat, — the enforced levy of the 
tribute due to the Gaekwar by his tributaries in 
Kattiwar. The obvious necessity, however, of ren- 
dering this source of legitimate revenue productive, 
and the expectation that a judicious display of the 
British power might prevent serious opposition, 
overcame the reluctance of the Governor-General ; 
and a military detachment under the command of 
the Resident undertook the performance of the 


BOOK I. Mulkgiri, or periodical collection of tribute by the 
^^^^' '' march of troops through the province. 
1807, Although correctly applicable to one division 
only, that occupied by the Katti tribe, the term 
Kattiwar designates the whole of the peninsula of 
Guzerat. The country was distributed amongst va- 
rious tribes, of whom the Rajputs and Kattis were 
the most remarkable : subject to a number of petty 
chieftains of various degrees of power, and possess- 
ing domains differing in extent and value ; some- 
times connected with their neighbours by affinity of 
descent, but all equally independent in their own 
lordships; exercising the privilege of private war, 
and paying little more than nominal obedience to 
the paramount sovereign; presenting, in many re- 
spects, a resemblance to the kingdoms of Europe 
during the worst periods of baronial anarchy. The 
province had been regarded as tributary successively 
to the Mohammedan Kings of Guzerat, to the Mo- 
gul, and to the Mahrattas; but the tribute was 
never spontaneously paid, and its collection was 
only to be effected by a military progress amongst 
the states. Nor was this method always attended by 
success. The army of the Peshwa, or of the Gaek- 
war, even when amounting to twenty thousand horse, 
was not unfrequently resisted. The Rajas shut 
themselves up in their forts or castles, and from 
their battlements mocked the movements of ca- 
valry. The villages, fortified by mud walls, impene- 
trable hedges, and the martial spirit of the popula- 
tion, were equally inaccessible ; and the invaders 
were obliged to content themselves with laying 
the open country waste. Nor were they suffered to 


cany off with impunity such plunder as they might book i. 

_^^ CHAP I> 

have gathered ; hordes of Katti and Rajput horse ' 
hovered round their advance and harassed their re- I807. 
treat, and the expedition not unusually terminated 
in disaster and disgrace. 

The diminished power and impaired resources of 
the Gaekwar had for several years prevented even 
such attempts at military coercion, and tribute 
accordingly had ceased. The spirit that now ani- 
mated the counsels of the Government, and the 
means at its disposal, no longer permitted the chiefs 
of Kattiwar to resist its rightful demands with im- 
punity. Having therefore received the sanction of 
his superiors, Major Walker marched vnih a divi- Oct I807. 
sion of the subsidiary force to Gotu, in the district 
of Murvi, to which place the several chieftains had 
been previously directed to send their representa- 
tives : the greater number complied with the requi- 
sition : the right of the Gaekwar's Government to 
levy a tribute was universally admitted, but it was 
not until after many attempts at delay and evasion 
that a settlement was accomplished, and the chiefs 
consented to pay the amoimt regularly, without 
waiting for the Mulkgiri process of coercion. The 
sum of nine lakhs and a half of rupees was promised 
in perpetuity, and security was given for a term of 
ten years, renewable at its expiration. The security 
was characteristic. The sureties were persons 
boasting neither rank nor wealth, but who derived 
from the usages of the country inviolable sanctity, 
and were entitled to implicit trust. They were se- 
lected from the tribe of Cliarans or Bhats, the here- 
ditary bards, genealogists, and chroniclers of the 

VOL. I. E 


BOOK I. principal Hindu races of the West of India, whose 
' sacredness of person had been received as a substi- 
1807. tute for law in a condition of society which, whilst 
it felt the necessity of social obligations, could sub- 
mit to none of the human restraints by which they 
are maintained and enforced. Superstition supplied 
the defect. The Charan, if his pledge was violated, 
murdered himself or some member of his family ; and 
the retribution for blood was believed to fell upon 
the head of him by whose default he had been im- 
pelled to make the sacrifice. The dread of such a 
destiny was generally of power to deter the least 
scrupulous from the violation of an engagement 
so guaranteed.^ In some instances, additional secu- 
rities were entered into by chiefs and persons of 
influence; and the rights of the Gaekwar, then 
established in Kattiwar, have never since been the 
subject of any serious contest. At the same time, 
the chiefs and people of the principal sea-ports of 

' The following illustratioD of this usage is narrated by Lieut. Mac- 
murdo: — ** In the year 1806, a Bhat of Veweingaum, named Kunna, had 
become security on the part of Doss^jee, the present chieftain of Mallia in 
Muchoo-kanta, for a sum of money payable to the Gaekwar Grovemment : 
the time specified for payment arrived, and Dossigee refused to fulfill his 
engagement* Government applied to the surety, who, after several frait- 
less attempts to persuade Dossigee to comply with his bond, returned to 
his house, and, after passing some time in prayer, assembled his family and 
desired his wife to prepare a daughter, about seven years of age, for traga. 
The innocent child, taught from her earliest infancy to reflect on the sacred 
character and divine origin of her family, and the necessity which existed 
for the sacrifice, required no compulsion to follow the path by which the 
honour of her caste was to be preserved. Having bathed, and dressed 
herself in her best clothes, she knelt with her head on her father's knee, 
and, holding aside her long hair, she resigned herself without a struggle to 
the sword of this unnatural barbarian. The blood of a Bhat being 
sprinkled on the gate of the chieftain produced an instantaneous payment of 
the money : presents of land to the father, and a handsome mausoleum or 
doree to the daughter, marked the desire of the Rajput to avert the punish- 
ment supposed to await the spiller of a Ch4ran*s blood.** — ^Trans. Literary 
Society of Bombay, i. 281. 


the Peninsula, all of whom were in the habit of book i. 


committing piratical depredations on native com- 
merce, were called upon to renounce piracy, to re- I807. 
Unquish their claim to vessels wrecked on their 
coasts, to allow the free resort of merchant-ships 
from the territories of the Company or their allies, 
and to assent to the permaqent residence of a com- 
merciid agent at their principal harbours. They 
generally acceded to these stipulations.^ 

The only active military operation which it be- 
came necessaiy to undertake was designed to adjust 
a difference between two chiefs of some considera- 
tion, and to demonstrate the ability as well as the 
determination of the (Government of Gnzerat to 
compel obedience. A body of Makranis, or mer- 
cenaries, natives ef Mekran, in the service of the 
Raja of Purbandar, mutinying for arrears of pay, 
seized upon the fort of Kandoma belonging to the 
Raja, and sold it to a rival chief, the Jam of Noa- 
nagar. This transaction occurred after the arrival of 
the Resident and Gaekwar's minister in the pro- 
vince, and was held to be contempt of the superior 
authority, as well as disregard of private rights. 
The Jam was desired to restore the fortress ; and, as 
he refused to comply with the requisition, the de- 
tachment marched against the place : batteries were 
erected, and in the course of a day, two practicable 
breaches being effected, the troops were drawn out 
for the assault, when the garrison surrendered. 
Kandoma had formerly sustained successfully a siege 

> The sea-ports were Dhingi, Bate, Dwaraka, Amramra, Poftitra, Jooria, 
and Noanagar on the north coast, and different parts of Junagerh on the 
south. For the stipulations with them severally, and with other of the 
Katttwar principalities, see Coll. of Treaties, pp. 602, &c. 

E 2 


BOOK I. of three months by the Graekwar's army, and was 

CHAP !• 

looked upon by the people as impregnable. Its 
1807. capture on the present occasion in so short a time 
impressed the native chiefs with a deep conviction 
of the uselessness of opposition to the British arms, 
and produced a sensible effect upon the progress of 
the negociations. 

The expedition into Kattiwar was considered as 
affording a favourable opportunity for asserting au- 
thority of a different description, and vindicating 
the outraged claims of natural affection. The Jha- 
reja Rajputs of the province, and of the neighbouring 
principality of Cutch, were notorious for the murder 
of their female infants. Preferring the death of a 
daughter to a matrimonial alliance with an inferior 
race, and looking upon most races as inferior, pre- 
cluded by custom from marrying her to a husband 
of her own tribe, the Jharejas believed it to be 
more humane to nip the flower in the bud, than to 
await the risk of its being blighted in maturer 
growth. A female child was almost invariably put 
to death as soon as bom. The Government of 
Bombay had for some time past been anxious to 
eradicate this cruel and unnatural practice ; * and 
Colonel Walker was instructed to endeavour to 
obtain from the chiefs a declaration of its incom- 
patibility with the Hindu religion as well as with 
the laws of humanity, and a promise that they 

' The head of the Bombay Government, Mr. Jonathan Duncan, had 
encountered, when Governor-General's agent at Benares, a similar custom 
among the Rajkumars, a Rajput tribe established in that province, and 
had succeeded in obtaining from them an engagement to abstain from the 
commission of the crime ; this was in 1789. — Papers on Female Infanticide, 
printed by order of the House of Commons, I7th June, 1824, p. 22; the 
engagement is also printed, t6td. p. 8. 


would desist from its perpetration. The negociation book i. 
was a subject of some delicacy ; but the Resident by _^1!^U_ 
the weight of his character, and a judicious employ- I807. 
ment of the influence with which the situation and 
interests of the several chiefs invested him, over- 
came all difficulties, and carried the instructions of 
the Government into effect. An engagement was 
signed by all the principal chiefs for themselves and 
their fraternities, by which they pledged themselves 
to renounce the usage of killing their female chil- 
dren, to expel from their caste any person who 
should be guilty of the crime, and to submit £0 any 
penalties which the Gaek war's Government and the 
British Resident should inflict for breach of the 
obligation.* For some time they seem to have ad- 
hered to the terms of the engagement, but the 
Resident and the Government were somewhat too 
sanguine in their belief that female infanticide was 
suppressed in Guzerat. It was not possible that the 
illusions of deep-rooted prejudice and long-esta- 
blished custom should instantly vanish before the 
voice of humanity and reason ; and fear of punish- 
ment, the only agent of adequate power to work so 
sudden a change, could exercise but little controul 
where the detection of an offence committed in the 
impenetrable secrecy of domestic privacy was obvi- 
ously almost impracticable. Accordingly, at a long 
subsequent date, there were grounds for believing that 
the crime was almost as common as it had been before 
the interposition of the British Government.* The 

* Report of his proceedings by Colonel Walker, 15th March, 1808. — 
Pari. Papers, 31 . 
' Id 1817, there were but sixty-three Jhareja females liring in all Katti- 


BOOK I. sentiments of that Government have, however, been 
sufficiently made known to insure its marked dis- 

1807. favour to any chief suspected of violating the spirit 
of the original contract ; and a sense of individual 
interest, with improved principles of action, manners 
softened by the continuance of tranquillity, and 
extended intellectual cultivation, must ultimately 
effect the extinction of a practice which is not more 
inconsistent with reason than repugnant to natural 

The adjustment of the Kattiwar tribute tended 
materially to facilitate the improvement of the 
Gaekwar's finances, but their final settlement was 
retarded by the aversion which the new minister 
exhibited to the economical measures of the Resi- 
dent, and the secret counteraction which he coun- 
tenanced or practised. It became necessary, there- 
fore, to re-model the administration. Sitaram was 
removed from the office of Dewan, the duties of 
which were assigned to his uncle, Baba Rao; 
whilst a general controuling and sanctioning au- 
thority was vested in Fatih Sing Gaekwar, the 
younger brother of the reigning prince, and heir 
to the throne. These ministers, holding their ap- 
pointments by the tenure of the Resident's ap- 
probation, co-operated cordially with him, and re- 
sults the most beneficial were speedily attained. 
In place of the seemingly hopeless condition of 
the public finances when the process of reform 
was conmienced, when the expenditure nearly 

war, born Bubseqaently to the engagement with Colonel Walker. — Pari. 
Papers, 110. In a village called Draffa, containing four hundred familiea, 
there was not a single female child. — Ibid, 112. 

* Note by Mr. Elphinstone when Goremor of Bombay. — Ibid, 116. 


doubled the receipts, the revenue of the Gaek- book i. 
war was raised in the course of six years to "*^^' '' 
sixty-five lakhs of rupees, and hia expenses were I807. 
reduced to fifty lakhs, leaving a surplus of fifteen 
lakhs applicable to the liquidation of his debts : per- 
severance in the same system for about a similar 
period was expected to ensure his liberation from 
pecuniary embarrassment, and the full command 
of all his resources.* The connexion which the 
Graekwar had formed with the British had been at- 
tended therefore with unequivocal benefit to that 
prince, and, at the period at which we have arrived, 
was distinguished above all the existing subsidiary 
alliances, by implicit confidence, intimate union, and 
mutual satisfaction.^ 

The other Mahratta states, although they had 
acceded to relations of amity, had declined a closer 
alliance and the engagement of subsidiary troops. 
The most friendly chief amongst them was the Raja 
of Berar. A British Resident was admitted at his 
court, and exercised considerable influence in his 
counsels. Some of his ministers abo were, with 
his knowledge and concurrence, in the receipt of 
pensions from the Government of Bengal, as com- 
pensation for private losses suffered from the late 
war. The Raja was, however, not altogether con- 
tented with his allies. His dominions had been 
heavily mulcted for his share in the recent hosti- 
lities.' He had been compelled to cede part of 

^ MS. Reoorda. 

^ Lieutenant-Colonel Walker left Baroda on account of ill-health in the 
beginning of 1809. He returned for a short time at the pressiDg solicita* 
tion of the Government of Bengal to superintend proceedings relating to 
he affairs of Cutch, but fiuaUy quitted India in 1810. 

* By the treaty of Deogaum, 17th December, 180S.— Ck)ll. of Treaties, 261. 


BOOK I. Berar to the Nizam, and the province of Cuttack 


to the Company, and he contrasted the penalties 
1807. that had been inflicted on him with the undeserved 
forbearance which the British Government had 
shown to Sindhia and Holkar, notwithstanding the 
more prominent part which they had taken in the 
operations of the war, and the more inveterate ani- 
mosity which they had manifested. He claimed, 
therefore, at least equally favourable treatment, and 
a similar restoration of his dismembered territories ; 
and in justification of his expectations he pleaded 
an implied promise of Lord Comwallis, who, in a 
letter addressed to the Raja, had assured him of his 
" intention of compensating his losses to the utmost 
practicable extent consistent with equity and public 
faith." The letter was unquestionably authentic, 
and the tenor was sufficiently obvious, although the 
expressions were vague : a liberal interpretation of 
them would have replaced the Raja in possession of 
Cuttack, if not of Berar ; but, as this would have 
been inconvenient, it was necessary to explain away 
the precipitate generosity of the noble writer. It 
was argued with some plausibility that it would be 
inconsistent with equity and public faith to resume 
the lands ceded to the Nizam, and it was main- 
tained with less show of reason that it would be 
equally incompatible with justice to the British 
Government of India to deprive it of Cuttack. Ra- 
goji Bhonsla's notions of justice were somewhat at 
variance with those of the Governor-General, and 
he not unnaturally demurred to the decision of a 
judge who sat in judgment on his own cause, and 
pronounced sentence in his own favour. He was 


obliged to submit, but he acquiesced unwillingly, book i. 
To fulfil in some degree the purpose of restitution ' 
intimated by Lord Comwallis, it was proposed to I807. 
cede to the Raja a tract of little extent or value 
west of the Warda river, and the more consider- 
able district of Sambhalpur on the east of Berar. 
The Raja declined to accept the former : the latter 
became, after a season, an unwilling and unpro- 
fitable dependency of Nagpur. Its cession was 
scarcely compatible with a strict observance of the 
obligations contracted with the people of the pro- 
vince when it came into British posseasion. 

The countries of Sambhalpur and Patna, forming 
an extensive tract, were, for the greater part, over- 
run with jungle ; but they afforded support to a 
scanty population scattered about in detached vil- 
lages, and subject to the authority of a number of 
petty Rajput chiefs, loosely connected by affinity or 
allegiance, but not unfrequently disunited and at 
variance. The Mahratta Rajas of Nagpur had 
availed themselves of the opportunity offered by the 
dissensions of the chiefs to interpose, and set up a 
claim of supremacy and exact pajmient of tribute ; 
but they had never been able to establish any recog- 
nised influence or authority The principle of the 
Mulkgiri of Kattiwar was therefore here also in 
practice : a body of troops was sent every third year 
into the province, which plundered the villages and 
devastated the fields, until its retreat was purchased 
by the payment of the sum demanded. This system 
of extortion, and the cruelty and spoliation with 
which it was enforced, had rendered the Mahrattas 
detested alike by chiefs and people, and they cor- 


BOOK I. dially welcomed and assisted the British division, 
^^11^^^^ which, in the late war, was sent in their direction. 
1807. On that occasion they had readily promised allegi- 
ance to the British Government, on condition that 
they should be permanently retained amongst its 
subjects. As, however, little advantage to the re- 
sources of the Company's dominions was to be ex- 
pected from so poor a dependency, the pledge given 
to its inhabitants was disregarded, and it was re- 
solved to consign them again to their Mahratta 
oppressors. With a show of attention to its engage- 
ments, the British Government, at the same time 
that it announced to the chiefs its determination to 
relinquish its occupation of the country, pretended 
to ask their consent to the transfer ; offering to grant 
to those who might prefer the abandonment of their 
homes to submission to the Mahrattas, waste lands 
in the adjacent province of Cuttack. 

The determination of the British Government to 
abandon them filled the people of Sambhalpur and 
Patna with consternation, and they protested against 
the measure in the most earnest and affecting 
t^rms.^ Their remonstrances were unavailing ; and, 
after some negociation, they were prevailed upon to 
promise acceptance of the offer of compensation 
elsewhere, and agreed to quit the country within a 
given period, for the settlement which was proposed 
to them in Cuttack. When the time assigned for 

' A notion prevailed amongst the people that the province was ceded 
by the British Government in eofll^uence of financial embarrassments. 
Ilie head men of the villages thereupon assembled, vraited upon Captain 
Roughsedge the commissioner, and offered on the part of their respective 
communities to make a free gift to him of half, or, if that were insufficient, 
of a still larger proportion of their property of every description, if the 
sacrifice would prevent their being abandoned. — MS. Records. 


their emigration arrived, natural attachment to their book i. 
native soil and the homes of their forefathers ^^^^^\ 

overcame their hatred and dread of the Mahrattas, 1807. 
and they refused to move, declaring it to be their 
resolution to remain upon their paternal lands, and 
defend them as they best might from the grasp of 
the spoiler. Advantage was immediately taken of 
their change of purpose: their tergiversation was 
held to exonerate the Bengal Government from the 
obligations of perpetual protection or equivalent 
compensation, and the recusants were abandoned 
to their fate.^ One chief alone, Jujar Sing of 
Raigerh, allowed his allies no such pretext to shuffle 
off their responsibility : he had consistently refused 
to be a party to the agreement to leave the country, 
and declared himself resolved rather to suffer any 
extremities, leaving to the British Government the 
odium of a breach of faith. They were, therefore, 
obliged to except Raigerh from the cessions to 

* It is stated in a work wliich is in general of good authority, the Ben- 
gal and Agra Gazetteer, 1841, vol. ii. p. 312, '' that Sambhalpur and Patna 
were restored to the Raja of Berar by General Wellesley, in ignorance of 
the inteatioa of the Bengal Government to keep tfaem as tributary depen- 
dencies ; that many attempts were made to induce the Ri^a to forego the 
concession, and accept an equivalent; and that it was only upon finding 
him adhere pertinaciously to the promised restoration, that the Govern- 
ment consented at last to relinquish the provinces ; at the same time, in 
order to reconcile the people to the proceeding, they were told, that, should 
events again bring them under British rule, they should become permanently 
sabject to it.** The statement does not seem to be correct. In the treaty 
of QiM)gaum, the • l<Hh article confirms all treaties made by the British 
Government with the feudatories of the Bbjb, ; and the stipulation applies 
especially to the agreements with the Rigas of Sambhalpur and Patna, in 
which they had conditioned that they should remain permanently under 
British authority. Their districts were ceded to Nagpur by Sir G. Bar* 
low in August, 1806, by a formal engagement, in the preamble of which it 
l» stated that the Grovemor-General agrees to restore all the territory of 
Sambhalpur and Patna which was ceded by the Ri^a to the Company. 
It is clear, therefore, that up to the date of this restoration the provinces 
had been held by the Company ; and no claim to them by the Raja, founded 
on a promise by General Wellesley, could have been preferred or recog- 
nised.— Coll. of Treaties, pp. 261. 300. 


BOOK I. Nagpuf ; but they accompanied the exception with 


' strict injunctions to the Raja to avoid giving offence 
1807. to the Government of Berar, on pain of forfeiting 
his claim to British support. A Mahratta force wasi 
sent against the other Rajas, which, with some 
trouble, and more by treachery than force of arms, 
reduced them to obedience.^ At a subsequent era, 
and under a different system of policy, Sambhalpur 
was finally reannexed to the Presidency of Bengal. 

Although deeply disappointed and annoyed by 
the refusal of the Bengal Government to understand 
the letter of Lord Cornwallis in the sense in which 
he interpreted it, the Raja of Nagpur was not in a 
position to resent its conduct or dispense with 
its friendship. He was pressed for large pecuniary 
payments by Sindhia and by Holkar: the latter 
threatened to exact the discharge of his demands at 
the head of an army, and the threat was subse- 
quently carried into act by Holkar's colleague. 
Amir Khan. Instigated also by other Mahratta 
princes and the Nawab of Bhopal, with whom the 
Court of Nagpur was at enmity, and impelled 
by their own habits of plunder, the confederated 
marauding bands known by the designation of 
Pindaris committed constant depredations on the 

' The fort of Sambhalpur was at the time of the cessioD in the hands of 
the Rani, the R^ja being detained a prisoner at Nagpur. Finding himself 
unable to carry the place by force, the Mahratta general pledged his 
Government in the most solemn manner to release the Raja and acknow- 
ledge his authority, on the Rani consenting to a moderate tribute. Having 
thus thrown her off her guard, he took advantage of her confidence, in the 
course of the negociations that followed, to surprise the fort before any 
defence could be offered. The Rani fled with a few followers ; and having 
with great difficulty, and after much fatigue and suffering, escaped into 
the British territory, protection and a small monthly pension were 
granted her. She was one of those who at first entertained the proposal 
to emigrate into Cuttack, but who shrunk from its accomplishment.— MS. 


frontiers of Berar, and on more than one occasion book i. 
pillaged the country even in the vicinity of the 

capital. Ragoji Bhonsla and his ministers were I807. 
well aware that his only security against the aggres- 
sions of his countrymen was the British alliance, and 
they were careful, therefore, to maintain it unimpair- 
ed. The connexion added to the strength and repu* 
tation of the British Government, as it was obvious 
to all the native states, that the most ancient and 
respectable branch of the Mahratta confederacy was 
indebted for all the political consideration which it 
retained, to the friendly relations established be-^ 
tween it and the British power, unincumbered by 
a subsidiary treaty, and not incompatible with its 

Of all the Mahratta princes engaged in hostilities 
with the British, Dowlat Rao Sindhia had suffered 
the severest military and political inflictions. The 
organised battalions which had rendered him irre- 
sistible to the native powers, and formidable to his 
European adversary, had been almost annihilated ;^ 
and, although much of the territory conquered from 
him on the west of the Jumna had been restored, 
he had been deprived of extensive tracts in Hindus- 
tan, and of all the reputation and authority he de-^ 
rived from the guardianship of the Emperor of 

^ The regular infantry brigades in Sindhia s service at the beginning of 
the war consisted of seventy -two battalions, forming a disciplined force of 
43,000 men in a highly respectable state of efficiency, with a large propor- 
tion of field artillery. — Malcolm's Central India, i. 138. After the war 
they were reduced to two brigades, under the commands severally of a 
Frenchman named Baptiste, and an Armenian of the name of Jacob ; 
their discipline and organisation were greatly impaired. — Letters from a 
Mahratta Camp. There were other bodies of troops under native leaders, 
but they were of a still more imperfect and irregular description. — Prin- 
sep, Transactions in India, i. 26. 


BOOK I. Delhi. He was precluded by positive engagements, 
' as well as by his fear of the consequences of their 
1807. infringement, from seeking to re-establish his ascen- 
dancy in the Mahratta confederation ; and the sole 
object of his now humbled policy was to obtain 
money, on various pretexts, from the British Go- 
vernment, and from the neighbouring states. 

The equivocal behaviour of Sindhia in the in- 
terval that elapsed between the treaty formed with 
him in 1803, and that with Holkar in 1805, vir- 
tually annulled the existing engagements, and ren- 
dered their renewal necessary. A new treaty was 
accordingly entered into with him, by which some 
of the stipulations of that of Sirji Anjangaum were 
abrogated, others confirmed/ The intercourse that 
ensued in the period immediately following had 
principally for its object the fulfilment of the stipu- 
lations then provided: it did little credit to either 
of the contracting parties, turning mainly upon mat- 
ters of pecuniary interest, in which it was the aim 
of the Mahratta to get as much, and of the Go- 
vernor-General to give as little, as possible. The 
disputes were characteristic. 

The treaty of Sirji Anjangaum permitted Sindhia 
to hold within the British possessions certain dis- 
tricts granted him in Jagir by the King of Delhi ; 

' In the engagement now concluded, no notice waB taken of the sub- 
tidiary treaty to which Sindhia had acceded in 1804. It might, therefore, 
be considered as nrtually cancelled. It was in fact altogether nugatory. 
The force to be fbmished by the British Oovemment was not to be paid by 
the Rija, nor was it to be stationed in his territory. The arrangement 
amounted to no more than an agreement to furnish Sindhia with a body 
of troops whenever he should require them, if the purpose for which he 
required them was approved of by the Oovemment of Bengal. It was 
very little probable that the latter would often give their sanction to Sind- 
hia*8 military policy, and as little likely therefore that he would apply for 
troops. He never did make the application, and the treaty was a nullity. 


and it secured to membere of his family, and to book i. 
some of his chief officers, compensation for lands ^^^' ^ 
held by them in the Doftb before the war, either by I807. 
a grant of similar Jagirs or of equivalent pensions, 
provided that the whole amount of revenue so 
alienated did not exceed the annual sum of seven- 
teen lakhs of rupees. By the final treaty, Sindhia 
agreed to relinquish, from the 1st of January, 1805, 
pensions to the amount of fifteen lakhs of rupees a 
year. The Jagirs to individuals were continued, 
not merely as compensation for loss, but avowedly 
as bribes to purchase their voices for peace ; or, as 
it was officially expressed, " to secure the support of 
influential officers in the councils of Sindhia, whose 
interests being affected by a war, they would oppose 
its occurrence." The same engagement contracted 
for a pension to the Maharaja himself of four lakhs 
of rupees a year, and a Jagir of two lakhs to his 
wife, and of one to his daughter. The Jagirs were 
eventually commuted to pensions, which lapsed 
with the death of the pensioners. These grants and 
commutations were the subjects of long and some- 
times angry discussion. 

Another contested item was the balance of an 
account between Sindhia and the Company, in 
which the former claimed arrears of pension, and of 
revenue collections for two years prior to 1805 ; 
which the latter admitted to a limited extent, but 
met with a counter-claim for the public and private 
property plundered from the British Residency in 
1804, and for monies advanced and charges of col- 
lection. The sum claimed by Sindhia was nearly 
twenty-four lakhs of rupees ; that demanded by the 


BOOK I. Company, nearly twenty-seven lakhs. They agreed, 
^^^^' '' however, to forego a portion of their claim, and 
1807. admitted a balance in favojir of Sindhia of 63,000 
rupees (6300/.), an amount which was vastly inferior 
to his expectations and his necessities : for the relief 
of the latter he was therefore obliged to look to 
other quarters. 

The quarrels of the Rajput princes, which will 
presently be more particularly adverted to, offered 
an ample field for the gratification of Maliratta 
rapacity, of which the Mahratta princes in Malwa 
were not slow to reap the harvest. The exhaus- 
tion of Sindhia's resources, and the impossibility 
of raising a revenue commensurate with his ex- 
penditure from his wasted and depopulated terri- 
tories, crippled his movements, and disabled him 
from appropriating his full share of the spoil. His 
troops, still too numerous for his means, were re- 
peatedly in a state of mutiny for arrears of pay, 
and had degenerated into a lawless horde of plun- 
derers, who, in the realisation of their demands, 
made little difference between the country of friend 
or foe, and pillaged the districts of their own master 
and his allies as remorselessly as those of his ene- 
mies. The only prospect of providing them with an 
equivalent for pay, and of maintaining amongst 
them some degree of subordination, existed in the 
levy of contributions from the neighbouring princes ; 
and from time to time considerable sums were 
exacted from the Rana of Udaypur, and the Rajas 
of Jodhpur and Jaypur, as arrears of tribute due 
under former engagements to the Mahrattas, or as 
the price of plighted military service, which was at 



best but imperfectly rendered. But Holkar and booki. 
Amir Khan had taken the disputes of the Rajputs ^^^^' '' 
under their management, and Sindhia was unwilling I807. 
or unable to interfere with effect. After a feeble 
attempt at interposition, he was contented to allow 
some of his principal officers to take occasional part 
in the contest, whilst he directed his attention more 
especially to the prosecution of designs against the 
independence of Bhopal. 

The principality of Bhopal presented the singu- 
larity of a petty Mohammedan power in the very 
heart of the Hindu states. It was founded at the 
close of the seventeenth century by Dost Mo- 
hammed, an Afghan adventurer in the service of 
the Emperor of Delhi, who, from being the superin- 
tendent of the small district of Bersia in Malwa, 
raised himself, by that mixture of courage, activity, 
treachery, and political cruelty, which is not uncom- 
mon in the character of his countrymen and which 
in the latter days of the Mogul empire was the 
usual title to temporary elevation, to the command 
of a territory of some extent, and the appellation 
of Nawab of Bhopal. His direct line continued 
through his three successors. The two last of these 
devoted their lives to religious meditation and 
prayer, and left the conduct of public affairs to their 
ministers, men of various characters and fortunes; 
whose administration often excited, and sometimes 
justified, the opposition and violence of the tur- 
bulent nobles and officers of the court. At this 
period the Dewan or minister of the Nawab was 
his kinsman, Vizir Mohammed, whose father had 
been slain in an unsuccessful insurrection, and 

VOL. I. F 


BOOK I. whose youth had been spent in exile and predatory 
^_^^^J__ warfare : placed, after many vicissitudes, at the head 
1807. of affairs, he brought to their administration the 
qualities of activity, courage, and prudence, which 
promised to restore the declining prosperity and re- 
putation of Bhopal. He was not suffered to carry 
his projects to maturity. The son of the Nawab, 
Ghous Mohammed, jealous of his ascendancy, and 
apprehensive of his ambition, invited the Raja of 
Berar, and Dowlat Rao Sindhia, to invade the prin- 
cipality, in ordOT to secure his succession to the 
throne^ The invitation was readily accepted. The 
capital, Islam-nagar, was captured by the latter ; and 
the city and fort of Bhopal were occupied by Sadik 
Ali, the general of the former. Little hope re- 
mained that the state would recover from the pres- 
sure of such a formidable combination. 

In this state of things, the old Nawab, Haiyat 
Mohammed, died. He was succeeded by his son, 
who, finding that his allies purposed the dismem- 
berment of his territory, reconciled himself to Vi- 
zir Mohammed, and continued him in the office of 
Dewan, trusting to his talents for the extrication of 
his country from the grasp of his enemies. His ex- 
pectations were not disapiK)inted. Vizir Mohammed 
conciliated Sindhia by promising to discharge the 
tribute which Gh6us Mohammed had engaged to 
pay ; and, with the assistance of the Pindaris, he 
repelled the forces of Berar. The ruin of his 
country was arrested for the time ; but Vizir Mo- 
hammed was well aware of the inadequacy of his 
means to cope with such powerful adversaries, and, 
anticipating the repetition of their efforts for his 


destruction, endeavoured to interest the British Gro- book i. 

CHAP la 

vemment in his favour. The system of policy then ' 

adopted, rendered his application ineffectual, and he 18<>7. 
was left to his own resources until a more auspicious 
period arrived, when the debt contracted to the Na- 
wab of Bhopal, Haiyat Mohammed, for the assist- 
ance which he gave to General Goddard, and by 
which alone the British detachment was enabled to 
march unopposed from the Nerbudda to Surat, was 
repaid by the seasonable protection afforded to his 

The counsels of Sindhia were likewise distracted 1809. 
by the conflicting views of his principal officers and 
advisers, and the struggles that prevailed amongst 
them for the management of his affairs. Ambaji 
Inglia, after having been confined, tortured, and 
plundered, as has been described, was restored to 
favour, and became the leader of a party opposed 
to the former ministers. In order to strengthen 
his influence, he invited Sirji Rao Ghatka, whom 
the British Government had banished by express 
stipulation from Sindhia^s presence, to return to 
camp ; and although the measure furnished his 
adversaries with a plea for alarming the prince, and 
inducing him once more to imprison and pillage 
Ambaji, yet, when the interdict was withdrawn by 
those who had pronounced it, and the Government 
of Calcutta no longer entertained an undignified 
apprehension of the intrigues of an individual, Sirji 
Rao resumed his place at Sindhia's durbar, and con- 
ducted, conjointly with Ambaji, the duties of the 
administration. Neither of them long survived the 
recovery of their authority. Ambaji Inglia died 



BOOK I. early in 1809. Sirji Rao Ghatka was killed in an 
__J_1. affray in the course of the same year.* Dowlat Rao, 
1809. after Ambaji's death, seized on his fortress of 
Gwalior, and for the greater part of his life con- 
tinued encamped in its vicinity, until his camp 
grew to be a considerable town, which is still the ca- 
pital of his descendants. No other change ensued : 
the same pecuniary embarrassments continued to be 
felt, and the same means of relieving them to be 
employed : the fruits of robbery and spoliation were 
dissipated by the wasteful and unprincipled system 
under which they were gathered, and the hordes of 
licensed banditti which were let loose upon the sur- 
rounding states were a source of weakness, not of 
strength, to the prince whom they nominally served. 

^ The importance attached to this individual by his special exclusion 
from Sindhia's presence as an article of treaty, gives interest to the follow- 
ing details of his death, derived from an authority on the spot : — *^ Sirji 
Sao had gone to the durbar and was earnestly pressing Sindhia to accede 
to some of his proposals ; to which the Mahanga as usual returned evasive 
and unsatisfactory replies, and ordered his equipage to be got ready to go 
to an elephant-fight. As he was about to depart, Sirji Rao repeated his 
remonstrances, and at length had the temerity to seize the skirt of his robe 
and endeavoured to detain him forcibly in his seat. Some of the Huzuriyas 
(personal attendants) present, incensed at such an insult, thrust him back ; 
and Sindhia escaped from the tent, giving an order to secure the minister s 
person. Sirji Rao drew his sword and resisted the execution of the order : 
a violent scuffle ensued, in which some individuals of both parties were 
killed and several wounded. At length Sirji Rao effected his retreat to 
his own tent, but was followed by the enraged party from the Deiiri, 
headed by Anand Rao and Manaji Phankra, two distant relations of the 
Mahariga*s family. In one minute the ropes of the tent in which the un- 
fortunate minister had taken refuge were cut, and he himself dragged from 
beneath it ; and in the next he fell dead in the public street, pierced with a 
dozen wounds inflicted by his pitiless enemies. Sindhia is said to have 
given orders, when he heard of the scuffle, to spare his father-in-law's life, 
and from the known lenity of his disposition it is probable he did so. His 
pursuers either wilfully or ignorantly mistook tliese orders, and in all pro- 
bability rejoiced at an opportunity of getting rid of a man who was an 
object of hatred to themselves, of dislike to their master, of terror to the 
whole army, and apprehension to every court in India.'* — Letters from a 
M ahratta Camp, by Captain Broughton, commanding the Resident's 
escort, 1809, p. 223. 


The British Government, unable to rid itself of book i. 

^^ CHAP C 

former impressions, continued to treat Dowlat Rao ' 
Sindhia with a guarded and timid policy for some i»09. 
time after his friendship had ceased to be an object 
of conciliation, or his enmity of fear. 

The power and resources of Jeswant Rao Holkar jgoe. 
were in like manner for some time estimated rather 
by the mischief which he had inflicted, than any 
which he retained the ability to commit. The unme- 
rited liberality which the British Government had 
evinced towards him had replaced him in the actual 
or prospective possession of an extensive and valuable 
territory,^ and its selfish disregard of inconvenient 
obligations consigned to his rapacity the chieftains 
of Rajputana, particularly the Rajas of Bundi and 
Jaypur.* The motives of this uncalled for genero- 
sity were unintelligible to the native princes, and to 
Holkar himself ; and both ascribed it to dread of his 
military talents, and incapability of providing longer 
for the exigencies of war. The necessary conse- 
quence of this notion was, the inflation of Holkar's 
ambition with the hope that he should soon be able 
to reunite under happier auspices the disjointed 
members of the Mahratta confederacy, and exact a 
severe retribution for the mutilation which they had 

1 The treaty with Holkar of December, 1805, restored to him the pes* 
sessions of the Holkar family in Mewar, Malwa, Harauti, and the Dekhin. 
— CoU. of Treaties, p. 294. 

* A declaratory article, added to the treaty by Sir G. Barlow, abrogated 
the second article, by which Holkar had renounced aU right to Tonk- 
Bampura and the districts north of the Bundi Hills. The abrogation was 
interpreted by him as a virtual withdrawal of the protection granted to the 
Bondi Raja. By the eighth article of the treaty Holkar relinquished all 
claims of every description upon the British Government and its allies, 
amongst whom the R^ja of Jaypur considered himself included : his claim 
was not admitted, as is subsequently noticed in the text. 


BOOK I. nature from ZaJim Sing, regent of Kota. He then 
''' withdrew to Rampura-Bampura, where his health 

1807. rapidly gave way to habitual intoxication and unre- 
strained indulgence, the effects of which were 
exacerbated by the compunctious visitings of con- 

The animosity borne by the Peshwa to Holkar 
augmented his dissatisfaction with the favourable 
terms granted to that chief; and he strongly ob- 
jected to the treaty which the British Government 
had concluded, that it conferred upon him rights 
and possessions to which he had no claim. In truth, 
Jeswant Rao Holkar had become the head of his 
house, partly by accident, partly by his own exer- 
tions. Tukaji Holkar, his predecessor, left two 
legitimate sons, Kasi Rao and Malhar Rao. His 
third son, Jeswant Rao, was his son by a concubine. 
Kasi Rao, the eldest son, was deformed in body and 
infirm in mind, and his unfitness for the adminis- 
tration of affairs induced the chief officers of the 
state to give the preference to his younger brother 
Malhar Rao. Sindhia took part with Kasi Rao; 
and, in the contest that ensued, Malhar Rao was 
killed, and Jeswant Rao, who had upheld his cause, 
was obliged to seek safety in flight. After encoun- 
tering many vicissitudes, Jeswant Rao by a course of 
successful predatory devastation, in which he was 
deeply indebted to the companionship of Amir 
Khan, found himself strong enough to drive Sind- 
hia's troops out of the territories of the Holkar 
family, and establish himself in their government 
in the name and on behalf of their lawful prince, 
Kandi Rao, the infant son of the murdered Malhar 


Rao, who was at the time in Sindhia's hands, as well book i. 
as Kasi Rao, his uncle. The latter was allowed his " 
liberty, and gave himself up to Jeswant Rao ; and, I807. 
when the war with the British Government was 
projected, Sindhia,'in order to secure Holkar's co- 
operation, resigned to him the charge of the boy 
Kandi Rao. At the time of Holkar's return from 
the Punjab, Kasi Rao was living peaceably at Ni- 
maur, under the charge of Jeswant Rao's Gooroo, 
or spiritual guide, Chinma Bhao : his nephew, Kandi 
Rao, had accompanied him on his march. 

A body of Mohammedan horse in the service of 
Jeswant Rao having mutinied for arrears of pay, his 
nephew was delivered to them as a pledge for the 
promised liquidation of their demands. As the 
promises made to the mutineers were slow of ac- 
complishment, it occurred to them to intimidate Hol- 
kar into more prompt compliance by proclaiming 
Kandi Rao the lawful Raja, and threatening to 
depose Jeswant Rao as a usurper.* The danger was 
imminent ; the money was raised ; the mutinous sol- 
diers were paid and dismissed : they dispersed to 
their homes without any concern for the fate of the 
unhappy youth whom they had used as their instru- 
ment of intimidation, and abandoned him to those 
jealous apprehensions which they seem to have first 
excited. In a week Kandi Rao was no longer an 
object of fear. It was given out that he had died 
suddenly ; but it was the universal belief that he had 

' Malcolm's Central lodia, i. 2'I2. According to Amir Khan*B account 
of the affair, this plan of enforcing payment was adopted by his recommen- 
dation, not without a suspicion on Holkar's part that the >%hole was a 
device of Amir Khan to obtain an adjustment of his own claims. — Mem. of 
Amir Khan, 290. 


BOOK I. been poisoned, if not by the orders, at least with 
' the acquiescence of Holkar.^ 
1808; To this crime succeeded an event which in cur- 
rent belief was of an equally atrocious character — 
the death of Kasi Rao. The accounts of this trans- 
action vary in some of the details, although they 
correspond in the outline. Kasi Rao resided in a 
stronghold in the province of Nimaur, of which 
the governor was Chimna Bhao, the Gooroo of 
Holkar, and known to be his ready counsellor and 
agent in every deed of infamy and guilt. An insur- 
rection under some military leaders had broken out 
in the adjoining district of Kandesh, and one of 
their parties attacked Chimna Bhao with a view to 
obtain possession of the person of Kasi Rao, and 
place him at their head. To disappoint their design^ 
and prevent Kasi Rao from falling into their hands, 
Chimna Bhao caused him to be put to death. There 
does not appear to be any conclusive evidence that 
Holkar himself had suggested a pretended attaxsk 
upon his minister as a pretext for the murder of his 
brother, or any reason to infer that the act was not 
solely attributable to the unpremeditated and reck- 
less cruelty of Chimna Bhao.* The imputation of 

' Central India, i. 244. Amir Khan asserts unhesitatingly that Hol- 
kar caused poison to be administered to his nephew, and so destroyed 
him ; Mem. 307. 

* According to Malcolm, on the authority of Bangash Khan, one of the 
insurgent Patau leaders, a party under his confederate, Dadan Khan, at* 
tempted the release of Kasi Rao, who was confined at Kargond, in Ni- 
maur ; to prevent which, Chimna Bhao had him murdered in the thicket 
some distance from the fort. According to the evidence of a Sipahi in the 
service of Chimna Bhao, present at the murder, Kasi Rao was killed in 
B\jaygerh, a fort also in Nimaur, from which Dadan Khan had attempted 
to carry him off. The dispatch from the Resident with Sindhia, reporting 
the trsinsaction, agrees in making Bijaygerh the seat of the prince's 
detention ; but states that, orders having been sent to bring him for greater 
security to Holkar*s camp, Chimna Bhao was escorting him on the way. 


being accessory to the deed was however fixed upon book i. 
Holkar by common consent, and popular belief re- ^^^'^ 
garded his insanity as a just retribution for the mur- 1809. 
der of a nephew and a brother. He became subject 
to fits of mental derangement shortly after the death 
of Kasi Rao : they alternated with intervals of 
reason for about a twelvemonth, when they sub- 
sided into an unintermitted state of moody fatuity, 
which after a duration of three years terminated in 

The affiiirs of Holkar's dominions were conducted 
during his incapacity by his favourite mistress Tu- 
lasi Bhai and her minister Balaram Set; but their 
hands were too feeble to maintain a steady curb 
upon the disorderly troops and their aspiring cap- 
tains, and the country speedily became the scene of 
plunder and confusion. The party in Kandesh under 
Dadan Khan and other Patau leaders acquired a 

when he was attacked at night by Dadan Khan's men, and, in the affiray 
dial followed, Kasi Rao was accidentally shot. Amir Khan*s story materi- 
ally differs from the foregoing. He says, that the Bhils of Kandesh, being 
in insarreetion, had got hold of the wife of Kasi Rao, and, she being preg- 
nant, they declared that if the child were a boy they would make him 
Raja ; that Chimna Bhao, being sent to quell the disturbance, took Kasi 
Rao along with him from Galna, where he had been detained ; that on the 
march he set some of bis own people to make a sham attack by night 
upon his camp, and, in the confusion thus occasioned, he pretended great 
alarm lest Kasi Rao should fail into the hands of the Bhils, and, to prevent 
it, ordered him to be put to death ; the whole being in truth the device of 
Holkar. Although it is true that the Bhils were in a state of insurgency 
at this period, yet the policy of opposing a rival to Holkar was much 
more likely to have occurred to the Patans, and it was no doubt to guard 
against their availing themselves of the name of Kasi Rao that he was mur- 
dered by some such contrivance as is imputed to Chimna Bhao. Holkar 
denied that he had given orders to put his brother to death, and, ascribing 
it to accident, publicly expressed himself glad that it had occurred at a 
distance, as it might otherwise have injured his reputation. The varieties 
of the story afford a striking proof of the difficulty of coming at the circum- 
stances of a fact even upon contemporary testimony. Mr. Prinsep hesitates 
to afiix a date to this transaction ; from the official correspondence it 
appears to have taken place about the middle of February, 1808. — Central 
India, i. 244 ; Mem. of Amir Khan, 313 ; MS. Records. 


BOOK I. formidable consistency after the murder of Ka*si 
J^^2_^ Rao. They placed at their head Mahipat Rao Hol- 
1809. kar, first cousin of Jeswant Rao, and proclaimed 
him sovereign. The troops sent against them either 
joined their ranks or were defeated ; and they had 
a fair prospect of success, when, unfortunately for 
their cause, they extended their depredations into 
the territories of Poona and Hyderabad, and im- 
posed upon the British Government the duty of pro- 
tecting its allies. The subsidiary forces of both states 
took the field. Colonel Wallace marched from Poona 
with one division, and Lieutenant-Colonel Doveton 
from Jalna with another. By a rapid cavalry move- 
ment of one hundred miles in forty-eight hours, 
Colonel Doveton came unexpectedly upon the in- 
surgents whilst besieging Amalner, a fort belonging 
to the Nizam. Most of their horse, and part of 
their foot, were destroyed. The shattered remains 
took refuge amongst the hills north of Kandesh: 
they were vigorously followed thither by Colonel 
Wallace ; and the leaders were seized and delivered 
to him by the Bhils, the inhabitants of the forests 
with which the hills are clothed. Tlie Patau chiefs 
were conducted prisoners to Poona: Mahipat Rao 
escaped, but, separated from his military associates, 
he soon fell into obscurity and occasioned no further 

A different destiny awaited another of Holkar's 
Mohammedan captains, who, by a singular combina- 
tion of enterprise, craft, and good-luck, rose from 
the condition of a soldier of fortune to the recog- 
nised rank of an independent prince. Amir Khan 

1 MS. Records ; Central India, i. 284. 


was by descent an Afghan, whose grandfather had book i. 
emigrated from Buner, and settled in Rohilkhand. ^^^' ^ 
From his earliest youth he had led the life of a sol- I809. 
dier; seeking service, sometimes with a few followers, 
sometimes with a larger troop, in the armies of the 
various princes and leaders, who in the last days of 
the Mogul empire were ever ready to enlist adher- 
ents. For a considerable time his fortunes were 
precarious, and he was not unfrequently in want 
even of a meal ; but he gradually became a captain 
of some note, and took a conspicuous share in dif- 
ferent military and political transactions, of which 
Malwa and the valley of the Nerbudda were the 
principal field. He lent good aid to Vizir Mo- 
hammed in the defence of Bhopal; but, the resources 
of that chief being exhausted, he listened to pro- 
posals from Holkar, and united himself thenceforth 
steadily to his interests. Holkar was then making 
his escape from Nagpur, where he had been de- 
tained by the Raja ; and had no greater following 
than a rabble of two or three hundred men, ill 
armed, undisciplined, and living by plunder. The 
junction of Amir Khan with a force respectable in 
numbers and equipment turned the tide of his for- 
tunes, enabled him to possess himself of the terri- 
tories of his family, and placed him in a position 
formidable to Sindhia, to the Peshwa, and the Eng- 
lish. Amir Khan shared in his prosperity, and did 
not desert him in adversity. He accompanied 
Jeswant Rao, as we have seen, in his flight to the 
Punjab, and returned with him to Malwa. Al- 
though professing allegiance to Holkar, and acting 
in his name. Amir Khan retained the independent 


BOOK I. command of his own troops, and held himself at 
CHAP. I. liberty to provide for their support by contribu- 
180§. tions levied at his pleasure from the princes in 
whose dissensions he found it profitable to interfere. 
After Holkar's insanity he interposed occasionally 
in the disputes that occurred at court, but large 
bribes secured his general support of Balaram Set 
and the Bhai. The necessity of raising funds for 
the pa)mient of his soldiers after he had drained the 
coffers of the Rajputs impelled him, shortly after 
the date at which we have arrived, to turn his steps 
in the direction of Berar, and brought him, as we 
shall subsequently have occasion to notice, once 
more into collision with the Government of British 
India. ^ 

Such was the utter prostration of the Mahratta 
confederacy upon the close of the war : the Peshwa, 
chafing secretly under the fetters to which he had 
rashly submitted, but impotent to break them, 
and affecting to wear them with cheerfulness ; the 
Gaekwar, saved from insolvency and ruin by the 
tutelage of his allies ; the Raja of Berar, unable 
without the same assistance to protect his country 
from Pindari pillage and Afghan arrogance ; Sindhia, 
humbly begging a paltry pittance from the power 
he had lately encountered with almost equal arms ; 
and Holkar, intoxicated and insane, with his country 
devastated by his own rebellious soldiery, • and his 
court disgraced by the turbulence and profligacy of 

^ Notices of the career of Amir Khan are to be found in Malcolm's Cen- 
tral India, Prinsep's Administration of the Marquis of Hastings, &c. ; 
but the most authentic account is a kind of autobiography, or Memoirs of 
Nawab Mohammed Amir Khan, composed in Persian from his own dic- 
tation by Munshi Bas^wan Lai, translated by H. T. Prinsep, Calcutta. 


factious competitors for the authority which he was book i. 
no longer in a condition to exercise. Yet, nOtwith- ^"^^' ^ 
standing this abject state of the two last-named 1807. 
chieftains, the Bengal Government persisted in its 
purpose of conciliating their good-will, by leaving 
them unquestioned licence to prey upon their still 
more feeble and disunited neighbours, the princes of 

That portion of Hindustan which extends from 
the districts bordering on the west bank of the Jum- 
na to the desert that skirts the eastern borders of 
the Indus, and which lies between the Punjab on the 
norths and Malwa and Guzerat on the south, is col- 
lectively known as Rajawara or Rajasthan, as being 
in an especial degree inhabited by tribes allied by 
community of origin, institutions, and character, 
and claiming as Rajputs, or ** sons of kings," to re- 
present the military and regal caste of the primitive 
Hindus. The country was distributed at the period 
in question amongst a number of princes, some of 
whom were of comparatively little political import- 
ance, from the limited extent of their territory; 
whilst others, although ruling over more spacious 
tracts, were equally unimportant, from the ste- 
rility of the soil, and the scantiness of the popu- 
lation. Among these, three princes were acknow- 
ledged to be pre-eminent in rank and power, the 
Rana of Udaypur, the Raja of Jodhpur, and the 
Raja of Jaypur, so entitled from their respective 
capitals; but, more correctly speaking, the rulers 
of Mewar, Marwar, and Dhundhar, the names of 
their several principalities. 

The Rana of Udaypur reigned over a rugged but 


BOOK I. not wholly sterile territory on the north-west of 
Malwa. He pretended to a direct descent from 
1807. Rama, the mytho-historical monarch of Ayodhya, 
or Oude, through his son Lava, who migrated to the 
west. The Ranas of Udaypur are therefore re- 
garded as members of the Suryavansa, or Solar dy- 
nasty of the Hindus ; but, as Rajputs, they belong to 
the Sisodya branch of the Gahilote tribe. They are 
admitted to precedency over all other Rajput 
princes, who accept from their hands, upon succeed- 
ing to their principalities, an ornament worn upon 
the forehead, in confirmation of their accession.* 
From the time of the Mohammedan invasion of 
India, the Ranas of Udaypur were constantly en- 
gaged in warfare with the kings of Delhi, and re- 
peatedly sustained fearful reverses. Driven from 
their capital, Chitore, they transferred their resi- 
dence more to the west, where Udaya Raja built a 
city, named after him Uday-pur, towards the end 

' Colonel Tod remarks, that, whilst the genealogies of many of the 
Rigput princes are questioned, the Hindu tribes yield unanimous suffrage 
to the ruler of Mewar as the legitimate heir of the throne of Rama, and 
style him Hindua-sung, the Sun of the Hindus. He subsequently, how- 
ever, adverts to the curious tradition mentioned by Abulfazl ; Ayin Akbari, 
ii. 8, and repeated in fuller detail by Wilford, Asiatic Researches, ix. 2S3, 
of the descent of the Ranas of Udaypur from Naoshirwan, king of Persia, 
through his son Naoshizad. He is said to have rebelled against his father, 
and, being defeated, to have fled into Hindustan, whence he returned to 
Persia with an army of Indians : he was again defeated, and was slain in 
battle, but his issue remained in India, and from them the Ranas descend- 
ed. Another legend traces the family to Maha-bh&nu, daughter of Yez- 
degird, the last monarch of Persia. — Annals of Rajasthan, i. 233. Tod 
thinks it not improbable that there may have been a connexion between 
the Persian and Indian families. The late discovery in the west of India 
of coins of the general character of those of the Sassanian kings, and 
blending Indian and Persian portraits and inscriptions, establish the fact 
that some of those princes exercised authority either directly or through 
Indian feudatories on the confines of Hindustan, and render it possible 
that some such intercourse as that which subsequently united the royal 
house of Timur with the Rajput princes may have subsisted, and given rise 
to the tradition. — Ariana Antiqua, p. 400. 


of the sixteenth century ; and in the strong country book i. 
in its vicinity they maintained their independence. ^^^^' '' 
Separated from Me war by the Aravali Moun- 1807. 
tains on the north-west, lies the principality of 
Marwar, the capital of which is Jodhpur: great 
part of this country is a sandy desert, but it con- 
tains some fertile tracts, especially on its southern 
boundaries. The Raja of Jodhpur is a member of 
the Rahtore tribe of Rajputs, and traces his de- 
scent from the family that reigned over Kanoj at 
the period of the Mohammedan conquest ; on which 
occasion two sons of the last prince, Jayadeva, fled 
to the west, and settled in the almost unpeopled 
districts of Marwar. From the elder brother de- 
scended the reigning dynasty ; one of whom, Jodha, 
was the founder of Jodhpur in a. d. 1 459 : the 
younger is claimed as their ancestor by the chief 
Thakurs, or feudal nobles of the state. The Rah- 
tores of Marwar, like the Gahilotes of Mewar, suf- 
fered many vicissitudes in their encounters with the 
Mohammedans ; but, in the reign of Akbar and his 
two successors, their Rajas submitted to be treated 
as servants of the Mogul empire, holding high 
oflices both civil and military, and becoming con- 
nected with the imperial house by giving their 
daughters in marriage to the Emperor or his sons. 
The bigotry of Aurangzeb forced them to take up 
arms in defence of their religion ; and in a war of 
thirty years' continuance, although frequently de- 
feated in the field, their spirit was unbroken, and 
their principality unsubdued. After the death of 
Aurangzeb, their friendly intercourse with Delhi 
was resumed, and they were seen taking a promi- 

VOL. I. G 


BOOK I. nent part in the disorders that ensued. The de- 

__^J__ cline of the empire freed them from all semblance 

1807. of vassalage, but their own dissensions and crimes 

were more fatal to their power and reputation than 

their subservience to the Emperor. 

The country of Dhundhar, or, from its capital, 
Jaypur, lies on the north and east of Mewar and 
Marwar, extending towards the Jumna. It is the 
territory of the Kachwaha Rajputs, who consider 
themselves to be the posterity of Kusa, another son 
of Rama. The origin of the principality dates no 
earlier than the tenth century, and its capital was 
built only in the beginning of the eighteenth. 

From its eastern position, the principality lay 
exposed to the attacks of the Patau sovereigns of 
Delhi; but it was not until the accession of the 
house of Timur that its Rajas became feudatories 
of the empire. From the reign of Baber they ac- 
knowledged the supremacy of the Mogul, and were 
distinguished as the principal officers and nobles of 
his camp and court. They were early connected 
also with the imperial house by marriage, several 
maidens of the race becoming the brides of the Mo- 
hammedan princes.* Raja Jaysing, the founder of 
Jaypur, was actively concerned in all the stormy 
transactions of the disastrous period which followed 
the death of Aurangzeb; until, observing the irre- 
trievable ruin of the empire, and the irresistible 
progress of the Mahrattas, he made terms with 

' Bhagwan Daa is said to have been the first Rigput who submitted to 
an alliance with a Mohammedan family : his daughter was married to the 
son of Akbar, Prince Selim, afterwards the Emperor Jehangir. M4n Sing, 
nephew of Bhagwan Das, was a great faTonrite with Akbar ; and was 
successively viceroy of Bengal, Bahar, the Dekhin, and Kabul. — Annals 
of Rajasdian, i. S53. 


the latter, and withdrew from the politics of Hin- book i. 
dustan, to the cultivation of the arts of peace, and 


the improvement of his country. He died in 1743. 1807. 
After his deaths Dhundhar became a prey to intes- 
tine divisions and Mahratta spoliation. 

At the close of the war with the Mahrattas, 
Rana Bhim Sing was reigning at Udaypur; M4n 
Sing was Raja of Jodhpur ; and Jagat Sing, of Jay- 
pur. Neither of them possessed the qualifications 
which the times demanded; the patriotic senti- 
ments which should have suppressed selfish feelings 
and leagued them with their fellows, the judgment 
capable of estimating their own true interests, or 
the courage and energy necessary to maintain their 
independence. Listening alone to the dictates of 
personal enmity, they paralysed by their dissensions 
the valour of their subjects, and aided and abetted 
the foreign robber in the work of mutual destruc- 
tion. The cause of quarrel by which they were at 
this time exasperated against one another was pe- 
culiarly characteristic of the race, and to be paral- 
leled only in the poetical traditions of distant ages. 

Krishna Kumari, the daughter of Bhim Sing, Rana 
of Udaypur, was a maiden of reputed beauty and of 
imdoubted rank, and was consequently an object of 
desire to the other Rajput princes. Whilst yet a 
child, the Raja of Jodhpur, named also Bhim Sing, 
had made overtures for her hand ; but the alliance 
was prevented by his death. She was then solicited 
in marriage by Jagat Sing of Jaypur, and his propo- 
sals were accepted- by the Rana. An escort of three 
thousand troops was sent to Udaypur to convey 
the princess to Jaypur for the solemnisation of the 

G 2 


BOOK I. nuptials, when the negotiations were interrupted by 
the rival pretensions of Man Sing, the Raja of 
1807. Jodhpur. He demanded the princess as the af- 
fianced bride of his predecessor, and declared that 
her marriage into any other family would bring 
indelible disgrace upon him and his tribe. Man 
Sing is said to have been instigated to the asser- 
tion of his claims by one of his chief Thakurs, 
Sawai Sing, who, for purposes of his own, sought 
to involve his liege lord in hostilities with the sur- 
rounding states. 

Bhim Sing, the preceding Raja of Jodhpur, left at 
his death his widow pregnant; and it was a condition 
of Man Sing's accession, that, if the child should 
prove to be a boy, he should assign to the infant 
prince that portion of the royal domains which were 
regarded as the appanage of the heir-apparent. A 
boy was born; but, fearing to intrust him to the care 
of the Raja, the mother kept his birth secret, and 
the infant was sent privily to Pokama, the castle of 
Sawai Sing, where he was concealed. At the expi- 
ration of two years his protector, finding the chief 
feudatories of Jodhpur greatly discontented by the 
preference given by the Raja to certain of his fa- 
vourites, communicated to them the birth and 
existence of the prince, and secured their concur- 
rence in the vindication of his claims. They re- 
paired accordingly in a body to the Raja, and de- 
manded the fulfilment of his engagement. Man 
Sing, with some reason, required evidence of the 
genuineness of the pretended heir; but the Rani 
when appealed to, fearing, it was affirmed, for her 
own safety, denied that she had given him birth. 


The chiefs were silenced, but not satisfied ; and book i. 

rf"<» CHAP L 

Sawai Sing awaited a more favourable season for 
advancing the pretensions of the youth whose cause 1807. 
he had espoused. It was with this view that he 
uiged M^ Sing to demand the hand of the prin- 
cess of Udaypur, anticipating the series of diffi- 
culty and danger in which he would be conse- 
quently involved. The anticipation was speedily 
realised. The party sent to Udaypur by Jagat Sing 
was attacked and routed ; and the Rana was com- 
pelled to retract his assent, and affiance his daugh- 
ter to M &n Sing. His rival was furious at the dis- 
appointment and the insult; and a war broke out 
between the two Rajas, which was equally destruc- 
tive to all the Rajput principalities. 

From the time when the first Baji Rao esta- 
blished the ascendancy of the Mahratta power in 
Central India, the princes of Rajputana had been 
forced to pay the Chouth, the fourth part of their 
annual net revenue, or a sum arbitrarily estimated 
equivalent to a fourth, as a fixed tribute. The 
pajrment was at first made to the Government of 
Poena ; but, as the authority of Sindhia and Holkar 
came to supersede that of the Peshwa, they claimed 
it as their right. The indefinite scale by which the 
tribute was measured, and the relative ability of the 
parties to enforce or resist the demand, rendered 
the actual amount payable undetermined ; and it was 
no part of Mahratta policy to admit of a composi- 
tion, as the vagueness of the sum afibrded them a 
convenient plea for unlimited exaction. There was 
consequently a constant arrear due by the Rajput 
states, and a constant pretext for the desolating 


BOOK I, incursions of the Mahratta troops. In the division 

CHAP !■ 

' of the spoil, the Jaypur tribute was appropriated by 
1807. Holkar ; that of Udaypur and Jodhpur by Sindhia : 
but they had also conflicting pretensions each to a 
portion of the plunder of the other. The Peshwa 
had likewise his claims to a share, but his alliance 
with the British debarred him from their compul- 
sory enforcement. 

The Raja of Jodhpur lost no time in influencing 
the Mahratta chiefs to befriend his cause. Sindhia 
was already at variance with his rival, the Jaypur 
Raja having refused to pay some of his extortionate 
demands ; and Holkar was indebted to him for pro- 
tection which he had given to the family of that chief- 
tain during his campaigns in Hindustan. The Raja 
of Jaypur disregarded the combination, in reliance 
upon the British Government, with which he had 
entered into alliance ; * and which, in the treaty of 
peace with Holkar, as concluded by Lord Lake, had 
cancelled the Mahratta's claims upon its allies, and 
dispossessed him of all territory north of the Bundi 
Hills. The declaratory article of Sir G. Barlow, as 
already noticed, annulled these stipulations, and vir- 
tually excluded the Raja of Jaypur from the benefits 
of the alliance upon which he had depended ; and it 
was not to be wondered at that he should have 
remonstrated strongly against bis desertion. His 
1804. abandonment was wholly indefensible. It was not 
to be controverted that a treaty had been contracted 
with him, by which the enemies of one of the con- 
tracting parties were to be considered as the enemies 

' The treaty is dated 12 Dec. 1803 ; the date of iU ratification by the 
Raja is left blank. — Coll. of Treaties, p. 253. 


of both ; and the Raja, in the event of a dispute book l 
with any other prince, was entitled to British media- ' 
tion and aid. When he required the fulfilment of ]80«. 
the stipulations, he was told that '' no treaty existed : 
it had been virtually abrogated by the non-perform* 
ance of his part of the compact. He had recalled his 
troops from Monson's detachment during its retreat ; 
he had not sent his forces to join the British army 
when it moved northwards, but dispatched them to 
Udaypur ; and had not only failed to cut off Holkar's 
supplies, but allowed him to march through the 
Jaypur territory. He had no longer, therefore, 
anjrthing to expect from the British Government.*' 
The Raja denied the justice of the charges adduced 
against him. He afiirmed that his troops had separ 
rated from Colonel Monson with that officer s con- 
sent, and by the orders of Lord Lake; that although 
his forces were on their march to Udaypur, yet, as 
soon as their services were required, they suspended 
their march, and joined the Bombay army under 
General Jones, and that General Jones and Lord 
Lake had both furnished him with their written 
acknowledgments of the promptitude and efficacy of 
his co-operation. Lord Lake had also given him 
strong assurance of the stability of the alliance. 
He represented, that, if the British Government had 
been dissatisfied with his conduct at any particular 
time, it should at that time have expressed its dis- 
pleasure, and at once have declared the alliance 
annulled. To have continued to employ the services 
of the Raja until they were no longer needed, and 
reserved all expression of dissatisfaction until it 
could be used as a pretext for getting quit of an in- 


BOOK I. convenient obligation, was both disingenuous and 
CHAP. I. dishonourable ; to desert an old friend because the 

1806. tide was setting against him, was ungenerous and 
unjust; and the powers of India could not but 
regard the conduct of the Government of Bengal 
as a departure from that good faith which it 
had hitherto been its pride to preserve invio- 
late. The argument was incontrovertibly in the 
Raja's favour: the Government had continued to 
exact and receive from him services to which he 
was bound by treaty after the commission of those 
acts which they subsequently held to have virtually 
annulled it. Admitting that the Raja had broken 
his engagement, the Government, by accepting 
his aid as if no such breach had occurred, vir- 
tually admitted its non-occurrence, and recognised 
the engagement as still subsisting. It was however 
the inflexible policy of the Governor-General to 
abstain from interference, and the remonstrances 
and reasonings of the Raja of Jaypur were unavail- 
ing.^ He was consigned to the equally inexorable 
policy of the Mahrattas ; and the first-fruits of his 
desertion were the plunder of his country by 

' The remonstrances of the Raja were strongly supported by Lord 
Lake, as noticed in a preceding volume. The Court of Directors also, 
although they did not enjoin the renewal of the alliance, disapproved of 
its dissolution, conceiving its justice extremely questionable ; ** as although 
the Raja had failed in the performance of his engagements during the war 
with Holkar, yet he had furnished assistance towards its conclusion at 
the instance of Lord Lake, and under an expectation held out by his Lord- 
ship that the protection of the British Government would be continued to 
him ; and they thought it necessary to enjoin the Government of India 
to take care, in all its transactions with the native princes, to preserve its 
character for fidelity to its allies from falling into disrepute, and to evince 
a strict regard, in the prosecution of its political views, to the principles of 
justice iind generosity.*' The sincerity of these expressions would have 
been le^s liable to question if the policy which they condemned had been 
countermanded.—- Malcolm's Political Hist, of India, i. 390. 


the disorderly bands of Holkar as they returned book i. 
from the Punjab, and the payment to their leader of 


twenty lakhs of rupees as the price of his withhold- 1807. 
ing assistance from the Raja of Jodhpur.^ 

In the war that followed, Holkar so far adhered 
to the bargain he had made as to refrain from join- 
ing in person either of the rival Rajas. It did not 
however prevent him from permitting Amir Khan 
to enlist his mercenaries in their quarrel.* The 
Patau entered into the service of Jagat Sing : the 
Raja of Jaypur was also joined by Sawai Sing and 
the nobles of Jodhpur who supported the claims of 
the posthumous son of their last Raja, and Man 
Sing was deserted at the moment of encountering 
his enemies by almost all his principal chiefs. He 
was compelled to fly, and seek refuge in the citadel 
of Jodhpur; while the confederates overran and 
ravaged the rest of the country. They then laid 
siege to the capital: but it suited not the policy 
of Amir Khan to suffer the Raja's extermination; 
and taking, or affecting to take, umbrage at want 
of punctuality in the payment of his troops by the 

' Holkar's VakeeU expressed their master's acknowledgments to Lord 
Lake for the abrogation of the treaty with Jaypur as a personal finTOur in- 
tended to conciliate him. The act was viewed in the same light by the 
Peshwa and Raja of Nagpur. — MS. Records. 

' The Amir and Holkar got up a pretended disagreement as an excuse 
for the uncontrouled proceedings of the former at the latter^s suggestion : 
according to his own story, he makes Holkar say, *' You must now separata 
from me in public as in quarrel, so that our enemies and the world in gene- 
ral may see that your continuing to raise troops is a source of dissatisfac- 
tion and displeasure to me, and not done with my concurrence or sanction. 
We may still understand one another in case of occasion arising for us to 
rejoin our forces. When the Amir took formal leave in open durbar, harsh 
words passed between him and the Maharaj, and so to the time when the 
Amir mounted his palki, as in high displeasure. The Maharaj, running on 
foot some paces alongside, took hold of the feet of it, and made a show of 
endeavouring to soothe and appease the Amir. The Amir, however, pre- 
tended not to listen, but returned to his army ;** p. 309. 


BOOK I. Raja of Jaypur, he abandoned Jagat Sing, accepted 

_^||^^^^ money and promises from Man Sing,* and, marching 

1807. into the country of Jaypur, commenced a course of 

depredation which speedily compelled the Raja to 

break up the siege of Jodhpur, and hasten to the 

defence of his own dominions. 

A double game was in like manner played by 
Sindhia. In the first instance he befriended the 
suit of the Jodhpur Raja, and contributed to the 
defeat of the troops sent to escort the princess to 
Jaypur;* but, having received payment of consi- 
derable sums affirmed to be due to him from the 
Rana, he professed to remain neutral in the con- 
test. His principal captains were, however, al- 
lowed to side with either of the competitors. 
They ranged themselves under the banners of Amir 
Khan, and assisted to ravage Jodhpur until the har- 
vest was gleaned ; when Ambaji Inglia renewed his 
connexion with Man Sing, and Bapu Sindhia and 
Baptiste extended their marauding expeditions to 
the districts on the west of the Jumna, with which 

^ The terms of his compact with M4n SiDg were, according to Amir 
Khan's statement, that he should pay four lakhs and fifty thousand rupees 
(£46,000) per mensem, besides taking a brigade into permanent senrtce; 
and should further give the Amir a Jagir of four lakhs for kitchen expenses, 
and confer Jagirs also on his principal officers ; p. 324. 

' Tod has two apparently contradictory accounts of this transaction. 
In one place he states that Sindhia was encamped in the territory of 
Udaypur in the course of enforcing pecuniary demands upon the Rana ; 
aad that, having at the same time been denied a contribution from Jaypur, 
be insisted upon the dismissal of the Jaypur embassy. Upon the Rana's 
refusal he advanced with his brigades, defeated the troops of Udaypur 
joined by the Jaypur detachment, which he dispersed ; and, encamping 
near Udaypur, compelled the Rana to submit to his conditions. — Annals 
of Rajasthan, i. 461. In another place he says, M&n Sing assembled three 
thousand horse, and, joining to them the mercenary bands of Heera Sing 
then on the frontier of Mewar, he intercepted the nuptial gifts of Amber; 
ii. 142. The first account is probably the more correct, as Tod was in 
Sindhia*s camp ; or it may be possible to reconcile the two. 


the British Government bad purposed to recom- book i. 
pense the attachment of its adherents. ^chap^ 

The services of Amir Khan were not confined to 1807. 
the relief of Jodhpur from the presence of a victo- 
rious army, or to the retaliation of the havock which 
it had committed. He engaged to rid Man Sing of 
an enemy more formidable than his rival Raja, and 
put an end to the internal divisions that in a still 
greater degree endangered his security, by the mur- 
der of Sawai Sing, and the extinction of the faction 
of which he was the head. Simulating a quarrel 
with Man Sing, Amir Khan quitted him in seeming 
anger, and marched to Nagore, where Sawai Sing 
and the pretender had fortified themselves. Here he 
induced the Rahtore chief to believe that he might 
be bought over to their cause ; and the advantages 
resulting from his alliance blinded the Rajput to 
the peril of unguarded intercourse with so perfidious 
a confederate. With the assumption of entire con- 
fidence Amir Khan visited Sawai Sing, and gave 
him the most solemn assurances of his sincerity: 
suspicion was completely disarmed, the visit was 
returned, and the Rajput was received in the tent 
of Amir Khan with every demonstration of respect 
and cordiality. Inventing a plausible excuse for a 
short absence, Amir Khan withdrew ; the cords of 
one side of the tent were immediately let loose, 
and, whilst all within it were entangled beneath its 
folds, an indiscriminate fire of musketry and grape 
was poured upon them ; Sawai Sing, his friends and 
attendants, those of Amir Khan himself, the dan- 
cing girls and musicians, all who had been present at 
the ititernew, were alike the victims of this mur- 


BOOK I. derous device. The death of his rebellious feud- 
^"^^' '• atory put an end to the danger and fears of the 

1807. Raja of Jodhpur.^ Nagore was plundered, but 
Dhokal Sing effected his escape, and found a pro- 
tector in the Riya of Bikaner ; until a superior force 
besieged the Raja in his capital, and compelled him 
to withdraw his protection, and pay a heavy fine 
for his hospitality. The young prince then fled to 
the British territories and there remained in secu- 

The state of affairs in Holkar's camp having called 
Amir Khan thither, the Rajput princes were relieved 
awhile from his exactions. Jaypur enjoyed but a 
brief respite, as Sindhia presently demanded com- 
pensation for the services rendered by his troops; 
services which he had pretended not to sanction, 
and which, in truth, they had never discharged. 
The claim was not admitted : upon which he led his 
army across the Chumbal, and sat down before 
Dhuni, which he fruitlessly besieged. Foiled in 
this object, he listened to proposals from the Raja, 
and agreed to accept seventeen lakhs of rupees as 
the price of his retreat, having inflicted upon the 
country damage to an infinitely larger amount. 

Although the Rana of Udaypur had taken no part 
in the war, and had therefore given less occasion 
than his neighbours to any pretext for Mahratta 

' According to Tod, the price of the crime was ten lakhs of rupees, and 
the two towns of Mundhiawar and Kuchilavas, each yielding an annual 
revenue of 30,000 rupees; 11. 160. Amir Khan states the sum at thirty- 
five lakhs of rupees, of which half was paid at the time. The conditions 
formerly agreed upon were renewed, with additional specifications ; and 
Jagirs were promised to his son, his father-in-law, and others of his princi- 
pal leaders. The Amir tells the story himself without any attempt at 
extenuation, and seems to regard it as an honourable exploit ; pp. S47. 360. 


extortion, he was obliged to drain his treasures in book i. 
order to purchase the forbearance of both Sindhia ^^^^' ^ 
and Amir Khan. The exhaustion of his resources I807. 
was however less painful to him than the degrada- 
tion which he felt in being obliged to treat them 
as equals, and the total want of deference which 
upstart adventurers and military robbers paid to his 
exalted rank and ancient descent. In his distress 
he applied earnestly for the intervention of the 
British Grovemment, and offered the cession of one 
half of his territory if it would protect the other 
half from Mahratta spoliation. The same interposi- 
tion was solicited by another Rajput prince, Zalim 
Sing of Kota, who, although he had wisely kept 
aloof from the contest between the rival Rajas, had 
nevertheless been repeatedly mulcted by Amir Khan 
and Sindhia ; and the contending princes of Jaypur 
and Jodhpur made a similar urgent appeal to the 
Government of Bengal, pledging themselves to abide 
by its mediation, and to submit to any conditions 
it should please to impose. They depended upon 
its interference as an obligation which it was bound 
to fulfill as inheriting the paramount sovereignty of 
Hindustan. The dignity and power of the imperial 
court of Delhi had been appropriated by the Go- 
vernor-General and the Comicil of Calcutta; and, 
along with the authority, the duties which the 
Emperors were accustomed to discharge had de- 
volved upon them. The weaker states of India, 
they argued, had a natural right to look up to the 
British Government for protection against the am- 
bition and rapacity of the stronger; and they de- 
nied that there was any valid excuse for its ques- 


BOOK I. tioning the right when it was fully capable of exer- 
^^'' '' cising the power. The Mahrattas, who were at that 
1807. moment spreading terror and desolation from the 
Setlej to the Nerbudda, were wholly incompetent to 
offer any opposition to the arms and authority of 
the Company ; and the Governor-General had only to 
speak the word, and universal tranquillity would be 
restored. The policy of this course, they main- 
tained, was equally obvious with its justice and hu- 
manity; for the British territories would derive 
security and prosperity from the suppression of dis- 
orders, which excluded their population from all 
amicable intercourse with the surrounding countries, 
and kept their own frontiers in perpetual disquietude 
and alarm. To these representations the principle 
of non-interference was inflexibly opposed ; and Cen- 
tral India was allowed to fall into a condition of 
anarchy and ruin, which was accelerated rather than 
arrested by the removal of the innocent cause to 
which its present misery was ascribed.^ 

When all hope of the protection of the British 
Government was resigned, the Rana of Udaypur 
was driven to the unpalatable measure of retain- 
ing the services of Amir Khan : a fourth of his re- 
venues was assigned to the Mohammedan leader, as 
the hire of one of his brigades to be employed in 
collecting the revenues and guarding the frontiers of 

' So far was adiiarence to this policy carried, that when the Raja of 
Macheri, at the solicitation of the Rani of Jaypur, sent a party of horse to 
escort the women and children of the Raja to a place of safety in his 
country, he was enjoined by the Resident at Delhi, under the orders of the 
Goremment, to forego his purpose and recall his troops ; and was told that 
any interposition whatever would be regarded as a breach of the alliance 
under which he claimed British protection, September, 1S07. — MS. Re- 


Mewar.^ The influence thus obtained by Amir Khan book i. 
in the counsels of Udaypur afforded an occasion for J^^^^^ 
a new display of his recklessness of human life, and 1807. 
added another victim to the many whom he had 
unscrupulously sacrificed to his interest or his po- 
licy. He instigated the Rana to put his daughter 
to death. He also hinted, that, as the ally and friend 
of Man Sing, he should, if he found an opportunity, 
carry her off by force and deliver her to the Raja ; 
and he promised, if the Rana followed his advice, to 
assist him in recovering possession of a district in 
the hands of Man Sing which he coveted. The 
natural reluctance of the father was overcome by 
the blended motives of policy, fear, and hope, and 
poison was administered to the princess.' 

The transactions in which the three principal Raj- 

* The Amir relates this arrangement with great self-complacency, re- 
marking that the Rana and he exchanged turbands in pledge of friendship ; 
p. 399. It must have cost the ** son of the Sun*' many a bitter pang before 
he coold stoop to such an interchange of marks of equality and fraternity 
with a Mohammedan trooper. 

* Amir Khan relates this transaction without any resenre. According to 
his account, the Rana, after reflecting on his recommendation, said, " If 
you will pledge yourself to get for me Khali-rao from Raja Mkn Sing, I 
will in that case contrive to get rid of my daughter after you shall have 
gone, using such means as shall create as little odium as possible.*' The 
Amir agreed to the condition ; and the Rana, after his departure, caused 
poison to be mixed with his daughter's food, and so administered it to her. 
It happened that what she took was not sufficient to effect the purpose, 
and the princess guessed the object of her father; whereupon she sent him 
a message, that, as it was a matter that concerned the good of the ima 
and the honour of his family, and it appeared that her living longer was 
inconsistent with these in her father's opinion, there was no occasion for 
him to have gone secretly to work, for that she was prepared to die by her 
own act. Accordingly, having bathed, and dressed herself in new and gay 
attire, she drank off the poison, and so gave up her precious life, earning 
the perpetual praise and admiration of mankind. — Mem. 399. According 
to Malcolm and Tod, the death of the princess, although suggested by 
Amir Khan, was pressed on the reluctant Rana by one of the Rajput 
nobles, Ajit Sing, whose memory on that account is execrated throughout 
Bajasthan. They both agree in the cheerful submission of the princess to 
the will of her father, and the grief of her mother, who died shortly after- 
wards, — Central India, i. SS9 ; Annals of Rajasthan, i. 46S. 


BOOK I. put states were involved with the Mahrattas for 
__^J___ some years subsequently to the restoration of peace 
1807. between the latter and the English, have been de- 
scribed at some length, not only on account of their 
importance in the general history of Hindustan, but 
of their connexion with subsequent events, by which 
they were brought within the pale of that protec- 
tion which they now solicited in vain. A brief no- 
tice will suffice for the remaining chiefs of the Raj- 
put tribes. 

The Raja of Bikaner, Surat Sing, was a member 
of the family which reigned over Marwar. His 
ineffective support of the pretender, Dhokal Sing, has 
been mentioned. After payment of the stipulated 
contributioti he was left unmolested, the desert 
surface of his country offering little temptation to 
the marauder. The same circumstance, and the re- 
moteness of its situation, protected the neighbour- 
ing state of Jeselmer, lying north-west of Marwar, 
and inhabited chiefly by the Bhatti tribe of Rajputs. 
Although secluded from the aggressions of the Mah- 
rattas, domestic quarrels did their work as well. 

In an angle formed between Jaypur and Malwa, 
the province of Haravati, so called from its prin- 
cipal occupants the Hara Rajputs, was divided be- 
tween Kota. and Bundi. Kota was under the ma- 
nagement of Zalim Sing, nominally minister, but 
exercising the authority of Raja ; his sovereign being 
content to lead a life of ease and exemption from 
responsibility. By a remarkable association of craft, 
prudence, and resolution, Zalim Sing, although 
obliged to pay tribute and occasional extraordinary 
contributions, contrived to remain on friendly terms 


with the Mahratta leaders, and to preserve his book i. 
country from their ravages : he had also established ^^**^^jjj^ 
a character for firm and faithful adherence to his i807. 
engagements, and to his honour and integrity the 
chiefe of every nation and tribe were accustomed to 
intrust their families and their wealth.^ The state of 
Bundi, which in the reign of Akbar was one of the 
most considerable Rajput principalities, had been 
reduced to narrow limits by a series of misfortunes 
and the enmity of Jaypur. In consequence of the 
latter, a former Raja had been dispossessed of his 
patrimony ; but he had been reinstated by Malhar 
Rao Holkar, and had thence become a tributary of 
the Mahratta. His grandson, the ruling Raja at 
the time of Colonel Monson's retreat, had given the 
British detachment a free passage through his ter- 
ritories, and afforded every assistance within his 
means. Those whom he had befriended, abandoned 
him to the resentment which his conduct had pro- 
voked in their behalf; and for several years he was 
exposed to every species of insult and extortion, 
from the vindictive policy of Sindhia and Holkar.* 

Tlie only other Rajput principality of any consi- 
deration was that of Macheri, between the Jumna 
and Jaypur. Originally a feudatory of Jaypur, the 
Raja had taken advantage of the enfeebled condition 
of his liege lord, and had early in the Mahratta war 
placed his independence under the shield of British 
protection.' The engagement was concluded during 

' Ambaji Inglia and Amir Khan both placed their families in the safe 
keeping of Zalim Sing ; and the former deposited at Kota his treasures, 
which were of considerable amount. — Central India, i. 493. 

3 Annals of Rajasthan, i. 601 ; Duff's Mahrattas, iii. 281. 311. 

' Coll. of Treaties, 251. The treaty was a general engagement of de- 

VOL. I. H 


BOOK I. the administration of Lord Wellesley, in conformity 
^"^^' ^ to his policy of interposing a chain of independent 
1807. native princes between the Jumna and the Mah- 
rattas. As this was contrary to the views of his 
saccessors, they would have thought it fortunate if 
the Rajas of Macheri and Bhurtpore, who were si- 
milarly circumstanced, could have been induced to 
seek the dissolution of the alliance: they were 
obliged to admit however, that, as the engagements 
had been contracted, it would be inconsistent with 
the credit of the Government to refrain from grant- 
ing them protection against the menaced aggres- 
sions of Holkar. Notwithstanding reiterated assur- 
ances to this effect, the Raja of Macheri, alarmed 
by the abandonment of Jaypur, continued to appre- 
hend a like desertion, until the obvious change in 
the counsels of Calcutta dissipated his fears. 

It is equally unnecessary to enter at any length 
upon the condition of the Jat princes of Hindustan. 
Professing to descend from the illustrious tribe of 
Yadu, the Jats on the Jumna had been trans- 
formed, by the necessity of self-defence, from a race 
of pacific agriculturists, into a nation of soldiers and 
conquerors. Forced into martial distinction by the 
distractions of Hindustan which followed the reign 
of Aurangzeb, they continued, under a succession of 
warlike chieftains, to take a prominent and profit- 
able part in all the troubles wliich ensued, until the 
establishment of the authority of Sindhia at Delhi. 
In this interval their leaders acquired extensive 

fensive alliance : troops were to be sent to the aid of the Riga when re- 
quired, afler failure of mediation between him and aiiy other prince with 
whom he might be at enmity. No subsidy or tribute was imposed. 


and valuable possessions ; and, although their powet book i. 
had been diminished by the superior resources of . ^"^''' '' 
the Mahrattas, the representative of the original I807. 
ruling family still retained a country of some ex*- 
tent, guarded by strong-holds, one of which was for 
many years a monument of British discomfiture. 
The Raja of Bhurtpore had become subsequently an 
ally of the British Government, and readily had 
recourse to its aid in moments of peril/ The sue* 
cessfiil defence of his fortress had, however, im- 
pressed him strongly with a mistaken estimate of 
his own importance, and in his intercourse with 
the protecting state he displayed equal arrogance 
and distrust. 

The only other prince of this tribe, the Rana of 
(Johud, was descended from a Jat leader who rose 
to distinction in the time of the first Baji Rao 
in the Peshwa's service. After the defeat of the 
Mahrattas at the battle of Paniput, he set himself 
up as independent ruler of the districts which had 
been intrusted to his charge ; and his successor was 
allowed to retain them on condition of paying tri- 
bute to the Peshwa. The chiefs of Gohud were 
both by tribe and by position the enemies of the 
Mahrattas ; and in this spirit the Rana, during the 
administration of Warren Hastings, joined the Bri- 
tish, and rendered useful service to the detachment 
under Colonel Camac. After the peace he was left 
to his own unassisted means of defence, and these 
were insufficient to save him from the resentment 
of Madhoji Sindhia. His territory was invaded; 


' For an account of the Jftts, see Tod*8 RsgaBthan, ii. 370; also a 
sketch of their history, Calcutta Quarterly Magazine, March, 1826. 



BOOK I. the fort of Gwalior, which after its capture from 
^"^''' ^ Sindhia by the British had been given to the Rana, 
1807. was re-taken; and the Bana was compelled to sur- 
render himself a prisoner, upon a verbal assurance 
of personal immunity. In the late war with the 
Mahrattas, Ambaji Iiiglia, who governed Gohud on 
the part of Dowlat Rao Sindhia, went over to his 
enemies ; and, as the reward of his desertion, a por- 
tion of the territory was guaranteed to him by 
treaty, whilst the Rana was replaced in the occupa- 
tion of the remainder.* The policy of Sir G. Bar- 
low, and his anxiety to conciliate Sindhia, led him 
to annul the treaty with the Rana of Gohud, upon 
the plea that he had not fulfilled its conditions, and 
that the agreement was therefore virtually can- 
celled. The territory was in consequence restored 
to Sindhia, and compensation was made to the 
Rana by the cession to him of Dholpur, which 
Sindhia had given up.* The stipulations of the 
treaty had pledged the Rana to efforts beyond his 
means; and his failure, as it proceeded from no 
defection on his part, was not a sufficient excuse for 
the violation of positive engagements. At the same 
time, it is evident that the British Government had 
formed an erroneous conception of the rights and 
power of the Rana of Gohud, and that Sindhia had 
good reason to complain of an arrangement which 
had converted a dependent of his government into 
an independent prince. The Rana himself, al- 

' Ambaji was allowed to retain territory yielding a revenue of nine 
lakhs of rupees a-year. The portion assigned to the Rana was estimated 
at twenty-six lakhs.^^Ooll. of Treaties, pp. 256. 258. 

' Second treaty with Kirat Sing, Rana of Gohud, 1806. — Coll. of 
Treaties, 298. 


though not placed in the position which was at first book I. 

designed for him, had no little cause for self-gratu- . 

lation in his transformation from the condition of a ^®^^- 
prisoner and a fugitive, to that of a prince reigning 
in absolute sovereignty, under the security of Bri* 
tish protection, over a portion of those domains the 
whole of which were held by his ancestors only 
through the sufferance of a Mahratta chieftain, sub- 
ject to his exactions and liable to his resumption/ 

Although seceders in some respects from the 
orthodox religion of the Hindus, the Sikhs retain 
so many essential articles of the Brahmanical faith, 
that they may be justly classed among the Hindu 
races. In their original institution, the Sikhs were 
a religious community, who, in consonance with 
the benevolent objects of their founder, Nanak 
Shah, a native of the Punjab, proposed to abolish 
the distinctions of caste, and to combine Hindus 
and Mohammedans in a form of theistical devotion, 
derived from the blended abstractions of Sufyism and 
the Vedanta, and adapted to popular currency by 
the dissemination of the tenets which it inculcated, 
in hymns and songs composed in the vernacular dia- 

' The conduct of Sir G. Barlow in regard to the Rana of Gohud has 
been vindicated by high authority. In the debate on the India Budget in 
the House of Commons, 10th July, 1806, Sir Arthur Wellesley ia reported 
to have asserted that Lord Wellesley had himself taken into consideration 
the expediency of restoring to Sindhia the territory of Gohud and the fort 
of Gwalior, and that the cession was not sooner made was owing to a want 
of confidence in the steadiness and consistency of Sindhia's counsels. Sir 
A. Wellesley states also that it had always been his opinion that Gohud 
and Gwalior ought to be restored to Sindhia. '' Upon the whole,'* he con- 
cludes, " the committee will observe, that I consider Sir G. Barlow*s treaty 
with Sindhia to have been consistent with the spirit of that which I was 
the instrument of concluding at the close of the year 1803 ; and that the 
late Governor-General, Lord Wellesley, intended to have carried into exe- 
cution that part of its stipulations which refers to Gwalior and Gohud.** — 
Hansard's Pari. Deb. 


BOOK I. lects. These still constitute the scriptural authority, 

CHAP. I. I J^ 

^_ the Grantha, the book of the Sikhs. The doctrines 

1807. and the influence of the teachers gave a common 
faith to the hardy and intrepid population of the 
,upper part of the Punjab, and merged whatever dis- 
tinctive appellations they previously possessed in the 
new general designation of " Sikhs," or " disciples,** 
which thenceforth became their national denomina- 
tion. As their numbers increased, they attracted 
the notice of the Mohammedan rulers, and were 
subjected to the ordeal of persecution. They had 
recourse to arms: under a succession of military 
leaders, the sword became inseparably associated in 
their creed with the book ; and their ranks were re- 
cruited by fugitives from political disorder and fiscal 
oppression, who readily adopted a faith which made 
but trifling demands upon their belief, and differed 
in few material points from that which they pro- 
fessed. Community of danger became the bond of 
bath a religious and a social organization, and a 
nation grew out of a sect. As the birth-place of their 
{bunder Nanak, and of the teacher who in a still 
greater degree gave to the Sikhs their characteristic 
peculiarities, Guru Govind Sing, was the Punjab; 
it was there that they congregated and became 
organised^ in spite of the efforts of the viceroys of 
Lahore for their suppression, until they had become 
masters of the whole of the country from the Setlej 
to the Indus. 

The circumstances under which the Sikhs achieved 
their independence were unfavourable to the con- 
solidation of their power. In their hostilities with 
the Mohammedans they acted without plan and 


without an acknowledged head, and adopted a de« book i. 
sultory system of warfare, in which different leaders ''"^^' '' 
collected their relations and friends, and unexpect* I807. 
edlj fell upon their enemies and laid waste the 
country. As the means of opposing their incursions 
declined, they were emboldened to undertake ope- 
rations of greater importance requiring concert and 
combination; and, for this purpose, the different 
Sirdars assembled occasionally at a public diet 
usually held at Amritsar, the site of their principal 
shrine. When the Afghans supplanted the Moguls 
in the goYemment of the Punjab, the Sikhs expe- 
rienced some scYcre reverses from the military skill 
and activity of Ahmed Shah ; but after his death 
they were left at liberty to establish themselves as a 
political confederacy in the countries which they now 
occupy. The districts were divided amongst differ- 
ent associations termed Misals, implying assemblies 
of equals under chiefs of their own selection. The 
chief was to lead in war^ and arbitrate in peace : he 
was treated with deference by the other Sirdars, but 
they recognised no obligation to obey his commands. 
Towards the end of the last century twelve principal 
Misals were formed, varying considerably in the ex- 
tent of territory which they governed, and in the 
number of horse which they could bring into the 

In the course of time the inherent defects of a 
military federation of this description began to be 
manifested, and individual ambition and ability to 

' An interesting accooot of the Sikh federation will be fboad in the 
'' Origin of ^e Sikh power in the Pui^jab,'* compiled by Mr. Prinsep 
chiefly from the report of Captain William Murray, Political Agent at 
Ambala ; Calcutta, 1834. 


BOOK I. assume that ascendancy which they were calculated 
_^^|^^^]^ to attain. Amongst the least considerable of the 
1807. Misals was that of Surat-Chak, so called from the 
lands which the progenitors of the chief, Charat Sing, 
had originally cultivated. Charat Sing commenced 
a career of aggrandisement at the expense of his 
neighbours, which his son Maha Sing pursued 
with still greater success. The son of the latter, 
Ranjit Sing, had, however, surpassed both ; and by a 
singular combination of courage and cunning he had 
brought most of the chiefs on the west of the Setlej 
under his controul. The chiefs on the east of that 
river, whose possessions were contiguous to the pro- 
vince of Delhi, professed, after the close of the 
Mahratta war, an undefined allegiance to the Bri- 
tish Government ; and some uncertainty with regard 
to the protection with which it was repaid com- 
pelled Ranjit Sing to proceed with caution in his 
project of extending his supremacy across the Setlej. 
That he was disappointed in his projects was attri- 
butable to the altered policy of the British Govern- 
ment upon the accession of Lord Minto to the 
office of Governor-General.^ 

From the review that has been thus taken of 
the political circumstances of India during the 
administration of Sir G. Barlow, it is evident 
that the supremacy of the British power was 
virtually established, although matters were not 
yet sufficiently ripe for its open avowal. Some 

' A deBcriptioa of the religious tenets of Uie Sikhs will be found in the 
Asiatic Researches, vol. xvii. ; and a more general account of their origin 
and history is published in the eleventh volume of the same collection, by 
Sir John Malcolm. Mr. Prinsep*8 work, just referred to, describes their 
later progress and the rise of Ranjit Sing. 


unnecessary forbearance was no doubt exhibited, book i. 
and some degree of blame deservedly incurred ^"^^' ^ 
for apprehensions needlessly entertained, and en- I807. 
gagements unjustifiably violated; but it may be 
questioned if the policy of the Government did not, 
however undesignedly, promote the consummation 
which it was intended to avoid. It would have 
been easy, and it would have been generous, to 
have interposed in defence of the Rajput princes 
and rescued them from Mahratta rapacity ; but, had 
the tranquillity of Hindustan been restored by a 
further expenditure of the resources of Bengal, the 
latter would have required a longer period for the 
renovation of its exhausted vigour, whilst the former 
would have been earlier placed in a condition to 
provoke and defy its resentment. The continued 
contests of the native princes operated favourably 
for the extension of British ascendancy : they dis- 
posed the weaker to welcome the approach of fo- 
reign protection, and they disabled the stronger from 
offering effective opposition. On the other hand, 
the suspension of military operations of any magni- 
tude for several years afforded the British Govern- 
ment opportunity to accumulate and improve- its 
resources, and, when again compelled to employ 
them, to put forth its energies with a might which 
made resistance to it hopeless, and elevated it to an 
eminence from which it directed without dispute 
the destinies of Hindustan. 



Sir George Barlow^ Govemor-General. — SUUe of the 
Finances. — Retrenchments. — Supplies. — Judicial 
and Revenue Arrangements for Cuttack^ the Doab^ 
ofid Bunddkhand. — Revenue Settlements in the 
Ceded and Conquered Provinces. — Separation of Ju- 
dicial and Revenue Functions at Madras. — Murder 
of Europeans at Vdlore. — Amval of the Dragoons. 
— Fort retaken. — Military Inquiry. — Disposal of 
tlie Prisoners. — Causes and circumstances of the 
Mutiny. — Its Origin in religious panic occasioned 
by military Orders. — Similar Alarms at Hyder€^ 
body Walqjabady and Nandidrug allayed or sup^ 
pressed. — Lord W. Bentinck and Sir John Cradock 
recalled. — Ultimate Decision of t/ie Court of Di- 

BOOK T. When the provisional assumption of the govem- 
^^^^^^^ment of India by Sir George Barlow, consequent 
1806. upon the death of Marquis Comwallis, was known 
in England, the Court of Directors determined to 
nominate him permanently Govemor-Greneral, and 
the nomination was acquiesced in by the Board of 
Controul. The principles of the policy which he 
pursued towards the native states have been suf- 
ficiently explained, and their consequences exhi- 
bited in the preceding pages. The other transac- 


tions of his administration were for the most part book i. 
of inferior interest^ though scarcely of minor im- *^"^'''"- 
portance. i80€. 

The first cares of the new Governor-General 
were engaged by the state of the public finances, 
which had been seriously deranged by the expenses 
of the war. The charges had for some years past 
exceeded the reyenues by a considerable amount^ 
and the deficit had been supplied by loans con- 
tracted at a high rate of interest,^ or by the applica- 
tion of the Company's commercial remittances to 
territorial disbursements. Heavy demands still re- 
mained for liquidation ; the pay of the troops was 
seven and eight months in arrear ; large sums were 
due on account of pensions to native chiefs and 
princes, and funds to meet these claims were for 
some time deficient.^ 

The restoration of tranquillity admitted of econo- 
mical retrenchments in the principal article of 
public expenditure, the charges of the military de- 
partment, and in nothing more than the dismissal 
of the irregular troops which had been taken into 
the British service during the war : these were dis- 
banded, in several cases with injudicious haste ; and 
Jagirs were assigned to some of their leaders in 
commutation of pay or pension. A present incon- 
venience was thus in a great measure obviated, but 
the newly acquired districts were burthened with 
establishments which even in the present day in 

* A loan was opened in January, 1805, at 10 per cent., by which sicca 
rupees 2,12,47,000 (;£2,640,000) were raised. 

' The <|emaBdB payable by the Bengal Government amounted in May, 
1806, to ninety lakhs of rupees^ to meet which not above forty lakhs were 


BOOK I. some degree diminish the revenue that might else 
CHAP. II. ^ raised from them. Extensive reductions of the 

1806. regular forces were at the same time effected. 

The economical principles which guided the pro- 
ceedings of the Government of Bengal were equally 
impressed upon the attention of the subordinate 
Governments, and the importance attached to the 
object by Sir G. Barlow is fiilly shown by the lan- 
guage in which his views were communicated to 
Bombay and Madras. He reminded the supreme 
authorities at both Presidencies that, " the finances 
of the Company having been involved in extraordi- 
nary difficulties by the consequences of the late 
war, it had become the solemn duty of the different 
Indian Gt)vemments to establish a system of the 
most rigid economy through every branch of their 
civil and military expenditure;" and he therefore 
enjoined them " to abrogate all such charges as 
w^re not indispensable to the good government and 
security of the provinces under their controul. The 
extraordinary demands upon the public resources 
had arisen," he observed, " almost exclusively from 
the enhanced charges of the military departments ; 
but the circumstances of India were now propitious 
to their retrenchment, as no danger was to be ap- 
prehended from French aggression, and the condi- 
tion of the native states not in alliance with the 
Company precluded all apprehension of their pos- 
sessing the means of making any impression upon 
the British power for a long course of years : that 
independently of this prospect of future tranquillity, 
derived from the preponderating power of the lat- 
ter, the treaties which had been contracted with 


Sindhia and other princes had been drawn up with book i. 
a view to remove all grounds of difference, and to _^|^^2-1. 
conciliate them by concessions which would render isoe. 
it their interest to preserve the relations of amity 
so established inviolate." The Governor-General 
suggested various specifications of retrenchment, and 
concluded by confidently hoping that in a short 
time the reductions from those sources would re*- 
lieve all pressure upon the finances, and restore de- 
preciated public credit, leaving a surplus to pay off 
the public debt and provide the Company's com- 
mercial investment. 

This last consideration, the provision of the in- 
vestment of goods for sale in England, was, in fact, 
the main-spring of Sir G. Barlow's policy, as it was 
of that of the Company. It was the pressure upon 
their commercial credit and resources which the 
latter were most anxious to relieve; and, as their 
instructions to that effect found an obedient agent 
in the Governor-General, the necessary result was 
the sacrifice of all comprehensive political views 
to present commercial exigencies. The financial 
embarrassments of the Indian Governments were 
merely of a temporary nature: the return of 
peace necessarily reduced much of the immediate 
charge; and the revenues were rapidly increasing, 
from the valuable accessions of territory acquired 
during the war, and the certainty of their improve- 
ment under a regular and efficient system of admi- 
nistration. Nor was there any cause for alarm in 
the state of public credit, as, although it had been 
thought necessary to offer a high rate of interest, 
ten per cent, per annum, on a loan contracted in the 


BOOK I. early part of 1805, the rate was not unprecedented 
^^^^^^1^ or unusual ; and in the course of 1806 a loan was 
1806. opened at eight per cent, per annum, with such en- 
tire success, as in the course of a few years to ab- 
sorb all preceding and more burthensome obliga- 
tions.* The rate then negotiated commenced a 
series of reductions of the interest of the public 
debt, which has for some years past nearly equalised 
the interest paid in India with that which com- 
monly prevails in the kingdoms of continental Eu- 

The exertions made by Sir Greorge Barlow for 
the diminution of the public expenditure were not 
in vain ; and by the end of April 1807, the close of 
the Indian official year, shortly after which he re- 
linquished his office to his successor, he had re- 
duced the excess of annual charge to less than a 
half of its amount in 1805, and had matured a sys- 
tem of economy, which, in the first years of Lord 
Minto's administration, transformed the deficit into 
a surplus.* 

^ Sicca rupees 26,65,00,000, or about £80,000,000, were transferred and 
subscribed to this loan between 1805-6 and 1810-11, when it chiefly merged 
into a loan at no higher a rate than 6 per cent. 

' The rates of interest now borne by the public debt of India are 4 and 
5 per cent. 

' The statements appended to the Second Report of the Select Committee 
of the House of G>mmons, printed in May, 1810, present the following 
comparative view of the relative revenues and charges of India from 
1804-5 to 1807-8. 



Eaecest qf Charge, 

1804-5 . 

. £14,949,395 . 

. £16,487,346 . 

. £1,537,951 

1805-6 . 

. 15,403,409 . 

. 17,672,017 . 

. 2,268,608 

1806-7 . 

. 14,535,729 . 

. 17,688,061 . 

. 3,152,322 

1807-8 . 

. 15,669,905 . 

. 15,979,027 . 


By a statement in the author s possession, compiled in the office of the 
accountant-general in Calcutta, the returns of the three first years in Sicca 
Rupees are as follows : 



In order to provide for the most urgent and im- book i. 
mediate demands, funds were raised by a loan in 
1805-6 ; by which, in the course of that and the fol- isoe. 
lowing year, about four millions sterling were sup- 
plied to the treasury: the deficit which remained 


S.R. 15,76,18,750 
„ 16^44,88,747 
„ 13,99,23,581 

Eatctn of Charge. 

S. R. 2,69,69,509 
„ 2,86,49,705 

Surplus Hevenut, 




1804-6 . S. R. 13,06,49,241 
1805-6 . M 13,58^,952 
1800-7 . „ 12,97,16,627 

and in the foorth year, 

1807-8 . „ 13,87,59,682 . „ 13,n,19,952 

which ftnrpluB, calculating the rupee at 2«., which is something less than 
its intrinsic yalue, is equal to £103,973. These particulars agree with the 
statements given by Mr. Tucker ; of which he remarks, that, as they were 
prepared from oflScial and authentic documents, they may be received with 
confideDce. — Review of the Financial Situation of the East India Company, 
by H. St. George Tucker, p. 13. One source <^ difference in the two 
statements is the difference of exchange valuation. The old accounts of 
the East India Company were converted from Indian into English mo- 
ney at 2«. per current rupee (116 of which were equal to 100 Siccas) for 
Bengal, 8f . per pagoda for Madras, and 2s. 3d. per Bombay rupee : a 
▼aluation which, however correct according to the state of the exchange, 
was far above the intrinsic yalue of the coins ; the current rupee at par 
being wozth only 1«. 0d.*177, the pagoda 7«.6d.*386, and the Bombay 
rupee 2«. *008. — Report of Select Committee on the Finances of the East 
India Company, August 1832, App. No. 20. In the above comparison of 
receipts and disbursements, the rate being the same on both does not very 
materially affect the result, but the excess conveys an exaggerated view of 
their amount to the extent of about one-seyenth of the aggregate sums. 
Now, although the exchange values of the Indian currencies might be 
properly taken as the standard for their conyersion into English money in 
regard to all receipts and disbursements, whether commercial or territorial, 
occurring in England, yet such a standard was wholly inapplicable to re- 
Tenues and charges beginning and ending in India itself. The intrinsic 
value of the currencies, as compared with that of the British coinage, was 
in such case the least variable and most correct measure. The statements 
in Sicca Rupees, converted into Sterling at 2«. the rupee, would therefore 
be preferable, as nearer the truth ; but their use is inconvenient, as afford- 
ing results different from those given in the Parliamentary and India 
House accounts, the authorities most readily available : these will there- 
fore generaUy be followed. In the present case, besides the difference 
of yaluation, there is a discrepancy in the relative statements which is 
not easily accounted for. The annual accounts must have been made up 
either on different principles or for somewhat different intervals. The 
aggregate of the four years, adopting the conversion of the sicca into the 
current rupee, offers a near though not close approximation; the Par- 
liamentary accounts making it £7,268,003, the Calcutta statements sicca 
rupees 6,47,86,478 (equal to current rupees 7,51,52,314, and, at .2«. the 
current rupee, to) £7,515,231. 


BOOK I. was met by remittances from Europe, which, dur- 

__Jj_J_ ing the three years from 1804-5 to 1806-7, exceed- 

1806. ed by two millions sterling the supplies realised 

in England from the proceeds of the Company's 


Besides the measures adopted for the removal of 
financial difficulties, the Indian Grovemments were 
occupied during the interval between the departure 
of Marquis Wellesley and the arrival of Lord 
Minto in extending and consolidating the revenue 
and judicial arrangements in various districts newly 
taken under their authority. Upon the annexation 
of the province of Cuttack to the Presidency of 
Bengal, commissioners were appointed to effect a 
settlement of the revenue with the landholders ; and 
in September 1804 the latter were apprised that at 
the expiration of a twelvemonth a fixed assessment 
would be levied upon their lands, upon a just and 
moderate consideration of the receipts of former 
years. This announcement was confirmed by a 
regulation of the Government ; ^ and the same enact- 
ment recognised the principle of substituting a quit- 
rent for a land assessment in respect to certain 
petty Rajas and Zemindars residing in the moun- 
tains and thickets of Orissa. All other sources of 
revenue which had existed under the Mahratta Go- 
vernment were abolished, with the exception of an 
excise upon spirituous liquors, and a capitation tax 
upon pilgrims to the temple of Jagannath. The 
latter was the subject of a further enactment* in the 
following year, by which the amount of the tax, the 
mode of levying it, and other circumstances con- 

* Bengal Regulations. Reg. xii. 1805. ^ Reg. W. 1806. 


nected with it, were defined, with a view to protect book i. 
the pilgrims from the unwarranted exactions of the ^" 
officers of the Government or of the temple, and to isoe. 
maintain order and security in the town of Jagan- 
nath-pur and its dependencies. At the same time, 
provision was made for the administration of justice 
in civil causes by the institution of a provincial 
court,^ and a revision was effected of the system of 
police which had been previously in force in Cut- 
tack. The duties of the police during the Mahratta 
Government had been intrusted to a body of armed 
men, termed Paiks, or foot-men; who were com-» 
manded by their own Sirdars or chiefs, and occupied 
lands exempt from rent, in payment of their ser- 
vices. They were subject to the general controul 
of the landholders within whose domains they were 
located, and the landholders were responsible to the 
Government for the prevention of disorders and 
robberies within the limits of their respective es- 
tates.* This system was unchanged ; but, in order 
to fix upon the landholders a better defined author 
rity and more distinct responsibility, they were 
formally invested with the title and powers of 
Darogas, or head-officers of police, under the ge-* 
neral superintendence of the magistrate of the 

' Reg. xiv. 1805. A striking instance is afforded by one of the clauses 
of this regulation of the high value of money under the Mahratta Govern- 
ment, and its anticipated reduction under the British. In all disputes 
concerning obligations bearing interest which originated before October, 
1803, the court was authorised to recognise the following rates : on sums 
not exceeding 100 rupees, 30 per cent, per annum ; on larger sums, 24 per 
cent, per annum. Subsequently to the date specified, the rate of interest 
was restricted to 12 per cent, per annum. 

* Reg. iv. 1804. 
VOL. I. I 


BOOK I. The introduction of the Company's judicial and 
^^''•"- revenue regulations into the territories lastly ac- 
1806. quired in the Doab and in Bundelkhand had been 
accomplished by previous enactments/ Those af- 
fecting the revenue were based upon the principle 
of an ultimate settlement in perpetuity in the Upper 
provinces as well as in Bengal, but postponing its 
conclusion to the expiration of certain definite pe- 
riods. Two successive settlements were to be made 
for a term of three years each, and a third was to 
be concluded for a period of four years. On the 
close of each of the two first periods, the assessment 
was to be revised and augmented according to the 
progressive improvement which it was anticipated 
would have taken place in the value of landed pro- 
perty ; and at the end of the three terms, forming 
an aggregate of ten years, it was proposed to con- 
clude a perpetual settlement for all such lands as 
might be in a sufficiently improved state of cultiva- 
tion to warrant the measure, on such terms as the 
Government should deem fair and equitable. This 
last stipulation, strictly interpreted, rendered the 
pledge of little worth ; for it reserved to the Govern- 
ment the determination not only of the final rate of 
assessment, but of the condition of the lands to be 
assessed. A still more important modification of 
the original enactment was, however, introduced by 
Sir George Barlow. On the termination of the 
first triennial period of the settlement of the Ceded 
provinces, he added a clause to its renewal, which 
Lord Wellesley either overlooked or considered 
superfluous ; and enacted, that the proposed settle* 

> Re^. XXV. 1803; v. \ui, ix. 1805. 


ment of the revenue in perpetuity in the Ceded and book i. 
Conquered provinces should depend upon the con- _^^11^ 
firmation of the Court of Directors.^ Their confir- isoe. 
mation was never conceded. 

The principal legislative enactment at Fort St. 
Greorge had for its object the discontinuance of the 
judicial powers theretofore given to the collectors 
of the revenue in the districts which had not been 
permanently assessed. Distinct courts of civil judi- 
cature were established in the several Zillas, and 
the separation of the judicial from the revenue de- 
partment was completed in the territories of the 
Madras Presidency as well as in those of Bengal.* 
At the same time, the Supreme Court of Appeal 
was remodelled. It had hitherto been constituted 
of the Grovemor and Members of Council, a board 
already fully occupied. In their stead three Judges 
were appointed to the special duty of hearing ap- 
peals from the courts below, in addition to a Mem- 
ber of Council not being Governor of Madras, who 
was to act as Chief Judge.* No enactment of any 
interest was promulgated during this period at 

In the midst of their pacific occupations the Go- 
vernments of India were startled by the occurrence 
of an event unprecedented in the annals of British 
India, and inspiring fears for the solidity and per- 

' ** The Governor-General in Council hereby notifies to the Zemindara 
and other actual proprietors of land in the Ceded and Conquered prorinces, 
that the Jumma which may be assessed on their estates in the last year of 
the settlement immediately ensuing the present settlement shall remain 
fixed for ever, in case the Zemindars shall now be willing to engage for the 
payment of the public revenue on those terms in perpetuity, and the 
arrangement shall receive the sanction of the Court of Directors.** — Reg. x. 
1807. Sect V. 

' Reg. ii. 1806. ^ Reg. iii. 1807. 

I 2 


BOOK I. manence of the empire, — the massacre of the Eu- 

^"^''' "• ropean officers and soldiers in the garrison of Vel- 

1806. lore by the native regiments on duty along with 

them. This happened on the morning of the 10th 

of July, 1806.^ 

The fortress of Vellore, situated eighty-eight miles 
west from Madras, had been chosen, for the conve- 
nience of its position and the strength of its de- 
fences, as a safe residence for the family of Tippoo 
Sultan, which consisted of twelve sons and six 
daughters. The six elder sons were married, and 
had children : four of the daughters also were mar- 
ried, and the marriage of the fifth was in course of 
solemnisation when the mutiny broke out. Their 
families, with their connexions and followers, formed 
an assemblage of several hundred persons, all living 
in the former palace of the Nawabs of the Camatic, 
within the fort. The princes had been treated with 
a degree of distinction and liberality better suited to 
their former dignity than their fallen fortunes. They 
were under no other personal restraint than the at- 
tendance of a guard when they moved out, and pro- 
hibition against going out of the fort without the 
written authority of the commandant of the garri- 
son and the paymaster of their stipends. Their 
allowances not only provided amply for their wants, 
but enabled them to support some show of state, 
and to collect around them a swarm of needy 

* The chief authorities for the following narrative and observations are, 
the MS. Correspondence of the Madras Government ; Papers printed for 
Parliament in 1813 ; a Memorial addressed to the Court of Directors, and 
afterwards printed in 1810, by Lord William Bentinck; and Sir J. 
Cradock's Address to the Court, printed in the Asiatic Annual Register 
for 1807. 


adventurers and vagrant mendicants, the willing book i, 
instruments of mischief and eager fomenters of 


discontent.* The general charge of the princes 1806. 
and payment of their pensions were consigned to 
Lieutenant-Colonel Marriott. No other oflBcer was 
allowed to enter the palace without the permission 
of the princes, and no European sentinel did duty 
within its precincts. The native sentries were posted 
only at the outer doors of the several dwellings. 
Colonel Marriott discharged also the duties of su- 
perintendent of police for the fort and the adjacent 
town of Vellore, the population of which had largely 
increased. The garrison of the fort consisted of 
four companies of his Majesty's 69th regiment, six 
companies of the first battalion of the 1st regiment 
of Native Infantry, and the second battalion of the 
23rd. The Europeans were about three hundred 
and seventy in number, the natives fifteen hundred. 
The whole were commanded by Colonel Fancourt, 
the colonel of the 69th. Spacious barracks were 
severally appropriated to the use of the European 
and native troops. The officers occupied sepa- 
rate, and, for the most part, detached houses. 

About three o'clock in the morning of the 10th 
of July, the tranquillity of repose was broken by 
the sudden discharge of fire-arms, and the sound 
was speedily repeated in various directions. The 
Sipahis had been assembled silently in their quar- 
ters under arms by their native officers, and led 

* The four elder princes were allowed 50,000 rupees a-year each ; the 
three next, 25,000 rupees ; the two young;er, 8,400 rupees ; and the remain- 
ing three, 6,000 each. Tliere were above 3000 natives of Mysore in the fort 
and adjoininj^ Petta or town, and above 500 Mohammedan Fakirs. The 
whole population of the town was about 8000. 


BOOK I. to unexpected assaults upon the European posts. 
The few English sentinels on duty at the main- 
1806. guard and the powder magazine were shot or bay- 
oneted almost before they were aware of their dan- 
ger, and the possession of the magazine secured 
to the insurgents the sole supply of ammunition. 
Their chief body beset the European barracks, firing 
through the open doors and windows volley after 
volley, and repelling every attempt of its inmates to 
sally forth, by a murderous discharge of musketry, 
and the fire of a field-piece which they had planted 
opposite to the doorway. As soon as these attacks 
commenced, detachments were stationed to watch 
the dwellings of the officers, with instructions to fire 
upon any one who should come forth : and, in pur- 
suance of the order. Colonel Fancourt, as he de- 
scended from his house, received a wound which 
proved fatal; and Lieutenant -Colonel M'Kerras, 
commanding the 23rd, was shot as he was hastening 
to the parade. After the barracks were surrounded, 
parties of the native soldiers forced their way into 
the houses of the Europeans, and put to death with 
unsparing ferocity all whom they could discover. 
Thirteen officers were killed, besides several Euro- 
pean conductors of ordnance. In the barracks, 
eighty-two privates were killed, and ninety-one 
were wounded. The mutineers did not venture to 
enter the building, where they would have had to 
encounter the bayonets of the soldiers, but con- 
tented themselves with pouring their fire into the 
apartments ; in which the men, unable for want of 
ammimition to return it, screened themselves against 
its effects as well as they were able by the beds and 


furniture. Early in the morning, a few officers, who book i. 


had collected in one of the dwellings and had sue- ' 
cessfiilly defended themselves, made their way to isoe. 
the barracks, and, placing themselves at the head of 
the survivors, forced a passage through the muti- 
neers and ascended the ramparts, where they took 
post in a cavalier. Hence they reached the maga- 
zine, but were disappointed in their expectation of 
supplying themselves with powder, and were obliged 
to return to the ramparts, where they found cover 
above the main gateway and in a bastion at the 
south-east angle of the fort. In these movements 
they were exposed to a continued fire, by which all 
the officers were disabled and many of the men 
were killed ; yet they maintained their ground with 
steadfast courage, and repeatedly drove back their 
assailants at the point of the bayonet. 

During the whole of these transactions an active 
communication was kept up between the mutineers 
land the palace, and many of the servants and fol- 
lowers of the princes were conspicuously active in 
the scenes of bloodshed and plunder which followed 
the first success. By some of these a flag, which 
had once belonged to Tippoo and bore his insignia,* 
was brought out of the palace and hoisted on the 
flagstalT amidst the acclamations of the multitude ; 
but it was speedily pulled down by the men of the 
69th as they passed the flagstaff in their way from 
the barracks to the ramparts. The indications of 
regularity and conduct which marked the first pro- 
ceedings of the insurgents soon disappeared : subor- 
dination was speedily at an end; the Sipahis and 

> A sun in the centre, with tiger stripes on a green field. 


BOOK I. followers of the palace dispersed in quest of plunder ; 

^"^'''"' and many who had been reluctant participators in 
1806. the mutiny, who began to fear its consequences, or 
who sought to secure the booty they had obtained, 
availed themselves of the confusion to leave the 
fort. No arrangements had been made to hold the 
fortress, or to withdraw to any other position, when 
the alarm was given that retribution was at hand. 

Arcot, the ancient capital of the Camatic, and 
the scene of Olive's celebrated defence, was about 
nine miles distant from Vellore. It was a military 
station ; and, among the troops cantoned there, was 
the 19th regiment of dragoons under the command 
of Lieutenant- Colonel Gillespie. Information of 
the insurrection reached Arcot by six in the morn- 
ing; and a squadron of the 19th, with a strong troop 
of the 7th Native Cavalry, with Colonel Gillespie 
at their head, was immediately on the road to Vel- 
lore, the galloper guns and remainder of the ca- 
valry being ordered to follow without delay. By 
eight o'clock the first party was before the gates of 
the fortress : the outer two were open, a third was 
closed ; but it was here that a few of the 69th had 
effected a lodgement, and some of the men, lowered 
by their comrades from the wall, opened the gate 
to the cavalry. There was still a fourth gateway, 
which was shut, and this was commanded by the 
mutineers so completely that it was necessary to 
wait for the guns to blow it open : they arrived 
about ten. Upon their approach, Colonel Gillespie 
caused himself to be drawn up to the rampart, 
where he put himself at the head of the party 
which had maintained the position, and descended 


from the post to charge the insurgents, at the same book i. 
moment that the gate was blown open and the dra- J||^2_||]_ 
goons rushed into the fort. No resolute resistance isoe. 
was offered : after a feeble and straggling fire, the * 
insurgents scattered in all directions, and were cut 
down by the cavalry, or bayoneted by the men of 
the 69th. Between three and four hundred were 
slain, many were teken, the rest escaped by dropping 
from the walls. In the course of ten minutes the 
fort was again in the possession of the British troops, 
and an unsparing but not undeserved punishment 
had been inflicted on a great number of the muti- 
neers. There still remained a multitude whose de- 
gree of participation in the mutiny and consequent 
destiny it was necessary to determine, and it was 
also of importance to discover the causes of so 
alarming an outbreak. 

The number of the prisoners was speedily in- 
creased by the apprehension of the fugitives in va- 
rious parts of the country by the police or by the 
villagers, and by the spontaneous surrender of many 
who either were, or wished to be thought, innocent. 
Some of the latter were allowed to resume their 
military duties, but there were still above six hun- 
dred Sipahis detained in confinement at Trichano- 
poly and Vellore. A military tribunal had been in 
the first instance instituted for their trial, by which 
several of those whose guilt was substantiated were 
condemned to death.* The criminality of the rest 
was referred to a special commission, upon whose 

* Three native officers and fourteen non-commissioned officers and pri- 
vates were executed by sentence of a native court-martial. — General 
Ovders by the Government, Fort St. George, 14th January, 1807. 


BOOK L proceedings the Government long hesitated to pro- 
^"^'^' "* nounce a final sentence. Although little doubt could 
1806. be entertained that most of the Sipahis, whether in 
confinement or at large, were deeply implicated in 
the mutiny, yet it was impossible to procure satis- 
factory evidence of individual guilt, and it was in- 
compatible with justice to condemn the whole upon 
probable imputation. To restore them to their mi- 
litary functions, was to insure impunity to insurrec- 
tion ; to set them at liberty and dismiss them, was 
to disperse over the country a number of desperate 
and dangerous men, whose example and instigations 
might lead to greater mischief. To transport the 
whole to Penang or the Cape, would be expensive 
and inconvenient, even if it were just. The opinions 
of the Governor and the Commander-in-chief were 
at variance ; the former advocating the more lenient, 
the latter the severer course. The former event- 
ually prevailed. The officers and men who were 
absent at the time of the mutiny, or who had given 
proofs of their fidelity on the occasion of its occur- 
rence, remained on the strength of the army : the 
rest were discharged for ever from the service, 
with the grant to the officers of small pensions 
for their support, and the numbers of the regi- 
ments were erased from the army list.* The dis- 
posal of the prisoners remained undecided until 
the arrival of Lord Minto at Madras on his way to 
Bengal. It was then resolved that a final investiga- 
tion should take place, and, with the exception of 

' Two new regiments were formed in their place, the 24th and 25th, to 
which the European officers of the Ist and 3rd regiments, and such native 
officers and men as were not discharged, were respectively transferred. — 
General Orders, 14th January, 1807. 


those against whom proof of plunder and murder book i. 
could be adduced, and who were to be punished ac- ^^^' "' 
cordingly, the whole should be gradually enlarged, isoe. 
being dismissed from the service and declared in- 
capable of being again enlisted. As by this time the 
agitation had subsided and the confidence of the 
native troops was restored, the decision was carried 
into effect without diflBculty, and without being fol- 
lowed by any perceptible mischief. The ascertain- 
ment of the causes of the mutiny, and of the 
principal circumstances attending it, was equally a 
subject of prolonged deliberation and productive of 
conflicting opinions. 

Although the storm had burst so suddenly upon 
the victims of its fiiry, indications of its approach 
had not been wanting, and careful and intelligent 
observation might have anticipated its violence and 
guarded against its consequences. It was known 
early in May that deep and dangerous discontent 
pervaded the troops in garrison upon the subject of 
orders regarding their dress and accoutrements, and 
rigorous measures were resorted to for its suppres- 
sion. They had the usual effects of ill-judged seve- 
rity. They stifled the utterance but aggravated 
the feelings, and embittered dissatisfaction by for- 
cing it to assume the mask of acquiescence. Secret 
associations were formed, not only to resist the ob- 
noxious orders, but to brave the penalty which in- 
subordination incurred, by contracting guilt of a still 
deeper dye ; and the native officers and men were 
gradually drawn into a conspiracy to murder all the 
Europeans in the fort, and elevate one of the sons 
of Tippoo to the sovereignty from which his father 


BOOK I. had been hurled by foreigners and infidels. Not- 
^^^^^^^^ withstanding the oath of secresy by which silence 
1806. was imposed on all who were enrolled amongst the 
conspirators, intimations of the plot transpired suf- 
ficient at least to have put the objects of it on their 
guard. Not only were dark rumours of an ap- 
proaching tumult current in the fort and Petta, 
but in the latter a Mohammedan Fakir repeatedly 
proclaimed in the Bazar the impending destruction 
of the Europeans. Little regard was paid to his 
denunciations, as they were uttered with a wildness 
of manner and vagueness of language which in- 
spired doubts of his sanity. Information still more 
positive was equally disregarded. At midnight, on 
the 17th of June, a Sipahi of the 1st regiment, 
named Mustafa Beg, had come to Colonel Forbes, 
the commander of the corps, and communicated 
to him that a plot was concerted to murder 
' the European part of the garrison. The agitation 
which the man exhibited, and the imperfectly 
understood purport of his testimony, induced 
the Colonel not only to doubt the authenticity of 
his testimony, but to refer its investigation to a 
committee of native officers, who, being all more or 
less implicated in the conspiracy, reported of course 
that Mustafa Beg was unworthy of credence, and 
demanded his confinement as the punishment of 
his calumnious asi)ersions. He was accordingly 
placed under arrest, and so remained until the mu- 
tiny and murder which he had in vain announced 
had taken place.^ The utter neglect of these inti- 

' Mustafa Keg escaped during the tumult, but returned to the fort a few 
days afterwards, and was rewarded for his conduct by a pecuniary dona* 


mations, and their vagueness and infrequency, might book i 
seem extraordinary, if there were not reason to 


believe that there prevailed at the time a more looe. 
than even the usual estrangement between the Eu- 
ropean oflBcers and the native troops, which is too 
often engendered by the contemptuous indifference 
entertained by the former for the feelings and opi- 
nions of the latter, and by their imperfect acquaint- 
ance with the native languages. Had there been 
any cordiality between the European officers and 
the native garrison, — had any one of them deserved 
the confidence and attachment of his men, it is not 
to be credited that only a single individual should 
have been found faithful among the many who were 
privy to the conspiracy, and that Mustafa Beg 
should have stood alone in his communications. 
Had there not also been some want of vigilance on 
the part of the officers of the garrison, it is dif- 
ficult to conceive that they could have been so 
wholly unprepared for such a widely extended and 
desperate insurrection.^ 

tioD of 2000 pagodas and a Subahdar's pension. — G. O. Madras, 7th 
Ang. 1806. A European woman, who had resided some years in Vel* 
lore, also apprised Colonel Fancourt that secret meetings were held by the 
Sipahis in the Petta, at which seditious language was held. No attention 
was paid to her testimony, as her character was disreputable. — MS. Pro- 
ceedings of Court of Inquiry. 

* Shortly before this transaction. Sir John Cradock, the Commander-in- 
chief, addressed a letter to the adjutant-general for circulation to the army, 
in which he stated his regret to find that it was the prevailing practice of 
the service to withhold from the native commissioned officers that respect 
and intercourse to which their situation and common opinion entitled 
them. The Court of Directors also remark, '* We have too much reason 
to apprehend, that, to the neglect and disrespect manifested to the native 
officers by the European officers, the disposition to foment and conceal the 
dissatisfaction of the men is principally to be attributed." They also ob- 
serve, '* It has been represented to us that the deficiency in the knowledge 
of the languages of the country prevalent amongst the officers of the army 
may have operated as another cause of the absence of confidence between 
the European officers and the native troops. We are aware of the injurious 


BOOK I. The causes of this alarming occurrence necessarily 
^^^^' "* engaged the attention of the public both in India and 
1806. in Europe, and an acrimonious controversy ensued, 
which can scarcely be said even yet to be at rest. 
Not that there was any sufficient reason for differ- 
ence of opinion. To an impartial judgment the real 
cause was liable to no misconception ; but its admis- 
sion involved inferences which were pressed by one 
party beyond their due limits, and of which the 
grounds were therefore denied altogether by the 
other. The question of converting the natives of 
India to the Christian religion was supposed to de- 
pend for its solution upon the origin of the massacre 
at Vellore. By those who were unfriendly to mis- 
sionary efforts, as well as those who were apprehen- 
sive of their effects upon native feeling, the transac- 

effecfs which this ignorance on the part of the European officers is likely 
to produce, and which we are informed prevails to a great extent.** They 
proceed to suggest a plan for remedying the defect, but it has never yet 
been carried into operation. A general order of the Commander-in-chief, 
issued in August, 1806, announced that he would not recommend, nor 
would the Government approve of, any officer for a staff appointment who 
did not possess ** means of distinct communication with the native army.'* 
A knowledge of Hindustani had previously been required from cadets as a 
condition of promotion, and from all officers as a qualification for the post 
of adjutant. Adverting to the disregard of Mustafa Beg^s information, the 
Court observe, ^* We fear that Colonel Forbes*s conduct upon that occasion 
proceeded from the same laxity of system, which, there is reason to suppose, 
prevailed at Vellore for a considerable period before the unfortunate mine 
was sprung.*' — Letter to Fort St. George, 29th May, 1807, printed for the 
House of Commons, 13th April, 1813. That the discipline of the garri- 
son was relaxed, is proved by the evidence before the Committee as to a 
neglect of militsury duty on the very night of the mutiny ; the punctual 
fulfilment of which might have detected something unusual amongst the 
native soldiery, and perhaps prevented the mischief. The European offi- 
cer commanding the main-guard being summoned to go the rt>und8 at 
midnight, declared himself indisposecl, and directed the Subahdar to take 
his place. The Subahdar, in imitation of his superior, pleaded the same 
excuse, and delegated the duty to the Jemadar, who was one of the chief 
leaders of the conspiracy. His report was, of course, that all was well 
at the very hour when the mutineers were arming for the attack. — Pro- 
ceedings of Committee of Inquiry ; MS. Records. 


tion was appealed to as decisive of the reasonable- book i. 
ness of their fears, and as justifying their opposition. J^^^^_^ 
No better reply could be devised by the friends and isoe. 
supporters of missions than a denial that the Vel- 
lore mutiny had any connexion with the propagation 
of Christianity, — a denial in which they were un- 
doubtedly wide of the truth.^ The essential and 
main spring of the mutiny was religious principle, 
although its occurrence was influenced in the man- 
ner and season of its development by incidental and 
local excitement. 

Towards the end of 1805 the new Commander- 
in-chief at Madras, Sir John Cradock, had been led 
to adopt the project of reducing the regulations of 
the army to a systematic code. The article of 
dress, a favourite subject of consideration with mili- 
tary men, at least in time of peace, received all the 
attention which its importance demanded ; and va- 
rious regulations were drawn up regarding the regi- 
mentals and accoutrements of the native soldiery, 
with the avowed purpose of assimilating their ap- 

^ The Reverend Dr. Buchanan thus writes to the Gorernment of Ben- 
gal : '* I understand that the massacre of Vellore has been unaccountably 
adduced as some sanction to the principle of opposing the progress of the 
Christian religion in Bengal. I had opportunities of judging of the 
causes of that erent, which were peculiar. I was in the vicinity of the 
place at the time. I travelled for two months immediately afterwards in 
the province adjacent with the sanction of Government, and I heard the 
evidence of Christians, Mohammedans, and Hindus, on the subject. That 
the insurrection at Vellore had no connexion with the Christian religion, 
directly or indirectly, immediately or remotely, is a truth which is capable 
of demonstration." — Letter from the Reverend C. Buchanan to the Go- 
vernor-General, 7th Nov., 1807 ; Parliamentary Papers relating to Mis- 
sionaries, &c., 14th April, 1813. Dr. Buchanan undoubtedly believed in 
what he asserted so roundly, but he was strangely misinformed. Tlie most 
xealous and able defenders of the cause. Lord Teignmouth in his Conside- 
rations on the duty of diffusing Christianity in India, and Mr. Wilberforce 
in his speeches in 1813, aftervi'ards published by himself, do not go to the 
same length : they only deny that the Vellore mutiny was connected with 
any unusual extension or activity of Missionary proceedings. 


BOOK I. pearance to that of the European troops. With 


' this intention, the Sipahis were forbidden to appear 
1806. on parade with ear-rings, or the coloured marks 
upon the forehead or face significant of sectarial 
distinctions; and they were commanded to shave 
their beards and trim their mustachios according to 
a standard model. The issue of these orders was 
suspended in a few instances by the prudence of 
commanding officers of corps ; but they were gene- 
rally known by the men, and almost universally in- 
terpreted to imply a design on the part of the Go- 
vernment to compel the native troops to assume 
the practices, and eventually the religion, of Euro- 
peans.^ Other innovations in their dress and ac- 
coutrements, such as a particular undress jacket, 
black leather stocks, and a turnscrew, which some 
susceptible minds identified with a cross,* had pre- 
viously occasioned wide-spread dissatisfaction ; and 
the last drop of the cup was poured forth when a 
new pattern for a turban was devised, which in the 
apprehension of the Sipahis resembled a hat.^ This 
confirmed their fears, and insul)ordination was the 

The first overt exhibition of the spirit thus gene- 

1 It was commonly said by the Sipahis, '^ We shall next be compelled to 
eat and drink with the outcast and infidel English, to give them our 
daughters in marriage, to become one people, and follow one faith.** 

* It appears that Sir J. Cradock was not responsible for the two fonner : 
they were certainly, however^ in use. — Lord W. Bentinck's Memorial, 
p. 51. 

' It is not easy for persons unacquainted with the East to understand 
why so harmless a head-dress as a hat should have excited such horror ; 
but, in the estimation of the natives, the hat is identified with the wearer, 
and, of itself, denotes a European and a Christian. The term Topi-wala, 
or hat-man, is a term that is commonly used for both. To substitute a hat 
for the equally national characteristic head-dress, the turban, was there> 
fore considered to be a change of deeply significant import. 


rated took place in the second battalion of the book i, 
4th regiment of Madras infantry, quartered in ^"^''' '^ 
Vellore, early in May. The grenadier company leoe. 
refused to make up the turban, stating their repug- 
nance to it honestly, and at first respectfully and 
with calmness. Their representations were received 
by the commanding oflficer of the regiment with 
extreme intemperance, and his violence* provoked 
some disorderly and unmilitary conduct ; in conse- 
quence of which nineteen grenadiers were arrested, 
and sent to Madras for trial, by order of the Com- 
mander-in-chief, who announced his resolution to 
have the turbans made up and worn, and insisted 
on prompt and unhesitating obedience. Of the 
prisoners sent to the Presidency, two were sentenced 

' According to the official report, the captain of the grenadier company 
of the second battalion of the 4tb regiment informed the lieutenant-colonel 
commanding the corps, that several of his men had waited upon him and 
expressed strong objections to the new head-dress on the part of the 
whole company. The colonel called the men before hira and questioned 
them regarding their repugpiance ; when they stated firmly, though respect- 
folly, that they were well aware of the consequences of disobedience, but 
tiiat they could not consent to wear the new turban, as it would disgrace 
them for ever in the eyes of their countrymen. Some of the superior offi- 
cers expressed themselves prepared to waive their objections ; but, as the 
non-commissioned officers and privates persisted in their refusal, the former 
were immediately reduced to the ranks, and the latter placed in arrest. 
In the evening, when the battalion was mustered for parade, the men at« 
tended without their side-arms and refused to put them on : on which, the 
colonel deprived even the superior officers of their swords, and dismissed 
the battalion ; some of the men of which, as they dispersed, called aloud, 
<* Dhurtt! dhurtt!" meaning '^ Away ! awayf but with a somewhat uncivil 
import. Upon the occurrence being reported to Colonel Fancourt, the 
commandant of the garrison, he went to the barracks and expostulated 
with the men ; but they unanimously refused to wear the turban, affirming 
that it was really a hat. Colonel Fancourt took no further steps in the 
business beyond ordering their swords to be restored to the native commis- 
sioned officers. Some further excitement was manifested on the following 
day, but, as observed by the Court of Directors in their letter to Fort St. 
George, above cited, it was so obviously provoked by the injudicious con- 
doct of the commanding officer that they would not have been surprised if 
a mutiny had immediately followed, attended with all the fatal conse- 
quences arising from the offended prejudice occasioned by so capricious and 
v^anton an exertion of authority. — Parliamentary Papers. 

VOL. I. K 


BOOK I. by a native court-martial to receive nine hundred 
CHAP. n. jg^jjgg each, and seventeen to receive five hundred 

1806. lashes each. The sentence was carried into exe- 
cution in the two first instances;* in the others it 
was remitted^ in consequence of the professed con- 
trition of the culprits. The award showed that 
there was no hope of redress from temperate repre- 
sentation ; especially as the Governor in Council 
took up the subject in the same unquestioning spirit 
as the Commander-in-chief, and published his de- 
termination to enforce the order, and to employ all 
possible means of suppressing any act of insubordi- 
nation. This was the radical error of the whole 
proceeding : it proved to the native troops that they 
could expect no countenance from their European 
oflficers, no consideration for their feelings from the 
Commander-in-chief or the Government, and cor- 
roborated the suspicion that the latter was in- 
flexibly bent upon the abolition of the distinctions 
of tribe and caste, and the compulsory introduction 
of an outward conformity at least to the practices of 

In vindication of the course pursued by the 
Government, it was maintained that there were no 
reasonable grounds of objection to the turban ; that 
it had been made up without hesitation in some 
corps ; and that two respectable natives, a Moham- 
medan Syed and a Hindu Brahman, had given evi- 
dence that there was nothing in its construction that 
was incompatible with their religious faith. This 

' Lord W. Bentinck sajTs, the two ringleaders only received punishment. 
— Memorial, p. 3. See also Madras General Orders by the Commander- 
in-chief, 2nd July, 1S06. 


was no more than true ; but although particular in- book i. 
fluences might in some cases have overcome the ^"^''' "* 
objection felt by the troops, and, as is not at all un- isoe. 
usual among the natives of India, a few individuals 
of acknowledged respectability might have been 
more free from prejudice than their inferiors, yet 
it was undeniable that a very strong and widely 
propagated repugnance to the turban did exist in 
the army, and it would have been more just and 
generous in the Government, as well as more po- 
litic, to have refrained from rating the shape of a 
cap at a higher value than the affections of the sol- 

With regard to the order abolishing marks of 

easte on parade, and enjoining a particular cut of 

the beard and mustachios, it was urged in defence 

of the Commander-in-chief, that although not a 

part of the express military code, yet it had Ijeeii 

introduced very generally in practice before the 

code was drawn up, and that similar prohibitions 

and injunctions had long been in force in several 

regiments. This also was no doubt true, but it 

evinced great ignorance of the native character to 

infer that a positive and universally applicable order 

to that effect might therefore be promulgate^! with 

impunity. The commanding officer of a Bipahi 

battalion who has acquired the confidence of hm 

men can do much, even in oppotrition te their incrli- 

nations, vrithout exciting that dimBLthdaciion whkb 

may be engendered by a formal order of the Cooi' 

mander-in-chief ; and it can scarcaely »ie dfumdered 

peculiar to the nativen of India, zlthfmgh in an 

especial degree to be predicated iff tli^fii, ttiat pre- 


BOOK I. judices, which soften and dissolve before gentle and 
judicious influence, commonly harden into intraeta- 
i«06. ble rigidity when abraptly and harshly denounced. 
The practice of particular regiments, therefore, afford- 
ed no safe principle for universal legislation; and 
the inference displayed little acquaintance with the 
character or sentiments of the native army.* 

That the prejudices thus shocked, and the feel- 
ings thus exasperated, should have produced their 
fatal effects at Vellore, was no doubt attributable to 
an additional stimulus applied by the presence of 
the family of Tippoo Sultan. The followers and 
attendants of the princes, naturally ill-disposed to- 
wards the British Government, availed themselves 
of the opportunity afforded by the prevailing dis- 
content, and contributed by all means in their power 
to confirm the impression which the Sipahis enter- 
tained of the ulterior objects of the innovations 
commanded ; taunting them with the badges of Chris- 
tianity which had been imposed upon them in the 
tumscrew and the turban, and calling upon them to 
die rather than apostatise from their faith. It was 
established by the evidence before the court and 
commission of inquiry, that some of the confidential 
servants of one of the princes, Moiz-ad-din, had 
been present at the secret meetings which had pre- 
ceded the mutiny, and had brought, or pretended 
to bring, messages from the palace encouraging the 
mutineers ; promising also, that, if the native troops 
would master the Europeans and hold the fort for 

' So much of the order as related to sectarial marks and ear-ringB was, 
in truth, not Sir J. Cradock's. It was circulated by his predecessor, Ma- 
jor-General Sir J. Campbell, 11th January, 1805, shortly before Sir J. 
Cradock*B arrival. 


eight days, they would be joined by other regiments, book i. 
and by many of the principal Poligars, with whose ^^^^' "" 
aid the Mohammedan kingdom of Mysore would 18O6. 
be re-established. The influence exercised by these 
instigations was the more immediate, from the cir- 
cumstance that the first regiment of native infantry, 
which consisted principally of Musselmans, had been 
raised chiefly in Mysore, and many of the officers 
and men had served in the armies of Hyder and 
Tippoo. Former associations, therefore, as well as 
community of country and of creed, rendered them 
in a peculiar degree accessible to the persuasions of 
designing men, and hurried them into the perpetra- 
tion of atrocities which the injury oflered to their 
prejudices might not of itself have impelled them to 
commit. The source of the evil was still, however, 
the spirit which had been raised by the severity 
and inconsiderateness of the English authorities. 
Mischievous hands may have applied a torch, but 
no explosion would have ensued had not the mate- 
rials of conflagration been previously accumulated. 

That the mutiny of Vellore was of a purely poli- 
tical character, and arose out of a conspiracy to 
replace a Mohammedan dynasty on the throne of 
Mysore, — an opinion that was strenuously advocated 
by those who wished to shut their eyes against the 
evidence of its religious connexion, — was wholly in- 
capable of demonstration. Even with regard to the 
sons of Tippoo themselves, no proof could be elicited 
that they had been concerned in the conspiracy. 
There was no evidence that the communications 
made to the conspirators in their name had pro- 
ceeded from them, and it was clearly established 


BOOK I. that prior to the mutiny they had never held per- 
CHAP. n. ^^^Y intercourse with any of the insurgents. Al- 
1806. though it appeared that during the tumult some of 
the Sipahis received refreshments at the houses of 
two of the princes, Mohi-ad-din and Moiz-ad-din, 
and that the Mysore flag was brought from the 
residence of the latter, yet it was also in evidence 
that they had shrunk from the clamorous invitations 
of the crowd to come forth and place themselves at 
their head, and that they had carefully abstained 
from every word and deed which might implicate 
them in the riot. No suspicion whatever attached 
to the elder members of the family ; the younger 
were of too tender an age to be cognizant of such a 
project; and the utmost criminality that could be 
charged against some of the intermediate members 
of the fraternity was the possibility of their being 
aware of the agitation of a plot against the Euro- 
pean part of the garrison, and their omission to give 
notice of it to the only European officer with whom 
they were allowed to communicate, Colonel Mar- 
riott. Attachment to the Company was not to be 
expected from them, but there was little to appre- 
hend from their animosity. Their own characters 
and habits were a sufficient security for their harm- 
lessness. They were bitter enemies to each other,* 
and were uniformly destitute of activity, enterprise, 
and courage. They had neither the spirit to con- 
ceive, nor the daring to execute, a project that 
demanded both ; and, whatever may have been their 
own wishes or the participation of their adherents, 

' It was believed in the palace, that, on one occasion, Moiz-ad-din had 
attempted to poison the eldest of his brothers. 


there is ample reason to conclude that thfe sons of book i. 
Tippoo were not personally the originators or instiga- ^^^' °' 
tors of the mutiny. As, however, their presence isoe. 
was calculated to keep alive the hopes of their 
adherents, and iiimish a rallying point to the disaf- 
fected, they were removed from the Madras Presi- 
dency to that of Bengal, and placed under easy sur- 
veillance in the vicinity of Calcutta.^ 

Still more untenable were the opinions of those 
who beheld in the transaction the evidence of a 
general plot among the Mohammedans of the Dek- 
hin to restore the sovereignty of Islam and expel 
the unbelievers; yet the Government of Madras 
was at first inclined to adopt this view, and declared 
its impression that a widely diffused confederacy 
had been formed to subvert the British power and 
raise that of the Mohammedans upon its downfall. 
The calm and sound judgment of Sir George Bar- 
low saw the business in its true colours, and ques- 
tioned the reality of any extensive or secret com- 
bination of the natives, and Lord William Ben- 
tinck retracted his opinion. It was nevertheless 
persisted in by Sir John Cradock and several officers 
of the Madras army, although no conclusive proofs 
were ever adduced, and probabilities were decidedly 

* They were remoTed from Vellore, ou the 28th of August, 1806, amidst 
an immense concourse of spectators, who manifested no sympathy in their 
&te, nor was it apparently any object of anxiety to themselves. They 
arrived at the Sand-heads on the 12th September, where the second, Abd-ul- 
Khalik, died : the rest were placed in suitable residences near Calcutta, 
under official surveillance, but no personal restraint. Moiz-ad-diu, against 
whom circumstances were most unfavourable, was kept for some time in 
confinement, but was eventually liberated. Some of the brothers, and a 
multitude of descendants, still survive. One of the brothers, Jami-ad-din 
Hyder, who at the time of the Vellore mutiny was about ten years of 
age, 8i>ent some years in England, and died here in 1842. 


BOOK I. against them.* Of whom was such a confederacy to 


* be composed ? The Mohammedan princes of the 
1806. Dekhin were not likely to feel any great sympathy 
for the descendants of a military adventurer whom, 
whilst living, they had despised, even while they 
feared him. The principal of them, the Nawab of 
the Camatic and the Nizam, could not have en- 
tered into such an association without its coming to 
the knowledge of the English authorities ; and no 
grounds, even for suspicion against them, were ever 
detected. It was still less probable that the Hindu 
Rajas and Poligars would engage in a scheme, the 
success of which must have brought back the days 
of Moslem bigotry, intolerance, and persecution. In 
short, all the evidence examined tended to show, 
beyond the possibility of cavil, that there had been 
no intercourse whatever between the family of Tip- 
poo and any chief or princes out of the fort ; and, 
although some of the mutineers talked vaguely of 
the support that was expected from one or two in- 
significant Poligars, yet neither messenger nor letter 

' Much stress was laid upon iDformation received from a natiye Subah- 
dar of cavalry, vrho had been long in the service of the Company, and 
professed devoted allegiance to the Government ; but all that was fairly 
deducible from his communications was, that the disaffection of the troops 
was more extensive than had been imagined. All the causes of this 
disaffection he declared it was difficult to state, but he expressed his belief 
that it arose principally from the intrigues of Tippoo's family and their 
adherents : he stated that a number of persons formerly in the Sultan's 
service, or their relations, were now serving in the native regiments, and 
that agents and friends of the family were employed all over the country 
in instigating discontent. That the Company's regiments had enlisted 
many of Tippoo*s soldiers was well knowu, and that they and the Moham- 
medans generally were dissatisfied with the change of masters was highly 
probable ; but there was no evidence of any agency set on foot by Tippoo's 
sons, and the discontent of the Hindu part of the army, much the most 
numerous, could scarcely be ascribable to intrigues in favour of a Moham- 
medan dynasty. The Subahdar s information was merely individual belief, 
unsupported by evidence of facts. — MS. Records; Lord W. Bentinck's 
Memorial, 103. 


had ever heen interchanged, and no warrant had book i. 
been given by them for such a misuse of their names. ^"^''' "' 
A conspiracy of the Mohammedan princes was a isoe. 
mere shadow, created by an alarmist imagination, or 
by a wish to shift the responsibility from the real 
cause, the military orders, to one wholly visionary. 

But positive proof that the mutiny originated 
in no political combination, was afforded by oc- 
currences in other quarters. The feelings that 
instigated the mutiny at Vellore were likewise 
entertained by the subsidiaiy force at Hydembad, 
and consequences equally serious were apprehended. 
There, however, the Resident, Captain Sydenham, 
and Colonel Montresor the commandant, had timely 
notice of the agitation that prevailed amongst the 
troops, and justly appreciated the cause. They took 
upon themselves the responsibility of disobeying the 
general orders of the Commander-in-chief, and pub- 
lished a cantonment order in which the Sipahis 
were told that they were wholly mistaken in sup- 
posing that any measures enjoined by the supreme 
authority could be intended in the smallest degree 
to infringe upon what the Government held so sa- 
cred as their religion ; but that, as they had so mis- 
conceived the object of the order, the commanding 
officer of the subsidiary force had no doubt that 
the Commander-in-chief would countermand the 
obnoxious regulation, and in the meantime he di- 
rected the making up of the new turbans to be sus- 
pended. The effect of this judicious procedure was 
immediate, and calm and confidence at once revived 
among the troops. In the investigation which suc- 
ceeded, it was found that some of the disaffected 


BOOK I. nobles of the court of Hyderabad had taken advan- 
' tage of the existing discontent to foment the irrita- 
1806. tion, and that one or two of the native oflficers had 
so far listened to their own fears and the counsels of 
pernicious advisers as to declare that they were 
ready to put the Europeans to death rather than 
become Christians. No other communion with Vel- 
lore could be traced than that of similar despera- 
tion, originating simultaneously from similar appre- 

At Walajabad, again, a like disposition was dis- 
covered, arising from a like cause. The order for 
the new turban was issued early in June, and was 
received with expressions of dissatisfaction. These 
were silenced for a while by the trial and dismissal 
of one of the ring-leaders ; but, at the end of July, 
reports of a design of the men to murder their 
European oflScers excited the alarm of the latter.* 
The 1st battalion of the 23rd regiment of native 
infantry was marched out of the cantonments until 
the arrival of a party of dragoons from Arcot, when 
the corps was disarmed and all the native officers 
were put under arrest. The men submitted quietly 
to all that was required of them, and the investiga- 
tion that took place showed that there had been 

> Rumours the most extraordinary and incredible spread amongst the 
troops at this station ; it was reported that the Europeans had a design to 
massacre the natives, that a hundred bodies without heads were lying on 
the banks of the Miisa river, and that the Europeans had built a church 
which the heads of tliese decapitated trunks had been required to sanctify. 
There were other stories in circulation equally monstrous. 

' Their discontent had been first manifested about the 24th July, in con- 
sequence of long drills and generally harsh or inconsiderate treatment. On 
one occasion, after a drill from sun-rise till 7, they were kept in the bar- 
racks till 12 cleaning their arms and accoutrements. On being dismissed, 
some angry and menacing exclamations Here uttered. 


great exaggeration in the tales which had inspired book i. 
the panic ; and although some of the native officers ^^^^' "* 
and a few men of bad character had been active in isoe. 
aggravating the irritation caused by the general 
order, yet the majority of the men were innocent 
of any intention to commit violence. The dismissal 
of the incendiaries, and the revocation of the offisn- 
sive orders, restored tranquillity, and no further in- 
dications of disaffection were displayed. 

It was not to be expected that a ferment so vio- 
lent, and a catastrophe so dreadful, should at once 
have passed over and been forgotten ; and, accord- 
ingly, some months elapsed before confidence and 
security were restored. The Sipahis were slow to 
credit the sincerity of the Government, and, still 
suspecting its having entertained sinister designs, 
attributed their frustration to the mutiny at Vel- 
lore; they therefore looked upon those who had 
fallen in the recaptiu-e of the fortress as martyrs for 
their faith, and in some places secretly solemnised 
their funeral obsequies. This was the case at Nan^ 
didrug, where part of the 18th N. I., a regiment 
raised in Mysore, was stationed; and, consequent 
upon the excitement thus occasioned, some wild 
and mischievous excesses were in contemplation : 
timely precautions prevented their commission, and, 
upon the discharge of some of those most deeply 
implicated, the rest expressed their contrition, and 
the agitation subsided. In truth, much of the ex- 
citement that prevailed during the latter months of 
1806 was the work of the officers themselves : pass- 
ing from one extreme to the other, they exchanged 
the supineness of security for the restlessness of 


BOOK I. suspicion, credulously listened to every wliisper of 
^"^' "* insurrection, trembled at every idle tale of intended 
1806. tumult and massacre, and kept both themselves and 
their men in a constant fever of aimless appre- 
hension. The tranquillising operation of time, the 
repeated injunctions of both the local Government 
and that of Bengal to the officers to abstain from 
all manifestations of distrust, and the strongest as- 
surances published to the troops that the British 
Government would ever respect their religious creeds, 
gradually allayed anxiety and re-established trust.^ 

Upon considering, therefore, the utter improba- 
bility of any combined co-operation of the Moham- 
medan princes of the Dekhin with the sons of 
Tippoo, the absence of all proof of its existence, the 
extension of the discontent to places where no poli- 
tical influence in their favour could have been ex- 
erted, the prevalence of disaffection among the Hin- 
dus as well as the Mohammedans, and, finally, admit- 
ting the entire adequacy of the cause to the effect, 
there can be no reason to seek for any other origin of 
the mutiny than dread of religious change inspired 
by the military orders. Here, however, in iaimess 
to the question of the conversion of the natives of 
India to Christianity, the nature of the panic which 
spread amongst the Sipahis requires to be candidly 
appreciated. It is a great error to suppose that the 
people of India are so sensitive upon the subject of 
their religion, either Hindu or Mohammedan, as to 
suffer no approach of controversy, or to encounter 

' ** The panic wore away, the Sepoys forgot their fears of an attack 
upon their religion, and the officers no longer slept with pistols under their 
pillows.** — Lord W. Bentiuck's Memorial, p. 40. For the Government 
proclamation see Appendix. 


adverse opinions with no other arguments than in- book l 
Rurrection and murder. On the contrary, great ^^^^' "* 
latitude of belief and practice has always prevailed leoeT" 
amongst them, and especially amongst the troops, in 
whose ranks will be found seceders of various de- 
nominations from the orthodox systems. It was not, 
therefore, the dissemination of Christian doctrines 
that excited the angry apprehensions of the Sipahis 
on the melancholy occasion which has called for 
these observations, nor does it appear that any unu- 
sual activity in the propagation of those doctrines 
was exercised by Christian missionaries at the period 
of its occurrence. It was not conversion which 
the troops dreaded, it was compulsion ; it was not 
the reasoning or the persuasion of the missionary 
which they feared, but the arbitrary interposition of 
authority. They believed, of course erroneously, 
that the Government was about to compel them to 
become Christians, and they resisted compulsory con- 
version by violence and bloodshed.^ The lesson is 
one of great seriousness, and should never be lost 
sight of as long as the relative position of the 

I The opinion that the GoYemment had some such project in view was 
not confined to the Sipahis. Mir Alem, the yeteran minister of the Nizam, 
and, as has been seen, the staunch friend of the English, expressed his 
surprise that the British Government should think it just or safe to compel 
the troops to wear the semblance of Christians ; and a like astonishment 
was manifested by the ministers of Nagpur. — Letters from the Residents ; 
MS. Records. Of the universality of the feeling, there is also published 
an impartial testimony. Pumia, the Dewan of Mysore, gave it as his 
opinion that the Hindus were more alarmed and dissatisfied than the Mo- 
hammedans. — Lord W. Bentinck*8 Memorial, 45. And Sir Thomas Munro 
writes : " However strange it may appear to Europeans, I know that the 
general opinion of the most intelligent natives in this part of the country 
is, that it was intended to make the Sepoys Christians.** — Letter to Lord 
W. Bentinck, 11th August, 1806. This letter also shows, that, in a part of 
the Peninsula where the adherents of the family of Hyder were most nu- 
merous, there were no reasons for belieying that any intrigues had been at 
work in their favour. — Life of Sir T. Munro, i. 863. 


BOOK I. British Government and its Indian subjects remains 
_^^^2_^ unaltered. It is not enough that the authority of 
1806. the ruling power should never interpose in matters 
of religious belief, it should carefully avoid furnish- 
ing grounds of suspicion that it intends to interfere. 
A subject of minor importance, but one that was 
agitated with no less vehemence, divided the chief 
civil and military functionaries at Madras; each 
endeavouring to get rid of the responsibility of 
having issued the obnoxious orders. Sir John 
Cradock urged in his defence that he had acted by 
the advice of his official military counsellors, the 
Adjutant-General and Deputy Quarter-Master-Ge- 
neral, officers of experience and well acquainted 
with the temper and character of the native troops, 
who had seen nothing unusual or exceptionable in 
the proposed arrangements; and that, before the 
orders were embodied in the code, they had been 
submitted to the Governor in Council, and had 
received his sanction. To this Lord W. Bentinck 
replied, that it could not be expected that he or the 
members of Council were to read and comment 
upon every article of a voluminous code of military 
regulations compiled under the instructions of the 
Commander-in-chief, and for which he was respon- 
sible ; that accordingly they sanctioned the regula- 
tions as a matter of form, examining those only 
which were designated as novel, and passing over 
those to which their attention was not directed as 
innovations upon established practice. In this man- 
ner they were not aware of the order regarding the 
marks of sect, and the trimming of the musta- 
chios ; although they did notice and authorise the 


alteration of the turbans. The Governor of Madras book i. 
seems to make light of the latter, and attaches most ^^^^' "* 
importance to the former ; but certainly the shape 18O6. 
of the turbans was the most immediate cause of the 
dissatisfaction of the soldiers, and Lord William 
Bentinck was as decidedly bent upon insisting on 
its adoption as was Sir John Cradock. Not only 
had he declared his determination to enforce obe- 
dience to the order, on occasion of the dislike ex- 
pressed to it in May by the second battalion of the 
4th ; but late in June, when the Commander-in-chief 
began to apprehend evil consequences from the mea- 
sure, and solicited the advice and authority of the 
Grovemor in Council, in order to be relieved from the 
anxiety and embarrassment under which he laboured 
in consequence of information he had received from 
several moderate and discreet officers of the almost 
universal objection which prevailed against the new 
turban; his willingness to rescind the order was 
overruled ; the Government repeated their convic- 
tion that the pattern of the turban did not militate 
against any religious prejudice, and declared that 
they could not assent to give way to clamour aris- 
ing from unfounded prejudice. It was proposed to 
substitute for the rescission of the order a proclama- 
tion, which, while it announced the determination 
of the authorities to enforce obedience, disclaimed 
all purpose of religious interference; but in the 
mean time information of a different tenor from the 
preceding having reached Sir J. Cradock, he was 
led to believe that the dissatisfaction had subsided, 
and that the proclamation was unnecessary. It 
would have been, no doubt, of little avail, as it ex- 


BOOK I. pressed the obstinacy of the authorities in persisting 
CHAP, n. 1^ ^Yi^ offensive innovation; but the inaccuracy of 
1806. the intelligence which suspended its publication 
was presently afterwards demonstrated by actual 
occurrences, and a proclamation of a different 
purport was put forth. The reference of the Com- 
mander-in-chief, and the manner in which it was 
received, are decisive of the degree of responsibility 
which attaches to the local Government ; and how- 
ever injudicious may have been the conduct of Sir 
John Cradock in originating measures pregnant 
with such serious mischief, and however averse he 
may have been to acknowledge his error, the course 
pursued by Lord William Bentinck evinced an 
equal blindness to the consequences of the act, a 
still greater degree of inflexibility in its enforce- 
ment, and a similar ignorance and disregard of the 
feelings and prejudices of the native army. The 
spirit by which both functionaries were animated 
was the same — military absolutism, — a principle 
which, however just and necessary in the abstract, 
requires to be applied to practice with caution and 
judgment, and not without due consideration for the 
circumstances which may call for its exercise, the 
feelings which it may embitter, or the consequences 
which it may provoke.^ Herein consisted the error 

' That the same unbending rigour of discipline which may be necessary 
in the management of European soldiers, is not needed, or is injurious as 
applied to natives, we have had the testimony of competent judges : one of 
the latest, and not the least worthy of credit, says, '' We are apt to fall 
into the error of measuring everything according to the standard of Euro- 
pean discipline, forgetting the different characters of the native and the 
Englishman. There is an Asiatic sensitiveness and propriety in the con- 
duct of the Sepoy, which renders the roughness and severity with which 
we treat English soldiers offensive and unnecessary towards him.*— -Re- 
lations of the British Government and Native States, by J. Sutherland, 


of both Sir J. Cradock and Lord W. Bentinck, book i. 
that they excluded every other view but that of ^"^''' "' 
military subordination/ The Court of Directors I8O6. 
considered their conduct equally unsatisfactory : they 
were accordingly recalled ; and although at a sub- 
sequent period, and upon a calmer review of the 
transaction, they acquitted Lord W. Bentinck and 
Sir John Cradock of a wanton or needless violation 
of the religious usages of the natives, yet they re- 
tained their opinion that those officers had been 
defective in not examining with greater caution and 
care into the real sentiments and dispositions of the 
Sipahis before they proceeded to enforce the orders 
for the turban. This decision seems to be fully 
justified by a dispassionate survey of the transaction. 
A careful and considerate investigation of the ob- 
jections to the turban, which were advanced by the 
Sipahis in May, would in all likelihood have pre- 
vented the mutiny of July. 

Captain 3rd Bombay Cavalry, p. 10. It seems extraordinary, that, after so 
many years' experience, tlie character of the native army should be imper- 
fectly understood, but recent events have shown that it is not even yet 
accurately appreciated by the Indian Government. 

' On receiving advice of the repugnance of the 4th regiment. Sir J. 
Cradock wrote to Colonel Fancourt to direct that those men whom the 
colonel had placed in confinement should be sent to Madras for trial, and that 
the non-commissioned officers of the 4th who had declined to wear tlie 
turban, and the commissioned officers, should immediately make it up and 
wear it, on pain of dismission from the service. The officer commanding 
the 19th dragoons was ordered to march, if required by Colonel Fancourt, 
to Vellore, to assist in enforcing obedience. The Commander-in-chief 
would not admit of hesitation to the orders he had given. -^Letter from the 
Commander-in-chief, 7th May ; Memorial of Lord W. Bentinck, p. 92. 
Lord W. Bentinck justly observes of this letter, that military command 
never was expressed in higher or more imperious language. His own 
was something like it. '' The opposition which has been experienced in 
the late change of turbans is destitute of any foundation in the law or 
Qsage of the Mohammedan or Hindu religion, and any persons who may 
persevere in that opposition cannot, in consequence, fail to be subjected to 
the severest penalties of militar>' discipline.'^ — G. O. by Government, 4th 
July ; Memorial, p. 94. 

VOL. I. L 


BOOK I. It will now be convenient to advert to the pro- 
^^^' "* ceedings which during this period took place in 
1806. Great Britain relating to the administration of the 
affairs of the Indian empire. 

»#«»W.»i»l»»W»»»«W»W>W»»*»<W»'»iW>W>WWIW»»»<HW»iWW»<»*W>wl »#*»!. 


Proceedings in England. — Refusal of the Directors to 
concur in the appointment of the Earl of Lauder^ 
dale as Governor-General. — Sir Gemge Barlow 
recalled by the King^s sign-manual. — Discussions in 
Parliament and with the Board of Controul. — Lord 
Minto appointed Governor-General. — Proceedings in 
the House of Commons. — Impeachment of Lord WeU 
lesley by Mr. Patdl. — Papers moved for. — Charges 
relating to the Nawab of Oude. — Nawab of Fur- 
ruckahad. — Zemindar of Sasnee and otJiers. — Pro- 
ceedings inte7*rupted by dissolution of Parliament. — 
Renewed by Lord Folkestone. — Impeachment aban- 
doned. — Condemnatory Resolutions negatived. — 
Merits of the Oude question. — Motion for an Inquiry 
into the Assumption of the Carnatic negatived. — 
Censure of Lord Wellesley's Policy by the Court of 
Propinetors. — Appointment of a Select Committee 
of the House of Commons. — Diminished Import 
Trade of the Company. 

CHAP. III. The embarrassed state of the finances of the East 
iQQg^ India Company, attributed to the ambition and ex- 


travagance of Marquis Wellesley, and the counte- book i. 
nance which he had shown to the extension of the 

private trade, and consequent encroachment on the leoe. 
Company's commercial privileges, had excited a 
strong feeling of hostility to that nobleman's adminis- 
tration in the Court of Directors, which awakened 
a corresponding sentiment in the majority of the 
proprietary body. Weakened in political influence 
by the secession of many of his adherents, dis- 
heartened by the gloomy aspect of affairs in Europe, 
and broken in physical strength, Mr. Pitt was not 
inclined to support the measures of Lord Wellesley 
in opposition to the views which were entertained 
at the India House; and although he resisted, 
through the Board of Controul, the expression of 
the Court's disapprobation, yet ho consented to give 
it full effect by the appointment of Lord Com- 
wallis, a nobleman of different character and prin- 
ciples. The death of that nobleman threatened to 
frustrate the purposes of his nomination ; but the 
zeal with which his intentions were carried out by 
Sir G. Barlow, upon his assuming the government, 
forcibly recommended to the Court his continuance 
as Governor-General. They were at first allowed 
to hope that their wish would be complied with : 
but they were speedily disappointed, under circum- 
stances which, as involving questions of some im- 
portance, merit to be detailed. 

Information of the death of Marquis Coniwallis 
arrived in England at the end of January, 1806, 
upon the eve of the total change of Ministers which 
followed the demise of Mr. Pitt. A proposal to pay 
a public tribute of respect to the memory of Lord 



BOOK 1. Cornwallis was one of the last measures of the 
^^^''' '"• retiring Administration : it was readily acceded to 
1806. by their opponents, and it was resolved that his 
statue should be erected in St. Paul's cathedral.* 
The East India Company voted a grant to his heir 
of £40,000. The appointment of a successor de- 
volved on the new Ministers, amongst whom Lord 
Minto was charged with the superintendence of 
Indian affairs as President of the Board of Controul; 
and by him a communication was made on the 14th 
of February to the Court of Directors, conveying his 
im])re8sion of the importance, in the actual state of 
affairs in India, of investing Sir G. Barlow without 
delay with the fullest powers, and recommending 
that he should bo at once fonnally appointed Go- 
vernor-General of India. The recommendation was 
immediately complied with, and the commission 
was made out and signed on the 25th of February. 
It was therefore with no small degree of astonish- 
ment that only ten days afterwards, on the 7th of 
March, the Court was apprised that Ministers had 
determined to supersede Sir G. Barlow in favour of 
the Earl of Lauderdale. It was in vain that the 
Directors remonstrated against so abrupt a change 
of determination, and urged the advantages of ad- 
hering to the original arrangement ; until, finding 
that their remonstrances and arguments were inef- 
fectual, they positively refused to cancel the ap- 
pointment. The Ministry retaliated by a warrant 
under the King's sign-manual recalling Sir G. Bar- 
low ; and the Court was finally compelled to agree 
to a compromise, by which the Earl of Lauderdale 

' Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, 3rd February, 1806. 



ostensibly declined the acceptance of the office, and book i. 
Lord Minto was nominated Governor-General. ^^^^' ^' 

The difference which had thus arisen between isoe. 
the Directors and the Ministers afforded to the 
parliamentary advei*saries of the latter a reasonable 
pretext for animadversions upon their conduct ; and, 
in the House of Lords, Viscount Melville moved for 
copies of the correspondence which had taken place 
between the Court of Directors and the Board of 
Controul.^ The course pursued by the Administra- 
tion was vindicated by Lord Grenville, and the 
motion was negatived without a division. 

In the correspondence with the Board, as well as 
in the debate in the House of Lords, it was mani- 
fest that there were two main points of difference 
between the contending parties ; one of a private, 
one of a public nature. No exceptions to the Earl 
of Lauderdale were openly advanced by the Court ; 
but, besides the preference of the individual in the 
instance of Sir G. Barlow, there is no doubt that 
the Earl of Lauderdale's known opinions in favour 
of free trade and popular government rendered him 
unacceptable to maliy of the members of the Direc- 
tion.* On the other hand, although Ministers were 
profuse in their professions of the high sense which 
they entertained of the merits of Sir G. Barlow, yet 
his line of policy was not in accordance with the 
views of the leading members of the Cabinet ; Lord 

^ Pari. Debates, 8th July, 1806. 

* Lord Lauderdale was a zealous supporter of Mr. Fox*8 India Bill, and 
an opposer of the Company's privileges. In politics his opinions were 
extreme, and led him to advocate the principles of the French Ugvolution. 
He made himself conspicuous in the House of Lords by affecting a cos- • 

tume supposed to characterise Jacobinism. — Obituary notice, Gentleman's 
Magazine, 1839. 


BOOK I. Grenville declaring, that the grounds on which he 
_J^^^[_^ was ready to admit those merits being Sir G. Bar- 
1806. low's zealous concurrence and effective co-operation 
in the measures and in the system of Marquis 
Wellesley, whose government was, in his opinion, 
the most splendid and glorious that India had ever 
known. Tlie adoption of a totally opposite system 
by Sir G. Barlow must consequently have been 
utterly incompatible with his appointment to the 
office of Governor-General, in Lord Grenville's esti- 
mation. At the same time, the Directors com- 
plained with good reason of the inconsistency of 
the Cabinet in precipitately revoking an appoint- 
ment which they had recommended, chiefly upon the 
grounds that it was necessary to arm Sir G. Barlow 
without delay with full authority to adjust and 
settle the various important matters which had been 
left undetermined or doubtful by the death of his 
predecessor. Intimation of his appointment would 
be so immediately followed by that of his super- 
session, that it was impossible he could have de- 
rived any additional power or consideration from 
an elevation so fleeting and delusive, or that in the 
interval he could have adjusted and settled any 
doubtful measures of public importance. Lord 
Minto maintained that he had distinctly apprised 
the Court that the arrangement was to be regarded 
as merely temj)orary, until there should be more 
leisure to give it that deliberation which its import- 
ance demanded. His letter, however, expressly 
stated that there was no intention of making any 
immediate change; and the Court, naturally in- 
ferring that a much longer j^eriod than that of ten 


days was contemplated, resented the suddenness of book i. 
the alteration as indecorous towards themselves, and _^^^^^lJ^ 
unfair and unjust towards Sir G. Barlow. Intended I8O6. 
disrespect to the Court was of course disclaimed; 
and, in recognition of the admitted value of Sir G. 
Barlow's services, a hope was expressed that he 
would continue to be a member of the Supreme 
Council. The change of appointment was persisted 
in. It was evident that the first announcement of 
the purposes of the Ministry was prematm'e, and that 
either Lord Minto had acted without consulting 
his colleagues, or that, in the novel position of 
the party to which he was attached, they had not 
been fully aware of the value of the patronage, or of 
the necessity of securing, by means of it, parlia- 
mentary support.^ 

A question of greater magnitude than the relative 
fitness of individuals was involved in the dispute, 
and the result awoke the Directors to the first dis- 
tinct perception of the \irtual power of the Crown 
to dispose at pleasure of the highest ofliccs in India. 
It had been hitherto argued, that the clause in the 
act of 1784'— ]Mr. Pitt's bill— which gave to the 
Crown authority to recall any of the Company's 
servants, civil or military, and to compel them to 
vacate whatever situations they might hold, was 
intended only to prevent any improper abuse of the 
patronage of the Court, by enforcing the return of 
persons whom the partiality of friends in the Direc- 

' Mr. Fox admitted that the appointment of Sir G. Barlow was made 
before the Administration was fully formed. — Pari. Deb. 10th March, 

'24 Geo. III. cap. 25, sec 22. 


BOOK I. tion, or the vehemence of partisans in the Court of 
*^"^'' "^ Proprietors, might uphold in office, in spite of no- 
1B06. torious incompetency or misconduct. In such an 
extreme case the Crown was empowered by the act 
to interpose, but in no other ; for the same act had 
vested the appointment of their servants in India 
exclusively in the Directors; and, although they 
had been in the habit of communicating ynth his 
Majesty's Ministers, in order to preserve that good 
understanding which was essential to the conduct of 
public affairs, yet they denied that they had thereby 
relinquished a chartered right. " If,'^ they enquired, 
" the removal of a high public functionary in India 
were to be combined with the appointment of a 
particular successor nominated by the King's Minis- 
ters, and the choice of the Court were confined to 
that person alone, then would not the absolute ap- 
pointment to the important situations of Governor- 
General, or Governor of the subordinate Presi- 
dencies, devolve in fact upon the Crown?" The 
same arguments were repeated by Lord Melville. 
He affirmed, that it was alike the intention of the 
Legislature and the sense of the public, in the act 
of 1784, that the Court of Directors should continue 
to enjoy, without interference, the patronage of 
India ; and that the clause which gave to the Crown 
the power of recall could not be fairly construed as 
a transfer of the patronage, by enabling the Crown 
to negative appointments made by the Court : and 
he appealed to the recollection of Lord Grenville to 
bear him out in his understanding of the spirit of 
the act, in conformity to which alone its provisions 
should be interpreted. In his reply to the Court, 


Lord Minto confined himself to the question of book i. 
right; admitting that of the Court to appoint, assert- ^^^^^^ 
ing that of the Crown to recall. Lord Grenville's I8O6. 
answer to Lord Melville was, that laws were to be 
understood as they were expressed, and not accord- 
ing to the fancies or feelings of individuals; that 
the same objections which were now started had 
been made when the clause w^as enacted ; and that 
it could not be contended, that, because the Crown 
had the power of negativing an appointment, it 
followed that the whole of the appointments in 
India fell under the controul of his Majesty's 
Ministers. He granted, that, if it could be shown 
that the power had been exercised in the present 
instance merely for the purpose of procuring the 
appointment of a person whom Ministers wished to 
serve, it would be a violation of the law ; but, 
although he denied that the measure originated in 
favour to Lord Lauderdale, he refused to assign any 
motives for the removal of Sir G. Barlow. He also 
denied that his removal was founded upon any 
systematic exclusion of the Company's serv ants from 
places of the highest authority in India; and ob- 
served, that such an insinuation came with a pecu- 
liarly ill grace from the members of the late Admi- 
nistration, who had exercised their patronage upon 
the same principle, and had sent out Marquis 
Wellesley, Marquis Cornwallis, and other noblemen 
to India. Lord Minto replied in a similar strain 
to a like representation from the Court of the in- 
justice done to their civil servants by their exclusion 
from the chief dignities in India; and observed, 
that no disadvantage had resulted from the nomina- 


BOOK I. tion to the first s^t^tions in that countrr of persons 
' who p<^^»es»eil rank and inflaence in Great Britain.^ 
iiM>6. He further remarked, that it was indij^pensable that 
the Government at home should have at the head 
of affairs in India an individual in whom they could 
implicitly confide, and of whose views they could 
feel assured : a principle which, the Court justly 
ob^rvefl, might make the Governor-General the 
mere creature of a f»arty, taking and leaving oflice 
with every change of Ministry, and regulating his 
prficeedings in India less by a disinterested regard 
for the i)ros]K»rity of that country, than by anxiety 
for the retention of power and place by his col- 
leagues in England ; and they maintained, with 
unanswerable justice, that the Governor-General of 

* The absolute exclusion of the CoinpaDy's senrants from the highest 
offices in India was never advocated ; it was only asserted, that, with re- 
gard to the appointment of Governor-General, advantage had resulted from 
the preference of persons of exalted station in Great Britain, — & proposition 
to which few of the Company's servants would hesitate to accede. M'ith 
respect not only to the office of Governor-General, hut to those of subordi- 
nate Governor**, one of the most distinguished and respected of the Civil 
servants of the Company, the late Mr. Edmonstone, has left on record sen- 
timents to which all who seek the real good of India will be inclined to 
subscribe. While admitting that there may be, and have been, splendid 
exceptions, Mr. Edmonstone observes, '* My opinion has always been gene- 
rally adverse to selecting the Governors from among lliose who have be- 
longed to the service, because I tliink, that, with very few exceptions, 
an individual who has passed through the several gradations of the pub- 
lic service, and has consequently been known in the lowest as well as the 
highest grades, cannot assume that tone of superiority, nor exercise that 
degree of influence and controul, and Attract that degree of deference and 
respect, which, in my judgment, contribute importantly to the efficient ad- 
ministration of the office of Governor, as reganls both the European and 
native population. A person of eminence and distinction proceeding from 
England to till that office, if duly qualified by character and talent, carries 
with him a greater degree of influence, and inspires more respect, than an 
individual who has been known in a subordinate capacity in India can 
UHuully command/' — Evidence, Commons* Committee, 1832; Public Ques- 
tion 1701. There are other obvious advantages from the appointment of a 
person of rank and connexion to the oflice of Governor-General in particular, 
that more than com])ensate for any want of stimulus to exertion which the 
|M>8sibili(y of attaining so elevated a station might be tliought to afibrd to 
the servants of (he (-ompany. 


India ought to be unfettered by party and Ministerial book i. 
obligations. The qualification of partisanship for ^^^^' '"' 
the office of Governor-General of India, although I8O6. 
first avowed by the Whigs, is too congenial to the 
selfishness of that party spirit which governs the 
national councils of Great Britain to want advocates 
amongst their opponents also ; but it may be stated, 
in justice to those who succeeded to the short-lived 
Administration of 180G, that the principle did not 
regulate their practice. Lord Minto, although se- 
lected from the ranks of their adversaries, was 
allowed to remain undisturbed in the discharge of 
his Indian duties until he was superseded by the 
Court of Directors. 

The discussion that thus arose was not without 
ulterior consequences. Whatever w^ere the osten- 
sible motives of the disputants, however veiled by 
sophistical reasoning or unmeaning professions, there 
is no doubt that patronage was the prey contended 
for, and that which the original clause of the act of 
1784 was intended unavowedly to appropriate. The 
true import of that clause was now brought to the 
test, and its meaning was proved to be the nomination 
of the Governor-General by his Majesty's Ministers. 
It had been proposed to effect this object in a con- 
ciliatory manner, by leaving the appointment with 
the Court of Directors, subject only to its con- 
tingent annulment by the Board through the 
power of recall : but, as on this occasion the Court 
manifested a disposition to assert a voice potential 
in the designation of a successor to the Marquis 
Cornwallis, the intimation was not disregarded ; 
and, on the first subsequent opportunity for the re- 


BOOK I. newal of the charter, a clause was inserted^ more 
^^^^' distinctly enunciatory of the power of the Crown, 
1806. by which the appointments to the offices of Go- 
vernor-General, Governors of Madras and Bombay, 
and Commander-in-chief, which were made by the 
Directors, were declared thenceforth subject to 
royal approbation. The patronage has been since 
exercised upon this arrangement ; and, as the Court 
can appoint no persons save those of whom it has 
been previously ascertained that the Board approves, 
the nomination is virtually exercised by the Admi- 
nistration of the dav.^ 

The attention of the House of Commons was 
called to other subjects connected with the Govern- 
ment of India ; and many of its deliberations were 
devoted, with little advantage either to India or 
to Great Britain, to a futile attempt to impeach 
the late Governor-General, Marquis Wellesley. 

Mr. James PauU had resided some years in the 
principality of Oude,^ and had there carried on a 
lucrative traffic in the cotton manufactures of the 
country. His residence had necessarily the sanction 
of the British authorities ; and, according to his 
own account, he enjoyed the favour of the Nawab 

' 53 Geo. III. cap. 155, sec. 80. 

' In the examination of Mr. Auber, the Secretary to the Court of Direc- 
tors, before the Commons' Committee of 1832, the relative share of the 
Ministers and Directors in the patronage of the highest offices io India 
was a subject fully discussed. Mr. Auber contended stoutly for the power 
of the Directors, but was obliged to admit that no Govemor-General or 
Commander-in-chief had ever been named by the Court of whom the 
Crown had disapproved, being in fact nominated upon a previous comma- 
nication with the Board, while several instances of disapprobation of infe- 
rior appointments and their consequent annulment had occurred. The 
Directors in fact may be said to exercise a kind of selection, but it must 
be from individuals who they are assured will be acceptable to the 

* He is noticed as agent for one of the Nawab's creditors in 1796. 


until the period of a visit which he paid to England.^ book i. 
Upon his return, the Nawab strongly objected to ^°^^' "'' 
his being again domiciled in Oude ; but his objec- I8O6. 
tions were withdrawn in consequence of the inter- 
cession of the Governor -General,* and Mr. PauU 
repaired to Lucknow, " sensibly feeling the obliga- 
tions he was under to his Excellency, for whom he 
had only sentiments of gratitude and profound re- 
spect."* These sentiments were short-lived. Mr. 
Paull, soon after Lord Wellesley's resignation, re- 
turned also to England : his first step was the pur- 
chase of a seat in the House of Commons; his 
second, the institution of charges against his former 
patron and benefactor. 

In the prosecution of this purpose, Mr. Paull 
moved, on the 25th June, 1805, for the production 
of papers intended to illustrate the nature of the 
connexion established with the Government of 
Oude under the administration of Sir John Shore, 
and the changes it had undergone during that of 
Lord Wellesley; by which the Nawab, in defiance of 
justice, had been degraded and disgraced in the eyes 
of the world, and in the face of the most solemn 
treaties had been dispossessed of a territory which 
had a population of three millions of attached sub- 
jects, and yielded an annual revenue of nearly 
two millions sterling. Papers were also moved 
for, relating to the appointment of Mr. Henry 
Wellesley as Commissioner for the affairs of Oude ; 

* Private letter to Major Malcolm, Lucknow, 9th Feb., 1803; printed by 
Aaber, History of India, ii. 387. 

' Letter from Persian Secretary to the Nawab Vizir, 17th Sept., 1802. — 
Papers printed by order of Parliament, 17th July, 1806, No. 28. 

' Correspondence printed by order of Parliament, 16th June, 1806, 
No. 20. 


BOOK I. which appointment, he not being a servant of the 
^^^^' '"' East India Company, was in defiance of an act of 
1806. parliament and a violation of the law. No opposi- 
tion was made to the production of the papers ; and 
subsequently similar documents were granted re- 
lating to Lord Wellesley's treatment of the Raja of 
Bhurtporc, the Nawab of Surat, and the Nawab of 
Furruckabad. The first charge was submitted to 
the House on the 23rd of April, 1806. 

The tone of the preliminary proceedings suflS- 
ciently indicated their eventual result. The in- 
dividual who had undertaken to establish the 
criminality of Lord Wellesley was ill qualified for 
the task, even if he had been provided with more 
tenable grounds for his accusations. The intem- 
perance of his language was not redeemed by any 
powers of eloquence, or extenuated by the nature of 
his facts, and argued more of personal malignity 
than public spirit : ^ he stood wholly unsupported in 
the House, even by the members of the Court of 
Directors who were present, and who in that cha- 
racter had concurred in the unqualified reprobation 
of many of those measures of the Governor-General 
which were now brought under Parliamentary in- 
vestigation.^ He was opposed by both the political 

* He accused, in his charge with respect to Gude, Lord Wellesley and 
Mr. H. Wellesley of committing murder, when speaking of the employ- 
ment of a military force against the refractory Zemindars in the Ceded 
districts ; and, on a subsequent occasion, he calls upon the House to con- 
sider the situation of India, from the accursed day when Marquis Welles- 
ley set foot there, until the day of his depsu'ture, during which interval it 
exhibited a constant scene of rapine, oppression, cruelty, and fraud which 
goaded the whole country into a state of revolt. — Hansard*s Pari. Debates, 
23rd May and 6tli July, 1806. 

' Mr. Thornton observed, that impeachment was a step much stronger 
than anything which he was prepared to think the conduct of Marquis 
Wellesley, improper as he esteemed it, could warrant him in adopting ; 


parties in the Commons : by the one as participant book i. 
of Lord Wellesley's measures ; by the other on the ^^^^' ^"' 
principle that, although the system might be repre- isoe, 
hensible, yet Parliamentary inquiry was neither 
necessary nor expedient.^ And he derived no 
weight from popular interest, as it was engrossed 
by considerations of nearer and more vital import- 

The first charge brought forward, the prodigal 
expenditure of Lord Wellesley's government, took 
the House by surprise, as it was unconnected with 
any of the papers previously moved for. Even Mr. 
Fox felt it incumbent upon him to remark upon 
80 irregular a course. He observed, that " the honour- 
able member had not told the House what were the 
documents to be laid before it in support of the 
charge, nor when they were to be produced : he 
understood, in fact, that the mover had really no do- 
cuments, although he had proposed a day for discus- 
sion ; and if, when that day should arrive, he should 
be unprovided with means to substantiate his charge, 

and Mr. Grant, although he certainly judged inquiry to be necessary, did 
not deem it advisable to proceed to impeachment. — Pari. Debates. 

' The sentiments of Mr. Fox are worthy of note, from the difference of 
his language on this occasion and that wlrich he used during the proceed- 
ings against Warren Hastings. He said, ** He, and others who agreed 
with him, had no wish to disparage the proceeding, or to throw obstacles 
in the way ; but, because he disapproved of a system of measures, it did 
not follow that it was to be remedied by impeaching the individual. He 
and his honourable friend (Mr. Francis) had a good deal of experience on 
the subject : this was certainly not a proper time for inquiry ; he might 
disapprove of, and strongly oppose systems, but he would not always 
think it necessary to resort to inquiries. Impeachment was a bad mode of 
proceeding, except in particular cases ; and certainly it was not advisable 
to adopt it with regard to a Governor-General of India merely on account 
of his system. He could not be said to desert a person whom he never 
encouraged; but, since the trial of Mr. Hastings, they might say if they 
pleased, he shrunk from all India impeachments, or flew from them, or any 
other worse term might be employed, if worse could be found. To this he 
woold make no answer." — Pari. Debates, 13th April, 1806. 


BOOK I. he would find himself in a very awkward and un- 
pleasant predicament/' So ill concerted were Mr. 


1806. PauU's proceedings, that, having moved that the 
charge be taken into consideration that day three 
weeks, the motion found no seconder. It was not 
until after some pause that Sir William Geary rose 
to second the motion ; not, as he observed, from any 
conviction of the culpability of the accused, but 
because he thought that the dignity of the House 
required that the opportunity of proving charges of 
so grave a tenor should not be denied. The ob- 
vious necessity, however, of bringing forward written 
vouchers enforced an alteration. The motion was 
withdrawn, and, in its place, papers to show the re- 
lative expenditure of successive Indian administra^ 
tions were moved for, and granted. 

A tangible charge was at length elicited. Re- 
verting to the treatment of the Nawab of Oude, 
and the appropriation of the Ceded districts, it 
was affirmed that in these proceedings Marquis 
Wellesley had violated subsisting treaties, and every 
principle of equity and right; had been regardless 
of his duty to the East India Company, his Sove- 
reign, and his country ; had contemned the Parlia- 
ment, the King, and the laws ; had dishonoured the 
British nation and name ; and had in these respects 
been guilty of high offences, crimes, and misde- 
meanours. A second charge was subsequently 
brought forward, accusing the Governor-General of 
having unjustly and violently compelled the Nawab 
of Furruckabad to give up his territory. Evidence 
was heard on the Oude charge, M^liich closed on the 
4th of July. On the 6th Lord Temple moved that 


the charge should be taken into consideration ; but book i. 
the motion was resisted on the plea of precipitancy, ^^^^^J^ 
and, as further papers were requested, the discussion I807. 
was postponed. On the following day a third charge 
was adduced, relative to the treatment of the 
Zemindar of Sasnee and other Zemindars. 

The end of the session put a stop to these pro- 
ceedings; and, upon the dissolution of Parliament 
which ensued, Mr. PauU, having canvassed unsuc- 
cessfiiUy the borough of Westminster, ceased to be 
a member of the House of Commons. The attack 
upon Lord Wellesley, however, was not abandoned : 
it was resumed by Lord Folkestone, but was urged 
in a more temperate strain, and for a different ob- 
ject ; all purpose of impeachment being disavowed. 
A series of resolutions was proposed, condemnatory 
of the demands made upon the Nawab of Oude, in 
breach of the treaty of 1798, and the consequent 
sequestration of a considerable part of his domi- 
nions ; but, after a prolonged discussion, the resolu- 
tions were rejected by a considerable majority. It 
was then moved by Sir John Anstruther, and car- 
ried by a majority equally numerous, that the 
Marquis of Wellesley, in executing the late ar- 
rangements in Oude, was actuated by an ardent zeal 
for the public service, and by the desire of providing 
more effectually for the prosperity, the defence, and 
the safety of the British possessions in India. 

The character of the measures which were thus 
subjected to Parliamentary investigation has been 
explained in a preceding volume.* It is, therefore, 
unnecessary to do more in this place than to advert 

» Mill, vol. vj. 193. 
VOL. I. M 


BOOK I. briefly to the principal arguments, which, amidst 


' much irrelevant matter, were urged by either party. 

1807. By those who sought to obtain a vote of censure on 
the Marquis it was maintained, that the Nawab of 
Oude was an independent prince, with whom, in 
that capacity, treaties had been contracted : that a 
treaty had been recently concluded with him (in 
1798), by which his authority over his household, 
his troops, and his subjects, had been recognised; 
and an amount of subsidy, fully adequate to the 
expense of the largest force ever raised for the 
defence of Oude, had been exacted from him : that 
the Nawab had punctually discharged all demands 
arising out of this stipulation ; and that there was 
nothing in his domestic circumstances and conduct, 
or in the aspect of foreign affairs, which called for 
so violent a measure as that of compelling him to 
convert a money payment into a territorial conces- 
sion, and to give up half of his dominions, in order 
to secure the fulfilment of his pecuniary obligations : 
that the demand had been submitted to by the 
Nawab solely through his conscious inability to re- 
sist it ; and that the injustice thus inflicted upon a 
native prince, the ally and friend of the Company, 
was calculated to bring discredit on the British 
name throughout India: that the acquisition of 
territory thus obtained was in opposition to the 
sentiments of the Court of Directors as expressed 
in a dispatch signed by them all, with one only ex- 
ception ; and was a violation of the declared sense of 
Parliament, which had expressly denounced terri- 
torial extension in India as contrary to the honour 
and wishes of the nation. 


In opposition to these assertions it was affirmed, book l 
that the Nawab of Oude was not entitled to be re- ''"^''' '"^ 
garded as an independent sovereign; the military I807. 
defence of his territories having devolved upon 
the British from their first connexion with Oude, 
and their interposition in its internal government 
having been repeatedly exercised. The reigning 
prince was in fact indebted to that interposition 
for the rank he held ; his predecessor, Vizir Ali, 
having been deposed, and himself placed on the 
throne, by the Governor-General. That the treaty 
of 1798 had reference to the actual position of the 
Nawab, but did not preclude interference whenever 
circumstances should urgently call for it. That 
subsequently circumstances had occurred which de- 
manded strong measures, the Nawab having in- 
timated his apprehensions that the impoverished 
and declining resources of his principality would 
not long suffice to pay the stipulated subsidy : that 
such a failure was to be anticipated from the mal- 
administration of the Nawab, and his inability to 
maintain subordination and realise his revenues: 
that, while the means of keeping up an effective 
subsidiary force were likely to be thus deficient, the 
necessity of augmenting its strength had been ren- 
dered imperative ; first, by the absence of adequate 
provision for internal defence ; and secondly, by the 
imminence of external danger. The troops of the 
Nawab were a disorderly and disaffected body, a 
source rather of peril than of safety, whose reduc- 
tion was highly advantageous to the state. Re- 
peated menaces of invasion had been put forth by 
Zeman Shah, the ruler of the Afghans; and the 



BOOK I. presence of Sindhia's disciplined brigades under 
CHAP., m. Pp^jj^j^ officers upon the frontiers of Oude menaced 
1807. the integrity of the principality, and imperiously 
enjoined defensive preparations. Under these emer- 
gencies, the amiexation to the British Indian empire 
of the districts in the Doab which were most ex- 
posed to foreign aggression was indispensably neces- 
sary for the security of both the protected and 
protecting power. 

It cannot be denied that the political interests of 
the British Government strongly recommended the 
appropriation of the Ceded provinces. Continued 
punctuality in the payment of the subsidy was an 
evident impossibility, from the diminishing resources 
of the Nawab ; and the subsidiary force must have 
been reduced or disbanded, or kept up at the 
Company's cost. The condition of the districts in 
the Doab was also a subject of uneasiness, as, in the 
event of a collision with the Malirattas, the move- 
ments of the British armies would have been em- 
barrassed by the necessity of holding in check a 
disorganised and turbulent population. The readiest 
method of preventing such results was the establish- 
ment of the British authority in the territories in 
question, the maintenance of order, and the applica- 
tion of the revenues to the payment of the sub- 
sidiary force. That the measure, whilst it strength- 
ened the British Government, would be conducive 
to the well-being of the people and the prosperity 
of the country, was to be anticipated ; and upon 
these grounds the appropriation was susceptible of 
vindication : but that it consulted the dignity and 
power of the Nawab, or could be acceptable to his 


feelings, it was absurd to pretend. He was help- book i. 
less, and he acquiesced ; but he was not so blind to ^"^^' ^ 
his own interests as to be deceived by the specious laos. 
plausibility with which the mutilation of his autho- 
rity was pressed upon him ; and there can be little 
doubt that the feeble efforts made in England to 
procure him redress had their origin in the fallacious 
hopes which he had been led to entertain of the 
reversal of the sentence of spoliation by the justice 
of the British Parliament. 

Notwithstanding the victory gained by the friends 
of Marquis Wellesley on this occasion, the ordeal 
which he had to undergo was yet incomplete. The 
minor charges relating to the Nawab of Furruck- 
abad and the Zemindar of Sasnee were disposed of 
with the Oude charge, and no further notice was 
taken of the case of the Nawab of Surat. The 
charge of prodigal expenditure was also abandoned ; 
as it had all along been admitted that the personal 
integrity of the late Governor-General was unim- 
peachable, and that his profusion was exclusively 
instigated by considerations of public credit or ad- 
vantage. There remained, however, a topic which 
had been formerly brought forward by Mr. Sheridan, 
— ^the treatment of the Nawab of Arcot. He had 
moved for papers relating to the inquiry in De- 
cember, 1802, but had then allowed the matter to 
drop. He still declined to renew its agitation, but 
he declared himself prepared to support any member 
who should introduce the question. Accordingly, 
on the 17th May, 1808, after an interval of five 
years and a half, Sir Thomas Turton moved a series 
of six resolutions, as grounds for the appointment of 


BOOK I. a committee to inquire into the assumption of the 
Camatic. After an adjourned debate, the resolu- 
1808. tions were rejected ; and it was moved and carried, 
that it was the opinion of the House that the Mar- 
quis Wellesley and Lord Powis, in their conduct 
relative to the Camatic, appeared to have been in- 
fluenced solely by motives of anxious zeal and soli- 
citude for the permanent security, welfare, and 
prosperity of the British possessions in India,^ Thus 
ended the discussions in Parliament respecting Lord 
Wellesley's administration; having had no other 
effect than that of excluding him from a share in 
the administration of affairs at home, when his co- 
operation w^ould have been of value to Ministers and 
to the country. 

A very different result attended the proceedings 
of the Court of Proprietors. In May, 1806, a mo- 
tion was there made for the production of the cor- 
respondence that had taken place with the Board of 
Controul on the subject of the late wars in India ; 
the main object being to confirm the condemnation 
of many of Lord Wellesley's measures which had been 
expressed by the Court of Directors in the draft of a 
letter to Bengal, the dispatch of which had been 
arrested by the Board of Controul. The documents 
having been printed,^ a motion was made at a sub- 
sequent meeting, that " this Court, having con- 
sidered the papers laid before it, most highly 
approve of the zeal manifested and the conduct 
pursued by the Court of Directors, and regard a 
finn adherence to the princii)Ies maintained by the 

' The numbers were, for the motion 98, against it 19 ; majority 79. 
' Papers printed for the use of the Proprietors, 7th May, 1806. 


Court to be indispensably necessary to preserve the book i. 
salutary authority over the government of India ^"^' ^' 
vested by law in the Court of Directors, to restrain I8O6. 
a profuse expenditure of the public money, and to 
prevent all schemes of conquest and extension of 
dominion, — ^measures which the Legislature had de- 
clared to be repugnant to the wish, the honour, and 
the policy of the nation ; and this Court do assure the 
Court of Directors of their most cordial and zealous 
support, with a view to preserve unimpaired the 
rights and privileges of the East India Company." 
After a debate of some length the resolution was 
submitted to decision by ballot, when a very large 
majority of the Proprietors expressed their concur- 
rence in the views of the Directors.' It will not 
fall within the limits of this work to describe the 
proceedings of the Company at a date long subse- 
quent ; but it deserves to be noticed, as a remark- 
able instance of the inconsistency of public bodies, 
that, thirty years afterwards, the resolution, now so 
numerously and strenuously supported, was virtually 
negatived by the unanimous determination of the 
same Court of Proprietors to make a pecuniary 
grant to Lord Wellesley in recompense of his great 
services to the Company, and to erect his statue in 
the Court-room ;" thus testifjing their approbation 
of the general policy of his administration, and 
consequently of the principles of subsidiary alliances 
and territorial aggrandisement. 

' The numbers were, ia favour of the resolution 928, against it 195. 
Seven hundred and thirty-three Proprietors recorded tlieir condemnation of 
Lord Wellesley's policy. — Asiatic Annual Register, 1806; Proceedings, 
India House. 

* Asiatic Journal ; Proceedings at the India House, 1st November, 1837, 
and 17th March, 1841. 


BOOK I. The only other proceedings of importance at 
^"^^' "^ home affecting the Company's interests were partly 
1808. of a financial character, and partly preliminary to 
the discussion of a question the determination of 
which was now not very remote, — ^the renewal of 
the charter, which expired in 1813. On the 11th 
of March, 1808, Mr. Dundas moved the appoint- 
ment of a select committee to inquire into the 
present state of the affairs of tjie East India Com- 
pany. A committee was appointed accordingly; 
and to it was referred a petition submitted by the 
Company, praying that 1,200,000/. due to the Com- 
pany by the Government might be repaid, and a 
like sum be advanced by way of loan, to enable 
the Company to provide for the deficiencies of their 
commercial resources, which had been occasioned by 
continued remittances of goods and bullion to India^ 
and the suspension of investments in return, in con- 
sequence of the political circumstances of India, and 
the pecuniary wants of the Government of that 
country. On the 13th of June the report of the 
committee was presented, admitting a considerable 
balance to be due to the India Company by his 
Majesty's Government; and it was accordingly re- 
solved that a sum not exceeding 1 ,500,000/. should 
be paid to the Company. 

It was at the same time shown that a principal 
source of the diminished profits of the Company's 
commerce arose from the rapidly decreasing value 
of their imports, owing to the failing demand for 
one of those articles which they had hitherto, in 
great part, successfully inclosed against the tres- 
passing of private trade. The improved and im- 


proving cotton manufactures of England were be- book i. 
ginning to exercise a sensible effect upon the similar ^"^^' "^ 
products of Indian industry; and the import value of isoa. 
Piece-goods, which had hitherto formed a main item 
in the commerce of the Company, had fallen during 
the last ten years to one-sixth of its amount at the 
commencement of the term, — from nearly three 
millions sterling to less than half a million/ 

' Imports, Piece-goods. 



From Bengal . 









£2,993,490 £432,820 

Report of Select Committee, No- 1, printed by order of the Hoase of 
Commons, 12th May, 1810. 

The trade in piece-goods was deemed of such importance at the re- 
newal of the charter in 1793, that it was stated by the Committee of Corre- 
spondence, that without it the Company could not liquidate their political 
debts, still less furnish the means of participation to the public to the ex- 
tent which was proposed. — Resolution 8th, April 1st, 1793. 

00^>t^m0>^>0i0^0'0i0m0''***w>0i0^0>0*0^*>^^m0>^0i^m *^»i^» #>»<»i»»^^*<^» ^mmmm 


Lord Minto Governor-General. — Sir G. Barlow Go- 
vernor of Fort St. George. — Character and Policy 
of the Governor-General. — Determination to esta- 
blish Order in Bundelkhand. — Description of the 
Hilly district of the jyrovince. — Colonel Martindell 
sent against Ajaygei^h. — Affair of Rajaoli. — Ajay- 
gerh surrende^^ed. — Ldkshman Dawa sets off to 
Calcutta^ — leaves it again suddenly. — Hi^ Family 
put to death by his Faiher-in-law. — Operations 


against Gopal Sing. — Nature of his Incursions. — 
His submission. — Storm of Kalinjar^ — repulsed. — 
Fortress surrendered. — Treaties vnth the Raja of 
Mewa, — Settlement of Hariana. — The Sikh Chiefs 
east of the Setlef taken under protection. — Treaty 
with Ranjit Sing. — Embassy to Peshawar. — Revo- 
lutions of Afghanistan. — Disastrous Life of Shah 
Shuja. — Return of the Embassy. — Mission to 
Sindh. — Revolutions in the Government of that 
country. — Failure of Negociation. — Intercourse 
between France and Persia. — lU-concerted measures 
of the British Authorities. — Sir Harford Jones sent 
as A mbassador from England^ — Sir John Malcolm 
from India. — Unsatisfactory result of the latter 
Mission. — Return of the Envoy. — A Military jKf- 
pedition to the Gtdph projected by the Bengal Go- 
vernment. — Sir Harford Jones departs from Bom^ 
bay, — proceeds to Shiraz. — Prosecution of the Mis- 
si on prohibited. — He perseveres^ — reaches Tehran^ 
— concludes a preliminary Treaty. — Disavowed by 
tlw Indian Government. — The Treaty confirmed. 
— Diplomatic relations with Persia taken under the 
management of the British Ministry. — Sir Gore 
Ouseley Ambassador. — Definitive Treaty concluded^ 
— productive of little advantage. 

BOOK I. The nobleman on whom the government of 


' India now devolved had been long engaged in 
1807. public life, and had been for many years an active 
member of Parliament. Connected with the Whigs 
in political princii)le, and the personal friend of 
some of their great leaders, Sir Gilbert Elliot had 
been chosen as one of the managers for the Com- 


mens in the trial of Warren Hastings, and to him book i. 
had been intrusted the conducting of the proposed ^^^^' '^* 
impeachment of Sir Elijah Impey.^ The knowledge isor. 
he had thus acquired of Indian affairs recommended 
him, upon the accession of his friends to power, to 
the office of President of the Board of Controul ; 
and, when it was found impossible to overcome the 
repugnance of the Court of Directors to the ap- 
pointment of the Earl of Lauderdale, he was readily 
acknowledged by both parties as eligible for the 
situation of Governor-General of India. Lord Minto 
was accordingly appointed. He left England in the 
Modeste frigate, and arrived at Madras on the 20th 
June, 1807. There, as has been noticed, he stayed 
a short time to assist in determining the final dis- 
posal of the Vellore prisoners, and, resuming his 
voyage, reached Calcutta on the 3rd July. Lord 
William Bentinck ha\ing at the same time been 
recalled. Sir George Barlow was nominated Go- 
vernor of Fort St. George, and repaired thither in 
December of the same year. 

The sentiments which had been expressed at 
home, both by the Ministry and the Court of Di- 
rectors, adverse to the system of policy followed by 
Lord Wellesley, necessarily imposed upon Lord 
Minto the obligation of adopting princij)les of a 
less ambitious tenor, and of pursuing the measures 
which had been instituted by Lord Cornwallis and 
Sir George Barlow for the retrenchment of public 
expenditure and the preservation of external tran- 
quillity. The general tone of the new Administra- 
tion w^as, therefore, moderate and pacific; and the 

* See vol. V. of MiU's History, p. 83. 


BOOK I. character of the Gt)vemor- General, delighting in 
CHAP. IV. ^Yie milder glories of internal prosperity, the ame- 
1807. nities of domestic society, and the cultivation of 
literature and the arts, accorded with the spirit in 
which it was expected that his government should be 
carried on. At the same time, Lord Minto was not 
of a disposition to shrink from expense or exertion 
when they were recommended or required by the 
interests of the state over which he ruled ; and vari- 
ous important transactions, arising out of Indian and 
of European politics, signalised his career, and ex- 
hibited not unfrequent departures from the policy of 
imperturbable forbearance and scrupulous non-inter- 
ference which had been followed by his predecessors. 
The enforcement of submission to authority, and 
the final establishment of order in the provinces 
recently annexed to the British territories, were 
among the first objects of the Governor-General's 
attention. Tlie avoidance of interference in the 
quarrels of the petty Rajas of Bundelkhand, and 
the attempt to secure their allegiance and good-will 
by conciliatory means, had entirely failed. The im- 
punity with which some of the most notorious 
patrons of the bands of free-booters, by whom the 
province was overrun, w^ere suffered to retain pos- 
session of the districts they had usurped, served 
only to perpetuate depredation; and the uncon- 
trouled liberty which had been left to the Rajas, 
of asserting by arms their own real or pretended 
rights to each other^s lands, was productive of in- 
terminable disputes, and a disorganising repetition 
of internal warfare. It was obviously necessary, if 
it was worth while to retain the province, to adopt 


2ii different mode of governing it ; and a change of book i. 
measures was resolved on. It was officially an- ^"^^' '^' 
nounced that the submission which milder means isoe. 
had failed to introduce should be established by 
force, and that the Government would compel, 
where necessary, obedience to its commands. The 
promulgation of these designs went far to effect 
their fulfilment. The Rajas who had hitherto be- 
lieved that the interposition of the British Agent 
would be limited to advice only, which they had 
therefore ventured to treat with utter disregard, 
hastened, when they found that something more 
than mere advice was seriously contemplated, to 
refer their disputes to the decision of the superior 
authority ; and lands and villages, long and fiercely 
contested, were awarded to those to whom it ap- 
peared upon investigation that they rightfully be- 
longed, in most cases without any necessity for 
compulsive measures. It was not found possible, 
however, to exterminate the banditti who roamed - 
through the country, as long as they found shelter 
and support in its principal fortresses; and it was 
rendered necessary, by the persevering contumacy 
of the castellans of the forts of Kalinjar and Ajay- 
gerh, to employ a military force for their humiliation. 
The province of Bundelkhand, which is generally 
a plain where it is contiguous to the Jumna, is en- 
compassed on its southern and south-eastern con- 
fines by portions of the great Vindhya chain of 
hills, which stretches across India from the Ganges 
to the gulph of Cambay. Tlie portions of the 
chain which border upon Bundelkhand, or are in- 
cluded within its limits, consist of four nearly 

I«>^ -flllHiT 'IF 'mi " 'Wl ISDtl. 

aiKiK L pualM masses, mmme 'l6fiiqne^r &»jm. aordi-csst 

Puma. BhaniteTi mit "Piamfan tr SLJimnr hills: 
dier ar^ !i#>c if irpar -fiif^aiiinL %rc rise one above 
che other «? "iev rjxraawi ^» the ^Kidi and west. 
T!iev xi^ -^efmraTtf^t '^^ iiacnw ^aHev* or taUe-lands 
of limrGe^i •fxiiflii:. vtiiiftu a^ w^R *» the hills, are 
f>r die mtjisc par: r«fiL«&a^{ ♦iidiimh of acress by 
!m»{erw»-»«:.«{ anf t tniek nin^Trfe. Frnni the most north- 
erly rm^^. or \"lii«CiT3A!&iL 2?t>Iaretl elevations are 
thrown oat a«>rAwari* into the pfadn, forming a 
efaaracterati«r 6?aniTe of thi? part of the coantnr, 
and al5>r»fin2r fiivr>aTable p>?raoos for the construe- 
tioo of hill-6?rts : * two of th<?r5e had been selected 
for the ^e of the 5)rts above named, and Kalinjar 
and Ajav^erh were regarded bv the Bondelas as 
impregnable, both frcnn the natural difficulties of 
the approach to them, and the fortifications hj 
which those difficulties had been enhanced. 

The Kiladar of Ajavgerh, Lakshman Dawa, ori- 
ginallv the captain of a band of plunderers, had 
become possessed of that strong -hold through the 
connivance of the officer who had been placed in 
command of it bv Shamshir Bahadur, and who had 
been directed to give it up to the British authori- 
ties. Lakshman was permitted to retain the fort as 
a temporary arrangement, and to hold in Jagir the 
ailjacent lands, on condition of paying a small annual 
tribute, and relinquishing the fortress at the expi- 
ration of two years, ending in 1808. The tribute 
was never paid, the term of occupancy had expired, 

' Mrnioir on Bundelkhand, by Captain Franklin ; Trans. Royal Asiatic 

Ho(!i<ity. I. aau. 


and no intention of giving up the fort was exhibited, book i. 
A body of troops was therefore assembled, and sent ^^^' '^' 
under Colonel Martindell against Ajaygerh. i809. 

No opposition was encountered by Colonel Mar- 
tindell's detachment until they arrived at Rajaoli, a 
fortified hill about ten miles from Ajaygerh, which 
was occupied by a select body of Lakshman Dawa's 
troops. The ascent of the hill was by steep and 
narrow paths, overhung in many places by i)roject- 
ing rocks ; from the shelter of which, parties of the 
enemy fired upon the slowly advancing troops. 
Driven from these stations they retreated to the 
summit of the hill, where they had constructed 
parapet walls, and behind them they made a reso- 
lute stand. As no ladders could be brought up 
with which to scale the wall, the assailants were 
recalled, and preparations made for resuming the 
attack on the following morning : the enemy eva- 
cuated the post during the night.' 

On the following day Colonel Martindell pro- 
ceeded to Ajaygerh, and batteries were raised against 
the fort. Operations were, however, suspended by 
repeated messages from Lakshman Dawa promising 
to deliver up the fortress, and negociations were 
protracted until the 11th of February in this ex- 
pectation. Further delay was then refused, and the 
guns opened upon the principal gateways with such 
effect as in a few hours to lay three of them in 
ruins. On the two following days the firing waS' 
repeated, and early on the 13th a practicable breach 
was made. The Kiladar anticipated the assault by a 

* The loss of the assailants was 28 Sipahis killed, and 115 wounded, 
indading three oflScers, of whom Lieut. Jamieson of the light battalion 
died of his wounds. 


BOOK I. timely surrender, and Ajaygerh was taken possession 
^"^''' ^' of in the course of the day.^ Lakshman Dawa gave 
1809. himself up to Mr. Richardson, the Govemor-Gene- 
ral's agent, and was allowed to remain at large upon 
parole. His family removed from the fort, and 
found a residence in the adjacent town of Nao- 
sheher, where a tragedy ensued, not unprecedented 
in the history of the Hindus, and characteristic of 
native sentiments of personal honour. 

Lakshman Dawa, in surrendering himself, che- 
rished a hope that the British authorities would rein- 
state him in the possession of his fort, and addressed 
a petition to the agent, praying either that he might 
be restored, or that he might be blown from the 
mouth of a gim, as life without reputation was not 
worth preserving. As Mr. Richardson declined a 
compliance with either alternative, the chief re- 
solved to make a personal appeal to the Governor- 
General, and secretly quitted the camp for the 
purpose of repairing to Calcutta. He managed his 
flight with so much skill that no traces of him were 
discovered until his arrival at the Presidency. He 
was treated with kindness, and left at large under 
the supervision of the police ; but, as no hope was 
held out to him of recovering a possession to which 
his only titles were usurpation and fraud, he de- 
parted as unceremoniously as he had arrived, and 
endeavoured to effect his return to Bundelkhand : 
his flight was intercepted, and he was brought back 
to Calcutta, where he was detained until his death.* 

1 Official Dispatches and Government Orders ; As. Annual Register, 
Tol. xi. ; Chrunicle, p. 27. 

' Lakshman Dawa died in the neighboarhood of Calcutta in November, 
1S28. He had from the first refused to accept any provision in place of 


Upon the disappearance of Laksbman Dawa from book i. 
camp, it was considered advisable to place bis family ' 
in greater security as bostages for bis conduct. Tbey ^^^' 
were ordered to prepare for removal into tbe fort, 
witb assurances tbat tbey bad notbing to apprebend 
from tbeir detention ; and tbat one of tbeir male re- 
latives, wbo bad not forfeited tbe favourable opinion 
of tbe Britisb Government, sbould be intrusted 
witb tbeir guardianship. Baju Rao, tbe fatber-in- 
law of tbe absent cbief, was instructed to conduct 
tbe party to tbeir quarters. He undertook tbe 
office witb apparent cheerfulness, and repaired for 
tbat purpose to tbe house in which tbe family re- 
sided. When a considerable interval bad elapsed 
after bis entrance into tbe bouse, and no person 
seemed to be coming forth, a native officer of the 
escort entered, and found tbe old man seated before 
tbe door of an inner room \^itb a drawn sword in 
bis band. As the Subabdar approached, Baju Rao 
retired into the chamber, and closed tbe door. 
Assistance being obtained, the door was forced; 
when tbe mother, the wife, the infant son of 
Laksbman Dawa, and four female attendants, were 
discovered lying dead on the floor, having been 
killed by Baju Rao, apparently witb their own con- 
sent, as no cry nor any expression of alarm or suf- 
fering bad been beard. As soon as the door was 

the laads of which he had been dispossessed, and was for some time under 
the charge of the police. In 1811 his misfortunes affected his intellects, 
and he was placed under the rare of the Company's medical officer at 
Alypore, with whom he continued until 1822, when he appears to have re- 
ooyered his understanding. He was not released from all restraint for two 
years longer, when he consented to receive a pension of 600 rupees a month. 
After his deatli the surviving members of his family were allowed to return 
to Bandelkhand. — MS. Records. 

TOL r. N 


BOOK I. opened, Baju Rao inflicted a fatal wound upon him- 
^^^^' ^' self. The catastrophe was in entire unison with 
1809. native feeling ; and several of the Bundela chiefe in 
camp hesitated not to avow, that, under similar cir- 
cumstances, they would have perpetrated a similar 

A protracted course of desultory and harassing 
hostilities had some time previously been com- 
menced against Gopal Sing, a military adventurer 
who had usurped the district of Kotra, the inhe- 
ritance of Raja Bakht Sing, a descendant of Chatra- 
sal. The right of the Raja had been formally re- 
cognised by the British Government during the 
preceding administration, and he had been autho- 
rised to recover his lands; but, as he was not allowed 
to receive the assistance of British troops, the re- 
cognition and sanction were mere mockeries.* With 
the altered policy of the Government its grants 
became realities. A British detachment was sent to 
place the Raja in possession. Tlie task was easily 
accomplished, and even Gopal Sing came into 
camp and professed submission. From motives 
which are unexplained, or from the instability of 
purpose which is not unfrequent in the native mind, 
he seems to have speedily repented of his acqui- 
escence, and, departing abruptly from the British 
encampment, he retired with a few followers to 

' MS. Records ; also As. Annual Register, vol. vi, ; History, p. 5. 

' See the Ikrar Nama, or pledge of allegiance, and Sunnud granted to 
Raja Bakht Sing; Coll. of Treaties, p. 331. The documents are dated 
8th June, 1807. The first article of the answer to the Raja's solicitation to 
1>e reinstated runs, '< Little doubt can be entertained that you will be 
able to establish your authority, and to settle the Pergunnas, independently 
of the aid and support of the British Government : at the same time, every 
proper and necessary aid which you may require, with the excepium rf 
troops, shall be furnished to you.*' 


the thickets above the first range of hills. Sensible book i. 
that direct resistance to the superior force of the 
supporters of Bakht Sing would be unavailing, he 1809. 
adopted a course of destructive irruptions ; rushing 
down upon the plains and spreading terror and 
devastation in all directions whenever an oppor- 
tunity occurred, and, when pressed by his enemies, 
taking refuge amongst the entangled and rugged 
country between the first and second ranges of the 
mountains. Although his parties were frequently 
overtaken and dispersed, they immediately re-as- 
sembled and renewed their depredations; and it 
became necessary to provide a permanent check 
upon their ravages. A cantonment was therefore 
established at Tiroha, at the foot of the first range, 
a few miles to the northeast of Kalinjar, from 
whence detachments were sent occasionally to guard 
the passes; the unhealthiness of the climate pre- 
venting the presence of a force above the ghats 
throughout the year. The marauding attacks of 
Gopal Sing were in some measure coimteracted 
by these arrangements, but they continued at in- 
tervals to disturb the quiet and delay the pacific 
settlement of the country. 

Towards the end of 1809, the concentration of 
the British force in Bundelkhand under Colonel 
Martindell, in a different quarter of the province, 
having drawn off* the principal part of the troops 
opposed to Gopal Sing, the protection of the dis- 
tricts was left to the unaided resources of the 
Rajas of Panna and Kotra. They proved utterly 
inadequate to the duty. Their united contingents 
were defeated in an engagement with their more 



BOOK I. warlike adversary; and the country below the hills 
' laid open to his attacks was remorselessly devas- 
1810. tated, until his progress was stopped by a detach- 
ment under Major Kelly, which was sent from 
Colonel Martindell's camp at Chatterpur. As the 
force advanced, Gopal retired above the third range 
of ghats ; in the vicinity of which the 1st battalion 
of the 16th native infantry, commanded by Captain 
Wilson, was stationed to keep him in check, while 
the rest of the detachment rejoined the main army. 
Gopal Sing, finding himself more than a match 
for the force which remained to oppose him, re- 
sumed offensive operations; and being assailed in 
a strongly stockaded position near Kakarati in the 
Panna principality, by the detachment imder Cap- 
tain Wilson, repulsed the assailants after they had 
suffered considerable loss, and compelled them to 
fell back towards the plains.^ The junction of 
Major Delamain, with a squadron of the 2nd native 
cavalry, restored the superiority to the British ; but 
Gopal, turning to the north amongst the hills, out- 
stripped their pursuit, and coming suddenly down 
upon Tiroha, which was feebly guarded, he plun- 
dered and set fire to the cantonments, before troops, 
dispatched from Ajaygerh as soon as the move- 
ment of Gopal Sing upon Tiroha was known, could 
arrive for its protection. Major Morgan, who com- 
manded the detachment, followed the retreating 
enemy ; but whilst Gopal Sing, at the head of his 
horse, manoeuvred so as to engross his attention, 

' On this occasion, Gopal Sing showed that he united humanity with 
courage and conduct. Several of the wounded Sipahis having fallen into 
his hands, he had their wounds dressed, and sent them back to rejoin the 


the infantry marched unperceived again upon Tiroha, book i. 
where they not only completed such part of the ^^^' 
work of destruction as they had left unfinished, isio. 
but laid the adjacent town in ashes, after having 
first made themselves masters of much valuable 
booty. The audacity of this enterprise enforced the 
adoption of more vigorous measures, and Colonel 
Brown was detached jfrom Colonel MartindelFs 
eamp, with the 1st native cavalry and one squadron 
of the 8th, to command the troops engaged in this 
harassing warfare. A battalion of native infantry 
under Major Leslie was also added to the force; 
and Gopal, unable to encounter such an armament, 
and having been surprised and roughly handled 
by Colonel Brown at Bichaund near Ajaygerh, 
reascended the passes, and took shelter in an 
entrenched position at Jhargerh above the second 
range of ghats. Captain Wilson, with a squadron 
of native cavalry, the 1st battalion of the 16th 
native infantry, three companies of the 7th, and 
a company of pioneers, was sent forw^ard in pursuit. 
After a laborious march he ascended the hills un- 
perceived, and arrived at Jhargerh almost before 
his approach was discovered. The defences con- 
sisted of a rampart and strong stockades situated 
upon a rocky eminence in a valley overgrown with 
bamboos and brushwood : they were accessible only 
on one face, the other sides being covered by almost 
impenetrable thickets; but the garrison, including 
Gopal Sing, were so much taken by surprise that 
their only thought was of escape. Guided by one 
of his prisoners. Captain Wilson effected his en- 
trance into the main body of the works as they 


BOOK I. were eyaeuated by the enemy, who plunged into 
*^°^' * the thickets and disappeared. After burning the 
1810. stockades, and levelling the fort, the detachment 
returned to its post at Kakarati. The setting in 
of the rainy season put a stop to farther proceed- 
ings. Gopal retired to the south; and the troops 
were so stationed as to intercept his return to the 
north and west, and confine him to the rugged 
valleys between the Bhander and Kaimur hills, to- 
wards the sources of the Sone and Nerbudda rivers. 
As soon as the state of the country permitted, 
active measures were resumed: a division of the 
force under Captain Watson marched from Amghat 
on the 17th November, and on the morning of the 
19th came upon a stt-ong body of Gopal Sing's 
troops at the village of Bhamori, commanded by 
some of his principal Sirdars. The party was posted 
in two divisions: one in the village, occupying a 
brick fort ; the other and larger in an adjacent grove, 
protected by a deep ravine. As soon as the ravine 
was turned by the native cavalry, the enemy's horse 
fled, and were pursued for some distance : the foot 
followed their example, and broke upon the first 
volley from the advancing column. The troops 
in the fort surrendered at discretion. About two 
hundred were killed and wounded, and above one 
hundred taken prisoners, with little loss on the 
side of the British. At the same time Major Kelly 
advanced from Lohagong, and Colonel Brown from 
the neighbourhood of Banda. The latter, after 
a long and fatiguing march, crossed the upper 
course of the Sone at Hardi Ghat, and overtook 
Gopal Sing near the village of Killeri, whither he 


had retreated, after declining to accept an asylum book l 
OTOred him by the Raja of Rewa, His followers, 
consisting entirely of horse, were completely routed ; isu. 
and Gopal Sing escaped, almost unattended, into 
the jungle. Here he continued, however, to main- 
tain himself and followers for several months, and, 
notwithstanding his repeated discomfiture, remained 

In the month of June, Gopal Sing emerged from 
his retreat at Kshirgaon in the country of the 
Berar Raja, and once more descended from the 
hills. His movements were closely watched by the 
detachments of Colonel Brown's force ; and, having 
been nearly surprised by Captain Watson in the 
vicinity of Komtara, he retreated to the protec- 
tion of his former asylum. Having received intelli- 
gence of his position, Colonel Brown moved with 
great secrecy and expedition, and came by surprise 
upon him on the night of the 26th June. The 
enemy's camp was pitched at the head of the Do- 
wani pass in the Marao hills, in the dry bed of 
a swamp, protected by thick wood on every side, 
and accessible only by steep and narrow defiles. 
Through one of these the infantry advanced, and 
first gave intimation of their presence by a volley 
fired upon the camp. The enemy fled without 
attempting resistance: many were killed, and much 
plunder was recovered. The nature of the country 
and the approach of the monsoon again suspended 
pursuit; but, on the 7th September, the fortified 
post of Kshirgaon was attacked and carried by a 
detachment commanded by Captain Watson. Gopal 
Sing, once more an almost solitary fugitive, fled 


BOOK I. into the district of Sagar; but, becoming now con- 
^^^' '^' vinced of the hopelessness of so unequal a contest, 
1812. he proffered his submission on the conditions of 
receiving a full pardon for his opposition, and pro- 
vision being made for his family. The British Go- 
vernment, equally weary of a troublesome and un- 
profitable warfare, acceded to the terms, and granted 
him a Jagir of eighteen villages in the district of 
Panwari in Bundelkhand, which is still held by his 
descendants. ^ The transactions are worthy of re- 
cord as an instance of the success with which personal 
activity and resolution, aided by a difficult country, 
but destitute of any other means than plunder and 
the devotedness of a slender band of adherents, 
baflled for a period of four years, and ultimately 
tired out, the resentment and the resources of a 
powerful antagonist. * 

The final establishment of order and tranquillity 
in Bundelkhand was in a still greater degree de- 
pendent upon the reduction of Kalinjar ; the strength 
of which fastness, and the vain attempts made in 
time past for its capture, impressed the natives with 
a universal belief of its impregnability, and inspired 
its Kiladar, Dariao Sing, with confidence to persist 
in his opposition to British authority, and to con- 
tinue his scarcely covert encouragement of every 
predatory leader. The mischievous consequences of 
allowing Dariao Sing^ to retain possession of Ka- 

> See the Sunnud granted to Gopal Sing on the 24th Feb., 1812 ; Re- 
port of Select Committee, August, 1832 ; Political Appendix, p. 561. 

' For the operations against Gopal Sing, sec the Asiatic Annual Re- 
gister, vol. xii. ; History, 40: (chronicle, pp. 9, 10, 61, 78: and Calcutta 
Annual Register, 1821 ; History, p. 76. 

' See p. 18, note. 


linjar were vainly pointed out when the British au- book i. 
thority was first introduced into Bundelkhand ; but ^^^^' '^' 
the system of endurance having now given place I812. 
to a policy of a more resolute character, it was 
determined no longer to overlook his contumacy: 
a force was accordingly assembled at Banda,^ the 
command of which was given to Colonel Martindell, 
and on the 19th January Kalinjar was invested. 

The fortified hill of Kalinjar is situated about 
twenty miles south-east of Banda, and about half that 
distance from the first range of hills. It rises from 
a marshy plain as an isolated rock to the height 
of above nine hundred feet, being at the base ten 
or twelve miles in circumference, and inclosing on 
the summit a table-land of more than four miles 
in circuit. On this plain were situated the resi- 
dence of the Kiladar, the cantonments of the gar- 
rison, and several Hindu temples, apparently an- 
cient : ^ the sides of the hill are abrupt, and are 
covered with an almost impenetrable jungle of 
bushes and bamboos, the haunts of l)easts of prey 

' A squadron of the 8th light drapoous, five companies of the 53rd foot, 
a squadron of the Ist N. C. and three of the 3rd, with six battalions of 
N. I., three companies of pioneers, a detachment of European artillery, 
and a battering train of twelve and eigliteen pounders. 

' In some places, mutilated inscriptions were found in characters said to 
be the same as those on the staff of Firoz Shah at Delhi. They have 
never been collected or published. Cave temples also are described, one 
of which is dedicated to Nila-kantha, a form of Siva, as a Linga. K&lan- 
jara, the correct appellation of the mountain, is also a name of Siva— he 
who sees time itself decay — and all the Hindu traditions relating to this 
hill connect it with liis worship. Kalbhiroop (or correctly,, 
whose colossal image is specified by Abulfazl as existing at Kalaujar, 
is an attendant of Siva, or one of his minor emanations. See the word 
Callinger, to which KAlanjara is commonly barbarously metamorphosed, 
in Hamilton's Gazetteer. A general description of the fort and its anti- 
quities is given in Pogson's History of the Buudelas, but the latter have 
been but cursorily and imperfectly investigated. 


BOOK I. and of innumerable monkeys. The crest of the 
^^^' '^' hill is formed of a ridge of steep black rock, which 
1812. forms the base of a wall with loopholes and em- 
brasures surrounding the whole of the summit. The 
Petta, or town, lies at the foot of the hill at the 
south-eastern angle; and the ascent thence to the 
fort is by a broad winding road cut along the eastern 
fiuje of the rock, and defended by seven fortified 
gateways. Opposite to the north-eastern extremity, 
at the distance of about eight hundred yards, rises 
another detached elevation, the hill of K&lanjari, 
nearly as lofty as the main rock, but of much less 
extent : its sides are equally steep, and covered in 
like manner with a thick and entangled growth of 
low shrubs and bamboos. 

After reconnoitring the defences of the fort, it 
was determined to erect batteries on the lesser hill ; 
and, by the 26th of January, a path having been 
cleared of the jungle, four iron eighteen-pounders 
and two mortars were hauled up by main force 
to the top. Another battery of two eighteen- 
pounders was formed lower down on the shoulder 
of the hill ; and another of two twelve-pounders 
nearer the foot, opposite to the great gateway of 
the fort. Negociations having failed, the batteries 
opened on the 28th, on which day also possession 
was taken of the Petta. No attempt was made to 
disturb the construction of the batteries, and not 
a shot was fired from the fort until they opened ; 
it being a point of Indian honour, it is said, for 
a fort not to fire until fired upon. When the firing 
of the besiegers commenced, that from the fort was 
feebly maintained and did little execution; and it 


was expected, that, as soon as a breach should be book l 
made, the fortress would fall an easy conquest : an ^ 

anticipation that was fatally disappointed. I812. 

By the 1st of February the batteries had effected 
what was considered to be a practicable breach, 
and at sunrise on the 2nd the storming party ad- 
vanced to the assault. The party consisted of the 
five companies of his Majesty's 58rd, and the flank 
companies of the native regiments, commanded by 
Lieut.-Colonel Mawbey. As they ascended the hill, 
they were encountered by a brisk fire of matchlocks 
and volleys of heavy stones, until they made good 
their footing to within fifty yards of the breach, 
where they halted, under cover of an old walk 
The top of the breach, and the wall on both sides 
of it, were crowded with matchlockmen, regardless 
of the fire to which they were exposed from the 
destruction of the parapet. Upon a given signal 
the assailing column rushed forward, in spite of the 
missiles with which they were saluted, and reached 
the foot of the parapet. Here they were arrested 
by the precipitous and mostly perpendicular rock 
on which the wall had stood, and which it was 
necessary to scale before they could arrive at the 
foot of the breach. Ladders were applied, but the 
irregularity of the surface rendered it difficult to 
fix them; and, as fast as the men ascended, they 
were knocked down by heavy stones hurled upon 
them by the defendants, or were shot by their 
matchlocks. Equal resolution was displayed on 
either side ; but the disadvantageous position of the 
assailants rendered the conflict so unequal, that, 
after an unavailing struggle of about thirty-five 


.BOOK I. minutes, the storming party was recalled. The loss 
they sustained was severe:^ that suffered by the 
.1812. garrison was not less. The attempt was not un- 
availing ; as the Kiladar, apprehensive of its repeti- 
tion, signified on the day following his acceptance 
of the conditions which he had previously rejected. 
Lands were assigned to him and the members of his 
family who held a united interest in Kalinjar, and 
they agreed to cede the fortress. This strong-hold, 
which had baffled Mahmud of Ghazni,® which had 
seen Shir Shah^ perish before its walls, and which 
had sustained a ten years' siege by Ali Bahadur,* was 
thus added to the trophies of British conquest, and 
ceased to be the rallying point of lawless spoliation. 
After a brief occupancy as a military post it was 
dismantled and abandoned. The chiefs who had 
once bid defiance from its ramparts to the com- 
mands of the British Government became peaceable 
subjects, and their descendants are still enumerated 
amongst the Jagirdars of the province.* 

' Capt. Fraser, Lieut. Rice, one Serjeant, and ten men of tlie 53nl, 
were killed; ten officers and one hundred and twenty men were wounded. 
Lieut. Faithful, commanding the picmeers, and nearly half his men, were 
wounded. The Sipaliis had no opportunity of coming into action. 

* Mahmud besieged it in a. d. 1023, but made peace with Nanda, its 
Hindu Raja, and left it in his possession. — Briggs*s Ferishta, i. 6G. 

' Shir Shah laid siege to it in a. d. 1554, and was killed by the bursting 
of a shell, and consequent explosion of a powder magazine near which he 
was standing. — Briggs's Ferishta, ii. 123. 

* See above, p. 4. 

* Villages were assigned in perpetual Jagir, not only to Dariao Sing 
Chaub^, but to his coparceners, descendants equally of Itamkrishua Chaub^, 
to the number of eight. — See the separate grants, Report of Select Com- 
mittee, August, 1832 ; App. Political, p. 5C2 ; also Bengal and Agra 
Gazetteer for 1841, vol.ii. part 2, p. 286. The Jagirs thus granted, as well 
as others of a similar class, to the number of twenty-seven, were exempted 
by a special regulation, xxii. of 1812, from the operation of the general 
regulations, and from the jurisdiction of the courts of civil and criminal 


Tlie conduct of Jay Sing Deo, the Raja of Rewa, book l 
a small principality situated on the east of Bundel- ^^^^^J^ 
khand, in countenancing Gopal Sing and other I812. 
free-booters, had for some time past been unsatis* 
factory ; and, very soon after the reduction of Ka- 
linjar, a party of the plunderers known as Pindaris 
penetrated by way of Rewa into the British terri- 
tory of Mirzapur, apparently with the connivance 
of the Raja. It wjis obvious that he had either 
permitted their passage through his country, or 
that he had not the power to prevent it; and in 
either case the duty of self-protection suggested 
interposition. After some hesitation the Raja was 
compelled to accede to a treaty of friendship and 
alliance, by which his possessions were guaranteed, 
and his supremacy in the administration of his 
government acknowledged ; but he was interdicted 
from communicating vnth foreign states, obliged to 
agree to the mutual delivery of enemies and rebels, 
and to promise co-operation in military affairs. The 
treat v was concluded in October, 1812. 

These aiTangements were scarcely concluded when 
the Raja manifested a disposition to violate them. 
He objected to the establishment of a military 
post within his boundary ; opposed a communication 
through his country between the British districts 
which it separated; treated the British political 
agents with indignity ; and either suffered or in- 
stigated the petty chiefs of Singrana, his depend- 
ants, to commit various acts of aggression on the 
adjacent country under British protection. To 
punish their ravages, and compel the observance of 
the stipulatt^d treaty, Colonel Martindell marched 


BOOK I. into Rewa early in 1813. He had advanced near 
^^^' ^' to the capital when the Raja solicited a suspension 
1818. of hostilities, and consented to enter into a new 
•treaty, confirming the former stipulations, and en- 
gaging to pay the expenses of the military opera- 
tions. He shortly afterwards abdicated in favour of 
his son. 

During the suspension of hostilities with the 
Rewa Raja, a party of Sipahis escorting military 
Stores, marching to join the main force, and pro- 
ceeding in the confidence of the armistice which had 
then been agreed upon, were suddenly surrounded 
near the village of Sathani by a strong body of 
horse and foot, by whom some of the men were 
killed and the baggage was plundered. The Raja 
disclaimed all participation in this atrocity ; and it 
appeared to have been the unauthorised act of some 
of his feudatories, particularly the Raja of Sathani 
and Samaid Sing, Raja of Entouri. A force under 
Colonel Adams took the field immediately after the 
rains to punish the aggressors. The fort of Entouri 
was stormed and carried, after an obstinate resist- 
ance. Samaid Sing, disdaining to survive its capture, 
strewed a quantity of gunpowder upon a cloth, which 
he tied round his body, and, setting fire to it, termi- 
nated his existence. Some other forts were taken 
and destroyed ; and the chiefs, alarmed, came into 
camp and submitted. A third treaty was then con- 
cluded with the Raja of Rewa ; by which, upon his 
renewing the stipulations previously contracted, ho 
was placed in possession of some of the lands which 
the contumacious Zemindars had forfeited, with 
certain reservations, under strict promise that he 


would respect whatever guarantees the British Go- book i. 
vemment had granted to any of his chiefs, and would ^^^^^J^ 
refrain from molesting all such as had evinced towards isis. 
it a friendly disposition. The Raja necessarily acqui- 
esced, but the resentment felt by this petty court 
at an interference which it had provoked has per- 
haps scarcely yet given place to friendly feelings.^ 

These operations put an end for a time to all 
serious manifestations of the turbulent spirit by 
which the Bundelas have been long distinguished. 
A different race, but of a congenial temperament, 
in another portion of the western frontier, required, 
about the same period, similar coercion. 

At the termination of the war, the extensive 
and fertile but thinly peopled district of Hariana, 
lying immediately west of Delhi, had been taken 
within the range of British supremacy. The inha- 
bitants of the province, who were of the Jdt race, 
a resolute and high-spirited tribe, had some years 
before taken advantage of the enfeebled adminis- 
tration of affairs at Delhi to throw off the alle- 
giance which they had previously professed to the 
Mogul. Collected together in village communities 
they formed so many petty republics acknow- 
ledging no individual head; and, although com- 
bining occasionally against a foreign enemy, con- 
nected by no common tie of political interest or 
authority, and not unfrequently at deadly feud with 
each other. From time to time some Mahratta 

1 See the three treaties of the 5th Oct. 1812, 2nd June 1813, and 2l8t 
March 1814, with the Rewa Raja, in the collection of treaties printed by 
order of Parliament, 27th May 1818 ; also in a collection printed for the 
Proprietors, Aug. 1824. — Administration of the Marquis of Hastings. 
The operations are related in Calcutta Annual Register for 1821 , p. 60. 


BOOK I. or Mohammedan chieftain, or individual of their 
own body, established a military ascendancy over 
1809. them to a limited extent, and for a brief interval ; 
and, in one instance, George Thomas, an Irish ad- 
venturer,^ rendered himself the lord over a part of 
the province, with Hansi, its chief town, for his 
capital. His reign was of short duration ; l)ut its 
overthrow was not effected by the discontent of his 
subjects or the rivalry of his equals, and it demanded 
the overwhelming force of Sindhia's disciplined bri- 
gades, commanded by General Perron, to dispossess 
him. Hariana was then governed by Perron in 
the name of Sindhia, and, with the defeat of his 
troops, passed over to the British. The Govern- 
ment of the day, unwilling to retain the conquest. 

' Georg^c Thomas arrived in India as a sailor about 1781. At Madras 
he deserted, and entered into the service of some of the southern Poligars ; 
thence he made his way through tlie heart of India, and reached Delhi in 
1787 : he there received a commission in the bri^^ade of Begum Sumroo, 
and rose to high favour ; but, being supplanted in the Begum's good graces 
by some other adventurer, he quitted her service in 1702, and joined Apa 
Khande Rao, one of Sindhia's discarded captains, who was endeavouring 
to form an independent state in the country west of Delhi. He succeeded 
in his project, but, dying in 1797, his power fell to pieces, and George 
Thomas, throvni on his own resources, determined to conquer Hariana for 
himself. He succeeded so far as to make himself ruler of a petty prin- 
cipality, extending about 100 miles from N. to S. and in its broadest part 
about 75 miles from £. to W., comprehending 900 villages and several 
small towns. Hansi, which Thomas found in ruins, was restored and for- 
tified by him, and, becoming his capital, was soon tenanted by between 
five and six thousand inhabitants. George Thomas was Raja of Hansi 
for four years, and had little to fear from any of his neighbours, until Sind- 
hia's authority extended to Delhi, and introduced a power far superior to 
that of the European potentate. Thomas was besieged in Hansi by Du 
Perron with a strong and well-organised force, and surrendered on condi- 
tion of being conveyed to a British station. The stipulation was observed, 
and he was conducted to the British frontier in January 1802. He thence 
proceeded towards Calcutta, with the purpose of returning to his native 
land, but was taken ill, and died at Berhampore in August. His career is 
a striking illustration of the distracted state of a country in which a com- 
men sailor, with uo other aid than European energy, personal strength, 
and intrepid resolution, could raise himself even to ephemeral sovereignty. 
—See Life of George Thomas, by Colonel Francklin. 


transferred it to several native chiefs in succession ; book i. 


but all found it impossible to establish their power ' 
without the assistance of British troops, and speedily 1809. 
resigned the unprofitable boon. The last of these, 
Abd-ul-samad Khan, a military leader of repute, 
who had joined Lord Lake early in the Mahratta 
war, and who had latterly received Hariana in recom- 
pense of his ser\ice8, found himself compelled to 
follow the example of his predecessors, and the pro- 
vince was thrown again upon the hands of the British 
Government. As Hariana was conterminous with the 
districts of Delhi under British administration, the 
danger arising from the predatory and unrestrained 
habits of its population was not to be disregarded, 
and it was determined to provide against the 
evil by undertaking the immediate regulation of the 
country, and bringing the people under the autho- 
rity of British functionaries. With this design the 
Honourable Mr. Gardner, assistant to the Resi- 
dent at Delhi, proceeded with a strong escort into 
the province. Little difficulty attended his pro- 
ceedings: most of the head-men of the villages 
obeyed his summons, repaired to his camp, pro- 
fessed allegiance, promised the regular payment 
of a stipulated revenue, and engaged to desist from 
intestine broils and from the plunder of travellers 
and merchants. Whatever may have been their 
sincerity, the prompt display, in two instances, of 
the determination of the Government to suffer no 
infringement of the compact awed them into the 
observance of their engagements. The people of 
Baliali, a large village of Jats, who professed Mo- 
hammedanism, liaving robbed some traders almost 
VOL. I. o 


BOOK I. in sight of the Commissioner's camp, a military 
^^' ^' detachment was sent against them. They fled into 
1809. the adjacent country of Bikaner, and their village 
was destroyed. A more resolute resistance was en- 
countered at another large village or town, that of 
Bhawani. The inhabitants of this place, notorious 
for the audacity of their depredations, carried off the 
camels and baggage of a party of Sipahis on their 
march to camp, and fired upon them as they ap- 
proached the town. Immediate measures were 
taken to punish the aggressors. A force of four 
battalions of native infantry, one regiment of 
cavalry, a corps of irregular horse, with a train of 
artillery, commanded by Colonel Ball,^ marched 
against Bhawani, and appeared before it on the 
27th August : batteries were opened, and the walls 
were breached by noon of the 29th. An assault 
was made in two columns : the right was met by a 
sortie of the inhabitants, who fought with courage, 
but were driven back and followed into the fort; 
the left column also forced its way into the town, 
and, after an obstinate conflict, in which severe loss 
was inflicted on the enemy, the place was carried.* 
The transaction was productive of the good effects 
expected from it. The lawless and turbulent tribes 
of Hariana were made to feel that they had now a 
master. Submitting to a yoke which they could 

> l8t battn. of the 9th, 2nd of the ISth, Ist of the 22Qd, and 2nd of the 
2Srd, besides some companies of the Ist of the 10th, and 2nd of the 24th, 
with the 6th regt N. Cavalry^ and Skinner's horse. 

' One officer, Lieut. O'Brien of the 1st batt. of the 22nd, was killed, six 
were wownded ; eighteen privates were killed, and one hundred and fourteen 
wouDded. The loss of the townsfolk was officially estimated at more than 
a thousand. — Asiatic Annual Register, vol. xi. ; History, p. 7 ; Chronicle, 
p. 67. 


not shake off, they became in due time an orderly book i. 
and obedient people, and, devoting themselves to 


agricultural occupations, rendered the province one isos. 
of the most valuable districts subject to the British 

A still more important departure from the prin- 
ciple of non-interference occurred in the same direc- 
tion, and occasioned an extension of British supre- 
macy to the frontier which still forms its north-west- 
em boundary, — the left bank of the Setlej. The 
success with which the Sikh chief, Ranjit Sing, had 
wrought his own aggrandisement at the expense of 
all his competitors on the west of the Setlej, en- 
couraged him to pursue the same line of policy 
with respect to the Rajas on the east of the river, 
and to attempt to spread his influence and power 
across it to the Jumna. He was led to believe that 
he would not be obstructed in the execution of this 
project by the British; as, although the Government 
had accepted the proffered submission of the Sikh 
Rajas, it had required from them no positive stipu- 
lation of tribute or allegiance, and had contracted 
no formal engagement to protect them. He went 
to work, however, with his usual caution. A vio- 
lent quarrel having taken place between the Rajas 
of Patiala and Naba, the latter called Ranjit Sing 
to his assistance. The call was promptly answered ; 
and in October, 1806, that chief crossed the Setlej 
with a strong body of horse, and dictated terms of 
reconciliation to the contending parties. Some ap- 
prehension of his ulterior objects was entertained at 
Delhi ; but a letter was received from him express- 
ing his profound respect for the British Govern- 

o 2 


BOOK I. raent, and no notice was taken of his proceedings. 


' The result of this experiment confirmed him in the 
1808. belief that he had no opposition to dread from his 
more powerftil neighbours in establishing his autho- 
rity over the stntes between the Setlej and Jumna; 
but, having other designs in view, or not considering 
matters sufficiently mature for the consummation of 
his purpose, Ranjit Sing departed, and re-crossed the 
Setlej in the beginning of 1807. 

In the course of that year the wife of the Patiala 
Raja, who was at variance with her husband on ac- 
count of her insisting upon an assignment of re- 
venue for the use of her son, yet a minor, had 
recourse to Ranjit Sing, and he again crossed the 
Setlej into the Doab. * The Sikh chiefs in this 
quarter now began to be seriously alarmed, and 
made an earnest application to the Resident at 
Delhi to defend them against the growing ambition 
of their countryman ; protesting that they had ever 
considered themselves to be the subjects of the 
Company, and entitled to its protection. Before 
any reply could be received from Calcutta, the Raja 
and Rani had settled their dispute amicably, and 
had purchased the withdrawal of Ranjit by a valu- 
able diamond necklace and a celebrated brass gun ; 
but, before leaving the country, he levied contribu- 
tions on some other petty Rajas, or seized upon their 
forts and confiscated their lands. His return was 
probably hastened by a knowledge of the negocia- 
tions going on at Delhi, and by a report, which the 
chiefs industriously circulated, that their application 
had been favourably considered. In order to dis- 
cover the truth of this assertion, Ranjit addressed a 


letter to the Goveriior-General, stating that he book i. 
had learned that troops were assembling on the ^"^''' ^' 
Jumna, and requesting to be informed of the cause. I8O8. 
He declared his wish to continue on friendly terms, 
but ventured to add, " The country on this side of 
the Jumna, except the stations occupied by the Eng- 
lish, is subject to my authority. Let it remain so." 
Although Lord Minto was resolved to resist the 
pretensions of Ranjit Sing to the exercise of any 
authority on the right bank of the Jumna, yet the 
policy of securing his concurrence in the scheme of 
defensive alliance, which it was sought to frame 
against the hostile designs upon India avowed by the 
Emperor Napoleon, suspended the announcement of 
the Governor-Gen eraFs sentiments ; and Ranjit was 
referred for a reply to Mr. (afterwards Sir Charles) 
Metcalfe, whom it had been determined to send on 
a friendly mission to the Sikh ruler. The envoy 
set out from Delhi in August 1808, and, crossing 
the Setlej on the 1st of September, reached the 
camp of Ranjit, at Kasur, on the 11th: his recep- 
tion w^as at first courteous and cordial ; but in a few 
days a different feeling was displayed, and much 
dissatisfaction was expressed that the British Go- 
vernment should hesitate to acknowledge the Jumna 
to be the boundary between the two states. Still 
further to evince his displeasure, and to induce the 
Rajas on the east of the Setlej to believe that the 
British envoy acquiesced in his designs, Ranjit broke 
up his camj), crossed the river with tlie envoy in his 
train, dispossessed the chief to whom it belonged of 
the fort of Farid Koth, seized upon Ambala, and 
exacted tribute from the Rajas of Shahabad and 


BOOK I. Thanesar. As Sir C. Metcalfe had refused to follow 
^^^' ^' his extended march into the Doab, Ranjit retraced 
1808. his steps, and returned to Amritsar, where the mission 
awaited him. The circumstances which had influ- 
enced the Govemor-GeneraFs external policy had 
now in some degree ceased, and it was no longer 
necessary to temporise with the Raja of Lahore. 
Ranjit was consequently apprised that the Rajas 
between the two rivers were under British protec- 
tion; that he might retain such acquisitions as he 
had made on this side of the Setlej previously to 
the existence of the relations which had been 
formed with the protected states, but that he 
must restore all that had been made subsequently ; 
and that, in order to guard against any future en- 
croachments, a military post would be established 
on the left bank of the river. Tlie Raja strenuously 
expostulated against this declaration ; arguing, that 
he had repeatedly exercised acts of authority in the 
Doab of the Setlej and Jumna, without any objection 
having been started by the British Government; that 
appeals made to the British Resident at Delhi by 
refractory chiefs had, to his certain knowledge, 
received no countenance or encouragement; that 
blood had been shed, and treasure expended, in 
asserting a supremacy which he claimed as his right; 
and that it was as unfriendly as it was inconsistent 
to prevent his reaping the fruit of exertions which 
had been suffered to come to maturity in seeming 
acquiescence. He, therefore, requested a renewed 
consideration of the subject ; and in the mean time 
he assembled his troops, and appeared resolved to 
maintain his pretensions by arms. 



Having come to the determination that the Setlej book i. 
should be the limit of Ranjit Sing's acquisitions in . 
that direction, with the exceptions above intimated, I809. 
the British Government immediately commanded 
the advance of a sufficient body of troops to uphold 
their resolution. A detachment under Colonel Och- 
terlony crossed the Jumna in the middle of Janu- 
ary, and proceeded to Ludiana, whilst an army of 
reserve under the command of Major-General St. 
Leger was prepared to support the advance, should 
protracted operations become necessary. The troops 
of Ranjit Sing fell back as Colonel Ochterlony's 
detachment approached ; and an incident took place, 
under the observation of the Raja, which might 
have suggested to him their unfitness to encounter 
disciplined battalions. 

During the stay of the British embassy in the 
vicinity of Amritsar the anniversary of the Mohar- 
ram occurred, and the deaths of Ali and his sons, 
Hasan and Hosain, were commemorated by the Shia 
Mohammedans of the envoy's escort with the pub- 
lic demonstrations of passionate sorrow and religious 
fervour usual on the occasion. The celebration gave 
great offence to the Sikh population of Amritsar, 
which is the site of their most sacred temple ; and 
especially to the Akalis, a set of Sikh fanatics who 
combine a religious and martial character. Headed 
by a party of these men, a numerous and infuriated 
mob attacked the envoy's camp : they were repulsed 
by the steadiness of the escort, although it consisted 
of but two companies of native infantry and sixteen 
troopers; but not until several of the assailants were 
killed, and many of the Sipahis were wounded. 



BOOK I. Ranjit Sing came up at the close of the affray, and 

'^^^' ^^' assisted iu quelling a tumult which it was strongly 

1809. suspected he had in some degree fomented. Tlie 

camp was removed to a greater distance from the 

town, and no further molestation was experienced. 

The advance of the troops to the Setlej, and the 
experience of their quality which the affair at Am- 
ritsar afforded him, dissipated Ranjit Sing's dreams 
of conquest, and rendered him anxious to secure the 
forbearance and friendship of the British Govern- 
ment. Accordingly, on the 25th April, a treaty was 
concluded which stipulated that perpetual friendship 
should subsist between the British Government and 
the state of Lahore ; that the former should have 
no concern with the territories and subjects of the 
Raja to the northward of the Setlej ; that the Raja 
should never maintain on the left bank of the river 
more troops than were necessary for the internal 
duties of the territory acknowledged to belong to 
him, nor commit nor suffer any encroachment on 
the possessions or rights of the chiefs in its vicinity ; 
and that the treaty should be null and void in the 
** event of a violation of either of the preceding arti- 
cles. Thus terminated all unfriendly discussions 
with the Sikh chieftain.^ That he was deeply mor- 
tified by the result cannot be doubted ; and there 
was reason to believe, that, if he could have relied 
upon effective support from Hindustan, he would 
not have submitted so peaceably to such a diminu- 
tion of his power and disappointment of his hopes.^ 

' MS. Records ; Prinsep'a Life of Runjeet Singh, Calcutta, 1834, p. 04. 

* There was credible evidence, that, during these discussions, a commu- 
nication was kept up between the Kaja and Siudhia, and una\owed agents 
were resident on either part at Gwalior and Lahore: a correspondence 


Nor did he for some time lay aside his distrust of book i. 
the ulterior designs of his European neighbour. An ^"^^' '^' 
exaggerated notion of his resources, and suspicion of 1509. 
his ambitious projects, continued also for a consider- 
able period to regulate the policy of the British Go- 
vernment towards him, and to suspend the establish- 
ment of a cordial intercourse almost to the term of 
the Raja's existence. During the last five years of 
his life, his confidence in British faith, and reliance 
on the principles of non-interference which had been 
originally professed, were fully confirmed by the 
cautious abstinence which had uniformly left him 
at liberty to extend his power over the independent 
principalities and states north and west of the Pun- 
jab without any interposition or even remark.* 

The seasonable succour thus given to the petty 
Sikh chiefs between the Setlej and the Jumna' put 
an end to the vague character of the connexion 

with Sarji Rao Gbatka was also detected. Ranjit*s sagacity, however, 
soon discovered the weakness to which the Mahrattas had been reduced. — 
MS. Records. 

' Travellers in Raiijit*s territories complain, even to a late period, of ob~ 
structions to their proceedings thrown in their way by his subordinate func- 
tionaries and officers, and ascribe them to private instructions issued by 
the Raja, whilst ostensibly he gave Uiem permission to go wherever they 
wished, and institute whatever inquiries they pleased. This might have 
been the case with some of the first visitors of the Punjab ; but, latterly, 
whatever impediments were experienced were most probably ascribable to 
the ignorance or impertinence of the subordinates. — See the travels of 
Moorcroft, Jacquemont, Vigne, 6ic, 

* The chief of these were Saheb Sing, Raja of Patiala ; Bhye Lai Sing, 
of Ky thai ; Jeswant Sing, of Naba ; Bhag Sing, of Jhind ; Guru-dayal Sing, 
of Ladija, Jodh Sing, of Kalasia; Gopal Sing, of Mauimajra; Daya Kunwar, 
Rani of Ambala ; Bhauga Sing, Raja of Thanesar ; Sodha Sing, of Maha- 
wat; Jawahir Sing, of Bharup. The Patiala Raja had a revenue of six 
lakhs of rupees, and a force of 2000 horse and 1000 foot. The revenues 
of the other chiefs varied from one to two lakhs, and their troops from 500 
to 1000 horse. There were about twenty others of still inferior importance, 
but all claiming imlepeudeut authority over their vassals ; presenting in fact 
a slate of things very similar to that of the early feudal auarchy of 
Europe. — MS. Records. 

HSfTcuT or aomss odul 

WTjfM: t viueh bad hirherw ^oiiced xhem vidi the Kitidi 
"^^^^ ^' GoT^mment. ami F^z&iereii h neceanrr to define the 

i*7os whkh were chenceforwrnrd to 
svfaosc : aeirririiaeiT. & renetal deelanuioo was cir- 
eoiazefi to tbeo. amioiizicni? that the terntories of 
swhisfi azid 3Iaiua Iiad been taken nnder British 
pMfeed*-jn : trax h was soC the mtcntioo of the Go- 
▼emmect to demazKl tnbnte from the chiefe; bat 
that thej wocid be experted to furnish eTery ftdlitr 
m their power to the moit a a ents of British troops 
tfaioagh their distrietv and to join the British armies 
with their foDowers wfaeneTer caDed npon. The 
sereral ehie& were permitted to exeirise, and were 
goaimnteed, the rights and authorities which thej 
possessed in their respectiTe territories: bat sap- 
plies of European articles for troops, and horses 
finr caTalrj passing through thenu were to be ex- 
empted from transit duries. The declaration con- 
Teying these provisions became the charter of 
rights to which the Sikh chiefs have been accus- 
tomed to refer for the settlement of all questions 
that have arisen between them and the British 
Government ;* but the mutual relations of supre- 
macy and subjection, appeals from the inferior to 
the superior in disputes amongst themselves or in 
domestic diasensions, and the imperative necessity of 
maintaining public order and security, speedily multi- 
pi ic?d occ^isions of interposition, and, after no long 
interval, compelled the British Government to pro- 
claim the right and the resolution to interpose.* 

* Life of Hunjeet Singh, 72. 

*A public proclamation declaratory of the right and determination to 
inUsrferv tietweon the diflferent Uigas in all cases of disputed territory, and 


The regulation of successions was also a subject book i. 
which from the first demanded the intervention '^^^' '^' 
of the protecting power;* and political expedience isos, 
has dictated the enforcement of a principle recog- 
nised throughout the feudality of India, the appro- 
priation of a subject territory in failure of lawful 
heirs by the paramount sovereign.* 

There is no satisfactory proof that the Emperor 
Napoleon ever seriously contemplated the invasion 
of India. In an early stage of his career, before 
his path to greatness was distinctly visible, he seems 
to have entertained some vague and wild dream of 
founding for himself an empire in the East.* The 
conquest of Egyi)t, in addition to the purpose of 
establishing a French colony in that country which 
should divert the stream of commerce between 
India and Europe from the Cape of Good Hope to 
the Straits of Bab-al-mandal, and thus annihilate 
one of the sources of British prosperity, had, ac- 
cording to Napoleon, for one of its objects, the 

at the same time repeating the resolution not to interfere in the internal 
administration of justice between the chiefs and their subjects, was issued 
on the 11th -August, 1811. — See Report of Select Committee, House of 
Commons, 1832 ; Appendix Political, p. 660. 

^ In 1812, the Raja of Patiala, having rendered himself insupportable to 
his subjects by his insane oppression, was deposed in favour of his son, ft 
minor, under the regency of the Rani, by the British Government. Tlie 
measure was obnoxious to some of the Raja's adherents ; and one of them, 
an Akali, attacked the Agent, Colonel Ochterlony, in his palanquin, and 
severely wounded him. — Life of Runjeet, 76. 

' Commonly to the exclusion of females, except in a few families where 
a contrary usage has prevailed. Some of the chiefships have so lapsed, the 
principal of which are Arobala and Thanesar. — Bengal and Agra Guide, 
1841, vol. ii. part 2, p. 268. And, still more recently, Khytal.— Calcuttft 
Joamals, April, 1843. 

' According to his own assertion, if he had taken St. Jean d'Acre, he 
would have brought about a revolution in the East, would have reached 
Constantinople and the Indies, and changed the destinies of the world. 
— Las Cases' Journal, i. 206 ; Scott's Life of Napoleon, ii. 104, 111. 

204 HisrroRY of British india. 

BOOK I. formation of a basis from which to accomplish the 
^]^^^2_!Il invasion of India ; but it is scarcely possible to be- 
!«)«. iieve that he could ever have gravely projected so 
impossible a scheme as that of sending sixty thou- 
sand troops uiK)n camels across the deserts of Arabia, 
and barren wastes of Baluchistan, to the banks of 
the Indus-* The subsequent mission of General 
Gardanne to Persia, and the influence acquired at 
Tehran, reganled Russia more immediately than 
India, and were suggested by the community of 
politiciil interests, as Persia and France were simul- 
taneously engage<l in hostilities with the former 
empire. Such, however, was the impression pro- 
duced by these demonstrations, and such the dread 
of Napoleon's power and resources, that a French 
invasion of India was reckoned amongst the possi- 
ble contingencies of the time, and one against which 
precaution was indispensable. In this conviction, 
the Governor-General of India deemed it advisable 
to endeavour to establish amicable relations with the 
frontier principalities of the Punjab and Afghan- 
istan, and to renew a friendly understanding with 
the king of Persia. The mission to Ranjit Sing, 

* L* Expedition d'Egypte avoit trois bats : ^tablir sur \c Nil une colonie 
Fran<;oise ; ouvrir an d^houch^ k nos manufactures dans TAfrique, TArabie, 
et la Syrie ; partir d*£gypte conune d'une place d'armes pour porter une 
arm^e de 60,000 hommes sur Tlndns soulever les Marattes et les penplcs 
opprimds : 60,000 hommes, moiti^ Europ^ens, moiti^ recrues des climats 
brulants de 1* Equator et du tropique, transport's par 10,000 chevaux et 
50,000 chame'aux, portant avec eux des vivres pour cinquante ou soissante 
jours, de Teau pour cinq ou six jours, et un train d'artillerie de 150 
bouches k feu de caropagne, avec double approvisionnement, arriveraient 
en quatre mois sur I'lndus. L'oc'an a cess' d'etre un obstacle depuis 
qu*un a des vaisseaux, le desert cesse d'cn etre un pour une arm'e qui a 
en nboudance des chameaux et des dromedaires. — M'moires de St. H'- 
l^uti, ii. 214. Scarcely less insane was his speculation of invading India 
by sea, and sending round the Cape a force of sixteen thousand troops un- 
der convoy of thirty-two ships of the line. — Las Cases* Journal, ii. 248. 



which originated in this policy, has been adverted book i. 
to, and we have now to notice the measures adopted ' 
with respect to the two other states. I8O8. 

Tlie political condition of Afghanistan was almost 
wholly unknown to the Government of Bengal. No 
English traveller had crossed the Tndus^ since Foster; 
and his journey was performed under circumstances 
of ])ersonal disguise and hazard, which restricted 
him to hasty and superficial observation. Little 
information was to be gathered from his narrative. 
Tt was known from original authorities, that, of the 
country occupied by the Afghan tribes, the eastern 
portion, including Kabul and Ghazni, had been 
usually dependent upon Delhi; and the western, 
comprising Kandahar and Herat, ordinarily subject 
to Persia. Upon the murder of Nadir Shah, king 
of Persia, Ahmed Shah, of the Durani tribe of 
Afghans, a leader of distinction in the Persian army, 
took advantage of the distracted condition of both 
India and Persia to found a kingdom, independent 
of either, extending from the Indus to Herat, and 
ultimately including parts of Baluchistan and Sindh. 
Ahmed Shah was succeeded by his son, Timur Shah, 
who enjoyed a long and tranquil reign under the 
shadow of his father's fame. Upon his death the 
Durani monarchy speedily fell to pieces. He left 
a number of sons necessarily competitors for the 
sovereignty." Zeman Shah, although not the eldest 

' Mr. Foster, a member of the Civil service of Renfi^l, returned from 
India to ICagland, through the Punjab, Afghanistan, and Persia: he tra- 
velled on foot in the character of a pauper and garb of an Asiatic ; and, 
although he communicates some novel information, yet his notices of the 
Afghans, amongst whom he was in much danger, are unavoidably meagre. 
— See his Travels. 

^ They were more than thirty. Humayun, the eldest, after a feeble 


BOOK I. of these, made good his pretensions with the aid 
°°^^' ^' and support of his younger brother, Shuja-al-mulk, 
1808. and retained a precarious occupancy of the throne 
for seven years. The mjustice and insolence of his 
favourite Vizir provoked a conspiracy against him 
among the principal nobles of his court : it was 
detected ; and one of the conspirators, Sirairaz Khan, 
chief of the Barikzei clan, to which Shah Zeman 
had been mainly indebted for his own elevation, 
was put to death. The act was fatal to the mon- 
arch ; for Fatih Khan, the eldest son of Sirafraz 
Khan, immediately devoted his abilities and influ- 
ence, which were considerable, to the service of 
Mahmud, a brother and rival of the king. Shah 
Zeman, deserted by his troops, was taken prisoner, 
deposed, and blinded, and Mahmud was made Shah. 
The character of Mahmud was unequal to the 
exigencies of his perilous position. Indolent and 
timid, he transferred the cares of the government 
to his ministers, and, as long as his own ease and 
enjojrment were provided for, was wholly indif- 
ferent to the prosperity of his kingdom. By his 
injudicious partiality to his Persian guards, and the 
unbridled licence in which he suffered them to in- 
dulge, he offended both the religious prejudices and 
the national feelings of his countrymen, and pro- 
voked them to insurrection. * Shuja-al-mulk was 

effort to maintain his right, was taken by Zeman Shah, blinded, and died 
in captivity. Zeman Shah, Mahmud, and Shuja-al-mulk, in their turns 
held temporary sway, and perished. Firoz-addin for some time occupied 
Herat, but was dispossessed, and fled to Persia, where he died. Shah 
Abbas, who was set up as king for a short time, also died in exile. These 
were the only members of the family who acquired notoriety. 

* The Gholam Sh4his, or Kazal-bashis, the king's Persian gaards, 
were obnoxious to the Afghans, not only from their insolence and licen- 


called to head the insurgents ; and, fortune abandon- book i. 
ing Mahmud, his adherents were defeated, and he ^"^^' '^' 
himself was taken prisoner. Shuja ascended the isos. 
throne : a feeling of fraternal affection induced him 
to refrain from inflicting upon Mahmud the usual 
disqualification for sovereignty, loss of sight ; and 
this act of clemency, which was so unusual in Afghan 
policy, proved ultimately his own destruction. 

During the five succeeding years Shah Shuja 
was nominal monarch of Afghanistan; but his au- 
thority and life were repeatedly endangered by the 
attempts of one or other of his brothers to supplant 
him, and by the aid which they received from the 
turbulent and factious nobles of his court, especi- 
ally from the powerful family of which Fatih Khan 
was the head.^ Towards the close of this period 
Mahmud escaped from confinement and fled to 
his son Kamran, who had been able, during his 
father's detention, to maintain himself at liberty 
on the western frontier of Afghanistan. Although 
joined by the Barakzei chief, the confederates were 
defeated by Shah Shuja, and his power seemed to 
be finally established on a secure foundation.* In- 

tioasness, but their professions of the Shia form of Mohammedanism, 
which considers Ali as the rightful successor of Mohammed, and de- 
nounces imprecations on the three first Khalifs, Abu-bekr, Omar, and Oth- 
man, as usurpers. The Afghans are bigoted Sunis, and assert with equal 
zeal the lawfulness of the succession. An insurrection in Kabul, directed 
in the first instance against the Kazal-bashis, and ultimately against 
Mahmud as their patron, prepared the way for his deposal. — Elphinstone's 
Kabul, 8vo., vol. ii. 334. 

' The sons of Sirafraz Khan, the hereditary chiefs of the Barakzei clan, 
were twenty-two in number : one of them, Dost Mohammed, the chief who 
has of late years acquired such extensive European celebrity, was then 
one of the youngest of the brethren. 

^ In August 1808, the Resident at Delhi reported, that, according to the 
latest advices from Afghanistan, the authority of Shah Shuja was fully 
established. — MS. Records. 


BOOK I. stead, however, of following up his success, and 
^^^^' '^' extinguishing the last sparks of rebellion by the 
1809. expulsion or capture of Mahmud, he returned to 
enjoy his triumph at Peshawar, and with singular im- 
prudence dispatched the principal part of his army 
to recover the province of Kashmir from the chief 
by whom the province was governed, and who was 
in arms against his sovereign.* Tt was at this season 
that the mission from Bengal arrived at Peshawar. 

The embassy to Kabul was fitted out in a manner 
intended to impress the Afghans with an exalted 
opinion of the power and dignity of the Company, 
and was intrusted to a member of the civil service, 
Mr. Elphinstone, whose conversancy with the lan- 
gujige and manners of native princes, and whose 
abilities, judgment, and personal character ensured 
its success, as far as the state of affairs permitted. 
Mr. Elphinstone left Delhi on the 13th of October ; 
and, as it was uncertain whether Ranjit Sing would 
assent to the passage of the mission through the 
Punjab, the route followed traversed the hitherto 
untrodden wastes of Bikaner and Jesselmer to the 
frontiers of Bahawalpur, then a dependency of 
Kabul. Proceeding through Multan, the Nawab of 
which was also at that time, nominally at least, a 
feudatory of the Afghan monarch, the mission reach- 
ed the Indus, and on the 7th of January crossed 
the river at Kaheri ferry. On the 5th of March 
Mr. Elphinstone entered Peshawar, whither Shah 
Shuja had recently returned from Kandahar. 

* For the latter history of the Afghans, see Elphinstone's Embassy to 
Kabul, vol. ii. p. 270, and Conolly's Overland Journey to India; Afghan 
History, ii. 233. See also the later accounts of Burnes, Vig^e, &c. 



Although the envoy met with a courteous recep- book i. '. 
tion, and much cordiality prevailed between the ^^^' '^' 
members of the mission and the principal persons I809. 
of the court, yet the objects of the embassy were 
never fully comprehended, nor was a feeling of dis- 
trust towards it ever entirely effaced. An alliance 
to resist a combined invasion of the French and Per- 
sians seemed to the Afghans to be a needless pre- 
caution, as the danger was avowedly contingent and 
remote, and as it was one with which they esteemed 
themselves competent to cope. The circumstances 
under which the alliance was sought, showed that 
British rather than Afghan interests were at stake, 
and the court not unreasonably desired to know 
what benefit was to accrue to them from the con- 
federacy. It was shrewdly enough argued by the 
diplomatists of Peshawar that they could not come 
to any decision upon an ea^-parte statement, and 
that in jastice to themselves they ought to hear 
what an ambassador from France might have to 
urge before they made common cause with either 
French or English. To a treaty of defensive and 
offensive alliance generally they professed them- 
selves to be willing to accede, as such an alliance 
proposed a reciprocal advantage ; but they objected 
to enter into engagements intended solely for the 
protection of British India. They saw clearly that 
the British Government had a point to carry with 
the court of Kabul for interests of its own; and, 
when they found that tbe equivalent demanded 
was withheld, they concluded that some ulterior 
and unacknowledged purpose was entertained. 

The importance of the object which Shah Shuja 

VOL. I. P 


BOOK I. and his ministers had in view — the assistance of 
CHAP. iv> ^YiQ British — was speedily enhanced by the course 
1809. of events. The troops sent to Kashmir were so 
entirely defeated that not more than two thousand 
men, dismounted, disarmed, and wholly disorganised, 
escaped. Mahmud immediately resumed the offen- 
sive, occupied Kandahar and Kabul, and threatened 
Peshawar. The army was annihilated, the treasury 
was empty and the means of le\ying any consider- 
able force were entirely deficient. In this emer- 
gency, a pecuniary grant was urgently solicited from 
the British Government ; and such was the state of 
popular indifference with regard to the contending 
parties, and the readiness of the chiefs to sell their 
services to the highest bidder, that a compliance 
with the application would in all i)robability have 
secured the ascendancy of Shah Shuja, and have 
seated him firmly and permanently in his domi- 
nions.^ The measure was warmly advocated by the 
envoy ; but unhappily for the Shah, and for the fate 
of Afghanistan, doomed to a long and still un ter- 
minated course of civil dissension and domestic 
anarchy, the policy of the British Government had 
imdergone a change. The invasion of Spain by 
Napoleon, and the commencement of the Penin- 
sular war, had indefinitely suspended the execution 

' The people of the towns were in general well-affected towards Shah 
Shiga, who was recommended to them by his moderation and justice. The 
HiU tribes were indifferent, and followed their own chiefs, most of whom 
were ready to sell their services to the highest bidder. Ten lakhs of ru- 
pees would probably have turned the scale decidedly in favour of Shah 
Shiga, and have secured him a permanent ascendancy. The grant of pe- 
enniary aid was advocated by Mr. Elphinstone, but the measure was not 
thought necessary by Lord Minto, expressly on the grounds that the 
change of affairs in Europe had indefinitely suspended, if not entirely 
defeated, the projects of France against British India. — MS. Records. 


of his designs upon India, and had made it no book i. 
longer necessary to conciliate the good-will or pur- ^^^^' '^' 
cliase the co-operation of the native states upon the i809. 
frontier. It was therefore resolved to decline the 
grant of pecuniary aid in any fomi whatever, and 
to withdraw with unmeaning professions of amity 
from all intercourse with the Durani sovereign. 
The consequences of the ambition of the French 
Emperor thus vibrated to the heart of Asia; and 
his declaration, that the Bourbons had ceased to 
reign, precipitated Shah Shuja from his throne, 
consigned him to a life of exile and to a disastrous 
death, and ultimately led to the infliction of an 
indelible stain upon the military reputation of the 
British in the East. 

Notwithstanding the disappointment of his hopes 
of realising an equivalent advantage from the pro- 
posed connexion, Shah Shuja agreed to the terms 
of a treaty in which it was stipulated, that if the 
French and Persians, who were in alliance, should 
endeavour to cross Afghanistan on their way to 
India, the Shah should, to the extent of his power, 
oppose their march ; that the expense attending 
such opposition should be defrayed by the British 
Government ; that friendship and union should con- 
tinue for ever between the contracting states ; that 
they should in no manner interfere in each other's 
countries ; and that the King of Kabul should per- 
mit no individual of the French nation to enter his 
territories.^ The treaty was sent for ratification to 
Calcutta: it was signed there on the 17th of June; 
but, before it could be returned to Peshawar, 

I CoU. of Treaties, p. 301. 



BOOK I. neither king nor ambassador remained to exchange 
''"^''' '^' its authentication. Mr. Elphinstone, who had left 
1809. the city on the 14th of June to await the restoration 
of tranquillity, received on his route the order for the 
return of the mission, and proceeded accordingly to 
the British territory by way of the Punjab. Shah 
Shuja marched against his rival : on the 29th of 
June his army, whilst yet in disorder after its march 
through the mountains, was surprised by Fatih 
Khan, and completely routed. The Shah fled ; and, 
although he made several attempts to recover his 
authority, was uniformly unsuccessful. He then 
became the guest, and finally the prisoner, of 
Ranjit Sing; but effected his escape from Lahore, 
and found an asylum for many years at Ludiana, 
under the protection and with the support of the 
Government of India. At the end of 1832 he left 
his residence, and, proceeding to the westward, 
raised a force with which he defeated the troops of 
the Amirs of Sindh, and compelled them to pay him 
a pecuniary contribution. He then advanced to 
Kandahar, wliich he besieged. The Barakzei chiefs 
of that city having been joined by Dost Mohammed 
issued into the field, and an action took place which 
ended to the advantage of the Barakzeis. The 
Shah might, however, have recovered the supremacy, 
as many of the principal leaders of the enemy 
were prepared to desert to him ; but he retreated 
precipitately from the contest, and hastened back to 
his place of refuge, to be thence conducted once 
more to Afghanistan,* under more propitious aus- 

* Parliamentary Papers relative to Shah Shuja*s expedition into Afghan- 
Istan, 1833-34; printed 20th March, 1839. 


pices than had ever smiled upon his former efforts, book i. 
— the avowed co-operation of Ranjit Sing and the ^"^'*-'^- 
Government of British India. The auspices were 1809. 
deceptive. The powerful support upon which he 
relied crumbled beneath his feet, and left him 
helpless and alone amidst inexorable foes and 
treacherous friends. The end of his chequered 
career followed close upon his abandonment; and 
the hand of an assassin terminated the life of a 
prince whose alliance the Government of India had 
once courted, whose expulsion from his dominions 
it had pitied and w^hose distress it had relieved, and 
whom, as fatally for him as for itself, it at last vainly 
engaged to replace upon his throne. 

The country of Sindh constitutes the most 
western limit of India along the southern course 
of the Indus. It was conquered by the Moham- 
medans in the commencement of the eighth cen- 
tury, and was retained as a dependency of Persia 
until its subjugation by Mahmud of Ghazni. Upon 
the downfall of his dynasty, the Sumras, a race of 
chiefs of Arab extraction, established themselves as 
independent rulers of the country, until they were 
dispossessed by the Sunias, who were Hindus, and 
who professed a nominal fealty to the Patau sove- 
reigns of Delhi. In the reign of Akber, Sindh 
became more intimately attached to the Mogul em- 
pire; but the government of the province was usually 
intrusted to native chiefs, whose degree of subordi- 
nation was regulated by the ability of the court of 
Delhi to compel obedience. Towards the close of 
the seventeenth century, the Kaloras, a race of reli- 
gious teachers who pretended to derive their origin 


BOOK I. froDi the Abasside Khalifs, and who converted their 
CHAP. IV. reputation for sanctity into an engine of worldly 
1809. aggrandisement, had become possessed of extensive 
territory in Sindh, and usurped an ascendancy in its 
government, which was legalised in the reign of 
Mohammed Shah of Delhi by the appointment of 
Nur Mohammed Kalora as Subahdar of Tatta. The 
vicegerent of Sindh was speedily relieved from his 
dependence upon Delhi, but was compelled to pay 
tribute to the conqueror, Nadir Shah. The death of 
that prince dissolved the connexion with Persia ; but 
the new sovereign of Afghanistan claimed the like 
supremacy over the country, and Sindh became, 
nominally at least, subject to Kabul. Although con- 
firmed by Ahmed Shah, the son and successor of Nur 
Mohammed, Mohammed Murad Khan, was deposed 
after a reign of a few years by his disaffected nobles; 
and his brotlier, Ghulam Shah Khan, was placed on 
the musnud in his room. After a turbulent and 
distracted reign he was succeeded by his eldest son, 
Sirafraz Khan,* who in a few years was deposed by 
the heads of the Baluch tribes, who had now ac- 
quired a leading influence in the affairs of Sindh, 
and whose enmity he had incurred by putting 
Bahram Khan, the chief of Talpura, and one of his 
sons, Sobhdar Khan, for some offence to death. 
The confederates first placed a younger brother of 
Sirafraz Khan, and then a cousin, upon the throne ; 
but, dissatisfied with their own choice, successively 
removed them, and seated Ghulam Nabi Shah, a 
brother of Ghulam Shah, on the musnud. Shortly 
after his accession, Bijar Khan Talpura, another son 

' He founded the prcboul capital, Hyderabad, in 1182. 


of Bahrain Khan, returned to Sindh from Arabia, book i. 
whither he had gone on pilgrimage, and undertook ' 
to revenge the death of his father. He was joined 1809. 
by his clan, and by their friends. Ghulam Nabi 
Khan immediately assembled his adherents, and a 
conflict ensued in which he was killed. Bijar 
Khan then marched against the capital, Hyderabad, 
where Abd-un-nabi Khan, the brother of the de- 
feated sovereign, had fortified himself, and had put 
to death Sirafraz Khan, who had been confined there, 
and, along with him, other princes whose pretensions 
he thought likely to interfere with his own. Bijar* 
Khan, unable to reduce Hyderabad, protested his 
readiness to acknowledge Abd-un-nabi as his sove- 
reign, and faithfully adhered to his professions. 
The Kalora prince was acknowledged to be the 
paramount prince, and the head of the Talpura tribe 
became his hereditary minister. The authority ex- 
ercised by Bijar Khan was not of long duration. 
In little more than two years he was assassinated by 
agents of the Raja of Jodhpur, with the connivance, 
or at the instigation, it is said, of Abd-un-nabi. 
The belief that the latter was implicated in the 
murder of Bijar Khan roused the vengeance of the 
Talpura tribe ; and Abd-uUah Khan, the son of the 
deceased, expelled Abd-un-nabi from Sindh. Abd- 
ullah assumed the sovereignty. 

Although assisted successively by the chief of 
Kelat and by the Raja of Jodhpur, Abd-un-nabi 
Khan was unable to recover his authority, and was 
obliged to have recourse to the Afghan monarch, 
Timur Shah, the son of Ahmed Shah. A force was 
placed at his disposal which his enemies were un- 


BOOK 1. able to resist, and an apparent reconciliation was ef- 
^^^^' ^^' fected by the intermediation of the principal nobles. 
1809. The reconciliation was insincere. The Talpura 
chiefs rebelled, were again defeated, and were again 
received into seeming favour, when either the dread 
of their renewed machinations, or resentment for the 
past, induced Abd-un-nabi Khan to perpetrate the 
murder of their leading men. Inviting Abd-ullah 
Khan, with two of his principal associates and kins- 
men, to an interview on board his boat when upon 
an excursion on the Indus, he had them seized and 
immediately put to death. The crime was fatal to 
his dynasty; for the surviving chiefs of the Talpuras, 
led by Fatih Ali, the son of Mir Sobhdar Khan, the 
brother of Bijar Khan, who had been put to death 
along with their father Bahram Khan, rose in anns, 
and, assisted by the neighbouring chiefs of Khyrpur, 
Bahawalpur, and Daudputra, compelled Abd-un- 
nabi once more to seek an asylum at the court of 
Kabul. Circumstances were no longer propitious 
to his cause ; and, although assistance was promised 
him, none of any magnitude was afforded. The 
representations of the Talpura chiefs, their profes- 
sions of allegiance, the tribute which they promised, 
and the bribes which they distributed, retarded and 
ultimately frustrated the intentions, and baffled the 
efforts, of Timur Shah, and his successor Zeman Shah. 
Abd-un-nabi, after residing some years upon Jagirs 
assigned him, first by the Afghan monarch, and after- 
wards by the Raja of Jodhpur, died an exile in the 
states of the former prince, in the reign of Mahumd 
Shah, and the Talpura chief finally established the 
authority of his family in Sindh. His personal ele- 


vation was not undisputed, even by his own rela- book i. 
tions ; and the forces on either side were drawn ^**^^^^^ 
out to decide the dispute by the sword. The coun- 1809. 
sels of the elders of the tribe, and the tears and 
entreaties of the women, arrested the strife upon 
the eve of its occurrence ;^ and an accommodation 
was effected, by which Mir Sohrab of Khyrpur and 
Mir Thara of Mirpur, both descended from a com- 
mon ancestor, were acknowledged to be independ- 
ent in their own districts, while Fatih Ali was re- 
cognised as chief ruler of Sindh. This power he 
shared with his three brothers, Gholam Ali, Karam 
Ali, and Murad Ali. At the period when a friendly 
connexion with the country became an object of the 
policy of the Government of India, Fatih Ali was 
dead, but the three surviving brothers jointly admi- 
nistered the affairs of Sindh.^ 

Imperfectly acquainted with the history and the 
resources of Sindh, and attaching to its com- 
merce and alliance more value than belonged to 
either, the Government of Bengal had made several 
attempts to form friendly relations with the court 
of Hyderabad. Its advances were received with 
coldness or repelled with insolence, and although a 
commercial agent was at one time allowed to reside 
at Tatta and carry on trade there, yet little en- 

* An interesting account of this transaction is given by Mr. Crow in 
his report on !^dh, and is extracted in Captain Postans's account of 

' See Macniurdo's account of Sindh, Journal, Royal Asiatic Society, i. 
223 ; Visit to the Court of Sindh by Dr. Hurnes ; Personal Observations 
on Sindh by Captain Postiuis ; and a Persian account, translated by Captain 
Pogsou and publisiied in Calcutta. This latter differs in some details 
from the narratives of the European writers, and is less favourable to the 
Talpuras ; ascribiuft to the latter treacherous designs, which provoked, and 
in soiiu' tiepree justified, the treatment they experienced. 


BOOK I. couragement* was given to it by the ruling authori- 
^"^^' ^' ties ; and the factory having been attacked and 
1809. plundered in a popular tumult, for which no repa- 
ration or redress was procured, the agency was dis- 
continued. Circumstances now appeared more pro- 
mising. Alarmed by the menaced interference of 
Shah Shuja on behalf of the expelled prince, Abd- 
un-nabi, the Amirs of Sindh had applied to Persia 
for succour, and a Persian army had been directed 
to march to their assistance. Tlie death of Abd-un- 
nabi, and the embarrassments which Shah Shuja 
experienced at home, removed all ground of fear 
from Afghanistan, and the Amirs then became most 
apprehensive of peril from their allies. They thought 
it prudent, therefore, to oppose one powerful friend 
to another, — British India to Persia : they therefore 
began to conciliate the British Government, and 
sent an agent to Bombay to propose the renew^al of 
the commercial intercourse that had formerly ex- 
isted. Tlie proposal was favourably entertained, and 
Captain Seton was sent as envoy to Hyderabad. A 
treaty of offensive and defensive alliance was con- 
cluded by the envoy with the Amirs ; but, as the 
stipulations pledged the British Government to 
a reciprocity that was deemed inexpedient, the 
ratification of the treaty was withheld, and Mr. 
Nicholas Hankey Smith, a Bombay civil servant, 
was deputed to explain the cause, and to contract a 
less comprehensive engagement. After many delays 
and obstructions opposed to his journey by the ser- 

^ Ghulam Shah Kalora granted perwanas in 1758 to a Mr. Sumption, 
in the service of the East India Company, exempting the goods he should 
import from ail duties, and authorising him to build a factory at Aurang- 
bunder, or at Tatta.— Coll. of Treaties, 488. 


vants of the Amirs, — ^not, it was suspected, without book i. 


their secret approval,^ — Mr. Smith reached Hydera- ' 
bad on the 8th of August ; and on the 23rd of that isos. 
month a treaty was signed, which engaged that 
there should be eternal friendship between the 
two Governments, that vakeels or agents should be 
always mutually appointed, and that the French 
should not be permitted to form an establishment 
in Sindh.^ Tlie apprehension of a French invasion 
of India had subsided, and there remained no mo- 
tive of weight for cultivating the friendship of a 
semi-barbarous and arrogant court ; while the Amirs 
were equally disinclined to maintain an intimate 
intercourse with a power which they feared, and 
with which they thought they had reason to bo dis- 
satisfied, not only on account of the annulment of 
the treaty entered into with Captain Seton, but 
because they were apprised that any aggression 
upon the neighbouring state of Cutch, to the affairs 
of which we shall hereafter have occasion to recur, 
would be decidedly resisted. No beneficial result 
consequently followed the connexion formed at this 
period with the rulers of Sindh. 

Negociations of greater importance and of more 
durable consequences were at the same period set 
on foot with the Government of Persia. They 
opened inauspiciously, but their complexion was 
changed by the influence of political revolutions in 
the west; and the course of events in Europe 

cleared the road from Bushir to Tehran, and sub- 


' A detailed account of the proceedings of the mission is given by Lieu- 
tenant (now Sir Henry Pottinger) in his Travels iu Beloochistan and 
Sindh, p. 331. 

» Coll. of Treaties, 306. 


BOOK I. verted the influence which the French embassy had 

^^^^iJ^ obtained at the latter city. 
1808. Napoleon had endeavoured at an early date to 
establish a connexion with the King of Persia; and, 
when he projected the invasion of Egypt, the Direc- 
tory, at his suggestion, sent secret agents to Tehran to 
prevail upon the reigning monarch Aga Mohammed, 
to make a simultaneous attack upon the Turkish pro- 
vinces on the Euphrates. The unavowed character 
of the French emissaries perplexed the Persian sove- 
reign: his death shortly afterwards, and the accession 
of Fatih Ali, caused their proposals to meet with 
but little attention, and no disposition was evinced 
to adopt the views of France. This disappointment, 
and the successful mission of Sir John Malcolm to 
Tehran by Marquis Wellesley, excluded the in- 
fluence of France at the court of Persia for several 
years. An accredited agent, who was then sent, 
died shortly after having had an audience of the 
King, and all intercourse was again suspended. 

In the beginning of 1806, Persia being engaged 
in hostilities with Russia, and dreading the advance 
of the Russian anns, gladly welcomed an agent 
from the French minister at Constantinople, and at 
his recommendation dispatched one of the nobles 
of the court to Paris to negociate a treaty of of- 
fensive alliance. A second envoy from Tehran ac- 
companied Monsieur Pontecoulant, who had been 
dispatched to Persia after the death of his prede- 
cessor, and who was now returning to France. This 
disposition of the Persian court coinciding with the 
political interests of the French Emperor, met with 
the most cordial encouragement, and a splendid 


embassy was sent to Tehran under General Gar- book i. 
danne, who arrived at the Persian capital towards ^^^^^J^ 
the end of December 1807. His suite consisted of I8O8. 
twenty-five persons, mostly military, besides a num- 
ber of artillery and engineer officers, and a consider- 
able body of artificers. The draft of a treaty was 
speedily completed, and sent to Paris for ratifi- 
cation. It was stipulated that France should, either 
by force or negociation, obtain from Russia, Georgia 
and other frontier provinces conquered from Persia ; 
that the King of Persia should allow an army to 
march through his territories to invade India, 
should provide for its wants, and join it with all his 
force ; that the island of Kharak should be ceded to 
France, and French factories should be admitted at 
Gombroon, Bushir, and other places; and that, if 
the Emperor required it, the King of Persia should 
exclude all Englishmen from his dominions. During 
the negociations, and the interval of the ratification 
of the treaty, many of the French officers attached 
to the embassy were dispersed through the country, 
and were actively engaged in making military sur- 
veys of it and ascertaining its resources; while 
those remaining at the capital were as busily em- 
ployed in drilling the new Persian levies, and in- 
structing them in European discipline. 

The war between Persia and Russia originated in 
the invasion of Georgia by the former power, and 
consequent recourse to the latter by the princes of 
Georgia, Ileraclius and his successor Gurgein, the 
second of whom promised perpetual vassalage to 
Russia as the price of the aid solicited. The Per- 
sians had been driven out of the country, and they 


BOOK I. had not only been foiled in every attempt to regain 
CHAP. IV. j^^ 1^^^ 1^^^ sustained many disastrous defeats, and 

1808. had lost extensive tracts in Armenia and Daghes- 
tan. In the first moments of distress the court had 
applied to the Indian Government for aid, under 
the initiatory article of the treaty concluded in 
1801, which pledged the two states to perpetual 
amity. This interpretation of the article was not 
concurred in by the Government of India, and 
armed assistance was declined. The refusal had 
alienated the court of Persia from the British con- 
nexion, and had thrown it into the arms of France. 
Unfortunately for its hopes, the peace of Tilsit, which 
was concluded before even the arrival of General 
Gardanne at Tehran, had united the Emperors Napo- 
leon and Alexander in bonds of personal friendship 
and projects of mutual aggrandisement. Although 
not immediately avowed, — although a show of regard 
was displayed, and offers of mediation were pro- 
fessed, — ^yet at the very moment when the King of 
Persia was assured that the strongest intercession 
in his favour should be addressed to the Czar, his 
cause bad been utterly abandoned, and the integrity 
of his dominions sacrificed to Russia, in exchange 
for licence to the French Emperor to pounce with- 
out check or hinderance upon Spain. 

The presence of a French embassy at the Persian 
court had so far a beneficial operation, that it 
roused the authorities both in England and in India 
to a sense of the necessity of reacquiring some con- 
sideration at Tehran. Unluckily, their measures 
were taken without previous concert, and the result 
was an undignified and impolitic collision. The 


Government of England, in communication with the book i. 
Court of Directors, resolved to send an ambassador ' 

to Persia, in the person of Sir Harford Jones, who isoo. 
had held for several years the office of Company's 
Resident at Bagdad. He was accordingly nomi- 
nated his Majesty's envoy extraordinary and pleni- 
potentiary ; although his allowances and the cost of 
the mission were to be defrayed by the East India 
Company, and the envoy was ordered to act under 
instructions from the Governor-General. The Go- 
vernor-General had in the mean time determined 
to dispatch his own representative; and Sir John 
Malcolm, who had concluded the former treaty, 
was again sent by Lord Minto in the same capacity 
to Persia. 

The appointment of an ambassador to Persia was 
one of the last acts of the administration of Earl 
Grey ; and his departure was delayed by the change 
of ministry which took place in March, 1807. 
From this and other circumstances, Sir Harford 
Jones did not arrive at Bombay until April in tho 
following year, and on his arrival found that Sir 
John Malcolm had preceded him to Bushir. In 
compliance with the orders of the Governor-Gene- 
ral, he remained at Bombay until it should be as- 
certained in what manner the mission was received. 
Sir John Malcolm reached Bushir in May, and an- 
nounced his arrival to the court, sending his dis- 
patches by one of his officers. Captain Pasley. The 
letters were forwarded, but the messenger was de- 
tained at Shiraz until instructions should arrive 
from Tehran. After some delay they wej^e re- 
ceived. The King, still clinging to the hope that 


BOOK I. the intercession of France would procure the re- 
storation of some of his hxst frontier, — a hope in 
1808. which he was strengthened by the assurances of a 
Russian agent, and the protestations of the French 
ambassador, — chose rather to brave the resentment of 
his former allies than give umbrage to both France 
and Russia. Affecting, however, an equal unwil- 
lingness to displease the British Government, he 
directed one of his sons, Hosein Ali Mirza, go- 
vernor of the province, to carry on the negociations 
with its representative at Sliiraz. To this Sir John 
Malcolm strongly objected, as derogatory to the 
dignity of his Government. Believing, from the pri- 
vate information he received, that the French em- 
bassy had obtained too firm a footing at Tehran to 
be supplanted, and arguing that the connexion was 
a breach of existing engagements, and inimical to 
British interests, he abruptly sailed from Bushir, 
and repaired at once to Calcutta, where his repre- 
sentations induced the Governor-General to con- 
clude that measures of intimidation or hostility 
were necessary; and orders were issued for fit- 
ting out a military expedition, which should oc- 
cupy the island of Kharak, and hold the command of 
the navigation of the Persian Gulph.* 

The first impression entertained by the Governor- 
General, founded upon the envoy's dispatches, was, 
that the proceedings of Sir John Malcolm had been 
^ somewhat precipitate, and that no sufficient cause 
had been assigned for the total abandonment of the 
objects of the embassy. He had therefore authorised 
Sir Hgrford Jones, in the event of his predecessor's 

' Malcolm's Political History of India, i. 415. 


withdrawal, to prosecute his voyage " without a book i. 
moment's delay, should the circumstances render, in 


his judgment, such a step advisable, without further isoa. 
reference to Bengal." The information which he 
subsequently received induced Lord Minto to be- 
lieve that a representative of the British power 
would not be admitted to the presence of the 
King of Persia, and that a repetition of the 
attempt to obtain an audience would be incom- 
patible with the dignity of the Government, while 
it would be productive of no advantage. Sir Har- 
ford Jones was consequently instructed to await 
the result of further deliberations. The coun- 
termand was too late. Before it reached Bom- 
bay, Sir Harford Jones, acting in the spirit of 
his first instructions, had sailed for Persia. He 
arrived at Bushir on the 14th of October. The 
aspect of affairs had changed. No progress had 
been made towards the restitution of any part of 
the Persian territory, and the court had begun to 
lose faith in the professions of the French. In this 
feeling of disappointment, regret for having given 
offence to the British Government, and apprehen- 
sion of the consequences of its displeasure, found 
easy access to the Persian cabinet, and the arrival 
of his Majesty's ambassador at Bushir was regarded 
as a fortunate means of escaping from its embar- 
rassments. Still, some reluctance seems to have 
been entertained to break so entirely with France 
as openly to sanction the advance of the mission to 
the capital ; and, although an invitation to proceed 
to Shiraz was very soon forwarded. Sir Harford 
.Tones consented to go thither upon no other se- 

VOL. I. Q 


BOOK I. curity for his ultimate reception at Tehran than the 
^^^' ^' assurances of a native agent that on his arrival 
1809. there he would find the official invitation from the 
King and his ministers to continue his journey to 
the presence. Upon this information, the envoy 
accompanied the Mihmandar who was sent to con- 
duct him to Shiraz, and arrived there on the 1st of 
January. Some faint attempts to inveigle him into 
negociations with the local authorities were easily 
baffled; and, all difficulties being surmounted,* 
the mission departed from Shiraz on the 12th of 
January. Sir Harford Jones entered Tehran on the 
14th of the following month, the French embassy 
having quitted the city on the preceding day. 
During the stay of the mission at Shiraz, the dis- 
patches from Bengal arrived, recalling the ambas- 
sador, and announcing the military projects of the 
Government. The information speedily transpired, 
and excited great alarm ; to allay which. Sir Harford 
Jones assumed, as the representative of the Crown, 
a power independent of the Governor-General of 
India, and entered into a solemn pledge that no 
aggression should be committed upon the dominions 
of the King of Persia as long as his Majesty dis- 
played a wish to preserve the amicable relations by 

* Malcolm ascribes this to " the anticipated failure of the French to 
fulfil their extravagant promises, the alarm excited by the military prepa- 
rations in India, and the cupidity of the Persian court, which had been 
strongly excited.** — Pol. Hist. i. 415. Sir Harford Jones states, that 
Lord Minto accused him of having found his way to Shiraz by corruptioii. 
— Account of the Mission to Persia, i. 147. According to the plenipoten- 
tiary*s own account, the King's willingness to receive him was stimulated 
by exaggerated descriptions of a valuable diamond included amongst the 
presents intended for his Majesty, and of which he himself remarks, ** I 
so managed, that, at the expense of £10,0<H) to the Company, the Shah of 
Persia Considered he had received twenty or twenty-five thousand pounds 
from his Miyesty's envoy.** — Account of the Mission, i. 144. 


which he had been connected with the King of book i. 

r^ . T* •• • CHAP. IV. 

Great Britain. 

The appointment of an ambassador to Persia by I809. 
the home Government had been regarded by the 
Governor-General as an injudicious departure from 
the practice of negociating with that country 
through India. He protested against the inno- 
vation. Lord Minto argued, that it was inconsistent 
to expect from the Government of India effective 
precautions against any dangers on the side of 
Persia, without leaving to it the power of con- 
trouling the minister deputed to the Persian court, 
and directing the course and character of the nego- 
ciations to be carried on with it : that such a mi- 
nister appointed in England might not only fail to 
appreciate the interests of British India, but might 
act in direct opposition to them ; and might not only 
pledge the faith of its Government to measures un- 
sanctioned by it, but even to such as were incom- 
patible with its honour and safety : that the Indian 
Government was vested with the power of sove- 
reignty within its own limits, and had been recog- 
nised in that character by the King of Persia. " It 
was in that character alone that we had been able 
to obtain those manifestations of respect, that re- 
gard to the claims of dignity, which amongst all 
nations of the world, but in an especial degree 
amongst Asiatic states, are essential to the mainte- 
nance of real power in the scale of political interest: 
this acknowledged character, as it constituted the 
basis, so it must form the cement, of our external 
relations. To depreciate therefore that estimation of 
the power and dignity of the British Government 



BOOK I. in India, which under a just sense of its importance 
__^^^^^ we have hitherto successfully laboured to preserve 
1809. among surrounding states, is to fix upon the British 
Government the stigma of deceit, to affect the re- 
putation of our public faith, and to expose us to 
much of the danger arising from a real loss of 
power, by diminishing that awe and respect with 
which the Government has hitherto been contem- 
plated, and on which the tranquillity and security 
of British India materially depend."^ 

Notwithstanding the earnestness with which 
Lord Minto asserted the sovereign prerogatives of 
the Governor-General of India, the transfer of di- 
plomatic relations with Persia from that officer to 
the Ministers of the Crown was persevered in, and 
ambassadors to Persia have ever since been sent 
directly from Great Britain alone. The destinies of 
Persia are, in truth, so much more intimately inter- 
woven with the political interests of the parent 
country than of India, the consequences deprecated 
by Lord Minto as likely to affect the latter are so 
much more calculated to exercise an influence upon 
the former, that the relations established, or to be 
established, with Persia, can no longer be con- 
sistently confided to the arbitrement of a delegated 
and subordinate functionary, however high his sta- 
tion or absolute his authority. 

Until, however, the question was decided against 
him. Lord Minto showed himself resolved to exercise 
his power. Highly displeased at the determination 
of Sir Harford Jones to continue his journey from 

' Lord Minto^s letter to tlie Secret Committee, as quoted by Malcolm. — 
Pol. Hist. i. 417. 


Shiraz, the Governor-General addressed dispatches book i. 
to the court of Tehran, disavowing the public cha- ^^^^' '^' 
racter of the ambassador; and, to Sir Harford Jones isio. 
himself, orders were sent commanding him instantly 
to leave the country, with the intimation, that, on 
his failing so to do, any bills drawn by him on the 
Indian Governments after the date of such diso- 
bedience would not be discharged. His Majesty's 
plenipotentiary could not resist the weight of this 
argument, and signified his readiness to obey; 
but in the mean time he had pursued his negoci- 
ation with great activity, had accomplished the 
execution of a preliminary treaty, and had prevailed 
upon the King of Persia to send Abul Hasan Khan 
as his ambassador, in company with Mr. Morier, to 
England. The Governor-General consented to ra- 
tify the treaty, but peremptorily ordered Sir H. 
Jones to quit Persia, making over charge of the 
mission to a medical officer of the Company until the 
arrival of Sir John Malcolm, whom he still re- 
solved to employ. On the other hand, orders from 
England directed Sir H. Jones to remain until the 
arrival of another ambassador in the person of Sir 
Gore Ouseley ; and he continued in the country until 
after the winter of 1810, although not exercising 
apparently any ministerial functions. Sir John Mal- 
colm arrived at Tehran in June 1810, — for no 
purpose apparently except to vindicate the dignity of 
the Governor-General of India, and put the Company 
to an unnecessary expense. His presence and ser- 
vices in Persia being speedily rendered unnecessary 
by the approach of Sir Gore Ouseley as his Majesty's 
representative at the Persian court, he left Tehran 


BOOK I. in the following month. ^ There were consequently 
^^^' '^' about the same period three English ambassadors in 
1810. Persia, whose relative importance it must have per* 
plexed the Persians to determine, although they 
were astute enough to take advantage of so much 
competition for their friendship, and make the 
better bargain for themselves. 

By the preliminary treaty concluded between Sir 
Harford Jones and the ministers of the King of 
Persia it was stipulated that the articles should 
form the basis of a definitive treaty without alter- 
ation; that every treaty made by the King of 
Persia with any one of the powers of Eivope should 
become null and void ; and that he would not per- 
mit any European force to march through Persia 
towards India. That, should any European force 
invade or have invaded the territories of Persia, his 
Britannic Majesty would afford to the King of 
Persia a military force, or, in lieu of it, a subsidy 
and warlike ammunition ; the number of the forces 
and the amount of the subsidy to be regulated by a 
definitive treaty. Should his Britannic Majesty make 
peace with the invading power, he should use his 
efforts to negociate a peace also between it and Persia ; 

' A fall aceoont of the drcamstances connected with Sir Harford Jones's 
embassy has been published by himself, — An Account of the transactions 
of his Migesty*s mission to the Court of Persia in the years 1807-11, 
by Sir Harford Jones Brydges, Bart. A somewhat different view of them 
is given by Malcolm in his Political History of India. Some notice of 
the proceedings of the misskm occurs in Morier*s First Journey through 
Persia. Whatever may be the case with respect to the means employed, 
there is no denying that Sir Harford Jones effected his object; that he 
made his vray to Tehran, and negociated a treaty which, in substance, was 
confirmed by the British Government ; and that the projected military ex- 
pedition to the Gnlph would have entailed a heavy cost, realised no solid 
advantage, and deeply, perhaps incurably, wounded the pride of the Per- 
sian monarch and the patriotism of his people. 


but, in failure of success, the military or pecuniary book i. 
aid should be still supplied as long as the invading ' 
force continued in the Persian territory, or until the isio. 
conclusion of peace. That, if the Afghans or any 
other power should attack India, the King of Persia 
should furnish a force to assist in its defence. That, 
if any British troops should have landed at Kharak, 
or in any other Persian port, they should not possess 
themselves of such places, but be at the disposal of 
the King of Persia, subject to the alternative of 
a pecuniary payment in their place. That, if war 
should take place between the Afghans and the 
King of Persia, the King of Great Britain should 
take no part in it, except as a mediator at the 
desire of both parties. That the object of these 
articles should be regarded as mutually defensive; 
and, finally, a hope was expressed that the treaty 
might be everlasting, and produce " the most beau- 
tiful fruits of friendship between the two serene 

A definitive treaty, in conformity to these stipu- 
lations, was entered into by Sir Gore Ouseley ; but 
some of the conditions underwent a modification 
in England, and the final arrangements were not 
completed till 1814, when the terms were conclu- 
sively agreed upon. The defensive character of the 
treaty was more explicitly stated, and Russia was 
specified as the power against which the Persian 
frontier was to be defended. The amount of the 
subsidy was fixed at 200,000 tomans, about £125,000 
per annum ; and it was further agreed that the said 
subsidy should not be paid in case a war with any 
European nation should have been produced by an 


BOOK I. aggression on the part of Persia. The other modiii- 


' cations little affected the preliminary conditions ; and, 
1810. at a subsequent date, the Persian court was compelled 
to relinquish the stipulated subsidy.^ Little ultimate 
advantage accrued to either power from the inter- 
course which it had been considered so essential to 
the political interests of both to maintain. 

' See the several engagements with Persia of 1809, 1814, and 1828, in 
the treaties printed by order of the House of Commons, 11th March, 1839. 



Appointment of Sir G. Barlow to the Govertiment of 
Madras, — unacceptable to the settlement. — T/ie state 
of popular feeling. — Commencement of agitation. — 
Case of Mr. Sherson. — Proceedings of the Com- 
mission for the investigation of the debts of the 
Nawab of the Carnatic. — Trials of Reddy Rao, — 
his conviction, — his pardon and death. — Affairs of 
Travancore. — Disputes between the Raja and the 
Resident. — Enmity of the Dewan, — sets on foot an 
insurrection, — abetted by the Dewan of Cochin. — 
Troops ordered to Travancore, — Th^ Residents 
house attacked, — his escape. — Operations of the Sub^ 
sidiary force. — Murder of Europeans by the De- 
wan. — Army sent to the Province under Colonel 
St. Leger. — Storm of the Arambtdi Lines. — Defeat 
of the Nairs at Quilon. — Advance to tJie Capital. 
— Submission of the Raja. — Flight of the Dewan. 


— Sanctuary violated, — Death of the Dewan. — 
Seizure and execution of his brother. — The body of 
the Dewan gibbeted. — Sentiments of the Bengal 
Government. — Disorganised condition of Travan- 
core. — Administration of affairs by tJie Resident as 
Dewan under the Raja and his successors. — Restora- 
tion of prosperity. — Similar system and results in 
Cochin.— Disputes between the Gacemor and Com- 
mander-in-chief — The latter refused a seat in 
Council by the Court, — his dissatisfaction and resig- 
nation. — Discontents of the Officers of the Coast 
army, — their causes. — Tent contract abolished. — Rea- 
sons assigned in the Quartei'-Master-GeneroTs report 
offensive to Officers commanding corps, — demand a 
court-martial on Colonel Munro. — The Commander- 
in-chief places Colonel Munro in arrest. — Govern- 
ment cancels the arrest. — General Macdowall issues a 
General Order on the subject, and embarks for Eng- 
land. — Counter Order by the Government. — Subse- 
quent severity. — Suspension of Major Boles, — Effect 
vpo7i the Offi^cers. — Orders of the 1st of May. — 
Violent proceedings at Hyderabad, — Mutinous con- 
duct of the garrison of Masulipatam. — Threatened 
march of the troops to Madras. — Firmness of the 
Government — Consequent arrangements. — Test pro- 
posed to the European Offi^cers. — Appeal to the Native 
Troops, — Their allegiance. — The garrison of Se^nn- 
gapatam in open rebellion. — Colonel Close sent to 
Hyderabad. — Officers of the Subsidiary force sign 
the test^ — tJieir example followed. — Arrival of the 
Governor-General at Madrons. — Courts-martial. — 
Sir Samuel Achmuty Commander-in-chief and 
Member of Council, — Proceedings in England. — 


Warm disputes in the Court of Directors. — Officers 
restored to the service. — Sir G. Barlow finally recoiled. 

BOOK I. To compensate to Sir Greorge Barlow for the dis- 
cHAP. V. appointment which had been inflicted upon him 
1808. by his supersession in the high office of Governor- 
General, the Administration in England consented 
to his eventual elevation to that dignity, and in 
the mean while concurred in his nomination to the 
government of Fort St. George. ^ He was accord- 
ingly appointed Governor of Madras, and assumed 
charge of his new duties at the end of December, 

Various circumstances conspired to render the 
appointment of Sir George Barlow unacceptable to 
the servants of the Company under the Madras 
Presidency. His being a member of a different 
service was one source of his unpopularity, and his 
well-known character as a rigorous advocate and 
unrelenting enforcer of measures of public economy 
and retrenchment produced a still more universal 
and profound impression adverse to liis person and 

^ " He (Sir George Barlow) is aow sabjected to the discredit of being 
superseded in the GoTemment-General ; to the succession of which, after 
barmg once actually filled that high office, he stood for the third time ap- 
pointed." — Protests of Messrs. Parry, Astell, Smith, and Bell, against the 
recall of Sir G. Barlow in 1812. So Mr. Grant in a separate protest 
observes, " I come now to speak of the order rescinding the appointment 
made of Sir G. Barlow, in May 1807, to be Governor- General of Bengal 
in sacceMion to Lord Minto." — Dissents, &c., published by Sir Robert 
Barlow. Murray, 1813. 

* The occurrences of Sir G. Barlow's administration are fully detailed, 
not only in the numerous pamphlets published both by his friends and 
enemies, but in the official documents relating to the transactions them- 
selves, and to the discussions which they occasioned in the Court of Di- 
rectors, which were printed by order of Parliament at the following several 
dates, 25th May, 1810 ; 1st April, 1811 ; 3rd May, 1811 ; 13tli June, 1811 ; 
21st June, ISil, and IMh April, 1812. 


his government.* Unfortunately, he does not ap- book i. 
pear to have been qualified or disposed to dissi- 
pate the prejudices which anticipated his presence, isos. 
His manners were reserved and unconciliating : a 
stranger at Madras, and of retiring habits, he gave 
his confidence too exclusively to the knot of civil 
and military functionaries by whom he was imme- 
diately surrounded : his notions of the claims of the 
executive powers of Government to prompt and 
unquestioning obedience were lofty and uncompro- 
mising ; and in the stem exaction of acquiescence he 
undervalued apparently the necessity, which " every 
statesman ought to feel, of mutual accommodation 
and concession in the controversies and contentions 
of mankind, and was wanting in a liberal consider- 
ation for human feelings and infirmities." These 
defects were not coimterbalanced, in the estimation 
of those whom he was set over, by the acknowledged 
merits of his public character, his conscientious sense 
of the importance of his duties, or his industry and 
ability in their discharge ; nor was time allowed for 
the due appreciation of the excellence which, under 
an unattractive deportment, distinguished his private 
life. The state of society also at Madras, and the sen- 
timents which had for some time pervaded the Coast 

^ « I am under the necessity of avowing, with infinite regret, another 
very operating principle of these discontents, which have since matured 
themselves gradually, but without interruption, into the extremes of public 
disorder. I allude to the unjust but very general and vehement prejudices 
against the person and character of Sir G. Barlow, which may have been 
in some degree the unavoidable, but were certainly the unmerited, conse- 
quences of his firm and faithful discharge of ungracious and unpopular, 
but sacred and essential duties, not sought or relished by himself, but cast 
by circumstances peculiar to the times on the period of his administration 
in Bengal." — Letter from Lord Minto to the Secret Committee, 6th Feb., 
1810 ; Pari. Papers, Ist April, 1811, p. 346. 


BOOK I. army, had accumulated elements of discord which 


' the slightest breath was sufficient to set in agitation : 
1808. dissensions and discontents accordingly immediately 
burst forth, and rendered the administration of the 
new Governor of Madras a season of unprecedented 
private misery, and imexampled public peril and 

The first occasion of offence occurred in the set- 
tlement of Madras, and followed closely upon Sir 
George Barlow's arrival. On assuming the reins 
of power, he found in progress an inquiry instituted 
by order of his predecessor, Mr. Petrie, into the 
conduct of a Mr. Sherson, a civil servant of some 
standing, of a respectable character, and a person 
much esteemed in society ; who had held the office of 
superintendent of the public stores of rice laid in by 
the Government of Madras, to be retailed in small 
quantities to the people, as a precaution against the 
recurrence of those famines which had frequently 
desolated the Presidency. Charges of fraud in this 
department were preferred against Mr. Sherson, and 
a committee was apjwinted for their investigation. 
That abuses in an arrangement so liable to be 
abused seemed probable; but their nature and ex- 
tent were undetermined, and the participation or cog- 
nizance of the principal unsubstantiated. His ac- 
counts submitted to the civil auditor were pro- 
nounced correct ; yet, as they did not tally with the 
native accounts of the office, Mr. Sherson, and Mr. 
Smith the auditor, were both removed from their 
situations, and the former was suspended from the 
service pending the pleasure of the Court of Direc- 
tors. An opinion generally prevailed that both 


these officers had been harshly, if not unjustly, dealt book i. 
with ; and Sir George Barlow incurred much ob- ^ ^ ' ' 
loquy from having precipitately believed represen- I8O8. 
tations asserted to be interested or malicious. 

That he too hastily adopted a decided opinion in 
the matter, and, in his intolerance of supposed offi- 
cial peculation, inflicted severe punishment before 
its justice was undeniably established, was shown 
by subsequent events. A prosecution was com- 
menced in the Supreme Court of Madras against 
Mr. Sherson, and after considerable delays, during 
which a change of Government had taken place, the 
cause came on for trial. Mr. Sherson was acquitted, 
not only of legal, but, in the opinion of one of his 
Judges, of moral criminality.^ It was accordingly 
resolved by the Court of Directors, " that the severe 
measures adopted relative to Mr. Sherson had been 
founded upon erroneous grounds;" and he was re- 
stored by them to the service, with a pecuniary in- 
demnification of 20,000 pagodas for his losses. The 
resolutions were confirmed in terms still more em- 
phatic by the Court of Proprietors.* 

Animosities still more violent and extensive were 
engendered by the part which the Governor of Ma- 
dras deemed it incumbent upon him to take in 
support of a committee which had been appointed 
under an act of parliament for the investigation and 
adjustment of the debts of the Nawab of the Car- 

' Sir John Newbolt : the other Judges were Sir Thomas Strange and 
Sir Francis Macnaghten. 

2 Report of Debate in the Court of Proprietors, 28th April and 6th 
May, 1815, by Mr. Eraser; Loudon, 1815. Report of Proceedings in the 
Supreme Court, Madras, 28th March, 1814 ; Honourable Company v. 
Sherson and others. 


BOOK I. natic. The principles which had been enjoined by 
^^^' ^' the Board of Controul in 1784 for the settlement 

i«08. of all claims upon the Nawab have already been 
described ; ^ and, under this application, the amount 
of debt admitted at that date without any scrutiny, 
and which was known as the Registered debt, had 
been liquidated by May, 1804. But, besides the 
amount of debt so discharged, claims to a much 
greater extent had been advanced. These had been 
submitted to examination before a committee which 
was formed at Madras, the operations of which con- 
tinued from 1785 to 1791. They allowed some of 
the demands brought before them, but left the fer 
larger number for further investigation ; and there 
the matter rested. When the entire revenues of 
the Camatic were assumed by the Company's Go- 
vernment, it was considered but just to take the 
incumbrances along with them, and to pay off all 
valid demands upon the former Administration. An 
engagement to this end was concluded between the 
Company and the creditors in July 1805, and com- 
missioners to make a settlement were nominated. 
In the year following, an act of parliament was 
passed for enabling the commissioners acting in 
execution of an agreement made between the East 
India Company and the private creditors of the 
Nabobs of the Carnatic the better to carry the same 
into effect.* 

The engagement thus legalized by the Legisla- 

' Vol. V. p. 86. 

' Parliamentary Debates, April 14th and 16th, 1S06. In moYing for 
leave to bring in the bill, Mr. Hobhousc gave a. full and perspicuous his- 
tory of the arrangements which had been made for the liquidation of these 


ture provided that a fixed annual sum (3,409000 book i. 
pagodas, or £136,000) should be set apart from the ^^' ^' 
revenues of the Camatic for the payment of all isos. 
such debts as should be admitted to be just and 
valid by commissioners appointed in England for 
their adjudication, assisted by similar commissioners 
at Madras; whose duty it should be to collect infor- 
mation and evidence, both oral and documentary, 
for transmission to the commissioners at home, in 
whom alone the power of final admission or rejec- 
tion was vested: and, in order that the Indian 
commissioners might be as free as possible from all 
motives of local interest or influence, it was agreed 
that they should be appointed by the Govemor- 
Greneral, and that they should be selected from the 
Civil service of Bengal. Accordingly, at the period 
under review, three commissioners, who were mem- 
bers of the Bengal Civil service, were sitting at 
Madras to investigate the demands of persons claim- 
ing to be creditors of the Nawabs of Arcot, and 
producing bonds and other vouchers asserted to 
have been originally granted by those princes in 
acknowledgment of actual loans or real pecuniary 

The long interval which had elapsed since the 
investigation of the Camatic debts had been com- 
menced, and the prospect which the present ar- 
rangement encouraged of their being ultimately 
paid, had not only protracted the existence of those 
vouchers which were of unimpeachable authenticity, 
but had prompted the fabrication of a vast mass of 
fictitious documents^ in evidence of unreal transac- 

' The extent of these forgeries and fabricatioDS is shown by the result. 


BOOK T. tions. It was not an easy task to discriminate 
^^^^' ^' between the false and the true bonds ; and the 
1808. fonner, having long passed from hand to hand with- 
out question, had become, in the ordinary course 
of transfer, the property of individuals wholly un- 
connected with the original fraud, and entertaining 
no doubt of the goodness of the security. Many 
bonds of large amount had come very honestly into 
the possession of persons of rank and influence in 
the society of Madras, who were naturally and ex- 
cusably interested in establishing the validity of 
deeds upon which their fortunes mainly depended. 
When, therefore, the commissioners from Bengal, 
early in 1808, entered upon their oflice at Madras, 
they found the difficulties, inseparable from the na- 
ture of their duty and the novelty of their position, 
aggravated by the opposition which they encoun- 
tered. In this situation they gladly availed them- 
selves of any assistance which offered a reasonable 
chance of affording them the information they were 
appointed to obtain ; and they were fully justified in 
attaching consideration to the advice and opinions 
of a native named Reddy Rao, as he had been the 
principal accountant in the financial oflice of the 
late Nawab of Arcot, and was fully informed of the 
extent and character of the claims upon his master, 
and as he was a man of ability and had always been 
reputed respectable and honest. 

Shortly after this selection had been made, a 
bond held by Reddy Rao himself came under the 

The final report of the Carnatic coromissiouers, dated March 1830, states 
the amount originally claimed to have been above thirty millions sterling 
(£90,404,919 Is. 3|d.) The amount allowed was little more than two 
miUions and a half (£2,686,148 12«. 8}</.) 


inspection of the commissioners. Its authenticity book i. 
was challenged by Avadanam Papia, another native ^^^^' ^' 
creditor. The commissioners, upon investigating isos. 
the charge, pronounced the bond of Reddy Rao 
genuine, and prosecuted the witnesses Papia had 
brought forward, for perjury. Papia had the start of 
them, and carried his accusation of forgery before 
a magistrate, who committed Reddy Rao for trial. 
Regarding the prosecution as a mere trick intended 
to deprive them of essential assistance, the com- 
missioners appealed to the Government of Madras ; 
and upon their representations, and at their request, 
the law officers of the Company were ordered to 
conduct the defence of Reddy Rao. This measure 
and the proceedings against Papia filled all classes 
of creditors with alarm, inasmuch as the appearance 
of Government as a party in opposition to their 
claims, was calculated to deter the natives from 
giving any testimony which they might think unac- 
ceptable to the superior authorities, and might de- 
prive the claimants in many instances of the only 
means by which they could substantiate their de- 
mands. Great excitement spread throughout the 
settlement ; and many individuals, of high rank in 
the service and much consideration in society, in- 
veighed vehemently against an arrangement which 
was attributed to the partiality and prejudices of 
the Governor. The Government persisted, and with 
reason ; for no good cause could be assigned why the 
commissioners should be debarred from the aid of 
the legal advisers of the state. But, not satisfied 
with a calm perseverance in a right course, measures 
VOL. I. R 


BOOK I. of ill-timed and injudicious severity towards indi- 

CHAP V <■ 

' viduals were adopted, which had the appearance of 
1808. a determination to substitute intimidation for in- 
quiry. Indignant at the impediments which had 
been thrown in the way of the commissioners, the 
Government dismissed the magistrate, Mr. Mait- 
land, by whom Reddy Rao had been committed; 
required Mr. Parry, a merchant residing at Madras, 
who had taken a conspicuous part in the opposition 
to the acts of the commission, to return immediately 
to Europe ; and removed Mr. Roebuck, a civilian of 
long standing, from the situation he filled at the 
Presidency, to an office of inferior rank and emolu- 
ment in the provinces, where he shortly afterwards 
died. In these manifestations of the displeasure 
of the Government undue and unnecessary rigour 
was exhibited. The opposition may have originated 
in interested motives, and may have been intempe- 
rate and indecorous ; but some consideration might 
have been reasonably entertained for the feelings 
which the dread of loss of property could not luil 
to inspire, and the virulence of which would have 
been corrected by the steady perseverance of the 
commissioners in the calm and impartial perform- 
ance of their functions. It was not in the power of 
any combination to defeat, however it might retard, 
the objects of the commission; and, although en- 
titled to the support of the Government, it needed 
not its wTathful and vindictive interposition. The 
interference of authority also in this stage of the 
business, whilst proceedings in the liighest court of 
judicature were pending, was, to say the least, ex- 
ceedingly ill-timed, as it afforded a specious plea for 


accusing the Government of a design to obstruct book i. 
the administration of justice. ^chap^j^ 

The trial of Reddy Rao took place: the Chief laoa. 
Justice pronounced an elaborate judgment in his 
favour; the jury found him guilty. A new trial 
was moved for, but the decision was postponed ; and 
in the mean time an indictment for perjury was 
preferred against a person named Batley, the Eng- 
lish translator and secretary of the Nawab, and one 
of the witnesses on behalf of Reddy Rao. It was 
in fact a second trial of Reddy Rao, as it involved 
the question of the spuriousness of his bond. A 
verdict unfavourable to his cause was given by a 
special jury, in the conviction of the defendant. 

A third trial was held : Reddy Rao was charged 
with having paid a debt due to another native with 
a forged bond, knowing it to be forged ; and he was 
again found guilty by the jury. The Chief Justice, 
strongly persuaded of his innocence and of that of 
Batley, suspended delivery of the sentence, and re- 
ferred the evidence through the Board of Controul 
to the King, recommending the defendants to his 
Majesty, " not as the objects of his mercy, but as 
suitors for his justice ; conceiving prosecutions to be 
the King's, and that a greater evil could scarcely 
-happen to society than that they should be suffered 
to become, by whatever means, the successful en- 
gines of wrong." ^ Necessarily guided by the opi- 
nions of the Chief Justice, the pardon of the Crown 
was granted ; but before it reached Madras the chief 
actor in the scene had ceased to be amenable to 

^ Two letters from Sir Thomas Strange, 27tk Feb. and 4th May, 1809, to 
the Right Honourable R. Dundas. — Parliamentary Papers, Camatic debts. 



BOOK I. human judgment : Reddj Rao poisoned himself in 
^^^^' ^' little more than a twelvemonth after his last trial. 
1808. He had not long continued, after that event, to 
enjoy the confidence of the commissioners. Sus- 
picion was awakened : it was discovered that he was 
deeply implicated in the issue of the fabricated 
securities, and in other frauds upon the NawaVs 
treasury; and the very bond, the genuineness of 
which had been so tenaciously upheld by .the com- 
missioners, was reported by them to their fellow 
commissioners in London a forgery. The result 
was little calculated to gain credit or favour for the 
Governor of Madras, who, in his eagerness to main- 
tain unimpaired the powers of the commissioners, 
had thrown the whole weight of his authority into 
the same scale with an impostor and a cheat ; and, 
in defence of a knave, had inflicted on men of cha- 
racter and honour penury and disgrace, because in 
protecting valuable interests they had been be- 
trayed into indiscretion and intemperance.* 

However inveterate the mutual ill-will which was 
engendered by these proceedings, they were far ex- 
ceeded in intensity and importance by the dissen- 
sions which about the same time broke out between 
the Governor of Madras and a large division of 
the army. Before entering upon an account of the 
lamentable consequences attending them, it will be 

* The best authenticated accounts of these proceedings are to be found 
in the papers printed for Parliament, 3rd May and 11th June, 1811, re- 
lating to the Camatic debts. Ex-partc statements, which agree as to the 
main facts, are to be met with in the Parliamentary papers referred 
to : also in Marsh's Review of Sir G. Barlow's Administration ; Lon- 
don, 1812: Exposure of the Misrepresentations and Calumnies in Marsh's 
Review; London, 1813 : Short Narrative of the Late Trials, &c.; London, 
1810 : Correspondence of Messrs. Abbott, Parry, and Maitland, with the 
Court of Directors ; London, 1813 : and in other pamphlets. 


advisable to notice the political occurrences by bookl 
which they were preceded. .!!I^!LI1 

The mutual dissatisfaction which had long sub- I8O8. 
sisted between the Raja of Travancore and the 
British Government has been already adverted to. 
Towards the end of 1808 the subsidy which the 
Raja was bound to pay had fallen into a long ar- 
rear, and the Resident peremptorily demanded its 
liquidation. The Raja and his principal minister 
protested that the revenues of Travancore were in- 
capable of supporting so heavy a burthen as the 
charge of four battalions of Company's troops, and 
required their reduction. The Resident replied by 
insisting on the dismissal of an imperfectly dis- 
ciplined body of infantry in the Raja's service, called 
the Carnatic Brigade, as a useless and expensive 
corps, the discontinuance of which would obviate 
all difficulty regarding the subsidy. The Carnatic 
Brigade was looked upon by the Raja as an essen- 
tial part of his dignity, and indispensable to his per- 
sonal safety; and the proposal to disband it was 
treated as a preliminary step to the seizure of the 
Raja's person, and the annihilation of his authority. 
Appeals were made by the Raja to the Governments 
of Madras and Bengal, in which he asserted that 
the treaty of 1805 had been forced upon him ; that 
he had been intimidated into its execution by the 
menaces of the Resident; and that the expense 
which it entailed upon the revenues of his princi- 
pality were beyond their means of defraying it.* 
These assertions were denied by the Resident. 

' An opinion seems to have prevailed that the difficulty in the realisa- 
tion of the subsidy arose from the refusal of the Company's GoTemment to 



BOOK I. Besides the cause of discontent arising out of the 
subsidy, which was common to the Raja and his 
1808. counsellors, his Dewan or prime minister, Vailu 
Tambi, had personal grounds for fear and resent- 
ment. Considering him to be the chief instigator 
of the Raja's backwardness in fulfilling his pecu- 
niary engagements, the Resident had insisted upon 
his removal from his situation, and the appointment 
of a minister more submissive to British controul. 
The Dewan professed himself willing to resign 
whenever a successor should be appointed; but, 
under cover of his pretended acquiescence in the 
Resident's will, he set himself to work to organise 
an insurrection of the Nairs, the martial population 
of Malabar, and to accomplish the murder of the 
Resident, whom he hated as the scourge of his 
country, and his own avowed and inexorable foe. 

receire pa3rment in pepper, agreeably to the terms of the original treaty ; 
but, which haying fallen in value, a money payment was demanded. In 
Sir Thomas Munro's examination before the Committee of the House of 
Commons in April, 1813, he was asked, '' Have you not heard that the 
Raja originally entered into the treaty with great reluctance, and received 
our troops into his dominions, for the pa3rment of which the pepper was 
agreed to be delivered?" his reply was, "I have not so heard.** The 
notion may, perhaps, be traced to the Asiatic Annual Register for 1809, in 
which this account of the alteration from payment in pepper to that in 
money is assigned as a cause of the discontent of the Uaja and subsequent 
disturbances. The statement is nevertheless erroneous. In the first cor- 
respondence with the Raja in 1788, the option of paying the subsidy in 
pepper or money was offered to him : he chose the latter. In 1793, a con- 
tract was entered into with him for the purchase of pepper for eight years, 
wholly unconnected with the subsidy. In 1795, an article of the treaty 
provided for the perpetuity of the pepper contract, subject to such modi- 
fications as should from time to time be agreed upon ; but there was no 
stipulation that its price should form part payment of the subsidy. No 
allusion to such payment is contained in the treaty of 1805. The ori> 
ginal contract provides tliat the pepper shall be paid for in goods ; and, 
should they leave a balance, that should be paid in money. The commer- 
cial and political engagements were tliroughout distinct, and no complaint 
occurs in the correspondence on this account. The main ground of conten- 
tion was the Camatic Brigade. 


He prevailed upon the Dewan of the Raja of book l 
Cochin to join him in the plot; and, giving en- ^^^' ^' 
couragcment to some French adventurers from the isoa. 
Isle of France who had landed from an Arab vessel 
on the coast of Malabar, spread abroad a report 
that a large French army was about to come to 
assist him to expel the English. He also wrote 
circular letters to the neighbouring Rajas to sum- 
mon them to combine for the defence of their reli- 
gion, which he affirmed the English designed to 
overthrow. His instigations were effectual: arms 
were collected, and the people were prepared se- 
cretly for their use. The popular excitement be- 
came known to the Resident, and at his request re- 
inforcements were ordered to Travancore. His 
Majesty's 12th regiment and two native battalions 
were directed to move from Malabar; and his 
Majesty's 69th, and three battalions of native in- 
fantry, with artillery, were commanded to march 
from Trichinopoly to his succour. 

Alarmed apparently by these precautionary mea- 
sures, the Dewan professed his readiness to resign 
immediately if his personal safety were guaranteed, 
and arrangements were made for his private removal 
from Alepi to Calicut on the night of the 28th of 
December. On that same night a body of armed 
men surrounded the house of the Resident. He 
had retired to rest, but was awakened by the indis- 
tinct noise of the approaching multitude ; and, going 
to the window to discover the cause, was fired at 
by the assailants. Before an entrance could be 
forced, Colonel Macaulay, with a confidential ser- 
vant, had time to hide themselves in a lower cham- 


BOOK I. ber, the door of which could not be easily distiii- 
CHAP. V. guished from the exterior wall. The insurgents, 
1808. having broken into the house, sought for the object 
of their vengeance throughout the night in vain. 
At daybreak they beheld a vessel under British co- 
lours entering the port, and other ships were discern- 
ible at a little distance making for the harbour. 
They now thought only of their own retreat, and 
hastily quitted the premises ; affording Colonel Ma- 
caulay an opportunity of making his escape and 
taking refuge on board the vessel, which proved to 
be a transport with part of the reinforcement from 
Malabar. The more important division from Trichi- 
nopoly had been coimtermanded, the Madras Go- 
vernment giving ready credence to the simulated 
submission of the Dewan. The news of the insur- 
rection obliged them to repeat their first directions, 
and in the middle of January the Trichinopoly 
force commenced its advance under the command 
of the Honourable Colonel St. Leger. 

Before he was joined by the principal reinforce- 
ments from Malabar, Colonel Chalmers, command- 
ing the subsidiary troops cantoned at Quilon, had 
commenced offensive operations. On the 30th of 
December he learnt that great numbers of armed 
Nairs had collected at a residence belonging to the 
minister, at no great distance to the north of the 
cantonments; and that an equally numerous body 
had assembled at Parur, about ten miles to the 
south. His measm*es were promptly taken. Five 
companies of the 1st battalion of the 4th regiment 
of native infantry, with a field-piece, were detached 
to occupy a low hill commanding the Dewan's resi- 


dence. They had scarcely reached the spot when book i. 
they were attacked by the enemy in numbers greatly ^^^' ^' 
superior, but they maintained their ground during 1809. 
the night ; and, being strengthened by the two flank 
companies of the 13th N. I. at day-break, they ad- 
vanced against the Nairs, defeated them, and took 
possession of the house, with two brass and four 
iron guns, with which it had been converted into a 
temporary battery. Information being received that 
a body of the enemy above four thousand strong 
were advancing along the coast from the north, the 
detachment commanded by Major Hamilton proceed- 
ed to meet them. They were encountered at the 
estuary of the Kaladi river, where some had crossed 
the bar, while the Carnatic Brigade was drawn up 
on the other side of the stream. Those who had 
crossed were attacked and compelled to retreat, 
but the main body stood firm ; while a strong divi- 
sion ascended the river, in ,order to pass it higher 
up and get into the rear of the British. At the 
same time news arrived that the force from the 
south, estimated at more than ten thousand men, 
was rapidly advancing, and it was judged prudent to 
recall the detachment to the cantonment. The re- 
treat of the troops gave courage to the insurgents. 

The increasing numbers and confidence of the 
Nairs obliged Colonel Chalmers to remain on 
the defensive at Quilon, where he was reinforced 
early in January by his Majesty's 12th regiment 
under Colonel Picton. On the other hand, the 
Dewan, having concentrated his forces, amounting 
to between twenty and thirty thousand men, with 
eighteen guns, advanced to Quilon, and on the 15th of 


BOOK I. January attacked the British lines, defended by one 
^"^^' ^' European regiment and three battalions of Sipahis. 
1809. The action began at six in the morning ; the enemy 
occupying a rising ground, from which their guns 
opened a lire on the British encampment. Leaving 
the 4th native infantry to cover the camp. Colonel 
Chalmers formed the rest of his troops in two co- 
lumns, the right under Colonel Picton, the left 
under Major Hamilton, and led them against the 
Travancore force. A stout resistance was encoun- 
tered, and a division of the enemy attempted at the 
same time to storm the camp. They were repulsed, 
and, after a conflict of five hours' duration, the 
whole were driven off the field, leaving seven hun- 
dred slain, and losing fifteen pieces of artillery. 
The British loss was comparatively trifling. 

Thus foiled in his attempt upon Quilon, the 
Dewan directed a considerable division of his fol- 
lowers against what promised to be an easier 
prey, — the post of Cochin, which was held by 
Major Hewitt with two companies of the 12tli re- 
giment, and six of the 1st battalion of the I7th 
native infantry. The enemy advanced on the 19th 
of January to the attack in three masses, each a 
thousand strong: the one on the left was met, 
charged, and routed. The victors then fell upon the 
other two bodies, which opposed a more resolute 
resistance, but were forced to give way. Desisting 
from further engagements in the field, they spread 
round Cochin on the side, land and covered the sea 
with their boats, so as to cut off* all supplies. Be- 
fore this manoeuvre had produced serious distress, 
the Piedmontese frigate, with tlie llesident on 


board, anchored off the town ; and her boats, with book i. 
some small armed vessels belonging to Cochin, J^^^^jJ^ 
quickly drove the enemy's flotilla into the river, isos. 
pursued, and set it on fire. The blockade was con- 
sequently raised ; but the enemy still continued in 
overpowering numbers in the vicinity of Quilon 
and Cochin, and straitened the resources and 
checked the movements of the subsidiary force, 
until they were called off by the approach of danger 
in other directions. During this interval they dis- 
graced their cause by acts of atrocity, which served 
no purpose except that of provoking retribution. 
An assistant-surgeon of the name of Hume, tra- 
velling at night on the 30th of January, was seized 
on his route, and led into the presence of the 
Dewan; who, although he knew the young man 
personally, and had benefited by his professional 
advice, commanded him to be conducted to the sea- 
side, where he was put to death and buried in the 
sand. About the same time a small vessel, with 
some of the soldiers of the 12th regiment on board, 
having touched at Alepi foT supplies, the men were 
induced to land by the appearance of cordiality 
among the people, and assurances that part of the 
subsidiary force was in the neighbourhood. Un- 
aware that hostilities had commenced, the men, 
thirty in number, disembarked, and as soon as 
they landed were made prisoners, and shortly after- 
wards murdered. This was also done by order of 
the Dewan, who thus effaced, by his perfidy and 
cruelty, whatever credit he might have claimed for 
zeal in the cause of his country and his prince. 
Finding it no longer i)ossible to avoid the cost of 


BOOK I. military operations, the Government of Fort St. 

^^^' ^' George resolved to act with vigour, especially as the 
1809. advancing season of the year admitted not of fur- 
ther loss of time. Colonel Cuppage, commanding 
in Malabar, was ordered to enter the province of 
Cochin from the north, and join Colonel Chalmers, 
with his Majesty's 80th regiment and two bat- 
talions of native infantry ; and Colonel St. Leger 
was directed to march immediately from Trichino- 
poly, with a force composed of his Majesty's 69th 
regiment, a regiment of native cavalry, and three 
battalions of native infantry,^ besides a detachment 
of Royal artillery, and the 3rd Ceylon or Kafri re- 
giment, which was to join from Ceylon. Two divi- 
sions, consisting of a European regiment and a bat- 
talion of Sipahis, severally commanded by Colonel 
Wallace and Lieutenant-Colonel Gibbs, were sta- 
tioned in the Tinnivelly district and the vicinity of 
Wynad, to keep the Travancoreans in check, and 
eventually co-operate with Colonel St. Leger's 
force. A proclamation was issued by the Madras 
Government, and distributed with Colonel St. Le- 
ger's advance, ascribing the necessity of military 
measures to the intrigues of the minister, and de- 
claring that " the British Government had no other 
view than to rescue the Raja from the influence of 
the Dewan, to put an end to the power of that 
minister, and to re-establish the connexion of the 

' The force consisted of bis Majesty's 69th ; both battalions of the Srd 
native infantry ; Ist battalion and one company of the 2nd battalion of the 
13th ; five companies of the 2nd battalion of the 10th native infantry ; 6th 
native cavalry ; a detachment of artillery and pioneers ; a detachment of 
Royal artillery ; and Srd Kafri regiment from Ceylon. But the last did 
not join till after the capture of the Arambuli lines. 


two Governments on a secure and happy foun- book i. 
dation. J^^Ul 

The principality of Travancore is divided from i809. 
the province of Tinnivelly by the southern portion 
of the moimtain-chain which runs nearly parallel 
with the coast of Malabar, from the upper part of 
the Peninsula to Cape Comorin, and is usually 
known by the appellation of the Western Ghats. 
The mountains are lofty and covered with jungle, 
and present in general almost insuperable obstacles 
to the march of an army with baggage and artillery. 
The most practicable passes are situated near the 
southernmost extremity of the chain, where the 
moimtains decline in elevation as they approach the 
sea ; and through one of these, the pass of Arambuli 
or Aramuni, it was determined on this occasion to 
force an entrance into Travancore. The Arambuli 
pass was defended by formidable lines, consisting of 
a number of small redoubts, each mounting two or 
three guns, and connected by a strong wall of ma- 
sonry. The whole extended about two miles along 
the sides of steep and rugged hills, and terminated 
at either extremity by a strongly fortified mountain 
flanked by impenetrable jungle. The high road 
from Palamkota led through the centre of the 
works, by a gateway which was commanded by two 
large circular bastions armed with several pieces of 
ordnance.^ Colonel St. Leger arrived at the foot of 
the lines on the 6th of February ; and, as the divi- 
sion was unequipped with a battering train, deter- 
mined to attempt to carry the pass by surprise. On 
the night of the tOth, Major Welsh, with two com- 

' Welshes Military Reminiscences, vol. i. p. 288. 


BOOK I. panies of the 69th, four flank and five battalion 
companies of the 3rd native infantry, quietly 
1809. climbed the hill on which the southern works were 
erected, and, after six hours' arduoas ascent, reached 
the foot of the wall unperceived. The ladders 
were planted, and the ramparts scaled, before any 
effective resistance could be opposed ; and although 
a short stand was made, which was attended with 
some loss of life,* the redoubt was quickly in posses- 
sion of the assailants. As soon as the day broke, 
the guns of the bastion were turned upon the de- 
fences of the pass, which they enfiladed ; and, rein- 
forcements being sent to Major Welsh, he was 
strong enough to attack the rest of the lines, and 
the whole of the works were speedily cleared of 
their defenders. 

Having thus secured his entrance? into Travan- 
core. Colonel St. Leger advanced on the 17th of 
February into the interior; and dislodged, after a 
short action, a body of troops strongly posted, with 
nine guns, on the bank of a river near the village of 
Nagarkoil. The next march brought the troops to 
the forts of Udagiri and Papanavaram, which were 
abandoned : the gates were set open, the garrisons 
had fled, and ensigns denoting submission were seen 
flying in every direction. Communications were 
shortly afterwards received from the Dewan and 
from the King, breathing a pacific spirit, and depre- 
cating the nearer approach of the troops to Trivan- 
drum, the capital. Having referred the letter of 
the King to the Resident, who was at Cochin, 
Colonel St. Leger marched to a position half-way 

' Captain CunDingham of the 69th was the only officer killed. 


between Udagiri and Kalachi on the coast, detach- book i. 


ing a part of his force to occupy the latter, and 
open a communication with Colonel Chalmers at i^od. 
Quilon. This officer had continued to be hemmed 
in by the enemy during Colonel St. Leger's ad- 
vance ; but, having been reinforced by part of the 
19th regiment, had, shortly before the communi- 
cation now opened, rid himself of his opponents. 
Marching out of cantonments on the 21st February 
in two columns, severally commanded by Colonel 
Picton and Colonel Stuart of the 19th, he attacked 
the enemy's position in front of his encampment; 
and although they were five thousand strong, and 
were defended by batteries and entrenchments, he 
carried the works, captured their artillery, and dis- 
persed their force. After the action. Colonel 
Chalmers marched towards the capital, and arrived 
at the high ground within twelve miles of Trivan- 
drum much about the same time that Colonel St. 
Leger took up a similar position on the opposite 
side. About the same period also, the division 
under Colonel Cuppago crossed the frontier on the 
north without opposition, and advanced to Parur. 
The country was now completely in the possession 
of the British : the Nairs disbanded, and retired to 
their homes ; the Dewan, despairing of forgiveness, 
fled into the thickets ; and the Raja, left to himself, 
hastened to tender his submission, and profess his 
readiness to conform to any conditions which the 
Resident should please to dictate. 

The troops being concentrated round Trivan- 
drum. Colonel Macaulay proceeded to the capital, 
and concerted with the Raja the conditions on 


BOOK I. which tranquillity was to be restored, and the 


' prince allowed to retain possession of his dominions. 

1809. The terms were adjusted by the 1st of March. The 
Raja consented to pay the arrears of the subsidy 
and the expenses of the war, and eleven lakhs of 
rupees were paid on the former account before the 
expiration of the month.^ The Camatic Brigade, 
and some Nair battalions in the Raja's service, 
were dismissed, and the defence of the prince and 
of his country was entrusted exclusively to the sub- 
sidiary force. A new Dewan, supposed to be in 
the interest of the English, and recommended by 
the Resident, was appointed. The invading forces 
were withdrawn immediately upon the. conclusion of 
the treaty: a portion of the subsidiary battalions 
was permanently quartered in the proximity of Tri- 
vandrum ; the rest returned to their former canton- 

The zeal of the new minister in the cause of his 
English friends was promptly evinced by the active 
measures which were instituted for the capture of 
his predecessor. Traces of him were discovered 
among the mountains ; and means were devised for 
preventing his being supplied with the necessaries 
of life by the peasantry, who had hitherto minis- 
tered to his wants. Reduced to extreme distress, 
the Dewan made his way, as a last resource, to the 
Pagoda of Bhagwadi, which from ancient usage 
enjoyed the privileges of a sanctuary. The emis- 

' The Madras Goveroment proposed that the guns and stores captured 
by the troops should become public property upon the payment to the army 
of their value, which should be charged to the Raja. The Goyemroent of 
Bengal justly objected to this double penalty, and directed the stores to be 
paid for by the Madras Government. — Appendix 43, Second Report of 
Select Committee, May, 1810 ; and MS. Records. 


saries of the minister, although Hindus, disregarded book i. 
the sanctity of the temple, forcibly entered it, and ' 
broke open the door of the chamber to which Vailu isos. 
Tambi and his brother had retreated. As they en- 
tered the apartment, the Dewan was found expiring 
of wounds inflicted by his own hand, or, at his en- 
treaty, by the hand of his brother, to save him from 
falling alive into the power of his unrelenting foes, 
The brother was seized, taken to Quilon, and 
hanged in front of the 12th regiment, draw^n out to 
witness his execution, as an accessory in the murder 
of their comrades. The body of the Dewan was 
carried to Trivandrum, and exposed upon a gib- 
bet, amidst, it was said, the acclamations of the 

The vindictive measures which were thus adopted 
by the Resident were defended by him upon the 
plea of their being no more than a just retribution 
for the foul treachery and sanguinary cruelty of the 
Dewan and his brother.^ The Government of Ben- 
gal admitted the defensibility of the summary exe- 
cution of the latter, upon the understanding that he 
had been implicated in the murder of Mr. Hume 
and the British soldiers ; but condemned, in terms of 
merited reprehension, the vengeance which had 
pursued the crimes of the Dewan beyond his life. 
The ends of justice and the purposes of public se- 
curity w^ere attained, the Governor-General re- 
marked, by the death of the Dewan ; and the prose- 
cution of a vindictive policy, when the object of it 

* Beside Dr. Hume, aud the men of the 12th, Vailu Tambi was accused 
of having put to death three thousand native Christians, charged with no 
crime but their religion. 

VOL. I. S 

* k' 


BOOK L had ceased to exist, was repugnant to the feelings 
°"^^' ^' of common humanity and the principles of a civi- 
1809. lized Grovemment. He further observed, that al- 
though ostensibly the act of the Raja, yet it would 
not be believed by the public that it had not the 
Resident's sanction, and did not originate in his 
advice ; and that had it been the Raja's act, with a 
view to impress upon the British Government the 
notion that he had not participated in the treachery 
of his minister, yet a sentiment of just abhorrence 
of the measure itself, and a regard for the repu- 
tation of the British Government, should have in- 
duced the Resident to prevent the exposure, or, if 
anticipated, to have publicly proclaimed his disap- 

The proceedings in Travancore were, in truth, 
among the least justifiable of the many questionable 
transactions by which the British power in India 
has been acquired or preserved. The protection of 
the Raja was, in the first instance, generous and 
politic ; the military command of his country, sub- 
sequently, was necessary for objects of British po- 
licy, and was not incompatible with the pacific in- 
terests of the Raja and prosperity of his limited 
dominion. To impose upon him the maintenance 
of a force infinitely more numerous than was neces- 
sary for the defence of the country, and the cost of 
which heavily taxed its resources ; to urge the ex- 
action with unrelenting rigour; and to resent with 
unpitying vengeance the passions excited by a 
deep sense of national wrong among a semi-bar- 
barous and demoralised race, — were unworthy of the 
character of the British nation for justice and gene- 


rosity, of the civilization it had attained, and the book l 
religion it professed. ^"^''' ^' 

Notwithstanding the severities exercised upon the isio. 
leaders of the late rising, and the submission which 
the irresistible superiority of the British arms had 
compelled, the spirit of disaffection after a while 
revived, and in less than two years the new Dewan 
was suspected of being concerned in a plot directed 
against the British authority. He had also suffered 
the payment of the subsidy again to fall into arrear, 
and improvement in this respect was not to be ex- 
pected from the increasing infirmities and imbecility 
of the Raja. Under these circumstances, thcw Go- 
vernment of Bengal considered itself empowered 
by the fifth article of the treaty of 1805 to assume 
the management of the country, but suspended the 
final adoption of the arrangenient until it should 
become unavoidable. Its necessity became apparent 
at last even to the Raja; and the new Resident, 
Colonel John Munro, at his request and with the 
authority of the British Government, took upon 
himself the administration of the principality as the 
minister of the Raja, or Dewan. ^ The condition of 
Travancore unquestionably required the intervention 
of a stronger and wiser controul. The Raja was a 
cypher : the Dewan usurped the whole power, and 

* We have Colonel Monro's own statement that he accepted the office of 
Dewan at the request of the Raja. In answer to questions put to him, he 
states, " The treaty authorized the general interference of the British Go- 
vernment ; but I assumed the charge of the administration at the express 
request of the Raja, with the authority of the British Government*" And 
to tlie question, whether it was completely voluntary on the part of the 
Raja, he replies, " It was at the earnest request of the Rt^a/' — Evidence 
of Colonel Munro ; Select Committee of House of Commons, March, 18S9* 
Hamilton therefore is wrong in stating that the arrangement took place 
nnder the Raja's successor. — Description of Hindoetan, ii. SI 7. 

s 2 


BOOK I. employed it to defraud the prince and oppress tlie 
CHAP. V. p^Qpi^ Inadequate as were the resources to the 
1810. public exigencies, the country laboured under the 
severest fiscal exaction : justice there was none, and 
a general state of disorganization prevailed. The 
judicious regulations introduced by Colonel Munro 
restored order, secured the administration of justice, 
and, whilst they liquidated the debt, and discharged 
the stipulated payments with punctuality, they more 
than doubled the revenues of the Raja, and in a 
still greater proportion lightened the burthens of 
his subjects. * The Raja died in 1812. He was 
succ^ded by his sister, such being the order of in- 
heritance among the Nairs of Travancore. Under 
the government of this lady, and the regency of 
her successor, Colonel Munro officiated as Dewan 
until the year 1814 ; when he restored the ma- 
nagement of the state to a native Dewan, extri- 
cated from its embarrassments, with a greatly aug- 
mented revenue, and in a situation of complete in- 
ternal tranquillity.^ 

> Eyidence above referred to : also Extracts from Colonel Muiiro*8 
Report to the Madras Government in 1818, quoted by Mr. Jones; App. 
Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons ; Political, 4to. 
ed., p. 287. In three years, Colonel Munro, beside the current subsidy, 
^ succeeded in payin^^ eighteen lakhs of rupees due to the Company, and 
nearly six to individuals; in abolishing the most oppressive monopolies and 
taxes, and in settling the afiairs of the country on the principles of justice 
and humanity.** The land revenue was increased from nine to fifteen 
lakhs ; the duty received from the tobacco monopoly, from five to eleven 
lakhs ; and that on salt, from thirty thousand rupees, to two lakhs and 
thirty thousand : but, to the relief of the people, as many oppressive taxes 
and all illegal exactions were abolished. 

' For the military transactions in Travancore, see Secret Letter from Fort 
St. George printed in the Second Report of the Select Committee of the 
House of Commons, App. 43; Madras Papers, 15th March, 1811, p. 15 ; 
Letter from the Court, 29th Sept. 1809, printed Pari. Papers, 22nd June, 
181 Sy No. 10; Welsh's Militaiy Reminiscences; the Asiatic Annual Re* 
gister, vol. xi. History, ch. 3; and the General Orders of Government in the 


Although the Raja of Cochin had abstained fix)m book i. 


actual hostilities and died during their continuance, ' 
not without suspicion of having fallen a victim to I809. 
his unwillingness to engage in them, yet the partici- 
pation of his minister in the projects of the Dewan 
of Travancore, which was unequivocally established, 
subjected the Raja's successor to the displeasure of 
the British Government. The Raja was accordingly 
condemned to pay a third of the expenses of the 
war, and to sign a new treaty, which added to the 
amount of his tribute the cost of a battalion of Sipa- 
his in the field in place of his own troops, whom he 
was required to dismiss, beyond such as might be 
necessary for the collection of the revenue. As the 
state of his country differed little from that of Tra- 
vancore, a similar system of reform was extended to 
Cochin, under the more immediate management of 
Captain Blacker, the Assistant Resident. Upon hia 
departure Colonel Munro assumed the duty ; and, 
under their joint superintendence, the like improve- 
ment was effected in Cochin which had been accom- 
j)lished at Travancore.^ 

Whilst the Company's troops were thus employed 
in the coercion of refractory allies, and in extend- 
ing the authority of the Government of Madras, the 
Governor and the Commander-in-chief engaged in 
a dispute which speedily involved a large portion 
of the Coast army in a contest with the civil power. 

Chronicle of Madras Occurrences. The MS. Records have also been 

> By the treaty of 1791 the Raja of Cochin paid a tribute of 100,000 
Arcot rupees per annum. By this of the 6th May, IS09, he was compelled 
to pay in addition 1,70,037 Arcot rupees ; making a total of 2,76,037 Arcot 
rupees. — Coll. of Treaties, 472. 


BOOK I. and waa productive of the most alarming and dan- 
^^^^' ^' gerous results.* Sir John Cradock had been suc- 
180ft. ceeded in the command of the Madras army by 
Lieutenant-General Hay Macdowall. The former 
had held, as Commander-in-chief, a seat in council : 
the Court of Directors had thought proper to refuse 
equal rank and emolument to his successors. The 
appeal of General Macdowall to the Court against 
this infringement of his dignities had been answered 
by the appointment of a civil servant to the vacant 
seat. The Commander-in-chief felt the exclusion 
as a personal grievance and aflfront, and, on the 
final extinction of his hopes, resigned his command ; 
expressing his resignation in terms strongly indi- 
cative of the bitterness of his mortification and 

' " The East India Company, and, I may add, the British empire in all 
its parts, never, I believe, was exposed to greater or more imminent danger." 
— Letter from Lord Minto, 15th Sept. 1809. '* The late revolt of the ofiBcers 
of the Madras army is the most remarkable and most important event that 
has occurred in the history of the British Administration of India since oar 
first acquisition of territory there. It led to the commencement of a civil 
war in the Camatic ; it threatened to involve the whole Peninsula in anarchy 
and blood ; to encourage the numerous adherents of the fallen families of 
Tippoo, and Mohammed Ali, to insurrection ; to incite the native powers 
to fall upon us whilst in this state of internal convulsion ; and to subvert a 
Government which had successfully resisted the repeated attacks of the 
neighbouring states." — Paper accompanying Reply of Messrs. Grant and 
Astell to the Dissents of several Directors, &c. ; Pari. Papers, 1st April, 
1811, p. 46. We may be permitted now to think that this language is 
somewhat exaggerated. 

* " Tlie decision of the Court of Directors has placed me in so extraor- 
dinary, so unexampled, and so humiliating a predicament, that the most 
painful emotions have been excited ; and sixteen months' experience has 
convinced me that it is impossible to remain with any prospect of perform- 
ing my duty with credit to the East India Company, of acquiring for myself 
any reputation, or for doing justice to those over whom I am called to pre- 
side ; divested of the power of selecting for commands by the restrictioii of 
military patronage, or of requiting the meritorious officer ; deprived of the 
respectability which attaches in this country to a seat in council, and 
abridged in the usual emoluments of office.** — Letter to Sir G. Barlow from 
dbe Commander-in-chief; 15th Jan. 1809 ; Pari. Papers, 2.5th May, 1810, 
part i. p. 8. 


It has been mentioned, that, after the close of the book i. 
Mahratta war, the Government of Bengal urgently J^^^[_^ 
pressed upon the subordinate Presidencies the ne- 180«. 
cessity of extensive retrenchments. In conformity 
to these injunctions, various plans for reducing the 
military expenditure of the Presidency of Madras 
were suggested during the command of Sir John 
Cradock; some of which were acted upon, and 
deprived officers, in command of regiments or bri- 
gades, of different sources of emolument. These 
measures were naturally unpalatable to the army. 
The difference of military allowances between the 
Bengal and Madras services had long been a subject 
of discontent ; and the assignment of commands to 
officers of his Majesty's regiments, in place of Com- 
pany's officers, occasioned amongst the latter fre- 
quent murmurs. The personal feelings of the Com- 
mander-in-chief heightened his sympathy with the 
grievances of those under his command, and fos- 
tered their discontents ;* and a state of disquietude 
and dissatisfaction pervaded the minds of the offi- 
cers, which, as compliance with their expectations 

* Memorial of the Officers of the Madras Army to the Court of Directors, 
forwarded by the Commaoder-in-chief, with a Letter to the Government of 
Fort St. George, 23rd January, 1809. The Madras GoTernment, viewing 
the sentiments expressed in the paper with extreme disapprobation, de- 
clined to transmit it to the Court until it had been laid before the Gover- 
nor-General.— Pari. Papers, 25th May, 1810, No. i. p. 25. At an earlier 
date, 1st May, 1808, General Macdowall enumerates, as the seeds of dis- 
content widely disseminated, the abolition of the Bazar Fund ; the de- 
gradation of the military character, from the Commander-in-chief to the 
youngest ensign ; the late reductions, and especially the abolition of the 
Tent Contract ; and adds, " I much lament the expediency which occa- 
sioned these disgusting measures." — Extracts from Lord Minto*s Letter to 
the Secret Committee, 6th Feb. 1810; Pari. Papers, 1st April, 1811, p. S46. 
The same letter supplies instances, if not of *^ the deliberate intention of 
the General to make the army an instrument of opposition and disturb- 
ance,*' as affirmed by Lord Minto, yet of great disposition to foment and 
heighten the prevailing discontents. 


BOOK I. was little to be looked for, required to be allayed 
' by gentle management, and the avoidance of addi- 
1808. tional irritation. Unluckily, fresh occasions of ex- 
citement did occur, and that excitement was not 
gently dealt with. 

Among the articles of retrenchment put in force 
by the Government of Madras was the abolition 
of what was known as the Tent Contract ; an ar- 
rangement by which officers commanding native 
corps received a permanent monthly allowance, 
alike in cantonments as in the field, in peace as 
ia war, on condition of their providing the men 
with suitable camp equipage whenever it might be 
required.^ The retrenchment was originally sug- 
gested by Sir John Cradock ; and he called upon 
Colonel John Munro, the Quarter-Master-General of 
the army, to report whether it was not practicable 
without detriment to the efficiency of the troops, and 
how it might best be accomplished. The report 
advocated the change, and submitted a mode of 
effecting it. The plan was approved of by Sir John 
Cradock, by Lord W. Bentinck, and by the Govern- 
ment of Bengal. It merely fell to Sir G. Barlow 
to carry it into execution. No share of the oppro- 
brium was due to him, even if the measure deserved 
it ; but, in fact, the contract was open to objections 
of so obvious a character, that no disinterested per- 
son could doubt the reasonableness of its abolition. 
The alteration was to be judged of, however, by 
those whose interests it affected, and in their esti- 

' Letter from Sir John Cradock to Lieutenant-Colonel Munro, 7th Feb. 
1807; and his reply, SOth June, 1807: Pari. Papers, 3rd May, 1811, 
p. 04. 


Illation it was a grievous wrong ; but, unable to book i. 
deny the defects of the system, or the expediency ^^^^' ^' 
of its reform, their dissatisfaction found an ex- isos. 
cuse for its display in some unguarded express 
sions which occurred in the Quarter-Master-General's 
official report. 

The transaction of public business in India by 
written statements is not without its inconvenience ; 
and one of these is, the temptation it offers to 
])ublic functionaries to put upon record more than 
is always necessary or judicious. Such was the 
case with Colonel Munro, Not contented with in- 
dicating such objections as could not be disputed, 
he proceeded to specify others, which, although 
equally true in a general sense, were capable of 
individual application, and might be construed into 
an accusation that the officers in command of corps 
had consulted their own profit at the expense of 
the public service, and had appropriated the tent 
allowance without keeping up an adequate tent 
establishment. * The officers resented the impu- 

* In eDiimerating the objections to the system, the Report specifies one 
of them as follows : " By granting the same allowances in peace and war 
for the equipment of native corps, while the expenses incidental to that 
charge are unavoidably much greater in war than peace, it places the in- 
terest and duty of ofiQcers commanding native corps in direct opposition to 
one another : it makes it their interest that their corps should not be in ft 
state of efficiency fit for field service, and therefore furnishes strong induce- 
ments to neglect their most important duties."* It would have been prudent 
to have omitted at least one half of this paragraph ; but still, abstractedly 
considered, it was scarcely disputable. The measure no doubt, in theory, 
placed the interest and duty of the officers in opposition; but in practice it 
left it to be supposed that they did their duty, although their interests suf- 
fered. Unfortunately, the objections were preceded by the assertion, that 
'* Six years" experience of the practical efiects of the existing system of the 
camp equipage equipment of the army, and an attentive examination of its 
operation during that period of time, had suggested the objections.** Here, 
therefore, was an assertion that, practically, the officers had preferred their 
interest to their duty : an assertion the more objectionable, as no proof was 
given ; for, as the officers in their memorial justly replied, ** If such a case 


BOOK I. tation ; and, although Colonel Munro earnestly dis- 
^^'' ^' claimed any intention of reflecting upon the honour 
1808. and integrity of any portion of the officers of the 
anny, they refused to be appeased, and called upon 
the Commander-in-chief to bring him to a court- 
martial for aspersions on their characters as officers 
and gentlemen. 

Upon the receipt of the charges against Colonel 
J. Munro,^ the Commander-in-chief hesitated whe- 
ther he should admit them, and referred the question 
for the opinion of the Judge-Advocate-General, who, 
after discussing the circumstances of the case, came 
to the conclusion that the charges were such as the 
accusers had no right to agitate or prefer.* The 
officers acquiesced in the decision, and solicited a 
suspension of the direct charge ; substituting in its 
place a memorial to the Court of Directors, praying 
them to investigate the subject.* Previously, how- 
ever, to his being apprised of their change of pur- 
pose, General Macdowall had also viewed the matter 

had occurred, why was it not noticed at the time f* They had reason to be 
offended; but still, as the offence grew out of an indiscreet mode of pro- 
pounding undeniable generalisations, and was evidently not designed to 
apply to any particular case, they might have been satisfied with a decla- 
ration to that effect, and would no doubt have been so contented, had not 
an infectious irritability perplexed their sober judgments. — Pari. Papers, 
Srd May, 1811, p. 96; ditto, 1st April, 1811, p. 65; ditto, 25th May, 
1810, p. IS. 

' See the charges. Pari. Papers, 25th May, 1810, p. 13. 

' Letter from Colonel Leith, Judge-Advocate-General, to the Adjutant- 
General, 7th Nov. 1808 ; Pari. Papers, May, 1810, p. IT. 

' The memorial is printed, Pari. Papers, Srd May, 1811, p. 79. The 
officers say, *' Finding the mode (of court-martial) was considered by the 
Judge-Advocate-General to be irregular and ineffectual, they respectfully 
abide by that opinion for the present, and have solicited a suspension of the 
direct charge against the individual, whilst they have appealed to the can- 
dour and justice of the Court.'* The Government refused to forward it* 
as the question was considered to be settled : the Court disapproved of the 
refusal to transmit the memorial. — Pari. Papers, May, 1810, p. IS. 



in a new light, and had determined that the charge book l 
should be entertained. On the eve of his quitting ^^^' ^' 
Madras, he placed Colonel Munro under arrest, to 1809. 
be brought to trial by the succeeding Commander- 
in-chief;* having, as he declared, received an opinion 
of much importance, in expectation of which he had 
suspended his decision. From what quarter this 
opinion proceeded is nowhere stated. 

It appears, however, that, in the interval that had 
elapsed since the charge was first brought forward, 
circumstances had occurred, which, in the state of 
the Commander-in-chiefs feelings, were possibly not 
without some influence upon his determination. 
Major Blacker, of the Quarter-Master-Gteneral's de- 
partment, was ordered to join the force in Travan- 
core. Another oflScer, Captain Macdowall, who 
had been formerly employed in the province, re- 
monstrated against the arrangement, and urged his 
own preferable claims. His pretensions were sup- 
ported by the Commander-in-chief, who requested 
that the appointment might be reconsidered. This 
was on the 16th of January. On the 18th the 
Government of Madras declined to revise the nomi- 
nation, reprimanded Captain Macdowall for the 
tone of his application, and threatened to remove 
him from the office he held. On the 20th Colonel 
Munro was placed under arrest ; the effect of which 
was to compel the Grovemment to revoke Major 
Slacker's appointment, as the temporary removal of 
his superior rendered his presence indispensable at 
the Presidency.* The close concurrence of these 

1 Pari. Papere, 25th May, 1810, p. 14. ' Ibid. p. 9. 


BOOK I. events suggests the possibility of their connexion, 
^^^' ^' and the likelihood that matters of comparative in- 
1809. significance, magnified into mischievous importance 
by the passions of the individuals interested, contri- 
buted to occasion the transactions which ensued. 

As soon as Colonel Munro was made aware of the 
decision of the Commander-in-chief, he appealed to 
the Government, under whose authority he had acted, 
and by whom the measures he had recommended 
had been approved and adopted. This appeal was 
in the first instance forwarded through the Com- 
mander-in-chief; but, upon his refusing to be the 
channel of its transmission, it was addressed direct 
to the Governor in Council. 

The subject of the communication was referred 
to the chief civil and military advisers of the Go- 
vernment, the Judge- Advocate-General and the Ad- 
vocate-General, and fortified by their joint opinions 
that it was bound to protect the advisers of mea- 
sures which it had made its own, the GU)vemment 
exercised the power with which it was intrusted by 
the Legislature ; and, having first in vain requested, 
next commanded General Macdowall to release 
Colonel Munro from his arrest.* The tenor of the 
Commander-in-chiefs commission subjected him so 
explicitly to the authority of the Governor in Council, 
that he was under the necessity of yielding obedi- 
ence, protesting against what he designated as an 
undue interference. Nor was he satisfied with this 
expression of his indignation : on the eve of his em- 
barkation for England he directed the publication 
of a General Order, in which he announced that his 

* Seethe Mrhole correspondeuce, Pari. Papers, 26th May, pp. 12 — ^24. 


departure alone prevented him from bringing Colonel book i, 
Munro to trial for disrespect to the Commander-in- 


chief, for disobedience of orders, and for contempt i809. 
of military authority, in having resorted to the power 
of the Civil Government in defiance of the judgment 
of the officer at the head of the army, who had 
placed him under arrest on charges preferred against 
him by a number of officers commanding native 
corps ; in consequence of which appeal direct to the 
Honourable the President in Council, Lieutenant- 
General Macdowall had received a positive order 
from the chief secretary to liberate Lieutenant- 
Colonel Munro from arrest : and the order proceeded 
to stigmatize the conduct of Colonel Munro as de- 
structive of subordination, subversive of military dis- 
cipline, a violation of the sacred rights of the Com- 
mander-in-chief, and a most dangerous example to 
the service. General Macdowall therefore thought 
it incumbent on him, in support of the dignity of 
the profession, and his own station and character, to 
express his strong disapprobation of Colonel Munro's 
unexampled proceedings, and reprimanded him ac- 

Thus far the Government of Madras had acted 
with a degree of calmness and forbearance which 
derived additional lustre from the contrast which 
it offered to the violence of the Commander-in-chief. 
Instead of interposing to heal the wounds which the 
needless sensitiveness of the officers had suffered 
from the incautious but indefinite language of an 
official report, and which a few words of explanation 

* General Orders by tlie Commander-in-chief, head-quarters, 28th Jan. 
1809.— Pari. Papers, 25th May, 1810, p. 28. 


BOOK L dowall was on board the ship which was to convey 
J!1H him to England ; a destination he was not permitted 

1809. to reach, the vessel being lost at sea on the voyage. 
If the Madras Government had vindicated its 
authority in more temperate language, and directed 
that the offensive order of the General should be 
expunged from the order-books of the army, it would 
have better preserved its consistency and secured its 
triumph. Had its indignation been allowed to ex- 
pire with the cause which had provoked it, few would 
have been disposed to call its proceedings seriously 
into question ; and after a short period the superficial 
and inconsequential ferment, in the activity of which 
the Commander-in-chief was so vital an element, 
would have subsided. Unhappily, it was thought 
that enough had not been done to vindicate the 
authority and dignity of the Government. Mea- 
sures were adopted which irritated the passions of 
the army more than anything that had yet occurred, 
and infused into the quarrel feelings of personal ran- 
cour, by which it had not yet been generally em- 
bittered. The order of the Government, which has 
been just described, concluded by suspending from 
the service of the Company Major Boles, the Deputy- 
Adjutant-General, for having signed and circulated 
the general order of the departing Commander-in- 
chief in the absence of his immediate superior, who 
had accompanied General Macdowall on board ship. 
Colonel Capper, the Adjutant-General, avowed him- 
self responsible for the circulation of the order, and 
was included in the same penalty.' It was to no 

' General Orders of the Government of Fort St. George, 31 st Jan. and 
iBt Feb., 1809 ; Pari. Papere, 26th May, 1810, p. 29. 


purpose that these officers pleaded the merely minis- book i. 
terial character of their duties, and the obligation, ,^^^^^i^ 
imposed upon them by military discipline, of exe- 1809. 
cuting the orders of the Commander of the forces. 
It was argued by the Government, that, by giving 
authenticity and currency to a paper which they 
could not but be aware was in the highest degree 
disrespectful to the Government, they were acting 
in direct violation of their duty to the latter, and 
thereby knowingly committed an illegal act, con- 
nected with views of the most reprehensible nature, 
which no authority could justify, and that they 
therefore deserved the punishment they had incur- 
red. Colonel Capper sailed for England, and, like 
his superior, perished on the passage. To Major 
Boles it was intimated, that, if he acknowledged 
his error, the sentence might be mitigated ; but he 
refused to admit that he had done wrong, and the 
penalty was enforced. 

It is very possible that the Adjutant-General and 
his deputy were more inclined to take part with 
their military than with their civil superior, that 
they shared in the prevailing discontent, and that 
they were not unwilling instruments in the issuing 
of the offensive order. Still, the plea of military 
subordination was a plausible excuse, and one which 
was calculated to find favour with military men. It 
might be correct, as afterwards argued by the 
Judge- Advocate-General, that, even in the case of 
military men, the illegal commands of a superior are 
invalid ; but then comes the question, by whom is 
the illegality to be determined? Nothing can 
justify disobedience of orders but the most unequi- 

VOL. I. T 



BOOK I. vocal and universal recognition of the illegality ; 

CHAP. V. g^j^ wherever a doubt is admissible, obedience is 
the safer course. That General Macdowall's order 
was illegal is a proposition by no means so self- 
evident as to obtain immediate and implicit assent, 
and was little likely to be so esteemed in the actual 
state of military feeling at Madras. It was possi- 
ble, therefore, that those who obeyed it did not 
consider it to be illegal ; and, although they saw 
that it was disrespectful, they did not hold their 
interpretation of its tenor to that extent only to be 
a sufficient reason for disobeying the positive com- 
mands of the Commander-in-chief.^ At any rate, 

' Migor Boles avers that he does not consider the order illegal or directed 
against the Government, and that many officers of rank and experience in 
the King's and Company^s services concurred with him iu concluding it to 
be exclusively applicable to Colonel Munro. — Pari. Papers, 25th May, 
1810, i. 87. General Maitland, at the time Governor of Ceylon, in an 
elaborate examination of the subject, maintains that there was no proof of 
the ministerial officers being aware of the illegality of the order, and that, if 
Major Boles erred, he erred on the right side ; that the military law was 
completely positive on one side, and perfectly indefinite on the other ; and 
that he followed a course vindicated by many precedents, instead of one 
for which no precedent could be pleaded. — Pari. Papers, 25th May, 1810, 
No. yi. p. 158. Although the Supreme Government considered the general 
order of General Macdowall to be of a seditious character, and that the 
Adjutant-General and his deputy in issuing it had become thereby guilty 
of sedition, (Pari. Papers, 20th May, 1810, No. iii. p. 13,) yet the Governor- 
General avows that tlie suspension of those officers gave him great uneasi- 
ness, as he anticipated that it would furnish a plausible, and to mUitaiy 
minds a captivating, pretence for a more general combination against the 
Grovemment than any of the circumstances which preceded it : that, although 
the merits of the question as an abstract point were clear and confident, yet 
they were not less likely to be questioned ; and he felt assured tliat in the 
military world, which was the quarter of the greatest authority in such a 
controversy, the sentiment was likely to be nearly unanimous against the 
principle adopted by the Government of Fort St. George, whilst other 
opinions would be much divided. — (Pari. Papers, April, 1811, No. vi. p. 138.) 
llie sense of the Court of Directors was still more decidedly expressed; as. 
Immediately afler the arrival of the first intelligence of the proceedings of 
the Madras Government, they ordered tliat Colonel Capper and Major Boles 
should be restored to the service, " As those officers were placed in a 
situation of difficulty, their removal from their respective emoluments ou 
the staff would have been a sufficient mark of your displeasure, and we 
therefore direct that their suspension from our service be taken off.*' — Letter 


the plea was urged in extenuation of the act, and it book i. 
would have been prudent to have so |W5cepted it ; for ^^^^^^ 
it might easily have been foreseen, that to visit the i»09. 
offence with extreme punishment would excite gene- 
ral commiseration for the victims and unpopularity 
for the judge. The consequences were such as should 
have been anticipated. Addresses were immediately 
forwarded to Major Boles from all the divisions of 
the army, approving of his conduct, denouncing his 
sentence as cruel and undeserved, and proposing to 
raise by subscription an income equal to that of 
which the Government had deprived him. The 
type of the contest was now for the first time durably 
stamped upon it. Hitherto the officers of the army 
had felt aggrieved by the public acts of the Govern- 
ment: they now combined in hostility to the Governor. 
It was henceforward a struggle between men, rather 
than between principles; between Sir George Barlow 
and a body of officers, rather than between the Go- 
vernment and the army of Fort St. George. 

An interval of three months had elapsed from the 
suspension of the officers of the Adjutant-General's 
department, when another general order of the Go- 
vernment, dated the Ist of May, announced a 

from the Court, 15th Sept. 1809. When subsequent advice of the part 
taken by the officers in favour of Major Boles reached England, they re- 
scinded the order and confirmed the suspension ; '* as it was to be inferred 
that he had become a rallying point for dangerous doctrines, with his own 
consent.*' — Letter from the Court, 29th Sept. ; Pari. Papers, May, 1810, p. 1$. 
They afterwards recur to their first view of the case, and state that they 
cannot discover any such inherent and obvious illegality as could Justify 
the Adjutant or Depnty-Adjutant-General in refusing to obey the command 
they had received from Lieutenant-General Macdowall that the said order 
should be circulated to the army. " We therefore continue of opinion that 
Major Boles ought not to have been suspended from the service." — Military 
LeUer from the Court of Directors, 6th February, 1811 ; Pari. Papers, 
April, 1811, p. 178. 



BOOK I. sweeping list of removals, supersessions, and sus- 
pensions. Four officers of rank were suspended 

1809. the service; an equal number were removed from 
their commands or staff appointments, and four 
were superseded in the command of battalions: 
among them were Colonels St. Leger, Chalmers, 
and Cuppage, who had recently performed such dis- 
tinguished services in Travancore.* The officers 
thus punished were accused of having signed, and 
influenced others to sign, an address to Major 
Boles of the purport above stated; and of having 
signed, and influenced others to sign, a memorial 
which it was proposed to send to the Governor- 
General, in which the supposed grievances of the 
Madras army were detailed. Some of the offenders 
were also charged with having signed a statement 
in favour of General Macdowall, and forwarded it 
to him at Ceylon. Copies of these documents had 
come into the hands of Sir George Barlow, and 
were communicated by him to his council, with 
whose concurrence the order of the 1st of May was 

Although it could not be denied that the officers 
of the army had entered into combinations which 
were as decidedly incompatible with their military 
obligations as their subordination to the Civil Go- 
vernment, yet it is very questionable if the mea- 

» General Order, 1st of May, 1809; Pari. Papers, May, 1810, 2 A. 
p. 22. The officers suspended were Lieutenant- Colonel the Honourable 
Arthur St. Leger, Major John De Morgan, Captain Josiah Marshall, Cap- 
tain James Grant. Removed: Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Bell, Lieu tenant- 
Cdonel J. M. Chalmers, Lieutenant-Colonel J. Cuppage, Captain J. M. 
Coombs. Superseded : Captain Smitli, Major Keasberry, Major Muirhead^ 
and M^jor Haslewood. 

' Minute of the President in Council, with enclosures, 1st May, 1809 ; 
Pari. Papers, May, 1810, 2 A. 3. 


sures adopted were politic or necessary. The state- book i. 
ment of General MacdowalPs conduct, and the ^^^^' ^' 
memorial to the Governor-General, had been drawn i809. 
up under the influence of that excitement which 
existed at the time of the embarkation of the Com- 
mander-in-chief ; and the address to Major Boles 
originated in the occurrences immediately follow- 
ing. The feelings so vivid in the beginning of 
February had in some degree begun to cool even 
early in March; for at that time a circular letter 
was addressed by the new Commander-in-chief, 
General Gowdie, to the officers commanding the 
principal divisions of the army, desiring to know 
whether the memorial had been circulated amongst 
the officers under their command, and enjoining 
them to be vigilant in bringing them to a sense of 
their duty ; and it is acknowledged by Sir G. Bar- 
low himself, that, with one exception, the replies 
were in general perfectly satisfactory.^ In fact, the 
memorial never was sent; and it is admitted that all 
intention of sending it had been abandoned, when 
it was made the ground of punishing those who 
were accused of having taken an active share in its 
signature and circulation.* 

Another objectionable feature in this proceeding 
was its being based on private information, a copy 
of the memorial having been forwarded to Sir G. 
Barlow through a channel which he did not wish to 
reveal. Its existence was farther substantiated by 
the* testimony of some of the country-bom clerks in 
the offices of the military department, who had 
been employed to transcribe various papers by some 

• Minute hist cited. ' Minute ditto. 


BOOK I. of the officers particularised. Their depositions 
were taken privately. Their testimony was never 
1809. communicated to the accused, and might or might 
not have been true.^ That papers such as were de- 
scribed had been in circulation, was not improbable; 
but to what extent some of the individuals con- 
demned were implicated in their distribution, had 
not been clearly established.* Several of them de- 
nied the justice of the charge ; but denial was use- 
less, and proof would have been too late. Ac- 
cusation and condemnation were simultaneous ; the 
officers so summarily punished were allowed no op- 
portunity of excuse or justification. They first 
heard of the charge against them when they read 
their sentence. No wonder that such treatment 
should have added fuel to flame. 

A further unfortunate circumstance distinguished 
this general order of the 1st of May. With sin- 
gular ignorance of the extent to which the same 
sentiments pervaded the Madras army, and with 
a strange unconsciousness of the sympathy which 
fellowship in service and in fortunes is so apt to 
inspire amongst classes of men and particularly 
amongst the members of the military class, the Gro- 
vemment thought fit to compliment the subsidiary 
force at Hyderabad for its satisfactory and exem- 
plary conduct in having resisted all participation in 

' The examinations are appended to the President's minute. 

' The officers of the artillery, under Colonel Bell's command, made " a 
solemn and unequivocal declaration that he had ncitlier. directly nof in- 
directly countenanced or influenced the circulation of any paper of the 
tendency alluded to in the order of Government." Colonel St. Leger and 
M^jor De Morfcan denied having; taken an active part in the circulation 
of the memorial, or influenced others to sign it. See their memorlaU in 
the I*arl. Papers. 


the improper and dangerous proceedings which the book i. 
order described. Nothing could have been more ^^^^' ^' 
mischievous.^ The officers of the Hyderabad force 1809. 
instantly and indignantly repudiated the distinction, 
and, in their eagerness to show that it was unde- 
served, plunged headlong into a career far more 
violent and indefensible than any which bad yet 
annoyed or alarmed the Government. They imme- 
diately published a letter to the army and to the 
officers saspended, in which they declared their 
entire disapprobation of the suspension and removal 
of so many valuable officers from the service and 
from their commands; their willingness to contri- 
bute to the support of those officers ; and their de- 
termination to co-operate with the army in all legal 
measures for the removal of the cause of the pre- 
sent discontent, and the restoration of their brother- 
officers to the honourable situations from which 
they had been removed.^ This was followed by an 
address to the Governor in Council, signed by a 
hundred and fifty-eight officers of the divisions of 
Jalna and Hyderabad, urging strenuously the re- 
storation of the removed officers as the only mea- 
sure likely to prevent the possible and probable 
consequences which they else apprehended ; namely, 
the separation of the civil and military, the destruc- 
tion of all discipline and subordination amongst the 
native troops, the ultimate loss of a large portion of 
the British possessions in India, and the dreadful 
blow it would inflict on the mother country.^ In 

^ General Orderti of the Government ; Pari. Papers, May, 1810, 2 A. 
p. 24. 

=» Pari. Papers, May, 1810, 2 B. p. 24. » Ibid. p. 26. 


BOOK I. the course of the following month an address was 
CHAP. V. pr^ggnted to Colonel Montresor, commanding the 
1809. Hyderabad force, by his officers, of a still more 
outrageous description/ 

About the same time with this manifestation of 
the growing sentiments of insubordination at Hy- 
derabad, an overt act of mutiny was committed by 
the Company's European regiment quartered at 
Masulipatam. The officers of this corps had par- 
taken in the general feelings, and had been further 
imtated by the indiscreet harshness with which 
their commanding officer had visited some impru- 
dent expressions of those feelings in a moment of 
conviviality. The men were also out of humour at 
being occasionally drafted to serve as marines on 
board of the ships of war in the Bay of Bengal. A 
report was current amongst them that the whole 
corps was to be broken up in this manner; and, 
when an order was issued for three companies to 
prepare for marine duty, the men refused to obey, 
and the officers placed their own colonel under ar- 
rest. The command was assumed by the next in 
rank, a managing committee of officers was insti- 
tuted, and a correspondence was opened by them 
with the Hyderabad and other mutinous divisions. 
Colonel Malcolm, who was at Madras, preparing to 

' On the 2l8t of July they presented to Colonel Montresor a paper 
Dirhich they styled their ultimatum, but pledging themselves to remain quiet 
until a reply from Government should be received. In this they demanded 
the repeal of the orders of the Ist May, the restoration of the officers sus- 
. peoded or removed, the removal from their staff appointments of the officers 
who had been the principal advisers of the Government, and the grant of a 
genera] amnesty to the discontented. The signatures of all the officers 
except those on the staff were affixed to the paper, and a joint movement 
from Jalna and Hyderabad on Madras was projected in case their demands 
were not complied with. — Pari. Papers, May, 1810, 2C. p. 29. 


proceed on his mission to Persia, was dispatched to book i. 
Masulipatam to restore order and subordination : ^^^^^^J^ 
he was treated with courtesy, but returned to the I809. 
Presidency without accomplishing the object of his 
mission, and strongly impressed with the persuasion 
that the revocation of the Government order would 
alone prevent a general and fatal insurrection.^ In 
fact, on the 3rd of August garrison orders directed 
the regiment to hold itself in readiness for field 
service ; a plan having been concerted for the junc- 
tion of the troops from Masulipatam with those 
from Jalna and Hyderabad, and their united march 
to Madras, where they threatened to compel the 
restoration of the officers, and to depose Sir George 
Barlow from the post of Governor. Luckily for all 
concerned, these wild and criminal projects were 
arrested by the seasonable interposition of the Go- 
vernor-General, and the return of the most violent 
and rash to a recollection of their duty. 

The Government of Madras had thus, by unques- 
tionable deficiencies in temper and discretion, 
brought matters to a position from which it was 
equally dangerous to advance or recede. Several 
of the most distinguished of its military servants 
counselled the rescission of the obnoxious orders, 
and the restoration of the suspended officers to the 
service.^ Such a concession might have moderated 
the violence of the tempest, but its efficacy in pro- 

* Pari. Papers, May, 1810, 2 B. p. 33, and 2 C. p. 1. Colonel Malcolm 
subsequently published '* Observations on the Disturbances of tlie Madras 
Army,'* in two parts; London, 1812. 

' By Captain Sydenham, the Resident at Hyderabad ; by Colonel Mon- 
Iresor, commanding the subsidiary force ; and by Colonel Malcolm. — Pari. 


BOOK I. ducing a continued calm was more than doubtful. 

CHAP. V. j^ would have been an acknowledgement that the 
1809. Grovemment had acted with inconsiderateness and 
injustice, and possessed neither the strength nor the 
spirit to assert its legitimate rights ; and it would 
have established a dangerous precedent, and en- 
couraged, in time to come, those who felt or fan- 
cied a grievance, to resist the will of all future ad- 
ministrations, and seek redress by force and intimi- 
dation. There was an end of all civil government, — 
of all government,— if military combination was al- 
lowed to set aside constituted authority ; if the army 
was suffered to dictate its own laws and choose its 
own officers ; if the weapons, with which it was in- 
trusted to defend the state against external aggres- 
sion, were aimed against those functionaries who 
had been appointed to guide and govern in India 
the civil and military servants of the Company and 
subjects of the Crown. Justice demands that full 
weight should be given to these considerations in 
appreciating the conduct of Sir George Barlow at 
this crisis. His determination to uphold at every 
risk the rightful claims of the Government to the 
obedience of the army was defensible on the 
grounds of the responsibility, imposed upon him by 
his station, of preserving undisturbed the social re- 
lations of the civil and military power under his 
authority, of asserting the superiority of law over 
force, and of maintaining inviolate the principles of 
the constitution, which had been assigned to the 
various members of the Indian empire by the Le- 
gislature of Great Britain. Nor was the hazard of 
actual collision so imminent or so great as it 


seemed to be from the menacing attitude which a book i. 
part of the army had assumed. It was but a part, ^^^^' ^' 
and a considerable portion had not yet taken any isos. 
share in their proceedings. The Commander-in- 
chief, and the great majority of those officers who 
were highest in rank and most distinguished in 
reputation, and whose influence with those under 
their command was of most importance, were 
staunch advocates of the principles of order and 
military subordination; many, who had been in- 
volved in the proceedings by the vehemence of 
those around them, were known to be averse to the 
extremes to which they were urged; and it was to 
be expected, that, even of those who were loudest in 
their denunciations, many would pause before they 
incurred the guilt of actual rebellion. The Govern- 
ment of Madras was assured of the decided support 
of the Government of Bengal, and had the com- 
mand of the resources of that Presidency, as well as 
of Bombay and Ceylon. The King's regiments stea- 
dily adhered to their duty ; and there could be little 
doubt that the native soldiery, when the case was 
explained to them, would prefer the cause of the 
Government, from whom they derived their sub- 
sistence and hopes of promotion, to that of their 
officers, whose objects they imperfectly understood, 
and from whose triumph they could anticipate no 
advantage. Relying on these considerations, the 
Government of Madras entered upon the contest 
with promptitude and vigour. 

In order to ascertain its own strength, and dis- 
cover what proportion of the officers were well- 
affected, and at the same time to remove the dis- 


BOOK I. bridled violence and open rebellion. Compelling a 
'^^^^' ^' small detachment of his Majesty's troops to with- 
1809. draw from the fort, they seized upon the public 
treasure, drew up the bridges, and placed themselyes 
in an attitude of defiance ; disobeying the orders 
of Colonel Davies, commanding in Mysore, and dis- 
regarding the remonstrances of the Political Resi- 
dent, Mr. Cole. A detachment consisting of the 
25th dragoons, a regiment of native cavalry, with a 
i*egiment of his Majesty's foot, and a native battalion, 
commanded by Colonel Gibbs, marched to Seringa- 
patam, where they encamped ; while a corps of 
Mysore horse, which had been supplied by the 
Dewan, was detached to intercept the advance of 
two battalions which were on their way from Chittle- 
droog to reinforce the garrison. The Mysore horse 
met the battalions at some distance from Seringa- 
patam about the 7th of August. No forcible oppo- 
sition was offered until the 11th, when the Chittle- 
droog force was in sight of the walls of Seringapatam, 
and of the camp of the detachment by which the 
fortress was observed. Encouraged by the proximity 
of the latter, the Mysoreans began to harass the 
march of the battalions, and were fired upon'. The 
resistance was, however, feeble; for, upon the ap- 
proach of the dragoons, the Chittledroog battalions 
broke and dispersed. The greater part effected 
their escape into the fort, the garrison of which 
had made a demonstration in their favour. The 
officer who commanded was wounded and taken 
prisoner; another died of fatigue and anxiety 
after reaching the fort. More than two hundred 
Sipahis and followers were said to have been killed 


and wounded.^ Of the dragoons one officer was book l 
wounded slightly. During the night the fortress ^^^^' ^' 
cannonaded the encampment; and, although no J809. 
great mischief was done, it was necessary to re- 
move the tents to a safer distance. No further 
hostility was offered by either party. 

Hoping that the personal character of Colonel 
Close, the Resident at Poena, and his great popu- 
larity with the native soldiery, might enable him to 
exercise a salutary influence over the troops at 
Hyderabad, the Government called him from his 
political duties to take the command of the sub- 
sidiary force. He arrived at Hyderabad on the 3rd 
of August; and, notwithstanding some opposition, 
made his way to the cantonments, where he expos- 
tulated with such officers as were present, and with 
such of the native officers and men as showed a dis- 
position to listen to his observations. Little effect 
was produced apparently by his intervention; and, 
having cause to apprehend personal restraint, he 
thought it more consistent with his own dignity and 
the intentions of the Government to withdraw from 
the cantonment to the Residency, and there await 
further instructions. Immediately upon his departure, 
the committee of officers summoned the divisions at 
Jalna, Masulipatam, and in the Northern Circars. 
The former made two marches in advance, and the 

^ The returns j^ve nine killed, one hundred and fifty wounded, and two 
liundred and eighty-one missing. The officers of the Ghittledroog battalion 
affirm that the men were ordered not to fire upon the Europeans, but only 
to defend themselves against the Mysore horse. The absence of all casual- 
ties among the dragoons, with the exception of one officer wounded, which 
was possibly the consequence of a misunderstanding, is a strong corrobora- 
tion of this assertion. — Pari. Papers, May, 1810, 2 O. p. 40; also 2F. 
p. 33, &c. ; also Trial of Colonel J. Bell; Pari. Papers, April, 1811. 


BOOK I. latter were under orders to take the field, when, for- 

CHAP. y. 

tunately, the determinations of the oflScers at Hydera- 
1809. bad underwent a change. On the 1 1 th of August they 
addressed a penitential letter to Lord Minto, who 
was expected to arrive at Madras; signed the test pro- 
posed by the Government of Fort St. George ; and 
circulated to the several stations of the army a paper 
wherein they stated that imperious circumstances 
and mature reflection had induced them to sign 
the declaration, and they earnestly entreated their 
brother-officers to follow their example.^ The de- 
fection of the Hyderabad force arrested the progress 
of the mutiny. The Jalna division returned to can- 
tonments. On the 16th of August the garrison at 
Masulipatam tendered their adhesion, and gave up 
the fort to General Pater ; and on the 23rd the gar- 
rison of Seringapatam submitted unconditionally, 
and evacuated the fortress. The declaratory test 
was universally signed, and a calm as profound as 

' The motives which influenced the officers are recapitulated by Lord 
Minto in his letter of the 12th October, 1809, to the Secret Committee, 
par. 72. *^ They represent themselves to have proposed at no period any- 
thing beyond intimidation as a means of controuling Government, and ex- 
acting the concessions they required : they advanced from faction to sedi- 
tion, from sedition to revolt, confident that each step they made towards 
further violence would be sufficient for their purpose. In this course they 
gp:^dually arrived at the last narrow boundary which they had yet to pass 
before the commencement of civil war; and, while they yet hesitated on 
that last decisive step, the measures of Government convinced them that 
intimidation would fail, and, if they advanced further, the contest was 
actually to be maintained. They then describe their sense of the public 
evils incident to such a conflict, and their compunction at becoming the 
immediate instruments of such calamities; sentiments which terminated in 
a resolution to sacriQce their own objects and feelings to the public safety, 
and to submit themselves implicitly to the discretion of Government.** 
Although Lord Minto doubts, to its full extent, tiiis account of their rea- 
sons for so suddenly stopping in their course, and ascribes it, in part at 
least, to a seasonable fear of failure ; yet he admits that very many must 
have been urged onwards, against their own better judgments, by the im- 
pulse of example, and that these must have rejoiced at the first overture of 
retreat. — Pari. Papers, May, 1810, No.iv. p. 9. 


the agitation had been alanning was at once book l 
restored. ^^^^' ^' 

The causes which induced this seasonable re- i809. 
action are sufficiently obvious. The officers had hi- 
therto rushed forward in the blindness of their 
anger, without seeing whither it was likely to lead 
them ; but they had now arrived at the very verge of 
the precipice, and another step would have con- 
signed them to irretrievable infamy and ruin. It is 
impossible to believe that the most daring and de- 
sperate did not at this moment wish for an excuse to 
go no further. The senior officers in almost every 
command had throughout acted with so much mode- 
ration and judgment as to have secured the respect, 
although they had not been always able to repress 
the violence, of those subordinate to them; and 
their representations contributed to awaken in the 
minds of their younger brethren a truer perception 
of the perilous situation in which they stood. It is 
also little to be doubted that the disposition to re- 
tract derived confirmation from the apprehension of 
failure in advancing, and from a general belief that 
the native soldiery would fall off from their officers 
if the quarrel with the Government were mrged to 
actual warfare.^ These reflections had been for some 
time at work. Even in the almost universal rejec- 
tion of the test, the indication of a returning sense 
of duty was manifested ; as the chief ground of re- 

^ lo several of the pamphlets published by the friends of the officers, it 
is asserted that << the Sipahis adhered to the officers to the last." Lord 
Minto observes, that "the officers never allowed themselves to doubt of the 
adherence of the Sepoy battalions." — Letter, 12th October, par. 16 ; Pari. 
Papers, May, 1810, p. 2. In general, however, the native officers and 
troops manifested little inclination to support their European officers 
against the Government. 



BOOK I. departure was delayed by the assurance, which the 
' Madras Government, with that singularly imperfect 
1809. knowledge which it had on other occasions evinced 
of the real state of things, conveyed to him, that 
the agitation was rapidly subsiding, and that a fair 
prospect existed of the army's returning to a sense 
of duty.^ As soon as he ascertained that the in- 
formation was incorrect, he embarked, and reached 
Madras on the 11th of September. All parties 
anxiously awaited his fiat. It was not long de- 
layed.* On the 25th of the same month a general 
order announced to the army the Governor-Gene- 
ral's reprobation of their past conduct, and his reso- 
lution to inflict such punishment as might be com- 
mensurate with the offences committed. This de- 
termination was expressed in language designed 
and calculated to assuage all irritated feeling, and it 
was too evidently grounded upon the nature of the 
past transactions for its justice to be called in ques- 
tion. The necessity of vindicating the authority of 
the Government was based entirely upon abstract 
and incontrovertible principles, and the manner in 
which that vindication was to be exercised was 
qualified with the utmost possible leniency. The 
decision of the Governor-General was also distin- 
guished by one remarkable peculiarity, — the more 
remarkable from the contrast which it presented to 
the whole course of Sir George Barlow's proceed- 
ings, — the non-exercise of absolute power ; the abey- 
ance of the right of the Governor-General to decree 

* Letter from the Governor-General to tlie Secret Committee, 10th Octo- 
ber, 1800, par. 87; also Minute of Governor-General, 15th July, 1800; 
Pari. Papers, May, 1810, No. iv. : and MS. Records. 

» Pari. Papers, May, 1810, No.iv. p. 14. 


punishment of his own will and pleasure ; and the book i. 
reference of those who were charged with the high- J^^^^J^^ 
est degree of culpability to the judgment of their 1809. 
peers. A few only of the offenders were selected ; 
such as officers in command of stations or of bodies 
of troops, commandants of corps, and individuals 
conspicuous for violent and forward behaviour. For 
the two first, courts-martial were ordered; to the 
others, the alternative was offered of investigation 
before the same tribunal, or dismissal from the 
service. The whole of the officers of the Hydera- 
bad force were pardoned, in consideration of the 
important example which they had set of submis- 
sion. Only three officers came imder the first class, 
eighteen only under the latter; a general amnesty 
tranquillised the rest. The order wound up with 
expressions of affectionate solicitude for the charac- 
ter and welfare of the Coast army, which sunk deep 
into minds that had so long been used to the lan- 
guage of unbending sternness and unqualified re- 
proof, and which now laboured under the humiliat- 
ing consciousness that personal resentment, how- 
ever provoked, was no excuse for a dereliction of 
the first principles of military duty, — obedience to 
constituted authority, and allegiance to the state. 

Shortly after the promulgation of this order, the 
trials commenced. Lieutenant-Colonel John Bell, 
the commandant of the garrison of Seringapatam, 
was charged with joining in, and with heading, the 
mutiny of the troops. The defence set up was, that 
he had consented to take the command only to pre- 
vent excesses ; that he exercised no real authority in 
the fort ; that he had signed the test without hesi- 


BOOK I. tation himself, and that it was through his influence 
^"'^''' ^' the officers also finally signed it, and that the gar- 
1809. rison finally surrendered the fort in a peaceable 
manner. He was pronounced guilty, and sen- 
tenced to be cashiered. A like charge and sentence 
characterised the trial of Major Storey, who had 
consented to hold the command at Masulipatam, 
upon the arrest, by his brother-oflScers, of Colonel 
Innes, their common superior. A similar defence 
was offered, and the prisoner was recommended to 
the mercy of the Commander-in-chief. In both 
cases the sentences were held to be too lenient, and 
were sent back for revision ; but they were adhered 
to by the courts, and eventually confirmed. Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Doveton was charged with having 
moved his detachment from Jalna with a mutinous 
and seditious design against the Government of 
Madras. The defence was the same. Colonel 
Doveton, it was affirmed, had only ostensibly parti- 
cipated in a movement which he could not hinder, 
with a view so to controul it as to render it inoflfen- 
sive: he also produced a private letter from the 
Resident at Hyderabad, sanctioning his accompany- 
ing the troops, if he could not prevent their march. 
He was consequently fully and honourably ac- 
quitted. This sentence also was disapproved of by 
the Commander of the forces, but was confirmed 
by the court. Colonel Doveton was nevertheless 
suspended by the Governor-General from the service 
pending a reference to the pleasure of the Court of 
Directors. Of the second class of officers, two, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Munro and Major Kenny, stood 
a trial, and were cashiered : the rest accepted the 


alternative of dismissal.^ Until the termination of book i. 
the trials, Lord Minto continued at the Presidency ^"^^' ^' 
of Madras ; and when he quitted it, early in 1810, i809. 
his authority was in some measure replaced by the 
presence of General Hewett, the Commander-in- 
chief of the Bengal army, who assumed the com- 
mand of the army of Madras. At the end of 1810, 
General Sir Samuel Auchmuty relieved General 
Hewett from his duty, and, with the command of 
the army, took his place as member of Council ; 
the Court of Directors having learnt too late from 
the recent dissensions how essential was the posses- 
sion of a dignity, so vainly coveted by General Mac- 
dowall, to the cordial co-operation of their chief 
civil and military functionaries. 

Thus terminated a struggle which at one period 
was thought to threaten the constitution of the 
Madras Presidency, and endanger the existence of 
the British empire in India. The danger, though 
not visionary, was perhaps exaggerated. The quar- 
rel was less between public bodies than between 
individuals ; and the army readily yielded to Lord 
Minto the allegiance which it had withheld from, 
and ultimately conceded with an ill grace to, Sir 
George Barlow. However unreasonable the aver- 
sion thus cherished, and however indefensible the 
extremities to which it hurried unthinking men, 
it cannot be affirmed that the feelings so widely 
spread were wholly without extenuation, or that 
the measures and character of the Governor were 

» Report of Uie Trials; Pari. Papers, Ist April, 1811, No. vii. Letter 
from Lord Minto to the Secret Committee, 15th April, 1830 ; ibid. No. ix. 
p. S53. 


BOOK I. not calculated to provoke, although not to justify, 
'"^'- ""' disobedience. The Indian Governments of Sir 

1809. George Barlow's day were wholly unaccustomed to 
have their proceedings canvassed or their wisdom 
impugned, and they were intolerant of opposition. 
This had been particularly the case in Bengal, where 
the imperious rule of Lord Wellesley, relieved by 
the brilliant results of his public policy, had been 
long accustomed to demand and receive prompt 
and unquestioning submission. Brought up in his 
school, it is not to be wondered at that Sir George 
Barlow carried with him to Madras the same ex- 
alted notions of the authority entrusted to him ; 
and when, from the concurrent causes which have 
been adverted to, he found, both in the civil and 
military branches of his government, contravention 
and resistance, he not unnaturally referred them to 
unworthy motives, and stigmatised them as personal 
and factious. That much of the opposition which 
he encoimtered was personal was undoubtedly true; 
but it was not at first personal in a sense relating 
to him, so much as to the individuals themselves, 
advocating their own interests, and smarting under 
mistaken, perhaps, but not the less bitter, feelings 
of injury and injustice. These feelings might have 
been soothed, and their mischievous consequences 
prevented, by kindly consideration and temperate 
forbearance. General Macdowall had no. right to 
complain of the Government of Madras for his ex- 
clusion from the Council ; that was the act of the 
Court of Directors: but he had reason to feel ag- 
grieved when Government gave that exclusion prac- 
tical effect, constructing the plan of a campaign 


without consulting him ; or consulting him tardily book i. 
and reservedly, and encroaching upon his preten- ^^^^' ^' 
sions to military patronage. Had he been treated I809. 
with the same deference as if he had filled a seat 
at the council-board, all cause of offence would pos- 
sibly have been removed ; for, although warm and 
precipitate, his temper does not appear to have 
been unsusceptible of conciliation. When the sea- 
son of friendly intercourse had passed, and General 
Macdowall had placed himself in the wrong by his 
unjustifiable violence in the case of Colonel Munro, 
the cancelling of the arrest was so necessary and so 
sufficient a vindication of the authority of the Go- 
vernment, that it must have ensured, after the first 
heats were allayed, the concurrence of the whole 
army. The annulment of the General's parting 
order was also a measure the propriety of which 
would have been little questioned, although the lan- 
guage of the order was undignified and intemperate. 
But the measures that ensued bore a different cha- 
racter, and were hasty and imprudent, and in some 
respects unjast. The suspension of the officers of the 
Adjutant-General^s department for obeying the com- 
mands of their military superior; the condemnation of 
officers without charge or trial, upon private inform- 
ation ; and their severe punishment for an unperpe- 
trated offence — the intended transmission of a me- 
morial which was never sent ; all originated in that 
spirit of official despotism which conceived that its 
own judgment superseded all need of hesitation, all 
occasion for inquiry or trial. That Sir George Bar- 
low conscientiously considered the station in which 
he was placed to be endowed with such prerogatives ; 


BOOK I. that it was the dignity, not so much of his own per- 
^^|[]^2JL son or power, as of that of the office of Governor in 
1809. Council of Fort St. George, may be granted : but 
the removal of Major Boles was regarded even by the 
Government of Bengal and the Court of Directors as 
unjust ; and no less so were the orders of the Ist of 
May, which pronounced sentence upon meritorioiM 
officers for an uncommitted crime, upon private in- 
telligence and without a trial. That they were most 
impolitic was proved by the irritation which they 
excited ; and which, from a smouldering fire that 
might have burnt itself out among its own ashes, 
was thus fanned into a fierce and formidable flame. 
In the subsequent transactions, although the army 
was most deeply to blame, yet the Government was 
not exempt from fault. The stem unfeeling tone 
of its general orders, and the absence of all attempts 
at explanation or conciliation, were preserved in 
stoical consistency to the last ; until the Government 
of Bengal introduced a new style, and did not dis- 
dain to blend the language of affectionate and pa^ 
temal solicitude with the assertion of authority; 
and until, which was still more important, it con- 
descended to lay aside the sword of justice, and 
send the accused to those tribunals to which they 
acknowledged themselves to be amenable. That 
a profound sense of public duty was the chief 
moving principle of Sir George Barlow's conduct 
it is impossible to doubt, but he trusted too exclu- 
sively to one only method of discharging that duty, 
— the exercise of absolute power. 

Although anticipating the course of events, yet, 
in order to dispose finally of an unpleasant subject, 


it will be advisable to advert in this place to the book i. 
proceedings in England, to which the transactions ^^^^' ^' 
at Madras gave rise. The public was speedily inun- I809. 
dated by the statements of the opposite parties ;^ 
but the interest excited was inconsiderable, as atten- 
tion was absorbed by the great interests of European 
politics. Several motions for papers were made in 
the House of Commons, and the documents were 
printed; but no ulterior proceedings were based 
upon them. It was rather different at the India 
House. The Court of Directors at first upheld the 
measures of the Government of Madras, and still 
more cordially approved of those of the Governor- 
General; but when the alarm had subsided, and 
the transactions were more calmly considered, a 
serious difference of opinion respecting the merits 
of Sir G. Barlow, urged with no little warmth and 
acerbity, divided the Court. The first struggle took 
place upon the appointment of the new Commander- 
in-chief to a seat in Council, which involved the 
question of displacing one of the actual members. 
After several days of debate, on one of which the 
Court was so equally divided, that, agreeably to law, 
the Treasurer determined the question by lot, Mr. 
Petrie, who had been opposed on many important 
matters to Sir George Barlow, was removed. The 

' In addition to the publications of Mr. Marsh, a gentleman of the legal 
profession, who, while at Madras, had been generally the adviser and 
advocate of Sir George Barlow^s opponents, and of Colonel Malcolm, with 
the observations and replies which they produced, the principal authorities 
on either side are the following : 1. A View of the Policy of Sir George 
Barlow ; in a series of Letters by Indus, 1810. 2. Letter from an Officer at 
Madras. 3. An Accurate and Authentic Narrative of the Dissensions at 
Madras. 4. Narrative of the late Trials, 6cc. 6. Account of the Dis- 
contents of the Madras Army. The two principal Reviews, also, took 
different sides of the question. 


BOOK I. dissents of those members of the Court who disap^ 
^"'^''' ^' proved of the decision, and the reply of those who 
1809. supported it, took a review of the whole of the 
transactions, and with equal ability and earnestness 
commended or condemned the policy of Sir George 
Barlow/ Similar discussions attended the appeals 
made by the dismissed or suspended officers ; and at 
different dates their dismission was both confinned 
and cancelled. Tlie milder counsels at last prevailed, 
and all who had been suspended or dismissed were 
pardoned and restored to the service.^ In July, 
1811, a motion w^as made for the recall of Sir 
George Barlow, but it was defeated under strong 
protests from some of the Court.' The same motion 
was renewed and carried at the end of the following 
year, and w^as equally the subject of a protest by 
those members of the Court who had uniformly sup- 
ported his measures and vindicated his reputation.* 

^ The proceedings and the dissents of Messrs. Bannerman, Baring, Inglis, 
Hiiddlestone, Elphinstone, and Patterson, with the reply of Messrs. Grant 
and Astell, are printed in the Pari. Papers, 1811, No. iv. 

' Most of the suspended officers were restored in 181 1 ; those cashiered 
or dismissed, at subsequent dates. 

' The dissents of Messrs. Parry, Smith, Astell, Bebb, and Grant were 
published by Sir Robert Barlow, the brother of Sir George. Murray, 1813. 

^ Little occasion now exists, perhaps, for an appeal to authority to deter- 
mine the character of the proceedings of the Madras army ; but there is very 
high military authority on the subject, that of the Duke of Wellington, 
who, amid the anxieties of his position in Spain at the end of 1809, felt a 
warm interest in the troops whom he had so often led to victory. The fol- 
lowing passages occur in a letter, dated Badajoz, 3rd December, 1809, 
addressed to Colonel Malcolm. 

*' You cannot conceive how much I have felt for what has passed on the 
Madras Establishment. I scarcely recognise in those transactions the men 
for whom I entertained so much respect, and had so much regard, a few 
years back ; and I can only lament that they, and the army, and the affairs 
of that Presidency in general, have been so much mismanaged. These 
transactions, and their causes, prove that it is not always the man who has 
the character of being the best natured, and one of the easiest disposition, 
who will agree best with those placed in authority over him, or those with 
whom he is to co-operate. They owe their origin to the disputes of the 



persons in authority in India, that is to say, between the GoTernor and the BOOK I. 
Commander-in-chief. Both, but principally the latter, looked for parti- chap. v. 
zans and supporters ; and these have ended by throwing off all subordina- _^..^__ 
tion^ by relinquishing all habits of obedience, and almost by open resist- j^qq 
ance. Nothing can be more absurd than the pretext for this conduct. 

'' Colonel Munro*s opinion might be erroneous, and might have been 
harsh towards his brother-officers ; but not only he ought not to have been 
brought to a court-martial for giving that opinion, but he ought to have been 
brought to a court-martial if he had refrained from giving it, when he was 
called upon by the Commander-in-chief to make him a report on a subject 
referred to his official consideration. The officers of the army are equally 
wroDg in the part they have taken in the subsequent part of the question, 
which is one between the Governor and the Commander-in-chief, whether 
the former had a right to protect Colonel Munro from the acts of the latter, 
upon which question no man can have a doubt who has any knowledge of 
the constitution of Great Britain, and particularly of that of the Indian 
Governments. I, who have arrived pretty nearly at the top of the tree, 
should be the last man to give up any point of military right or etiquette. 
But I have no doubt whatever, not only that it was the right, but that it 
was the duty, of the Governor in Council to interfere to save Colonel Munro ; 
and that if he had not done so, and the public had sustained any loss or in- 
convenience from his trial, or if the public attention had been drawn to the 
injustice of his trial, the Governor would have been severely responsible for 
the omission to perform his duty. 

'^ So far for my opinion upon the main points of the question. As for the 
others, the conduct of officers upon the addresses, the orders issued, the re- 
solutions entered into, the resignations of their offices, &c. &c., they are con- 
sequences of the first error ; that is, of persons in authority making partizans 
of those placed under tliem, instead of making all obey the constituted au- 
thorities of the state. This conduct in the officers of the army would have 
been wrong, even if the cause had been just, and the Commander-in-chief 
had wished to screen Colonel Munro from the persecution of the Govern- 
ment ; and it is really not worth while to take up my time in describing, 
or yours in perusing, a description of the folly, the inconsistency, or the 
breaches of discipline and subordination contained in all those documents. 
I have so much regard for the Madras army, to which I owe much, that I 
would sacrifice a great deal to have it in my power to restore them to that 
state of discipline, union, and respectability in which I left them in the year 
1805 ; and I assure you that I shall rejoice most sincerely when I shall hear 
that their good sense and good temper have predominated over their feelings 
of party and their prejudices.*' — Dispatches of the Duke of Wellington ; 
Supplementary volume to tlie three first Parts, p. 231. 



Foreign Policy of Lord Mintd's Administration. — /«- 
vasion of Berar by Amir Khan^ — a force sent to the 
aid of tJie Raja. — A mir KharCs defeat by the Berar 
•troops, — retires before the British. — Disputes between 
the Peshwa and the Southern Jagirdars. — Compul- 
sory adjustment. — Suppression of Piracy by the 
States of Warn and Kolapur. — Expedition against 
the Pirates of tJie Persian Gvlph. — Joasmis^ — their 
fefi^odty. — Destruction of Ra^-aL-Kliaima and other 
Pirate stations. — Expedition to Macao. — Opera- 
tions against the French and Dutch colonies in the 
Indian Seas. — Successful depredations of the Fretich 
cruizers. — Expedition against RodrigueZj — its occu- 
pation. — Descent upon Bourbon. — Garrison of Bo- 
driguez reinforced. — Second descent upon Bourbony 
and capture. — Naval Transactions at tlie Isle of 
France. — French frigates in the harbour of Grand 
Port attacked by the English squadron. — Destruc- 
tion of the English vessels. — Naval actions off' the 
Islands between the blockading ships and tJie French 
frigates. — Arrival of the Armaments from Bengal 
and Madras. — Landing of the forces in Grande 
Baye^ — march to Port Louis, — capitidation with the 
French Governor. — Blockade of the Dutch Islands. 
— Expedition against the Moluccas. — Capture of 
A mboyna^ — of Banda^ — and of Teimate. — Expedi- 
tion against Java^ — accompanied by L&rd Minto. — 
Difficulties of the voyage — overcome. — Former ope- 
rations. — Destruction of Dutch vessels at Gresik. — 


Measures of General Daendels and of his successor^ 
General Jansens. — Arrival of the fleet in the Roads 
of Batavia^ — landing of the troops. — Occupaiion of 
Batavia. — Advance to WeUevreeden. — Strength of 
Fort Comelis. — Assault. — Ma/rch of Colonel Grilles^ 
pie's columny — surprise of the outworky — defences 
forcedy — ejpplosion of a redoubt^ — the fort taken^ — 
the pursuit and dispersion of the Enemy. — Churbon 
and Madura occupied. — Final defeat of General 
Jansens. — Surrender of Java and its dependencies. 
— Mr. Raffles appointed Governor. — Colonel GiUes- 
pie Commander of the Forces. — Capture of Yodh- 
ydkarta. — Expedition against Palembang. — Sultan 
deposed. — Views of the Court of Directors. — Bene- 
ficial results of the British Administration in Java. 

No events of any great political importance took book i. 
place on the continent of India, the occnrrence of 


which was likely to aggravate the anxiety expe- 1809. 
rienced by the British Government from the dissen- 
sions that prevailed at Madras ; but, during the same 
period, various occasions of minor moment had arisen 
for the exercise of its interference and the mani- 
festation of its power. Of this character were the 
proceedings consequent upon the conduct of Amir 
Khan, of whom mention has been made in our pre- 
ceding pages, and who provoked at this time the 
hostility of the Government of Bengal. Left with- 
out controul by the insanity of Holkar, and keeping 
together a numerous body of troops, for the pay- 
ment of which he possessed no means of his own. 
Amir Khan, after exhausting the resources of the 
Rajput princes, was compelled to look abroad for 


BOOK I. plunder, and enlarge the field of his depredations, 
^"^''' ^^ The Raja of Berar was selected as the victim of his 
1809. necessities. 

In the commencement of his political career Jes- 
want Rao Holkar had been detained for some time 
as a prisoner at Nagpore, and, according to his own 
assertions, was pillaged by the Raja of jewels of 
very great value. Amir Khan now demanded, in 
the name of Holkar, the restitution of the jewels^ 
or their price; and, as the demand was not com- 
plied with, he moved, in January 1809, to the fron- 
tiers of Berar with all his force, swelled to a large 
amount by the accession of the predatory or Pindari 
bands,* who had long spread terror through the 
dominions of the Bhonsla Raja by their daring and 
devastating incursions. No serious opposition was 
offered to Amir Khan's advance: he crossed the 
Nerbudda and proceeded to Jubbulpore, a consider- 
able city of Berar, of which and of the surrounding 
country he took possession. 

Althougli not bound by the terms of the existing 
treaty to give military aid to the Raja of Nagpore 
against his enemies, yet the aggression of Amir 
Khan was considered by the Bengal Government 
to demand its vigorous interposition. There were 
grounds for suspecting that his movements were not 
unconnected with the discontent of the Subahdar of 
Hyderabad ; and although the assertions of his en- 
voys at Nagpore, that their master had been induced 

* MS. Records. Amir Khan mentions the manner in which Holkar be- 
came possessed of these jewels ; but states that they were sold, and the pro- 
duce was expended in raising troops, when he was seized by the Bhonsla 
Raja. — Life, p. 91. 

' He states his force at 40,000 horse and 24,000 Pindaris. 


to invade the country by the invitation of the book i. 
Nizam, who had offered to defray the cost of a still 


more formidable armament, might not be deserving 1809. 
of implicit credit, yet the known sjrmpathies of the 
parties rendered such a league between them far 
from improbable. The interests of the British 
power were therefore implicated with those of the 
Raja of Berar. " The question was not," as Lord 
Minto observed, " whether it was just and expe- 
dient to aid the Raja in the defence and recovery 
of his dominions, although in point of policy the 
essential change in the political state of India which 
would be occasioned by. the extinction of one of 
the substantive powers of the Dekhin might war- 
rant and require our interference ; but whether an 
enterprising and ambitious Musselman chief, at the 
head of a numerous army irresistible by any power 
except that of the Company, should be permitted to 
establish his authority on the ruins of the Raja's 
dominions, over territories contiguous to those of 
the Nizam, with whom community of religion, com- 
bined with local power and resources, might lead 
to the formation of projects probably not uncon- 
genial to the mind of the Nizam himself, and cer- 
tainly consistent with the views and hopes of a 
powerful party in his court, for the subversion of 
the British alliance. Of such a question there 
could be but one solution;"^ this was, the deter- 
mination to defend the Raja of Nagpore : and Co- 
lonel Close was ordered to march with a competent 
division to expel Amir Khan from the Berar terri- 

* Minute of Governor-General, Oct. 1809; Malcolm's Political History, 
i. 402. 

VOL. T. X 


BOOK I. toiy. As the objects of the expedition were in 
^^^' ^ essential degree British, the assistance was wholly 
1809. gratuitous, no compensation being demanded from 
the Raja. Amir Khan protested vehemently against 
the interposition ; and appealed with unanswerable 
justice, although with no avail, to the stipulations 
of the existing treaty with Holkar, on whose behalf 
he pretended to act, which engaged that the British 
Grovemment would not in any manner whatever in- 
terfere in his affairs : and, in a letter addressed by 
him to Colonel Close, he argued that the conduct 
of the Government was a manifest infraction of the 
treaty, and a breach of the solemn promises made 
to Jeswant Rao, that it would not meddle with 
his claims upon the Raja of Berar, nor oppose his 
exaction of contributions from any princes not in 
alliance with it. These representations were no 
longer likely to be of any weight. It was not at 
present a matter of deliberation whether a helpless 
Raja of Jaypur should be abandoned to the grasp of 
the spoiler, rather than a passing inconvenience 
should be encountered ; but whether the desertion 
of a friendly power might not involve an injury to 
British interests, and a still greater injury to British 

An army was accordingly assembled towards the 
end of 1809 on the eastern frontier of Berar, com- 
posed chiefly of the subsidiary troops from Jalna 
and Hyderabad ; and another, of sufficient strength 
not only to protect the province from danger, but 
to undertake offensive operations if necessary, was 
collected in Bundelkhand. Before either force, 
however, could be fully formed and brought into 


ac^tion, the invader had been checked by the un- book i. 
aided troops of Nagpore. Whilfet yet halting at J^^^ 
Jubbulpore, Amir Khan was threatened by the ap- i809. 
proach of a considerable force, under Sadik Ali 
Khan, to Srinagar, within twenty miles of his en- 
campment. Placing more confidence in intrigue 
than in arms, the Nagpore general entered into a 
negociation with Amir Khan, and engaged to pay 
him thirteen lakhs of rupees as the price of his 
retreat. The Raja, emboldened by the promised 
support of the British Government, refused to ra- 
tify the disgraceftil bargain, and commanded Sadik 
Ali forcibly to compel Amir Khan's departure. And 
at the same time a letter was delivered to that chief 
from the Governor-General, announcing his purpose 
of dispatching an army against him unless he im- 
mediately quitted Berar. Although not disposed 
to relinquish his prey without a struggle, yet Amir 
Khan found himself unable to contend with the Berar 
force brought against him. The Pindaris, who had 
been dismissed for the rainy season, had not re- 
joined ; and part of his troops had been sent to the 
rear, under the impression that a pacific arrange- 
ment was about to be made. Hostages had been 
given him as a security for the payment of the sti- 
pulated contribution ; and it was so confidently be- 
lieved by several of his principal captains that part 
of the money also had been paid, that they insisted 
upon their shares, and refused to fight unless they 
obtained a portion of the spoil. Weakened by 
their defection and the reduction of his force, Amir 
Khan attempted to retreat to Bhopal. He was 
pursued by Sadik Ali, and overtaken, on the 17th 



BOOK I. of November, in a disadvantageous position at 
^^^^' ^' Jabra Ghat, when an engagement of several hours* 
1809. duration took place ; in which, after the loss of se- 
veral of his best officers, and exposure to imminent 
personal peril, Amir Khan was completely defeated. 
He effected, however, his escape to Bhopal. 

Being joined by Vizir Mohammed, and rein- 
forced by the Pindaris, Amir Khan was soon in a 
condition to resume the offensive : he accordingly 
marched against Sadik AH, who had fallen back to 
the strong post of Chouragerh, one stage to the 
south-west of Jubbulpore. The Berar troops were 
drawn up, with the fort of Chouragerh in their rear 
and a rivulet in their front, the approach to which 
was rendered difficult by deep ravines and much 
thorny jungle. Disregarding the advice of Vizir 
Mohammed to turn the position. Amir IGian at- 
tacked the enemy in front. Their line was defended 
by a numerous artillery, the fire of which told 
heavily upon the assailants as they slowly toiled 
to make good their way over the rough and broken 
ground. After suffering severely from this cause. 
Amir Khan was compelled to desist from the attack, 
and to retire once more into the friendly terri- 
tory of Bhopal. Sadik Ali refrained from follow- 
ing up his advantage, being probably little desirous 
of its prosecution.* Tliis was of no consequence, as 
the contest was virtually at an end. Foes more for- 

' Memoirs of Amir Khan, p. 368. According to his own showing, he 
retamed to Chouragerh after his second defeat ; and so closely blockaded 
the Hyderabad force in its entrenchments tliere, ** that the enemy could not 
breathe or scratch his head :** at the same time the Pindaris scoured the 
country in all directions. The descriptions of the different actions are 
animated, and, with some allowance for Amir Khan*8 personal exploits and 
perils, are in the main apparently accurate. 


midable were now approaching the scene of action ; book i. 
Colonel Close had arrived at Amrawati on the 1st of ^"^^' ^'^ 
December, and Colonel Martindell had moved to laio. 
the confines of Bundelkhand : the former crossed the 
Nerbudda early in January. Well aware of his ina- 
bility to cope with such enemies, Amir Khan divided 
his army, and, sending off his main body by a differ- 
ent route, marched from Bhopal to Bhilsa and Se- 
ronj. He was followed to the latter town by Colonel 
Close, but to no purpose. Pretending that his pre- 
sence was urgently required by Tulasi Bai, Amir 
Khan abandoned his troops and set off hastily for 
Indore. All danger of a further invasion of Berar 
had therefore evidently ceased; and although for a 
season it was in contemplation to continue military 
operations until the complete destruction of Amir 
Khan's power should have been effected, yet the pro- 
bability that the prosecution of this policy might 
lead to a protracted and expensive series of hostili- 
ties induced the Governor-General to depart from 
his original design, and content himself with the ac- 
complishment of the main object of the armament. 
The troops were therefore recalled to their several 
stations in the Company's territories or those of their 
allies;^ the campaign having served to display the 
power and the spirit of the Government, and the 
necessity of its interference for the preservation of a 
state, once held to be of primary consideration in 

* Colonel Close was invested with a discretionary power of acting upon 
his first instnictions, but he was not disposed to take upon himself a re- 
sponsibility from which the Governor-General shrank. The Court of Di- 
rectors were *' not satisfied with the expediency of abstaining from dis- 
abling any power, against whom we may have been compelled to take up 
arms, from renewing its aggressions/^ — Letter from Secret Committee; 
Malcolm, Pol. Hist. i. 405. 


BOOK I. the political scale of Indian potentates, against the 
^|^^^[J^ attacks of a mere soldier of fortune and his pre- 
1810. datory cohorts. 

The state of affairs at Poena demanded also about 
the same period the demonstration of the military 
power of the British Government. A spirit of reci- 
procal aversion had long subsisted between the 
Peshwa Baji Rao and the members of the Putwiir- 
dun family, who held extensive Jagirs in the south- 
ern portion of the Mahratta country on the frontiers 
of Mysore. These Jagirdars were the sons or rela- 
tives of Parushram Bhao, the distinguished officer 
who commanded the Mahratta army in the first war 
with Tippoo ; and who, as the friend and colleague 
of Nana Furnavese, had borne a leading part in the 
expulsion of Baji Rao's father, Raghimath Rao, from 
the Peshwaship, and had been an active agent in 
a plot for the exclusion of Baji Rao himself from 
the succession.* A reconciliation had been effected, 
but little cordiality had been restored; and, after 
the death of Parushram, his descendants, engaged in 
constant and destructive hostilities with their neigh- 
bours, ascribed their sufferings to the continued 
animosity and intrigues of the Peshwa.^ On the ad- 
vance of the British army to reinstate Baji Rao, the 

1 In 1796; Grant Duff's Mahratta History, iu. 134. 

* ** Since 1800, when I was in tliis countr>' before, it has been one con- 
tinued contest for power and plunder between the different chiefs who have 
armies under their command : between the Putwurdun family and Gokla 
in the countries bordering on the Toombuddra, the Werda, and Malpoorba; 
between the Putwurduns and the Raja of Kolapore in those bordering oo 
the Gutpurba and the Kishna/' — Wellington Dispatches, i. 124. At thia 
time, the beginning of 1803, the heads of the family were three brothers, 
sons of Parushram, Appa Saheb, Baba Saheb, and Dada Saheb, and their 
cousin, Chintaman Rao ; each of whom commanded a force of al>out seven 
thousand horse and foot, with some guns. — Ibid. i. 93. 


' elder brother Apa Saheb was induced, by his regard book i. 
for General Wellesley, to accompany him to Poena, ^^^^' ^ 
and to contribute to the Peshwa's re-establishment/ isio. 
A seeming renewal of friendly intercourse was in 
consequence effected under Sir Arthur Wellesle/s 
mediation, but the reconciliation was as insincere as 
before. It was not in the nature of Baji Rao to 
forgive an injury, and the Putwurduns were too 
well acquainted with his character to place any faith 
in his professions. They accordingly remained neu- 
tral in the following war, declining to send their 
contingents upon the Peshwa's requisition ; but their 
neutrality was considered by General Wellesley to 
have been an important object for the Company's 
possessions, and to have been capable of extenu- 
ation by natural and excusable sentiments of na- 
tionality. Tliis omission was made one ground 
of an application from the Peshwa after the war 
for the assistance of the British troops to dispos- 
sess the Putwurduns, and transfer their lands to 
one of his own officers, Bapooji Gokla; but Sir 
Arthur Wellesley firmly opposed the application, 
not only on account of the claims of the family 
to the regard of the British Government for the 
many proofs of attachment which they had ex- 
hibited, but on account of its manifest impolicy 
and injustice.^ In conformity to his sugges- 
tions, the principles to be followed in adjusting 
the differences between the Putwurduns and the 
Peshwa were, to interfere in a certain degree, to 

• Wellington Dispatches, i. 145, 173, 174. 

' See the conference with Bapooji Gokla ; Wellington Dispatches, ii. 
121 : and afterwards with the Peshwa*s ministers, on the Ist March, 1804 ; 
ii. 140. 


BOOK I. ascertain the extent of the service to which the 
^|[^^[_^ Peshwa was entitled from the southern Jagirdars, 

1810. to oblige them to afford it ; and, on the other hand, 
to protect them from the oppression of the Peshwa's 
government, and to guarantee to them their pos- 
sessions as long as they should continue to serve 
the Peshwa with fidelity/ Both parties were inte- 
rested in preventing the practical adoption of these 
principles, and the final adjustment of the differ- 
ences between them was long delayed. 

1811. The interposition of the British Government had 
at once been effectual in arresting the attempts of 
the Peshwa to crush the Jagirdars : the subsidiary 
force afforded his only hope of accomplishing his 
purpose; and, its employment as the mere instru- 
ment of his revenge being prohibited, his power was 
paralyzed. It was not so easy to bring the Jagirdars 
to reason; especially as they were required to sur- 
render certain lands which were not comprised in 
their original grants, and to which they were not 
legally entitled. Their obstinacy was only over- 
come by the movement of the subsidiary force to 
the Krishna; when, finding that the British Govern- 

1812. ment was determined to uphold the rightful claims 
of the Peshwa, the chiefs consented to meet the 
Resident and Baji Rao at Punderpur, and attended 
them to Poona, where everything was definitively 
settled. The result was less satisfactory to Baji 
Rao than to the Putwurduns, as he had long hesi- 
tated to accede to any proposition which did not 
comprehend the entire resumption of their Jagirs, 

' Wellington Dispatches, ii. 149. 


and the annihilation of a powerful and obnoxious book i. 

/• Ml CHAP. VI. 


The presence of the troops in the field afforded I812. 
a favourable occasion for the suppression of the 
piratical practices of the two petty Mahratta states, 
Wari and Kolapur, both possessing ports on the 
coast of the Concan, from which their vessels were 
accustomed to commit depredations on native com- 
merce. Their lawless proceedings had been imper- 
fectly repressed by the occasional presence of one 
of the Company's ships of war ; but it was now re- 
solved to put an end to the system, by depriving 
their rulers of the harbours which gave shelter to 
the pirates. The approach of the British troops soon 
awed them, however turbulently disposed, to sub- 
mission ; and the Desai of Wari was compelled to 
cede the fort of Vingorla, with its port and limits; 
while the harbour of Malwan, which included the 
forts and island of Sevemdroog and its dependencies, 
was given up by the Raja of Kolapur. Both states 
were bound to renounce piracy, and to permit no 
armed vessels to issue from their ports.* 

It had been found necessary at a previous period I809. 
to undertake operations for the suppression of piracy 
of a more formidable description, and in the year 
1809 an armament was dispatched from the western 
side of India to the Persian Gulph. Oman, the 
south-eastern province of Arabia, forms a triangle, 
the base of which borders upon the deserts ; whilst 
one arm extends along the Indian ocean to Cape 

' Malcolm's Political History of India, i. 396. 

^ (irajit Duff's Mahratta History, iii. 350: also Treaties with the Rajas 
of Kolapore and Sawaat Warce; Collection of Treaties, 27th May, 1818. 

14 msTtmr of nmrraR dkxska. 

j^^fjt r yfwf^ifudffnL, abd k loet at ibai put iw- the ochn; 

}H^ }fj^ w(:\l-4i^ffr^A and f.'imiKrrrt^ pe<if4e. 
iiiliftMuuit^ of t}>e latter or we^ceni ^Iwjie, dinly 
^"^XffTtr^l frf*m Cafie Ma^endom tltrooeb a 
of hf^rW fff*iT bimdred mile;?., baii. fropiii a 
l^fri'ptL Uren ^i notorious for piracie&l babits a» te 
fiave Mr^mr^ for tbeir territorr the deDomimtioii of 
tb'r Pintte coa^t. Amon^ the<e tribe^ the Josanii 
wf-n? di-tirj^ii?he<J bv their audacity and craeitr. 
TTj^'V }ia/] n.'iX'iitlv embnuxfd the reformadon whicb 
A (i'l'ijl-vialiab had <*^iine vear^ before introduced into 
Mo}iar/ime«lani*»n], aud uuited to the fierceness of 
their lawle<9?9 tra^le the ferocitv of fonatician. Pro- 
Uii^iou of the faith of I>lam, or instant death, was 
the fate of tlieir captivcjs. Their vessels, known as 
fUuf^ or bu^las varving from one hundred and fiftj 
Ui three hundred and fifty tons' burthen, and canr- 
lug from one liundred and fifty to tiro hundred men, 
were elumnly built, with a single mast, and monnted 
but a few giULS. Singly, they were little formidable; 
but they uf*ually sailed together in small fleets, from 
whii'h a merchant-vessel was rarelv able to extricate 


herw'If. For a considerable period they refrained 
from molc*sting English shij>s. The Company's armed 
virhMfls wr-re instructed to exercise similar forbear- 
ance, and to confine themselves to repelling aggres- 
Hjon. KmlKildened by this policy, and impelled by 
their religious ardour, the Joasmis departed from 
the caution tliey had liitherto preserved, and no 
longer paid any respect to the British flag. In 
1808 the Sylph, a small ship of only one hundred 


tons, having on board the native Persian secretary book l 
of Sir Harford Jones, was attacked and captured in ^"^^' 

sight of the Nereide frigate ; by which she was re- 1809. 
taken, and the pirate vessels were sunk. In the 
next year the Minerva, a large merchant-ship, fell in 
with a fleet of daos, and, after a running fight of two 
days, was carried by boarding. The resistance and 
loss they had suflTered had so exasperated the pirates, 
that every male Christian on board was murdered. 
It was no longer possible to permit the perpetration 
of such outrages, and it was determined to seek 
the Joasmis in their chief port, Ras-al-Khaima, 
inflict upon them a deserved punishment for their 
past crimes, and impair, if not annihilate, the means 
of future mischief.^ 

The expedition consisted of two of his Majesty's 
frigates, the ChiflTonne and Clorinde, and six of the 
Company's armed vessels, in which nine hundred 
European soldiers and five hundred Sipahis were 
embarked. The flotilla was commanded by Captain 
Wainwright of the Chiftbnne ; the land division by 
Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, of his Majesty's 65th. 
The armament left Bombay on the 4th September. 
Off* Cape Musendom it fell in with a fleet of twenty- 
seven daos : one was sunk, the others were dispersed. 
The force then proceeded to Muscat, the Imam of 
which, equally hostile to the Joasmis as pirates and 

* Account of the Wahabis, by Sir Harford Jones, p. 211 ; Travels in 
Arabia, by Lieutenant Wellsted of the Indian navy, i. 243. Both mention 
that the prisoners, not Mohammedans, were brought singly to the gangway, 
where one of the pirates cut their Uiroats, with the exclamation, Allah 
Akbar ! God is great! According to Lieutenant Wellsted, the name, 
properly Johasmis, was derived from Johasm, a Mohammedan saint, who 
had pitched his tent on the promontory where their chief port was built, 
hence called Ras-al:Khaiina, the Cape of Tents, i. 256. 


BOOK I. as Wahabis, gave prompt assistance to the objects of 
.^^l^ll^ the expedition. The squadron arrived off Ras-al- 
1809. Khaima on the 12th of November. Notwithstand- 
ing its designation of Ras or head-land, the town 
was found to be situated on a low sandy peninsula, 
nearly a mile in length. The neck of the isthmuig 
was defended by a wall, and the sea-face by batteries 
and entrenchments. It was also secure from the 
near approach of vessels of war by the shallowness 
of the water. 

In consequence of this difficulty the bombardment 
of the town was impracticable, and it was determined 
to carry it by assault. By a skilful disposition the 
landing of the troops on the neck of the isthmus 
was effected at daybreak on the 13th of November; 
and, in spite of a vigorous resistance, the wall was 
escaladed. Guns were then brought up, and, under 
the cover of their fire, the troops penetrated into the 
town. All the principal houses, as usual in Asiatic 
cities, were flat-roofed; and from their roofs, and 
loop-holes in their walls, a murderous fire of match- 
locks checked for a while the progress of the assail-* 
ants. Their perseverance, however, triumphed : the 
town was abandoned by its surviving defenders, and 
by two o'clock Ras-al-Khaima was in the possession 
of the British. Although the place was filled with 
valuable merchandize, the spoil of piratical expedi- 
tions, no plunder was permitted : the dwellings and 
magazines were set on fire, and the whole was con- 
sumed, together with forty-eight large daos and a 
number of smaller vessels. Several towns of in- 
ferior note along the pirate coast shared the same 
fortune. Some escaped it by the sacrifice of their 


boats, but in general the Arabs exhibited striking book i. 
proofs of their national spirit. At the attack of the *^"^^' ^'' 
castle of Shinas, in particular, the most determined I809. 
resistance was encountered. After a breach had 
been made, and the place was carried, the garrison 
retiring into two of the towers refused to surrender. 
Offers of quarter were made repeatedly to them in 
vain. They maintained an unceasing fire upon their 
enemies, and tossed back with the most deliberate . 
resolution the hand-grenades and fire-balls showered 
upon them without giving them time to explode. 
Guns were brought to bear upon their defences, and 
the towers soon became a mass of ruins. At length 
one of the number gave himself up, and through 
his agency his companions were induced to believe 
that their lives would be spared, and to desist from 
a resistance which had been animated by a notion 
that no more mercy would be shown to them than 
they were accustomed to exercise towards their cap- 
tives.* Above four hundred were killed. The others 
were protected with diflSculty from the fury of the 
troops of the Imam of Muscat, of whom four thousand 
had joined the detachment, and who mostly belonged 
to a tribe which was at deadly feud with the Joas- 
mis. The place was delivered to the Imam. At 
Luft, also, on the island of Kishme, a desperate op- 
position was experienced, by which an ofiicer and 
ten men were killed, and many of the men were 

* " After the destruction of one of their forts, several of the Arabs were 
brought on board our ships as prisoners: while uncertain of their fate, and 
before their wounds were dressed, they were asked what fate they antici- 
pated. *• The same immediate death as we should have inflicted on you had 
your fortune been ours,' was the stem and characteristic reply." — Well- 
sted's Travels, i. 219. 


BOOK I. The success of these operations struck a salutary 
^^^^]_^ terror into the pirate tribes of the coast of Oman, 
1809. and procured for some years security for the com- 
merce of the Persian Gulph. The habits, the 
native daring, and the fanaticism of these barbarians, 
gradually, however, resumed their influence, and 
impelled them to the revival of their predatory 
courses, which provoked a severer chastisement and 
more effectual suppression. This will be the subject 
of a future narrative. The armament employed on 
the present occasion returned to Bombay, and re- 
ceived the merited acknowledgments of the local 
and supreme Governments/ 

While thus busily and anxiously engaged in ap- 
peasing internal dissension, and in asserting the 
ascendancy of the British empire of India over the 
nations of Asia, the attention of Lord Minto was 
earnestly fixed upon objects of European as well as 
of Indian interest growing out of the war which 
raged in the Western hemisphere. Upon the occu- 
pation of Portugal by the French, and the flight of 
the Prince Regent to' Brazil, the Bengal Govern- 
ment received orders from England to take military 
occupation of the Portuguese settlements in the 
East, to prevent their following the fate of the 
parent country. Goa had some time previously been 
partly under the protection of the British troops, 
the civil administration being left entirely to the 
Portuguese authorities; and it was deemed expedient 
to provide in a similar manner for the security of 

* Asiatic Annual Registers, vol.xi. Chron. 161, and vol.xii. Chron. 123; 
Account of the Expedition against the Pirates of the Gulph of Persia in 
1809; Asiatic Monthly Journal, vol. ii. 341. 


Macao. A small expedition was accordingly em- book i. 
barked in June and July from Madras and Calcutta, ^"^^' ^' 
the troops of which were commanded by Major I809. 
Weguelin of the Bengal European regiment, and 
the ships by Rear-Admiral DruryJ The Madras 
division, with the Admiral, arrived off Macao on the 
11th September. Their coming was unexpected, 
and by no means acceptable to their allies. Re- 
luctant to part with any portion of their brief autho- 
rity, and fearful of giving offence to the Chinese, 
the Portuguese authorities availed themselves of the 
absence of instructions from their own Court to 
resist as long as they could the disembarkation of 
the troops. Fortified with the "sanction of the Vice- 
roy of Goa, and determined to execute the instruc- 
tions of the Government of Bengal, Admiral Drury 
disregarded the remonstrances and procrastination 
of the Governor of Macao; and, by landing the 
troops without his acquiescence, extorted from him 
a reluctant assent to the military possession of the 
defences of the town. 

There was, however, a still more potential voice to 
be consulted — that of the Chinese. In some mea- 
sure instigated by the intrigues of the Portuguese, 
but still more by becoming feelings of national 
dignity, the provincial Mandarins immediately ob- 
jected in the strongest terms to the landing of the 
British troops. Tlie Select Committee of Supra- 

' The troops from Madras consisted of two companies of his Majesty's 
30th regiment, and were embarked on the Russell and Greyhound ships 
of war : the former of which carried the Admiral. From Bengal, two com- 
panies of the European regiment and six hundred Sipahis were embarked 
in transports, and his Majesty's vessels Dover, Phaeton, Jaseur, and De- 


BOOK I. cargoes had induced the Governor-General to be- 
^^^^^J^ lieve that the Chinese would be indifferent to the 
1809. temporary occupation of Macao, and would consider 
it immaterial whether it was guarded by the troops 
of Portugal or Great Britain. They had not, how- 
ever, ascertained the sentiments of the Chinese, and 
their conjectures were erroneous. The local officers 
were still more vigorously upheld by their principals 
at Canton ; and the Viceroy, declaring that the un- 
licensed entrance of foreign soldiers into the terri- 
tories of the Celestial dynasty was a violation of 
the laws of the empire, commanded their immediate 
withdrawal. It was in vain urged that Macao had 
been ceded to the Portuguese, that the English 
came as their allies, and that their only purpose was 
to defend it against the attacks of their common 
enemy the French. The Viceroy replied, that Macao 
was in all respects a part of the empire, that the 
British should have applied for permission to the 
Emperor before they landed their troops, and that it 
was as absurd as it was disrespectful to presume 
that their aid was required to protect any part of 
the Emperor's dominions from foreign aggression. 
He repeated his orders for the re-embarkation of 
the troops ; and, finding that obedience was delayed, 
first put a stop to the trade with the Company's 
ships, several of which were at the time taking in 
cargoes, and then prohibited their being furnished 
with provisions and supplies. 

Thinking that the objections of the Government 
might be overcome by persisting in the course pur- 
sued, the supracargoes prevailed upon the Admiral, 
against his own judgment, to repeat his applications, 


and to repair in person to Canton, and demand an book i. 
interview with the Viceroy. That functionary, ^^'' ^^ 
though he declined to receive the Admiral, sent 1809. 
some Mandarins of rank to confer with his officers, 
and wrote a reply to his letters. The tenor of his 
declarations was unchanged : the withdrawal of the 
troops was insisted on as preliminary to all other dis- 
cussion. The Admiral I returned indignantly to his 
ships, and, still acting upon the suggestions of the 
supracargoes, threatened to blockade the port, and 
commanded all the Europeans to leave Canton. 
These measures were unavailing. An order arrived 
from Pekin, whither information of the transaction 
had been dispatched, approving of the Viceroy's 
conduct, and commanding him, if necessary, to expel 
the intruders by force. The imperial commands 
were communicated to the Admiral : troops began 
to collect in considerable numbers along the shores 
of the Canton river, boats passing to the ships were 
fired upon, and everything indicated hostile proceed- 
ings unless the armament was withdrawn. Major 
Weguelin, who, with the Bengal detachment, had 
joined on the 20th October, concurred with the 
Admiral in conceiving that they were not warranted 
in carrying their instructions into effect, in direct 
contravention of the commands of the Emperor ; 
and the supracargoes, sensible that further obstinacy 
might lead to more serious consequences than they 
had anticipated, at last counselled acquiescence. 
The troops were accordingly re-embarked on the 
23rd December, after three months had been ex- 
pended in the vain attempt to overcome the reason- 
able opposition of the Chinese to the unauthorized 

VOL. I. Y 


BOOK I. establishment of foreign troops upon their coasts. 

^^^^' ^ The reason of the case was not only clearly on their 
1809. side, but their conduct exhibited a remarkable com- 
bination of firmness and forbearance. However un- 
yielding in their resolution, no violence was resorted 
to ; and, as soon as the ships and troops had de- 
parted, the trade was resumed, and carried on as 
quietly as if no interruption had occurred. 

The failure of the expedition to Macao was more 
than redeemed by the success which attended the 
employment of the resources of British India in the 
furtherance of other objects of greater national im- 
portance ; and it was reserved for Lord Minto's ad- 
ministration to accomplish the extirpation of those 
remains of the colonial possessions of France in the 
Eastern hemisphere that had so long been suffered 
to inflict humiliation and injury upon the subjects 
of a power which had only to will their extinction, 
and they ceased to be. The measures which led to 
the conquest of the Isles of France and of Java 
have now to be described. 

It has been already noticed, that, notwithstanding 
the presence of a powerful naval armament in the 
Indian ocean,^ armed vessels issuing from the French 
islands of Mauritius and Bourbon had throughout 
the war preyed upon the maritime trade of India 
almost with impunity: occasionally, indeed, they 
fell victims to their audacity,^ and were made to 

' In 1807, Admiral Pellew had under his orders, in different parts of the 
Indian seas, six ships of the line, sixteen frigates, and six sloops. 

' Among the most gallant actions was one fought in the Balasore Roada 
in February, 1798, between La Forte, a frigate of the largest class, and 
the Sybille of forty-four guns, Captain Cooke, which ended in the capture 
of the former, although Captain Cooke was killed ; and one between La 
Piedmontaise and San Fiorenzo, of about equal force, in March, 1808. In 


feel the superiority of British skill and prowess ; book i. 
but although they swept the seas from Madagascar 


to Java, and sometimes carried their depredations 1809. 
to the immediate vicinity of the British harbours,* 
they were for the most part singularly fortunate in 
avoiding the track of English frigates and men-of- 
war.* Their principal spoil arose from the capture 
of the merchant-ships employed in the trade of the 
Eastern seas, whose cargoes, often of considerable 
value, they carried for sale to the ports from which 
they had sallied ; but they also inflicted serious 
damage upon the Company's commerce, and from 
time to time valuable Indiamen fell into their 
hands.* The equipments of these vessels, which 
were well armed, and on the outward-bound voyage 
well manned, enabled them sometimes to resist suc- 
cessfully the attacks of their enemies ; and, on one 
memorable occasion, a fleet of merchant-ships re- 
turning from China, under its senior captain, Cap- 

this also, which was a desperately contested engagement, renewed for three 
days successively, and terminating in the capture of La Piedmontaise, the 
commander of the English frigate, Captain Hardinge, fell. — ^Asiatic Annual 
Register, vol. ii. Chron. 87, and vol. x. Chron. 191. The official reports are 
given in both. 

' The Kent East-Indiaman, Captain Rivington, was captured at the 
mouth of the Hoogly river by the Confiance privateer, M. Surcouf, in Octo- 
ber, 1800, after an action of an hour and forty-seven minutes : her captain 
was killed. M. Surcouf for several years was distinguished for his intre- 
pidity and successful enterprise : most of his prizes, and they were nume- 
rous, were taken in the upper part of the bay and along the Madras coast. 
— Asiatic Annual Register, vol.ii. Chron. 141. 

* The merchants of Calcutta presented a petition to his Majesty's Go- 
vernment, imputing to the navy some degree of disinclination to exert them- 
selves for the protection of the trade. 

^ It was computed in October, 1807, that in the course of six weeks the 
losses by capture to the port of Calcutta alone exceeded thirty lakhs of 
rupees (£300,000). Between 1792 and 1810, the Company lost thirty 
vessels by capture ; the cargoes of twenty-four of the number are stated to 
have been worth above £800,000. — Commons* Committee, 1830; First 
Report, App. vi. 

Y 2 

324 rasTORY OF British india. 

BOOK I. tain Dance/ beat off a French squadron of vessels 
^^^^^^i^ of war commanded by Admiral Linois, In some 
1809. actions between single vessels a similar result re- 
flected honour upon the Company's officers : but in 
general the merchantmen were unequal to contend 
with a French cruizer of respectable force ; especially 
on their homeward voyage, when they had been 
weakened by the impressment of many of their best 
men on board his Majesty's ships of war. Latterly 
cases of this nature had become more frequent. In 
1809 the Company's regular Indiamen, Europe and 
Streatham, were taken on their homeward voyage 
by the French frigate La Caroline ; and the Charlton 
and United Kingdom, by La Venus. In the fol- 
lowing year the Windham, Ceylon, and Astell, out- 
ward bound, were met off the island of Johanna by 
the French frigates Bellone and Minerve, and Victor 
corvette, and after an action which lasted from 2 p.m. 
until dark the two former struck. The Astell 
escaped under cover of the night. It was high time 
to rescue the commerce of India from the risk and 
peril to which it was exposed, and to vindicate the 
pretensions of the British navy to the undisputed 
sovereignty of the ocean. 

The most obvious means of paralysing the energies 
of the naval power of France, which still lingered in 
the East, was to take from her ships those places in 

' The China fleet, consisting of sixteen ships, on the 14th of February, 
1804, off Palo Aor,in the Straits of Malacca, fell in with the French squadron 
under Admiral Linois, consisting of the Marengo of seventy-four guns, two 
frigates of forty-four guns each, and two brigs. On the 15th, af^er some 
manoeuvring and the exchange of a short fire l)etween the French line and 
the headmost ships, Admiral Linois stood off under all sail, deterred from a 
closer contest by the gallant bearing of the China ships. — Asiatic Annual 
Register, vol. vi. Chron. 102 ; Brenton*s Naval History, iii. 336. 


the Indian ocean where they found a shelter and book i. 
obtained supplies. This might have been eifected ^"^'''^'' 
at a much earlier date ; but, for reasons not easily I809. 
comprehensible, the Company's Governments had 
been interdicted from engaging in any expedition 
against the islands, as involving a certain expense 
both for their reduction and maintenance :^ a piece 
of parsimonious prodigality, in which even the pecu- 
niary saving bore no ratio to the pecuniary loss ; 
as the value of the captured ships, and the charges 
of their convoy and equipments, far outbalanced in 
the end the cost which in the beginning would have 
been incurred by the conquest of the colonies. The 
views of the home Administration at this period 
underwent a change, and the Government of Bengal 
and the chief naval officers in the Eastern seas were 
authorized to adopt arrangements of a more enter- 
prising description. It was at first proposed to at- 
tempt nothing more than a rigorous blockade of the 
Isle of France and Bourbon by the squadron at the 
Cape of Good Hope under Admiral Bertie ; but, as 
this was impracticable as long as the blockading 
ships depended upon the distant settlements of the 
Cape or of Bombay for their supplies, it was deter- 
mined to occupy the small island of Rodriguez, 
lying about one hundred leagues east of the Isle of 
France, and establish upon it magazines, with stores 
and provisions for the refitting and revictualling of 
the blockading squadron. A small force of two 
hundred Europeans and an equal number of natives, 

' '^ At the commencement of the present war, intimation had been given 
to the East India Company to guard them against expending large sums in 
expeditions against the French islands." — Speech of the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, 10th January, 1812; Hansard*8 Debates. 


BOOK I. commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Keating, was 
_^]^^^1^ dispatched from Bombay under convoy of his Ma- 
1809. jesty's ship Belliqueux, Commodore Byng. They 
arrived off the island on the 4th of August, and 
found upon it only three Frenchmen, engaged in 
growing vegetables for the use of the larger islands. 
Rodriguez was about fifteen miles long from east to 
west, and seven from north to south. Wood and 
water were plentiful, and various vegetables were 
raised. The stores were landed, and additional sup- 
plies were sent for ; and Colonel Keating adopted 
all necessary precautions in order to strengthen him- 
self in his position. The captures made in 1809 
and 1810, however, showed that, whatever benefits 
might ultimately result from the occupation of Rod- 
riguez, it was not followed by that of an effectual 
blockade of the French islands. French frigates 
had continued to sail from their ports, and returned 
to them with splendid and valuable trophies of 

Although the position thus taken up proved in- 
adequate to the entire prevention of maritime de- 
predation, yet it had the advantage of enabling the 
English men of war to remain more steadily and 
continuously in those seas, cramping the enemy's 
operations, occasioning frequent distress in the 
islands for want of supplies, and affording a salient 
point from which to harass and annoy them by oc- 
casional demonstrations or actual inroads. With 
this purpose, as well as to determine how far ulte- 
rior and more definite measures were practicable, 
the forces at Rodriguez, both military and naval, 
were strengthened, and in September 1809 an ex- 


pedition proceeded from Rodriguez to the Isle de book i. 
Bourbon. J^llll 

A body of four hundred European and native I809. 
troops were embarked in his Majesty's ships Ne- 
reide and Otter, and the Company's cruizer Wasp. 
Off Port Louis, in the Isle of France, they were 
joined by his Majesty's ships the Raisonnable, Com- 
modore Rowley, and the Sirius, Captain Pym. The 
whole proceeded to Bourbon, off the eastern ex- 
tremity of which they arrived on the morning of the 
20th of September. In the evening a detachment, 
raised to six hundred men by the addition of seamen 
and marines, was disembarked to the southward of 
Point de Galotte, about seven miles from St. Paul, 
the chief town on the western side of the island. 
The disembarkation was unperceived by the enemy; 
and the troops had marched, and were in possession 
of two of the principal batteries on the east of the 
town, commanding the shipping, before their ap- 
proach was apprehended. On the advance of a 
column to storm a third battery, they came upon 
the garrison, now collected, and reinforced by a 
hundred men of the troops of the line serving on 
board the frigate La Caroline, then lying in the bay 
with her prizes. The position of the enemy was 
strong, and was supported by eight pieces of artil- 
lery. Their defence was resolute, and it was not 
until the main body of the assailants was concen- 
trated that they gave way. By half-past eight, the 
whole of the batteries, and the town and magazines, 
were in the hands of the English ; and, the escape of 
the ships being prevented by the squadron, they 
were obliged to surrender. The French ships taken 


BOOK I. were the Caroline frigate, of fortynsix guns, and 

^"^'^' ^ some small trading vessels ; but, besides a gun-brig 

1809. and some small traders, two Indiamen, the Streatham 

and Europe, were recovered : the troops were then 


Upon hearing of this attack, a body of troops 
under the command of General Des Bruslys, the 
governor of Bourbon, marched from St. Denis, and 
made their appearance on the hills on the evening 
of the 23rd. Finding St. Paul in possession of 
the English, they retired during the night, render- 
ing it useless to continue the preparations which 
had been ihade for the relanding of the troops. A 
convention was then concluded between the Eng- 
lish commander and the commandant of St. Paul 
for a suspension of hostilities for three days, during 
which the English were to remain unmolested in 
the occupation of the town. The death of Des 
Bruslys, who destroyed himself,^ occasioned the pro- 
longation of the armistice ; during which the public 
property was, agreeably to the stipulated conven- 
tion, put on board the ships ; and, the objects of the 
expedition having been accomplished, the squadron 
with the captured vessels returned to Rodriguez.* 

The success which had attended the proceedings 
of so feeble an armament confirmed the determina- 
tion of the Government of Bengal to attempt, with- 
out waiting for specific instructions from home, the 

' He left a paper intimating his having committed tfuicide, to aroid 
death on the scaffold ; and recommending his wife and children to Provi- 
dence, and those who could feel for them. His family, at the request of 
his widow, was sent with a cartel to the Mauritius. 

' Official report, and other details ; Asiatic Annual Register, vol. xi. 
Chron* 155. 


complete reduction of the French islands ; and in book i. 
the beginning of 1810 a reinforcement of sixteen ^''^^' ^^ 
hundred European and as many native troops was isio. 
dispatched to Colonel Keating, to enable him to 
undertake the complete subjugation of the Isle de 
Bourbon. The expedition arrived at Rodriguez on 
the 20th of June, but from the unfavourable state 
of the weather they were unable to proceed to their 
destination until the 3rd of July. They were then 
conveyed to Bourbon under convoy of a strong 
squadron of his Majesty's navy, consisting of the 
Sinus, the Iphigenia, the Magicienne, and the Ne- 
reide, commanded by Commodore Rowley, in the 
Boadicea, and arrived off the point of debarkation 
on the 6th. Colonel Keating on this occasion had 
determined to proceed at once against St. Denis, 
the capital, in the hope of preventing protracted 
operations in the interior of the country, consisting 
chiefly of rugged, and in part inaccessible, moun- 
tains. The squadron accordingly sailed to the north- 
em coast, where the forces, previously distributed 
into four brigades, were appointed to land at two 
different points : the first brigade, under Lieute- 
nant-Colonel Fraser, being directed to debark at 
Grande Chaloupe, and proceed by the mountains 
against the west side of the town ; whilst the other 
three brigades, under Colonel Keating himself, were 
intended to land on the east of it, at Riviere de 
Pluies, and to cross the rear of the town to the 
river St. Denis. 

About two o'clock on the 7th of July, the shi[)S 
having reached their stations, the landing of the 
principal divisions was commenced, and about three 

330 HifirroRY of British India. 

BOOK I. hundred men of the 3rd and 4th brigades, under 
CHAP. VI. QQjQQ^jg Campbell and Macleod, with a party of 

1810. seamen under Captain Willoughby of the Nereide, 
were put on shore. The weather, which had hitherto 
been moderate, became suddenly tempestuous : the 
surf rose with such violence that the boats were 
stove in pieces on nearing the shore, and the disem- 
barkation of the rest of the troops became impracti- 
cable. The division on shore was necessarily left 
without support ; but, after a communication from 
the commander-in-chie^^ Colonel Macleod advanced 
to a battery on the Breton river at Ste* Marie, 
which he carried, and where he was unmolested 
during the night. 

The attempt to land at this spot was seen from 
the town, but the debarkation was considered to be 
impossible, from the fiiry of the surf, and the prin- 
cipal attention of the enemy was directed to the 
division under Colonel Fraser. His brigade, which 
was composed of his Majesty's 86th regiment and 
part of the 6th regiment of Madras native infantry, 
with a small detail of artillery and pioneers, on 
board of his Majesty's ship Sirius, had been more 
fortunate. They reached their destination off Grande 
Chaloupe early on the forenoon of the 7th July, 
and immediately effected a landing without loss, al- 
though exposed to a harassing fire from the light 
troops of the enemy. As soon as the landing was 
accomplished. Colonel Fraser pushed on with his 
Europeans alone to the vicinity of the town, and 

' Lieutenant Foulstone, of his Majesty's 69th, volunteered to be the 
bearer of Colonel Keating s orders : he was carried iu a boat to the edge of 
the surf, and then swam through it to the shore. 


occupied the heights above it to the westward, so book i. 
as to cut off all communication between the capital ^^^^^^i^ 
and St. Paul. In the mean time the Magicienne isio. 
and Boadicea, with the 2nd and 4th brigades, and 
the chief military stores and artillery, finding little 
chance of effecting a landing at Riviere, sailed to 
Grande Chaloupe in the night, and early on the 8th 
landed the troops on board. Before they could 
move forward in force, the business had been de- 
cided. The courage and activity of Colonel Eraser's 
division had reaped the full harvest of that good 
fortune which had given them the lead in the attack 
upon St. Denis. 

Having been joined during the night of the 7th 
by the rest of his force. Colonel Eraser on the 
morning of the 8th, leaving the Sipahis to protect 
his rear, descended from the hill with the Euro- 
peans, and soon fell in with the enemy, drawn up in 
two columns, each with a field-piece, on the plain, 
supported by the heavy cannon of a strong redoubt 
upon their flank. On reaching the plain, the regi- 
ment was ordered to charge, when they immediately 
rushed upon the enemy with the bayonet, and 
broke them. The Erench attempted to form be- 
hind the parapet of the redoubt, but they were 
pushed so closely that they were unable to make 
good their footing, and left the redoubt in the pos- 
session of the British, who turned some of the guns 
found in it against the town, and were enabled 
more effectually to reply to the batteries by which 
the latter was defended. At four o'clock in the 
afternoon a flag of truce was sent out from the 
town to negociate for its surrender. By that time 


BOOK I. the bulk of the expedition, which had been sent on 
^"^''' ^^ to Grande Chaloupe, had arrived, and advanced to 
1810. St. Denis, whilst the 3rd brigade had also come 
up from the east to take its part in the assault^ 
Dispositions for storming were made, when it was 
prevented by the submission of the commandant, 
Colonel St. Susanne. By the terms of the capitu- 
lation which ensued, the whole of the island was 
ceded to the British with all public property : the 
troops of the line surrendered themselves prisoners 
of war, to be sent to the Cape or to England. Co- 
lonel St. Susanne was allowed to proceed to the 
Isle of France on parole ; and Mr. Farquhar, of the 
Bengal Civil service, who had been appointed by 
Lord Minto in the confidence of success to the go- 
vernment of the island, assumed charge of its admi- 
nistration. Proclamations were issued by him, as- 
suring to the inhabitants the secure possession of 
their property on their remaining peaceable and 
obedient, and promising them the provisional ob- 
servance of the established forms of law and go- 
vernment, and the maintenance of the established 
religion of the colony. This important acquisition 
was effected with little loss ; or eighteen killed and 
fifty-nine wounded. One officer only. Lieutenant 
J. S. Munro, of his Majesty's 56th, was amongst the 

The capture of Bourbon, so creditable to both 
the military and naval forces employed, for the 

' There is a slight difference between the report of Colonel Keating and 
that of Colonel Eraser : the latter says that Colonel Dnimmond joined him 
at four with the 2nd brigade ; the former, that he himself arrived at that 
time, and commanded dispositions to be made for a general attack. 

' Asiatic Annual Register, vol. xii ; Official details, Chrun. pp. 27, 1 17. 


judgment by which it had been planned and the book i. 


spirit by which it had been accomplished, was fol- . 

lowed by a series of singular disasters suffered by I810. 
the navy, ascribable to no deficiency of courage or 
conduct, but to an imperfect acquaintance with the 
scene of action, and the want of sufficiently expe- 
rienced pilotage. The achievements which were 
projected would no doubt have been successful, 
could they have been executed with the prompti- 
tude with which they were conceived. 

The operations against Bourbon had been carried 
on without any attempt at interruption from the 
Isle of France, in consequence of the absence of the 
principal naval strength of the French. On the 
20th of August the Bellone, Minerve, and Victor 
returned, bringing with them the captured India- 
men, the Windham and Ceylon. Finding Port St. 
Louis blockaded, they made for the harbour of 
Grand Port, also called Port Imperial, on the south- 
eastern or windward side of the island. On near- 
ing the Isle de la Passe,^ a small islet with a fort 
lying off the mouth of the harbour about three 
miles from the land, which had been taken, and 
was now occupied by a small detachment from 
Bourbon, the French squadron was surprised by a 
hostile fire from the guns of the fort, and of the 
Nereide frigate, which had been stationed off the 
island. With some loss the French vessels made 
their way into the harbour; but their prize, the 
Windham, not keeping up with the rest, was recitp- 
tured by Captain Pym with the boats of the Sirius, 

* It had been taken on the 14th of August by the boats of the Sirius and 
Iphigenia, and was garrisoned by one hundred and thirty men from Bourbon. 


BOOK L which was cruizing in the neighbourhood in naain- 

£*tM An VT — 

' tenance of the blockade. Sending off his prize to 
1810. Bourbon, Captain Pym, in communication with Cap- 
tain Willoughby of the Nereide, determined to at- 
tack the French ships in the harbour, and on the 
22nd of August the two frigates stood in for that 
purpose. Unfortunately the Sirius grounded, and 
could not be got off until the next day, when the 
Iphigenia and Magicienne, under Captains Lambert 
and Curtis, arrived to take part in the engagement. 
The delay that had occurred had afforded the gover- 
nor, General Decaen, time to reinforce the crews 
of the vessels vnth seamen and soldiers, and to 
strengthen the batteries which had been erected bn 
this part of the coast since the capture of the Isle 
de la Passe, and which mounted sixty guns. These 
were fully manned, and were supported by all the 
troops that could be assembled, and a numerous 
body of militia and volunteers. 

The firing commenced at a little after 5 p.m. on the 
23rd. The Nereide anchored within half pistol-shot 
of the Bellone and Victor. The Magicienne, in fol- 
lowing her, grounded in such an attitude that very 
few of her guns could bear upon the Minerve, to 
whom she was opposed ; but the Iphigenia anchored 
on her larboard quarter, and relieved her of her 
antagonist. The Sirius again unluckily took the 
ground nearly out of gun-shot, and was disabled 
from rendering effectual aid. The French ships 
were soon driven out of their line, but into a posi- 
tion which enabled them to work their gims with 
advantage. Their loss of men was constantly re- 
paired by troops from the shore ; and the batteries 


and musketry on land poured a galling fire upon book i. 
the British vessels, which were incapable of manage- J^^^l^ 
ment. l8io. 

The contest was nevertheless continued until after 
dark. At ten o'clock, the Nereide, which also had 
previously grounded, having most of her guns dis- 
abled, the greater part of her crew killed or wounded, 
and being exposed to the fire of the land-batteries as 
well as of the shipping, struck her colours ;^ but the 
French, not noticing or not perceiving that this was 
the case, continued firing upon her for some hours, 
until not a man on board remained unhurt. The 
firing continued with occasional interruption through 
the night. On the morning of the 24th, all hope 
of success being necessarily abandoned, it was deter- 
mined to endeavour to retreat. The Magicienne 
being unmanageable, and on the point of sinking, 
was quitted by her crew, who set her on fire and 
retired on board the Iphigenia. On the 25th the 
Iphigenia warped out of the action, and attempted 
to extricate the Sirius; but, finding this impracti- 
cable, she also was set on fire in the evening, and 
exploded. The Iphigenia, the sole remaining ship, 
contrived by extraordinary exertion to get back to 
the Isle de la Passe, where she landed the sur- 
viving crews of the other vessels. In this situation, 
without provisions, and surrounded by a vastly supe- 

' The report published by order of the GoTemment of Bengal, Calcutta 
Government Gazette, 18th Oct. 1810, states that the Nereide drifted oa 
shore, and was taken possession of by the enemy : the account in the text 
is from the Nereide's log. — Brenton^s Naval History, iv. 468. The French 
account asserts that her colours were flying at daybreak, but that informa- 
tion of her helpless situation had been previously received from a French 
prisoner on board, who made his escape and swam to the Minerve, and 
that from that time she vy^as not fired on. 


BOOK I. nor force of the enemy, — the Astrea, Venus, and 
CHAP. VL j^^ Manche frigates, with the Entreprenant sloop, 
1810. having on the 27th come round from Port Louis, 
whilst those recently engaged were rapidly refitting, 
— Captain Lambert found himself under the necessity 
of capitulating, and surrendered to Captain Hamelin, 
the commodore of the French squadron. It was sti- 
pulated that the crews should be prisoners of war, but 
to be sent immediately on parole or in exchange to 
one of his Britannic Majesty's forts. The convention 
was ratified by General Decaen, the governor of the 
Isle of France, so far, that he consented to send the 
prisoners, after the expiration of a month, to England 
or the Cape of Good Hope upon condition of their 
not serving again until exchanged.^ 

The only British ship of war now left of the 
blockading squadron was the Boadicea ; and Com- 
modore Rowley was unable to prevent the blockade 
of the Isle de Bourbon, which was established by 
the French frigates Astrea and Iphigenia, who inter- 
cepted several of the transports arriving with troops 
and stores for the destined expedition against the 
Isle of France. On the 12th of September, how- 
ever, the Africaine frigate. Captain Corbett, arrived 
from England ; and Commodore Rowley, thus rein- 
forced, immediately put to sea. The French fri- 

' Asiatic Annual Register, vol. xii ; History, p. 8, Chron. 65 : BrentoD*8 
Naval History, iv. 465. A translation of General Decaen^s official pro- 
clamation after the action is published in the Calcutta Government Gazette 
Extraordinary, 25th November, 1810. Some gasconading was excusable 
on such an occasion, but in the main the account is candid and temperate : 
the loss of the French is probably undervalued at four officers and thirty- 
three men killed, and one hundred and twelve wounded; the latter included 
M. Du Perr^e, the captain of the Bellone. In the Nereide alone one hun* 
dred and sixteen were killed, and many of the wounded died on landing. 
Captain Willoughby was wounded, but recovered with the loss of an eye. 


^tes fled, and the English gave chase. The Boa- book i. 
dicea being a heavy sailer, the French vessels soon ^"^^' ^'' 
shot far a-head, followed closely by the Africaine. jsio. 
Captain Corbett, apprehending the escape of the 
enemy, brought them to action, whilst the Boa- 
dicea was five miles astern. The wind died away. 
The Africaine was oveq)owered : the captain was 
killed, and the senior lieutenant was obliged to 
strike his colours. The balance of strength again 
turned in favour of the French ; but the Boadicea, 
being joined by the Otter sloop and Staunch gun- 
brig, continued the chase. The enemy's frigates 
were little inclined to renew the contest ; and, having 
taken out such of her crew as were unhurt, they 
abandoned the Africaine in a crippled condition. 
Rowley returned with her to St. Paul on the 18th 
of September. 

Commodore Rowley had not been many hours at 
anchor when three sail appeared in the offing, two 
of which had suffered in their masts and rigging. 
He immediately made sail in pursuit of them, at- 
tended by the Otter and Staunch. The vessel that 
appeared not to be disabled had another ship in 
tow, which she cast off, to save herself by flight. 
The third, having no top-masts, bore up to assist her 
consort, but was soon obliged to strike to the superior 
force of the Boadicea; whilst the crippled vessel 
yielded at once to the Otter. Tlie former proved to 
be the French frigate Venus ; the latter, the Ceylon, 
an armed Indiaman from Madras, which had been 
captured that morning, after a smart engagement, 
by the Venus and the Victor corvette, the vessel 
that had escaped. The resolute resistance made by 

VOL. I. z 


BOOK I. the Ceylon, and the damage she had inflicted upon ^Y^^ Venus, were the main causes of her own re- 

1810. covery, and of the capture of the Venus. On board 

the Ceylon was Major-General Abercrombie, who 

commanded the expedition now on its way from 


The struggle thus far honourably maintained by 
the French was now soon to terminate, arid an 
effort proportioned to the object was about to put 
an end to their maritime depredations in the seas of 
India. Shortly after the action last noticed, or early 
in October, Vice- Admiral Bertie in the Nisus frigate 
arrived from the Cape of Good Hope in the bay of 
St. Paul. Great exertions had been made to refit 
and equip the vessels which had been captured ; and 
eleven days after the Vice-AdmiraFs arrival he was 
able to put to sea with the Boadicea, Nisus, Afn- 
caine, Venus, now named the Nereide, and the 
Ceylon, well manned and supplied. With this 
squadron he proceeded to Port Louis, off which 
he arrived on the 19th October. Finding that of 
the enemy's vessels lying in the harbour not more 
than two were ready for sea, he left the Boadicea, 
Nisus, and Nereide to maintain the blockade, and 
resumed his voyage to Rodriguez, to join the expe- 
dition which had been directed to rendezvous at that 
island. On his way he fell in vrith the squadron 
from India under Rear-Admiral Drury, proceeding 
to the same destination, and in company with them 
arrived at Rodriguez on the 3rd of November. The 
division from Bombay was already present, and that 
from Madras made its a])pearance three days after- 
wards. It was not until the 21st October that the 


armament from Bengal arrived. As the season was book i. 
far advanced, and the period was approaching when ' 
the winds in these latitudes become variable and isio. 
violent hurricanes occur, the commander of the ex- 
pedition considered it of the utmost importance that 
no further time should be lost ; and accordingly pre- 
parations had been made for the embarkation of the 
troops that had previously arrived, and for the supply 
of the vessels from Bengal with such stores as they 
might require without their dropping anchor. As 
soon as this operation was effected, the whole of 
the fleet was under weigh, and early on the 29th 
November came to anchor off the point selected for 
debarkation in Grande Baye, near the north-east 
extremity of the island, about fifteen miles north 
from the capital, where it had been previously ascer- 
tained that a fleet might be anchored in the narrow 
passage between a small island called from its out- 
line Gunner's Quoin, and the main-land, and where 
openings in the reefs allowed many boats to enter 
abreast. A landing in force at this place had been 
deemed impracticable, as it was supposed that ves- 
sels of burthen could neither make their way 
through the reefs of rocks which formed the ex- 
terior barrier of the bay, nor find anchorage outside, 
from the great depth of water close to the rocks. 
It had been, however, ascertained by the officers of 
the navy, that a passage between the rocks could 
be accomplished, and that a fleet might lie at anchor 
in the situation to which it had been actually con- 
ducted. No opposition was experienced, and the 
whole of the force was landed by three o'clock in 
the afternoon. The troops had been distributed into 



BOOK I. five brigades. * The first, under Colonel Picton* 


' consisted of his Majesty's 12th and 22nd regiments, 
1810. and the right wing of the Madras volunteer bat- 
talion ; the second, under Colonel Gibbs, of his Ma- 
jesty's 59th, with three hundred of the 89th and 
a company of the 87th, and of the left wing of 
the Madras volunteers ; the third brigade, under 
Lieutenant-Colonel Kelso, was formed of the 14th 
regiment and the second battalion of the Bengal 
volunteers ; and the fourth, commanded by Colonel 
Macleod, of the 69th regiment, of the Madras native 
flank l)attalion, with three hundred marines ; the 
fifth brigade was composed of his Majesty's 65th, a 
troop of the 26th dragoons, and the first battalion 
of the Bengal native volunteers. There was also a 
reserve division, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel 
Keating, com])rising the 84th regiment, the flank 
companies of some other corps, and the Boml>ay 
native troops. These, with the artillery and a large 
body of seamen, formed a force of about eleven 
thousand men. To op])ose them General Deeaen 
had not more than two thousand Europeans, includ- 
ing the crews of the ships of war, a considerable 
number of colonists, and a body of African slaves, 
without discipline, and badly armed. 

As soon as the troops could be formed, the force 

• The European force was composed of his Majesty's rej^iments, the 12th, 
14th, 22nd, SGUi, 59th, Cith, G9th, 8Uh, and 89th, the Bengal and Madras 
artillery, and a company of the 26th dragoons ; six thousand three hundr^ 
strong : and two thousand seamen and marines. The native troops from 
Bengal and Madras consisted of four volunteer battalions and a party of 
Madras pioneers, three thousand men : altogether, eleven thousand three 
hundred. The squadron cousisted of tlie Illustrious 74, and the frigates 
Cornwallis, Africaiue, Boadicea, Nisus, Clorinde, Conielia, Meuelaus, 
Psyche, Ceylon, Nereide, Phoebe, Doris, and Vesper, besides sloops and 


moved towards Port Louis. The road followed the book I. 
direction of the coast for the first five miles, passing 


through a thick wood much entangled with brush- isio. 
wood, through which the men made their way with 
great difficulty and fatigue. No enemy was seen 
until, on clearing the wood, the heads of the co- 
lumns were fired upon by a small picquet, by which 
Lieutenant-Colonel Keating, Lieutenant Ashe, and 
some men of the advance, were wounded. The 
enemy were quickly dispersed, and greater injury 
was inflicted by the excessive heat of the weather 
and want of water. Several of the officers and men 
employed in the laborious duty of bringing on the 
artillery and stores sunk under their exertions, and 
fell dead on the march.^ After clearing the wood, 
the army bivouacked for the night. 

On the following morning the march was resumed, 
with the purpose of reaching the capital ; but the 
excessive heat and scanty supply of water compelled 
General Abercrombie to halt, about five miles short 
of Port Louis upon the bed of the Pamplemousse 
river. On the 31st the force again advanced, and, 
soon after it had moved, came upon the enemy, who 
had taken up an advantageous position in front with 
several field-pieces. The European flank battalion, 
which formed the advance, was led against them by 
Colonel Campbell of the 33rd ; and, by a spirited 
charge, ])ut them to flight, with the loss of their 
guns. The success was dearly purchased ; Colonel 
Campbell, and Major O'Keefe of the 12th regiment, 
being killed whilst gallantly leading their men to 

' Ainon^i; those who perished from heat and fatigue were Lieutenant Dove 
<»f ills Majesty's 1 Ith, and Captain Yates of the City of London Indiaman. 


BOOK I. the charge. After the repulse of the enemy, the 
^^^^' ^ army resumed its march, and drew up in front of the 
1810. lines defending Port Louis, preparatory to an assault 
on the following morning, whilst the ships of \rar, 
which had now come round to the harbour, should 
cannonade the town from the sea. This catastrophe 
was prevented by the offer of General Decaen to 
capitulate ; and, the terms of his surrender being 
agreed upon, the Isle of France became subject to 
the British crowTi. The advanced period of the 
season rendering it unadvisable to protract the con- 
test, terms more favourable than were merited, al- 
though less so than those demanded,^ were granted. 
The troops of the garrison and crews of the ships of 
war were to be conveyed in English ships to Euro- 
pean France, instead of becoming prisoners of war ; 
taking with them all property declared to be private. 
The ships in the harbour, with all stores and public 
property, fell to the captors. The inhabitants were 
secured in the continuance of their religion, laws, 
and customs.^ Thus instantaneously disappeared the 
fancied strength of the Isle of France when once 
the vigour of British India emancipated itself from 
the visionan^ obstacles which the selfish fears of the 
British Cabinet had opposed, and the imperfect in- 
formation of the Indian Government had encouraged. 

* Decaen had the effrontery to demand that the French frigates, with all 
their crews and appointments, should be relinquished for the conveyance of 
the troops to France. " Que pour ce transport je consenerai les quatre 
frigates de S. M. I'Empereur, La Manche, La Bellone, L'Astr^e, et La 
Minerve, ainsi que les cor\'ettes La Victoire et L'Entreprenante, avec leurs 
officiers et Equipages, armements ct munitions, et approvisionnement.'* He 
must have expected the reply, " Altogether inadmissible.*' — Calcutta Go- 
vernment Gazette, February 9, 1811. 

' Asiatic Annual Register, xii. ; History, p. 15 : Calcutta Government Ga- 
zette, Febniary Oth, 181 1 : London Gazette Extraordinary, February IS, 1 811. 


The very effort that was ultimately made evinced booki. 


the strength of the misconception that had invested ' 
the capture of the Mauritius with such unreal danger; J8io. 
and the conquest, although creditable to the spirit 
with which it was undertaken, reflected but little 
honour on the British arms. The Isle of Bourbon 
was restored to France at the peace. The Isle of 
France, or the Mauritius, as it was originally desig- 
nated, is still subject to Great Britain. 

The settlements of Holland in the Eastern Archi- 
[>elago had never, even after their enforced submis- 
sion in common with the parent country to France, 
afforded to any great extent the means of harassing 
the trade of India. French privateers only occa- 
sionally haunted the roads of Batavia or cruized 
amongst the islands of the Archipelago. Still, how- 
ever, they constituted a rallying point, which was 
likely to become of more consideration after the de- 
stniction of those asylums which lay more in the 
route of the Indian trade ; and it was incompatible 
with the interests of India and the policy of England 
longer to permit the presence of an enemy in any 
part of the Eastern hemisphere. The first measures 
for this purpose that were sanctioned contemplated 
only a rigorous blockade of Java and the Spice 
islands ; but it was soon found that the instructions 
of the home authorities, issued in ignorance both of 
the localities of the islands and political relations of 
India with the principalities on the east of the bay 
of Bengal, were impracticable and mischievous. 
The numerous and intricate channels among the 
islands of the Archipelago could be effectually 
blocked up only by the employment of the whole of 


BOOK I. the naval armament in the Indian seas ; and the en- 
^^^^^^^^ forcement of laws so unintelligible to the plain sense 
1810. of the Burmese and Malays as those of blockade, 
could have no other effect than that of irritating and 
alarming them, and interrupting their traffic with 
our own settlements, even if it did not lead to a 
piratical warfare against the country trade. It was 
judged, therefore, by Lord Minto and Admiral 
Drury to be the more safe as well as more honour- 
able plan to adopt a decided course, and, instead of 
confining their attempts to an unavailing blockade 
of the Dutch islands, attempt their annexation to the 
Crown of England. No great difficulty in accom- 
plishing this object was anticipated; as, although 
reinforcements had arrived at Java from Europe, and 
the island was commanded by an officer in the inte- 
rest of France, yet the Moluccas it was known were 
indifferently prepared for resistance, and among the 
Dutch colonists at Batavia there existed a strong 
party who preferred open conquest by Britain to their 
insidious subjugation by the Emperor of France. 

In conformity to these views, an expedition on 
a small scale was fitted out from Madras against 
the Molucca islands, consisting of his Majesty's 
ships Dover, Cornwallis, and Samarang, having on 
board part of the Madras European regiment and a 
small body of artillery: the troops were commanded 
by Captain Court, the squadron by Captain Tucker 
of the Dover. They left Madras on the 9tli October, 
1809, and by the middle of the following February 
arrived off the island of Amboyna, the most consider- 
able of the Dutch Spice islands and seat of govern- 
ment. The vessels anchored off the town, situated 


at the bottom of a small bay, beneath a line of book i. 
low hills, and defended by batteries along the beach ^"^^•^'' 
as well as on some of the neighbouring heights, and isio. 
by Fort Victoria, mounting a number of heavy ord- 
nance. As the elevations on the left and in the 
rear of the town commanded its defences, it was 
determined to carry them ; and, whilst the squadron 
occupied the attention of the enemy by a vigorous 
cannonade, the troops, aided by seamen and marines, 
were landed on the right of the bay unnoticed. The 
party consisted of about four hundred men, and were 
divided into two bodies; one led by Captain Phillips, 
the other by Captain Court. The first stormed a 
battery erected upon an elevation near at hand, the 
hill of Wanitu, and carried it after a resolute resist- 
ance, in which the Dutch officer commanding the 
post was killed. Captain Court's party had to make 
a circuitous detour to the south of the town, and 
were further delayed by the rugged surface of the 
country. By sunset they reached their destination, 
a height above Fort Victoria, surmounted by a re- 
doubt, which was abandoned as they entered it from 
the rear. During these operations the ships had 
kept up a brisk cannonade on the sea-face of the 
town, and had been exposed to a cross-fire from 
the batteries in front, or on either side of it, from 
which the evening land-breeze enabled them to 
draw off. On the following morning, the batteries 
in the ])ossession of the British opened on the town 
and fort, and soon silenced their fire. A summons 
to surrender was thereupon sent to the Dutch go- 
vernor, and was pronii)tly obeyed. A capitulation 
was entered into, by which the garrison, conij)osed 


BOOK I. of more than thirteen hundred Europeans and Mn* 
^^^^^^^^ lays, laid down their arms to a third of their number. 
1810. The Dutch troops were sent to Java, where the 
commandant was tried and shot by order of General 
Daendels. The Malays were taken into the British 
service, and were advantageously employed in some 
of the succeeding operations. Amboyna, once the 
scene of British disgrace and suffering, acknow- 
ledged their authority during the remainder of the 


During the winter and spring months succeeding 
the conquest of Amboyna, Captain Tucker reduced 
the smaller islands in its vicinity. In the com- 
mencement of the year, the Caroline and Piedmont- 
aise frigates, and Baraeouta brig, under the com- 
mand of Captain Cole of the Caroline, with addi- 
tional details of the Madras European regiment, 
commanded by Captain Nixon, were dispatched to 
reinforce the troops at Amboyna, and provide for 
its security. Captain Cole was authorised, if he 
saw a reasonable prospect of success, to make a de- 
scent upon the Bandas, a cluster of small volcanic 
islands south-east of Amboyna; the principal of 
which were Great Banda, or Banda proper, and 
Banda Neira, separated by a narrow strait. The 
latter was selected for attack, although defended 
by two forts — Forts Bclgica and Nassau, by bat- 
teries mounting one hundred and twenty pieces of 
cannon, and by a force of above seven hundred re- 
gular troops besides militia. These were stationed 
towards the northern extremitv of the island, where 
a landing had been effected in 1801, when the place 

^ Asiatic Annual Register, xii. ; History, p. 21. 


was taken by Admiral Rainier, and where it was book l 
expected the disembarkation would be repeated ; ^^^^^^^ 
but Captain Cole landed, with a party of two hun- isio. 
dred seamen and soldiers, on the eastern side during 
the night, in a heavy squall of wind and rain, which 
effectually concealed his movements. A battery 
close to the landing-place was surprised, and its de- 
fenders made prisoners, without firing a shot ; and, a 
guide having been procured. Captain Cole directed 
his march to Fort Belgica, about half a mile distant. 
The men advanced in profound silence, reached the 
foot of the ramparts unperceived, applied their 
scaling-ladders, and cleared the wall. The greater 
part of the garrison had been drawn off to strengthen 
the main body of the troops of the island, and but 
few men with the Governor had been left in the 
fortress. These, after a feeble resistance, endea- 
voured to escape by the gate, but they were met by 
a party of sailors ; and, in the conflict which ensued, 
the Governor and several of his men were killed. 
When the day dawned, the British flag waved over 
Fort Belgica, which completely commanded the 
town and its defences. Upon the threat of Captain 
Cole to lay the former in ashes, the officer who was 
second in command agreed to surrender the island. 
A valuable booty rewarded the intrepidity and con- 
duct which had so brilliantly achieved a valuable 
acquisition without suffering any loss. 

At the same time Temate was taken by Captain 
Tucker with a detachment of Europeans, the seamen 
and marines of the Dover, and some of the newly 
enlisted Amboyna corps. Captain Tucker arrived off 
the island on the 25th August ; but light and baffling 


BOOK I. winds kept him off the shore, and a landing was not 
. ^^^^' ^'' practicable before the 28th. A hundred and seventy 
1810. men were landed in the night with intent to surprise 
the forts and batteries which guarded the bay. The 
difficulties of the approach frustrated the scheme, 
and the men were re-embarked. Early in the morn- 
ing they were again put on shore ; and, whilst the 
frigate engrossed the attention of the enemy, they 
])roceeded unobserved to an eminence supposed to 
command the fort of Kayomaira, the principal Dutch 
j)ost. Tliey arrived on the hill at noon, but to their 
great vexation they found that the fort was screened 
from their view by an intervening forest. They 
then endeavoured to proceed by an inland route, 
but, after incessant exertion throughout the day, it 
was found impossible to disencumber the path of 
the immense trees which had been cut down and 
piled across it. Turning to the right, they followed 
the course of a rivulet which led to the beach, and 
brought them about ten o'clock within eight hun- 
dred yards of the fort before they were discovered. 
Disregarding a smart fire of gra]>c and musketry, 
they rushed forward, escaladed the walls, and carried 
the fort. On the following morning the combined 
operations of the detachment and frigate overpower- 
ed the other defences of the bay, and by the even- 
ing the town and island were surrendered. Few 
casualties impaired the exultation of the victors. 
Their conquest completed the reduction of the Mo- 
luccas, and Java with its dependencies alone re- 
mained in the possession of the Dutch. ^ 

* Asiatic Annual Register, xii. ; History, 27 ; Chronicle, 80 ; Official 


Prior to the departure of Lord Minto for Madras book t. 


the practicability of the subjugation of Java had '. 

been brought under his consideration by Mr. Raffles, isii. 
originally a member of the Penang Government, 
but who had attracted the notice of the Governor- 
General by his acquaintance with the languages and 
political circumstances of the tribes of the Archipe- 
lago, and had been in consequence appointed the 
Govemor-GeneraFs agent at Malacca. After Lord 
Minto's return to Bengal, the subject was resumed : 
Mr. Raffles came round to Calcutta for the sake of 
its more commodious investigation, and his state- 
ments so entirely satisfied the Governor-General of 
the feasibility of the measure, that he determined 
to undertake it upon his own responsibility. Its 
execution was, however, deferred until the result of 
the expedition against the French islands should bo 
known ; and in the interval the design received the 
prospective sanction of the authorities in England. 
No time was lost in preparing for the expedition. 
The King's regiments, which had returned to Ma- 
dras^ from the Mauritius, were immediately re- 
embarked, with the addition of the 78th regiment 
of foot and a portion of the 22nd dragoons ; whilst 
in Bengal his Majesty's 59th, four battalions of 
Sipahi volunteers, the 20th, or marine regiment, de- 
tails of pioneers, and artillery, horse and foot, with 
the Governor-General's body-guard, were assembled 
under the command of Colonel Wood. The com- 
mand of the whole was vested in Sir Samuel Auch- 
muty, the Commander-in-chief at Madras. The 
Bengal troops sailed early in March, and reached 

* Tlic 14th, 69th, aud 81Hh : the Madras pioneers were also re-embarked. 


BOOK I. the appointed rendezvous at Malacca by the end of 
CHAP.VL ^pj.jj Lord Minto accompanied them in the Mo- 

1811. deste frigate, in the capacity, as he expressed him- 
self, of a volunteer. The Madras force sailed in 
two divisions: the first, under Lieutenant-Colonel 
Gillespie, on the 18th of April; and the second, 
under Lieutenant-Colonel Gibbs, on the 29th. At 
the same time Sir Samuel Auchmuty embarked in 
the Akbar frigate, and Commodore Broughton com- 
manding the fleet sailed in the Illustrious. It was 
fortunate that their departure had not been de- 
layed, for on the 3rd of May a tremendous hurri- 
cane set in at Madras, in which a great number of 
vessels, including the Dover frigate, were driven 
ashore and lost. The fleet had reached the outer 
edge of the vortex, and felt but little of the vio- 
lence of the storm. The whole of the expedition 
was collected at Malacca by the Ist of June : but 
this was much later than had been intended, the 
period having been delayed by the necessity of 
awaiting the return of the troops and transports 
from the Mauritius ; and it now became a question 
of some anxiety whether and by what route the 
fleet could proceed. 

The setting-in of the south-west monsoon ren- 
dered it highly inexpedient to attempt the usual 
navigation through the Straits of Banca. Besides 
the danger to which the ships might be exposed 
from tempestuous weather, it was certain that the 
passage would be tedious, and the commencement 
of military operations in Java could not take place 
earlier than the rainy season of October and No- 
vember, when the climate would become unhealthy, 


and the troops be disabled by sickness. The same book i. 
objections applied to the track round the north-east ^^^' ^' 
of Borneo; and there remained only the passage isii. 
along the south-west coast of that island, in which 
the fleet would be sheltered from the fiiry of the 
monsoon, and would be assisted on their way by 
the breezes from the land. This route was accord- 
ingly strongly recommended by Mr. Raffles, upon 
the authority of Captain Greigh, of the Minto brig, 
by whom it had been surveyed. It was as strongly 
objected to by the chief naval authorities, who pro- 
nounced it to be impracticable; but Lord Minto, 
confiding in the information of Mr. Raffles, decided 
the controversy in favour of the inner passage, and 
led the way in the Modeste. The difficulties were 
easily surmounted under Mr. Greigh's skilful pilot- 
age. In six weeks the fleet cleared the intricate 
channels, through which it had passed without a 
single accident, crossed the sea from the point of 
Sambas, and anchored on the 2nd of August off the 
north coast of Java. Had not the presence of the 
Governor-General decided the question, we have his 
own testimony that the enterprise must have been 
suspended until the following year.* 

The island of Java had for some time been al- 
most lost sight of amid the convulsive revolutions 
which had shaken the parent country. The last of 
these pretended to extinguish the national integrity 
of Holland, and reduce it to an integral department 

' Parliamentary Debates, 10th January, 1812 ; Thanks to the army and 
navy, and to Lord Minto. Life of Sir Thomas S. Raffles, p. 90. Lord 
Minto remarks in a letter to the Court, *< The attempt must have been 
abandoned for the present year if I had yielded to the predicted difficulties 
of the passage.'* 


BOOK 1. of France. Such a degradation could not fail to 
^"^''' ^^ excite deep dissatisfaction both at home and abroad ; 
1811. and the inhabitants of the Dutch colonies, more 
removed from the influence of the French Govern- 
ment than their countrymen in Europe, were in ge- 
neral more abhorrent of the alteration. Apprised 
of the prevalence of these feelings, and of the 
weakness of the administration of Java, Sir Edward 
Pellew had, in 1807, urgently pressed Sir George 
Barlow to sanction an expedition against the island ; 
for the reduction of which he required no more 
than a thousand Europeans, and as many native 
troops, in addition to the resources of the vessels 
under his own command. The economical policy 
of the Bengat Government was, however, averse to 
any undertaking which involved expense; and the 
disinclination was fortified by the prohibitory orders 
of the Court of Directors against embarking in en- 
terprises which possibly they regarded as affecting 
the interests of the nation more immediately than 
those of the Company. The Admiral was per- 
mitted, however, to amuse himself with a simple 
demonstration. Taking on board five hundred men 
and some artillery at Madras, Sir E. Pellew sailed 
on the 20th of October, 1807, with his squadron,' 
for Gresik, a harbour on the east coast of Java, 
where it was known that several Dutch vessels of 
war were laid up. He arrived off Point Parko on 
the 5th of December, and pursued his course with 
little opposition to Gresik, where he burnt three 

* The squadrim consisted of the CuihMlen and Powerful seventy -fours, 
(■aroUne and Fox frigates, and Victoria, Samarang, Seaflower, and JaBcur 


Hne-of-battle ships and an Indiaman, and destroyed book i. 
the fort and batteries. By a convention with the _^^^][]J^ 
Council of Surabaya the fleet abstained from doing isii. 
further damage, on condition of being furnished 
with supplies, which were accordingly provided. 
The facility with which this success was achieved 
demonstrated the feebleness of the Dutch force in 
Java, and the favourable disposition of the inha- 

The impunity with which the demonstration had 
been followed, awakened the attention of the 
French Emperor to the condition of Java; and he 
immediately ordered arrangements to be instituted, 
in order to place it in a state of greater security. 
Reinforcements were sent out ; and General Daen- 
dels, an officer of tried activity and resolution, was 
appointed governor. Unchecked by any respect 
for private rights, and unscrupulous in the means 
by which his ends were attained. General Daendels 
studied only how to improve the military attitude 
of the island, and prepare it for a contest of which 
he anticipated the approach. Every consideration 
gave way to this design, and the inhabitants were 
compelled to submit to enormous exactions, in order 
to raise funds by which the army might be reor- 
ganised and recruited, the existing fortresses re- 
paired, new and formidable works erected in the 
vicinity of the capital, and ample provision made 
for a vigorous defence against future invasion. He 
was not, however, allowed to test the efficiency of 
his foresight : on the eve of the arrival of the expe- 
dition he had been recalled to France, and was 
succeeded by General Jansens, who had been go- 

VOL. I. 2 a 


BOOK I. vemor of the Cape of Good Hope when it was 
^"^'' ^'' takeu by the English, and had recently arrived at 
1811. Batayia with a reinforcement of several frigates 
and a body of one thousand European troops.* The 
whole of the troops on the island were estimated at 
seventeen thousand men, natives and Europeans, of 
whom thirteen thousand were concentrated in the 
lines of Comelis, a position strong both by nature 
and art, about eight miles from Batavia. 

The fleet, the command of which had been as- 
sumed by Rear-Admiral Stopford, in the Scipio, 
and which with transports and brigs mustered above 
ninety sail, having on board about twelve thou- 
sand troops, European and Indian, in nearly equal 
proportions, anchored in the bay of Batavia on the 
4th of August. A landing was immediately ef- 
fected at Chilingyi, a village ten miles east of 
Batavia. No opposition was met with, disem- 
barkation at this point not having been anticipated. 
The army was moved forwards two miles, in two 
divisions; one on the road to Comelis, the other 
fronting that to Batavia. No effort of any import- 
ance was made to disturb them ; and, the horses and 
guns having been landed on the 5th, a general ad- 
vance was ordered towards the capital. On the 
night of the 7th, the van, commanded by Colonel 
Gillespie, crossed the Anjole river by a bridge of 

' The removal of Daendels was a source of great mortification to him, 
and he was urgent with his successor to abstain from the assumption of 
authority until after the expediticm should have arrived, and been, as he 
confidently asserted, defeated. Although it is possible that his military 
talents might have enhanced the difficulty of tlie conquest, and delayed its 
accomplishment, yet the number and equipment of the invading force, and 
the resources at the command of the Government of India, ensured ultimate 


boats, and by dawn hutted near the suburbs. In book i. 
the course of the day a small detachment was sent J]^^l_lll. 
into the city; by whose presence the work of plun- isn. 
der commenced by the Malays and Javanese was 
arrested, and large stores of colonial goods were 
saved from the flames. Many of the principal in- 
habitants had been compelled by General Jansens 
to quit Batavia; but those who remained, readily 
submitted. In the evening, a large part of the ad- 
vance was quartered in the town. During the 
night an attempt at surprise was made by the 
enemy; but, finding the place occupied in greater 
force than they expected, they speedily retired. 

On the morning of the 10th of August, the ad- 
vanced division marched out of Batavia towards the 
cantonments of Weltevreeden, which they reached 
by daybreak. The cantonments were abandoned ; 
but a division of the Dutch army, under General 
Jumel, the second in command, had taken up a 
strong position about a mile from Weltevreeden, on 
the road to Comelis. Their right was protected 
by a canal called the Slokan: their left was ex- 
posed ; but the approach both in front and on the 
flank was embarrassed by pepper plantations and 
marshy ground, as well as defended by an abatis, 
with which the enemy had blocked up the road. 
From behind this entrenchment they opened a fire 
of four horse-artillery guns with grape ; whilst the 
infantry, posted in two villages, kept up a brisk 
fire of musketry on the advancing columns. The 
guns were answered with effect by those of the 
British artillery, and the musketry was replied to 
by the skirmishers, whilst an attempt was made to 


BOOK I. turn the enemy's left flank. After some delay, 


' arising from the nature of the ground, the attempt 
1811. succeeded. The villages were set in flames, and 
the British troops rushed forward to the chai^. 
The enemy broke, and were pursued with vigour 
until they took shelter under the guns of Cornelis.* 
The main body of the army came up towards the 
close of the engagement, and took post at Welte- 
vreeden ; having secured a free communication 
with the town and shipping, a healthy and commo- 
dious station for the troops, and the command of 
the resources of the country. Three hundred gims 
were found in the arsenal at Weltevreeden, besides 
great quantities of ammunition and military stores. 

Preparations were immediately made for an at- 
tack upon Comelis, which General Jansens ex- 
j>ectcd to be able to maintain against all assaults 
until the rainy season should set in, and sickness 
should compel the retreat of the invaders. IDs 
post was an entrenched camp between two rivers, 
the Slokan on the east, and the river of Batavia on 
the west. The latter was unfordable and the banks 
were steep and overrun with jungle : the former was 
more practicable, but it was defended by powerful 
batteries and redoubts; one of which was on the 
near side of the river, for the protection of the only 
bridge that had been left standing. The space be- 
tween the rivers in front, above six himdred yards, 
was guarded by strong entrenchments and redoubts, 
and was diflicult of access from the ruggedness of 

* Their loss was severe ; that of the Hritish was iuconsiderable : but 
several officers were wounded ; of whom Lieutenant Duffield of the hone 
artillery died of his wounds. Lieutenant Munro of his Majesty's 78th 
was killed. 


the ground. A like space in the rear of the works book i. 
was still more strongly fortified. The whole cir- ^^*^' ^'' 
cumferenee of the lines extended nearly five miles, isii. 
and was defended by two hundred and eighty pieces 
of cannon. 

Although the necessity of an ultimate assault 
was anticipated by the Commander-in-chief, yet he 
thought it exj)edient to try the effect of regular ap- 
proaches ; and a battering train having been landed, 
and batteries constructed, the army broke ground 
on the night of the 20th of August. It was not till 
the morning of the 24th that the batteries could be 
opened with effect, and during the interval a furious 
cannonade was kept upon the works by the enemy, 
by w4iich some loss was sustained. On the 24th 
the guns opened upon the enemy's lines, and, not- 
withstanding the greater number of their ordnance, 
with much more decided effect. Tlie principal re- 
doubt was repeatedly silenced, and many of the 
guns in their batteries were dismounted. On the 
25th the cannonade was resumed, and returned 
with sj)irit: but although the enemy suffered se- 
verely both in men and guns, yet it was evident 
that no practicable breach could be made until the 
batteries w^ere considerably advanced ; an operation 
involving delay, and demanding from the seamen 
and troops an amount of exertion to which, from 
the heat of the weather and the excessive labour 
they would have to undergo, they were unequal. 
In the mean time the enemy were daily adding to 
their defences, and using every means to render 
them impregnable. The period therefore had ar- 
rived at which the place must be carried by storm. 


BOOK I. or a protracted and exhausting course of warfare 

^"^''' ^'' would become inevitable. 
1811. The comparative facility of an approach on the 
enemy's right by the Slokan, and the possibility of 
carrying by a coup de main both the redoubt which 
was on this side of the river, and the bridge by 
which the river was crossed, recommended the prin- 
cipal attack to be made in that direction. The 
assault was intrusted to Colonel Gillespie, having 
under his orders the infantry of the advance, and a 
part of the right brigade of the line commanded by 
Colonel Gibbs. At the same time two other attacks 
were to be made upon the enemy's lines ; one, under 
Lieutenant-Colonel Macleod, against the principal 
redoubt in the angle of the enemy's front and left ; 
and the other, under Major Yule, upon the bridge 
leading to the rear : whilst the main body of the 
army threatened the front.^ 

Colonel Gillespie's column marched soon after 
midnight on the 26th. The troops had to make a 
considerable detour through a difficult country, in- 
tersected by ravines, and parcelled out in pepper 
plantations and betel gardens. The darkness of the 
night aggravated the intricacy of the path; and when, 
towards morning, the head of the column had ap- 

^ The troops under Colonel Gillespie were the two flank battalions, con* 
sisting of the grenadiers of the 78th regiment, and of the 5th and 6th natrre 
Tolunteer battalions, the light companies of the 14th, 59th, 69th, 78th, and 
of the light infantry battalion and 4th native volunteers, the rifle companies 
of the 14tli, 59th, and 78th, five companies of the 89th, dismounted dragoons 
and body-guard, a body of marines, and Madras pioneers. Colonel Gibbs* 
column was formed of the grenadiers of the 14th, 59th, and 69th, first batta- 
lion of the 59th, and 4th and light infantry volunteer battalions. Colonel 
Macleod led the 69th regiment. JMajor Yule had under his orders the gre- 
nadiers of the 20tli native infantry, two companies of his Msgesty*s69th, the 
'flank battalion of the reserve, with a detachment of the Madras pioneers and 
artillery, and a troop of the 22ud dragoons. 


proaclied near to the works, information was brought book i. 
to Colonel Gillespie that the rear division had fallen J]|^JjJ^ 
behind. A short halt was ordered; but as it was I8II. 
impossible to remain unobserved after daybreak, and 
a retreat in the presence of the enemy might hazard 
the success of the expedition. Colonel Gillespie de- 
termined to make the assault at once, trusting that 
the strayed column would be guided aright by the 
firing, and would be in time to support him before 
he was seriously engaged. 

The morning dawn showed the enemy's videttes 
at hand, and the column was challenged. The men, 
as commanded, reserving their fire, rushed forward 
with the bayonet ; and the picquets were destroyed, 
and the advanced redoubt was carried almost as soon 
as the alarm was given. At the same moment the 
grenadiers of the 78th, under a heavy fire from the 
enemy, carried the bridge over the Slokan, a slight 
structure which might with ease have been de- 
molished. As soon as the passage was effected. 
Colonel Gillespie, turning to the left, stormed a 
second redoubt, which was within the lines ; and not- 
withstanding the superior numbers of the enemy, and 
a spirited resistance, which caused the loss of many 
brave officers and men, carried it at the point of the 
bayonet. Each of these redoubts mounted twenty 
eighteen pounders, besides several twenty-four and 
thirty-two pounders. 

The division of Colonel Gibbs having, as was anti- 
cii)ated, been guided to the scene of action by the 
cannonade, had hastened on to take their share in 
the conflict ; and, having crossed the Slokan, the 
grenadiers of the 14th, 59th, and e9th regiments 


BOOK I. moved against a redoubt on the right, which they 
°"^''' ^^ stormed, and carried with the bayonet in the most 
1811. gallant manner. They had scarcely gained possession 
when the powder magazine* attached to it exploded 
with a stunning sound, and scattered piecemeal the 
mutilated limbs of both defenders and assailants. 
This awful occurrence was followed by a momentary 
pause ; but the batteries of the enemy soon opened 
again upon the attacking column. The assailants 
had, however, now gained a firm footing within the 
lines, and proceeded with renewed spirit to storm 
the remaining redoubts to their right and left. 

In the mean time an active cannonade had been 
maintained on the front, where the enemy had erro- 
neously expected the main attack would have been 
made, and under this persuasion had refrained from 
reinforcing their troops on the right. The column 
directed to the rear was unable to cross the river, 
as the bridge was burnt, and was obliged to remain 
contented with firing upon the enemy from the op- 
posite bank. The detachment under Lieutenant- 
Colonel Macleod carried the redoubt against which 
they had been sent, but, unfortunately, with the 
loss of their commander. The success of the assault 
on the right, however, soon opened a free access to 
the entrenchment, and the British entered Cornells 
in every direction. 

When most of the redoubts had been stormed, 
and daylight rendered objects distinct, the enemy's 
reserve, composed of several battalions, with twenty 

* It was said to have been purposely fired by some of the enemy's officers, 
who perished in tlie explosion. No advantage accrued to the enemy £ram 
the catastrophe. 


pieces of horse artillery, besides heavy guns, and a book i. 
large body of cavalry, was seen drawn up on the J|^^^]J^ 
plain in front of the barracks and lesser fort of Cor- isii. 
nelis, the guns of which commanded the approach. 
The duty of dispersing these was consigned to the 
59th, and was gallantly effected by that corps, who 
not only drove them from their position, but cap- 
tured the fort. The dragoons and horse artillery 
then coming up. Colonel Gillespie placed himself at 
their head, and pursued the fugitives for ten miles, 
cutting off great numbers, and completing the dis- 
organization of their army. Those who sought refuge 
in the thickets were killed or dispersed by the 14th 
regiment and detachments of the Bengal volunteers. 
Tlie efforts of their officers to keep them together as 
far as Beutenzorg, where entrenchments had been 
throA^Ti up, and a second stand was to have been 
made, entirely failed, and the fate of Java was de- 
cided. Six thousand prisoners were taken, mostly 
European troops, including a regiment of voltigeurs 
recently arrived from France. The loss of the 
enemy in killed and wounded was likewise very 
considerable. The victory was not won without loss 
also to the assailants. In the previous operations, 
and in the assault of Comelis, the killed and wounded 
amounted to nearly nine hundred, of whom eighty- 
iive were officers.^. 

Although the dispositions of the Commander-in- 
chief rendered the fall of Comelis little doubtful, 

* The officers who were killed, or who died of their wounds, were, 
Lieutenant-Colonel C. Macleod, his Majesty's 69th, and Lieutenant- Colonel 
Campbell, 78th : Captains Kennedy, 14th ; Oliphaut, 59th ; and Ross, C9th : 
Lieutenants Hutchins, 22nd dragoons; Waring, Lloyd, Litton, and Mac- 
pherson, 59th ; Hipkius, 09th ; Cogh Ian, 14th ; Macdonald, 5th battalion 
volunteers; and Murrall, ditto 6th : and Ensign Wolfe of his Majesty's 59th. 


BOOK I. yet that it was accomplished so qaickly, and with a 
^"^'' ^'' loss which, though severe, was disproportioDate to 
1811. the strength of the position and the importance of 
the capture, was mainly attributable to the decision 
and activity of Colonel Gillespie. Had he paused 
for the junction of the rear division, had he delayed 
an instant to attack the exterior redoubt^ and make 
good his passage over the Slokan, the difficulties of 
the attempt would have been immeasurably en- 
hanced, and success would have demanded infinitely 
greater sacrifices. The same promptitude and cour. 
age characterised his subsequent movements. The 
defeat of the reserve and the pursuit of the flying 
foe ; the final dispersion of the enemy's troops, and 
the impossibility of again concentrating a force of 
any consideration, were mainly attributable to his 
exertions. That the troops he commanded were 
worthy of their leader is an additional proof of his 
military merit. 

After the annihilation of his army. General Jan- 
sens, with a small body of horse, retired to the east- 
ern districts of Java. A squadron of frigates, with 
the marines and a Bengal battalion under Colonel 
Wood, was immediately dispatched to Cheribon, and 
arrived there two days after General Jansens bad 
passed. The place was immediately surrendered. 
Another expedition proceeded to Madura, oiF the 
north-eastern extremity of Java, and occupied that 
island. On the 5th of September Sir S. Auchmuty 
proceeded against General Jansens, who had assem- 
bled a force consisting chiefly of native horse, and 
taken up a strong and fortified position at Jatu, 
about six miles from Samarang. The vessels arrived 


off the latter port on the 12th, and the troops were book i. 
landed on tiie following day, the town being aban- ..!!!^!!lll!l 
doned. On the 16th they came in sight of the ene- I8ii. 
my, about eight thousand strong, principally natives, 
with twenty pieces of cannon, drawn up on some 
high and rugged hills forming the southern boundary 
of a valley across which lay the road. The troops 
with Sir S. Auchmuty were not above one thousand 
in number, consisting of the 14th and 78th regi- 
ments, with the grenadier company of the 3rd vo- 
lunteer native battalion, and details of artillery and 
pioneers, with six field-pieces. Having established 
his guns on the heights facing the enemy, so as 
to keep down their fire. Sir S. Auchmuty directed 
the troops to cross the valley and ascend the hills 
opposite. The advance was made with the greatest 
alacrity and firmness ; the valley was traversed with 
little loss ; and, as soon as the heights were as- 
cended, the enemy retreated in confusion. As they 
consisted chiefly of cavalry, they easily outstripped 
pursuit ; but on learning that they showed an in- 
clination to rally under the cannon of the small 
fort of Onarang, about four miles from the field 
of battle, Sir S. Auchmuty marched thither with- 
out halting, again put them to flight, and occupied 
the fort. This was the last effort made by Gene- 
ral Jansens. Finding that no dependence could 
be placed on the only troops he was now able to 
collect, he proposed immediately after the action 
to treat for a capitulation. A cessation of arms 
for twenty-four hours was allowed him ; and, after 
some hesitation on the part of General Jansens, 
a treaty was signed. By this it was stipulated that 


BOOK I. Java and its dependencies should be surrendered to 
.limilll Great Britain ; that all the military should be pri- 
.1811. soiiers of war ; and that the British governor should 
be left unfettered in regard to the future adminis- 
tration of the island, the guarantee of the public 
debt, and the liquidation of the paper money.* 

Thus, as Lord Minto observed, an empire, 
which for three centuries had contributed greatly 
to the power, prosperity, and grandeur of one of the 
principal and most respected states of Europe, had 
been \iTested from the short usurpation of France 
and added to the dominion of the British crown, 
and converted from a seat of hostile machination 
and commercial competition into an augmentation 
of British power and prosperity. The reduction of 
Java left the Eastern seas without an enemy, and 
the merchant- vessels of Great Britain and of British 
India were at liberty to pursue their peaceful and 
beneficent course without dread of molestation or 
fear of plunder. The value of the conquest was 
perhaps inadequately appreciated in England, but 
the acknowledgments of the Prince Regent were 
conveyed to the army and navy.* Medals were be- 
stowed upon the King's and Company's officers who 
had distinguished themselves in the expedition, and 

' General Jansens had been formerly governor of the Cape of Good 
Hope when it was taken by the English. Adverting to this disaAter, the 
French Emperor, on his departure for the government of Java, significaiitly 
remarked, ** Souvenez-vous, Monsieur, qu*un G^u^ral Francois ne se laiste 
pas prendre une secoude fois.*' He had little reason to look for much fm- 
vourable consideration on his return to France. 

' In the debate in the Commons on tlie vote of thanks to Lord Minto and 
the army and navy for tlie reduction of the Isles of France and Java, She- 
ridan and Whitbread professed to doubt if the acquisitions were worUi the 
cost of money and life by whicii they had been made. These doubts were 
clearly the mere effusions of party spleen. 


Lord Minto was raised to the dignity of Earl of book i. 

MilltO. ^HAP^ 

After the reduction of Java, the government of I8II. 
the island was placed in the hands of Mr. Raffles, 
with the designation of Lieutenant-Governor of 
Java and its dependencies, and the command of the 
troops left on the island was conferred upon Co- 
lonel Gillespie. Some time elapsed before the au- 
thority of the new government was established. 
The Dutch colonists, who could have no particular 
affection for the French, and who had experienced 
the overbearing and extortionary spirit of that mili- 
tary mle which was modelled upon the despotism 
to which France was subject, were for the most 
part well pleased \iith the change; but some of the 
native chiefs, deeming the season propitious for the 
subversion of all European ascendancy, manifested a 
hostile disposition which it became necessary to sup- 
press. Among these chiefs, one of the most power- 
ful was the Sultan of Yodhyakarta, who declared 
open war against the British, and called upon his 
countrymen to join him for their expulsion. Having 
in vain attempted to come to a friendly understand- 
ing with the Sultan, Colonel Gillespie conducted a 
force against his capital, and carried it by storm. 
The Sultan was taken prisoner and exiled to Pe- 
nang, and his son was placed on the throne. The 
capture of Yodhyakarta, a place of great extent and 
some strength, defended by one hundred thousand 
troops, who, although defective in arms and dis- 
cipline, were not wanting in intrepidity and fierce- 
ness, added another laurel to the wreath won by 
British valour, and intimidated the native princes 


366 rasTORY OF British india. 

BOOK I. into a peaceable submission to a government whose 
^"^^' ^^ conciliatory policy they had subsequently occasion to 
1812. compare with the oppression which they had been 
accustomed to suffer from the Dutch. 

Previously to the contest with the Sultan of 
Yodhyakarta, it had been found advisable to dispatch 
an expedition against the Sultan of Palembang, a 
state on the north-east coast of Sumatra. Shortly 
after the conquest of Java, commissioners had been 
sent to the Sultan to renew the engagements in 
which he was held by the Dutch. They had been 
obliged to return without effecting their object : the 
Sultan denied that any such engagements had ever 
existed, and asserted that the Dutch factory had 
been abandoned before the reduction of Java. To 
remove living evidence of the falsehood of this as- 
sertion, he razed the Dutch fort and factory, and 
caused the members of the factory at Palembang, 
now become the subjects of the British Govern- 
ment of Java, to be murdered. To punish this 
atrocity, and enforce the stipulation which had 
long been maintained in regard to the trade with 
Banca especially, a force was sent against the 
Sultan in March, 1812, commanded by Colonel Gil- 
lespie. He arrived off the Palembang river on the 
18th of April, and the troops ascended the river in 
boats. No resistance was offered; and, upon the 
approach of the detachment to Palembang, the 
Sultan fled, leaving his capital and principality at 
the disposal of the victors. Colonel Gillespie with 
a small party landed on the night of the 25th of 
April ; and, being joined by the principal part of his 
force on the following morning, commenced an in- 


vestigation into the character and behaviour of the book i. 
fugitive prince. The process seems to have been ^*^^' ^' 
summary. Upon the depositions of two natives I812. 
who had been sent to Palembang by the British 
Government of Java, and who accused the Sultan 
of the murder of the Dutch, he was declared to 
have forfeited his sovereignty by various acts of 
rapine, treachery, and barbarity, contrary to the 
laws of nations and his existing engagements with 
the Dutch, to whose right the English Company 
had succeeded in virtue of the cession of Java and 
its dependencies. A proclamation to this effect in 
the Malay language was read. At the same time 
it was announced that the Commander of the forces 
liad selected Pangerang Adipati, the Sultanas bro- 
ther, in consideration of his virtues, and the love, 
esteem, and veneration with which he was regarded 
by the people of the country, to fill the vacant 
throne. This person was accordingly declared true 
and lawful Sultan of Palembang and its depend- 
encies, imder the title of Sultan Ratu Ahmed Na- 
jam-ud-din. The first use made of his power by the 
new Sultan was to enter into a treaty by which he 
ceded the island of Banca, a dependency of Palem- 
bang valuable for its mines of tin, in absolute and 
perpetual sovereignty and possession to the English. 
On the 18th of May, Colonel Gillespie, leaving with 
the prince whom he had crowned a hundred men 
for his defence, returned to Java, taking possession 
of Banca on his way. The measures thus adopted 
by Mr. RaflSes were approved of by the Governor of 

^ Most of the particulars given in the text are derived from Thorn's 


BOOK I. Although the Court of Directors had sanctioned 
^"^''' ^'' the exi>editiou against Java, their views did not go 
11812. beyond the expulsion or reduction of the Dutch 
power, the destruction of their fortifications, the dis- 
tribution of their anus and stores to the natives, and 
the evacuation of the island. Lord Minto, however, 
was not prepared to expose the Dutch colonists 
without a government or without arms to the vin- 
dictive passions of the Javanese;* to consign a rich 
and prosperous island to an indefinite perpetuation 
of the elements of disorder and bloodshed; or to 
throw away the advantages, both commercial and 
political, which the occupation of Java ensured to 
British India and to Great Britain. He therefore 
recommended to the Court a reconsideration of their 
orders ; and, upon the conquest of the island, com- 
mitted it to a government composed partly of the 
civil and military officers of the Company, and partly 
of respectable colonists well affected to the English. 
Under their combined administration Java soon came 
to enjoy an unprecedented amount of tranquillity and 
prosperity. The country was divided into districts, 
each of which was placed under tlie management of 
a European Resident, who was charged with the 
general collection of the revenue, and the distri- 
bution of Justice according to such laws as were in 
force, and which were unexceptionable in principle. 
The infliction of torture and mutilation was at once 
abolished ; and natives were admitted to juries, from 

Conquest of Java. Major Thorn wned au Deputy Quarter-Master-General 
to the forces iu Java. 

* Letter from Lord Minto to Mr. Raffles, February, 181 1 ; Life of Raffles, 
p. 23. 


which' they had under the Dutch regime been ex- book t. 
eluded. The farming of the revenues and imposts ^^^^' ^'' 
was abandoned, and the collections were made di- 1813. 
rectly by the officers of the Government according to 
fixed rates. The arbitrary exaction of an undefined 
proportion of the crops was discontinued, and a set- 
tlement of a specified amount for a given period 
entered into with the occupants of the land. All 
forced requisitions of labour were prohibited, transit 
duties were abrogated, and the duties on external 
trade equalised. It were foreign to the scope of 
this work to dwell longer upon the improvements 
effected in Java whilst under British authority ; but 
the prevalence of undisturbed internal order and 
peace, concurrently with the improving resources of 
the state, evidenced a material advance in the pro- 
ductive industry of the people, and an amelioration 
of their condition.^ 

The question of retaining Java as a colony of the 
Crown, or of leaving it under the government of 
the East India Company, had been left undeter- 
mined by the British Administration, amid the 
mighty transactions which at this period involved 
the destinies of the world. One of their results 
was the re-establishment of the Netherlands as an 
independent monarchy, and the revival of those re- 
lations of amity which had at various intervals 
united Great Britain and Holland. In the spirit of 
the connexion thus re-established, the British Go- 

' The revenues of Java realised, in 1805-6, rupees 492,128. General 
Daendels, in 1809, raised them to 800,000. In 1814 they amounted to 
5,368,065. For this and other facts, see " Substance of a Minute recorded 
by Sir Thomas S. Raffles, with Appendix ; printed (not published) by Black 
and Ck)., London, 1814 : also his Life, and History of Java. 

VOL. I. 2 B 


BOOK I. vemment, without weighing with sufficient delibe- 
^"^'' ^ ration the circumstances which the altered political 
1814. condition of Europe had created, and with a dere- 
liction more liberal than politic of its own interests, 
hastened to replace the Dutch in their ancient 
Eastern possessions ; and by a convention with the 
United Netherlands, dated 13th of August, 1814^ 
engaged to restore all the colonies, with exception 
of the Cape of Good Hope and some places in the 
West Indies. Java was consequently among the 
cessions. The more pressing calls at home upon 
the attention of the Batavian Government delayed 
its availing itself immediately of the generosity of 
its ally ; and Java did not reassume the character of 
a Dutch colony until the end of 1816, five years 
after it had been conquered by the armament from 
Bengal. Sir T. Raffles was spared the pain of re- 
signing his power to the Dutch commissioners, by 
the appointment of Mr. Fendall, of the Bengal ser- 
vice, to the government of Java in the beginning of 
the same year.* 

' Some measures of the administration of Mr. Raffles had been disap- 
proved of by the Court of Directors, particularly his alienation of the public 
domains in order to raise funds, in place of re-issuing a greatly depreciated 
paper currency, under an emergent demand fur money, and the inexpedience 
of drawing on Bengal. Charges implicating his integrity had also been 
preferred against him ; which, although acknowledged in most unqualified 
terms by the Court to be utterly unfounded, seem to have produced a bias 
unfavourable to him in the mind of Lord Moira, and to have had some in- 
fluence in his supersession. His provisional appointment, by Lord Minto, 
to be Resident at Bencoolen was confirmed, and he repaired thither after a 
visit to England, where he received the honour of knighthood in the end of 
1817.— Life, p. 290. 



Hetum of the Governor-General from Java. — Internal 
Administraiion. — Indications of future Hostilities. 
— Relations with Hyderabad and Nagpore. — Mis- 
government of Oude. — Interference of the Govern- 
ment of Bengal. — Differences between the Nawab 
and the Resident. — The latter supported by Lord 
Minto. — Defects in the Judicial and Revenue Sys^ 
terns of the British Government. — Mohammedan 
and latter Hindu Systems. — Concentration ofFunc^^ 
tions. — Judicial officers. — Circumstances counteract^ 
ing defective Administraiion. — Stale of Civil and 
Criminal Justice. — Consequences of establishing CivU 
Courts^ — multiplication of Suits^ — arrea/rs of De- 
cisions^ — no effective remedy applied. — State of Cri- 
minal Judicature^ — similar arrears. — State of Po- 
lice. — Classes of Robbers^ — prevalence of Dakoitu 
or Gang robbery ^ — atrocities perpetrated^ — difficult 
of detection and conviction. — Evils of excluding 
Native co-operation^ — attempts to recover it^—faHwres. 
Superintendents of Police and Special Magistrates 
appointed. — Employment of Informers. — Diminution 
of Dakoiti. — Revenue System, — review of. — Pro- 
prietary right of the Sovereign not of Hindu but of 
Mohammedan origin. — Doctrines of the latter. — 
Notions of the people. — Nature and content of public 
demand under the Hindus and Mohammedans in 
earlier and later times, — from whom demanded. — 
Variety of Proprietary rights. — Village communi- 
ties^ — their origin^ — legislation^ — colonisation^ — 



conquest — Traces of property eartinguished 6y the 
ea^actions of the Crovemmenty and Village cotntnuni- 
ties destroyed^-rin some provinces^ — not in aU. — 
Variety of Organization^ — different rights of the 
member Sy — peculiarities of constitution^ — general 
identity. — Classes of tenants^ — perpetual^ — tempo^ 

. rary. — The Public Revenue how realised. — Revenue 
officers. — Head-men ofviUageSy — modifications of the 
office. — Function of Zemindar^ — degree of his pro- 
prietary righty — contingent advantages^ — considera- 
tion among the people. — Course adopted by the Bri- 
tish Government. — Permanent Zemindari settlement 

- ordered for Madras. — Commencement of Ryotwar 
settlement. — Principles of assessment urged by Lord 
W. Bentinck, — abandoned by ifie Grovemment of 
Madras. — Village settlements formed. — Perpetual 
settlement at Madras prohibited by the Court of 
Directors. — Settlement of the Ceded and Conquered 

• Provinces of Bengal. — Commission of Inquiry^ — 
recommend delay of a permanent assessment^ — re- 
commendation disregarded by the Government. — JEx- 
pected advantages of permanency^ — not realisable^ — 
illusory nature of the provision^ — moderate assess- 
mefit all that is essential, y— principle discountenanced 
in England. — Permanent settlement of die Ceded 
and Conquered Provinces forbidden. — Regulations 
for the protection of the Ryots. — House-taa^ — re- 
sistance at BenareSy — repealed. — Religious riot at 
Benares. — Missionaries in Bengal^ — estoMished at 
SeramporCy — checked by the Government. — lAjrd 
Mintds encouragement of Oriental Literature^ — in- 
fer^/ in the College of Fort William. — Financial 
operations. — Close of Lord Minto's Admitiistration. 


The Governor-General returned from Java to book l 
Calcutta towards the end of 1811; aad theJJ^im 
remaining period of his administration was oc- J812. 
cupied with the resumption and prosecution of 
measures affecting the welfare of British India 
in its amicable relations with the neighbouring 
states and its allies, and in the promotion of its 
internal prosperity. 

The peace of India remained undisturbed ; but 
various indications occurred of an approaching neces- 
sity for departing from the pacific principles which 
had generally regulated the policy of the Govern- 
ment. On the north, the Court of Nepal had as- 
serted claims to territory within the Company's 
boundaries which were questioned or denied; and 
had instigated, or allowed its subjects to commit, 
encroachments and outrages which demanded serious 
notice. In the south, the style assumed by the 
officers of the King of Burma in their intercourse 
with the English functionaries at Chittagong, arising 
out of insurrections in the intermediate province of 
Aracan lately conquered by the Burmese, revealed 
an arrogant and usurping spirit which it would pro- 
bably require force to repress. On the western 
frontier, the banditti known as Pindaris were be- 
coming daily more confident and daring; and in 
1812 a party of them violated the integrity of the 
British dominions, broke through the boundaries, 
and advanced to the wealthy commercial city of 
Mirzapore, which they threatened to plunder. The 
approach of troops saved it from destruction, and 
the Pindaris retired. To prevent the repetition of 
a similar irruption, treaties were formed with the 


BOOK I. Rajas of Tehri and Rewa,* by which they were bound ^ close the passes in their several principalities 
J812. against the Pindari incursions, and a cordon of 
troops was stationed along the frontier from Bundel- 
khand to Midnapore. At the same time that these 
precautions were taken, it was foreseen that they 
would be mere palliatives ; and a time was contem- 
plated when it would be necessary to undertake a 
system of military and political operations calculated 
to strike at the root of this great and increasing 
evil.* The period was not long deferred ; but the 
arrangements adopted belong to a different adminis- 
tration. The same was the case with the course 
that was ultimately pursued with respect to Nepal 
and Burma; and we may therefore suspend their 
consideration until the power of the British Go- 
vernment was exerted to place its rights beyond 
dispute, to secure its confines from aggression, and 
to eradicate the predatory pestilence which had so 
long preyed upon the strength, and wasted the ener- 
gies, of Central India. 

The subsidiary alliance with Hyderabad had 
undergone no material alteration since the interfere 
ence of the Government of Bengal in the appoint- 
ment of a minister. The Nizam, discontented and 
sullen, took little concern in public business, and 
sought consolation for wounded pride in sensual in- 
dulgence. His minister, Munir-al-Mulk, equally in- 
dolent and incapable, followed his sovereign's ex- 

' Treaty with Raja Bikramcgit of Tehri, 23rd December, 1812. The 
treaties with the Rewa Raja have been previously referred to.-— Treaties 
with Native Chiefs, xlix. 

' Secret Letter from Bengal, 2n(l October, 1812 ; Papers. Pindari War 
p. 14. ' 


ample ; and all the labour, but with it much of the book i. 
authority, devolved upon the Hindu subordinate. ^^^-^^ 
Chandu Lai. Strong also in the assured support 1812. 
of the Resident, the Dewan made but an indifferent 
use of his responsibility, and to his own purposes and 
emolument sacrificed the interests of the prince and 
the prosperity of the people. At the recommenda- 
tion of the Resident, Chandu Lai consented to the 
reorganisation of the military contingent which the 
Nizam was bound by treaty to furnish, and, in- 
stead of a body of irregulars, to maintain a standing 
disciplined force under British officers. This was 
gradually increased to above twelve thousand men, 
horse and foot, and proved itself of eminent service 
in the subsequent war. Its chief value in the esti- 
mation of the minister was the weight which it 
gave him in his dealings with the Court, and the 
coercive means it enabled him to employ against 
refractory landholders, and formers of the revenue, 
on occasions when the aid of the subsidiary brigades 
was withheld. The sanction of the Government 
was given to the arrangement. A similar plan was 
recommended to the Peshwa, and he also assented 
to the formation of a disciplined brigade under 
British officers.* 

The necessity which has been described of inter- 
fering for the defence of the Raja of Nagpore natu- 
rally directed the attention of the Government to 
the permanent maintenance at his expense of a 
military force. Negotiations with this view were 
opened ; but the objections of the Raja to a sub- 

1 Report, Select Committee, 18S2 ; Political Appendix, pp. 1S3, 866. 


BOOK I. sidiary alliance were not to be overcome, and the 

^"^''' ^"' arrangement was deferred.* 
1812, A long, and occasionally an uneasy, discussion 
with the Nawab of Oude engaged at this time in 
an especial manner the deliberations of the Grovem- 
ment and of the Court of Directors. The frequent 
applications made by the Nawab for the services of 
the subsidiary force in the compulsive collection of 
the revenues of Oude had occasioned extreme dis- 
satisfaction in the minds of both the local and the 
home authorities, as they were well aware that 
the troops were in this manner often employed on 
duties incompatible vrith their military character, 
and were converted into instruments of extortion 
and oppression. Supported by the sanction and in- 
junctions of the Court of Directors, the Governor- 
General determined, towards the close of 1810, to 
express to the Nawab in an unqualified manner the 
sentiments with which his fiscal administration was 
regarded, and the conclusions of the Bengal Gt)vem- 
ment that a change of system was indispensably ne- 
cessary. A letter was accordingly addressed to him 
by Lord Minto, earnestly recommending to him to 
institute a reform which should be based u{)on the 
fundamental principles of a moderate assessment, to 
be made by the officers of Government immediately 
with the landholders, without the inter\'ention of a 
contractor or farmer of the revenue. The settlements 
were to be made for a fixed term of years, and the 
occupants of the land were to be guaranteed in their 
occupancy as long as the amount of the assessment 

» Report, Select Committee, 1832; Political Appendix, p. 227. 


was regularly discharged. Other reforms, relating book i. 
to the police and the administration of justice, were ^^^^-^^ 
suggested at the same time ; and the Resident was 1812. 
instructed to use an urgent and decided tone in 
pressing these recommendations upon the consider- 
ation of the Nawab. 

The interference which was thus exercised by the 
Government of Bengal in the internal regulation of 
the affairs of Oude was grounded upon the article of 
the treaty of 1801, in which the Nawab " engaged 
to establish in his reserved dominions such a system 
of administration, to be carried into effect by his 
own officers, as should be conducive to the prospe- 
rity of his subjects, and calculated to secure the 
lives and property of the inhabitants ; and that his 
Excellency would always advise with, and act in 
conformity to, the counsel of the officers of the Ho- 
nourable Company." The explanation subsequently 
given by Lord Wellesley to the Nawab of the prin- 
ciples which were to regulate the intercourse be- 
tween the two states amplified the expressions of 
this article ; and whilst it declared that the Resident 
was to be the representative of the Governor- 
General, and the channel by which the sentiments 
and counsels of the British Government were to be 
communicated, enjoined that functionary to treat 
the Nawab with the utmost degree of respect, con- 
ciliation, and attention, and to maintain cordial 
union and harmony in all transactions. 

How this was to be accomplished when the senti- 
ments of the Nawab differed from those of the 
Resident ? what security was provided for the ac- 
quiescence of the former in the counsels of the 


BOOK I. latter? who was to determine whether the counsels 
CHAP, vn. ^^ ^YiQ British Government and of its representative 
1812. were really calculated to promote the interests of 
the prince and his people ? and by what means com- 
pliance was to be enforced consistently with the de- 
gree of independence which the Nawab was allowed 
to retain? were questions which the vague and in- 
definite phraseology of both treaty and explanati<m 
left for the embarrassment of Lord Wellesley's suc- 

On the present occasion all these sources of per- 
plexity occurred. Professing himself willing and 
desirous to defer to the advice of the British Go- 
vernment, the Nawab entertained insuperable and 
not unreasonable objections to the propositions sub- 
mitted to him. It was recommended to him to 
take as a model, the arrangements introduced into 
the Ceded provinces with, it was affirmed, entire 
success ; to relinquish the practice of farming the re- 
venues ; to institute an inquiry into the productive- 
ness of the lands ; and, upon a determination of their 
value, to settle with the proprietors a moderate rate 
of assessment for a period of three years. To these 
recommendations the Nawab at first gave his general 
assent ; but he started doubts as to the practicability 
of their execution, the delays and difficulties which 
would attend the valuation of the lands, and the 
impossibility of finding functionaries qualified and 
fit to form settlements with the landholders. On 
the other hand, the Resident, Major Baillie, san- 
guine in his expectations of success, treated the 
Nawab's doubts as evasive, and, instead of observing 
the conciliatory course prescribed by Lord Welles- 


ley, pressed the reform with a degree of positiveness book i. 
and importunity which furnished the Nawab with a ^"^^' ^'' 
fresh cause of alarm, and led him to apprehend that 1812. 
the Resident's objects were to take into his own 
hands the nomination of the revenue officers and 
an inquisitorial scrutiny into his revenues. Each 
charged the other with a virtual infraction of the 
treaty ; the Resident accusing the Nawab of disre- 
garding the advice of the British Government, and 
the Nawab complaining that he was not permitted 
to judge what measures were conducive to the pro- 
sperity of his people, or carry them into effect 
through the agency of his own servants. There 
were several other sources of disagreement, arising 
chiefly out of the advocacy by the Resident of the 
rights and claims of the members of the Nawab's 
family, or of individuals taken under his especial 
protection, in opposition to the wishes of the Nawab. 
In most of these cases the conduct of the Resident 
might be defended, either by existing or implied 
engagements with the British Government ; but it 
necessarily reminded the Nawab of the unreality of 
the independence with which Lord Wellesley had 
pretended to invest him in all matters of a private 
and domestic nature. 

After much lengthy correspondence and various 
personal conferences, in which the Nawab under 
the operation of fluctuating feelings repeatedly pro- 
mised acquiescence, and as often evaded the fulfil- 
ment of his promises, the Government of Bengal, 
then administered by General Hewett as Vice- 
President during Lord Minto's absence at Java, de- 
termined to refrain from urging the question of 


BOOK I. reform further. They argued that it would be of 
CHAP. VII. jj|.|.j^ avail to enforce the Nawab's adoption of a plan 

1812. the execution of which he could easily, and would 
most certainly, frustrate ; that his objections to any 
particular scheme of reform could not be construed 
into a systematic disregard of the counsels of the 
British Government, for which, on the contrary, he 
professed the utmost deference; and that, conse* 
quently, to have recourse to the only method of 
compulsion which could be contemplated, that of 
denying him the services of the subsidiary force for 
the suppression of insubordination and resistance to 
his authority, would be an unjustifiable departure 
from the conditions of the alliance. Whilst ex- 
pressing therefore extreme dissatisfaction with the 
Nawab for the insincerity and prevarication which 
he had displayed, the Resident was instructed to 
relinquish for the time all further efforts to obtain 
his consent to the proposed reform.* With regard 
to the employment of British troops against refrac- 
tory Zemindars at the requisition of the Nawab's 
collectors, the Government confirmed a resolution 
to which they had previously come, of not allowing 
their employment without an investigation by the 
Resident of the occasion which demanded it. 

The question of reform remained unagitated dur- 
ing part of 1812, but causes of disagreement were 
not wanting. In the commencement of the year an 

' Letter from the Bengal Government to the Court of Directors, I5tli 
October, 1811, in which the ue^ociations with the Nawab are detailed: 
Report, Select Committee, 1832 ; Political Appendix, 414. The correspond- 
ence between the Nawab, the Resident, and the Government, are printed 
also in tlie *' Oude Papers," printed for the Proprietors of Blast India Stock, 
June, 1824. 


application was made by the Nawab for troops to book i. 
put down an insurrection ; but the Resident, ascer- ^"^^' ^"' 
taining that the disturbance was of no importance, I812. 
and was connected, as usual, with the exactions of 
the farmers of the revenue, insisted on the prior 
investigation of the merits of the case, or the depu- 
tation of his own agents for the purpose. The 
Nawab declined compliance, and no troops were 
sent. Shortly afterwards, some of the Nawab's 
proceedings encroaching on the rights of the Bhao 
Begum of Fyzabad, the widow of his father, were 
opposed by the Resident, as these rights had been 
guaranteed by treaty. This interference in his do- 
mestic concerns was a source of severe mortification 
to the Nawab, and he strenuously denied the right 
of the Resident to interpose. Towards the close of 
the same year, the Government of Bengal had its 
attention called to outrages and robberies com- 
mitted on the British frontiers by marauding gangs 
from Oude, whom the Nawab's officers were either 
unable or unwilling to restrain. As this evil had 
been the frequent topic of unavailing represent- 
ation, it was now announced to the Nawab that the 
plunderers would be pursued into his country by the 
British troops without his permission if his acquies- 
cence were withheld. All these sources of vexation 
produced a formal complaint of the Nawab against 
the Resident for insolent and arrogant behaviour: 
the charge was met by the Resident's denial, and a 
recriminatory accusation of an improper want of 
respect to the British representative in the tone and 
style of the Nawab's correspondence. The Govern- 
ment pronounced their entire approbation of the 


BOOK I. Resident's conduct, and required the Nawab to 
CHAP, vp. j^^^p^ ^ more deferential style of address. 

1813. These proceedings for a while intimidated the 
Nawab into professing his resolution to conform to 
the wishes of the Government in all things : but the 
imperfect execution of his promise drew from Lord 
Minto,* in July, 1813, an address of remonstrance 
and expostulation, reminding him that the British 
Government had a right, founded upon the basis of 
the subsidiary treaty, to propose such reforms in 
his internal government as it deemed essential, and 
that he was held by the same treaty under an 
obligation to follow such advice; that he had ad- 
mitted the necessity, and both verbally and in 
writing had given assurances of his acquiescence in 
a manner little less authentic and formal than if 
they had been reduced to the form of a treaty, and 
equally binding on his honour and good-faith; 
notwithstanding which, he had retracted his consent, 
and opposed the most determined resistance to the 
efforts made by the Resident, acting under the posi- 
tive orders of the Government, to induce him to 
abide by the terms of his engagements. Lord 
Minto declared also, that, upon receiving the Na- 
wab's acquiescence, the British Government would 
have been entitled, and was perhaps required, to 
insist on his carrying the proposed plan into eflect 
at once; and instances the patience and respect 
with which his objections had been listened to and 
refuted, as undeniable proofs of its forbearance and 
moderation. Not a single argument against the 

* Letter from the Govcruor-General to the Nstwab Vizir, 2nd July, 1813; 
Oude Papers, p. 506. 

nawab's aversion to reforms. 383 

plan had been, adduced but had been respectfully book i. 
entertained, deliberately examined, and successfully ^"^''' ^°' 
combated ; and the doubts and fears still professed isia. 
by the Nawab could be ascribed to no other mo- 
tives than a decided resolution to oppose the intro- 
duction of reform altogether, in the vain hope that 
the Government would ultimately abandon the ques- 
tion in despair. The Nawab was assured that no 
lapse of time, no change of circumstances, would 
ever induce the British Government to relinquish a 
measure which it considered essential to the happi- 
ness and prosperity of Oude, the ease and reputation 
of the Nawab, and the best interests of both states. 
He was also warned, that, if he persisted in his re- 
fusal, he would violate an express stipidation of the 
treaty ; and he was requested seriously to consider 
the consequences in which he might involve himself 
by such a course of conduct. Lord Minto there- 
fore expressed his confident expectation that the 
reform recommended woidd be carried into effect 
without further opposition or delay. The Governor- 
General explained his views upon the other points 
under discussion in a like peremptory strain. 

Fortified with the decision of the Government, 
the Resident proceeded to insist upon the Nawab's 
immediate adoption of the measures proposed, and, 
in his ardour and impatience, demanded for the 
British Government a degree of participation in the 
ordinary administration of Oude scarcely warranted 
by the spirit or letter of the existing engagements, 
when he maintained that every act whatsoever — the 
lease of a district in farm, the institution of a court 
of justice in the capital, the change of any police 


BOOK T. regulation,^without the previous concurrerice of 


' the Grovemor-General, was a direct violation of the 

1813. treaty, for which the Nawab might be made respon- 
sible ; or, in other words, might be divested of all 
authority whenever it pleased the Government to 
call him to account. That such minute and vexa- 
tious interference was intended by the original 
contract, may be reasonably questioned ; but the 
present discussions showed the extreme difficulty of 
defining the just limits of interposition, and the un- 
avoidable tendency of all such political associations 
to render the will of the controuling power the sole 
standard of the necessity of its interference. The 
Nawab became alarmed, and, in the month of Sep- 
tember, he announced his final determination to 
give immediate operation to the project of reform, 
by dispatching officers to adjust an equitable assess- 
ment ; and he instituted arrangements for aflR^rding 
satisfaction on the minor topics of dispute. Before 
any important results could be realised from these 
preliminary measures, the Government of India 
passed into other hands, and different views in- 
fluenced the counsels of Lord Moira. 

Although the countries which had been brought 
under British sway had derived from it the benefits 
of exemption from foreign invasion and internal 
disorder for some years, yet the progressive ameli- 
oration of the condition of the people had failed 
to keep pace with the expectations and hopes of 
their rulers. This was and is still to be ascribed to 
radical defects in the systems of judicature and reve- 
nue which had been introduced; and which, although 
they were based upon just and benevolent principles, 


were too entirely of a European complexion to be book i. 
readily identifiable with the very different aspects .^^HI^ 
of society which existed in Hindustan. They had isisT 
been framed upon insufficient inquiry, and had been 
brought in abruptly, without having been sufiered 
to grow up gradually and spontaneously with the 
continuance of the new and anomalous constitution 
of things to which they owed their origin. They 
were still only in the course of adaptation to cir- 
cumstances; and it was, and has since continued 
to be, the anxious object of both the local and home 
authorities to provide a remedy for those defects 
which their developement displays.* The subject 
has been already treated of at some length; but 
as the observations made in a former volume were 
in some degree anticipatory, and the facte on which 
they were founded belong to the period now under 
review, as also they were restricted to the Bengal 
provinces, some further notice of them here may not 
be superfluous or out of place. 

Whatever may have been the case when the 
Mohammedan and Hindu governments were in full 
vigour, it was undeniable that, for a considerable 
time before the establishment of British supremacy, 
the people of India had been unaccustomed to any 
regularly organised and administered system of law 
or justice. In Upper India, Mohammedan domina- 
tion had left few and obscure traces of Hindu in- 
stitutions; and those which they had substituted, 

* In 1813 the Court of Directors circulated queries regarding the working 
of the Judicial system in India, to several of their most distinguished ser- 
vants then in England. The questions and replies are printed in the Selec- 
tions from the Records at the East India House printed by order of the 
Court, vol. ii. 

VOL. I. 2 C 

386 HisrroRY of BRmsH india. 

BOOK T. never yeiy pure or perfect, had almost equally 
.^^HI!1 appeared in the anarchy by which Hlndnstan had 
I8ia. long been distracted. The same was very much 
the case with the territories under the Madras 
Presidency that had been subject to the Moham- 
medans ; and, if Hindu usages lingered in the 
Mahratta states, they had lost much of their pri- 
mary character amid the irregular and arbitraiy 
practices of the ruling authorities. The main prin- 
ciple that everywhere regulated the administration 
was the concentration of absolute authority; and 
the same individual was charged with the superin- 
tendence of revenue, justice, and police, with little 
to guide or restrain him except his own perceptions 
and sentiments of equity, and a prudent considera- 
tion for his own safety and advantage. £ven in 
the best of times the sovereign, whether King or 
Raja, was the fountain of law and justice; and the 
Sul)ali(lar, the Nawab, the Jagirdar, all holding de- 
legated or usurped authority, claimed the same pre- 
rogative. Tlie Kazi, or Nyayadhipati, Mohammedan 
and Hindu expounders of the law, were sometimes 
retained in principal towns as judges of civil and 
criminal law; but their authority was ill defined, 
their labours were ill paid, and justice received 
little profit from their nomination. The police of 
cities was also in some places under the authority of 
an appointed officer, the Fojdar or Kotwal, who was 
responsible to the governor of the district or city; 
but in the villages and in the country the village 
head-men, or Patois, where such existed, and in other 
parts the Zemindar, who combined the character 
of landholder and collector of the revenue, claimed 


the charge of the police, and the decision of civil book i, 
and criminal suits. The leading object of the native ^"^''' ^"' 
governments was the realisation of the largest possi- isis. 
ble amount of revenue ; and all persons engaged in 
this duty, whether as fiscal officers or as fSEirmers 
and contractors, were armed with plenary powers 
both as magistrates and judges : a pertinacious appeal 
from those whom they oppressed might sometimes 
reach the ears of their superiors, but in general this 
resource was imperfectly available, and the people 
were left to the uncontrouled will of individuals. ^ 

' All the Bengal ciyilians concur in stating, that, according to their belief, 
no remains of ancient institutions existed in Bengal. Of the state of law 
and justice among the people, the following are some of the results of their 
observations : " The people had no idea of being protected by law against 
abuses of power. When an Aumil (a native revenue or executive officer) 
was guilty of gross injustice and oppression, they might endeavour to get 
rid of him by a clamorous remonstrance in a body to the authority to which 
he was accountable for his conduct ; but, generally speaking, they were 
quite at his mercy. Probably they had no conception of a more safe and 
rational system until they saw the effects of the judicial regulations of 179S. 
The spirit of the old institutions of Hindustan survived their formal aboli- 
tion as long as the Company's servants united the offices of collector, judge, 
and magistrate." — Ernst, Records, i. p. 27. *' During the Mohammedan go- 
vernment in Bengal, in the large Zemindaris, consisting of several pergun- 
nas, it was usual to have pergunna Cutcheris (courts), and the Tehsildar 
(collector) of the pergunna, who was the Zemindar's agent, decided in 
civil suits ; village Gomashtas (agents) also exercised the same autho- 
rity, and recourse was frequently had to arbitration by their orders. The 
Zemindars and their Dewans also decided civil suits according to the 
ancient Hindu custom. In cities and large towns, and in each pergunna, 
Kazis were appointed, who decided in civil suits. They appear to have 
been the judicial officers on the part of the Nawabs, but the Zemindars 
never gave up their right of deciding in civil suits." — Cox, ibid. p. 47. 
'* Every province in India is divided into small tracts called villages : the 
affairs of every village are managed by two head-men, the Potail and the 
Curnum ; the Potail is the chief of the village, and acts in it as judge, ma- 
gistrate, and collector." — Munro, ibid. 106. *' The authorities by whom 
civil justice was administered were the following : in the country, the Potail; 
over him the Mamlutdar (district collector), and Sirsubahdar (head of a 
large division) ; and above all, the Peshwa, or his minister. Jagirdars ad- 
ministered justice in their own lands ; the great ones with little or no in- 
terference on the part of the Governments. In some towns there was a 
judicial officer called the Ny6y&desi, (the same as Ny6>tt.dhipati, superin- 
tendent of Ny&ya — justice,) who tried causes under the Peshwa's autho- 
rity ; and any person whom the Peshwa pleased to authorise might conduct 



BOOK I. Incompatible as such a state of things must b 
with the feelings and principles of Europeans, it 
1813. effects upon the condition of the inhabitants o 
India were not wholly subversive of their happiness 
The persons placed over them belonged to them 
selves, were assimilated in religion and language 
conversant with their usages, and not regardless o 
their good opinion. Their decisions, although noi 
guided by a code of laws, were founded upon ai 
accurate knowledge of persons and things ; and 
when not distorted by sinister influences, were com- 
monly conformable to equity and good-sense. The 
proceedings of these self-constituted courts were 
simple, and their sentences summary; they were 
not embarrassed or retarded by complicated forms 
and technical pleadings ; and the people escaped 
the tax upon their money and time, which more 
elaborate judicature imposes. Another advantage 
contributed to counteract the defects of the sys- 
tem. In the absence of courts of justice provided 
by the state, the people learned to abstain fipom 
litigation; and, when disputes among them arose, 
submitted them to the arbitrement of judges 
chosen among themselves.* This expedient had 
probably descended from ancient times, in which 
it had been a recognised element of Hindu 
judiciary administration under the denomination 

an investigation, subject to his highness*8 confirmation." — Elphinstone^s 
Report on the Mahratta Provinces ; Selections from the Records, iv. p. 188. 

' " With all these defects, the Mahratta country flourished, and the 
people seem to have been exempt from some of the evils which exist under 
our more perfect government : there must, therefore, have been some advan- 
tages in the system to counterbalance its obvious defects, and most of theiB 
appear to me to have originated in one fact ; that the Government, althoagh 
it did little to obtain justice for tlie people, left them the means of procur- 
ing it for themselves.** — Elphinstone ; Selections, iv. 194. 


of Panchayat;* but it had fallen into desuetude book i. 
in most parts of India, and subsisted, in any ^"^''•^^ 
degree of efficiency, only in the south.* Although I813. 
the Panchayats were not inaccessible to personal 
bias or corruption, and their proceedings were occa- 
sionally irregular and tedious, yet they were suited 
to the circumstances and congenial to the feelings 
of the people, and supplied the place of better or- 
ganised and more solemn tribunals/ 

* From the Sanscrit word pancha, or puncha ; irrvrc, quinque, five : the 
court being originally, perhaps, formed of that namber, but in common 
practice it was exceeded. Mr. Elphinstone says, '' The number was never 
less than hve, but it has been known to be as great as fifty.^* — Elphinstone ; 
Selections, 189. 

' Sir Henry Strachey says, " I do not recollect any remains of ancient 
Hindu institutions, not even the Punchayet ; but, the term being well known 
in Bengal, it is probable that the thing exists in some parts of tlie Bengal 
provinces, and that it is occasionally resorted to voluntarily by the Hindus 
in disputes concerning caste, and perhaps in matters of village accounts and 
boundary disputes. I remember no instance of parties in a suit proposing 
a reference to the Punchayet. Our civil courts never discourage any kind 
of arbitration ; they constantly recommend it to the parties, who will never 
agree to it.'* — Answers ; Selections, p. 53. All the Bengal civilians state 
the same. Mr. J. A. Grant, of Bombay, says of the Panchayats on that 
side of India, ^* They direct their attention chiefly, I believe, to matters of 
discipline and ceremonial observance, connected with the customs and 
usages of their several sects. They exercise no judicial authority.** — Selec- 
tions, ii. 192. 

^ It was especially in the Mahratta provinces that ** the Punchayet might 
be considered as the great instrument in the administration of justice.** — 
Elphinstone. Mr. Elphinstone, Colonel Munro, and Colonel Walker speak 
favourably of their operations, although from the details specified they seem 
to have been clumsy instruments. The members were selected by the par- 
ties, and were not uninfluenced by the hope of presents from one or both : 
the attendance of the members was very irregular, and there seem to have 
been no efficient means of compelling punctuality ; " it was generally effect- 
ed by the intreaties of the party interested,** Proceedings were seldom re- 
corded : *' in villages the Punchayet was often conducted in the way of 
conversation, and nothing was written but the decision, and not always that.*' 
'^ Throughout the whole proceedings the Punchayets appear to have been 
guided by their own notions of justice; they consulted no books, and it 
was only on particular points of Hindu law that they referred to a Sastri 
(one learned in the law) for his opinion." The Panchayat had no power to 
enforce its decrees ; they required to be confirmed and executed by an oflficer 
of Government, to whom ** for this cause frequent references were required, 
and he exercised a considerable influence on the progress of the trial.'* Not- 
withstanding these imperfections, the Panchayat must have exercised a be" 


BOOK I. Upon the establishment of regular courts of jus- 
^^'^^' ^'' tice under the government of the East India Com- 
1813. pany, the novelty of a channel exclusively dedicated 
to the hearing and determining of complaints^ and a 
belief that they would be investigated in an upright 
and impartial spirit, produced inconveniences which 
had not been foreseen. Every one who had, or 
fancied he had, a wrong to redress, resorted to the 
courts ; and the numbers of the suitors speedily be- 
came so numerous, that the means of hearing and 
adjudicating their cases were wholly insufficient.^ 
The jurisdiction of each court comprehended an ex- 
tent of country and an amount of population vastly 
beyond the powers of a single establishment. The 
very qualities which constituted the peculiar recom- 
mendations of the new courts added to their in- 
sufficiency.* As little as possible was left to indivi- 
dual discretion. Deliberate forms and prescribed 
modes of procedure, wliilst they secured exactness, 
impeded dispatch. Reference to the regulations of 
the Government, and to the written authorities of 
Hindu and Mohammedan law, retarded decision; 
and the multiplication of opportunities of appeal 

neficial infloence, as it eigoyed g^at popularity ; as is proved by the carrent 
phrase, '* Panch-Parameswara,** Panchayet is God Almighty. — Eiphiii- 
stone; Selections, iy. 191. 

' In 1707, the number of suits instituted was 8S0,077, although the 
western provinces had not been acquired : they began to decrease iron 
1803, and in 1S13 were only 184,790. — Selections from the Records, iT, S4. 

' In the Bengal Presidency the population subject to a Zilla coart was 
generally about a million. The Zilla of Midnapore was one hundred aad 
thirty miles long by forty to fifty broad. — Sir Henry Strachey and otfaera. 
At Madras the Zillas were more compact, and generally cootained about 
half a million inhabitants. — Cockbum. *' The Ceded districts, at first di- 
vided into three, since into two, Zillas, contain about twenty-nine thousand 
square miles, — about the extent of Scotland, but more populous, "-^-Thack- 
eruy ; Answers to Queries ; Selections. 


from one tribunal to another encouraged and per- book i. 
petuated litigation. The unavoidable deficiencies of ^"^^•^"- 
laws, which, whether Hindu, Mohammedan, or Eng- 1813. 
lish, were devised for wholly different conditions of 
society, and had not yet become adapted to the 
changes still in progress, with the unfitness of some 
of the European judges, from their imperfect know- 
ledge of the languages of the country and the habits 
of the people,* as well as their ignorance of the prin- 
ciples of law and their occasional negligence, con- 
tributed to aggravate the defects of the system, and 
to obstruct the course of judgment. Arrears be- 
came in consequence so numerous, and decisions 
were so long delayed, as to amount to a virtual 
denial of justice. Attempts were made from time 
to time to remedy these imperfections : charges and 
fees were imposed, in order to render justice more 
expensive and discourage litigation ; additional 
courts were established, at a cost which became 
burthensome to the state; additional powers were 
given to the judges, and the privilege of appeal was 
subjected to new limitations; — measures in some 
respects exceptionable, and in all inoperative; and 
the accumulation of arrears, although to a less ex- 
tent, still continued to constitute a serious evil.* 
To the most obvious remedy, the multiplication of 
courts and judicial functionaries in an equally pro- 

' *< There is a want of something like professional knowledge, that is, 
knowledge of the general principles of law, in both the Zilla and provincial 
judges ; and part of the persons in the judicial line are not fit for that part 
of the service." — Dorin ; Selections. 

' The snits depending in Bengal at the end of 1802 were 170,706 ; at the 
end of 1813, 145,168 : for the clearance of which it was estimated that three 
years would be required in the Zilla, and four in the provincial courts. — 
Commons* Committee, 1832 ; Judicial ; Appendix, vii. 479. 


BOOK I. gressive ratio, was opposed the heavy expense of 
adding to the number of European magistrates.^ 
1813. Any considerable augmentation of native judges^ 
who were employed to a limited extent, and whose 
services were much more economical, was resisted 
by a violent prejudice against their agency. Their 
fitness for the office, as far as it required ability and 
knowledge, was generally admitted ; but it was 
maintained that their notorious want of integrity 
rendered it impossible that justice could be distri- 
buted to the people through so corrupt and impure 
a channel.^ The imputation was not perhaps 

' Tlio annual exi>ense of the judicial establishment in Bengal was cal- 
culate<l by Lord Cornwallis at £306,000. In 1809-10 it had risen to 
£806,000. The whole cost at the three Presidencies was at that tune 
£1,260,840. In 1813 it was £1,572,492. 

^ *^l think it quite out of the question to trust the natives with anj 
principal part in the administration of justice. I am not ai^'are that thej 
want thf^ ability sufTicient to decide ordinary questions with tolerable skill, 
but even the bi>tter sort of them are notoriously open to corruption ; there 
is scarcely any thin^ like principle among them. I know there are some 
who think these native judges do more harm than good, and should be dis- 
pensed with altogether.*' — Dorin. " The natives can rarely, I fear, be exda- 
sively trusted with the administration of justice ; and, in any part of the 
judicial system allotted to their execution, they must be superintended 
by Europeans.** — Falconar. Sir Henry Strachey, Colonel Munro, and O^ 
nel M'alker entertain different views. *' It is my opinion that all the judi> 
cial functions of Hengal might gradually be thrown into the hands of natives, 
and that the business would be as well conducted under our regulations by 
the natives as by Europeans ; in some respects better, and at one tenth oif 
the expense." And again: '' I am of opinion that, with respect to integrity 
and diligence, the natives may be trusted with the administration of justice. 
I think no superintendence of Europeans necessary.** " We place the Eu- 
ropean beyond the reach of temptation ; to the native we assign some minis- 
terial office with a poor stipend of twenty to thirty rupees a month : then 
we pronounce that the Indians are corrupt, and that no rai*e of men but the 
Company*s servants are fit to govern them.'* — Sir H. Strachey. '* In a civil- 
ized populous country like India, Justice can be well dispensed only throagfa 
the natives themselves. It is absurd to suppose that tliey are so corrupt as 
to be altogether unfit to be entrusted with the discharge of this irop<Mrtaat 
duty : if they were so, there would be no ri'medy for the evil; their place 
could never be supplied by a few foreigners imperfectly acquainted with 
their customs and language.** Again : '■^ d'ive a native judge from ive 
hundred to one thousand rupees a month, he will decide thrice as many 
causes as a European. He might be corrupt ; turn him out and try another, 


wholly unmerited, but the charge was much too book i. 
unqualified, and the evils anticipated were greatly ^"^^' ^^ 
exaggerated. Nor was it sufficiently considered by 18I8. 
what means they might be remedied : whether they 
might not be checked, if not prevented, by better 
pay, higher dignity, vigilant superintendence, and 
occasional disgrace ; whether natives might not be 
influenced as well as Europeans by the hope of re- 
ward and fear of punishment. Corruption could not 
be universal. The temptation could not in every 
case outweigh the risk ; and no account was made 
of the force of public opinion, to which the natives 
of India are not insensible. It seems also to have 
been forgotten, that, for centuries prior to the in- 
troduction of European agency, law and justice had 
been administered solely by natives ; yet society had 
been held together : and there had been times when, 
according to the testimony of travellers and his- 
torians, India had been populous and flourishing, 
the people thriving and happy. This was still the 
case in some parts of the country ; and, if it was not 
so more generally, the cause was to be found in the 
absence of good government and the prevalence of 
internal disorder, in which all institutions had been 
overturned, and the principles as well as the practice 
of justice had disappeared. It was taking a narrow 
and ungenerous view of the question to draw a con- 

and another. Make it wortli his while to retain his post, and he will cease 
to risk its forfeiture. If we pay the same price for integrity, we shall find 
it as readily amongst natives as Europeans.** — Munro. ** The aim of the 
pri'ceding obscrrations has been to show that the natives of India may, in 
respect to integrity, be trusted with the administration of justice; and that 
sonic of the civil offices of government may be confided to them with safety 
and advantage." — Walker; Answers to Queries; Selections, vol. ii. 
There will be subsequently occasion to advert to later opinions on this 


BOOK I. elusion unfavourable to the native character fron 
*^"^''' ^"' the state in which it had been left by the recen 
nis. times of trouble, and, overlooking what it had beei 
in better days, deny the probability of its amelioni 
tion under more propitious circumstancea. Th< 
truth was beginning to be discerned ; and, amid thi 
prevalence of a contrary opinion, some few of tb 
Company's servants warmly advocated the extendec 
employment of the natives in the administration oi 
justice as the only practicable means of proportion 
ing the supply to the demand. The question con- 
tinued in 8us}>ense, and little advance was made u 
the improvement of the judicial system in Bengal 
during Lord Minto's government. Measures were 
however, in progress which were brought to matu- 
rity under his successor. Changes of more con- 
siderable magnitude took place at Madras, but the] 
also underwent important modifications at a sbortlj 
subsequent period.* 

* Honfpil Regulation xiii. of 1808 enacted that the ori^nation of cm 
suits of five thousand rupees and upwards should be transferred frum tbt 
Zilla to the provincial courts; and Regulation xiii.of 1810 provided thatde 
crees might be passed by one judge in sundry cases where two had ben 
necessary, and that the fees on the institution of suits should be partly oi 
wholly returned when the parties settled the cause by arbitration, Ai 
Madras, in 1808, Regulation v. enacted the payment of fees oo the ioslita- 
tion and trial of suits. Regulation vi. empowered the senior judge of tfai 
courts of circuit and appeal to take his tour of circuit duty. Kegulaliooi 
viii. to xiii. effected a new arrangement of the jurisdiction of the Zilla couiti 
in the different divisions of the Madras provinces, and established foai 
courts of appeal and circuit. In 1809, Regulation Tii. provided for the 
occasional appointment of Zilla judges, extended the jurisdiction of die 
registers, limited appeals, and provided head native commissioners in cer 
tain cases. Regulation viii. defined the duties and powers of judges oi 
the provincial courts acting singly. Regulation x. increased the numbei 
and powers of native commissioners ; and Regulation xii. limited and regu- 
lated the right of appeal. Up to tlie year 1 808, the Regulations of the Bum- 
bay Presidency were framed as nearly conformable to those of Bengal ai 
circumstances would admit, with exception that, while the Mohammedai 
law was there alone applicable to the decision of criminal trials, the 
Hindus under the Bombay Presidency were allowed the benefit of the lawi 


Delays of a similar nature, although not to a like book i. 
extent, were found to prevail in the administration ^"^''' ^^ 
of criminal justice ; and, in a great measure from a i8i3. 
like cause, the inadequacy of the provision made for 
its distribution. An evil of a still more pernicious 
tendency originated in the assignment of the duty 
of magistrate to the city or district judge. If as 
judge he devoted his attention to the civil suits in 
arrear, the business of the magistrate was necessa- 
rily interrupted, and an interval might intervene be- 
tween the apprehension of a prisoner and his com- 
mitment, which sometimes subjected the innocent 
to the punishment of the guilty, and detained for an 
indefinite period a person in confinement against 
whom no charge could be substantiated.^ The same 
remedy that was applicable to the former case was 
here also obvious, and the separation of incompatible 
duties was a necessary preliminary to their effective 
discharge. For this purpose the Bengal Government 
associated the Zilla and city judges in some instances 
with magistrates having a special or joint jurisdiction 
in criminal matters only, or gave them the aid of 
assistant magistrates, acting in general subordinately 
to, but upon emergencies independently of, the 
judges. Other enactments were passed for the more 
effective conduct of previous investigation by the 
local officers, for admission to bail upon charges not 

of their religion in all trials, of whatsoever description, wherein they were 
the defendant or accused parties. At this period the Government of Bom- 
bay exercised the right, with which it was invested by the 47th of George III. 
sect. iii. chap. 68, of making Regulations of its own authority ; and in this 
and subsequent years the following Regulations provided for the more 
effective administration of civil and criminal justice : 1808, Regulation ii.; 
1812, Regulations iii. to zi. ; 1813, Regulations ii. iv. vii. ix. 

1 Fifth Report, p. 09. 


BOOK I. of a heinous nature, for the dismissal of frivolou 

^I^^^^^^J^ complaints, and the avoidance of all iinnecessar 

181 a. delay between the apprehension of a person accuser 

and his examination before the magistrate.^ Th< 

criminal, as well as the civil judicature, was th< 

object of progressive legislation.* 

The state of the police formed in Bengal a men 
immediate subject of solicitude than even the de 
fects of the administration of civil or criminal ju& 
tice. The Lower provinces of the Presidency wen 
infested by the increasing numbers and audacit} 
of various classes of robbers, who, under the de- 
signations of Dakoits, Choars, Kuzzaks, Budhuks, 
or Thugs, infested the country, and not unfre- 
quently added murder to robbery. The Kuzzaks 
were mounted robbers, who occasionally singly be- 
set the high roads, or, having collected in parties, 
attacked and plundered whole villages. The Bud- 
huks and Thugs were distinguished by their prac- 
tice of strangling unsuspecting travellers, with 
whom they contrived to fall in upon a journey. 
The Dakoits and Choars Mere robbers who assem- 
bled in gangs, and, entering the villages by night, 
attacked the house of some one person reputed to 
possess valuables or money. These last were the 

' Kegulation xvi. of 1810. 

' Regulations ix. 1807, and iii. 1812. Madras Regulation i. 1810 pro- 
vidcil fur the appreliension and punishment of persons resisting; or eTadiog 
the processes of the courts: Reg. i. of 1811 directed quarterly jail deli- 
veries to be held in certain Zillas : Reg. iv. of 1811 had for its general 
scope the objects of the liengal Regulations : Regs. iv. of 1807, and iii. d 
181 2, the more speedy trial and punishment, or acquittal,of persons charged 
with offences not of a heinous nature ; this also eiyoined the ZiUa magis- 
trates to furnish an annual report of all cases depending on the 3Ist of De- 
cember before them or their assistants. The Bombay Regulations are cited 


most formidable. Their depredations were first no- book i. 
ticed in 1772, when they were described by the ^"^''•^' 
Committee of Circuit as individuals not driven to I813. 
such courses by want, but robbers by profession, 
and even by birth, following the profession from 
father to son. But, however true this may have 
been at the period of the report, there was no 
doubt that latterly many of the members of the 
several gangs were not professional banditti, but 
were urged by necessity to enlist in the gangs, or 
sometimes were compelled by force or fear to join 
them.^ Aided by such recruits from the peasantry, 
the Dakoits acquired greater strength and con- 
fidence, and from 1800 to 1810 kept the country 
in perpetual alarm.* Extraordinary efforts became 
necessary for their suppression. 

* '* Id accounting for Decoity or robbery in a ZiUa, our first step ought to 
be to examine the condition of the Ryots, and we shall always find in their 
poverty and oppression the chief cause of this eyil.** — ^Tytier, Considerations 
on the State of India, i. 374. *' A gang of Decoits does not consist entirely 
of professed robbers : many of the party are poor honest industrious people 
who are seized for the service of the night" — Letter from £. Stiuchey, 
Judge of Rajshahi ; Fifth Report, A pp. 6S8. 

' In the language of Lord Minto, ** a monstrous and disorganised state 
of society existed under the eye of the. supreme British authorities, and al- 
most at the very seat of that Government to which the country might justly 
look for safety and protection. The mischief could not wait for a slow 
remedy ; the people were perishing almost in our sight ; every week*s delay 
was a doom of slaughter and torture against the defenceless inhabitants of 
very populous countries." — Minute, 24th Nov. 1810 ; Pari. Papers, Ist 
July, 1819, p. 23. His lordship*s language, and that which was generally 
employed on this occasion by the members of the Government and by the 
judges, is liable to the charge of exaggeration. At this very time, when 
it was said by the judicial secretary that *' there was no protection of per- 
son or property to the people of India," it was very possible for an indivi- 
dual unconnected with the judicial department to be scarcely aware that 
such a crime as gang-robbery existed. In dwelling upon the absolute 
amount of crime, its proportional ratio to the population is imperfectly 
adverted to. According to official returns, the total number of murders, 
including those committed by Dakoits, in the Lower provinces, was in the 
year 1813 two hundred and ten, the population being above thirty-seven 
millions. — Commons* Ck)mmittee, 1832; App. Judicial, p. 506. 


BOOK I. The Dakoits, although in their aggregation and 
' in their following acknowledged leaders or Sirdars 
1813. the J bore an analogy to the brigands of the south 
of Europe, or the banditti of the middle ages, yet 
resembled more nearly some of the illegal confede- 
rations which have been organised in modem days 
and more civilised communities in Europe, in their 
assembling by night only, and dispersing and fol- 
lowing peaceable occupations during the day, most 
of them being engaged in the cultivation of the soil 
or following mechanical trades. Individuals among 
them were well known as Sirdars, by whom their 
expeditions were projected, and by whose orders 
the gang was assembled at an appointed spot, gene- 
rally a grove near the village to be attacked. The 
members of the gang, who were secretly known to 
the Sirdars, and sometimes to each other, repaired 
to the place variously armed, chiefly with swords, 
clubs, and pikes, and some with matchlocks. Their 
numbers varied from ten or fifteen to fifty or sixty. 
When collected, their marauding excursion was 
usually preluded by a religious ceremony, the wor- 
ship of the goddess Durga, the patroness of thieves, 
typified by a water-jiot or a few blades of grass. The 
ceremony was conducted by a Brahman of degraded 
condition and dissolute life. Having propitiated 
the goddess by the promise of a portion of their 
spoil, they marched with lighted torches, and little 
attempt at concealment beyond disguising their 
faces by pigment, or covering them with masks, to 
the object of their expedition, usually the dwelling 
of some slioi)-keeper or money-changer, in which it 
was expected to discover treasure. Oceasionally the 


motive of the attack was vengeance ; and infonn- book i. 
ation given by the householder, or some of his fa- ^^^^' ^°' 
mily, against any of the members of the gang, isis. 
brought upon him the resentment of the whole 
fraternity/ Upon entering the village, it was cus- 
tomary to fire a gun, bs a signal to the inhabitants 
to keep within their dwellings : the house against 
which the operation was designed was then sur- 
rounded ; and, whilst some of the gang forced an en- 
trance, others remained as a guard without. Unless 
exasperated by resistance, or instigated by revenge, 
the Dakoits did not commonly proceed to murder ; 
but they perpetrated atrocious cruelties upon such 
persons as refused to give them, or were unable to 
give them, information regarding property which 
they suspected of having been concealed, burning 
them with lighted torches or blazing straw, or 
wrapping cloth or flax steeped in oil round their 
limbs and setting it on fire, or inflicting various tor- 
tures, which caused immediate or speedy death.* 
The object being accomplished, and the booty se- 
cured, the gang retired before daylight, and the in- 

' Mr. Secretary Dowdeswell's Report, Sept. 1809. Of the three cases of 
which he gives the trials in abstract, one of which has been cited by Mr. 
Mill, Y. 663, two originated in revenge. — Fifth Report, App. 604. 

' In one hundred and four houses attacked by Dakoits in the coarse of 
thirteen months, eight persons were wounded, three were tortured, and five 
killed. — Dowdesweirs Report, ibid. 606. In 1813, the whole number of 
Dakoitis under the Bengal Presidency was six hundred and ninety ; in 
which seventy-one persons were killed, two hundred and forty-six tortured 
and wounded. The returns show characteristic differences between the 
Lower and Upper provinces : 

DahoikU. Murdered. Torimredcmd WoumM. 
Lower provinces . . 606 81 140 

Upper provinces . . 186 40 07 

In the latter more were murdered and fewer wounded in little more than 
one third of the robberies ; proofs of more fierceness but less cruelty. — 
Commons* Committee, 1832 ; App. p. 600. 


BOOK I. dividuals resumed their daily occupations. Such 
CHAP. viL ^^ ^j^^ terror inspired by their atrocities, and sach 

1813. the dread of their revenge, that few of their neigh- 
bours ventured to inform or give evidence against 
them, although well aware of their real character 
and proceedings. The police, intimidated or cor- 
rupt, rarely interfered until the robbery was com- 
pleted and the perpetrators had disappeared ; and 
their interposition was far from welcome to the 
people, as their unprofitable and vexations inquiries 
had frequently no other purpose in view than the 
extortion of money as the price of forbearing to 
drag the villagers, unwilling witnesses, before the 
European magistrate, or even of falsely accusing 
them of being accessary to the crime. ^ 

The Zilla judge, who according to the existing 
system administered, as has been mentioned, both 
the criminal as well as the civil law, and was 
charged also with the duty of police magistrate, ne- 
cessarily resided in the capital tovm of his juris- 
diction, which might be a hundred miles remote 
from the scene of a robbery. Fully occupied with 
his other duties, it was impossible for him to pay 
frequent visits to places at any considerable dis- 
tance from his station ; and not only was local in- 
vestigation therefore impracticable, but it was im- 
possible for him to exercise a vigilant personal 
supervision over the officers of the police. The 
police jurisdictions were originally intended to in- 
clude tracts of about twenty miles square ; but they 
were of greater or less extent, according to circum- 
stances, and usually embraced a numerous popu- 

' Dowdesweirs Report, and Letters of tiic Jud^s preceding. 


lation. Each of these was under a head officer or book i. 
Daroga, who had at his disposal from twenty to ^"^'''^"- 
fifty armed men, a very inadequate force in many 1813. 
cases to maintain order amongst the inhabitants of 
the district. To render them still more ineffective, 
the pay of the whole, the Daroga included, was barely 
sufficient for their support, and they were almost of 
necessity corrupt. Little or no assistance was to be 
expected from the people. Their ancient institu- 
tions had been broken up either directly or indi- 
rectly by the regulations of the Government. The 
Zemindars had been formerly charged with the 
management of the police, and were held ac- 
countable for all acts of robbery or violence com- 
mitted within their Zemindaris. They abused their 
power and neglected their duty in some cases ; and 
they were relieved of the one, and deprived of the 
other, in a summary manner,* and they were little 
inclined to interest themselves in a troublesome and 
thankless office. The instruments employed under 
them had been of two classes : one, under the term 
Paiks and Chokidars, attached to them and their 
agents personally; the other, known as Pasbans, 
Nigahbans, or Haris, connected with the villages : 
the former were the police of the whole district, 
the latter the watchmen of their respective hamlets. 
Both were paid chiefly by allotments of land rent- 
free, or held at a low quit-rent under the Zemindar.* 

' By Reg. xxii. of 1793 : on the grounds that the clause in their en- 
gagements which had formerly invested them with the authority had not 
only been found nugatory, but in numerous instances proved the means of 
multiplying robberies and other disorders, from the collusion which sub- 
sisted between tlie perpetrators of them and the police-officers entertained 
by the Zemindars and farmers of the land. 

^ Their numbers may be estimated from those of one district. In Burd- 

VOL. I. 2d 


BOOK I. When he ceased or was forbidden to have any con- 
cHAP. vn. ^^j^ ^j^i^ ^jj^ police, he had no inducement to keep 

1813. up a police establishment ; and, when it was intimat- 
ed that the allowances formerly made to him for the 
expense were withdrawn, he either levied the same 
rent upon the allotments of the watchmen and Paiks 
as on any other of his Ryots, or he resumed the land. 
The Paiks were generally dismissed: the village 
watchmen lingered, but in a state of poverty imd 
inefficiency which rendered them worse than use- 
less. It was of little avail, therefore, to place them 
by law under the authority of the new Darogas, and 
to enact that they should be kept up and duly regis- 
tered: the enactments were disregarded, and the 
native police establishments ceased to exist, or were 
in no condition to give effectual aid in preserving 
the public peace. They were much more likely to 
be in concert with its disturbers.* 

The evil consequences of having so completely ex- 
cluded native co-operation had long been iirged upon 
the consideration of the Government by many of its 
ablest officers, and one of its first remedial measures 
was to reinvest the Zemindars with a portion of 
their former authority. Regulations were accord- 
ingly enacted, l)y which respectable inhabitants of 

wan, in 1788, there were two thousand four hundred Pasbans or village 
constables, and nineteen thousand Paiks. — Judicial Letter from the Court 
of Directors, Nov. 1814 ; Pari. Papers, 1 July, 1819, p. 48. 

* Reg. i. 1793 reserved the option of resuming the whole or part of such 
allowances as had been made to the Zemindars for keeping up police than- 
nas, or the produce of any lands which they might have been permitted to 
appropriate for the same purpose. ** Extensive resumptions were made 
onder this clause ; resumptions were also made by the Zemindars ; and the 
effect of both was to reduce the native police to a state of want, which droTe 
them to a life of robbery and plunder for a subsistence/ — Letter from the 
Court; Pari. Papers, 1819, p. 60. 


the several provinces were commissioned to act as book i. 
Amins or superintendents of police : they were ^^^^' ^^^ 
authorised to receive written charges of all offences isis. 
of a heinous nature, issue warrants for the appre- 
hension of offenders, and send the persons so appre- 
hended to the police Darogas; to apprehend^ or 
cause to be apprehended, without warrant, persons 
engaged in the actual commission of a heinous crime 
or flagrant breach of the peace, and have them con- 
veyed to the nearest police thanna ; they were en- 
joined to assist the Darogas on all occasions; to 
send them information, and see that the village 
watchmen did their duty ; to obey the magistrate's 
orders in instituting any inquiry, and to furnish him 
with a monthly report of the persons whom they 
had apprehended ; and they were declared liable to 
prosecution in the criminal court for any act of cor- 
ruption, extortion, or oppression done by themselves 
or any person acting under their authority.^ 

In these regulations for enlisting persons of credit 
and influence in the preservation of the public 
peace, there were several radical defects which en- 
sured their failure. These police Amins were not 
only to give their services without pay, but, " jeon- 
sidering the description of persons from whom they 
were to be selected, it was not expected that they 
would require any distinct establishment of public 
officers at the charge of Government to enable them 
to perform the duties required of them." They 
were, in fact, to pay a police as well as perform its 
functions. It is not surprising that few should 
have been willing to accept the oflfice. Even had 

' Bengal Regs. xii. and xi?. 1807. 



BOOK I. these unreasonable stipulations been omittecU it was 


' not to be expected that many persons of respecta- 
1818. bility would have been ambitious of a post which 
made them subordinate to the police Darogas. 
The regulations were rescinded in a few years;* and 
the penalties of fine and imprisonment were then 
imposed upon the Zemindars, and all holders of land, 
if they failed to give early and punctual information 
of the commission of any public offences, or the 
resort of robbers in any place within their estates ; 
and if they afforded to such offenders food, or shel- 
ter, or concealment, they were liable to forfeit their 
lands to the Government.* Similar penalties had 
been previously denounced ; but to so little purpose, 
that it was doubted if a single instance was known 
of their having been enforced.* With respect to 
the inferior agents, Paiks, Chokidars, and the like, 
they were made liable to corporal punishment by 
the magistrate if proved guilty of misconduct or 
neglect :* no provisions were enacted at this time for 
replacing them in the occupancy of their lands, to 
obviate the necessity which made them, according 
to Mr. Dowdeswell, alternately watchmen and rob- 

Actuated by that spirit of exclusive reliance upon 
European agency which had been engendered by the 
institutions of Marquis Comwallis, the Government 
of Bengal strengthened the department of the police 
by the appointment of two superintendents of police, 
one for the Lower and one for the Western provinces. 

• Bengal Reg. v. 1810. 2 Bengal Regs. ix. 1808 ; iii. 1812. 
' Dowdesweirs Report-^ Fiftli Report, App. C14. 

* Reg. iii. 1812. 


These officers, acting in concert with the magistrates, book i. 
or, as occasion required, independently of them, were ^"^''- ^^' 
not restricted to any particular station or defined isis. 
district, and were enabled to exercise a more imme- 
diate supervision over the Darogas and police esta- 
blishments, and to apprehend and punish offenders 
in a more prompt and vigorous manner.* The 
arrangement was beneficial. But, besides these offi- 
cers, magistrates were appointed with special powers 
to suppress the crime of gang-robbery in the dis- 
tricts adjacent to Calcutta, which were its principal 
seats. Selected for their personal intelligence and 
activity, and for their knowledge of the languages 
and customs of the people, at liberty to devote their 
whole energies to their particular duties, and armed 
with large discretionary powers, they speedily arrest- 
ed the mischief; but in their zeal they had recourse 
to unjustifiable rigour, and were almost as severe a 
scourge to the country as the Dakoits themselves. 
The inhabitants of the villages were indiscriminately 
apprehended upon insufficient evidence: many of 
them were acquitted upon trial after having been 
long detained in prison : some died in confinement.* 

' Regs. X. 1808 ; viii. 1810. 

' At M uddenpore, some treasure having been plundered by Dakoits, one 
hundred and ninety-two persons were apprehended upon the charge of an 
informer: one hundred and forty-two were released upon examination, 
forty-six were committed, six were pardoned upon a pretended confession ; 
for it turned out on the trial of those committed, who were detained in 
prison above a year, that the whole were innocent, the charge having been 
a fabrication. Three of the prisoners died in jail. — Sir H. Strachey ; An- 
swers to Queries; Judicial Records, ii. 70. At Nadiya, two thousand 
and seventy-one persons were apprehended as Dakoits from the 20th of 
May, 1808, to the 31st of May, 1809 ; of whom no less than one thousand 
eight hundred and twenty-eight had been taken up as men of bad charac- 
ter and on vague suspicion, forty-four only had been convicted before the 
Court of Circuit during two sessions, three hundred and sixty-nine had 
been released by the magistrate, two hundred and sixty-eight acquitted by 


BOOK I. It was ar^ed in defence of this procedure, that, 


' although the acquitted persons might not have been 

1818. concerned in the actual offence, yet they "were cog- 
nisant of its perpetration, and neither took any steps 
to j)revent it, nor to bring the perpetrators to jus- 
tice; that violent diseases required strong* remedies; 
and that it ^^-as better that a few innocent persons 
should suffer than the whole community live in alarm 
and danger. Equally exceptionable was the subor- 
dinate agency by which the objects of the magis- 
trates were in most instances obtained — the em- 
ployment of hired spies or Goyendas : it was ad- 
mitted that the system was liable to abuse; that 
the Goyendas were unprincipled miscreants, who 
made their power the means of extortion, and who 
hesitated not to sacrifice innocent individuals to 
their cupidity or their revenge. But it was main- 
tained that their instrumentality was absolutely 
necessary; that no efficient police could be esta- 
blished in any country except upon the basis of 
espionage ; that without the aid of hired informers 
the most notorious leaders of the Dakoits would not 
have been apprehended at all; and that the im- 
provement manifested in the districts round Cal- 
cutta was proportionate to the skill with which this 

the court. Of tho!^^ who ri'mained in jail after the first aessions of 1809, 
the greater part had not been brougiit up for trial at the two sessions whidi 
followed, but still remained in coulinement. On the 31st of May, ISM, 
there were no less than one thousand four hundred and seyenty-sevpn pri- 
Foners in the Nadiya jail who had not been examimHl. Besides the two 
thousand and seventy-one prisoners abo> e specified, a considerable number 
of persons had been apprt'heuded as Dakoits during the same period by 
Messrs. Hlarquiere and Leyden, th(> magistrates of the twenty-four Per* 
gunnas and joint magistrates of Nadiya, and by their Goyendas, who, in- 
stead of being examined and tried, were S4'nt down to the Prp^dency and 
then* kept in confinement. — Judicial Lc-tter from the Court, Ist Oct. 1814; 
Pari. Papers, June, 1819, p. 25. 


powerful engine had been wielded.^ These were book i. 
the sentiments of many of the most confidential 
advisers of the Government, and they predominated isia. 
in its counsels. Notwithstanding this view of the 
case, and admitting the efficacy of the Goyenda 
system in the districts which were most disorgan- 
ised, and in hands better adapted to a harsh than 
delicate handling of a public nuisance, it was shown 
by contemporary experience that such extreme and 
mischievous methods were not indispensable, and 
that the evil was susceptible of alleviation by a 
milder treatment. In one district at least, that of 
Burdwan, gang-robbery, once as prevalent there as 
in other places, was nearly extinguished in the 
course of a twelvemonth by very different measures. 
The instruments employed were the neglected and 
undervalued institutions of the country animated by 
skilful superintendence and encouragement: the 
landholders and head-men of the villages and of 
various trades were called upon to enter into en- 
gagements for the performance of those duties, 
which it was personally explained to them they 
were expected to fulfil ; and the village watchmen 
were punished for neglect or connivance, and re- 
warded for courage and good conduct. Attempts 
to deprive them of their service-lands were sedu- 
lously resisted, and the villagers were encouraged to 
give them more liberal subsistence. In this in- 
stance it was unequivocally shown that the co- 
operation of the people was to be had, and that when 
had it was efficacious.^ 

' Dowdesweirs Report, p. 615. 

' In the year 1810, Mr. Butterworth Bayley was appointed to the office 


BOOK L Notwithstanding this evidence of the feasibility 
CHAP, vn. ^^ ^ different system, no attempt was made to act 
1813. upon it on a more extensive scale; and the only 
enactments of the Government, in addition to those 
already adverted to, placed the rewards which had 
been given for the apprehension of Dakoits upon 
safer principles. The amount payable upon convic- 
tion was augmented : it was made payable wholly, 
or in part, where conviction could not be establish- 
ed, if circumstances justified the apprehension of 
the prisoner ; and it was to be withheld, even where 
conviction ensued, if it appeared that improper 
means had been pursued by the informer. Rewards 
for meritorious exertions, and remuneration for ex- 
pense incurred in cases not specified, connected with 
the discovery and apprehension of offenders, were 
also authorised. The combined operation of the 
measures of the Government was not without eflTect : 

of magistrate of Burdwan. In Feb. 1811, the Circuit judge reports that 
" gang-robbery, formerly so prevalent, had become nearly extinct ; and a 
regular system had been introduced which promised fair to secure the co- 
operation of tlie community in the detection and apprehension of oflenden.** 
The causes of improvement are thus detailed by Mr. Bayley ; " The uniform 
punishment and dismission from oflice of the village watchmen wherever 
there was any appearance of neglect or connivance on their part in robbe- 
ries, and the rewards which were constantly given to them for any proof of 
bravery, activity, or good conduct in opposing or apprehending Dakoits ; 
the exertitms made by him for obtaining a more adequate subsistence for the 
village watchmen, by carefully preventing all attempts on the part of the 
Talookdars to resume any part of the Chakeran lands, and by encouraginj^ 
the head villagers to subscribe a more lilK>ral remuneration for the support 
of tlieir Chokidars than had before been customary." The Mandals, who 
were the principal fixed residents, and were vested by long usage with con- 
siderable local authority and immunities, and the Chokidars under theniy 
were the chief classes upon whom Mr. Bayley relied for information and aid 
in tlie improvement of the police. He liowe\er took MiKK-hulkas not only 
from them, but also from the landh(»Iders, gomashtas, vi uders of spirituous 
liquor, pawnbnikers, gold and silversmiths, &c., explaining to them person- 
ally the duties they were enjoined to perfonn,and the practices from which 
thry were expected to refrain. — I-K-tter of Court, 9th Nov. 1814; Pari. 
Papi'rs, June, 1819, p. 53. In tills letter the Court fake a general review of 
the past and actual state of the police in Bengal. 


the crime of gang-robbery, although not wholly book i. 
eradicated, was materially checked, and during the ^^^^' ^"' 
latter part of Lord Minto's administration it became 18I3. 
much less frequent, and was less marked by cruelty 
and bloodshed. 

Shortly prior to the appointment of Lord Minto, 
a controversy had commenced between the autho- 
rities in England and in India respecting the course 
to be pursued with respect to the final settlement of 
the revenue from the land in those parts of the 
British territory where a settlement was yet to be 
effected, comprising the Ceded and Conquered pro- 
vinces under the Presidency of Bengal, and the pro- 
vinces in the south of India which had been annexed 
to the Madras Presidency by the humiliation and 
downfall of the Mohammedan Government of My- 
sore. Opinions at home had undergone a material 
change. Principles, which but a few years before 
had met with universal assent, were now called in 
question ; and measures, which had received the 
sanction and commendation of the Court of Direc- 
tors, the Board of Controul, and of successive ad- 
ministrations, and which had been eulogised by high 
authorities as the results of consummate wisdom 
and enlightened disinterestedness,^ were no^ stig- 

* '* The distinguished character of Lord Comwallis, and the authority 
which the permanent settlement deri?ed from the approbation of Mr. Pitt, 
of Mr. now Lord Grenville, and the late Lord Melville, justly clothed it 
with an awful veneration, which for many years precluded the agitation of 
any question as to its merits.'* — Commons* Committee, App. p. 67 ; Obser- 
vations on the Revenue System of India, by the Right Hon. John Sullivan. 
In the Parliamentary Debates, House of Lords, 9th April, 1813, Lord 
Wellesley observed, ** Every Governor of India had acknowledged the 
justice and policy of the principle of the permanent settlement, and he was 
satisfied that every person qualified to be a Governor of India must do the 
same. It formed the corner-stone of the Government of India, and the ex- 
tension of the principle to the Conquered provinces would found a solid basis 


BOOK I. matised as improvident and precipitate, as origi- 

nating m detective knowledge and erroneous ana- 

1813. logics, and as equally detrimental to the prosperitj 
of the state and the happiness of the people. The 
leading members of the Bengal and Madras Govern- 
ments, trained in the school of Lord Comwallis, 
and, with the exception of the Govemor-Greneral 
himself, the instruments and coadjutors of that 
nobleman in framing the perpetual settlement of 
Bengal, and in extending its provisions to Madras, 
tenaciously adhered to the principles of that settle- 
ment, and strenuously urged its universal adoption. 
The principal authorities of England, on the con- 
trary, influenced by the proceedings and sentiments 
of some distinguished revenue otficers of the Presi- 
dency of Madras, first suspended, and finally pro- 
hibited, the conclusion of an assessment in per- 
petuity in those i)rovinces to which it had not been 
extended.* To render this change of purpose intel- 

for that Government tu rest upon. On the same occasion £<ord GrenriUe 
urged the insertion of a clause in any charter to be g^ranted to the Compaoy 
declaratory of tlie adherence of the Indian Government to the principle of 

' The Select Committee of the House of Commons, in their celebrated Fifth 
Report, printed July, 1812, first publicly calle<I the principle in questioBy 
employing what Marquis M'ellcsley termed ambiguous words, tendin^^, ac- 
cording to Lortl Grcnvillo, if not to discredit the original measure, at least 
to discountenance its proposed extension. This Rei>ort is known to have 
been the composition of Mr. Cumming, at that time superintendent of the 
revenue and judicial department in the office of the Board of Controul, who 
was an implicit believer in the excellence of the Kyotwar settlement as ad- 
vocated by Sir Thomas Munn). — Conim(ms' Committee, 1832, App. ; Reve- 
nue remarks by Mr. Sullivan. "We ha^e also the testimony of Mr. Conr- 
tenay, between fifteen and sixteen years secretary to the Board of Controal, 
that the opposition to the'pennaiient Zemindari settlement originated in the 
Board, not in the C<>urt : " I may here mention, that the system known by 
the name of SirT. Munro's system was tlie work of the Board, and in many 
parts of it was o])posed by the ( 'ourt. The same observation applies U» 
many matters concerning the rt^vival or maintenance of ancient nathe infti- 
tutions, and the employment of natives in public functions." And agaia: 


ligible, it will be necessary to take a brief survey of book i. 
the condition of the agricultural population of India, ^l^^^^^_^^ 
and the principles upon which the realisation of the I813. 
revenue derived from land was founded, previously 
to the establishment of the British Government, as 
well as of the proceedings of the British Govern- 
ment subsequently to those which have been already 
described in connexion ^vith the permanent settle- 
ments made by Lord Comwallis. 

Land is the main source of the revenue of the 
British Government of India. That Government 
follows in this respect the principles and practice of 
its predecessors, both Mohammedan and Hindu; 
and, while it avails itself of a convenient and profit- 
able means of making provision for the public 
charges, it consults the advantage, and conforms to 
the notions and feelings, of the people.* 

" When I said that Sir T. Munro's system was the work of the Board, I 
meant that it was taken up and countenanced by the Board rather than by 
the Court." — Commons* Com. 1832, App.; Public answers, 292. 1685. 

' " In India the land has always furnished the chief revenue of the state, 
and taxes are immediately imposed upon it." — Minute of Lord Teignmouth, 
Fifth Report, App. 205. " By the ancient law of the country the ruling 
power is entitled to a certain proportion of the produce of every beega of 
land, deniandable in money or kind, according to local custom, unless it 
transfers its right thereto for a time, or in perpetuity.*' — Preamble to Reg. 
xix. 1793. " Any change from established custom in India gives rise to a 
great deal of dissatisfaction. The land-rent is what the people readily pay ; 
and, although it may appear exorbitant, it is a revenue that is paid without 
much difficulty. A tax in any other shape, however small, is comparatively 
disliked." — Christian, Evidence, Lords* Committee, 1830 ; Question 848. 
" N ine-tenths probably of the revenue of the Government of India is derived 
from the rent of land, never appropriated to individuals, and always consi- 
dered to be the property of Government : and to me that appears to be one 
of the most fortunate circumstances that can occur in any country; because, 
in consequence of this, the wants of the state are supplied really and truly 
without taxation. As far as this source goes, the people of the country 
remain untaxed.^' — Mill, Evid., Select Committee of House of Commons, 
1831 ; Question 3134. The proportion was overrated, as was subsequently 
remarked by the Committee ; it was about six-tenths : nor, as there will be 
occasion to remark, was it quite correct to say that the rent of land was 
never appropriated to individuals. 


BOOK I. But, this fact being stated, there occur sundir 


queationfl. which, although repeatedly and kbo- 
1813. riously investigated, have not yet been answered in 
such a manner as to secure universal acceptance. 
They may be briefly resolved into the following: 
1. In what character did the native GrovemmeDts 
claim a revenue from the land ? 2. What were the 
nature and extent of their demands ? 3. By what 
class or classes of the people were those demands 
discharged ? 4. Upon what principles were the de- 
mands of the British Government regulated ? We 
shall endeavour to elicit a reply to these queries 
from the mass of conflicting statements by which 
the subject has been obscured; but, as the space 
which can be devoted to the inquiry is unavoidably 
disproportionate to the quantity of unmethodised 
materials which have been accumulated with a 
view to its elucidation, it will be necessary to select 
for description only a few of the most important 
jK)ints, omitting many of less moment, though 
of scarcely inferior interest.^ 

I. The demand made by the Sovereign has been 
commonly referred to his character of proprietor of 
the soil. It has been maintained that it is by his 

* The principal authorities consulted for the following passages in the 
text are, The Fifth Report of the Select Committee of 1810, printed ISIS* 
1 vol. folio ; Selections from the Revenue and Judicial Records at the Indii 
House, printe<l by order of the Court of Directors, 18iM>-1826, 4 Tols. folio; 
Reports of the Select Committees of both Houses of Parliament In 1880, 
1831, and 1832, \\ith evidence and appendices, reprinted by Ofider of die 
Court of Directors, 16 vols. 4to ; C^)lonel M'ilks*s History of the South of 
India ; Sir J. Malcolm's Central India; Mr. Elphinstone's History of India; 
Rouse on the Land Tenures of India ; General Briggs on the Land-tax of 
India; General Galloway on the Law and Constitution of India; Mr.Tuelur 
on the Financial Situation of tiie East India Company ; Colonel Sykes on tiie 
I^nd T(>uures (»f the Dekhin ; Mr. Tliomason on the Revenue SettlemrBt 
of Azimghur ; and a variety of tracts and papers. 


permission only, and with his sanction, that the land book i. 
is occupied, and that the occupant sows his seed ^"^''•^"* 
and reaps his crops; that whatever produce is in 1813. 
excess of the bare subsistence of the cultivator and 
cost of cultivation, is the property of the king; 
that it is rent, not revenue, to which he is entitled, 
for he is the one universal landlord ; that this is the 
character in which the sovereign appears in the 
laws and institutions of the Hindus, in the laws of 
the Mohammedan conquerors of India, and in the 
practice of all modern native governments, and in 
which he is recognised universally by the people.^ 

Notwithstanding the positiveness with which it 
has been affirmed that the proprietary right of the 
sovereign is indissolubly connected with the an- 
cient laws and institutions of the Hindus, the ac- 
curacy of the assertion may be reasonably disputed. 
In adducing the authority of Hindu writers in fa- 
vour of the doctrine, two sources of fallacy are dis- 
cernible. No discrimination has been exercised in 
distinguishing ancient from modem authorities ; and 
isolated passages have been quoted, without regard 
to others by which they have been qualified or ex- 

^ See Mill, History of India, i. 305, and notes; also Grant's Reports on 
the Northern Circars and the Revenues of Bengal ; and the Minute of Lord 
Cornwallis, Fifth Report, App. 473. Colonel Munro says, '' Nothing can 
be plainer than that private landed property has never existed in India except 
on the Malabar coast.** — Revenue Sel. i. 94. And the Board of Revenue 
observe, ** We concur with Colonel Munro in thinking that Government is 
virtually the proprietor of the soil.** — Ibid. 486. Such also is Mr. Fortes - 
cue*s opinion with respect to the Western provinces ; and at a long sub- 
sequent date, " As to the proprietorship, my belief is, that the Govern- 
ment is the proprietor of the land, and that the person occupying it is well 
satisfied with the occupation, paying the rent.** — Lords' Committee, 1830, 
Evid., Question 511. And on the opposite side of India Colonel Bame- 
wall asserts that the people in Guzerat claim no property in the soil. Go- 
vernment is vested with the property in the lands ; and, as landlord, entitled 
to the rent, or a share of the produce equal to it. — Commons* Committee, 
1832, Evid. 1755. 


BOOK I. plained.^ If due attention had been paid to these 
considerations, it would have been found that the 
1813. supposed proprietary right of the sovereign is not 
warranted by ancient Mrriters ; and that, while those 
of later date seem to incline to its admission, they 
do not acknowledge an exclusive right, but one 
concurrent with the right of the occupant; they 
acknowledge a property in the soil, not the property 
of the soil. In the older jurists we find, indeed, 
the right of kingly power over the whole earth as- 
serted ; and the right is based, with every semblance 
of historical truth, upon conquest : but there is no 
attribution of ownership to the king, nor is there 
any trace of a royal property or estate.* Proprietary 

' As obserred by Mr. Mill, i. 307 and note, the Digest of Hinda law 
compiled by the desire of Sir William Jones, and translated bj Mr. Cole* 
brooke, favours the proprietary right of the sovereign^ particularly in stat- 
ing, that, if no special engagement for a term of occupancy has been made, 
the occupant may at any time be dispossessed by the lUya in faTour of a 
person offering a higher revenue. — i. 461. Colonel Wilks accuses the 
Pundits, Tvho compiled the Digest, of falsifying the law ; but the charge is 
undeserved. The original passages of the Digest are not tlie law, they are 
the opinions of the compiler as to the meaning of the law ; and it is open to 
any one to contest or admit the interpretation according to the purport of 
the ancient texts, which are also given. It is also necessary to collate this 
passage with what follows; it will then be found that Tarka-Panch4iiaiia, 
the compiler, does not deny proprietary right in the subject, he only infers 
the co-existence of concurrent rights : " There is property," he says, " of a 
hundred various kinds in land f * and, when treating of sale without ownei^ 
ship, he observes, " The property is his who uses the land where he re- 
sides, and while he uses it; and thus, when land belonging to any persoo 
is sold by the king, it is sale without ownership." — i. 475. The sale is 

* The texts of Menu, whicli have been cited in proof of the proprietary 
right of the R^a, have been misunderstood. In B. viii. v. 39, tlie phrase 
rendered by Sir W. Jones " lord paramount of the soil," is Bhumer-adhl- 
pati, supreme ruler of the earth : the title Adhipati, " over-lord," no more 
implies ownership in this text than when it is used to denote the head-roan 
of a village, Gr^madhipati ; or governor of a district, D^sadhipati. In 
another text, in which the authority of a king is intimated to be analogous 
to that of a husband over a wife, the sources of property in subjects are 
also enunciated : " Ancient sages have called this earth (Pritliivi) the wife 
of Prithu ; they have called the field his who has cut down the thicket ; the 
wild beast his whose shaft has slain it." — B. ix. v. 44. The sul^'ectioD 


right is vested in the individual who first clears book i. 
and cultivates the land : it is therefore referred to ' 
colonisation ; a source which, as regards India and isis. 
the Hindus, is probably in a great degree historical. 
The king may occupy unclaimed or uncultivated 
lands, as well as a subject ; he has no preference : 
if he appropriates them, he must give away half to 
the Brahmans ; if they are appropriated by a subject, 
the king claims only the share of the produce as- 
signed to him by law. Concurrent and not incom- 
patible rights and claims are thus clearly recog- 
nised ; and the king's dues are based, not upon any 
indefeasible right of property, but in the first in- 
stance upon conquest, and in the second upon pro- 

The notion of the proprietary right of the sove- 
reign is rather of Mohammedan than Hindu origin. 
The doctrines of the Mohammedan jurists are some- 
what at variance on this matter. Those who belong 

of the earth by Prithu is clearly an allegory of its conquest by the military 
caste ; see Vishnu Purana, p. 103. The compiler of the Digest expressly 
states that the king's proprietary right is *' denied by some, because Mena 
has only declared that subjects shall be protected by the king."— i. 471. 
Menu then, even according to the Pundits, is not authority for this doctrine. 
Another ancient lawgiver, Yajnawalkya, is quoted in the Digest to show 
that the king has no particular property even in unclaimed or uncultivated 
ground ; if a subject choose, he may occupy it without leave, giving the Raja 
his due. — i. 461. Another writer of antiquity, Jaimini, the author of the 
Mimansa, also denies the king's ovniership : " The kingly power is for the 
government of the realm and the extirpation of wrong, and for that purpose 
he receives taxes from husbandmen and levies fines from offenders ; but the 
right of property is not thereby vested in him, else he would have property 
in house and land appertaining to the subjects abiding in his dominions. 
The earth is not the king's, but is common to all beings enjoying the fruit 
of their own labour." — Colebrooke on the Mimansa Philosophy, Trans. 
Royal Asiatic Society, i. 458. Mr. Elphinstone justly x;oQcludes, from the 
Hindu laws on this subject, that as the king's share was limited to one-sixth, 
or at most to one-fourth, there must have been a proprietor for the other five- 
sixtlis, or three-fourths, who must obviously have had the greatest interest 
of the two in the whole property shared. — History of India, i. 42. 


BOOK I. to the school which has been chiefly followed in 
^^^^' ^'^ India, maintain the right of individual ownership : 
1813. yet' they do so with considerable reservation, fw 
they restrict the appropriation of all uncultivated 
land to the king ; assign to him the projierty of all 
except arable land ; authorise him to dispossess any 
occupant who neglects to cultivate his land, and 
transfer it to another*/ and entitle him to claim the 
whole of the net produce of cultivation. Other 
Mohammedan lawyers assert unequivocally, that in 
all conquered countries, and India is in their esti- 
mation a conquered country, although the inha- 
bitants may be suffered to retain the occupancy of 
their lands, the property of them is vested in the 
sovereign.* It is apparently to these doctrines, to 
the long continuance of Mohammedan domination 
over a large portion of India, and to the influence 
which it indirectly exercised over the states that 
remained subject to Hindu princes, that the notion 
of the proprietary right of the sovereign owed its 
general and popular acceptance. 

For upon whatever system of law that impression 

* The Hindu law, as it appears in Menu, does not go this length : it 
provides only, that, in case of neglect to cultivate, the owner shall be fined 
ten times the amount of the king's share, if his own fault; five times, if that 
of his servants. — B. viii. v. 243. There is nut a word of confiscation or 

* Galloway on the Law and Constitution of India, p. 1 01. According 
to this vn-iter, a high authority in matters of Mohammedan law, the school 
of Abu Hanifa was tliat which was chiefly followed in Hindustan ; and this 
jurist affirms that in conquered countries the people paying the legal impost 
presented their proprietary rights. General Galloway also states that this 
is denied by the Shafia and Malikia schools; according to which the lands, 
although retained by the people, become the property of the sovereign. — 
Ibid. 45. It is worth observing, that all the authorities cited by Mill, i. 
808 note, with exception of Diodorus and Strabo, whose testimony is not 
entitled to very great deference, derive their opinions from their observation 
of the state of things under the Mohammedan governments. 


was founded, and whether erroneous or just, there book l 
is little reason to doubt that in later times at least it ^^^^' ^"' 
has prevailed very widely amongst the people,^ and I813. 
regulated the practice of the native governments. 
This gives the question its importance. Abstract- 
edly considered, it signifies but little whether the 
king be called the lord of the soil, or by any other 
title; but, when in this capacity he superseded all 
other rights, it became no longer a matter of mere 
speculation. Acting upon this principle, the native 
rulers required that a formal grant should legalise 
the occupation of all waste land, and sequestrated 
estates of which the cultivation was neglected or 
the revenues unpaid; fixed at their pleasure from 
time to time the proportion of the produce which 
the occupant was to pay, claiming indeed the whole 
of the net produce as the rent ; and turned out ac- 
tual occupants in favour of others offering a higher 
amount of payment. The almost universal practice 
of recent times transferred these rights and powers to 
contractors and farmers of the revenue, from whom 
the prince exacted as much as he could obtain, and 
then left them at liberty to extort all they could, 
and by whatever means they could, from the people. 
His right to do so was not questioned, but its 

* The belief of Mr. Fortescue with regard to the opinions of the people of 
the Western provinces has been already cited, note, p. 41 S. The Abb^ Dubois 
is a good representative of the popular notions prevailing in the Dekhin, 
and lie says, " The lands which the Hindus cultivate are the domain of the 
prince, who is sole proprietor : he can resume them at pleasure, and give 
them to another to cultivate/' — Description of the People of India, p. 496. 
The author has heard the same sentiment expressed repeatedly by well-in- 
formed Hindus from the Upper provinces. They have admitted the full 
right of the Government to dispossess any occupants whatever, although, if 
the customary demands were paid, such act would be considered harsh and 
oppressive. In Bengal the notion has probably been effaced by the Com- 
pany's regulations : the Zemindars have been taught a different lesson. 

VOL. I. 2 E 


BOOK I. exercise through such instrumentality was resisted 
^^^^'^^ where resistance was thought likely to succeed ; and 
1813. the consequences of the system were such as might 
have been anticipated — the decline and disorganisa- 
tion of the country. 

The proprietary right of the sovereign derives 
then no warrant from the ancient laws or insti- 
tutions of the Hindus, and is not recognised by 
modem Hindu lawyers as exclusive, or incompatible 
with individual ownership. It is the doctrine of one 
of the schools of Mohammedan law; it has influenced 
the practice of the later native governments, and it 
had obtained a very general belief among the people. 
The popular belief was however modified by the 
remembrance of original rights and the remains of 
primitive institutions; and while in theory the 
people admitted the right of the prince to the 
lands they tilled, yet in practice they very com- 
monly regarded them as their own as long as they 
paid to the (Sovereign his undisputed share of the 
produce. Unhappily for them, this share was of 
late rarely regulated by any other standard than 
their ability to comply with the exactions of their 

II. The ancient Hindu law enacts that the de- 
mand of the Raja shall be levied in kind. The 
king is to have a proportion of the grain ; a twelfth, 
an eighth, or a sixth.^ It is also declared, that in 
time of war, if he should take one-fourth, he would 

' Menu, B. vii. v. 30. Tlie commentator explains the several rates to 
depend upon the quality of the land, and the labour required to bring it 
into cultivation ; the highest rate being levied on the best, the lowest on the 
worst sort of land : the assessment was therefore irrespective of the actual 


commit no sin.' A fourth of the actual crop con- book i. 
stituted therefore the utmost limit of demand, and ^^^^^^^^ 
that only in time of war, under the ancient Hindu isis. 
system; and this proportion evidently left such a 
share to the cultivator as was equivalent to a profit 
upon his cultivation, or to a rent, enabling him at 
his will to transfer the task of cultivation to tenant 
farmers, and placing him in the position of a landed 
proprietor as far as ownership of rent is evidence of 
such a tenure.* The Mohammedan law established 
a totally different proportion. It extended the 
claim of the Crown to the whole of the net pro- 
duce; assigned to the cultivator only so much of 
the crop as would suffice for one year's subsistence 
of himself and his family, and for seed; and reduced 
him to the condition of a mere labourer on his own 
land. The whole of the profit or the rent went to 
the sovereign, who thus became the universal land- 
lord.* The more equitable spirit and sounder judg- 


* It has been argued that this law would furnish a plea to the R^iga to 
exact a fourth at all times, as a case of necessity could always be made out ; 
but this is not possible consistently with a due regard to the language and ob- 
vious intention of the law. The passage should be thus rendered : '^ A Ksha- 
triya, in time of calamity, protecting his subjects to the utmost of his power, 
is liberated from sin although taking a fourth part/' The verse occurs in 
the section which treats of the conduct of the different castes in times of 
distress, and is detached from the passages concerning revenue. That the 
distress here indicated means time of war is clear enough from the passage 
that inmiediately follows : *' for battle is his duty ; he should never turn 
his face from fight : protecting the cultivators with his sword, let him levy 
taxes in a lawful manner.'^ — v. 119. 

' Such Mr. Mill considered it, and remarked, that there was no owner- 
ship of rent in India as in Europe. — Commons' Committee, I8S1 ; S288. The 
assertion was incorrect : there was ownership of rent as long as the native 
Governments suffered it to continue ; and there still is such ownership under 
the British Government, where the assessment is light. 

' " When the Imam conquers a country, if he permits the inhabitants to 
remain on it, imposing the Khar^j on their lands and the Jezia on their 
heads, the land is their property." Not very valuable property it should 
seem, for '' Imam Mohammed has said, regard shall be had to the culti- 



BOOK I. ment of Akbar limited the demand of the Boveragn 
^°^^' ^°' to one-third of the average produce of different sorts 
1813. of land ; the amount to be paid preferably in money, 
but not to be increased for a definite term of years.* 
Under more modem Governments, whether Hindu 
or Mohammedan, the demand seems to have fluctur 
ated from a third or half of the gross produce, to the 
whole of the net produce, or even to have exceeded 
those proportions;^ leaving to the cultivator in- 

vator : there shall be left for every one who cultivates his land as mvch as 
he requires for his own support till the next crop be reaped, and for that of 
his family, and for seed. This much shall be left him ; what remains is 
Khar^j, and shall go to the public treasury.** This is the dictum of a great 
lawyer of the Hanif ia school, Shams-ul-Aima of Sarakhs ; and a iroum of 
Aurangzeb directs his officers to levy the Khar^ according to the holy U^w 
and the tenets of Abu Hanifa. — Galloway, 40, 43. Here ia evidently the 
origin of the sovereign's claim to the whole of the rent. The anlftppy 
" infidel** cultivator had to pay a capitation tax besides. 

1 Ayin Akbari, i. 306, 314. The term was fixed, in the 84tfa year of the 
reign, for ten years ; but the general assessment, or Jama-bandi, of Toral- 
Mai was apparently intended to last for an indefinite period. — Ibid. 

' In the south of India, Harihara Rai, of Bijnagar, one of the latest in- 
dependent Hindu principalities, fixed the rate at one-fourth of the gross 
produce, fixing it on each field, and requiring a money^payment. The 
Mohammedan Governments exacted half tlie gross produce of the irrigated 
lands, and a money -rate equal to from thirty to forty per cent, of the valoe 
of the unirrigated and garden produce. — Revenue Selections, i. 895. Ac- 
cording to the Parasara Madhaviya, a work on law by the minister of 
Harihara, the king^s share was one-sixth. — Wilks, i. 154. In the 
Western provinces the Government share was considered to be half the net 
produce. — Fortescue ; Lords* Committee, Evidence, Question 531. Or 
even half the gross produce. — Ibid. 532. *' But the rule authorizing the 
exchequer to take as revenue one-half of the produce in the hands of Go- 
vernment is in a great manner nominal ; for in the unsettled districts we do 
not, I believe, on an average, get more than one-fourth.'* — Mackenzie ; 
Commons* Committee, 1832, Evid., Question 2671. Mr. Mill also thinks 
it impossible that such a proportion should ever have been taken. — Com- 
mons' Committee, 1831, Question 3887. But he obsen'es, correctly enough, 
with regard to the practice of later times, ** According to all I can gather 
from the practice of former Governments, the Government demand was 
never less than the full rent, in many instances probably more ; not anfre- 
quently as much more as could be raised without diminishing the number 
of inhabitants and desolating the country." — Ibid., Question 3114. The 
state of many parts of India, when first reduced to British authority, showed 
that these checks had not always operated ; and that the exactions of impro- 
vident and arbitrary princes, enforced through the agency of farmera of the 


sufficient means of subsistence, and not unfre- book i. 
quently compelling him to abandon in despair the ^"^^' ^^ 
cultivation of the lands which his forefathers had isis. 
tilled, and to which his strongest affections chained 
him, extortion being thus punished by dearth and 

III. According to the principles of the Moham- 
medan law, and the consequences to which they 
led, the classification of the parties interested in the 
produce of the soil was exceedingly simple. Two 
only were recognised, the Ryot or cultivating te- 
nant, and the Raja, or rent-owning landlord ; * the 
first earning a scanty support by his labour, the se- 
cond claiming the whole of the surplus return on 
his* property. Such were the conclusions of the 
first inquirers into the tenure of lands in India. 
Tliere were found, indeed, persons intervening be- 
tween the state and the cultivators, but these it was 
affirmed were in every case persons to whom the 
state had delegated its powers or transferred its 
rights : they were not — and this was in some import- 
ant respects quite true — ^proprietors of the soil : there 
were no such persons, — at least, there were no per- 
sons who had a right to intercept, without a special 
grant to that effect, any portion of the rent or profit 
of cultivation. Further investigation showed that the 

revenue, had thinned the population, and consigned extensive and fertile dis- 
tricts to the denizens of the forest. 

' So General Galloway : ''The truth is, that between the sovereign and 
the Reb-ul-arz, (master of the ground,) who is properly the cultivator, no 
one intervenes who is not a servant of the sovereign/*^p. 42. '* The land 
has been considered the property of the Circar and the Ryots; the interest 
in the soil has been divided between these two, but the Ryots have pos- 
sessed little more interest than that of being hereditary tenants.** — ^Thack- 
eray, Fifth Report, App. 992. 


BOOK I. latter propositions were not altogether accurate : the 
°"^''' ^"' structure of agricultural society in India was not to 
1813. exceedingly simple ; a variety of proprietary rights 
and privileges had survived the disintegrating ope- 
rations of foreign conquest, foreign laws, oppressive 
government, and popular misconception, and re* 
quired to be carefully studied and correctly under- 
stood before it could be safe or just to come to any 
unalterable conclusion. Traces of individual pro- 
prietary rights, of personal ownership of rent, were 
extensively discoverable ; and, where they were faint 
or extinct, it was because the rapacity of the ruling 
power had dimmed or extinguished them. 

A peculiarity in the disposition of landed pro- 
perty in India, which was early observable, was its 
distribution among communities rather than among 
individuals. The earliest records describe the agri- 
cultuml population as collected into groupes, vil- 
lages, or townships, having attached to the particular 
village or town in which they resided an extent of 
land the cultivateable portion of which was suf- 
ficient for their support, and which was apparently 
cultivated in common/ The internal administration 
of the affairs of the village was left, in a great 
measure, to the people themselves, under the gene- 
ral superintendence of an officer appointed by the 

1 Menu, Tii. 120, and viii. 237. The Madras Revenue Board afllnn tbe 
village system is as old as Menu : " That venerable legislator alludes to 
disputes about boundaries just as they occur at present, and directs a space 
of four hundred cubits wide, round small villages, and twelve hundivd 
round large ones, to be left for pasture. This could not have been done if 
the land had been exclusive private property, for in that case the owner 
would have made the most of his land, and not left it waste for the pablic 
use of the inhabitants ; and boundaries of fields and farms, rather than of 
villages, would have been disputed/'^Bevenue Selections, i. 4ST. 


I^ja, by whom the police was regulated, the go- book l 
vemment revenue was collected, and justice was ^^*^' 

administered, in communication with the principal 1813. 
persons of the village. The general scheme of 
these village corporations has been repeatedly de- 
scribed.^ Besides the officers of the government, 
and the individuals who composed the community 
strictly so called, the village comprised a varying 
number of persons who received small portions of 
the crops as the hire of services rendered to the 
whole, and persons also not members of the original 
establishment, but who were allowed to reside 
within the village as independent artificers and 
tradesmen, or even as cultivators of the lands 
bought or rented from the proprietors. Establish- 
ments of this nature were found in their greatest 
completeness in different parts of the south of India, 
where Hindu principalities had been longest pre- 
served : but they were also met with in the western 
provinces of Hindustan, where their organisation had 
assumed something of a military character ; and ves- 
tiges of them were not wholly obliterated even in 

The circumstances which led originally to this 
distribution of the lands among detached communi- 
ties are now beyond the reach of history. It may 
have been the result of a legislative provision, de- 
vised for the ready realisation of the revenue and 

^ See the description in the first volume of Mill, p. 31S, from the Fifth 
Report; Elphinstone, History of India, i. 120, and App. 476; and Wilks, 
Southern India, i. 117. In a deed of gift by the miniBter of Bukka Raya, 
king ofVijayanagar, dated 1109, Saka (a.d. 1187), the following list of vil- 
lage officers is given: — 1. Reddi, or Pedda Reddi, head-man. 2. Kamam, 
accountant. 3. Furohit, priest. 4. Blacksmith. 5. Carpenter. 6. Mo- 
ney-changer. 7. Kavel, village watcher or police officer. 8. Potmaker. 9. 


BOOK I. convenient administration of the civil gOTennnent; 

CHAP, vu. ^^^ there is no record of its institution or its au- 
1818. thor. Tradition ascribes it to the spontaneous agree- 
ment of mankind in an early stage of society,* and 
it may have been suggested to the first Hindu set- 
tlers in India by the necessities of their situation. 
Whatever may have been its origin or antiquity, 
there is no reason to believe that the village com- 
munities noM^ in existence can boast of any remote 
date or legislative creation. They represent with 
differing degrees of fidelity the primitive forms from 
which they are copied ; but they have deviated in 
various respects from the original type, and are in 
many instances, probably in all, of comparatively 
recent date. They are most commonly the growth 
of modem colonisation or conquest, and the pecu- 
liar features which they present have been modelled 
by the occurrences from which they have sprung. 

The political revolutions of later times, and pro- 
bably of earlier days also, have occasioned frequent 
migrations of the people of India from one part of 
the country to another. Centuries have elapsed since 
the region was fully peopled ; perhaps it never was 
wholly occupied : at any rate, abundance of waste 
land has for a long time past been available, and 
parties from the neighbouring or from distant tracts 
have located themselves upon unoccupied spots, with 

Washerman. 10. Barber. 11. Barikudu, messenger or menial. 12. Chek* 
6ri, shoemaker or worker in skins and leather. These are essentially the 
same as the Bara-ballowati of other authorities, though some of the names 
differ; and, in place of the leather-worker, some places have a water-car- 
rier. — Ellis on Mirasi right, App. p. 36. Traces of village institutions ^ere 
found by General Briggs in Bengal ; Land-tax, Supplement : althoagh 
there, as in other places, the corporation, or association of persons con- 
stituting the proprietary and governing body, had disappeared. 

* Vishnu Purana, p. 45. 


or without the cognisance of the ruling power, not book i. 
likely to throw obstacles in the way of those who 

purposed to convert an unproductive wilderness into isia. 
a source of revenue.^ The settlers would of course 
be either of the same family, the same caste, or the 
same tribe ; and would be linked together through 
succeeding generations by community of origin, as 
well as of property. There is an active spirit of 
aggregation at work in Hindu society : the very in- 
stitution of caste, which disjoins the people as a 
whole, combines them in their subdivisions ; like the 
process of crystallisation, which destroys the imi- 
formity of the mass by the condensation of the par- 
ticles. But this is not the only source of reinte- 
gration; there prevail other combinations of tribe or 
avocation, some of which would be sure to influence 
the movements of a body of settlers on a new soil, 
and unite them into a village community or cor- 
poration. The necessity of combination, in order to 
protect themselves against the financial oppressions 
of the state, or against unauthorised plunderers and 
assailants, would further contribute to cement their 
union, and would give it consistency and duration.* 

In like manner, where the occupation of the new 
country was an act of violence and aggression com- 

* See the instructions of Aurangzeb to his collectors, as cited by Gene- 
ral Galloway, 55. 

' Instances of recent colonisation are specified by Mr. Thomason. '* A 
family of Chandel Rigputs emigrated from the Jonpur district, and settled 
at Purgunna Natherpur, where they acquired much land/* <'The rise of 
some Ahir (shepherd) communities illustrates the formation of such bodies 
by sufferance. Familiar with the forest (in the Azimghur district), they 
fixed their residence in some favourable spot, and began to cultivate ; and, 
when a settlement (of the revenue) came to be made, appeared to be the 
most convenient persons with whom to enter into engagements for the land." 
— Account of the Settlement of Azimghur, by J. Thomason, Esq. ; Jour- 
nal, Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol.viii. p. 96. 


BOOK r. mitted against their neighbours, or against the bar- 
CBAP. vu. Ijoj^^j^ tribes inhabiting extensive tracts in different 

1813. parts of India, identity of kindred, caste, or tribe, as 
well as of interest, would unite the first assailants, 
and would extend a bond of union to their suc- 
cessors. Such transactions are known to have oc- 
curred within very recent periods.* In some in- 
stances one village community has fallen upon an- 
other, and ousted it from its possessions : in others, a 
military adventurer has assembled his kinsmen and 
followers ; and, having conquered an extensive tract, 
has parcelled it out amongst his Chiefs, very much 
upon the plan of a military fief. Time, the fiscal 
measures of the Government, and the partition of 
inheritance among the descendants of the con- 
querors, have loosened the original compact; and 
the village, once held by an individual upon con- 
dition of military service to a chief, may have as- 
sumed the form of a village municipality, or it may 
still retain many features of its original feudal cha- 
racter.^ In some places the original occupants have 

' Mr. Thomason supposes the original conquest of Azimghur by R^|put8, 
some time prior to the twelfth century, to have been the general foaadation of 
the existing proprietary right of the soil ; and recently, ** Achar and its de- 
pendent villages was held by a tribe of Kaut Rajputs. The Dhun^vrars, 
(another Rcyput clan,) of the neighbouring estate of Khulsa, were more 
powerful : they attacked and massacred most of the Kauts. This took place 
only a few years before the cession. Some of the family fled into the neigh- 
bouring district of Ghazipur, then in British possession, and have since in 
vain attempted to recover their rights," — ^J. B. As. Society, viii. 90. Dar- 
ing the course of the inquiry preceding the permanent settlement, it was 
found that the Pergunna of Mongir was divided among the descendants of 
two Rfgputs, to whom the family tradition ascribed the first settlement of 
the country under grants from the Emperor Humayun, having taken it from 
the wild inhabitants of the wilderness, which it then was, without the smallest 
vestige of cultivation. — Letter from Mr. Davis, Assistant Collector on De- 
putation, 11th August, 1790; Fifth Report, 238. 

* Such is the case with the greater part of the Zemindaris along the 
western frontier of Bengal, where, while the peasantry are mosUy of tlie 


been driven away or exterminated : in others they book i. 
appear as serfs or slaves attached to the soil and ^^|^^^^_^ 
accompanying its transfers, or being sold independ- isis. 
ently of the land.^ 

From these sources, — legislation, colonisation, 
and conquest, — ^and from the two latter especially in 
modern times, may be derived the origin of the 
village communities of India, or confederations of 
a definite number of individuals claiming a certain 
extent of land as their common property, and a right 
to all advantages and privileges inherent in such 
property, subject to the payment of a proportion 
of the produce to the state. When that proportion 
absorbed all the profits of cultivation, the members 
of the commune who claimed the ownership of the 
lands were reduced to the condition — which has 

wild forest tribes, Roles, or Gonds, the proprietors of the villages are Raj- 
puts. That these latter came as conquerors as late as the sixteenth and seyen- 
teeoth centuries is well known amongst themselves, and the origin of their 
possessions by allotment from the chief on the tenure of military service is 
also admitted. The relation between the holders of the several lots, and the 
representatives of the first leader, or the R^'as, is more or less perfectly 
preserved, but it retains almost universally some impress of its origin. 
See the remarks on tenures in Sambhalpur, Mill, i. p. 309, note. A similar 
state of ihings prevails in the Pergunnas of Palamii, Sirguja, Chota Nag- 
pur, and others in the semae direction. An interesting account of the origin 
and progress of the feudal Zemindari of Palamii was printed, but not 
published, by the late Mr. Augustus Prinsep, of the Bengal Civil Service. 
Mr. Prinsep was disposed to find similar feudal institutions in many of the* 
Zemindaris of Bengal and Behar. 

' In Malabar and Canara, where the land was very generally divided 
and occupied as separate and distinct properties, the labourer was the per- 
sonal slave of the proprietor, and was sold and mortgaged by him inde^ 
pendently of the land. In the Tamil country, where land belonged more to 
communities than individuals, the labourer was understood to be the slave 
of the soil rather than of any particular person. In Telingana, where it 
was diflicult to trace the remains of private property in the land, the la- 
bourers, usually of the degraded or outcast tribes, were free. — Minute, 
Board of Kevenue, Madras, Jan. 1818]; Revenue Sel. i. 887. Mr. Thomason, 
describing the agricultural labourers of Azimghur, speaks of them as having 
been, under former Governments, predial slaves, who were beaten without 
mercy for misconduct, and were liable to be pursued and brought back if 
they attempted to escape. — J. B. Asiatic Soc. viii. 115. 


BOOK I. been ascribed, incorrectly it may be thought^ to all 
CHAP. viL ^j^^ agricultural population of India — of persons cul- 
1813. tivating the ground with their own hands and by 
their own means.^ When the further exactions of 
the officers of the state, and the usurpations which 
in the absence of all govemment they perpetrated, 
reduced the proprietors to extreme distress and in- 
significance, the village corporations were broken 
up, and the traces of proprietary right so completely 
obliterated as to suggest a belief that it had never 
existed. Such seems to have been the state of the 
peasantry in Bengal and Telingana. In other 
places, in Canara, in the Dekhin, in Bundelkhand, 
and the Western provinces,* the right of property 
was better preserved. Where either the demands 
of the Govemment had been more moderate, or the 
villagers by union and courage, or combination a^jnd 
craft, had resisted or evaded extortion, they re- 
tained their character of proprietors, living upon the 
profits of their own lands.* The state of the coun- 

1 MUI; Commons' Committee, 1831, Evid. 3114. 

' Thus in Canara and Sonda, where the lands had^ until a late date, been 
lightly assessed, the Government demand having been as low as one-tenth 
of the produce, and never more than a third, the lands were generally sub- 
let, the proprietors sometimes cultivating a portion : none of them held any- 
large estates ; few averaging, in the best of times, a rent of more than fifty 
pagodas (or about twenty pounds) a-year. The respective rights of the 
Govemment to the land revenue, and of the proprietor to the land, vrere 
well known : an ancient grant to a temple specified the grant to be the 
Government share of the rent, because the land belonged to the proprietor, 
and could not therefore be given away by the state. — Fifth Report, 803 ; 
Life of Sir Thomas Munro, iii. 161. 

* The term village Zemindars has been generally applied to these proprie- 
tors in Hindustan. — Fortescue ; Thomason, &c. Janamkars, or birthright 
holders, is their name in Malabar. — Hoard of Revenue, Madras. Amongst 
the Mahrattas they were called Thalkaris, holders of the llial, (Sthal, or 
land,) or Watan-dars (holders of the country) ; Coates on the Township of 
Lony ; Trans. Literary Society of Bombay, iii. 226 : and in the Tamil coun- 
tries of the Peninsula, Mirasis, or Mirasdars (inheritors). Of the latter 


try, the habits of the people, and the subdivision of book i. 
property by the laws of inheritance, prevented the ^^^^' ^' 
aggregation of large estates, or the formation of a I813. 
landed aristocracy; and the agricultural proprietors 
were therefore little else than petty farmers, employ- 
ing, superintending, and not unfrequently assisting 
the labourers : but they were in a position to preserve 
their hereditary rights, and to perpetuate the or- 
ganisation of the village communities. Much va- 
riety, however, prevailed in that organisation, not 
only in proportion to the degree of entireness in 
which it had been preserved, but from circumstances 

Mr. Ellis observes, *' Miras, originally signifjring inheritance, is employed to 
designate a variety of rights differing in nature or degree, but all more or less 
connected with the proprietary possession or usufruct of the soil or of its 
produce." — Ellis on Mirasi right ; Selections, 810. The Selections have 
injudiciously omitted the Appendices of this valuable document, full of im- 
portant historical illustration, which no one but Mr. Ellis was competent, 
from a profound knowledge of the languages and literature of the South of 
India, and from enlightened experience, to furnish. In the Appendix, 
which with the text was printed at Madras in 1818, we find the following 
concluding view of Mirasi tenure. ''The Cani-sudantram, or proper 
Mirasi right, though founded on the principles of the general law, implies 
peculiar privileges and an independent enjoyment of landed property by 
the actual cultivator, unknown in other parts of India, and confined, in 
fact, to those provinces of tlie South which formerly constituted the domi- 
nions of the ancient Tamil princes : this mode of holding landed property, 
and several of the incidents appertaining to it, are not in resemblance only, 
but in fact, the same as those which prevailed among our ancestors pre- 
viously to the introduction of feudal tenures into Europe, and which is 
usually designated by the term allodium, with which the word Ganyatchi 
(entire and absolute possession) in derivative meaning intimately corre- 
sponds. One of the most remarkable incidents in Mirasi is, the periodical 
interchange of lands, which, in Tonda-mandalam at least, was anciently 
universal ; the holding of them in severalty being a modem practice. Now 
this was also a practice common to the nations among whom the allodial 
possession of land primarily obtained, and from whom it passed to their 
Prankish and Saxon descendants; as Tacitus observes, 'The fields are 
occupied, in proportion to the number of cultivators, in turns by all, and 
are then divided among them according to the rank of each : the extent of 
the plains facilitates this partition. The cultivated fields are interchanged 
every year, and yet land remains.' — De Mor. Germanorum, c. 26. Were 
I to endeavour to describe the mode of periodical repartition practised in 
every Arudicadei village in Southern India, I could not convey my mean- 
ing in more appropriate or precise terms.'*— p. 85. 


BOOK I. connected with its history whidi were no longer to 
^^^^'^' be verified. A village or villages had sometimes a 
1813. single proprietor, more commonly a greater number; 
but these were associated under a variety of condi- 
tions. Sometimes they held in common, sometimes 
in severalty ; and the rights which they claimed were 
of various descriptions. They were mostly reducible 
to two chief classes, the rights of property and the 
rights of privilege : they were both hereditary, but 
the latter only were indefeasible, and subsisted where 
the former had been lost. In their capacity of joint 
proprietors of village land the members of the asso- 
ciation generally inherited rather a definite propor- 
tion of the whole than any specific spot of ground. 
Sometimes the same family cultivated the same 
fields for successive generations; but it was more 
usual to arrange amongst themselves for fresh allot- 
ments from time to time, and to distribute different 
parcels of land in distant parts of the village estate 
to the same individual, according to the qualities of 
the soil, and in conformity to regulations sanctified 
by prescription. In their character of parties re- 
sponsible to the Government for a portion of its de- 
mands they sometimes paid it individually, in pro- 
portion to their shares; but it was more usual to 
make the apportionment amongst themselves, and 
pay the whole collectively through their head-man 
or head-men. The shares, or the land where the 
land was cultivated separately, might be mortgaged, 
or let, or sold ; but the act ordinarily required the 
concurrence of the other members of the com- 
munity, in whom also the right of pre-emption 
was vested. The alienation of the land to a stranger 


did not carry with it of necessity his admission to book i. 

j1 ••i»j 'I* •• xl CHAP. VU* 

the municipahty, or give him any voice in the ma- 

nagement of the affairs of the village ; neither did it leis. 
divest the person to whom the share or land had 
belonged, of his right to interfere in the counsels of 
the community, to assist in auditing the village 
accounts, or to receive his portion of any emolu- 
ments which were derivable from the fees paid for 
permission to exercise any trade or calling in the 
village by persons not originally belonging to it, or 
from any other source. Should he at any time 
become able to resume his land, he was at liberty 
to do so. A variety of minor regulations diversified 
the village constitution in different parts of India; 
but the general plan and most characteristic features 
were everywhere essentially alike, and established 
the virtual existence of a proprietary right in the * 
soil, enjoyed by certain classes of the people, wher- 
ever it had not been infringed or abrogated by the 
usurpations or exactions of arbitrary rule.* 

* Occasionally an entire village might have become the property of a 
single individual ; Minute, Sir Edward Colebrooke, Selections, ill. : but in 
general the lands were divided into an indeterminate number of subdivisions 
amongst the descendants of the original stock, or those holding in right of 
them. Their right to a certain number of shares was fixed, but adjustments 
took place from time to time according to the pleasure and convenience of 
the parties interested : the divisions were effected either by integral allot- 
ment, or by fractional parts of each description of the land, to be divided 
according to its quality. By the former method the shares were compact; 
by the latter they consisted of many particular spots situated in different 
quarters. In some villages, although comparatively few, the lands are 
undivided ; yet this circumstance neither alters nor affects in any way the 
right of property in them. When the lands are undivided, each sharer 
usually continues to cultivate the same fields. A proprietary share is con- 
sidered large at two hundred and fifty b^gas, an ordinary one about seven 
b^gas; some are as small as two b^gas. — Fortescue on Tenures in the Dis- 
trict of Delhi ; Selections, iii. 404. The proprietary right may rest either 
in a single individual or in a community: the latter may divide among 
themselves the profits of the estate, either according to their ancestral shares, 
or some arbitrai7 rule having reference to the quantity of land which each 


BOOK I. The existence of proprietors of the soil not de- 
CHAP. viL p^jj^jjjg upon manual labour involved of necessitj 

1813. the existence also of a class or classes of persons 
willing to undertake the task of cultivating the 
land, paying a rent for the occupancy transferred to 
them for that purpose. Such persons accordingly 
were found in all places where the proprieton 
themselves had not been reduced to the level of a 
labouring peasantry; as was the case in much of 
the territory of the Peninsula, in the Mahratta pro- 
vinces, and in Hindustan. They were not wholly 
wanting even in Bengal.^ It would occupy too 

member cnltivates. — ^Thomason ; J. B. Asiatic Soc. yiii. 08. In Tariom 
places, what was considered the ori^nal number of shares remained no- 
altered ; but the distribution came to the same thing as theirmnltipliGatioo, 
it being in fractional parts : thus, some members might hare a whole share, 
some a half, or some a hundredth part. This was the case in the TbsA 
countries ; and the Thais of the Mahratta villages, and P^ns and Thokas 
of the Western provinces, seem also to have represented the original sham, 
and indicated the number of persons among whom the land was fint diTided. 
— Golebrooke, Sykes, &c. In the South of India the lands are of two kinds, 
privilege and proprietary : the former belong to the whole village, and a 
member can sell his share only; the latter maybe cultivated coIlecU^-elyor 
separately. In the former case shares only are subjects of sale, in the latter 
the land is saleable. — Minute, Hoard of Revenue, Madras ; Selections, i. 
904. The other statements of tlie text rest also upon these authorities. 

' In the Western provinces there were the Kudeem, or ancient Ryot ; the 
Pahi, the itinerant or temporary Ryot; and the Kumera, or labourer: there 
was also the Kamin, or partial cultivator, an artizan or the like, cultivat- 
ing a few bigas at his leisure. — Fortescue ; Selections, i. 406. In Asim- 
ghur there were the three classes, but generally resolved into two : Ashraf, 
respectable ; and Arzal, low. — ^Thomason ; J. B. As. Society, viii. 1 12. In 
Kengal the cultivators were long since distinguished as holding Khud-kaaht 
and Pai>kasht lands ; the former cultivated by a permanent and resident, 
the latter by a temporary and migratory, tenant. — Harington, Analysis B. 
Regulations ; Introduction. The Zemindari Regulations have merged the 
proprietor into the Khud-kasht cultivator, who was probably the perma- 
nent tenant. But there are other designations, less known, which preserve 
the distinctions ; the Prsya, (or subject,) having the right to aeU ; the 
Kalpa, paying him rent, and, while so doing, having the right of occu- 
pancy ; and the Patti-dar, holding of the same by annual lease. — Briggs, 
Land-tax of India, Supplement, 600. In the South of India, in the TiBunil 
countries, tenants are termed Paya-karis, cultivating persons : the perma- 
nent, Ul-kudi Paya-karis ; the temporary, Para-kudi Paya-karis: in Mala- 
bar, Patom-karis, rent-payers: in Canara,Gahinis, literally tenentes; M6I»- 


much space to specify the various tenures by which book i. 
they hold, and it will be sufficient to advert to them ^^^^^_^ 
as distinguishable into two principal classes: the I8i3. 
one possessing a right of perpetual occupancy as 
long as the stipulated rent was paid; the other 
having only a temporary possession, either for a 
definite number of years, or being tenants at will. 
The former might have tenants under them, and 
sublet the land, remaining themselves responsible 
to the individual or community of whom the land 
was held ; they were also allowed to mortgage, but 
not to sell. The tenants for a term were bound of 
course by the tenor of their agreements : the tenants 
at will were often little better than mere labourers, 
and sometimes were degraded to the condition of 

From this sketch of the distribution of landed pro- 
perty in India it follows, that, whatever might have 
been the law or the theory, individual proprietary 
right, identifiable with ownership of rent, had a very 
extensive existence even to the latest periods of na- 
tive administration. The precise nature of the title 
under which it was enjoyed was not always the 
same, nor was it always perhaps easy of verification ; 
but, whether originating in ancient institutions, in 
colonisation, or in conquest, it had a real and sub- 
stantial vitality, and animated the exertions of the 

gahinis, radical or permanent tenants ; Chali-gahinis, moveable tenants. — 
Madras Revenue Board; Selections. In the Mahratta countries the 
tenant is termed Upari, an " over" or " outer" man, an alien ; Sukhwas, 
an abider at ease ; a Mahiman, or guest : but the only tenure here known 
seems to be that of a tenant by agreement or lease. — Sykes, Land Tenures 
of the Dekhin. Of these denominations, some are Sanscrit, some Arabic, 
some vernacular, but they are all significant; and, had their significations 
been properly understood, little doubt could ever have been entertained as 
to the character of the persons to whom they were applied. 

VOL. I. 2 F 


BOOK I. great body of the cultivating popniation, until it was 
CHAP. viL jggtjiQy^^j QP wrested from them, partially at least, 

1813. by the progress of events, and by the extortion, 
injustice, and ignorance of their rulers. 

IV. The produce of cultivation being divided 
between the proprietor or cultivator and the sove- 
reign, it was necessary that the latter should pro- 
vide agents to determine and realise his share. 
With this view, under the Hindu system an officer 
was placed, as has been noticed, at the head of 
every village or toTniship, who was accountable to a 
superior in charge of ten villages ; he again was re- 
sponsible to the superintendent of one hundred vil- 
lages, and he to the head of a thousand villages.' 
This last, the governor in fact of a province, paid 
the revenue into the royal treasury. The Moham- 
medan Governments adopted divisions, correspond- 
ing in a great measure with those of the Hindus, bat 
the organisation was less definite:* and in the anar- 
chy of the declining empire, and in the general em- 
ployment of the agency of revenue contractors, little 
trace was left of the primitive institutions beyond 
the head-man of the village, and the chiefis of one 
or two large but undefined portions of territory; the 
former designated in various parts of India as Mo- 
kaddam, Mandal, or Patel, the latter known chiefly 
in Bengal and Hindustan as Talukdar or Zemindar. 
The head-man of a village was the only func- 

^ Menu, vii. 119, 123 ; Elphinstone's History of India, i. S9. 

' In Benf^l we have the Gnima or Gaon, the Tillage; the Tuaf, the 

Parganna, and the Taluk or Zeniindari, for the larger divisioiiB. ^Haring- 

ton*s Analysis, ii. 67. Among tlie Mahrattas, the Patel, the D^annkk, 
and Sir-d^s-mukh, for the gradation of officers. — Sykes ; JounuU Hoyai 
As. Society, ii. 208. 


tionary that was identified with the primitive insti- book i. 


tution, and who had lived on with it through all ' 
the revolutions which India had experienced.* Al- I813. 
though, however, the office subsisted, it had not 
escaped alteration. The tendency of all public em- 
ployment in India, from the office of the prime- 
minister to the function of village watchman, to be- 
come hereditary, is familiarly known. The station 
of head of a village followed the prevailing bias. 
From being an officer nominated by the sovereign,- 
he came to claim the post in virtue of his descent : 
the family became permanently grafted upon the 
village, and the representative of it regarded the 
superintendence of its affairs as his right. It is not 
unlikely that from the first the duty was entrusted 
to a leading member of the community, who, while 
he was acceptable to his townsmen, would be most 
competent to promote the interests of the state by 
his influence and responsibility. Time wrought 
other changes : the family decayed or disappeared ; 
new men usurped the authority, or were elected by 
different portions of the community. The notion of 

* " In every village, according to its extent, there are one or more head- 
men, known by a variety of names in various parts of the country, who 
have in some degree the superintendence and direction of the rest. I shall 
confine myself to the term < Mandal :' he assists in fixing the rent, direct- 
ing the cultivation, and making the collections.** — Minute by Lord Teign- 
mouth ; Fifth Report, 103. He particularises the Mandals of Birbh^m, 
Pumia, and R^jshahi, districts of Bengal. " Amongst the crowd of pro- 
prietors, the managers and leaders of the villages are the Mocuddims. 
These have been from time immemorial the persons through whom the rents 
of the village have been settled and collected, and who have adjusted the 
quota of each sharer." — Fortescue; Selections, i. 408. 

^ In the Mahratta countries the confirmation of the head of the state con- 
tinued to be regarded essential to the validity of the Patel's authority. 
'* The Patels about Poona say they hold their Patelships of the Emperor of 
Delhi, or one of the Sattara kings ; but many of them must hold of the 
Peahwa.*' — ^Township of Lony ; Bombay Trans, iii. 183. 

2r 2 


BOOK I. property as well as privilege became attached k 
' the suecession ; and the person holding the offi« 
1813. sohl or mortgaged it, or a part of it, and introduced 
a colleague.* Different castes found admission into 
the vilhige society, each having its own head; or 
different branches of the same family chose to be 
sevenilly represented.* The headship was thus di- 
vided amongst fewer or more individuals. Nor iro 
this a partition of a barren title or a post of hononr: 
it was an apportionment of shares in certain fees, 
perquisites, and profits attached to the situation, 
founded upon the provision made originally for the 
remuneration of the head-man, but extended to a 
variety of objects not contemplated in the primaiy 
institution. From these and other sources of pecu- 
niary beii(»fit, the office became in some parts of 
India a means of acqiiiring wealth, and an object of 

' The I'atclship is hereditary aiid saleable, but the office is looked apm 
as so respectable, and the property attached to it is considered so pcrBi* 
neut, that there are few or do instances of its being wholly sold, althoagh 
part of it has been so transferred. This has gi^en rise to there beini^tvo 
Patels in many \ illages, and in some three or four. — Bombay Trans, iii. ISi. 

- General Hrigji^s found in a village near Calcutta, peopled by Mohais- 
medans and Hindus, four Mandals ; three for the former, one for the Isttw. 
— Supplement, Lund-tax. And in a village near Madras, three Pedda-kan, 
or head-men ; one for each caste of the |M)pulation. — Supplement; ColL, 
&c. Colonel Sykes gi^es an amusing and instructive accnunt of the soleni 
arbitration of a dii^pute in which two l*atels of a village had sold a thiid U 
the office to a third party, for money wherewith to pay the public revenue. 
They subsequently contested the full advantages which the transfer wis 
maintained to convey : a venlict was given against them in a Panchayat of 
Pat(>ls, who apportioned to each his se]>arate share of precedence andeno- 
lument. Among other things it was decreed that each was to have a pair 
of shoes a-year from the village shoemaker, two bundles of fire-wood « 
festival-days from the village menials, thn>e pots of water daily frwatfce 
watchmen, and a third of all sheeps' heads offered to the goddess Bhaviai. 
What was still more valuable, a similar partition was enacted of the reot- 
free lands attached to the office, and of all lands that mi^ht lapse fttss 
families becoming extinct. — ^Tenures of the Dekhin ; Journal Royal Asiatic 

' The founder of the family of Sindhia was a Patel : Madhiji afledtd 



The officers to whom the Mohammedan designa- book i. 

^^ CHAP Vila 

tions of Talukdars and Zemindars applied, indicated ' 
less distinctly their Hindu original. They differed 1813. 
in little except in a greater extent of authority and 
amount of collection, and not always in that ; and it 
will be sufficient in this place to confine our in- 
quiries to the latter.* Conflicting speculation has 
confounded our conceptions of the character of the 
Zemindar : some of the perplexity has arisen from 
the application of the term to different classes of 
persons, and some to the combination of different 
characters in the same class of persons. In some 
places the title Zemindar signifies the proprietor of 
the soil, either as landlord or cultivator, in his indi- 
vidual capacity, or as a member of a village commu- 
nity : in some places it denotes a sort of feudal pro- 
prietor, either paramount or subordinate : and in 
others, an individual responsible to the Government 
for its share of the revenue of a district of greater or 
less extent; deriving this responsibility from inherit- 
ance, and claiming also as a hereditary right an allow- 
ance out of the Government share for maintenance, 
and as compensation for the trouble and responsibi- 
lity of collection.* It was in this latter capacity that 

the title, whence the popular saying, " Madhaji Sindhia made himself master 
of India by calling himself a Patel." — Malcolm, Central India, i. 124. 
Holkar, the Bhonsla Raja, and others, took not only the title, but claimed 
the oflBce and its emoluments in particular villages. — Sykes, Land Tenures. 

* A Talook comprehended only a few villages or a small tract of ground. 
The Talook-dar, or holder of a * dependaucy,' sometimes held under a 
Zemindar, sometimes immediately under the Government, to whom bis col- 
lections were paid. In the language of the Compan/s Regulations the 
latter is called an independent Talookdar. The Hindu name, Choudri, (a 
word of uncertain etymology, but apparently derived from Chaturthadhari, 
the receiver of a fourth part,) was sometimes applied to a Zemindar. — 
Harington's Analysis, ii. G3. 

* Of the first class are the Zemindars of the Western provinces, as ab*eady 


BOOK I. the Zemindar became first conspicuous in the fiscal 


' arrangements of the Governments of British India, 

1813. and was regarded as having a claim to property in 
the soil. 

Nor was this notion altogether without found- 
ation. The whole of the district for the revenues 
of which a Zemindar was accountable, or any very 
considerable part of it, might not be his absolute 
property ; but there is reason to believe that he was 
rarely a mere functionary of the Government, hav- 
ing no property nor interest whatever in the soil. In 
his case, as well as in that of the head of a village, 
individuals were no doubt appointed to represent 
the Government in a particular locality because 
they had extensive possessions in it, which conferred 
upon them local authority and influence on the one 
hand, and on the other afforded to the state a sub- 
stantial security for the realisation of its demands. 
The additional power which his relation to the Go- 
vernment placed in his hands was liable to be used 
by the Zemindar for his own advantage, and oppor- 

noticed ; and of the second, the Zemindars of the border districts of BennL 
also adverted to. The Zemindars of Orissa, according to Mr. Stuiinff tn 
also the representatives of feudal chiefs, holding their lands by the teauc 
of military service ; Asiatic Researches, xv. 229 : So are the andeat Ze- 
mindars of the Northern Circars, and the Poligars of the Dekbin Bpnett 
to have had the same origin. The last class were found chiefly in BeanL 
but also in Hindustan. Their claim to a portion of the Goremment levt- 
nue only is clearly expressed in various Sunnuds or grants of the Mond 
Government. One of these, quoted in the original by Mr. Thomaaon, dated 
1609, is a grant made by Jehangir to a converted Hindu, and his descead- 
ants for ever, of twenty-four Purgannas in the province of Allahabtd* 
from the Jumma or annual revenue of which he is to deduct one hondicd 
and twenty-five thousand rupees for his Nankar or subsistence and oae 
per cent, for Zemindari dues (Abw&b-i-zemindari). — J. Hengal Aaialic 
Society, viii. 91 . Mr. Shore ( Lord Teignmouth) refused to admit a SooBwl 
to be a foundation of Zemindari tenure ; Fifth Report, 204 : but that wu 
because he maintained the Zemindars to be proprietors of the land. Ur* 
Grant refers their origin to the time of Akbar. — ^Ibid. 632. 


tunities were not likely to be wanting which book i. 


enabled him to appropriate to his own uses t.hp 
rights both of individuals and the state. The latter isis. 
not unfrequently waived its own claims in his fa- 
vour by grants of waste land, or by the assignment 
to him of the rent of different places in perpetuity 
for his subsistence; the right to the hereditary posses- 
sion of which was admitted even when the Zemin- 
dar vras relieved from all share in the collection of 
the revenue, was incapable by reason of age or sex 
of performing the duty, or when he declined to 
engage for the amount of the Government claim.^ 
Besides this assignment, the Zemindar received a 

' For this the term is N&nk&r, literally, source of bread; General Gallo- 
way explains it '^ bread for work :** it is much the same thUig, meaning sub- 
sistence-money. In the Sunnud last referred to it was a specified sum to be 
deducted from the whole rent, but it was more usually the rent or Government 
share of the produce of certain tracts of land within the Zemindari set apart 
for the support of the Zemindar. — Harington, ii. 65 ; and Fifth Report, 63S. 
Mr. Trant identifies Nankar with Nijot, the own proper cultivated land of the 
Zemindar. — Evid. Com. Committee, 1832 ; Question 2037. Agreeably to 
the tenor of the Sunnud quoted in the preceding note, the Nankar was a 
pension assigned upon the revenue without specifying any obligation to col- 
lect the revenue, and hence the foundation, probably, of all such claims. 
It was rather a special grant to individuals than to the Zemindars as a 
class, and consequently was retainable where the duty of collecting the re- 
venue was resumed or declined. There was another allowance, the Mali- 
kana, the origin of which is not so obvious : properly, it denotes the right of 
the Malik or owner; but, until the Zemindars were acknowledge to be 
owners by the British Government, it did not belong to them. It not im- 
probably originated (as General Galloway supposes) in the reservation to 
the owner of a part of his proper share, amounting to ten per cent, of the 
estimated rent where the whole land had been oppressively assigned away 
from him. — p. 91. In the course of time it seems to have been appropri- 
ated by the Zemindars, and to have been converted by them into an here- 
ditary claim for ten per cent, on the Government collections ; and finally it 
was secured to them professedly in the capacity of proprietors of the soil, 
and therefore independently of official function, by the imperfect knowledge 
of the British Government. — Regulation viii. 1793, clause xliv. The same 
Regulation secured to recusant Zemindars their Nankar lands also, as long 
as the joint amount of Malikana and Nankar did not exceed ten per cent. 
— CI. XXX vi. Certainly the Zemindars had no right to Malikana independ- 
ently of employment in fiscal duties ; and their right to Nankar depended 
upon the nature of the original assignment under which it was held, or the 
degree in which it was their Ng or own property. 



BOOK I. per-centage upon the actual collections, or wl 
' were understood to Iw the actual collections ; and 
i«is. was authorised to impose, for his own benefit, ta] 
upon the industry of the people, — an authoritj 
wliicb he am[>lr availed hiniBelf> Tlie distrad 
state of public atfairs, and the imbecility of the i 
tivc Governments, left the Zemindars still more 
liberty to pursue schemes of personal aggrandi 
ment and profit, to encroach upon the rights of t 
people, and withhold the dues of the Govemmei 
until, ill some instances at least, they raised the 
selves to tlie station of petty princes, levied trot 
and built forts, and defied the sovereign and his i 
mediate representatives. To the people the « 
croachments of the Zemindars upon the Govei 
ment claims were either acceptable or indif&re 
and tiiey were not without equivalent advantag 
which reconciled them to a curtailment of th 
own rights. As long as they were allowed to 
main upon their lands, it made no difference 

' The unnarranlBble eiaclians of the Zemindiira are alluded I0 In 
iDBrructionii of llie DcngRl Govemmeut of 1700; luid loiile striking iliua 
tiuiM are givon by Mr. Siisuu in his rrport, Jaled April, 1815. " Oae 1 
buys a bouse, and celi.-brati*it hia iiccupatiDn of it b; a rrligioua ceremo 
mure (liaii double the cost is exacted from his Ryola : the birth of ■ gn 
son costs hint twelve hundred rupei^s ; he collects rrom them on this 
couut five thousnud. Another has his house burat; he not only ell 
more Ihau Uik value, but makes it an annual permanent charge to 
Ryola. A thini mukes an BDnual iiruKresa Ibruugh his estiit«, trard 
in great Hiate; the Ryots are taxed willi ttie cost. A ZtrDiiiidar baji 
elephant ; the Ryots pay fur it. Every public or private religious cere 
nial is an occasion of taxation ; nut a child can be bum, not a head aha' 
not a son married, not a dau|i;liler gfiten in marriage, not k member of 
fikmily dies, but it is a plea for extiirtion." — Sissun, Report on Bnngpi 
Selections, i, 390. This was the state of tilings in Ruugpore so lali 
1813, and under the Brilisb Guvernmeut : it ruuld nut have been n 
wurse under Ihe native (iovcmmetils. It was the same in the Sunth of In 
although there these exira cesses are said to have been brought totbecT 
of the Govemnieat, no doubt very imperfectl;. — Comm. Committee II 
Col. SyLes, 193T. 


them whether the rent they paid went to the Ze- book i. 
mindars or the viceroys of the Sultan. The former ^"^''- ^°' 
lived and died among them, generation after gene- 1813. 
ration ; they mixed with them on a variety of oc- 
casions ; they expended money upon public festivals, 
and supported public institutions; they kept up a 
large following and an expensive household, and, 
through many different channels, refunded to the 
peasantry of the country the money which had been 
extorted from them. The revenue was spent among 
those from whom it was raised. When, therefore, 
the Zemindar was not more than usually oppressive 
and extortionate; when he was satisfied with the 
proportion of the produce which usage had esta- 
blished to be his due, and with the occasional im- 
posts or cesses which experience had taught the 
cultivators to anticipate ; he was looked up to with 
respect, or even with affection, and the people were 
ever ready to take up arms in defence of his person 
and possessions. It was not surprising, therefore, 
that he should have been confounded, by those who 
first contemplated him in this condition, as the 
hereditary landlord of a large estate and the pro- 
prietor of the soil ; although, had they duly con- 
sidered the limited amount of his acknowledged 
share of the proceeds of that estate, it might justly 
have inspired doubts of the validity of his claims to 
the produce of the whole. It had that result with 
some ; and hence arose one argument in favour of 
the proprietary right of the sovereign, upon which 
the measures of the British authorities in 1793 
were founded. 

V. The proceedings of the Marquis Cornwallis, 


BOOK I. recognising the Zemindars of Bengal, Behar, and 
'^"^^' ''"• Orissa as i)roprietors, and fixing for ever the amount 
1813. to be paid by them, have been alreudy detailed; 
their results also, as far as they had been then ascer- 
tained, have been describecL* The early arrange- 
ments adopted for the settlement of the revenue 
of the Ceded and Conquered provinces have abo 
been adverted to ; and it only remains to notice the 
course of proceedings which had been followed at 
Madras. The territory subject to Bombay was still 
too circumscribed to require separate notice. 

Immediately after the conclusion of the perpetual 
settlement in Bengal, the home authorities directed 
its extension to the Presidency of Madras: its in- 
troduction was delayed by the difficulty of disoover- 

' Vol. V. 517. It may be conyenient here to refer to the foUowing as- 
tliorities. The proprietary ri^iit of the ZeDiiiidars was advocated at an 
early date by Mr. Francia, in opp<»sition to Warreu Hastings, frho vrfed 
iu favour of a proposed comroissiou of iuquiry, that it would tend to 
secure to the Ryots the ]>erpetual and undisturbed possession of their 
lauds. Mr. Francis replied, '* The state does not consist of nothing bat 
the ruler and the Uyot ; nor is it true tliat the Uyot is the proprietor i^ 
the land. The true hmdlord is the Zemindar.** — Minutes of Hastingi 
and Fnincis, Nov. 1776. Mr. Shore says : " I consider the Zemindan 
as proprietors of the soil, to the property of which they succeed by right 
of inheritance.^* — Fiftli Rep. 203. The doctrine was next advocated by 
Mr. Rouse, in a dissertation on landed property in Bengal, 1791. 0& 
the other hand, it was stoutly contested by Mr. Grant : '^ There is not in 
tlie northern C'ircars, any more than within the rest of the "wide circle 
of the British df)minions in India, with exception of a few instances, t 
single individual among the native Hind4x>s, calling themselves Ri^aa ff 
Zemindars, who have the smallest pretension, in form, right, or fact, to as 
inch of territorial property.** — Fifth Rep. 633. But he eited in confining 
the right of property exclusively to the sovereign. Mr. Place, at a some- 
what later date, 1799, t(M)k up the claim of the Ryots or husbandmen, at 
least, in the neighbourhood of Madras. — Fifth Rep<irt, 714. Most recent 
evidence is adverse to the claim of the Zemindars in any other character 
than that of hereditary collectors or farmers of the public revenue ; bat, in- 
asmuch as it is exclusive, it is just as erroneous as all that has preceded 
it. Mr. Tucker's definition is also applicable in many instances, tlnniffh 
not universally : *'The Zemindar was tlie hereditary administrator,! shoold 

say, of the revenue, witli a beneficial interest in the land/* Commons* 

Conmiittee, 1832 ; Evid. 1813. 


ing individuals with whom the engagements were to book i. 


be concluded, for the intervention of persons analo- 

gous to the Zemindars of Bengal between the culti- 1813. 
vating population and the Government was generally 
unknown. The reiterated injunctions of the Court 
of Directors, and the positive orders of the Bengal 
Government, caused Zemindars to be discovered or 
created ; and several regulations were passed in the 
course of 1802, declaratory of their proprietary right, 
and announcing the principles of a perpetual settle- 
ment, which, after some interval, was effected in the 
districts that had been longest subject to the autho- 
rity of the Madras Government.* 

Whilst these arrangements were in progress, a 
settlement on entirely different principles had been 
commenced in the territories latterly conquered 
from Mysore. As their circumstances and resources 
were imperfectly known, it was deemed pnident, 
before forming any assessment in perpetuity, to 
institute a detailed survey with a view to the de- 
termination of its amount, and in the interval to 
conclude temporary arrangements with the actual 
occupants of the lands. These proceedings, under- 
taken for the ultimate purpose of effecting a per- 
manent Zemindari assessment, gave rise to a new 
system of revenue administration, since designated 
Ryotwar, or a settlement individually and imme- 
diately with the Ryots, meaning by the term the 
actual cultivators of the soil. The survey was con- 
ducted by Colonel Reade, having for his assistants 
Lieutenants Munro, Macleod, and Graham ; the 
former of whom, afterwards Sir Thomas Munro, 

' The northern Circani, the Jagir, part of Salem, Madura, and Tmerelly. 


BOOK I. became subsequently more especially identified viA 
the system.^ Tlie objects they were directed to 
1813. determine were, tlie extent of the land in cultiTa- 
tion, the quality of the different sorts of land, the 
tenure ]>v whicli it was held, the value of the dif- 
ercnt crops, and the share of the produce to whidi 
the Government could justly lay claim. An annual 
adjustment was to be made with each cultivator fw 
the land he cultivated, at a maximum money rent 
for each field, according to the circumstances and 
capability of the land, whatever might be the pro- 
duce : the amoimt to admit of reduction where the 
necessity of reduction was shown, and to vary from 
year to year, until the inquiry should be sufficientlj 
matured to allow of its being determined for ever.* 
The proceedings of the revenue survey were first 
directed to the districts of the Baramahal and Salem. 
They were extended to the Ceded Provinces above 
the Ghats, after the capture of Seringapatam, imder 

the conduct of <lifferent officers who had been mostW 


trained under Colonel Reade. There was some va- 
riety in their methods of discharging the duty,* and 

^ Military ccillectors were appointed to this duty by Lord ConiwvUis ex- 
pressly because **few of the civil servants were acquainted with the 
country lan^a^es, and were therefore obli{^, both from habit and aetn- 
sity, to fall into the hands of Dubashes (interpreters). — Letter to the Gcwi 
of Directors, May, 1792 ; Fifth Report, 744. It appears that the implied 
rebuke was not without effect, as in the subsequent setUements sevenl 
civilians were employed ; although this was the eflfect of positire ar6n% 
from Marquis Wellcsley, repeatedly confirmed by the Court of Diivcton, 
that civilians only should be so employed. — Commons' Committee 18S1 
Public. App. (M.) * 

' Letter of Colonel Munro to the Board of Revenue, SOth Ncyr. 16W, 
with instructions to tlie surveyors, &c. — Fifth Report, 783. 

' "The revenue suneys under the Madras Presidency ^irere not recv* 
lated by any uniform rule, and in some respects were, perhaps defective ii 
principle. The most ample discretion was vested in the local officer <■ 
whom this duty was imposed in each district; and the details natnnllj 


still more in the rate of their assessments : but their book i. 
operations were equally based upon the measurement ^^^^'^"' 
of the lands, both cultivated and waste ; the deter- I813. 
mination of their fitness for particular crops ;^ the 
money valuation of the estimated produce of the 
land in cultivation, and its partition between the 
cultivator and the Government ; the rate varying 
from one-third of the supposed value of the gross 
produce to little less than a half, or forty-five per 
cent.* The measurements and valuations were made 
in the first instance by native surveyors, but the 
final assessment by the head collector himself in 
personal conference with the Patels and principal 
Ryots of every village. Reference was also had to 
the recorded collections of the native Governments; 
and, where the total of the sur\^ey assessment ex- 
ceeded it materially, some remission was granted. 

varied with the particular views of the individual.** — Campbell on the Land 
Revenues of India ; Commons* Committee, 1832, App. 44. See also the 
Reports from the collectors Munro, Ravenshaw, Hurdis, Garrow, Wallace, 
&c. ; Fifth Report, 745. 

' In the first instance the land was distinguished into three sorts : Nanja, 
wet, or that which was supplied with water by irrigation ; Panja, which 
depended wholly upon rain : in these, rice and various other grains were 
reared. The third kind of land was that fit for miscellaneous products other 
than grain — tobacco, pepper, cotton, and vegetables. Each of these was 
subdivided into a variety of species, according to their fertility : as many 
as twenty distinctions of each class are enumerated in Colonel Munro's in- 
structions to his assessors ; but they were directed to restrict their specifi- 
cations to ten kinds of dry land, eight of wet, and six of garden ground. — 
Instructions, &c. as above cited. 

' Colonel Munro observes of the C-eded districts, and of the Dekhin, that 
the mode of assessment in force there limits the Ryot to two-thirds of the 
gross produce, but reduces it in fact nearly to a half. His own assessment 
was forty-five per cent., but as a permanent rate he proposed to reduce it 
by one-fourth ; so that the total being . . 100 

Deduct Government share . . 45 

Less one-fourth . . . 11 J 

Final deduction . . 33] 

Leaving to the Ryot per cent. . dGJ.^Fifth Report, 342. 


BOOK I. Remissions were also made upon the realiBatioii 
of the year's revenue, if the season had proved nn- 


1813. favourable or the crops defective. 

The incidents of the Ryotwar settlement attracted 
the attention of Lord William Bentinck during his 
administration of the government of AifadmSy and 
led him to the conclusion that the Zemindari system 
was incompatible with the true interests of the 
Government and the community at large. The 
right of private property in the soil, ascertained by 
Colonel Munro to exist in Canara» satisfied him 
that, although similar rights might elsewhere have 
been trodden down by the oppression and avarice of 
despotic authority, yet they still existed, and were 
to be discovered in every village. To create Ze- 
mindars, and invest them with a property to which 
they could have no claim but the arbitraiy will of 
the state, was neither calculated to improve the con- 
dition of the people, nor provide for the future secu- 
rity of the Government/ The Zemindari settle- 
ments were in consequence arrested, and the prin- 
ciple of the formation of a permanent settlement 
with the Ryots was thenceforth to regulate the 
revenue arrangements at Madras. The determi- 
nation was of short duration. 

The survey assessment of the Ceded provinces 
above the Ghats was scarcely completed* when the 
Government of Madras was induce<l to entertain a 
doubt whether it was not desirable to relinquish the 
Ryotwar system, and substitute for it some plan of 

* Minutes of Lord W. Bentinck, and Memoir of Mr. Thackeray ; Fifth 
Report, 912. 

^ It commenced in 1802, and was finished in 1807. 


settlement approximating more nearly to that of book i. 
estates permanently assessed. The Board of Re- ^"^'' ^^ 
venue, to whom the subject was referred, adopted isia. 
a view unfavourable to the continuance of the 
Ryotwar system, chiefly on the grounds of its in- 
compatibility with the judicial regulations recently 
introduced at Madras, by which all questions of 
revenue were removed from the cognizance of the 
revenue authorities to regular courts of justice.^ As 
long as a country was unsettled, and great discre- 
tional authority was vested in the collector, the 
Board admitted that a survey settlement with the 
Ryots was well calculated to develope the capabilities 
of the country, and detect and remedy abuses ; but 
when the settlement was effected, and regular courts 
of law were established, the power of discretionary 
and summary decision was necessarily withdrawn 
from the collector, and all disputes were referable 
to legal tribunals, which could not possibly provide 
for the numerous cases that so many and such minute 
disputes, as must arise under the Ryotwar system, 
would bring under their cognizance. The perma- 
nence of the Ryotwar system depended also upon 
the reduction of the assessment, as proposed by Colo- 
nel Munro, by one-fourth of its amount ; a sacrifice 

> The qaefltion was first brought forward and was fally treated by Mr. 
Hodgson, who had been a member of a committee appointed to inquire into 
the causes of the failure of the permanent settlement in Dindigul. — Selec- 
tions, i. 681. It is also worthy of remark, that at this date Colonel Munro 
bad gone to England, and Sir George Barlow had succeeded Lord W. Ben- 
tinck at Madras. The great advocate of the Ryotwar system was absent, 
and the head of the Government was naturally biassed in favour of a sys- 
tem, " a large portion of which had engaged his attention for twenty years, 
and which he had deliberately resolved on accelerating in the Ceded and 
Conquered provinces" of the Bengal Presidency. — Minute of Mr. Cole- 
brooke, Sel. i. 45. 


BOOK I. wliicli the exigencies of the Government did not 
^"^''' ^^^ allow it to contemplate. The Board therefore re- 
1813. commended, and the Government resolved, that the 
Ryotwar plan should be abandoned,^ and that of 
village leases substituted ; the villages being let to 
the head of the village, or principal cultivator, for 
a term of three years, for the annual payment of 
a sum detennined by the aggregate collections of 
former years, or the survey rent where it could be 
depended on. The regulations of the GovemmeDt, 
it was asserted, were fully adequate to protect the 
Ryots against the oppression of the renter. The 
course thus jmrsued was sanctioned by the Court of 
Directors, who at this period seem to have been per- 
suaded that no advantage was to be expected from 
the further prosecution of the Ryotwar a88e88ment&* 
In finally ap]>roving of the arrangement, however, 
they intimated that they were not anxious for the 
early extension of the principle of permanency into 
any of the territories into which it had not been 
introduced, and restricted the Madras Government 
from concluding such a settlement in any district 
without the previous sanction of the Court.' 

> Revenue U'tter from Fort St. George, 24th Oct. IS08 ; Selectkms, i. 48S. 

' Extracts of Dispatches from the Court, 90th August ISOO. The Cocft 
also dwell upon the obvious defects of the systum, — the minuteneM of ift* 
vestigation which it iu>olve8, the necessary employment of countlew nativr 
agents, the impossibility of effectually preventing their malpractice*, tad 
the difficulty of adjusting the rents to all the varieties of seasons and public 
events ; and conclude, that, *^ although the plan intelligently followed wf 
might be v^'ell calculated to discover the resources of a country, yet it wu 
not to be preferred for constant practice ; and the doubt which LievL-OiL 
Munro has properly stated, whether it be equally well fitted for the in- 
provement of a country as for the discovery of its resources^ woald, thtj 
were strongly inclined to believe, be resolved in the negatiTe.** Selce. i. 

' The date of this letter, Dec. 1811, accounts for the change of opiaioi 
• which it expresses.— Selections, i. COO. 


The prohibition agaiust concluding a settlement book l 
in perpetuity in any of the Madras territories was ^^^^^_^ 
announced scarcely in time to prevent the Govern- 18I8. 
ment of Fort St. George from pledging itself to the 
measure. The results of the triennial settlement, 
altliough in several instances unfavourable, were 
considered sufficient guides to the determination of 
the utmost capabilities of the land, and the conse- 
quent limitation of the Government demand. The 
benefits of the measure required, it was affirmed, no 
discussion ; and the only points for consideration 
were the time and mode of carrying if into opera- 
tion. With regard to the former, it was concluded 
that the period had arrived at which the Govern- 
ment might proceed to a final settlement of the 
land revenue without any risk of compromising the 
public interests ; and, with regard to the latter, that 
the preferable method was that of the Mouzawar or 
village settlement. It was resolved, therefore, to 
proceed at once to conclude a settlement for ten 
years with heads of the villages singly, or with any 
respectable inhabitants of the village or district, or, 
in the event of their refusal, with any responsible 
individuals, conditioning that the amount of revenue 
to be paid by them should become a permanent set- 
tlement at the end of the ten years if approved of 
by the Court.' Their approval was not to be ex- 
pected : and, in the reply of the Court, the grant 
of the proposed decennial leases was prohibited, or, 
if already granted, they were to be declared ter- 
minable at the end of the ten years : the principle 
of permanency was discarded, and positive orders 

^ Letter from Fort St. George, 29th Feb. 1812 ; Sel. i. 513. 
VOL. I. 2 G 


BOOK I. were given for an immediate return in all possible 
^"^'*' ^"' cases to annual and individual settlements with the 
1813. cultivators — to the Ryotwar assessments. The or- 
ders were complied with. Sir Greorge Barlow was 
presently afterwards removed from the government 
of Madras, and the revenue discussions terminated 
for the present at that Presidency.* 

The discussions in Bengal turned principally upon 
the question of permanency. With whom the set^ 
tlement should be made had scarcely yet become 
a subject of consideration with the Government, 
which looked everywhere for Zemindars ; but among 
its functionaries, and particularly in the unsettled 
districts, a conviction had begun to spread that the 
question of tenure was still to be investigated. The 
fact was brought to the notice of the Government 
more distinctly than it had hitherto been by the 
members of a special commission which had been 
appointed to superintend the engagements that were 
to be concluded with the landholders in the Ceded 
and Conquered provinces upon the approaching ex- 
piration of those which were in force.^ It was at the 
same time announced to the Zemindars and other 
actual proprietors of land in the Ceded and Con- 
quered provinces that the revenue which might be 
assessed on their estates in the last year of the set- 
tlement which was now to be made should remain 
fixed for ever, in case the Zemindars were willing 
to engage for the payment of the public revenue 
on those terms in perpetuity, and the arrange- 

" The letter of the Court is dated ICth December, 1812 ; Sel, i. 625. Tn 
the following August a loug and able minute of the Board of Rerenue is 
recorded in vindication of their views and proceedings. — Ibid. 677. 

3 Regulations x. 1807 ; vi. 1808. 


ment should receive the sanction of the Court of book i. 
Directors. ^^^^:^ 

The commissioners, Messrs. Cox and Tucker, en- I8i3. 
tered upon their duties at the end of 1807. Early in 
the following year they submitted a report of their 
proceedings,^ and a description of the several collec- 
torates in the districts which they had visited ; and 
they came to the conclusion that a permanent settle- 
ment of the revenue of the Western provinces was 
at that moment premature, and might be injurious to 
the people, while it would be necessarily attended 
by a material sacrifice of the public resources. 
The right of property in the cultivated lands was in 
many cases contested. It remained to be deter- 
mined with what parties a settlement should be 
effected. Lands were held free upon tenures the 
validity of which required proof, and there were 
extensive waste lands of which the rightful appro- 
priation was to be ascertained. At least a fourth 
of the arable land was yet uncultivated, and neither 
the resources of the provinces nor their means of 
improvement were known. Although, therefore, 
professing to be fully aware of the advantages which 
might be expected from a perpetual limitation of 
the Government demand, the commissioners recom- 
mended that the announcement of a permanent 
settlement should be suspended, and that the period 
for which the engagements were to be renewed 
should be devoted to the diligent accumulation of 
the information essential to its establishment on 
safe and equitable principles. Their recommenda- 
tions M^ere at variance with the established opinions 

' Selections, i. 45. 



BOOK I. of the Supreme Council. Mr. Colebrooke, one of 
^"^''' ^'"' the members, objected to their reasonings, that they 
181S. were the same which had been overruled or refuted 
in the discussions preceding the permanent settle- 
ment of Bengal ; and that experience had confirmed 
their fallacy, as the design of the permanent settle- 
ment of 1793 had been fully accomplished in that 
part of India. The same advantages were therefore 
to be expected from the application of a like measure 
to other places ; and the Government was pledged, 
by the terms of the preceding regulations, to its im- 
mediate adoption in the Ceded and Conquered pro- 
\nnces.* Mr. Lumsden, the other member of Coun- 
cil, although differing in some respects from his 
colleague, came to the same conclusion ; and Lord 
Minto, after a deliberate consideration of all the pro- 
ceedings, declared himself satisfied of the sound 
policy, or rather the urgent necessity, of no longer 
delaying to settle the revenue assessment of the 
Western provinces in perpetuity.* The determina- 
tion of the Government was disapproved of in Eng- 
land. The Court of Directors declared, indeed, thit 
they neither meant to undervalue the advantage of 
the permanent settlement in Bengal, nor to desert 
the principle on which it was formed ; bui it was 
evident that the principle was reluctantly enter- 
tained, and that doubts began to be suggested whe- 
ther its consequences were not embarrassing to the 
Government, without yielding an equivalent benefit 
to the people.* 

* See the purport of the regulations referred to in a former plac« p.lU 

^ Revenue Letter from Bengal, September, 1808. 

» Revenue Letters to Bengal, 1st Feb. and 27th Nov. 1811 ; Sel. uii- 


The expense of any scheme of administration book l 

CH 4P Vila 

must be proportionate to the advance of a state in ' 

wealth and power. The more numerous the people, isis. 
the more extensive the territory, the more compli- 
cated the internal and external relations, the more 
costly must be the machinery of the Government* 
The golden age has not yet come back ; and from 
time to time all countries miist be placed in situa- 
tions in which an unusual application of all avail- 
able resources is indispensable for their safety. It 
were most impolitic, therefore, if it were possible, to 
fix for ever impassable bounds to the public re- 
venues, in ignoriance of the possible extent of future 
exigencies. Such a limit was of course never in 
contemplation : but it was anticipated that the re- 
striction of the Government demand upon the land 
would be followed by a proportionate improvement 
of the estates of the landholders ; that capital would 
accumulate, expenditure increase, and the people 
be placed in circumstances favourable to an aug- 
mented consumption of articles both of necessity 
and luxury ; that a system of indirect taxation, like 
that which is the main source of revenue in Europe, 
might be introduced into India; and that in the 
end th^ revenue of the Government would augment 
with the augmented affluence and prosperity of the 
country. These anticipations had been indulged in 
without a due consideration of the obstacles which 
impeded their realisation ; without a due regard for 

These and similar dispatches are referred to as the letters of the Court of 
Directors, as they are so designated in the Records. Agreeably to the 
evidence cited in a former note, they woald with more propriety be termed 
the letters of the Board of Controul. 


BOOK I. the manners, the wants, and the feelingB of the 
people. It would be scarcely prudent to prediet 
1813. that those obstacles will neyer be overcome; but 
many and great changes must take place bef(»e 
they can be so far surmounted as to justify a Go- 
vernment of India in ceasing to look to the land as 
the principal feeder of the public exchequer. It 
were an act of suicidal improvidence prematurely to 
divest itself of so commodious and productive « 
source of revenue to any extent which may not be 
in excess of the fair claims and reasonable expecta- 
tions of the agricultural population, and which is 
consistent with their own usages an4 opinions. 

With respect also to the interests of the agri- 
cultural population, the advantages of a peimaneat 
settlement are in a great measure illusory. The 
basis upon which it rests is a proportion of the pro- 
duce, a third or a half ; and this is then determined 
to be a definite and unvarying quantity. But it is 
universally admitted that it is almost impossible to 
ascertain with precision the absolute total produce 
of any given portion of land ; and the proportional 
produce must be fixed therefore in most cases bj 
conjecture, involving one of the well-known evils of 
the permanent settlement — great inequality of as- 
sessment. The total produce indeed cannot be fixed 
by regulation: it must vary both in quantity and 
quality wtli the amount of labour and skill be- 
stowed upon its production, and upon the recurrenee 
of favourable or unfavourable seasons. The propor- 
tion, however, being a fixed unvariable amount, does 
not fluctuate with the causes of fluctuation ; and, in 
the event of peculiarly unpropitious circumstance 


this amount may be equal in quantity, not to a half, book i. 
but to the whole of the crop. In answer to this it ''"'"*' """' 
may be said, that in favourable times the fixed rate isia. 
may bear a lower proportion to the whole, and that 
a bad year consequently is compensated for by a 
good one ; but what then becomes of the principle 
of permanency, for the cultivator pays at different 
periods a different rate of rent ? To have to make 
provision, whilst he prospers, against a possible re- 
verse, subjects him to uncertainty as much as if his 
payments varied from year to year : and to suppose 
that the Indian cultivator will exercise such fore- 
sight, is to expect a total revolution in his character 
and habits. The futility of such an expectation was 
shown in the immediate effects of the permanent 
settlement, — the ruin of the greater number of the 
Zemindars, and the sale of those lands of which 
they had been constituted proprietors, for arrears of 

If a variable ratio is unavoidable when calculated 
upon the produce in kind, it is still more obviously 
inevitable where, as in the case of the permanent 
settlement, the Government demand has been cal- 
culated upon the estimated money value of that 
produce. That this value should remain unaltered 
for ever is as impossible as that society should stand 
still; a stagnation less to be looked for in India 
than in any other part of the world amid the ele- 
ments of incessant change that are daily springing 
up from the novel ascendancy of European prin- 
ciples and forms of civilization. A fall in the price 
of silver, and augmentation in the prices of labour 
and commodities, are a virtual abatement of the re- 


BOOK I. venue assessment : a rise in the value of silver, and 
*^"^'^'^"' fall in the price of grain, are a virtual enhancement. 
1813. The same might be the result of an extraordinarilv 
abundant harvest, and consequent diminution of de- 
mand ; by which prices might be so depreciated, that 
the sale of a farmer's whole produce might fail to 
realise the fixed money value of the GovemmeDt 
share/ It is evident, therefore, that a permaneot 
settlement, or an unvarying amount of revenue de- 
rivable from a money valuation of an unchangiug 
quantity of produce, is invariable or permanent only 
in terms. 

It does not follow that because a Government 
refrains from declaring that it will at no time, and 
on no occasion, raise its demand, that it is therefore 
to discourage the industry of the agricultural popu- 
lation, or obstruct the accumulation of capital, by 
constantly keeping up its demands at a maximum 
rate. There is a principle of permanency which is 
more essential to the prosperity of the country than 

' lu the assessment made by Colonel Hriggs in Kandeah,the people wen 
at first hipflily pleased with the settlement, which was formed with the vil- 
lages upon the average collections of ten years. At first it feH lightly ; bnt, 
the assessment being paid in money, it became hea%'y when th«! price of 
grain declined. When the country was first taken under British maBaie- 
menty the price of grain was about four shillings a bushel ; in .fi>ar years, 
in consequence of increased cultivation and diminished demand from tiif 
absence of troops and other circumstances, it had fallen to sixteen pence the 
bushel : it was quite impossible, therefore, the villagers coold pay the save 
amount in money in tlie fourth year as they had done in the first. The 
public re>enue of Kaiidesh, notwithstanding increased caltiTatioD theiHoR 
was reduced from sixteen lakhs of rupees to eleven, and eventnally to fh 
lakhs. — Lords' Committee, 1830; Evidence, Question 4049. So •i**! Co- 
lonel l^anicwall, speaking of Guzerat, observes, that in consequence o# the 
continuation of tranquillity, and the reduction of public establishments, the 
bulk of the population has become agricultural, and the supply of graii 
so far exceeds the consumption, that agricultural produce is no losier 
saleable at its former prices : the profits of the farmer are conseqncDth 
diminished, and he is unable to pa> the revenue demand of the Gonri- 
ment.— Commons' Committee, 1832 ; Kvid. Political, 151. 


that of a nominally perpetual assessment, — the in- book i. 
variable recognition of the right of the proprietor of ^^^^' 
the soil to a rent from his estate. As long as the leis. 
Government constitutes itself sole landlord, and ap- 
propriates the whole, or nearly the whole, of the 
rent, there can be no accumulation of capital, no 
advance in wealth, no creation of collateral re- 
sources among the mass of the population, for what- 
ever period the assessment may be fixed. A mode- 
rate rather than a perpetual settlement is the real 
want of the people. Speculators in revenue, middle- 
men, Zemindars, may be anxious for a perma- 
nently definite amount of the Government demand ; 
which, while it limits what they are to pay, permits 
them, as did the settlement of Lord Comwallis, to 
crush the cultivator under exorbitant exactions: but 
there is every reason to believe that the actual oc- 
cupants and cultivators think and care little about 
the question of permanency.' It may be convenient 
to all parties to adjust the assessment for a term of 
years ; but as long as the amount is not extortionate, 

' The evidence of Mr. Fortescue on this subject, as regards the people 
of the Upper provinces, is conclusive. According to him, the Ryots or 
cultivators know little or nothing about a permanent settlement, and 
have no desire for its introduction: some dislike the notion from fear 
of its affecting their local interests, and such as are desirous of it are so 
fn>m the representations which interested persons have made to them of 
its advantages; that is, Zemindars of the village engaging for the reve- 
nue as landholders, and who expect to derive from it the authority which 
they are told that it confers upon the Zemindars of the Lower provinces. — 
Commons' Committee, 1832; Questions 2330-2340. Mr. Mackenzie ob- 
serves : ** If not hated by the people (of the Upper provinces), we are 
without the slightest hold on their affections. This seems, it may be proper 
to remark, to have no coimexion witli the permanent settlement, on which the 
very few who were interested never probably relied, and of which the 
great body of the landholders never heanl. Of some thousand peti- 
tions which I receive<l when in the Western provinces, and of many tens 
of tliousands of petitioners whom I saw and talked with, not one touched 
upon this point.^* — Commons' ('ommittee, 1832; C^eneral App. 212. 


BOOK I. and a persuasion exists that it will not be increased 
CHAP. VII. ^jijJjq^j. j^jj adequate cause, the agricultural popula- 

1813. tion of India wilJ be contented; for they will be as 
prosperous as they can become xmder the uniYersal 
institution of infant marriages, the equal partition of 
inheritance, the few wants which the nature of the 
climate and the condition of society impose, and the 
entire absence of the countless objects of needless 
expenditure which in part disgrace and in part 
dignify society in Europe. Upon these and similar 
grounds the authorities in England had learned to 
question the advantages of a permanent settlement 
as affecting the interests either of the people or the 

In addition to the objections which might be 
urged to the measure generally, there was un- 
doubtedly ample reason to question the propriety of 
its immediate adoption in the particular case of the 
Ceded and Conquered provinces. The experience 
acquired in Bengal had established the mischieTous 
consequences of precipitancy. Even Mr* Cole- 
brooke, who asserted that it had answered the ob- 
jects proposed by it, was obliged to admit that the 
persons whose benefit it was intended to promote, — 
the Zemindars, whom it was designed to enrich, — 
had not profited by the beneficence of the Go- 
vernment ; the greater number of them were in 
fact utterly ruined. Wholly unaccustomed to punc- 
tuality in their payments to the state, and bred up 
in habits of prodigality and improvidence, they 
speedily fell into arrears ; for the recovery of which, 
under the stringent enactments of the Government, 
their estates were immediately and absolutely dis- 


posed of by public sale. In the course of a few book i. 
years, many of the Zemindars whom the settlement ^^^^^^^^ 
of 1793 had proposed to transform into a landed isis. 
aristocracy had been reduced to indigence, or had 
utterly disappeared ; and families, which had survived 
the successive revolutions of the native Governments, 
vanished before the inflexibility of the Companjr's 
regulations.* Nor was the situation of the Ryots bet- 
tered by the change. Originally left to the arbitrary 
will of the Zemindars, the exactions to which they 
were exposed were tempered by the beneficial influ- 
ence of a long-established intercourse with their an- 
cient landlords. To the new purchasers of the Ze^ 
mindaris, who were mostly men who had grown rich 
in the service of the English, and were residents of 
Calcutta or other commercial towns, their tenantry 
were merely objects of speculation, from whom they 
proceeded to extort the largest possible return for 
the capital which had been invested in the purchase. 
Under such task-masters the cultivators were soon 
reduced to the state of a pauper peasantry, scarcely 
gleaning a subsistence from the soil, and in no con- 

' '* My impression is, that a very small proportion of those with whom 
the permanent settlement was made are now owners of the land, very 
great alienations of the land being made in the first year of the settlement." 
— Mill, Commons' Committee, 1831 ; Question S210. In Question 3997 
allusion is made to the statement of the Fifth Report, that in 1796 one- 
tenth of the whole of the lands in Bengal, Behar, and Orissa were put up 
to sale. Mr. Tucker and several other well-informed officers of the Com- 
pany affirm, that the number of estates put up for sale is no evidence of 
the number of sales ; but Mr. Tucker admits, that of the three largest 
Zemindaris, those of Rajshahi, Nadiya, and Burdwan, the whole of the first, 
and part of the second, had been sold prior to 1799, and that a very con- 
siderable number of estates passed into the hands of the merchants and 
bankers of Calcutta. — Evid. Commons' Committee, 1832; Revenue. Ques- 
tion 1861. Even as late as 1821-2, when the sales were much fewer 
than iu the years immediately following the settlement, the number of 
estates sold for arrears of revenue was 396. — ^Ibid. Q. 2603. 


BOOK I. dition to swell the coffers of the state by their con- 
sumption of taxable commodities.^ To disregard the 


1813. lesson, and repeat the same errors elsewhere, would 
have been wholly indefensible; and it was so ob- 
viously the duty of the Government to guard 
against the evils which could not fail to follow the 
conclusion of a perpetual settlement upon imper- 
fect information, that it is difficult to comprehend 
hoM' the measure should have found advocates 
among men of tried ability and mature knowledge. 
Their advocacy w^as fruitless. The Court of Direc- 
tors persisted in their prohibitions;' and the Go- 
vernment of Bengal was compelled to rescind a 
regulation which had enacted that the amount of 
revenue levied in the last year of the temporary 
settlement then subsisting should be fixed for ever.* 
At the same time, in conformity to previous enact- 
ments, it was provided, that, with respect to those 
estates which the commissioners should think suffi- 
ciently improved to justify such an arrangement, 
the assessment on them should be revised, and a 
rate be fixed in perpetuity. The provision was in- 
operative, as was probably expected. No estates 

* The injurious operations of the permanent settlement of Bengml upon 
both the old Zemindars and the Ryots are detailed in the FifUi Report, 60; 
see also Mill, v. 518, 522. Sir Charles Metcalfe observes of the Bengal 
permanent settlement, that it was an experiment, in the results of which be 
can discern no benefit tliat should induce its repetitioQ. It not only sa- 
crificed the prospective rights of the Government for ever, but, by dechuiag 
those to be proprietors who were not proprietors, it in eflfect destroyed tiK 
rights of all the pmprietors and cultivators. — Commons* Committee, 18St; 
App. 469. Mr. Mackenzie states, that the Bengal assessment led to fS^ 
greatest possible inequality, and left everything in a state of utter darkness 
and confusion. — Ibid. Evidence ; Q. 2581 . 

'* lAiiier from the Government of Bengal, 11th July 1813. Selcc i. 


' Regulations x. 1807: and ix. and x. 1812. — Selec i. IG2. 


were found that had reached the utmost limit of book l 
improvement.^ '^"^''- """• 

A difference of opinion also prevailed with re- 1813. 
spect to the method by which the resources of the 
unsettled provinces were to be ascertained. To the 
suggestions of the Court that the scheme of the 
Ryotwar assessment followed at Madras should be 
applied to them, the Government of Bengal justly 
objected its inapplicability to a territory where the 
lands were jointly occupied and cultivated by nume- 
rous owners, held together by a community of 
tenures imperfectly understood. To form engage- 
ments with individual occupants was quite as likely 
to invade and overturn the rights and privileges of 
the landed proprietary as the Zemindari settlement 
had done; and to deal separately with individual cul- 
tivators tended to disorganise and dissolve the village 
communities, — thereby depriving the people of the 
salutary habit of regulating their own concerns, and 
the Government of a ready and economical channel 
by which the revenue might be realised.* Instead 
of forming engagements with the associated pro- 
prietors, represented by respectable persons of their 
own election, it would be necessary to let loose 
upon the land a swarm of locusts in the shape of 

' Letter from the Court, 16th March, 1813 ; Sel. i. 136. 

' Sir C. Metcalfe, although friendly to the principle of Ryotwar assess- 
ment, objected to its introduction into tlie Western provinces, because it 
appeared to hini that it must tend to loosen and ultimately dissolve the ties 
which bind the village communities together. Instead of all acting in 
union with a common interest as regards the Government, and adjusting 
their own separate interests among themselves according to established 
usage, each would have his separate independent arrangement directly 
with the Government, and could hardly fail to be thereby less linked with 
his fellows. The village constitution, which could survive all outward 
shocks, might be easily subverted with the aid of the Government regu- 
lations and the courts of justice. — Commons* Com. 1832 ; App. p. 471. 


BOOK I. numberless subordinate collectors and assessors, 
CHAP. VII. ^]^Qg^ exactions from the people it would be im- 

1813. possible to check, and whose frauds upon the state 
it would be equally impossible to discover. Whe- 
ther, therefore, the interests of the Government or 
its subjects were considered, a Ryotwar assessment 
was regarded, and with reason, as alike objection- 
able.^ There was less reason in the objections urged 
against the preliminary measure of a survey of the 
lands to be assessed. It was affirmed that the plan 
had been repeatedly tried, and had been attended 
with so much inconvenience and such unsatisifactory 
results, that the Government felt satisfied the most 
experienced and capable of its revenue oflicers 
would deem the revival of it an evil burthensome 
and oppressive to the people, and unproductive of 
any substantial benefit to the pecuniary interests of 
the state. In preference to such a mode of obtain- 
ing a knowledge of the resources of the country it 
would be advisable to rely upon the Zemindari and 
village accounts, although it was admitted that they 
were not unfrequently false or fabricated. Such a 
preference was evidently dictated by strong and 
unfounded prejudice. Revenue surveys may very 
possibly be conducted in such a manner as to be 
vexatious to the ])eople and unprofitable to the Go- 
vernment : the conclusions to which they lead may 
not be entitled to unqualified credit : but experience 
has demonstrated that they can be carried on with- 
out giving any offence to the people ; while, although 
they may not be exempt from error, they furnish 

* Revenue Letter from Bengal, 17th July, 1813 ; and Second Minute o/ 
Mr. Colebrooke ; Sel, i. 179. 


the only safe means of making an approach to ac- book i. 
curacy in determining the productive value of the 
land.^ At this point the discussion ceased. Dif- isis. 
ferent views influenced the measures of the succeed- 
ing Administration. 

Some attempts were instituted by the Govern- 
ment of Bengal to repair the evil which had been 
occasioned by the long neglect of the Government to 
exercise that interference which at the time of the 
permanent settlement it had avowedly retained the 
right to exert in protection of the equitable claims 
of the Ryots.^ At first some intention was mani- 
fested of acting upon the power so reserved; and 
the Zemindars had been in the same year prohi- 
bited from imposing any new imposts, from cancel- 
ling leases legally obtained, or refusing to grant 
others for a specific amount of rent.^ The main 
object of the Government in the regulations then 
and subsequently passed was, however, evidently its 
own security, originating in an apprehension that 
the Zemindars might plead the difficulty of realising 
their demands from the Ryots in extenuation of 

' The exceedingly defective sources of information on which, prior to the 
establishment of surreys, assessinents were based, are thus enumerated by 
Mr. Mackenzie : '* Our settlements were made in haste, on general esti- 
mates or surmises, on accounts never believed to be accurate, and never 
brought to any clear test of accuracy, on the offers of speculators, on the 
biddings of rivals, on the statements of candidates for employment seeking 
credit with Government by discoveries against the people, on information 
of all kinds generally worthless/' — Letter to Mr. Villiers, Commons^ Com- 
mittee, 1832 ; Evidence, 417. 

' Section 8, Reg. i. of 1 793, declares, that " it being the duty of the ruling 
power to protect all classes of the people, and more particularly those who 
from situation are most helpless, the Governor-General in Council will, 
whenever he may deem it proper, enact such regulations as he may think 
necessary for the protection and welfare of the dependent Talookdars, 
Ryots, and other cultivators of tlie soil.** 

' Reg. viii. 1793. 


BOOK I. their failing to pay the demands of the 0tat& 
" Under these impressions, it was enacted that no 

1813. leases should be granted for a period longer than 
ten years ; and that, when a Zemindari was sold f(H' 
arrears of revenue, all existing engagements should 
be void from the day of sale, the purchasers being 
entitled to collect from the renters according to the 
undefined rates and usages of the country.* Finally, 
a power was vested in the landholders of sununarilj 
distraining for rent.^ The result of these measoree 
was to place the Ryot completely in the hands of the 
Zemindar, and to enable the latter to raise his rents 
at pleasure. It was therefore found necessary to 
interpose, and a regulation was subsequently en- 
acted^ by which the limitation of the leases was 
abrogated : they were authorised to be granted for 
any period, and on any terms to which the parties 
should mutually agree, in the hope that they would 
thus be obliged to come to some definite under- 
standing, instead of leaving the door open to op- 
pressive fraud and endless litigation, which the 
appeal to so vague a standard as that of usage ren- 
dered perpetual. It was also decreed, that, in the 
event of an attachment or sale of a Zemindari, the 
leases should not be annulled within the year in 
which the attachment or sale should have taken 
place ; that where the collections were regulated 
by pergunna or district rates, and those rates were 
not fixed by anything more precise than custom, 
they should be of the same amount as those which 
were actually paid in the neighbourhood upon lands 

» Regs. xliv. 1793, and iii. of 1796. 

» Reg. vii. 1799. » Reg. v. 1812, 


of like quality, or they should not exceed the max- book i. 
imum rate paid upon the same land during any one ^"^^' ^'' 
of the three preceding years. No enhancement of lais. 
existing rates was to take place, except under an 
engagement to that effect, or a formal and written 
notice of the specific amount to be required during 
the ensuing year being served upon the tenant. 
Process of distraint was prohibited, except after due 
notification in writing having been given ; and agri- 
cultural implements and cattle were exempted from 
seizure. Process was also to be suspended where 
the defaulter engaged by bond or sufficient security 
to institute a suit for the trial of a contested de- 
mand within a reasonable period. The latter clauses 
of this enactment were beneficial ; but the liberty 
given to the Zemindar to frame engagements for an 
indefinite period, and on such conditions as the 
parties might agree to, was speedily interpreted into 
an authority to dispossess even the Ryots claiming 
hereditary occupancy if they refused to accede to 
his demands, however exorbitant.^ The limitation 
of the Government assessment in the Western pro- 
vinces rendered it necessary to limit also the en- 
gagements between individuals in those provinces f 
and in the same districts the collectors were autho- 
rised, under the Board of Commissioners, to investi- 
gate the titles by which la-kharaj or rent-free 
lands were held. Rules were also passed for the 
occasional subdivision of estates held in common, so 
that the holder of a joint undivided property might 
have his share verified and separately assessed.' 

' Letter to Government of Bengal, 15th Jan. 1819 ; Selections, i. 360. 
• Reg. xiv. 1812. ' Regs. viii. and ix. 1811. 

VOL. I. 2 H 


BOOK I. In order to extend the public resources of the 
^ll^^l^ Government, it was thought advisable to impose a 
1813. tax upon houses in the several towns and cities 
of Bengal, Behar, Orissa, and Benares:* religious 
buildings were exempted. Such a tax had been 
lened for some years without any difficulty or ob- 
struction in Calcutta, and it was not expected that 
any serious opposition would be offered to it in other 
cities. The Government was mistaken. The mea- 
sure was regarded as an innovation, and was vehe- 
mently opposed. At Benares especially the resist- 
ance was most violent, and was curiously character- 
istic of the peculiarities both of the place and the 

As soon as the intentions of the Government be- 
came known, groat excitement prevailed throughout 
the city, and meetings of the different castes and 
trades were held to determine upon the course to 
be pursued. No obstruction was offered to the 
persons employed to assess the houses; but the 
shops were closed, every kind of occupation was 
abandoned, and such numerous crowds assembled 
on the outskirts of the to^vn, that it was judged ex- 
pedient by the magistrate to cM to the assistance 
of the police a detachment of troops from the 
neighbouring cantonments. Their services \eere not 
needed, as the people quietly dispersed ; but on the 
same day a solemn engagement was taken by all 
the inhabitants to cany on no manner of work or 
business until the tax was rei)ealed. Everything was 
at a stand : the dead bodies were cast unceremo- 
niously into the river, because there w^ere none to 

' Ueg. XV. 1810. 


perform the obsequial rites ; and the very thieves book i. 
refrained from the exercise of their vocation, al-_^HJ[!l 
though the shops and houses were left without pro- isis. 
tection, — the people deserting the city in a body, 
and taking up their station halfway between Benares 
and Secrole, the residence of the European func- 
tionaries, about three miles distant. A petition was 
presented to the magistrate, praying him to with- 
draw the odious impost, and declaring that the peti- 
tioners would never return to their homes until their 
application was complied with : a reference to Cal- 
cutta was all that vVks in the magistrate's power. 

Whilst awaiting for a reply from the Government, 
the people of Benares continued assembled, and 
were joined by many persons from the surrounding 
districts: the number was computed at more than 
two hundred thousand, comprehending the aged 
and infirm, women and children. They were supplied 
with food regularly at the expense of the opulent 
classes, and were actively enjoined to unanimity and 
perseverance by their religious guides and teachers. 
Their conduct was uniformly peaceable; passive re- 
sistance was the only weapon to which they trusted. 
They continued in the open air throughout the day, 
but many returned at night to their homes. 

Tn this manner about a fortnight passed.^ The 
Government somewhat misconceiving the character 
of the assemblage, and at any rate deeming it im- 
politic to yield to any semblance of intimidation, 
oixlered the enforcement of the tax, and the dis- 
persion of the multitude, if necessary, by force. A 
sufficient strength had been collected for the pur- 

* From the 26th December, 1810, to the 8th January, 1811. 

2h 2 



BOOK I. pose ; but, before the receipt of the orders, time, re- 


! L flexion, and discomfort had enfeebled the vigour of 

1813. the opposition, and the people had for the most part 
returned to their dwellings. The determination of the 
Government caused them to reassemble, with the 
avowed determination of marching in a body to Cal- 
cutta to petition the Governor-General personally 
for redi-ess ; but this was a much more arduous un- 
dertaking than a bivouac in the immediate vicinity 
of Benares, and could not be prosecuted with the 
same unity of purpose. Every householder engaged, 
indeed, either to go himself, to send a representa- 
tive, or contribute his quota to the expense of the 
journey; and a number of persons met, and made 
one march towards Calcutta: but the defaulters 
were so numerous, and so many of those who had 
set out deserted by the way, that the leaders were 
sensible of the futility of the scheme, and wanted 
only a decent excuse for its relinquishment. This 
was furnished by the interposition of the Raja of 
Benares, who, at the desire of the Government 
officers, repaired to the j)arty, overtook them, and 
counselled them to turn back, and rest contented 
with the renewed representation of their grievances 
through the usual official chaimel in a quiet and re- 
spectful manner. His advice was followed, and a 
second petition was presented, to which in due time 
attention was paid.^ 

' Personal informutioo and MS. Records. The public petitioos piv- 
ceeding from native communities in India which are much intermixed witk 
Europeans are rarely of a genuine native cliaracter. They betray monot 
less European, and particularly professional, prompting. At Benmres thm 
were few Europeans, no lawyers ; and the peiition of the inhabitaBts w* 
most probably of their o\mi unaided dictation. It is a document not wA- 
out interest, as it not only expresses the sentiments of the people on l^ 


In consequence of this opposition, and the uni- book i. 
versal unpopularity of the tax, it was repealed.^ In ^^^^' ^' 
the following year it was revived in a modified isis. 
form, and limited in its application to the cities of 
Dacca, Patna, and Murshedabad. In those towns 
it was to be applied to the payment of a municipal 
police, to be appointed and maintained by a com- 
mittee of natives chosen by the inhabitants of each 
ward in the presence of the magistrate: to these 
committees also was intrusted the office of assessing 
the different shops and dwellings of their respective 
wards, the whole not to exceed a maximum average 
rate.* Some opposition was made to the arrange- 
ment at Dacca, but it was finally carried into ope- 

Although not connected with any of the financial 
measures of the Government of Bengal, nor result- 
ing from any of its acts, yet it may be useful to 
advert in this place to a formidable tumult by 
which the tranquillity of the city of Benares was 
interrupted in the year preceding that in which 
the house-tax excited the discontent of its inhabit- 
ants ; as the disturbance was characteristically illus- 
trative of the peculiarities of one of the most re- 
markable towns in India, and of the discordant 
elements of Indian society, which are alone re- 
strained from frequent and destructive conflict by 
the vigilance, vigour, and impartiality of the ruling 

Benares is the holy city of the Hindus: it is 

occasion on which it was presented, but shows that they were well in- 
formed of the proceedings and views of their rulers. It is therefore given 
in the Appendix. ' Reg. vii. 1812. ' Reg. xiii. 1813. 


BOOK I. crowded with celebrated shrines : pilgrimage to it is 
^"^''' ^"' an atonement for all sin : to die within its precincts 
1813. is a certain passage to eternal felicity. Such ad- 
vantages ensure it a large resident population, and 
attract to it a numerous resort of Hindu pilgrims. 
The character of both classes is in general accord- 
ance with the reputed sanctity of the place : its effi- 
cacy in expiating crime, and purifying from iniquity, 
could be of little benefit to any but the wicked and 
the profligate, and those who tenant or frequent the 
city are for the greater part such as stand most in 
need of its expiatory virtues. The population is, 
however, not wholly Hindu. Benares is a town of 
extensive commercial and manufeu^turing activity, 
and has alwaj's comprised a considerable body of 
Mohammedans engaged principally in manufactum. 
Its convenient situation had also, at the period under 
review, recommended it as the residence of several 
Mohammedans of high rank, members of the reign- 
ing family of Oude, or the Imperial house of Delhi ; 
and their servants and retainers were numerous and 
disorderly. Religious differences could not fail to 
find in such a mixed multitude ready instrumcDts 
of quarrel, and the mutual animosity which at all 
times animated the followers of Brahma and Mo- 
hammed was at this time more than usually invete- 
rate. It had unfortunately happened that some of 
the moveable feasts of the Mohammedans had oc- 
curred simultaneously with some of the most popu- 
lar Hindu festivals ; and the multitudes which were 
collected, and the feelings which were excited 
threatened a violent collision. The precautions of 
the English functionaries susi>ended the season of 


its occurrence, but were unable to prevent it from book i. 
eventually taking place, and towards the close of 
1809 an open rupture could no longer be delayed. I8l3. 

During the sovereignty of the Mohammedans, 
Aurangzeb and other bigoted princes had forcibly 
taken from the Hindus of Benares several of their 
temples to transform them into mosques, and had 
allowed and encouraged the Mohammedans of the 
city to erect religious edifices in the immediate 
neighbourhood of those places which were esteemed 
most sacred by the Hindus. In this manner, in one 
part of the city an Imam-bara, a building for the oc- 
casional devotions of the Musselmans, was built in 
immediate proximity to a Lat or stone column typi- 
cal of Bhairava, one of their subordinate deities, but 
held by the Hindus in peculiar veneration. As the 
Lat and its neighbour were both much frequented 
by the followers of the different religions, their en- 
counters gave frequent rise to angry feeling and 
reciprocal objurgation. On the morning of the 
21st of October, a number of both parties having 
been assembled, they proceeded from abuse to 
blows ; and, in an interchange of missiles which en- 
sued, part of the ornamental architecture of the 
Imam-bai-a was injured, and a hut serving as a tem- 
porary temple to the deified monkey Hanuman was 
demolished, and the idol was knocked over. The 
intervention of the police prevented further mischief 
on the spot ; but the affray was renewed in another 
part of the town, and, swords and clubs being had 
recourse to, several persons were killed or wounded 
before the disturbance could be suppressed. 

The presence of the magistrate and a small de- 


BOOK I. tachment of Sipahis restored the appearance of 
CUSP. VII. tranquillity ; but they were no sooner withdrawn 
1813. than the tumult recommenced. The Mohammedan 
weavers assembled in the evening in great numbeis, 
and, repairing quietly to the Hindu Lat, heaped a 
quantity of combustibles round it and set them on 
fire, and, when the stone was hot^ threw cold water 
upon it, by which it was split to pieces.* Intel- 
ligence of this profanation reached the Hindus late 
in the evening, and tilled them with horror and 
fury. Measures were taken to prevent the effects 
of their resentment on the following morning ; but, 
before a sufficient force could arrive, an enraged 
multitude had set fire to the Imam-bara, killed four 
or five of the persons attached to it, and sprinkled 
with the blood of a hog the tombs of those who had 
been interred in its consecrated vicinity. Frwn 
thence they moved to destroy the Mohammedan 
tombs at a burial-ground of reputed extraordinar; 
sanctity, adjacent to a shrine dedicated to Fatima the 
wife of Ali ; and, although defended by a Sipahi 
guard and a number of Mohammedans, the mob 
partly eifected their purpose before reinforcements 
arrived in sufficient strength to render their attempt 
unavailing. Other armed bands of Hindus had at 
the same time assailed the quarters of the town oc- 
cupied chiefly by the Mohammedans, murdering all 

* In the memorial addressed by the Hindus to the ma^strmte. 
ating their own conduct and calling for redress against the MohaiiiiDediis 
they gravely averri'd that the L^t resisted every effort for its demdliliM. 
until the Mohammedans killed a cow and a calf, and thre'vr the bkxKl vim 
the column. It then trembled and broke. Some of the fragments wof 
afterwards collected, purified by immersion in the Gann^es, mn^ ensirad 
in a hollow copper cylinder which was set up where the stone co1d» 
formerly stood. 


who came in their way, and plundering and settinsr ®^^^ ^• 

. .11 CHAP. vn. 

fire to their houses, until their excesses were arrested 

by the military dispositions which the magistrate and ^^^' 
the commander of the troops were able to effect. 
The Sipahis, although of both persuasions, discharged 
their duties with perfect impartiality and military 
steadiness: the police, equally mixed, had early 
taken part in the conflict according to their respect- 
ive creeds. The extent of the mischief inflicted, or 
of the loss of life, was imperfectly ascertained ; but 
the disturbance was not suppressed until about 
twenty Mohammedans had been killed and seventy 
wounded. The principal actors in the tumult w^ere 
the Rajputs and Gosains : the Brahmans and prin- 
cipal inhabitants sat fasting upon the steps by the 
river-side, night and day, during the continuance of 
the disorder, and were with some diflRculty prevailed 
upon to return to their dwellings on the afternoon 
of the 23rd. On the following day the temples 
which had been closed were reopened, and this event 
was followed by the opening of the shops and the 
bazars, and the restoration of tranquillity. Some of 
the most active and violent of the ringleaders were 
apprehended and punished, and arrangements were 
adopted to prevent the recurrence of a like popular 
commotion. The resort of persons of all descrip- 
tions from every part of India, and the dissolute 
and riotous conduct of a large proportion of its in- 
habitants or visitors, rendered the maintenance of 
order and tranquillity in the sacred city of Benares, 
for some time at least, a troublesome and imper- 
fectly accomplished task ; but the unrelaxing firm- 
ness of British rule, a better knowledge of the 


BOOK I. British character, and the improving intellifirence of 

CIlAl*. VII, X o cj 

'. — the people, gradually lightened the labour, and, ten 

1813. years after the transactions described, Benares was 
regulated with as much facility as any other city in 
the territories of the Company.* 

Among the various objects of internal administra- 
tion at this season which deserve notice as marking 
the fii'st steps of important changes still in progress, 
and likely at some future period to exercise a mo- 
mentous influence upon the destiny of the British 
Indian empire, must be comprehended the efforts 
which were made in Bengal to promulgate the 
truths of Christianity. The South of India had for 
many years been the field of missionary labours. In 
the beginning of the seventeenth century the church 
of Rome had sent thither men of extraordinaiy 
ability and energy, who, by completely discarding 
all the indulgences of European civilisation, living 
among the natives as natives, applying themselves 
with intense diligence to the study of the languages 
and literature of the country, and acquiring a mas- 
tery over the vernacular dialects which has j>er- 
petuated the writings of several European authors 
as standard Tamil and Telugu compositions, obtained 
a widely extended influence over the people, and 
formed a numerous body of professed believers in 
Christianity.* The political agitations of Europe 

* In 1820 the writer was in the habit of traversing every part of Benares 
without fear of molestation or insult. The materials for ttie beautiful map 

* of Benares, executed not long afterwards by his lamented frieikL Mr. 

James Prinsep, were collected by him in tlie city, in fearless reliance apoa 
the good disposition of the people, which he invariably experienced. 

* Lettres Editiantcs; Asiatic Rcstarches, vol.xiv.; Hough*8 ChristiaBi^ 
in India, ii. 400. See also his cvidrucc. Commons' ConunittcH? 18S2 I'ab* 
lie. He estimates the Roman Catholics in 1823 at between three n^'\ iiNtf 
hundred thousand. — Questi(»n 1852. 


severed the teachers from their congregations, and book i. 
tlie latter remained Christians in little except the ^^^^' ^"' 
name. To the Jesuit missionaries succeeded those I813. 
of the Lutheran church : they were sent to India, 
in the first instance, not by Great Britain, but by 
Denmark ;* but the example was not lost upon the 
former, although it was for some time but feebly 
imitated. Some pecuniary assistance was granted 
to the Danish mission ; and at last missionaries 
were sent direct, at the expense of the Society for 
promoting Christian Knowledge. One or two indi- 
viduals found their way to Bengal,* and instituted 
missionary operations there ; but the chief field was 
long confined to Madras, and other stations on the 
Coromandel coast. The persons employed were 
natives either of Denmark or Germany. They were 
for the most part men of learning and talent, of 
simple habits, and kindly temperaments; and, al- 
though their success in the conversion of the hea- 
then was not very encouraging, they were objects 
of general esteem and respect to both natives and 
Europeans, and wrought an impression favourable 
to the ultimate reception of the doctrines which 
they taught. 

At length, at the close of the eighteenth century, 

' Pearson's Life of Swartz, i. 12. 

' A Mr. Kiemander went from Madras in 1758, and, notwithstanding 
many difficulties and discouragements, he laboured there for some years 
with exemplary piety and diligence, and with considerable success. — Life 
of Swartz, i. 126. It was to him that Dr. Buchanan probably alluded 
when he stated that the Protestant mission in Bengal commenced in 1758. 
Before 1770, religious tracts were translated into the Bengali language ; 
and Hindu converts preached to their countrymen in the time of Hoistings, 
in the town of Calcutta. This mission c(mtinued its labours till about the 
year 1790, when the supply of missionaries from l^urope failed.— Letter to 
the Government of Bengal, printed in Parliamentary Papers, 14tli AprU, 


BOOK I. a private individual, a member of the Baptist com- 
cHAP.viL mm^^Qj^^ ^j|.]^ 2eal as fervent as that of the Ger- 

1813. man missionaries of the South, and inferior to them 
only in a less scholastic education, William Carey, 
the son of the master of a small free-school at 
Paulerspury, a village in Northamptonshire, by 
trade a shoemaker, and subsequently a preacher in 
the chapels of the society of which he was a mem- 
ber, early conceived the project of undertaking a 
mission to Bengal ; and, in the face of the most dis- 
heartening difficulties, succeeded in its execution. 
Being unable to obtain permission to proceed to 
India in a Company's vessel, he procured a passage 
in a Danish ship, and arrived in Bengal destitute of 
money and friends at the end of 1793, After a 
short interval of v^ant and anxiety, he obtained em- 
ployment as superintendent of an indigo factory in 
Dinajpur, and remained in that situation for some 
years ; pursuing, as far as circumstances permitted 
his missionary calling, labouring assiduously in the 
study of the Sanscrit and Bengali languages, and 
applying his acquirements to the translation into 
them of the Holy Scriptures. The sufferance of the 
Government permitted his unauthorised residence in 
the country, averse as was the policy of the day to 
the admission of Europeans ; and his diligence, his 
learning, and piety secured him friends. His com- 
munications with his correspondents in England, the 
prospects of success which his hopes rather than his 
experience dictated, and the example of his ardour 
and his perseverance, animated their zeal ; and a so- 
ciety was formed, and funds were raised, for the pur- 
pose of sending other missionaries to his assistance. 


They arrived in 1 799 ; but, having come to Bengal book i 
without the licence of the Court, were not suffered ^^^^' ^"' 
to remain in Calcutta. The Danish settlement of isis. 
Serampore offered them an asylum ; and there they 
fixed themselves, with the permission of the Go- 
vernor, and subsequently with the express sanction 
of the King of Denmark. They were immediately 
joined by Mr. Carey, and a fraternity was organised 
which set to work upon a definite system ; and by 
preaching in the native languages, by forming schools 
for native children, by the composition of tracts and 
translations of the Scriptures, commenced a pious 
warfare against the false doctrines of the Moham- 
medan and Hindu religions, which has been carried 
on ever since with unrelaxed vigour, and with im- 
proving prospects of eventual triumph.* 

The administration of Lord Wellesley, although 
it avoided giving direct encouragement to the Bap- 
tist missionaries, or recognising them in that capa- 
city, was upon the whole propitious to their exer- 
tions. The learning of their principal was one of 
their chief recommendations to the favour of the 
Marquis, and Mr. Carey was appointed one of the 
professors of the College of Fort William soon 
after its institution ; thus obtaining a place of dis- 
tinction in the recognition of the Government, and 
a certain and liberal means of subsistence. The 
establishment of schools for European children, and 
of a printing-press and paper-manufactory at Seram- 
pore, evinced the industry, and added to the re- 
sources of the missionaries: they were further aided, 
not only by the funds of their own community, but 

* Memoir of William Carey, D.D., by Eustace Carey ; London, 18S6. 


BOOK I. by those of other religious bodies, at whose expense, 
'^"^''' ''"' especially at that of the British and Foreign Bible 
1813. Society, versions of the Scriptures into a great va- 
riety of the Indian dialects were executed; and they 
grew daily in wealth, consideration, and confidence 
under the countenance of the Gk)vemment. 

The immediate successor of Lord Welledey, Sir 
George Barlow, looked upon the proceedings of the 
Serampore missionaries with a less favourable regard. 
Entertaining, in common with most of the Company's 
servants of that day, a dread of the multiplication of 
uncovenanted European residents in India, he was 
disinclined to relax any of the restraints which the 
Legislature had imposed, and refused to sanction the 
continued presence of any new arrivals who had not 
provided themselves with a licence from the Court. 
The teaching of the missionaries had also begun to 
excite some uneasiness among the natives of Cal- 
cutta, and the connexion of the mutiny at Vellore 
with their religious apprehensions imposed upon the 
Goveniment the obligation of setting the minds of 
their native subjects at ease with respect to the 
designs of their rulers, by the public prohibition of 
those expedients resorted to by the missionaries 
which were most likely to offend the religious senti- 
ments and exasperate the feelings of the people.' 
The missionaries were allowed to retain the dwelling 
which they occupied as a chapel in Calcutta, and 
perform divine service in it in the Bengali language 

' Dr. Buchanan acquits tlie Governor-General of tiny hostility to the 
dissemination of Christianity : on the contrary, he says of him, " Sir G. 
Jiarlow has often expresse<l his approbation of the means used for the dif- 
fusion of Christianity in India, and sincerely desires its success.** — Letter 
to Government; Pari. Papers. 


as usual, and no restriction was imposed on their book i. 
private instructions or scriptural translations ; but ^"^''' ^"' 
they were forbidden to preach in the public streets, isis. 
to send itinerant native preachers through the vil- 
lages, or to distribute gratuitously controversial and 
religious tracts. They considered it prudent to yield 
to the storm, and promised to conform to the wishes 
of the Government in all respects in which they 
could conscientiously acquiesce.* 

The degree of the conformity rendered did not, 
however, satisfy the Government of Bengal ; as one 
of the first acts of Lord Minto's Government was a 
renewal of the injunctions which Sir G. Barlow had 
been obliged to adopt, and the menace of still more 
rigorous restrictions. 

Pamphlets in Bengali and Persian had been pub- 
lished, which, in the judgment of the Governor- 
General in Council, were calculated to excite among 
the native subjects of the Company a spirit of reli- 
gious jealousy and alarm, which might eventually b6 
productive of the most serious evils. The distribu- 
tion of such publications, and the public preaching 
of the missionaries and their converts at the very 
seat of Government, might be supposed to have re- 
ceived the sanction and approval of the supreme 
authority ; and the prevalence of such an impression 
would both augment the danger, and render more 
difficult the application of a remedy. Whatever 
might be the propriety of exposing the errors of the 
Hindu or Masselman religion to persons of those 
persuasions who sought instruction in the Christian 
faith, it was contrary to the system of protection, 

* Memoir of Dr. Carey, 483. 


BOOK I. which the Government was pledged to aflbrd to the 
^^^'' ^'^ undisturbed exercise of the religion of the countiy, to 
1813. obtrude upon the great body of the people, by means 
of printed works, exhortations involving an inter- 
ference with their religious tenets. The obligation, 
therefore, to suppress within the limits of the Com- 
pany's authority in India treatises and public preach* 
ings offensive to the religious persuasions of the 
people, was founded on considerations of necessaiy 
caution, of general safety, and national faith and 
honour. Accordingly, it was deemed necessary to 
direct that public preaching in the mission-house of 
Calcutta should be discontinued, and to renew the 
prohibition of the issue of religious tracts; and, in 
order to bring the missionary press more immedi- 
ately under the controul of the officers of the Go- 
vernment, the missionaries were commanded to re- 
move it from Serampore to Calcutta.* 

To the orders and injunctions of the Government 
the missionaries proffered a temperate and judicious 
reply. They disowned and condemned the language 
of a pamphlet which had given the greatest offence, 
— a scurrilous account of Mohammed, which had 
called forth the remonstrances of the most resp>ecta- 
ble Mohammedan inhabitants of Calcutta, — and at- 
tributed it to the intemperance of one of their con- 
verts, who had translated it into Persian : they 
pledged tliemselves for greater caution in future, 
but deprecated the removal of their press, as sub- 
jecting them to great inconvenience and ruinous ex- 
pense. The tone of their representations disarmed 

* Letter from Bengal to the Secret Committee, 2nd Nov. 1807, with its 
enclosures ; Pari. Papere, 14th April, 1813. 


the Government of its rigour; and they were al- book i. 
lowed to continue their preaching in their chapel, ^^^^' ^"' 
and to remain at Serampore, on condition that isia. 
every work that issued from the press should be 
submitted to the inspection of the secretary to 
Government. The condition was acceded to; and, 
as the general conduct of the missionaries was more 
guarded, no further interference with them ensued. 
The alarm of the Government was perhaps more vio- 
lent than the occasion called for, but the check 
opposed to precipitate and indiscreet zeal was not 
detrimental to the ultimate extension of Christianity. 
Little benefit had accrued or was likely to accrue 
from street preaching, and virulent language was ill 
calculated to convey conviction. The attention of 
the Serampore missionaries was thenceforth more 
entirely given to the establishment of schools and 
the translation of the Scriptures; means more safe 
and certain, although their fruits might more slowly 
come to maturity.* 

Although a sense of public duty imposed upon 
the Governor-General the obligation of checking the 
over-zealous haste of the missionaries of Serampore, 
his personal feelings ensured to their literary efforts 
his constant and warmest encouragement. The as- 
sociate in early life of some of the most distin- 
guished ornaments of the literary society of Great 
Britain, Lord Minto brought with him to India an 
enlightened and cultivated taste, and a generous 

' In the representation to the Government made by the missioDaries, 
which is dated in September, 1807, they state that they had baptized up> 
wards of one hundred natives. — Pari. Papers. No great number in eight 
years, reckoning from 1799 only ; if from 1794, a still more inconsiderable 

VOL. I. 2 I 


BOOK I. sympathy with every indication of intellectual ex- 
cuAP. VII. ^^n^p^ jjjg liberal aid was there^xe given to 

1813. the works published at Serampore, whether trans- 
lations of the Scriptures, or publications tending to 
make the language and literature of India more 
generally known and more easily acquired.^ The 
same feelings led him to befriend those natives of 
India who professed the literature of their country; 
and the first printing-press, established and con« 
ducted solely by native enterprise and skill, and for 
the purpose of substituting the productions of the 
press for the manuscripts hitherto in use, owed its 
existence to his patronage. But it was in his con- 
nexion with the College of Fort William that his 
sentiments were most especially manifested; and 
one great object of his administration was to carry 
into full operation, as far as the orders of the home 
authorities allowed, the views of the illustrious 
founder of the institution.* The result was highly 
beneficial : the junior servants of the Company were 
animated to honourable exertions, which formed 
the foundation of their future distinction; their 
seniors were induced to apply their knowledge and 
acquirements to the instruction of their younger 
brethren ; and a number of natives of talent, exer- 

" Several Grammars and Dictionaries, and other rudimental books, in 
Bengali, Telinga, Mahratta, and Sanscrit, were printed at Serampore, chiefly 
at the cost of the Government. Pecuniary assistance (ten thousand rupees) 
was afTorded to the Malay translation of the Scriptures ; and aid was 
liberally given to the Serampore translation of the Ramayana, the ^-orks of 
Confucius, and other literary publications.— Roebuck *8 Annals of the Col- 
lege of Fort WiUiam. 

' It was not mere official phraseology, for Lord Minto was not addicted 
to its use, when in his last annual address he observed, " No i>art of my 
public duties have excited in my mind a more cordial concern or more 
lively interest than those which are attached to the office of Visitor of this 
College.'*— Annals of the College of Fort William, p. 8T6. 


cising over their countrymen the combined influ- book i. 
ence of learning and religion, who were engaged in ^"^^' ^"' 
the service of the college, derived from their em- I813. 
ploymerit some compensation for that neglect to 
which the decay and extinction of native patrons of 
rank had subjected them, and learned to identify 
their interests with those of a foreign and intrusive 
race. To them, and to their European associates, 
were owing a variety of useful works in the lan- 
guages and literature of the East, intended to facili- 
tate their acquirement, and bring within the reach 
of the Oriental student the means of becoming fami- 
liar with the laws and institutions, the religion and 
the character, of the people. Every attempt so 
directed was encouraged and aided by Lord Minto.* 

The last class of measures to which we shall ad- 
vert, regard the financial condition of India during 
Lord Minto's administration. 

The necessity of as rigid a pursuance of the sys- 
tem of economy commenced by Sir G. Barlow as was 
consistent with the interests and honour of the em- 
pire was equally impressed upon his successor; and 
during the whole term of his government a careful 
avoidance of expenditure was adhered to, carried in 
some cases perhaps to a hurtful excess. The occa- 
sions which called for military demonstrations, the 
extraordinary embassies which were fitted out, and 

' Amongst otlier arrangemeDts, a plan was proposed by the Govemor- 
General for the foundation of Hindu colleges at Nadiya and Tirhoot, to 
counteract the want of public encouragement afforded to native literature 
by princes, chieftains, and opulent individuals under the native Govern* 
ments, and who had lost both the means and the inducement to continue 
their patronage under the British Gov^mnient. He had also in cooteinr 
plation to found similar institutions for the cultivation of Mohammedtn 
literature. — Minute by Lord Minto, 6th March, 1811 : Commons' Commit- 
tee, 1832; Public ; App. p. S2S. 

2 I 2 


BOOK I. the expeditions undertaken against the maritime 
^"'^''•^"' possessions of France, disturbed the equable tenor 
1813. of financial retrenchment, and involved unusual de- 
mands upon the public treasury: but these inter- 
ruptions were only temporaiy ; and the general re- 
sult was an augmented amount of the revenues of 
British India, a diminution of its burthens, and no 
enhanced rate of charge. 

It has been already mentioned that the arrange- 
ments effected by Sir G. Barlow secured for the 
first year of Lord Minto's administration, according 
to one system of computation, a surplus receipt, or, 
according to a different set of accounts, reduced tte 
excess of charge to an inconsiderable sum : the same 
diversity of result, arising from the same cause, pre- 
vails in the following year ; but from thence to the 
close of the period both statements agree in show- 
ing a considerable net local revenue after pro- 
viding for the interest of the public debt : the sur- 
plus of the last year amounted to little less than 
two millions sterling.* A considerable proportion 
of this arose from the improved revenues of the 
unsettled provinces under the Presidency of Bengal, 
and the imposition of new taxes at Madras: the 
rest, from the reduction of the rate of interest 
which the Government was enabled, by the flourish- 
ing state of its finances, to effect. 

The history of the Indian debt presents a sin- 
gular picture of the growth of pubUe credit along 

' According to the statements funiished to the CommiUee of tbe Hour 
of Lords, the surplus was ^1,988,000. In Sicca rupees it wasS.R. 
1,45,33,190, which, at two shillings to the rupee, is £1,453^10. Fori 
more particular comparison between the two periods aa expressed is tiv 
home accounts, see Appendix. 


with the increase of financial embarrassment, and book i. 
of the increase of embarrassment with the aug- ^"^''' ^' 
mentation of the public resources. In propor- i8i3. 
tion as the British Indian empire has extended 
its boundaries, and added to its revenues, so have 
the means at its command been found inadequate 
to extraordinary emergencies, and it has been 
obliged from time to time to apply for aid to the 
funds of individuals ; and, notwithstanding the addi- 
tions thus made to its incumbrances, its credit has 
never failed to procure the assistance that was 
needed, on terms much lower than the ordinary 
profits of capital, or the rates of interest prevailing 
in transactions between individuals. In fact, the 
amount of the public debt is far from burthensome 
on the state ; and the inconvenience which it occa- 
sions is fully compensated by the connexion which 
it maintains between the Government and the fund- 
holders, a large proportion of whom are natives of 
the country, and who are thus interested in the 
stability of the ruling power.^ 

In 1792 the Indian debt, bearing interest, little 
exceeded seven millions sterling: the interest ex- 
ceeded six hundred thousand pounds, bearing a pro- 
portion of eight and six tenths per cent.* In 1799 
the debt had risen to ten millions ; and in the short 
interval of five years, the season of Lord Wellesley's 
conquests, it was more than doubled, amounting in 
1805 to nearly twenty-one millions, with an annual 

1 Calcutta Annual Register, 1821 ; Higtorical Sketch, 18. 

' This was the average rate. Loans opened in 1790-1, 1796-7, and 
1798-9, bore twelve per cent. — Government Notices; Bengal and Agra 
Gazetteer, 1841, vol. ii. part ii. 459. 


DooK I. interest of £1,791,000. During the two following 
^"^^' ^"' years the continued effects of the preTious period of 
1813. prodigality were still felt, and the debt went on in- 
creasing; so that in 1807 it amounted to more than 
twenty-six millions, bearing an interest of £2,228,000. 
In 1813-14 the amount of debt remained much the 
same, being twenty-seyen millions ; but the interest 
amounted to £1,636,000, being a permanent dimi- 
nution annually of £592,000.' This was effected 
by the successful opening of loans in August and 
December, 1810, at an interest of six per cent, to 
which the whole of the outstanding obligations 
were transferred ; the capital of British India, and 
the credit of the Government, having thus gone on 
improving, so tliat in about twenty years the rate 
of interest on public securities was reduced from 
twelve per cent, to half that proportion. 

Another important change followed the flourish- 
ing state of the finances, and the payment in Eng- 
land of the principal as well as of the interest of 
loans contracted in India ceased to form one of 
their conditions. When this provision was first in- 
troduced, it was thought likely to lead to the trans- 
fer of the whole of the Indian debt to Europe, 
where it might either be discharged out of the 
profits of the Company's trade, or by monev bor- 
rowed at a much lower rate of interest. For these 
purposes the Indian Government of 1785 was au- 

* Second Report, Commons' Committee, 1810, App. 8. It miMtbe borv 
in mind that these sums are higher by oue-serenth than they should be, 
according to the intrinsic \alue of the Indian currencies. The real debCof 
180C-7, in Sicca rupees, was 23,15,30425, say il2S,15S,000 ; and the anoint 
of interest, Sa. rs. 1,97,13,929, or £1,971,000. — Official Documento* LoHi' 
Committee, 1830, App. C. No. 3. ' 



thorised to grant bills at eighteen months' date on book i. 
the Court of Directors, for the principal of the debt ''"^''' '^'- 
then owing, to the extent of six crores of rupees, at isis. 
the exchange of 1*. 8d. the current rupee, at the 
option of the lenders; and in the first year they 
took advantage of it to the extent of about a fourth 
of the principal sum. In the following year the 
amount applied for was so trifling, that the arrange- 
ment was looked upon as a failure ; a result ascribed 
by the Government to the low rate of exchange, 
the remote date at which the bills were payable, 
the advantages made in India by holding Govern- 
ment securities, and the more advantageous means 
of remittance through foreign channels. 

On the renewal of the charter in 1793 the prin- 
ciple of the plan was recognised, and it was pro- 
vided that the Indian debt should be in this man- 
ner gradually transferred to England, until it was 
reduced to two millions sterling, the exchange 
being fixed at 1^. llrf. the current rupee. For some 
time the amount transferred reached the prescribed 
limit of the bills to be drawn, or £500,000 ; but it 
ultimately diminished, and in 1803-4 ceased alto- 
gether. The demand for funds in India, the exist- 
ence of profitable means of remittance by the ex- 
tension of the private trade, and the conditions of 
new loans granting for the interest, bills at 2*. 6rf. 
the Sicca rupee, payable six months Wter sight, and 
ensuring similar payment of the principal when due, 
held out inducements even to the European fund- 
holders to leave their capital in the Indian treasury. 
With the return of peace in India capital was less 
in demand there; while the political state of Europe, 


BOOK I. tlie high price of bullion, and the depression of the 
^"*''' ^°' public funds, rendered its transmission to England 
1813. highly advantageous. The consequence was a run 
upon the home treasury, which was productive of 
much embarrassment; and the pressure was ag- 
gravated temporarily by the measures adopted under 
the orders of the Court for its relief, — ^the reso- 
lution of the local Governments to pay off all the 
debts the principal of which was demandable hi 
England, in the event of the lenders declining to 
transfer the security to a new loan opened in 1810, 
which offered no such condition. The arrangement 
was so far successful that of twenty-three millions, 
to which the home treasury was liable, more tbao 
thirteen were transferred to the new loan; rather 
more than three were paid in cash by the local Go- 
vernments ; and six millions and a half remained to 
be discharged by bills upon the Court. It was for 
the purpose of meeting this demand that the Com- 
pany had recourse to Parliament for aid. The incon- 
venience was gradually surmounted ; and, althougb 
in 1812 under the terms of a new six per cent, loan 
the option of demanding payment of the principal 
by bills on England was partially restored, the 
home funds were not again exposed to so severed 

Nor had the resources at home been subjected to 
these heavy demands witliout corresponding efforts 
having been made in India to provide for them. 

* Petition of the Company to Parliament ; Second Report of the Coo- 
mittee of the House of Commons, May 1810, App. 6-10 ; lieugal and Agn 
(wRzetteer, 1841, vol. ii. part ii. 451 ; Details of Public Loans* Report of 
the Commons' Ctimmittee, 1832, article Finance. * 


During tlie three concluding years of Lord Minto's book i. 
a«lniinistration, the supplies remitted from India ''""' """ 
exceeded the value of the Company's ioYestments ibis, 
to the extent of nearly ten millionB aterling.' Of 
the amount so remitted nearly two milliona were in 
bullion;^ a circumstance which was unprecedented 
in the history of the commerce of India, and inti- 
mated an approaching change in the terms of its in- 
tercourse with Europe. The transaction was also of 
l>eculiar importance at the season of its occurrence : 
the movements of the vast armies which were 
working out the deliverance of Europe from mili- 
tary despotism depended in a great measure upon 
the wealth of England. The occasion called for 
and deserved the application of all her resources; 
and, although bearing but a small proportion to the 
extent of her elForts, the treasuries of her Indian 
empire furnished a not inconsiderable nor unim- 
portant contribution.' 

The close of Lord Minto's honourable and suc- 
cessful labours was now approaching. The influence 

' EiccBS of supply to London : 

in ISl 1-12 Sa. n. Sylti,40,S32 at 2b. Od. £4,131,229 

I81S'1> 2,71,49,075 S,S93,G34 

181S-U 1,00,00,000 2,000,000 

— FinaiiciHl Letter from Be[i(;Hl j Piipers relating to Finances uf India, 
printed by order of the Court of Proprietore, March, 1824, p. 18. 
' BullioD remitted tu Eugland : 

in 1811-12 Sa.rd. 40,42,407 at 2b. Od. £ 505,301 

1812-1) BS,44,9aS 1,008,123 

1813 14 22,82,369 265,305 

Ae the piice of bullion wai high in 
than eren the exchan^ value. 
' Alisun'i History of Europe, v 


BOOK 1. of party spirit, so long suspended, wajs at lengtb 
allowed to operate ; and the continuance in office of 


1813. an administration based upon principles opposed to 
those of the ministers by whom the Groyemor-Cr^ie- 
ral had been nominated was found incompatiUe 
with the longer duration of his power. Circum- 
stances had also imposed upon the ministers the 
duty of conferring office upon another distinguished 
personage ; and the endeavours of the Earl of Main 
to carry into effect the wishes of the Prince Re- 
gent for the formation of a ministry which should 
connect the actual servants of the Crown with his 
early friends, however unsuccessful, entitled him 
to the consideration both of the Prince and of his 
advisers. It was consequently proposed to reward 
his exertions by his appointment to the govern- 
ment of India, and to make way for him by the 
removal of the Governor-General. A resoluticn 
was accordingly moved by the Chairman, under the 
dictation no doubt of the Board of Controul, thtt 
Lord Minto should be recalled. No reason for the 
measure was assigned ; but it was adopted in oppo- 
sition to the tenor of a letter received from Lord 
Minto's friends, expressing his wish to be relicTed 
in Januar)^ 1814. This letter was assigned as the 
reason for the immediate appointment of Earl 
Moira ; but, as objected by one of the opponents of 
the arrangement, Mr. Charles Grant, the plea iras 
delusive, as no one could pretend to assini it ast 
sufficient reason for proceeding to the choice of a 
Governor-General in November 1811, whose pre- 
sence at Fort William could only be necessary in 
January 1814. On the same occasion it was deter- 


mined to supersede Sir George Nugent as Com- book i. 
mander-in-chief, Lord Moira uniting both the civil ^"^^' ^"' 
and supreme authority ; and not only to rescind the isia. 
conditional appointment of Sir G. Barlow as Go- 
vernor-General, but to remove him from the go- 
vernment of Fort St. George. These several mea- 
sures were made the subject of strong protests by 
several leading members of the Direction ;^ but the 
objections were overruled by the predominating 
spirit of ministerial obligations, and the change 
took place. Earl Moira was appointed Governor- 
General of India and Commander-in-chief; and Ge- 
neral Abercromby, the commander of the forces at 
Fort St. George, was nominated for a time Go- 
vernor of Madras. Lord Minto survived but a 
short time his return to his native country ; he died 
in the course of the same year. Few Governors- 
General have stronger claims upon the gratitude of 
those over whom or for whom they ruled. No one 
ever more conscientiously or disinterestedly laboured 
for the happiness of the people of India, for the 
prosperity of the East India Company, or the ho- 
nour and advantage of Great Britain. Other ad- 
ministrations may have been signalised by moje 
stirring events and more splendid triumphs ; but 
British India never enjoyed a more healthy and 
contented condition, never made a more sure and 
steady though an unpretending advance in social 
improvement, than during the government of Lord 

' See Dissents of Edward Parry, W. Astell, George Smith, and John 
Bebb, Esqrs., 20th Dec. ; and separate Dissent of Mr. Charles Grant, 90th 
Pec. 1812: published by Sir Robert Barlow, 1813. 


BOOK I. The term of Lord Minto's goyemment was coeTal 
'"^''' ^"' with a material change in the character of the bo- 
ibis, perior authorities under whom the power of hfan- 
self and his predecessors had been immediately 
held. The East India Company ceased to retain 
the monopoly of the East India trade. The circum- 
stances which led to this event we shall now pro- 
ceed to detail. 


Embarrassed finances of t/ie Company. — Applicatim 
to Parliament for assistance. — A Iamu ffrmded.— 
Inquiry into abuse of patronage. — Renetral of ik 
Charter. — Previous Correspondence with tlie Board, 
— Demands of the Court. — Propositions of Mr 
Dundas — objections of the Court — communication 
suspended — revived. — Determination of Ministen 
to open the Trade unth India resisted^ but fiwJSif. 
acceded to by the Company. — Claims of the De- 
ports. — Change of Hie Ministry. — Lard JSucking- 
hamshire President of the Board. — Consequences of 
delay. — Resistance to the daitns of the Outports,-- 
Appeal to Parliament. — Resolutions proposed bf 
Lord Castlereagh in tfie House of Commofu; if 
Lord Buckinghamshire in the House of Lards.-- 
Applicatio7i of the Company to be heard by cotnud 
granted. — Questions at issue — political — commerdd 
— Trade tvith India and with China^ peculiarities^ 


the latter— secured to the Company. — Struggle fm* 
the Trade vrith India. — Arguments of the Company 
— of the Merchants. — Company consent to take off 
restrictions from the EiPporty not from tfie Import 
trade. — Financial and political evils anticipated and 
denied — attempt to substantiate them by evidence. — 
Opinions of Wai*ren Hastings and others respecting 
the unrestricted admission of Europeans — extension 
of Trade — independent resort of Missionaries, Sfc. — 
Debates in the House of Commons — ^rst and second 
Resolution carried — debate on the third. — Debates 
on tlie Report of the Committee. — Thirteenth Resolu- 
tion adjourned — debate on it resumed — carried. — 
Other clauses suggested. — Bill fnally passed in the 
Commons. — Debates in the House of Lwds—preni- 
ous discussions — Bill passed. — Proceedings in the 
Court of Proprietors. — Charter accepted. — Re- 

The appointment of a Select Committee of the book i. 
House of Commons in 1808 to inquire into the ^"^''' '^'"' 
state of the affairs of the East India Company has isis. 
already been adverted to; as have the measures 
which, in compliance with their recommendation, 
were adopted by the Parliament for the relief of 
the financial embarrassments of the Company, by 
the discharge of a portion of tlie debt due to them 
by the public. The Committee continued, with 
occasional modifications, to sit through the four 
succeeding years, and presented to the House in 
that period different reports, which were drawn up 
with remarkable diligence and ability, and furnished 
a mass of authentic information upon every im- 





ROOK I. portant subject relating to the internal administn- 
tion of the Indian empire. 

The relief afforded to the Company in 1808 by 
the sum of £1,500,000 received from the Gtotctd- 
ment, together with more than usually fayourable 
sales of merchandise, enabled the Court of Directon 
to provide for the wants of that and the following 
year without requiring further assistance. This state 
of prosperity was of no long duration, and in the 
beginning of the session of 1810 the Company wwe 
again obliged to apply to Parliament for pecuniaij 
aid.^ A deficit of two millions was anticipated io 
the receipts of the year ending March, 1811, as 
compared with the receipts; arising from the exces- 
sive and unexampled drafts made upon the Comt 
amounting to nearly five millions, from India, in 
discharge of the Indian debt, and from the unex- 
pected losses sustained in the Company's shipping;^ 
many of their vessels having, in the course of the 
last two years, been taken by the enemy, or perished 
at sea. As the state of the money market rendered 
it unadvisable to increase the Company's capital 
stock, as empowered by law, the Court applied to 
the House for such aid as it should see fit to grant, 
the property of the Company being offered as ample 
security for the repayment of a loan from the puUif. 
The petition was referred to the Committee, br 
whom the correctness of its purport was confirmed.' 

* See petition of the £ast India Company for reUef ; Pari. DdMiftei» 
13th April, 1810. 

* In the years 1808-9 and 1809* 10, fourteen large resaels, chartered bftf 
belonginf^ to the Company, were captured or were lost at eea : their ctfgM 
alone were valued at more than a million sterling. — Fhvt Report. Ctmir*^' 
Committee, 1830, App. iv, 

' Report from Select Committee, ordered to be printed 11th Hay, tSi^ 


Shortly afterwards, a second petition was presented/ book i. 
praying for a further settlement of the amount due ^"^'* ^"'' 
by the public to the Company : it was also referred 1813 
to the Committee, but does not seem to have been 
made the subject of any special report. The time was 
unpropitious to the Company's applications, as the 
Government was straining the resources of the coun- 
try to the utmost to provide for the magnitude of 
the national expenditure, and was floundering amidst 
the intricacies of the Bullion question. The ur- 
gency of the case, and the vital importance of main- 
taining unimpaired every form of public credit, gave 
irresistible weight to the appeal; and, after some dis- 
cussions, a bill was passed on the 14th of June, 1811, 
for a loan of one million and a half to the Company.^ 
In the following year the Company petitioned the 
House of Commons for permission to raise two mil- 
lions upon bond ; and a bill was brought in for the 
purpose, which, after some slight opposition, was 
passed. In June, 1812, a second application for a 
loan of two millions and a half was made to the 
House of Commons, and, although strenuously op- 
posed by Mr. Creevy, complied with.* 

Transactions affecting the moral credit of the 
Court of Directors had also, shortly before this 
period, been brought imder the consideration of 
Parliament, and an alleged abuse of patronage w^as 
made the subject of inquiry. It was brought for- 
ward by the members of the Court themselves, in 
I consequence of a report having prevailed that ap- 

I > Pari. Debates, I4th May, 1810. 
• « Pari. Debates, 10th May, 1811. 
' ' Pari. Debates, 0th and 15th June, and 3rd and 7th July, 1812. 


BOOK r. pointments in the service of the Companj in India 
^"^^' ^^"^ had been sold. On the 10th February, 1809, it 
1813. was moved by Mr. Smith, seconded by Mr. Grant, 
that a Committee of the House of Commons shonld 
be nominated to inquire into the existence of any 
corrupt practices in the distribution of the patron- 
age of the Court of Directors. A Committee was 
accordingly appointed, which, in the course of a few 
weeks, reported the result of the investigation. The 
report exonerated the members of the Court from 
any imputation of a violation of the oath by which 
they were solemnly pledged, neither directly nor 
indirectly to accept any pecuniary consideration 
whatever on account of the appointment or nomi- 
nation of any person or persons to any place or office 
in the service of the Company:* but it appeared 
in evidence that the persons to whom they had 
given appointments had, in some instances, sold 
them to third parties; and that a traffic had been 
carried on for situations in their India service with- 
out their participation or knowledge.* Three civil 
and twenty military appointments were traced as 
having been sold. The obtaining of such situa- 
tions by purchase being prohibited under penalty 
of their forfeiture, the appointments were cancelled : 
but, as the punishment fell heaviest on those who 
were not the offending parties, — the young men 
holding the appointments, — much sympathy was 
excited for their situation, and other appointmentii 

* This formed part of the general oath to be taken by each Director 
according to clause 160 of the 33rd of George III. 

' It appeared that the price of a writership was about ^3,600 ; that of 
a cadetship varied from £160 to £500.— Report of Committee^ p« 2 to S ; 
and Evidence. 


were given to them by different members of the book i. 
Court/ ^"""- ^ 

The main question, however, which occupied the 1813. 
attention of the Court of Directors and his Ma- 
jesty's Ministers was the renewal of the Company's 
charter. The term for which this had been grant- 
ed in 1793 expired on the 10th April, 1814. It 
had been provided that notice of the cessation of 
the charter should be given to the Company three 
years before it expired; and accordingly, on the 
4th of March, 1811, the Chancellor of the Exche- 
quer moved, and it was ordered, that the Speaker 
should signify in writing to the Directors of the 
East India Company that the Company's commer- 
cial privileges would cease and determine on the 
date above specified. 

The renewal of the charter had for some time 
previously been the subject of a correspondence be- 
tween the Board of Controul and the Crown.* On 
the 30th of September 1808 Mr. Dundas addressed 
a letter to the Chairman and Deputy Chairman, sug- 
gesting that it was now advisable to ascertain whe- 
ther the Court of Directors were desirous to agitate 
the question, and submit it to the early consider- 
ation of Parliament. Early in the month following, 
the Chairs, after consulting with the Secret Com- 

' Report of Committee appointed to inquire into the existence of abuses 
in the disposal of the patronage of the East India Company ; printed by 
order of the Court of Proprietors, March 1809. See also Pari. Debates, vol, 
xiii. ; and Asiatic Annual Register, Proceedings India House, vol. xii. 

^ The several communications with the Board, and various documents 
conuected with the discussion, from 1808 to July 181S, were printed by 
order of the Court of Directors, for the information of the Proprietors, in a 
series of fifteen papers, entitled *' Papers respecting the Negociation for a 
Renewal of the East India Company's exclusive Privileges," London, 

VOL. I. 2 K 


BOOK I. mittee of Correspondence, expressed their concar- 
cHAP. vm. y^j^^^^ considering that the interests of the public 
1813. and the Company would be best consulted by an 
early renewal of the charter : they professed at the 
same time the readiness of the Court to pay due 
attention to any modifications that might be pro- 
posed, if they were compatible with the main prin- 
ciples of the existing system, for the conduct of 
the trade and the political administration of the 
Government of India. The views of the Directors 
were more fully developed in a letter addressed to 
Mr. Dundas on the 16th December, consequent on 
a personal conference which had been held with 
him. In this document they asserted the right of 
the Company to their territorial possessions, and 
stated their expectation that in a new charter the 
Proprietors would be permitted to benefit by an 
enhanced rate of dividends on their stock propor- 
tioned to the improvement of the revenues of India ; 
that the aid of the British public would be con- 
tributed towards the liquidation of the Indian debt ; 
and that arrangements would be devised for an 
equitable apportionment of the military expenditure 
incurred in the prosecution of interests of purely 
British origin, and not fairly chargeable to India. 
Twenty years were required for the term of the new 
charter. The tone of the address was bold, jmr- 
ticularly at a moment when the Company was a 
suppliant for pecuniary aid ; and the eagerness to 
extract an augmented dividend out of the antici- 
pated improvement of revenue, instead of proiK>sing 
to apply such additional revenues either to the 
reduction of the public debt or the benefit of the 


people of India, savoured more strongly of the little book i. 
selfishness of a trading company than of the liberal- ^^^^^^^ 
ity becoming a great and enlightened Government. 1813. 

In his reply, dated the 13th Jan. 1809, Mr. Dun- 
das, although admitting in substance the advantage 
of adhering to the system of commerce and admi- 
nistration which had been sanctioned by the exist- 
ing charter, declined to acknowledge the claim of 
the Company to a right to the territory of India, and 
considered it premature to discuss the proportion of 
benefit that was to be derived by the Company or 
the public from any improvement in the finances of 
India until the debt should be discharged. In like 
manner, the liquidation of the debt must be contin- 
gent on the appropriation of the revenues ; as, if the 
disposal of them should be assumed by the public, 
it would be impossible to disregard the fair claims 
of the Company, or their creditors, to a reimburse- 
ment of the expenses incurred in the acquirement 
of the territory. He admitted that the Company 
had also a right to expect that the public should 
defray the cost of all hostile operations growing out 
of a state of war in Europe, whether India became 
the scene of them or was likely to be their aim. 

In the letter from the Chairs of the 16th Dec. all 
specific allusion to the Company's exclusive commer- 
cial privilege had been carefully avoided. The phrase 
employed, " a regulated monopoly of the trade,"* 
implied of course that the commerce was to be left 

' *' The system by which the Lefpslature has continued to the Company 
the government of the territories acquired by it in the East, with a regulated 
monopoly of the trade, has been held by the most eminent persons conver- 
sant with that quarter and its affairs to be the most expedient both for the 
foreign and domestic interests of this coantry.*' — Letter from the Chairs to 
the Right Honourable Robert Dundas, IGth December, 1808 ; Papers, p. 0. 



BOOK I. on its actual footing, — ^the assignment of a certain 
CHAP. viiL j^^^jyj^^ Qf tonnage to private merchandise in ships 

1813. taken up by the Company, and the sale of private 
imj)ort goods through the Company's establishments. 
Mr. Dundas vras more explicit : he announced to the 
Court that his Majesty's Ministers would not concur 
in an application to Parliament for the renewal of 
any privileges which should prevent the merchants 
and manufacturers of Great Britain from trading to 
and from India, and the countries within the limits 
of the Company's exclusive trade, the dominions of 
the Emperor of China excepted, in ships and vessels 
hired or freighted by themselves. He also intimated 
that it was thought advisable to adopt some plan 
for the consolidation of the Indian army with the 
troops of the Crown serving in India, in order to put 
an end to the jealousies and divisions which had so 
repeatedly occurred between the two branches of 
the military service in that country, and to the 
divided responsibility which had hitherto impaired 
the efficiency of both. He thought this would be 
found practicable without interfering with actual 
arrangements, or weakening the authority of the 
local Governments or of the Court over his Majesty's 
regiments employed in the Company's possessions. 
These intimations were anything but acceptable to 
the Court ; and they replied, that, if the suggestions 
were acted upon to the extent which the terms 
seemed to convey, they would effectually supersede 
and destroy not merely the rights of the Company, 
but the whole scheme of Indian administration es- 
tablished by the previous acts of the Legislature, and 
consequences fatal to the Company and most detri- 


mental to the nation would infallibly ensue. Al- i 
tliough, therefore, willing to take into consideration f 
the means of supplying the trade of private mer- 
chants with more heneficial and extensive accom- 
modation as far as was consistent with the preser- 
vation of the Company's rights, the Court declared 
that they could not recommend to their constituents 
to seek a renewal of the charter upon conditions 
which would despoil it of all its solid advantages, 
deprive the Company of their most valuable privi- 
leges, and incapacitate them from performing for 
themselves and the nation the part hitherto allotted 
to them in the Indian system. 

The negociation here came to a pause, and the 
Ministers, unwilling to engage in a contest with the 
Company whilst heavily embarrassed by the state of 
public affairs, and finding that the notice of the 
House was not likely to be yet attracted to the 
question of the Company's charter, determined not 
to press the subject. At the end of 1S09 the Court 
announced their readiness to resume the discussion; 
but no notice seems to have been taken of their 
challenge until the end of 1811, when the President 
of the Board, now Lord Melville, apprised the Di- 
rectors that his Majesty's Ministers could not recom- 
mend to Parliament the continuance of the existing 
system, unless they were prepared to assent that the 
ships as well as goods of private merchants should he 
admitted into the trade with India under such re- 
strictions as might be deemed necessary. If the 
Court would agree to the enlargement of the trade, 
be was prepared to discuss the meaaures it might 
be necessary to devise. 


BOOK I. In their reply to Lord Melville the Court oon- 
CHAP. viiL ggj^|.^j^ however reluctantly, to pro]K>se to the Pro- 

1813. prietors the opening of the trade; repeating their 
opinion, that, whilst it would be productive of serious 
inconvenience to the political administration of India, 
it would not realise to the nation the benefits which 
were expected from it. In support of their asser- 
tions, they referred to the accounts of the trade 
which had been submitted to the Select Committee. 
Influenced too, no doubt, by the measures which 
they understood to be in contemplation by the mer- 
chants of the commercial and maritime towns in va- 
rious parts of the British islands, they expressed 
their confident belief that no intention was enter- 
tained by his Majesty's Ministers of trying the ha- 
zardous experiment of dispersing over all the ports of 
England and Ireland a trade now brought with so 
much advantage, both to the Company and the 
public, to the single port of London. Tlie letter 
also entered into details exhibiting the magnitude 
of the Company's transactions, and vindicating the 
Company from the accusations which had been urged 
against it, and from the objections to the continu- 
ance of a system which they believed to rest, not 
upon the grounds of individual interest, but upon 
the firm basis of national advantage. 

On the day preceding the date of this letter, a 
paper of propositions to be submitted to Lord Mel- 
ville had been approved of by the Court of Directors, 
and was accordingly communicated to him on the 
6th of March, 1812. To these propositions, or hints, 
as they were denominated, his lordship replied on 
the 12th; and as the main object of the propositions 


had been to secure the continuance of the arrange- book i. 
ments of the act of 1793, proposing only to adopt 
such modifications as should give greater facilities to I813. 
the private trader, but no greater extension to the 
trade, they met with no favourable reception. The 
President of the Board of Controul told the Court 
plainly, that, as far as related to the India trade, they 
did not appear to have succeeded in showing that 
any detriment would accrue to the public interests 
either in this country or India, or ultimately even to 
the interests of the Company, from the introduction 
of private adventure ; and he refused to acquiesce in 
any arrangements which imposed a restriction upon 
an improved commercial intercourse with India, 
approving of such only as were intended to restrain 
unauthorised settlements in that country, and to 
secure a strict monopoly of the trade with China. 
A petition, framed in consonance with the views of 
the Board, was accordingly prepared, and, being 
concurred in by a Court of Proprietors held on 
the 2nd of April, was presented on the 7th to the 
House of Commons, praying for a renewal of the 

The announcement of the cessation of the East 
India Compan/s exclusive privileges was, we have 
contemporary evidence, received at first with very 
little interest. Men's minds were engaged vntli 
mighty events, by which the interests of commerce 
were overshadowed ; and it seemed scarcely worth 
while to dispute for the profit of any particular 
branch of trade, when the independence of nations 
was at stake. By degrees, however, attention was 
drawn to the toi)ic ; and the Parliament had no 


BOOK I. sooner met than a deluge of petitions poured upon 
CHAP, viii. ^^^ House, assailing the principle of monopoly, con- 
1813. demning the career of the India Company, calum- 
niating the motives of the Directors, and advocat- 
ing the abstract right of all British subjects to a 
participation in every branch of external commerce. 
The language of the petitions was prompted by the 
same spirit against which it was levelled. The peti- 
tioners looked only to their own anticipated advan- 
tages, and in their selfish eagerness would have 
trampled upon all prudent precaution and opposing 
claims. A quarrel speedily sprung up amongst 
themselves for the spoils at which they grasped; 
and the merchants and ship-owners of London found, 
with no small dismay, that the unavowed mono- 
poly which they had enjoyed under the protection of 
the Company's privileges, of a portion of the trade 
and the whole of the shipping, was no longer to 
remain uninvaded. Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow, 
and many other outports had merchants, vessels, 
docks, and warehouses ; and demanded not merely to 
be permitted to send goods to India, but to bring 
back its products to their own doors in their own 
ships, and to be liberated from all dependence 
whatever upon the metropolis.^ Not only were jw- 
titions to this effect presented, but delegates from 
the outports wore sent up to London and formed 
into a committee empowered to act for the mercan- 

* Resolutions of the Buyers of Piece-goods, 2l8t April, 1812; Merchants, 
Manufacturers, Traders of London, 25th ditto ; Petition ditto ; Papers re- 
specting the negociation, p. 133, &c. See also petitions to the House of 
Commons from the Merchants, Shipovmers, &c. of London, and others, inte- 
rested in the trade with India, and in the tea-trade ; Pari. Debates, 6th 
May, 1812. 


tile communities of the several places, and watch book i. 
over their interests. Besides the outports, almost ^^^^' ^'°' 
every trading and manufacturing town of any consi- I8i3. 
deration joined in petitioning against the renewal of 
the Company's charter.^ 

Up to the beginning of 1812, the pretensions of * 
the outports had excited apparently but little atten- 
tion, and had received little countenance from the 
Ministers. Although Lord Melville had resisted the 
attempt of the Court to restrict the export trade to 
the port of London, he had nowhere intimated any 
inclination to extend the imports in a similar manner. 
On the contrary, he had concurred in the sixth propo- 
sition of the Court, which provided that the whole of 
the Indian trade should be brought to London, and 
that the goods should be sold at the Company's sales 
and under the Company's management, as likely to 
secure and facilitate the collection of the duties upon 
articles imported from India and China. Had, there- 
fore, his propositions been acceded to in the first 
instance, it seems not unlikely that the Ministers 
would have been pledged to support the sale and 
warehousing system of the Company, and the ad- 
vantages realised therefrom would have been pre- 
served. The delay which the repugnance of the 
Court had caused, had given the opponents of the 
Company an opportunity to advocate the claims of 
the outports; and the change of Administration 
which occurred at this season, and which placed the 
Earl of Buckinghamshire at the head of the Board 

' See Parliamentary Debates, Session of 1812 ; Petitions from Binning- 
ham, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Blackburn, Paisley, Dundee, 
Perth, Belfast, and many other places in the three kingdoms. 


BOOK I. of Controul, was another event which was unpro- 
CHAP. viiu pj|.j(j^g ^Q their pretensions/ It was soon evident 

1813. that the Company must forego all hope of profit 
derivable, directly or indirectly, from the trade with 

The conferences and correspondence with the 
Board still continued ; and, as the opinions of the 
new President of the Board of Controul were ia 
favour of the claims of the merchants of the out- 
ports, the proceedings that had taken place were re- 
ported to the Proprietors at large. The sentiments 
of the Directors could not fail to find aji echo in 
such an assembly, and a series of resolutions was 
moved and carried in a General Court, held on the 
5th May, to the following purport : — That the mea- 
sure of opening the outports to vessels of all descrip- 
tions from India was fraught with consequences 
ruinous to the Company, and to the long train of in- 
terests connected with it: the removal of the trade 
from London would render large and important 
establishments useless, and throw many thousand 
persons out of bread. That a departure from the 
course of public sales would be injurious to the 
trade ; and, by dispensing with the interposition of 
the Company, smuggling to an unlimited extent 
would be uncontroulable, to the great detriment of 
the public revenue. That the consequences must be, 
the destruction of the Company's China trade, the 

' This nobleman, as Lord Hobart, had been Goyemor of Madns frw 
1794 to 1798. He had experienced the inconvenience to 'vrhich the lodiu 
Goyernmcnts had been exposed in having to provide, amidst the finaacial 
embarrassments resulting from expensive warfare, for the Compaay*! n- 
vestments. — See Memoir of the late Earl of Buckioghamshji^ MontUj 
Asiatic Journal, January 1817. 


failure of their dividends, the depreciation of their book i. 
stock, and their inability to perform the functions .^^IILI!!! 
assigned to them in the government of British India. 1813. 
Tliat, if the constitution of the British Indian empire 
were subverted, the civil and military services would 
be broken down; the tranquillity and happiness of 
the people of India, the interests of Britain in Asia, 
and the constitution at home, would be imminently 
endangered. That the object for which these evils 
were to be risked, the increase of the commerce, 
was illusory; as all experience had shown that it was 
not capable of increase. That the cause of the Com- 
pany had been deeply injured by prejudice, igno- 
rance, erroneous assumption, and, latterly, by exten- 
sive combinations, and by unfair representa^tion, can- 
vass, and intimidation. And finally, the Court, trust- 
ing that Parliament would decide, not on the sug- 
gestions of private interests, but considerations of 
national policy, approved of the firmness with which 
the Directors had maintained the interests of the 
Company, and enjoined them to persevere in the 
negociation with his Majesty's Ministers on the same 

Although unappalled by the dark catalogue of ima- 
ginary terrors which the interested fears of the East 
India Company had conjured up for the salvation of 
their monopoly, yet the obvious evils attending the 
transfer of the details of an extensive trade from one 
class of persons to others, and the confidence with 
which disappointment and ruin were predicted to. those 
who sought to benefit by the transfer, compelled the 
Government to proceed with deliberation and caution, 
and prevented them from bringing the decision of 


BOOK I. ^^^ question before Parliament during this session, 
CHAP, vin. notwithstanding it was one of the topics adverted to 
1813. ^t the opening of the session in the speech from the 
throne. Previously to its introduction, another at- 
tempt was made by the Ministers to obtain the 
acquiescence of the Company in the proposed exten- 
sion of the import trade, as preliminary to any other 
arrangements; and, as the attempt was unsuccessful, 
they intimated that it would be for Parliament to 
determine whether, if the Company still thought the 
extension of the commerce incompatible with their 
administration of the government of India, measures 
might not be devised that would effect the opening 
of the trade, and at the same time provide for the 
administration of the government of India by some 
other means than the intervention of the Company, 
upon principles consistent with the interests of the 
country and the integrity of the British constitution.* 
This intimation closed the discussion on the part of 
the Administration. The Court of Directors were 
equally resolute, and they were supported by the 
great body of the Proprietors. After a meeting of 
the latter, which was repeatedly adjourned, a series 
of resolutions was adopted,^ which recapitulated the 
principal arguments in favour of the continuance of 
the present system, approved entirely of the firmne^ 
of the Direction in regard to the vital question of 
admitting the outports to share in the import trade 
of India, expressed their opinion that on no consi- 
deration whatever should this point be conceded, 

* Letter from the Earl of Buckinghamshire, 4th Jan. 1813 ; Papers 181. 

' Procet dings of a General Court of Proprietors, 26th Jan. 1813- 
Papers, 194* 


and declared their conviction that they might ap- book t. 
proach Parliament with confidence, persuaded that 

CHAP. vin. 

the wisdom of that enlightened body would never ibis. 
consent to the sacrifice of the clear and positive inte- 
rests of one class of men to the contingent advan- 
tages of another, nor demolish a mighty practical sys- 
tem which had been raised by such immense exer- 
tions, in order to place its materials at the disposal of 
interested speculation. Conformably to these resolu- 
tions, a petition was presented to the House of Com- 
mons on the 22nd February, 1813, in which the 
Company prayed for the renewal of the privileges 
granted in 1793, and deprecated any interference 
with the China trade, or any extension of the import 
trade from India to the outports of Great Britain. 
Another petition was submitted at the same time, 
soliciting from the nation payment of a debt 
claimed by the Company of £2,294,426.^ A similar 
petition was presented to the House of Lords. 

On the 22nd of March, 1813, the subject was in- 
troduced into the House of Commons, in a Com- 
mittee of the whole house, by Lord Castlereagh, 
who, after some general observations in which he 
bore testimony to the excellence of the Company's 
Indian government, declared it to be the wish 
of the Government not to interfere with the poli- 
tical system unless compelled so to do, although 
circumstances imperiously demanded the relaxation 
of their commercial privileges. He accordingly 
submitted to the House a series of resolutions, which 
proposed to renew the charter of the Company for a 
further period, to continue to them during that 

■ Pari. Debates, 82nd Feb. 181S ; see also Papers, p. 252. 


BOOK I. arguments of the Court in defence of the monopolj 
CHAP, vm. ^^ ^^^ trade with China. This trade was carried on 

1813. under peculiar circumstances. The Chinese Govern- 
ment entertained a violent jealousy of foreign inter- 
course, and confined the trade not only to a single 
port, hut to a single society, — ^to a certain numher of 
native merchants of Canton incorporated under the 
designation of Hong, — ^interdicting the rest of its 
subjects from trafficking with strangers. There was 
no field, therefore, for competition ; no possibility of 
multiplying demand by reduced prices, as the people 
at large were excluded from the market ; and the 
only eflfect of the increased resort of English mer- 
chants would be to place them more entirely at the 
mercy of the Chinese Hong. Prompt to take of- 
fence, and affecting, possibly entertaining, utter in- 
difference for foreign trade, the Government of 
Canton upon every petty disturbance or cause of 
alarm was ready to place an embargo upon all ship- 
ments whatever; and it had often required the ex- 
perienced judgment, local knowledge, and i)ersonal 
influence of the members of the Company's factory 
at Canton to prevent or remedy occasions of um- 
brage, and preserve the trade from suspension, or 
restore it when interrupted. Tliere was great rea^n 
to apprehend that from the ignorance or incaution 
of British traders and sailors, subject to no national 
controul, and setting the Chinese authorities at de- 
fiance, frequent interruption, if not a total stop to 
the trade, would occur ; to the serious discontent of 
the people of England, to whom tea had become a 
necessiiry of life, and to the irreparable injury of 
the revenue, which realised nearly four millions a 


year of duty upon this article of import/ It was book i. 
maintained, indeed, that there were no just grounds ^^^^' ^™' 
for apprehending such a catastrophe. The Americans isis. 
had traded largely with China without supracargoes 
or factory, yet had never given offence ; and the ap- 
pointment of a British consul would provide suf- 
ficiently a local authority, to which the resident 
merchants and the crews of British vessels might be 
made amenable. The salutary effects of this latter 
measure were regarded, however, as doubtful ; and it 
seemed not improbable that the immunity of the 
American trade from obstruction was in part at- 
tributable to the Company's establishment, which 
without actual authority exercised an influence over 
all the foreign trade at Canton favourable to its 
prosperity. It was also argued, that, if an imlimited 
intercourse with China were permitted, it would be 
impossible to prevent smuggling, by which the 
revenue would be injuriously affected ; and al- 
though the impossibility was denied, yet undoubt- 
edly this argument had great weight with the Admi- 
nistration, who were unwilling, amidst the enormous 
pressure upon the finances of the country during 
the momentous transactions of this period upon the 
Continent, to hazard the diminution of a resource so 
valuable and so easily realised as the duty upon tea 
paid by the Company. Accordingly from the first 
they declared their determination to uphold this 
part of the monopoly, and to exclude private 
traders from the China seas. 

* Considerations on the China Trade, by Sir G. Staunton, Bart., commu- 
nicated in the first instance to the Earl of Buckinghamshire, and subse- 
quently to the Court of Directors ; Papers, &c. p. 281. 

VOL. I. 2 L 


BOOK I. The straggle therefore was for the India trade. 

CHAP, vin. rj^^ advocates of the mercantile interest assailed 
1818. the Company with the anti-monopoly doctrines, 
which, started by Adam Smith, were now received 
as axioms in the new and growing school of poli- 
tical economists : and although it was undeniable, 
that, had not the Company possessed originally an 
exclusive trade with India, that trade would never 
have been established on a secure and permanent 
footing, and not a rood of land in India would have 
owned the rule of Great Britain ; yet the necessi- 
ties which fully justified the monopoly for many 
years had gradually disappeared before its conti