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FROM 1805 TO 1835. 







4.0ND0N : 










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 engage- 
ment was somewhat ill-considered. It was acceded to 
under an anticipation that the task could be accomplished 
with comparative 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 wsts soon evident that I had much miscal- 

However hvely the impression which had been made 
by the interesting and important character of the trans- 
actions 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 authentic description in 

which they were to be traced. Foremost among these 


were the valuable but voluminous 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. Bay ley, 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 ex- 

Beside the manuscript volumes, to which the great bulk 
of the Records is necessarily confined, very extensive 
portions of them have been occasionally 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 exten- 
sive application has been made, consists of the published 
accounts of persons engaged or interested in the occur- 
rences 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 be- 
yond the limits within which I had trusted that it would 
have been concluded. 


I have thought it necessary thus to account for the 
delay which has occurred, and which is not yet at an 
end. It has been occasioned by an anxious wish to offer 
to the public an historical work in which they may place 
some trust. Whether that object has been attained, re- 
mains to be determined ; but the desire to merit confi- 
dence will, perhaps, be accepted as a sufficient excuse for 
the apparent tardiness of the writer. 

H. H. Wilson. 

25th November, 1844. 



From the Conclusion op Peace with the Mahrattas, 1805, to 
THE Renewal of the East India Company's Charter, 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. — King op 
Delhi. — Conduct of Prince Jehangir. — Nawab of Oudb. — 
Vicious Administration of the Principality. — Nizam of HifDBB- 
ABAD. — Discontent. — Determination 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 
Embarrassments. — British Interference. — Settlement of Katti- 
war. — Intrigues at Baroda. — Raja of Berar. — Dissatisfac- 
tion. — Relinquishment of Sambhalpur. — Sindhia. — Pecuniary 
Difficulties. — Decline of Power. — Quarrels at his Court. — Con- 
duct 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. — Rana of Udaypur, Rajas 
of Jodhpur and Jatpdr. — Contest for the Hand of Krishna 
Kumari, Princess of Udaypur. — Mahratta Extortion. — Applica- 
tion of Jaypur for British Interference — refused. — Policy of 
Holkar and Sindiah. — Amir Khan joins the Rana. — Death of the 
Princess. — Other Rajput Princes. — Bikaner, Kota, Bdndi, 
Macheri. — Jdts. — Raja of Bhurtpore. — Rana of Gohud. 

— Treaty with him annulled. — Sikhs, their Origin and Constitu- 
tion. — Rise of Ranjit Sing. — Remarks I 



Retrenchments. — Supplies. — Judicial and Revenue Arrange- 
ments for Cuttack, the Doab, and Bundelkhand. — Revenue Set- 
tlements in the Ceded and Conquered Provinces. — Separation of 
Judicial and Revenue Functions at Madras. — Murder of Eu- 
ropeans at Vellore. — Arrival of the Dragoons. — Fort retaken. — 
Military Inquiry. — Disposal of the Prisoners, — Causes and Cir- 
cumstances of the Mutiny. — Its Origin in religious panic occa- 
sioned by military Orders. — Similar Alarms at Hyderabad, 
Walajabad, and Nandidrug allayed or suppressed. — Lord W. 
Bentinck and Sir John Cradock recalled. — Ultimate Decision of 
the Court of Directors 76 


Proceedings in England. — Refusal of the Directors to concur in the 
Appointment of the Earl of Lauderdale as Governor- General — 
Sir George Barlow recalled by the King's Sign-manual. — Discus- 
sions in Parliament and with the Board of Controul. — Lord 
Minto ap])ointed Governor-General. — Proceedings in the House 
of Commons. — Impeachment of Lord Wellesley by Mr. PauU. — 
Papers moved for. — Charges relating to the Nawab of Oude. — 
Nawab of Furruckabad. — Zemindar of Sasnee and others. — Pro- 
ceedings interrupted by Dissolution of Parliament. — Renewed by 
Lord Folkestone. — Impeachment abandoned. — 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 Proprietors. — 
Appointment of a Select Committee of the House of Commons. — 
Diminished Import Trade of the Company 1 04 


Lord Minto Governor-General. — Sir G. Barlow Governor 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. — Ajaygerh surrendered. — 


Lakshman Dawasets off to Calcutta — leaves it again sudden 1 y . 
His Family put to Death by his Father-in-law. — Operations 
against Gopal Sing. — Nature of his Incursions. — His Submission. 
— Storm of Kalinjar — repulsed. — 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. — 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. — Ill-concerted Measures of the British Autho- 
rities. — Sir Harford Jones sent as Ambassador from England. — 
Sir John Malcolm from India. — Unsatisfactory Result of the 
latter Mission. — Return of the Envoy. — A military Expedition 
to the Gulph projected by the Bengal Government. — Sir Harford 
Jones departs from Bombay — proceeds to Shiraz. — Prosecution 
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 British Minitry. — 
Sir Gore Ouseley, Ambassador. — Definitive Treaty concluded — 
productive of little Advantage 121 


Appointment of Sir G. Barlow to the Government of Madras — 
unacceptable to the Settlement. — The State of Popular Feeling. — 
Commencement of Agitation. — Case of Mr. Sherson. — Pro- 
ceedings of the Commission for the Investigation of the Debts of 
the Nawab of the Carnatic. — Trials of Reddy Rao — his Con- 
viction — 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. — 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. —Advance to the Capital. — Sub- 
mission of the R^ja. - 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 Ti-avancore. — Adminis- 
tration of Affairs by the Resident as Dewan under the llaja and 
his Successors.— Restoration of Prosperity. — Similar System and 
Results in Cochin. — Disputes between the Governor and Com- 
mander-in-Chief. — The latter refused a Seat in Council by the 
Court — his Dissatisfaction and Resignation. — Discontents of the 
Officers of the Coast Army — their Causes. — Tent Contract 
abolished. — Reasons assigned in the Quarter-Master-General's 
Report offensive to Officers commanding Corps — demand a Court- 
martial on Colonel Munro. — The Commander-in-Chief places 
Colonel Munro in Arrest. — Government cancels the Arrest. — 
General Macdowall issues a General Order on the Subject, and 
embarks for England. — Counter Order by the Government. — 
Subsequent Severity. — Suspension of Major Boles. —Effect upon the 
Officers. — Orders of the 1st of May. — Violent Proceedings 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 Native Troops — their Alle- 
giance. — The Garrison of Seringapatam 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. — Pro- 
ceedings in England. — Warm Disputes in the Court of Directors. 

— Officers restored to the Service. — Sir G. Barlow finally recalled. 166 


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. — Destruction of 
Ras-al-Khaima and other Pirate Stations. — Expedition to Macao. 

— Operations against the French and Dutch Colonies in the 
Inlian Seas. — Successful Depredations of the French Cruizers. 

— Expedition against Rodriguez — its Occupation. — Descent 
upjn Bourbon. — Garrison of Rodriguez reinforced. — 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 otF 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 Louis. — Capitulation with the French Governor. 
Blockade of the Dutch Islands. — Expedition against the Mo- 
luccas. — Capture of Amboyna — of Banda — and of Ternate. — 
Expedition against Java — accompanied by Lord Minto. — Diffi- 
culties of the Voyage — overcome. — Former Operations. — 
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. — Occu- 
pation of Batavia. — Advance to Weltevreeden. — Strength of 
Fort Cornelis. — 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. — Chtribon and Madura occupied. — Final Defeat of 
General. Jansens. — Surrender of Java and its Dependencies. — 
Mr. Raffles appointed Governor. — Colonel Gillespie Commander 
of the Forces. — Capture of Yodhyakarta. — Expedition against 
Palembang. — Sultan deposed. — Views of the Court of Di- 
rectors. — Beneficial Result of the British Administration in 
Java.... 215 


Return of the Governor-General from Java. — Internal Administra- 
tion. — Indication of future Hostilities. — Relations with Hydera- 
bad and Nagpore. — Misgovemment of Oude. — Interference of 
the Government of Bengal. — Differences between the Nawab 
and the Resident, — The latter supported by Lord Minto. — 
Defects in the Judicial and Revenue Systems of the British Go- 
vernment. — Mohammedan and latter Hindu Systems. — Con- 
centration of Functions. — Judicial Officers, — Circumstances 
counteracting defective Administration. — State of Civil and 
Criminal Justice. — Consequences of establishing Civil Courts — 
Multiplication of Suits — Arrears of Decisions — no effective 
Remedy applied. — State of Criminal Judicuture — similar Ar- 
rears. — State of Police. — Classes of Robbers — Prevalence of 
Dakoiti, or Gang Robbery — Atrocities perpetrated. — Difficulty 


of Detection and Conviction. — Evils of excluding Native Co- 
operation—Attempts to recover it — Failures. — Superintendents 
of Police and Special Magistrates appointed. — Employi^icnt of 
Informers. — Diminution of Dakoiti. — Revenue System — Review 
of. — Proprietary Right of the Sovereign not of Hi^du but of 
Mohammedan Origin. — Doctrines of the latter. — Notions of the 
People. — Nature and Extent of Public Demand under the Hindus 
and Mohammedans in earlier and later Times — from whom 
demanded. — Variety of Proprietary Rights. — Village Commu- 
nities — their Origin — Legislation ~ Colonisation — Conquest. — 
Traces of Property extinguished by the Exactions of the Govern- 
ment, and Village Communities destroyed — in some Provinces — 
not in all. — Variety of Organization — different Rights of the 
Members — Peculiarities of Constitution — general Identity. — 
Classes of Tenants — perpetual — temporary. — The Public Re- 
venue how realised. — Revenue Officers. — Head-men of Villages 
Modifications of the Office — Function of Zemindar — Degree of 
his proprietary Right — contingent AdA'antages — Consideration 
among the People. — Course adopted by the British Government. 

— Permanent Zemindari Settlement ordered for Madras. — Com- 
mencement of Ryotwar Settlement. — Principles 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 — recommend Delay of a permanent Assessment — Re- 
commendation disregarded by the Government. — Expected 
Advantages of Permanency — not realisable — illusory Nature of 
the Provision — moderate Assessment all that is essential — Prin- 
ciple discountenanced in England. — Permanent Settlement of 
the Ceded 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 264 


Embarrassed Finances of the Company. — Application to Parliament 
for Assistance. — A Loan granted. — Inquiry into Abuse of P 


tronnge. — Renewal of the Charter. — Previous Correspondence 
with the Board. — Demands of the Court. — Proposition of Mr. 
Dundas — Objections of the Court — Communication 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 Buckingham- 
shire President of the Board. — Consequences of Delay. — Re- 
sistance to the Claims of the Outports. — Appeal to Parliament. 

— Resolutions proposed by Lord Castlereagh in the House of 
Commons; by Lord Buckinghamshire in the House of Lords. — 
Application of the Company to be heard by Counsel granted. — 
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. — 
Extension of Trade — independent Resort of Missionaries, &c. — 
Debates in the House of Commons — first and second Resolution 
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 352 

Appbndix 401 







General View of the Political State of India. — Relatiotis 
of the British Government with the Native States. — Acces- 
sions of Terntory. — Protection of Shah Alem. — Bundel- 
khand, Sketch of its Histoid and Condition. — Native 
Princes. — Mohammedans. — King of Delhi. — Conduct 
of Prince Jehangir. — Nawab op Oude. — Vicious Admi- 
nistration of the Principality. — Nizam of Hyderabad. 
— Discontent. — Determination 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 Embarrassments. — -British Inter- 
ference. — Settlement of Kattiwar. — Intrigues at Baroda. 
Eaja of Berar. — Dissatisfaction. — Relinquishment of 
Sambhalpur. — Sindhia. — Pecuniary Difficulties. — De- 
cline of Pou-er. — Quarrels at his Court. — Conduct to 
Bhopul. — HoLKAR. — Exactions from the surrounding 
States. — Death of his Nephew, Kandi Rao, — of his Bro- 
ther, Kasi Rao, — Derangement. — Tidasi Bhai, Regent. — 
Amir Khan. — His Rise and Power. — Rajputs. — Ran4 


OOK I. OF Udaypur.— Rajas of Jodhpur and Jaypur. — Con- 
;iiAP. I. test for the Hand of Krishna Kumari, Princess of 

Udaypur. — Mahratta Extortion. — Application of Jaypur 

I8O0. ^Qy. British Interference, — refused. — Policy of Holkar and 

Sindhia. — Amir Khan joins the Rana. — Death of the 
Princess. — Other Rajput Princes. — Bikaner, Kota^ 
BuNDi, Macheri. — Jats. — Raja of Bhurtpore. — Raxa. 
OF GoHUD. — Treaty with him annidled. — Sikhs, their 
Origin and Constitution. — Rise of Ranjit Sing. — Re- 

THE recent hostilities between the British Government 
of India and the chiefs of the princij)al Mahratta 
states had entirely altered the relative position of the 
contending parties, and had engendered the elements of 
still more momentous change. 

The Mahrattas had occupied through the latter half of 
the eighteenth century the chief place amongst the nati\& 
states of India : they had brought under their sway the 
widest and most valuable portions of Hindustan, and had 
possessed themselves of the name and person of the Em- 
peror of Delhi. On the first occasion on which they had 
come into collision with the British arms, they had in- 
flicted upon them discomfiture and discredit ; and they 
had plunged into the late struggle, strong both in military 
resources and reputation, and confident that they should 
rid themselves of a dangerous and encroaching rival. Tha 
result had disappointed their hopes and accelerated the 
aggrandisement of that power which they had trusted to 

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 prepos- 
session in their favour survived their reverses, and the 
full consequences of the encounter seem to have been but 
imperfectly appreciated, even by those who had been en- 
gaged in the strife. Engrossed by the care of providing for 
immediate pecuniary embarrassments, the British Govern- 
ment overlooked all political considerations ; and, in its 
impatience to relieve financial pressure, threw away some 
actual and some prospective advantages, shrunk from th3 
commanding elevation to which it had been rai«ed, and 


by unseasonable moderation disseminated doubts of its BOOK J. 
vigour, and held out encouragement to future aggression. <^"-^p. i- 
The Mahratta leaders, justly ascribing much of their ad- ~~ 
versity 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 con- 
querors, and to look forward to some favourable opportu- 
nity of repairing their reputation and recovering their 
territory. At the same time, with the improvidence in- 
separable from the character of Indian princes, they set 
on foot no adequate preparations for the realisation of 
their purposes. Instead of profiting by the experience of 
the past, and the respite which had been granted to them ; 
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 preda- 
tory warfare with the princes of Rajputana, or in intestine 
dissensions ; and with territories almost depopulated, re- 
venues utterly exhausted, troops wholly disorganized, and 
mutual animosities incurably exacerbated, they again 
provoked 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 con- 
summated. The Marquis of Hastings completed what 
Clive had begun, and all India acknowledged the suprem- 
acy of Great Britain. 

As some time intervened before the predominance of 
the British power throughout India was finally established, 
we may, for the present, pause to contemplate the politi- 
cal 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 do- 
minion and authority, and of the circumstances and ob- 
jects of the principal native states. We shall thus be 
better able to understand the character of those transac- 
tions 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 forbearance, 
^vas at last compelled to assume. 

The capture of Seringaj^atam and death of Tipi)co 


BOOK I. Sultan, in 1799, put an end to all fear of any foiTciidable 
CHAP. I. enmity in the south of India. Those events had added 

largely to the Company's territory in the Peninsula,* and 

1805. had restored the principality of Mysore to the representa- 
tive 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. 
Tribute under the denomination of subsidy was also im- 
posed upon the Raja, and provision was made for appro- 
priating the whole of the revenue, subject to a pension to 
be paid to him in the event of his failing to fulfil his obli- 
gations.2 The Raja, Krishna Raja Udayavar, was a minor, 
and the administration of the affairs of the state was in- 
trusted to a native minister named Purnia, a Brahmin, a 
man of ability and judgment who distinctly understood the 
130sition in which Mysore was placed, and its entire de- 
pendance upon the power to which it owed its existence. 
As long as he lived, the connexion was maintained in a 
S23irit of sincere submission on the part of the inferior, 
and of implicit confidence on that of the superior ; rend- 
ering Mysore virtually an integral portion of the British 
Indian Empire. 

The western coast of the Peninsula was, with a few 
exceptions, British territory. At the southern extremity, 
the petty states of Cochin and Travancore were governed 
by their own Rajas. These princes had been rescued by 
the interposition of the British arms from the tyrannny 
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 

1 By the Partition Treaty of Mysore, July 1799, terrltorj' yielding an annnal 
revenue of 13,74,000 Cantaral Pagodas was reserved to the Mysore Raja. To 
the Company was assigned a portion that was valued at C. I's. 7,77,000 ; to 
the Nizam lands to the amount of C. Ps. 6,07,000, and of C. Ps. 2,63.937 to 
the Peshwa. The shares of the two latter were subsequently transferred 
to the Company. — Collection of Treaties and Engagements with JSative 
Princes and States of Asia, published in 1812, p. 441 . 

2 Treaty with Mysore, 8th July, 1799, and supplementary treaties, 1303 and 
1807.— Coll. of Treaties, pp.454, 248,302. 

3 The Raja of Cochin was made to pay to the Company a lakh of rupees 
annually; treaty, 1791.— Collection of Treaties, p. 421. An agieement was 
made in 1788 with the Raja of Travancore, by which he engaged to subsidize 
two battalions of Sipahis. In 1795, he agreed to maintain constantly one 
battalion. This was extended, in 1797, to three battalions, and one conipany 
of European artillery. In ISOi, the Raja was compelled to pay for a fourth 
battalion.— Collection of Treaties, pp. 174, 170, 233. 


the advantages for which it was an equivalent, or to the BOOK I 
sources from which it was derived.* The demand became ciiap. i. 

an exaction, and the payment speedily fell into arrear. A 

perpetual and undignified interchange of requisition and 180;>. 
evasion ensued, and mutual dissatisfaction was the una- 
voidable result. This was more especially the case with 
the Raja of Travancore, as, upon the plea of danger from 
the designs of France, an additional subsidy had been 
levied upon him subsequently to the capture of Seringa- 
patam ; 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 Travan- 
core, and their dictates shortly afterwards impelled the 
Raja to an unavailing effort to throw off the burden under 
which he laboured. 

Proceeding along the Malabar coast towards the north, 
a few districts of limited extent were subject to petty 
Mahratta chiefs, feudatories of Poena ; and Goa, and a 
narrow territory around it, still remained to the Portu- 
guese : as amicable relations subsisted with the superior 
states, the subordinate character of these dependencies, 
as well as their insignificance, divested them of all poli- 
tical consideration. Goa, indeed, was occupied by an 
English garrison. Farther to the north, the coast be- 
longed to the Gaekwar or ruler of Guzerat ; whom a sub- 
sidiary treaty, and a connexion of the most intimate 
nature, attached 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 assistance to the Pre- 
sidency of Bombay. Sindh, the boundary province of 
India in this direction, was governed by independent 
princes, who had shown themselves disinclined to entertain 
any correspondence with the Company's authorities. They 
exercised little or no influence upon the politics of India, 
as their situation and circumstances restricted their inter- 

1 Tlie gross revenue of Cochin was estimated at five lakhs of rupees, from 
which the char«res of collection were to be deducte<l. The tribute was there- 
fore about one-fourth of the net receipts. Tlie total revenues of Travancore, 
in 1807, were estimated by the Resident at twenty lakhs of rupees : the Com- 
pany's claim was tearly eight lakhs. — MS. Ilecords. 


OOK L course in a great degree to their western and northern 

)HAP. I. neighbours, the Bahichis and Afghans. 

The whole of the eastern or Coromandel coast of the 

1805. Peninsula was British, with the exception of a small tract 
occupied by the Danish settlement 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 pen- 
sioners of the East India Company. The province of 
Cuttack, which, under the Mahratta government of Berar, 
had intercepted the communication between the Presi- 
dencies of Bengal and Madras, now served to connect 
them ; as it had been taken from the Raja in the late war, 
and had been permanently annexed to the Company's pos- 
sessions, which now extended along the whole line of 
coast from the Gulph of Manar to the Delta of the 

Important additions to the British dominions in Hin- 
dustan had been effected by treaty or conquest during the 
administration of Marquis Wellesley. At its commence- 
ment, the Bengal Presidency was bounded on the north by 
the course of the Gandak river, and by tlie confluence of 
the Ganges and the Jumna. The cession of Gorakhpur 
by the Nawab Vizir, Sadat Ali, carried the boundaiy 
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 autho- 
rity over the country of the Rohillas. The victorious 
career of Lord Lake rescued the upper provinces of the 
Doab from Mahratta spoliation, 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 
value was more than commensurate with its extent, as it in- 
cluded the important cities of Agra, oMathura, and Delhi, 

the first celebrated for its reliques of Mogul magnificence 
the second sanctified 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 Mohammedan 
monarchs who aspired to the universal sceptre of Hin- 
dustan. Along with this imperial city, the British became 
possessed of the person and family of the representative 


of the fallen dynasty of Timur, the venerable Shah Alem, BOOK 1, 
alike distinguished by his descent and his misfortunes, chap. i. 

Indebted to the British in the dawn of life for safety and • 

support, he had passed through manhood to old age amidst ^^0^- 
iin 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 i^ower of the victors 
which might be thought to accrue from their holding in 
their hands the titidar sovereign of Hindustan, and al- 
though the charge was not unattended by circumstances 
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 disputed by military adventurers both Moham- 
medans and Hindus, and by the w^eight 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 document conferred but a 
nominal title to the honours and possessions which it 
purported to bestow. Shah Alem himself was an object 
of general sympathy, from the injuries or indignities which 
he had undergone from his own rebellious servants or his 
Mahratta allies ; and the respectful and benevolent treat- 
ment which he experienced from his new guardians con- 
trasted favourably with the conduct pursued towards him 
by their predecessors. There can be no doubt that the 
-change was most acceptable to the Mohammedans of 
Hindustan, and contributed essentially to conciliate their 
good-will, and gain their allegiance. 

The greater portion of the territory on the w^est of the 
Jumna which had been wrested from the Mahrattas was 
precipitately relinquished by Marquis Cornwallis and Sir 
George Barlow, but on the south-west the extensive pro- 
vince of Bundelkhand was permanently comprehended 
within the limits of the Presidency of Bengal. The dis- 
trict had been ceded by tlie Peshwa in commutation of 
territory in the south of India, which he had at first as- 
signed to the Company in place of the amount which he 
had agreed to pay for a subsidiary force.^ At the time 

^ Tlie annual revenue of these lands was computed to be 26 lakhs of rupees, 
reaty of Bassein, 1802. Portions to the value of 19 lakhs were restored to 


BOOK I. when this exchange was effected, the authority of the 
CHAP. I. Peshwa over any part of Bundelkhand was little more 

than nominal, and his claims were at best of a question- 

1805. able character, as will be evident upon a brief review of 
the history of the province. 

The Rajas of Bundelkhand pretend to trace their pedi- 
gree 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 
and conquerors, who immigrated into the country ' in 
comparatively modern times. They long struggled, with 
varied success, to maintain their independence against the 
Mohammedan kings of Delhi ; but they sunk under a 
vigorous efFoi-t 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 Rai ^ led the 
way to the reassertion of the national independence. The 
task was prosecuted with improved success 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, however, re- 
newed their professions of fealty to the throne of Delhi. 

the Peshwa, in lieu of -which he ceded territory in Bundelkhand of the esti- 
mated annual value of 30 lakhs. Supplementary treaty, 1803. — Coll. of 
Treaties, pp. 233, 242. 

* Bundel-khand, " the portion of the Bundela," is not named in any ancient 
■writings or inscriptions. The country is denominated Chaidya, the land of 
the Chedi, or Chandel, the name still borne by the agricultural population. 
The term Bundela is confined to the military chiefs, who never condescend 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 occujued the country some time 
in the 14th century.— Memoir on Bundelkhand, by Capt. J. Franklin; Tr. 
IkOyal 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 Urcha. — 
Franklin, as above. Another affirms his being a member of the ruling 
dynasty, and Raja of Urcha himself.— Pogson, Hist, of the Bundclas, p. 44. 
This could scarcely have been the case, although he might have been a kins- 
man of the Raja. 


The elevation of Chatrasiil to the rank and power of 1300K. 1. 
Rija, took place towards the end of the reign of Aiirang- chap. i. 

zeb. The successors of that emperor, unable to make 

good their pretensions to supremacy, acknowledged the ^^^•^• 
new Raja. In the reign of Mohammed Shah, howevei-, 
Bangash Khan, the Afghan governor of Allahabad, fell 
suddenly upon Chatrasal with an overwhelming force, and 
dispossessed him of his dominions. Chatrasal had re- 
course to the Mahrattas, who, under the first Peshwa, Baji 
Rao, were at this time advancing slowly through Kandesh 
and Malwa to Hindustan. The opportunity of establishing 
their ascendancy in Bundelkhand, which was afforded by 
the application of the Raja, was promptly embraced ; and 
Baji Rao, with a large force, surprised and defeated Ban- 
gash 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 
Mahrattas. 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 as 
a son, succeeded by virtue of that adoption to one-third 
of the territory : ^ the other two-thirds were equally 
divided beLweon the two sons of Chatrasal ; one of whom, 
Hirdi Sah, became Raja of Panna ; the other, Jagat Sah 
of Jetpur.2 

It was a condition of the arrangement made in favour 
of the Peshwa, that the government of Poona should 
guarantee to the descendants of Chatrasal, the portions of 
the inheritance set apart for his sons. The stipulation 
was for some time faithfully observed ; the sons of Chatra- 
sal enjoyed their portions in peace, and parcelled them at 
their death amongst their posterity. Their example was 
imitated by their successors, subdivisions were infinitely 

' The Mahratta records assert that this disposition of his Raj was the spon- 
taneous effect of the Kuja's gratitiule.— Grant Duff, Hist, of the Malirattas, i. 
515. It is more probable that the cession was the price of the Peshwa's 
assistance, as intimated in the Seir Mutaklierin, i. 282. In tlie memoirs of 
Amir Khan, it is stated, that, after the expulsion of the Afghan, Chatrasdl 
adopted the Peshwa, and at once divided his Haj into four parts, of which he 
retained one, and apportioned the other three between the Peshwa and his 
sons. Goviud Pandit was nominated manager of the Peshwa's share, which 
included Sagdr, Jhansi, and Kalpi, or a line of country in the centre of the 
province from the Nerbudda to the Jumna, by which the ^lahrattas could 
readily march from theDekhin to the Doab.— Mem. of Amir Khan, r)."). 

2 Tlie Uaja of Panna, and the Itijasof Ajaygerh, Charkari, Bijawar, Jetpur, 
and Sarili, are respectively descended from these princes. 


BOOK J. multiplied, and Bundelkhand was filled with a swarm of 
CHAP. I, petty Rajas too weak to defend themselves against Mah- 

ratta aggression, and too turbulent to refrain from those 

1805. mutual hostilities by which their weakness was aggravated : 
the state of confusion and anarchy into which the pro- 
vince 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 
himself of the favourable opportunity. 

Ali Bahadm* ^ was a Sirdar of some repute in the ser- 
vice of the Peshwa when he was despatched by Nana 
Furnavez, the minister of Poona, with a body of troops to 
co-operate with Madhoji Sindhia in his incursion into 
Hindustan. He bore an efficient j)art in the operations 
which gave Delhi and Shah Alem to Sindhia, but was not 
altogether satisfied with the requital which his exer- 
tions received. Ali Bahadur,- therefore, quitted Sindhia, 
and, at the instigation of Himmat Bahadur, who was the 
military leader aud spiritual head of a large body of 
armed Gosains, combining the characters of religious 
vagrants aud mercenary soldiers, and w^ho had acquired 

AD. 1710. some territory in Bundelkhand, he marched into the pro- 
vince with a considerable force, and in a few ye-ar-s reduced 
under his authority the greater part of the territories 
which had been distributed amongst the unworthy de- 
scendants of Chatrasal. The stronghold of Kalinjar alone 
resisted his impetuosity, and, after a siege of two years, 

A.T>. 1802. Ii6 died in camp before its walls,^ He left two sons, 
Shamshir Bahadur, and Zuifikar Ah. The former at the 

' The father of Ali Bahadur, Shamshir Bahadur, was the son of the 
Peshwa Baji Rao, a Brahman, by a Mohammedan woman. Agreeably to 
the ancient Hindu law, he was of the caste, which in this case was equi- 
valent to the religion, of his mother ; a characteristic illustration of the laxity 
of manners of the ilahratta court, and of Hindu indifference to religious 

'■^ According to Malcolm, Ali Bahadur separated from Sindhia upon the ad- 
vance of the latter to Delhi.— Central India. Gi-ant Duff states the separation 
to have taken place after the capture of Delhi.— Hist. Jlahr. iii. 75. The 
. . Memoirs of Amir Khan (p. 86) assert that he invaded Bundelkhand by com- 
mand of the Peshwa. He no doubt professed to act as the Peshwa's officer, 
and hoisted the Zari Patka or regal standard of Poona. 

3 Ali Baliadur, 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 sui-passed in bravado, sent him a present 
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, dnd tlie trees should have borne fruit.— Pogson'a Bon- 
delas, p. 122. 


date of his father's death was at Poona : the latter, who BOOK 
was an infant, was thereupon raised to the principality by chap, i 

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 eichauge of territory accomplished by the Peshwa 
was a genuine exemplification of Mahratta diplomacy, for 
it ti-ansferred to the British government the trouble of 
enforcing claims of questionable validity, and granted to 
them districts over which the court of Poona had never 
exercised actual sovereignty. The cessions were taken 
chiefly from the recent conquests of Ali Bahadur, whose 
right had neither become confirmed by time, nor by the 
recognition 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 acknowledged 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 conse- 
quently treated as the enemy of both. His father's friend 
and coadjutor, the Gosain Himmat Bahadur, foreseeing 
the inability of Shamshir Bahadur to resist this combina- 
tion 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 Bahadur soon after died ; his 
armed bands were dismissed upon the return of peace, 
and his descendants were settled upon a Jagir in the 
Doab.2 So far, little difficulty was found in the introduc- 
tion of British authority into those portions of Bundel- 

• Tiic titular Nawab of Banda is at present Znlfikar Ali, the brother of 
Shamshir Bahadur, who resides near Banda, and receives a pension of four 
lakhs of rupees. — Bengal and Agra Gazetteer, 1841, vol. ii. part 2, p. 283. 

2 Sekuudra, in the district of Cawnpore. Ibid, p, 287. 


BOOK I. khand which were nearest to the Jumna and the division 
CHAP. I. of Allahabad. 

The establishment of a government in Bundelkhand 

1808, i-]jQ^^ proclaimed order and insisted upon obedience 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 supporting 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 Company ; 
and, as these had been left imperfectly guarded by the 
precipitate dismissal of the irregular battalions 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 prevent its return to order and good govern- 
ment. The inhabitants themselves, a bold and resolute 
race, habituated to the use of arms, and unaccustomed to 
legal controul, w^ere little inclined to submit to civil juris- 
diction 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 v.-as not the case, they 
not unfrequently entered into a compact with the preda- 
tory leaders to defraud the state of its dues, by paying to 
them a sum less than the public demand, and receiving in 
return an acquittance for the whole. With this evidence 
of their having been compelled to pay their revenue, they 
claimed exemption from farther payment, alleging, with 
sufficient plausibility, that a government, which could not 
defend them, could not claim fulfilment of their obliga- 
tions, and pleading the impossibility of their paying double 
the amount at which they were assessed. The pica was 
admitted, until its collusive origin was defected, and the 
refusal to grant exemjDtions 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 econo- 
mically defrayed the expense of a protecting military force. 
Both the marauding chiefs, and the refractory villagers, 
derived support in their resistance to government, from 


the numerous small forts with whicli the province was BOOK 
studded : at the time of its occupation there were not ciiai*. r 

fewer than one hundred and fifty within the limits of the 

Company's acquired territory, the greater proportion 1^^^- 
of which were eventually demolished, but not without 

Amidst the many strongholds which were erected in 
Bundelkhand, two were remarkable for their position and 
strength. These were Ajaygerh and KaUnjar. They were 
both in the hands of adventurers who had risen to power 
by the usual methods of military rapine and violence, and 
who, by their own armed adherents, or the marauding 
hordes to whom they aftbrded 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 wasthepoHcy 
of the Government to conciliate, where to suppress and 
ovei-awe would be attended with expense, it was deter- 
mined, in the councils of Calcutta, that "a certain extent 
of dominion, local power and revenue, would be cheaply 
sacrificed for tranquillity and security within a more con- 
tracted circle." It was argued, that '• it was not to be 
apprehended 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, falsi- 
fied as they were by the history of all past ages, and 
opposed to the opinions and recommendations of the prin- 
cipal civil and military functionaries, and of the Com- 
luander-in- Chief,^ the occupants of Ajaygerh and Kalinjar 
were left in possession of their fortresses ; and to them^ 
and to other usurping chiefs the Government granted 

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

' Lord Lake, iu a letter to the Government, recorded the 17th July, 180G, 
expressed his conviction, that, until Ajaygerh and Kalinjar were in posses- 
sion of tlie Government, it would be impossible to maintain peace in Bundel- 
khand. Events fully corroborated tlie justice of his prediction. 

3 Lakshman Dawa, the Kiladar of AjaygerJi, was allowed to keep his fort 
for two years, upon payment of a small annual tribute, and to hold the dis- 
trict adjacent in perpetual farm. Darya Sing Chaube, the Kiladiir of Kalinjar, 
was confirmed m the occupancy of that fort and the adjacent district ; 8th De- 
cember, 1800. 


BCOK I. sunnuds, formally recognising and confirming their right 
f jiAr. I. of occupancy, upon conditions of general submission and 

allegiance. In like manner, but upon more legitimate 

1806. grounds, the descendants of Chatrasal, who still retained 
portions of their patrimony, were confirmed in their pos- 
sessions, but their promise of allegiance was not to entitle 
them to protection ; and so far was the doctrine of non- 
interference carried, that they were suffered to decide 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 essen- 
tial, not only to the preservation of political influence over 
the chiefs of Bundelkhand and its consequent advantages, 
but also to the dignity and reputation of the British 
Government, to interfere for the suppression of intestine 
disorder, by compelling that submission which it had 
till then been found impracticable to conciliate or com- 

The western portion of Bundelkhand was distributed 
among the Rajas of Dattea, Tehri, and Sampthar. They 
were descended from the ancient Rajas. They were 
acknowledged by the British as independent princes, 
and were bound to them by treaties of amity and alliance. 
No submission was 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 reduced 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 princii^al accessions to the territory of 
British India' during the administration of Marquis Wel- 
lesley, and the position in which it was placed at the close 
of that of Sir G. Barlow vrith relation to some of the 
neighbouring princes. The situation and circumstances 
of the more important native states it will now be necea- 
sary to describe. 

The great distinction of the native ruling powers was 
two-fold. They were either Mohammedan or Hindu. The 

1 Proceedings of Bengal Government, 8th September, 1807. Lord Minto 
had recently assumed charge of the Government. 


latter compTised several varieties, and were mainly dis- 
tinguishable as Mahrattas, Rajputs, Jats, and Sikhs. 

Although extensive and populous territories still ac- 
knowledged the sway of some of the descendants of the 
Mohammedan conquerors of India, yet their political 
power was, in every instance of any importance, 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 sovereignty, except an empty title ; the 
latter 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 Timurlang. 

The actual occupant of tlie 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 
experienced the misfortunes inseparable from a powerless 
sceptre too severely to regret its resignation into hands 
able to wield it with vigour : the son, although no stranger 
to distress and peril, anticipated from 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 
persevering ; 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 

' A principal object of liis imjcsty's ambition was the presentation of Khe- 
lats, or honorary dresses, to the princes of Hindustan, and, above all, to tlie 
Governor-General. As the acceptance of snch a compliment is an admission 
of inferiority, it was of course declined. Havimj, however, obtained leave to 
send an agent to Calcutta to represent to the Government matters of public 
and private interest. Shah Aicbar endeavoured to carry the point of the klielat 
by a little ingenuity. His envoy was instructed to present to Lord Jlinto an 
old cloak, which the king Jiimsclf had worn, as a maik of personal regard ; 
but he was to contrive to do this at a public audience, when the present wouM 
have assumed tlie character of an honorary distinction conferred upon the 
Governor-General by the King of Delhi. Tlie device was easily seen through, 
and as easily frustrated : the cloak was thankfully accepted as a private Rift, 
but tlie bj.ircr was compelled to ti;:nsmit it tlir'jugh the usiial cf 



BOOK I. subject alone it was necessary to act with energy ; and the 
CHAP. I. manifestation of power and will, which was then called for, 

terminated the aspirations of Akbar the Second to become 

1806. g_ ]jii^g ii-i niore than name. 

The King of Delhi had several sous : of these, the eldest 
was considered to be entitled to the designation of heir- 
apparent, agreeably to the laws of succession upheld by 
the British Indian Government ; but, influenced by his 
favourite queen, Akbar Shah strove pertinaciously to 
obtain the recognition of his third son, Mirza Jehangir, of 
whom she was the mother, in that capacity. Although 
wnlling to withhold from the eldest son the immediate 
assumption of the title which it considered as his birth- 
right, the Government of Bengal refused to gratify 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 indications 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 blandishments and tears, resumed his project ; and 
the subject 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 inju- 
dicious 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 
jjarents were at last convinced of the necessity of subject- 
ing him to some controul, and the king was prevailed upon 
to allow the Company's Sipahis to mount guard at the 

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 honour in native estimation which it was "in hia 
power to bestow ! 

• Tliese Avere, I, the use of the Aftabi, a flat circular parasol, carried by an 
attendant, not over the head, but on the side of a person, or palankin, which 
is next the sun ; 2, the Tapach, a state cushion ; and, 3, the Nalki, open state 
palankin. Tliey were conferred in full Durbar, with the customary solemnities. 
By desire of the Government, the Aftabi was discontinued, and the use of the 
other articles extended to all the princes, so as to deprive them of any specific 


palace gates. A guard was accordingly stationed at the BOOK 
outer gates, when the followers of Jehangir took up a chap. 

menacing position at the inner gateway, and insisted that • 

the Sipahis should be ^vithdrawn. The British Resident, ^^^'' 
Mr, Seton, advancing to expostulate wuth them, was fired 
at and narrowly escaped 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 ; and 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 dispersed. The prince gave himself up to 24tli J 
the Resident, 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 acquire 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 had been 
promised conditionally by Marquis Wellesley, and was 
gi'anted by Lord Minto.^ 

• He was at first lodged in tlie fort of Allahabad, but was afterwards re- 
moved to a building that had been a Mohammcc^an mausoleum, part of the 
monument of Sultan Khosni, 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 disappointments in personal enjoyment. 
He was a man of small stature and delicate features, of a pleasing tiiough 
very dark countenance, and of elegant manners. He wore no turban, nor 
any covering on his head, but let his long black hair, which showed symptoms 
of more than ordinary care bestowed upon it, hang full upon his shoulders. 
It M'as impossible not to feel some sympathy for his humiliation, although 
there was nothing in his character or conduct to inspire respect. 

■•' The original pension was fixed at 76,-500 nipces a month, to be provided 
for out I'f 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 tlie increase was not specified. 
In 1809, tlie rerenucs of the assigned territory continued still short of the 
pension, but it was determined to increase the latter to one lakh of ru)iees per 
month, of which 7000 rupees were to be appropriated to the heir-apparent. — 
Governoi'-Generars Minute, 17th June, 1809. Other augmentations have been 
since made, making the allowance, including stipends to members of the 
family both at Delhi and Benares, fifteen lakhs of rupees (150,000/.) pei* 
annum. — Benj^al 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 as- 
signed lands have improv ., 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 
VOL. I. 


BOOK I. -A. prince, second only to the King of Delhi in Moham- 
CHAP. I. medau estimation, and far superior to that sovereign in 

wealth and power, the Nawab of Oude, was connected 

.1806. -with the British Government by a subsidiary alliance. 
The precise nature of the connexion will have been made 
known by the ample details and discussions relating to it 
inserted in the preceding pages. For all objects of exte- 
rior policy the Xawab was a nonentity, and even in his 
interior administration he was expected to refer questions 
of any moment to the consideration of the British Resi- 
dent 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 British ; but he had been raised by 
them to the throne, and, being of a timid and inactive cha- 
racter, could scarcely have maintained his dignity without 
the support of his allies. Even under their guardianship, 
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 gratification was the accumulation of trea- 
sure ; and the curtailment of his revenues, consequent upon 
the enforced alienation of a valuable portion of his terri- 
tory 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 custom-offices on 
the ojiposite bank, and agreeably to a commercial treaty 
into which he had reluctantly entered. The interference 

" yield : the obligation wliich the British Government had imposed on itself 
♦' was that of providing adequate means for the support of the king and liis 
" household in a manner suitable to the condition in which he was placed, 
" wliile in policy it was inexpedient that the provision granted should exceed 
" an amount sufficient for that purpose." — Minute quoted by Captain Suther- 
land. 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 would remain for the payment of tlie stipend of the King of 
Delhi. Sketches of the Relations between the British Government of 
India and Native States ; by Captain J. Sutherland, Calcutta, 1833. 

I His own brothers, Mirza Mehdi and Shahdmat Ali, were accused by him 
of haviug instigated attempts to procure his assassination. The charges were 
investigated by the Hesident under orders from the Government, and weie 
proved to be void of any foundation. To appease the fears of the Kawab, tlie 
princes were obliged to leave Lucknow, and take up their residence at Patna 
in the Company's territories. 


of the Resident was not unfrequently a source of mortifi- BOOK I. 
cation to him. So far had his discontent proceeded that cn.vri i. 

he renewed to Sir G. Barlow the proposition he had made 

to Lord Wellesley, to transfer the management of his do- ^^^^* 
minions 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 jjersonal expenditure 
Sddat Ali was meanly parsimonious, and the amount of the 
public revenue was more than adequate to the public dis- 
bursements. The landholders were nevertheless exposed 
to the systematic extortion of contractors, to whom the 
Nawab farmed the assessments, and whom he authorised 
to levy their demands by the most violent and oppressive 
means.^ Their exactions were systematically resisted, and 
the Zemindars became habituated to refuse payment even 
of what was justly claimable, unless compelled by superior 
pov^rer. Their villages were not unusually fortified and 
they resided in mud forts which were not easily captured 
by the unaided military of the Kawab. In this emergency 
it became necessary to have recourse to the subsidiary 
force, and the Company's battalions were employed 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 command 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 improv- 
ing condition ; while the character and situation of the 
reigning prince ensured his entire subservience to the po- 
litical views and interests of the British Government. 

Another native Mohammedan sovereign, Sekandar Jah, 
titular Nizam, Subahdar, or viceroy of the Dekhin, pos- 

' Tlie contractors rarelj' benefited by their bargain?, as Sddat Ali was -well 
versed in the art of squeezing the s^pongewhen it had done its office. As soon 
as the contractors wei-e 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 Nawab's treasury 
the whole or greater portion of their spoils. Their incarceration depended 
upon their tenaciousness of the booty. In 1807, the Uesident stated there were 
fourteen fiirmers of tlie revenue in prison in I-uckuow, some of whom had, 
been coniined for years.— MS. Records. 


BOOK I. sessed of equally extensive territories, was also a subsidiary 
ciiAp. I. 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 country in conti- 
guity to independent 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 opposition, through the 
support of the British authorities ; by whose interposition 
the menaced competition of one of his brothers, who en- 
joyed much more extensive popularity with the nobles 
and people of Hyderabad, was prevented. The sense of 
gratitude for this obligation was soon obliterated by the 
consciousness of loss of independence ; and the ill-concealed 
discontent of the Nizam gave courage to many of his fol- 
lowers 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 Nizam, and perhaps cre- 
dited it themselves, that it was practicable to form a com- 
bination with the Mahrattas by which the British might 
be humbled, and perhaps expelled from Hindustan. Tliese 
suggestions gratified the enmity and flattered the pride of 
the Nizam ; but he was too fondly addicted to low and 
sensual indulgence, too irresolute in purpose and contracted 
in intellect, to be capable of prosecuting a dangerous design 
with the steadiness, determination, and foresight indispen- 
sable to its success. Fortunately also for the ultimate 
preservation of his throne, his prime minister, Mir Alem, 
who had grown old in the sendee of the state, and had 
been an actor in many of the great events which had oc- 
curred in the Peninsula during the reign of the late Nizam,^ 

1 By the treaty with the Nizam, dated 12th October, 1800, the subsidized 
force was tinally fixed at eight battalions of Sipahis, or eight thousand fire- 
locks, and two regiments of cavahy, or one tliousand horse, with their com- 
plement of guns, European artillerj'men, lascars, and pioneers. For the 
payment of this force the territories acquired by the Nizam under the treaty 
of Seringapatam, 13th March, 1792, and that of Mysore, 22nd June, 1799, were 
given back to the Company, with the exception of some districts north of the 
Tumbhadra river, for which Adoni and others to the south of it were 
exchanged : the annual revenues of the whole were estimated at twenty-sis 
lakhs of Canterai pagodas, about 874,000?.— Collection of Treaties, p. )88. 

2 Mir Alem was first employed in 1789 on a mission to Lord Comwallis, 
and afterwards accompanied the Nizam's army to Seringapatam, where he 
couducted the negociations for peace. In 1794 'he was deputed to Poena, but 


was well aware of the relative strength of the British and 
Mahratta powers, and accurately appreciated his sove- 
reign's situation. He knew, in fact, that the government 
of Hyderabad subsisted only as long as it remained under 
British protection, and that, the moment such protection 
should be withdrawn, the principality would be defence- 
less against Mahratta ambition, and would, at no remote 
I^eriod, fall under their yoke ; he therefore sedulously ad- 
vocated British influence at the court of Hyderabad, and 
was in requital supported by that influence against the ef- 
fects of his master's caprice and displeasure. 

Notwithstanding the efforts of Mir Alem and of several 
of the most respectable members of the court of Hyder- 
abad to preserve unimpaired the continued friendship of 
the British Government, the conduct of the Nizam so ma- 
nifestly 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 shelter with 
the Resident : secret communications were opened with 
Sindhia and Holkar : all appointments of influence and 
trust were conferred upon individuals notoriously inimical 
to the British connexion, and considerable bodies of armed 
men were in course of assemblage at Hyderabad. It be- 
came a question whether the menaced separation should 
be anticipated, or prevented ; whether the connexion 
should be spontaneously relinquished, or its continuation 
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 Bri- 
tish 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 pohtical relations. 
If the subsidiary force were withdrawn, the territory alien- 
ated for its support would be required to be restored ; and 

failed in his iiegociation. In 1798 he iiegociated with the British Resident, 
the treaty with the Nizam, and commanded the array which joined the 
British troops in the capture of Seringapatam. Some time after liis return 
he fell into disgrace, and was unemployed between 1800 and 1803. In 1804, 
upon tlie death of Azim ul Omra, the prime minister, and at the recommenda- 
tion of the British Resident, he was appointed to that^ oflSce. He died in the 
56th year of his age. 



the power and resources which the British Government 
had a right to demand for its own support and security 
would be placed in the hands of a hostile imrtj, avowedly 
eager, not merely for the abolition of the alliance, but for 
the destruction of the British Indian Empire : the wea- 
pons of which we were now masters would be turned against 
us ; universal agitation, alarm, distrust, and turbulence 
would ensue ; and elements of a renewed combination 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 obhgations of the connexion, and 
that they must be vigorously enforced. The political 
wisdom of the conclusion was undeniable, however at va- 
riance with the doctrine of non-interference, which even 
in regard to the Nizam had not long before been inculcated 
by the Bengal Government. The arguments upon which 
the resolution was formed are applicable to all similar re- 
lations, indicating the true character of subsidiary alliances 
as well as the difficulty and danger of their dissolution. 
The question of right has different aspects, according to 
the different positions of the contracting parties. The 
British 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 character, and detrimental to the happi- 
ness and prosperity of his dominions. It was not a ques- 
tion of right, but of power ; and, as the Subahdar of the 
Dekhin was no longer in a condition to assert his inde- 
pendence, he was under the necessity of submitting to 
whatever terms his European masters were pleased to im- 

The Nizam was indeed thoroughly alarmed by the tone 
which the Resident was authorised to assume. 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 sa- 
crified to the temptations of ambition. The Nizam, like 
the Nawab Vizir, had brothers of whom he stood in fear, 
• Minute of tlie Governor-General. 


and of whose promptitude to become the instruments of BOOK I. 
IJritish vindictiveness no native courtier or politician cn.vr. 

could entertain a doubt. That he would be deposed in ■ ■ 

favour of his younger brother was the immediate sug- l^^^- 
gestion 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 ac- 
quiesced in the conditions * to which his assent was re- 
quired, promised to rejDose entire confidence in Mir Alem 
and in the Resident, and engaged to dismiss from their of- 
fices, whether of a i)ublic or personal nature, and banish 
from his capital, certain individuals known to be hostile 
to the British interest, and appoint to their duties persons 
in whom tlie Resident could confide. This last stipulation 
was not accomplished without the employment of military 
force for an object, and with results strikingly character- 
istic of the disorganised state of the native principalities, 
and which therefore it may be of use to describe in some 

The chief favourite and principal adviser of the Nizam 
was Raja Mahipat Ram, a Hindu, who was originally em- 
ployed as Dewan, or man of business, by Monsieur Ray- 
mond the commander of the French brigades. In this 
situation he had formed an intimacy with the prince 
Sekandar Jah, and upon the dispersion of the French 
force was taken into his service and obtained his confi- 
dence. Upon the elevation of the prince to the throne, 
Mahipat Ram received the honorary title of Raja, and 
was appointed to the united civil and military command 
of the north-west or Berar Frontier. His public func- 
tions he discharged by deputy, and resided at Hyderabad, 
the intimate associate and secret counsellor of the prince. 
Aspiring to the supreme direction of public affairs, he be- 
came the opponent and enemy of the prime minister, 
and of those by whom he was upheld. His early con- 

' They were, the dismissal from his presence and from office of persons 
hostile to the minister and the British alliance ; tlie separation of the military 
from the civil command on tlie northern frontier, and the appointment to both 
duties of persons in the confidence of the liesident; admittance of the Resi- 
dent to ail audience whenever lie requested it, without any conditions ; due 
attentions to the just claims of the British Government; the communication 
of all petitions and statements of a public nature without reserve to the mi- 
nister; and, should any difference with him arise, the question should be 
referred to the British Resident.— MS. Records. 


BOOK I. nexions, and the injury to his fortunes consequent upon 
CHAP. I. the breaking up of Raymond's corps, had no doubt disposed 

him to cherish unfriendly feehngs towards Mir Alem's 

180H, Enghsh friends ; and he may honestly have desired, how- 
ever inconsiderately he may have proposed, to liberate liis- 
sovereign from dependence ujDon a foreign power. What- 
ever may have been his motives, he was known to be im- 
placably hostile to the British alliance, and he was one of 
those whose removal from the court was inflexibly insisted 
on. He was also dismissed from his command, and ordered 
to withdraw to his personal Jagir. However unpalatable 
to the Nizam and to his favourite, Mahipat Ram, after 
some ineffectual endeavours to obtain a milder doom, was 
compelled to retire to his feudatory estates. 

Raja Mahipat Ram was incapable of leading an inactive 
life, or abstaining from turbulence and intrigue. He col- 
lected a force of five thousand horse, whom he employed 
to dispossess some of his brother feudatories of their ter- 
ritories, 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 embarrass- 
ment of his minister to the peace of his subjects and the 
maintenance of his own authority. The remonstrances of 
the Resident comj^elled the Nizam at length to send a 
force against his vassal, but it was defeated ; and Mr. Gor- 
don, an officer who commanded one of his disciplined bat- 
talions, 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 unable or un- 
willing to suppress the insurrection, it became necessary 
to adopt more vigorous measures ; and a considerable por- 
tion of the subsidiary force,^ under its commandant 
22nd Feb. Lieutenant-Colonel Montresor, marched against the Raja 
^^^^' at Shahpur, whilst other divisions moved from the north 
and the south to intercept him in the event of his at- 
tempting to retire into the adjacent Mahratta districts. 
Unable to face the force sent against him, Mahipat Ram 
retreated towards Berar with the utmost expedition, and 
was followed by Colonel Montresor with equal celerity. 

1 Five companies H.M. 33rd. ; two battalions N.I. ; two regiments N.C. ; a 
brigade of artillery ; and a body of the Nizam's troops. 


The Raja contrived for three months to evade his pursuers, BOOK 
but with the loss of his guns, his baggage, and his infantry, chai'. 

His flight into Berar, where it was apprehanded he would 

find numerous adherents, was prevented by the judicious ^^'^'*^- 
movements of Colonel Montresor, and the advance of Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Doveton with a division of the subsidiary 
force from the frontier of that province. Thus foiled in 
his purpose, Mahipat Ram directed his course to Kandesh. 
Turning to the west he crossed the Godaveri, Tapti, and 
Nerbudda 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 
returned 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 situation 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 
the Raja. 

It was still thought advisable, in order to obviate the 
recurrence of mischievous intrigues at Hyderabad to 
obtain possession of the person of Mahipat Ram, and ap- 
plications to that effect were made to Holkar. In reply, 
the Mahratta declared that it 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 misfortunes ; 
professing himself ready to retire from public life and 
settle at Benares, if the liberality of the British Govern- 
ment afforded him the means. This arrangement had 
been proposed before his insurrection, but he was now held 
to have forfeited any claim to favour ; and a pension, al- 
though 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 
writtiug to the >jizam, offerring, if his sanction was de- 
clared, to come to Hyderabad with fifty thousand horse, 
which he affirmed Holkar and Amiv Khan were prepared 



BOOK I. to despatch to his assistance to enable him to shake off the 
CHAP. I. English yoke. 

It was not in the power, if it had ever been the practice, 
of Holl^ar, to observe punctuality in the payment of his 
soldiery ; and the funds of Mahipat Ham, although assisted 
by secret contributions from the Nizam, soon fell short of 
the means of maintaining 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 dn-ection of affairs, 
under the guidance of Tulasi Bhai, his wife. The opposite 
faction, headed by a military leader named Dharma Koar, 
having acquired a temporary superiority, Mahipat Ram 
was ordered to quit the encampment. Delaying to obey 
the order, he was attacked by a i)arty of Dharma K oar's 
troops, at a time when his own men were dispersed ; and 
whilst he was remonstrating against the aggression, and 
professing his readiness to depart, he w^as 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 burilt 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 influ- 
ence 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 enterprising 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 January, 1809. A negotiation for the nomination of a 
successor ensued, which was not unattended with difficul- 
ties ; 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 
own. A compromise was at length effected. Monir ul 
Mulk, the choice of the Nawab, was appointed minister 


under a written engagement to maintain the British con- BOOK I. 
nexion unimpaired ; but, as he was incompetent to the chap. i. 

duties of his office, the real administration was vested in ;; — 

the hands of Chandu Lai as his Peshkar or deputy, a ^^^^' 
Hindu of experience and talent, who had been employed 
by Mir Alem in a similar capacity, and who hke him, was 
deeply impressed with the essential importance of the 
Resident's support, both to his own authority and to the 
integrity of the Nizam's dominions. The connexion with 
Hyderabad, after the brief interruption which has been 
described, was established on a firmer footing 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 apprehension. - 

A subsidiary alliance^ united the Peshwa also with the 1803. 
British Government of India, but the connexion was distin- 
guished by some essential differences from those which 
had been formed with the Mohammedan princes : it was 
of more recent date and less stringent obligations : the 
Mahratta prince retained a much larger share of inde- 
pendence and power, and more consistently contemplated 
the opportunity of ridding himself of a controul which he 
equally felt to be intolerable, but which he had the policy 
to affect to submit to with cheerfulness and satisfaction. - 
Baji Rao had entered into the alliance in a moment of 
despair, when no other means were open to him of escap- 
ing 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 unex- 
pected close of the war with Sindhia and the Raja of Berar, 
(Usappointed his projects, the discomfiture of the confede- 
rates, showed him that it was vain to expect immediate 
release from his engagements and his next object was to 

' By this, commonly called the Treaty of Bassein, dated 31st December, 
1302, tlie Peshwa ajjreed to receive a permanent subsidiary force of not less 
tlian GOOO regular infantry, with the usual proportion of field-pieces and Eu- 
roiwan artillerymen ; for the regular payment of which, certain districts in 
tlie Dckhin were at first assigned, but were, as already noticed, commuted for 
otliers in Bundclkhand by a supplemental treaty, December, 1803.— Coll. of 
Treaties, p. 233. 

2 For a time he appears to have imposed upon the Government of Bengal ; 
as the satisfaction which he expressed was one of the arguments employed 
t)y Sir (i. Barlow against the modifications of tiic treaty of Bassein, proposed 
by the Secret Committee. — Malcolm, Political History of India, i. 380. 


BOOK I. turn them to liis advantage : there, also, he encountered 
CHAP. I. various disai)pointments, and these contributed to enhance 

his discontent with the British Government, however 

1807. veiled beneath the show of cordiality and good-humour. 
The Court of Poonah entertained heavy pecuniar}'- 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 questionable. The 
investigation proceeded slowly, and adjustment was de- 
ferred until the patience of the Peshwa was exhausted, 
and he felt as a grievance that interposition which barred 
his attempting to realise at least a portion of his demands 
b}' a more summary process. Another subject of griev- 
ance was the decided refusal of the Government to allo\^ 
the Peshwa to use the subsidiary force as an instrumeni 
for the establishment of an unprecedented controul ovei 
some of his feudatories, and for their forcible expulsior 
from their Jagirs : this was especially the case with regarc 
to Parasuram Srinivas, the Pratinidhi or principal here- 
ditary noble of the Mahratta state, between whom anc 
Baji Eao an inveterate feud had for some time subsisted. 
The Peshwa advanced also unfounded pecmiiary claims 
upon portions of Bundelkhand not included in the cessions 
he had made to the British ; and demanded arrears o: 
Chouth, the Mahratta tribute, from the independent Raja? 
of the province, as well as from the rulers of Jhansi, Kalpi 
and Sagar, which his relations with the British, thai 
prevented him from engaging in hostilities or entering 
into negotiation with other princes without their partici- 
pation, disabled him from asserting in the manner mosi 
agreeable to Mahratta policy. He likewise claimed a share 
of the contributions extorted by Holkar and Sindhia fron: 

^ The amount of the demand upon the Gaekwar was nearly three million: 
sterling ; upon the Nizam about s'x hundred tliousand pounds. As an instnic 
live illustration of the nature of such claims, and the unfailing source of dis 
pute which they furnished to the native states of India, the Peshwa's accoun 
■with the Gaekwar is particularised in the Appendix. It is clear that such ai 
account never could be settled, and that it provided a permanent plea of quar 
rel whenever the creditor thought himself strong enough to insist ujion i 
partial payment, anotlier name for a contribution; or whenever the debtor 
in the same belief of his power, thought tit to demand an abatement of th( 
claim. The ascendancy of an umpire whose award is not to be disputed has 
put an end to all such grounds of contention. 

2 History of the Malirattas, ill. 341. 


the princes of Eajputana ; and attributing the difficulty of BOOK 1. 
realising these demands to the non-appointment of such chap. i. 
a representative in Hindustan as had been charged with • 

the interests of the Peshwa anterior to the date of the ^^^"• 
British connexion, he was urgent with his allies to sanc- 
tion the revival of the office of Sir-subha, or Peshwa's 
representative, in which character he proposed to send one 
of his principal officers into Bundelkhand. To this pro- 
position an unqualified refusal was given, as it was obvi- 
ously 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 nomina- 
tion of an officer who should be acknowledged by Sindhia 
and Holkar as the Peshwa's delegate was also an infringe- 
ment of the stipulation in the treatise with those princes, 
as well as with the Peshwa, by which internegotiation of 
a political tendency was prohibited. The British Govern- 
ment, therefore, required the Peshwa to desist from the 
appointment of a Sir-subha, offering at tlie 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 
secretly concurred, inflicted upon Baji Pao severe disap- 
pointment 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 concerned in negociations incom- 
patible with the spirit and letter of his engagements to the 
British ; ' and it was obvious that his conviction of the 

1 The villases taken from Sindhia, and transferred to the Peshwa, after the 
•war had been secretly suflfered to remain in the possession of the former. The 
nomination of a Sir-subha, as mentioned in tlie text, was with tlie private con- 
currence of Sindliia and Holltar. When a quai rel had ensued between those 
two chiefs after tlic return of the hitter to Hindustan, an envoy was sent by 
the Peshwa to mediate between them. As this was a palpable infraction of 
the treaty of Bassein, Baji Rao was called upon for an explanation. He at 
once disavowed liis agent, and, in proof of his fidelity to his engagements, 
produced what were also evidences of his intercourse with the other chiefs, 
letters from Holkar and Sindhia declaratory of their desire to renew their 
subordination to the Poona Government. Baji Rao at the same time pre- 
tended a conviction tliat, although these proposals might have for their 
object the advantage of the writers, it was for his own advantage to adhere 
to the terms of the subsidiary alliance.— MS. Records ; also Hist, of the Mah- 
rattos, iii. 333. 


OOK I. impossibility of forming an effective combination against 
;nAP. I. their power, alone deterred him from new intrigues calcu- 

lated to disturb the existing relations and endanger tho 

1803. tranquillity of India. The other members of the Mahratta 
confederacy were not in a situation favourable to their 
co-operation in his design. 
18C2. The bonds of union with the Gaekwar or Mahratta 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 assistence and 
support of his English allies. The contest for the occupa- 
tion 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 Poona as Raja. He died in 1808, and was succeeded by 
his eldest son, Anand Rao, a prince of weak intellect and 
indolent disposition, who was incapable of conducting an 
efficient administration. A struggle for the management 
of aiiairs ensued. Kanhoji Rao, the eldest illegitimate son 
of Govind Rao, a bold and ambitious young man, at first 
secured to himself and his partisans all the principal 
offices of the state ; but after a short time he was dis- 
possessed of them by one to whom 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 
continuation 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 Gaekwar, and was a 
chief of talent and enterprise. Raoji Appa, unable to 
oppose this combination, made urgent apjDlication to the 
Government of Bombay for the formation of a subsidiary 
alliance. The proposal was acceded to, and Major Walker, 
with a military detachment, was sent to his succour.^ 

' iii. 422. 

2 By the agreement entered into, the Gaekwar ergaped to pay for the ex- 
penses of the military assistance granted to him, and for a permanent force 
to be furnished by the Company ; and to cede in perpetuity the Pergunna of 
Chikli in the dependencies of Sural, witli liis sliare of tlie ciiouth or contribu- 
tion levied on that city. These engagements were confirmed bv a formal 
treaty in June, 1802. It was also provided that an assignment of teiTitory 
should be made to the Company of the estimated annual revenue of 7,80,C0'o 
rupees, for the maintenance of 2000 native infantry ; and, as the number was 
subsequently raised to 3000, with a company of European artillery, other lands 
were made over by a treaty dated in Ajiril, 1805, yielding with "the former a 
total revenue of 11,70,000 rupees.— Coll. of Treaties, pp. 565-594, and schedule 


Mulhar Rao and Kanlioji were defeated : the former BOOK 1. 
declared his submission to the new order of things ; but chap. i. 

Kanhoji kept aloof, and for some time devastated 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. Eaoji Appa retained 
the functions of prime minister and virtual ruler un- 
disturbed, and Major Walker was appointed Resident at 
Baroda, the capital of the Gaekwar.' 

When tranquillity was re-established, and opportunity 
was afforded for an inquiry into the condition of the 
Gaekwar's affairs, it was found that they w^ere so irre- 
trievably iuvolved, that it was indispensably necessary, 
if it were thought desirable to continue the connexion, to 
extend the assistance to be afforded beyond military sup- 
port, and to prop the rapidly declining resources of the 
principality with the funds and credit of the British Go- 
veriunent. The annual disbursements greatly exceeded 
the annual receipts of the public treasury j^ the revenues 
were intercepted by appropriations and mortgages, the 
fruits of former imj^rovidence ; heavy debts, bearing a 
ruinous rate of interest, were owing to the bankers and 
moneyed men ; and long arrears of pay were due to the 
troops, the discharge of which was a necessary jM-elimi- 
nary to their dismissal, and consequent diminution of 
public expenditure. The additional burthen imposed upon 
the state by the subsidy to be paid to the British force 
was quite incapable of being sustained ; and it was evi- 
dent not only that the engagement could not be fulfilled, 
but that national insolvency, general confusion and dis- 
tress, and the dissolution of the Gaekwar's power, were 
unavoidable, unless vigorous means were promptly em- 
ployed to administer present relief 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 speedily commanded the same implicit 
credit with the Gaekwar, his minister, his chief officers, and 
the moneyed and commercial members of the community.' 

» Hiyt. of the Mahr. iii.216. 

2 The iTvenuc of Guzerat -was estimated at 50 lakhs of rupees per annum ; 
the expenditure exceeded 82 lakhs. — MS. Hcc. 

3 This is strikingly expressed in the counterpart of the treaty of 1805, 
■written by the Gaekwar himself, anticipating the possibility of his falling iuto 



BOOK VI. 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 requisite 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 remain- 
der to opulent individuals, who, under that security, were 
willing to furnish what was requisite. The advances, in 
both cases, were to be liquidated out of assignments of 
territory, the revenues of which were to be collected and 
accounted for by the Company.' The n:ioney was supplied, 
but the reduction of the troops was not effected by pecu- 
niary means alone. 

The most efficient portion of the Gaekwar's army con- 
sisted of about seven thousand Arabs, a description of 
mercenaries whom it was formerly a frequent practice 
in the Peninsula to engage, and who bore a high reputa- 
tion for fidelity and courage, but were equally charac- 
terized by turbulence and rapacity. These troops formed 
the garrison of Baroda, and were extremely averse to the 
loss of pay and privileges with which they were threatened. 

the hands of his rebellious subjects or mutinous troops. He enjoins that, " in 
such a sit^^atlon, his subjects will pay no attention to his orders, but licar what 
Major Walker has to say, strictly following liis instructions." And tlie docu- 
ment concludes with these provisions: "Conformably to Major Walker's 
suggestions and wislies, the articles contained in this declaration M'ere written, 
and to them I have given my assent; but in the event of any evil-disposed 
persons attempting anything unfair or unreasonable against my peison, my 
Dewan, Raoji Appaji, his son, his brother, nephew, or relations, and Madhn 
Eao Tantia fllazambar, or even should I myself, or my successors, commit 
anything improper or unjust, the English 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 tlie 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 Raojl Appaji. In 
the last place, I desire to form the most intimate connexion with the Com- 
pany, and that all business with the Poona Durbar may be jointly managed 
by the English Ee.sident and my Vakeel. Given at Baroda, 28th Jnlv 1 802. 
(Signed) Anand Kao, Gaekwar ; Sena-khds-khel, Shamshir Bahadur."— Coll. 
of Treaties, p. 569. These may have been the sentiments of the minister 
rather than of the Raja, but they were generally consistent with the conduct 
of Anand Rao. 

» The amount required was 41,38,000 rupees (413,800/.), of which the 
British Government advanced 19,07,000 rupees (196,700/.) : the rest was pro- 
vided by different Sarafs or bankers at Baroda under the Company's Bhandari 
— a general assurance that they should be repaid, not an absolute surety for 
repayment. An annual territorial revenue of 12,95,000 rupees was appro- 
priated to the liquidation of the principal, -with interest at nine per cent, per 
amium, uutU the whole should be redeemed.— Coll. of Treaties, p. 601. 


In order to evade their dismissal, they advanced the most BOOK I. 
extravagant demands, and, seizing upon the capital and chap. i. 
person of the Gaekwar, refused to set him at liberty unless ■ 

their claims were satisfied. Major Walker having endea- 180G. 
voured in vain to bring them to reasonable terms, Baroda 
"was invested by the subsidiary force under Colonel Wood* 
ington, 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 i)racticable 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, restored 
tranquillity to Guzerat, and enabled the minister and the 
Resident to proceed without interruption in their pro- 
jects of reform. Eaoji Appa died in January, 1803, and 
and was succeeded in his office of Dewan by his nephew 
Sitaram, who professed 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 extrava- 
gance and dishonesty pervaded every department, and 
little reliance could be placed upon the co-operation of 
the servants of the state, who were themselves the chief 
plunderers and defaulters. Sitardm 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 accountant in his employ- 
ment, who acquired at a subsequent date a melancholy 
celebrity in the political 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 pro- 

The avowed exercise of British controul over the inter- 
nal administration of the Gaekwar, which commenced 
under the authority of Marquis Wellesley, was continued 
on the same footing by Sir G. Barlow, although an admit- 
ted 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 

VOL. I. D 


BOOK I. connexion with that state has been established, and has 
■ CHAP. I. . become in a manner interwoven with its internal concerns^ 
. distinguish our relations with Baroda from those which 

1807. subsist with the other powers of India, although the 
general political relations and obhgations are the same. 
The interference, therefore, which we are called upon to- 
exercise, cannot be considered to constitute a deviation 
from those principles of pohcy which in our intercourse 
with other allies preclude our interference in the manage- 
ment 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 advantages 
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 interests in that quarter 
of the Peninsula." These observations 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 

At the same time that the right and pohcy of inter- 
ference w^ere thus explicitly recognised, the economical 
timidity of the Bengal Government suspended the execu- 
tion of a measure recommended by the Resident as essen- 
tial to the realization 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 rendering 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 de- 
tachment under the command of the Resident undertook 
the performance of the Mulkgiri, or periodical collec- 
tion of tribute by the march of troops through the 

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 various tribes, of whom the Rajputs 
and Kattis were the most remarkable : subject to a num- 
ber of petty chieftains of various degrees of power, and 
possessing domains differing in extent and value ; some- 


times connected with their neighbours by affinity of BOOK I. 
descent, but all equally independent in their own lord- chap. i. 

ships ; exercising the privilege of private war, and paying — : 

little more than nominal obedience to the paramount J80''. 
sovereign ; presenting, in many respects, a resemblance 
to the kingdoms of Europe during the worst periods of 
TDaronial anarchy. The province had been regarded as 
tributary successively to the Mohammedan Kings of Gtt- 
zerat, to the Mogul, and to the IMahrattas ; but the tribute 
was never spontaneously paid, and its collection was only 
to be eflfected by a military progress amongst the states. 
Nor was this method always attended by success. The 
army of the Peshwa, or of the Gaekwar, even when amount- 
ing to twenty thousand horse, was not unfrequently re- 
sisted. The Rajas shut themselves up in their forts or 
castles, and from their battlements mocked the move- 
ments of cavalry. The villages, fortified by mud walls, 
impenetrable hedges, and the martial spirit of the popu- 
lation, were equally inaccessible ; and the invaders were 
obliged to content themselves with laying the open country 
waste. Nor were they suffered to carry off with impunity 
such plunder as they might have gathered ; hordes of 
Katti and Rajput horse hovered round their advance and 
harassed their retreat, 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 animated the counsels 
of the Government, and the means at its disposal, no 
longer permitted the chiefs of Kattiwar to resist its right- 
ful demands with impunity. Having therefore received 
the sanction of his superiors. Major Walker marched with OJ. 1807. 
a division of the subsidiary force to Gotu, in the district 
of Murvi, to which place the several chieftains had been, 
previously directed to send their representatives : the. 
greater number complied with the requisition : the right of 
the Gaekwar's Government to levy a tribute was univer- 
sally 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 amount regularly, 
without waiting for the Mulkgiri process of coercion. The 


;00K I. sum of nine lakhs and a half of rupees was promised in 
L'liAP. I. perpetuity, and security was given for a term of ten years, 

renewable at its expiration. The security was character- 

1807. istic. The sureties were jDersons boasting neither rank 
nor wealth, but who derived from the usages of the 
country inviolable sanctity, and were entitled to implicit 
trust. They were selected from the tribe of Ch§,rans or 
Bhdts, the hereditary bards, genealogists, and chroniclers 
of the principal Hindu races of the West of India, whose 
sacredness of person had been received as a substitute 
for law in a condition of society which, whilst it felt the 
necessity of social obligations, could submit 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 fall upon the head of him by whose default 
he had been impelled 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 securities 
were entered into by chiefs and persons of influence ; 
and the rights of the Gaekwar, then established in Katti- 
war, 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 Peninsula, all of whom were in 
the habit of committing piratical depredations on native 
commerce, were called upon to renounce piracy, to re- 

• The following illustration of this usage is narrated by LieUt. Macmurdo : 
— "In the year 1806, a Bhdt of Ye\yeingaum, named Kunna, had become 
security on the part of Dossajee, the present chieftain of Mallia in Jluchoo- 
kanta, for a sum of money payable to the Gaekwar Government : the time 
specified for payment arrived, and Dossajee refused to fulfil his engagement. 
Government applied to tlie surety, who, after several fruitless attempts to 
persuade Dossajee 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 re- 
signed herself without a struggle to the sword of this unnatural barbarian. 
The blood of a Bliat being sprinkled on the gate of the chieftain produced an 
instantaneous payment of tlie money : presents of land to the father, and a 
handsome mausoleum or doree to the daughter, marked the desire of the 
Kajput to avert the punishment supposed to await the spiller of a Charan 's 
blocd." — Trans. Literary Society of Bombay, i. 281. 


linquish their claims to vessels wrecked on their coasts, BOOK I. 
to allow the free resort of merchant-ships from the ter- chap. i. 

ritories of the Company or their allies, and to assent 

to the permanent residence of a commercial agent at ^^^^' 
their principal harbours. They generally acceded to these 

Tlie only active military operation which it became 
necessary to undertake, was designed to adjust a difference 
between two chiefs of some consideration, and to demon- 
strate the ability as well as the determination of the 
Government of Guzerat to compel obedience. A body of 
Makranis, or mercenaries, natives of Makran, in the service 
of the Raja of Purbandar, mutinying for arrears of pay, 
seized upon the fort of Kandorna, belonging to the Raja, 
and sold it to a rival chief, the Jam of Noanagar. This 
transaction occurred after the arrival of the Resident and 
Gaekwar's minister in the province, 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 requisi- 
tion, the detachment 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. Kandorna had 
formerly sustained successfully a siege of three months 
by the Gaekwar's army, and was looked upon by the 
people as impregnable. Its capture on the present occa- 
sion in so short a time, impressed the native chiefs with a 
deep conviction of the uselcssness of opposition to the 
British arms, and produced a sensible effect upon the 
progress of the negotiations. 

The expedition into Kattiwar was considered as affording 
a favourable opportunity for asserting authority of a dif- 
ferent description, and vindicating the outraged claims of 
natural affection. The Jhareja 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 

' Tlie sea-ports were Dhingi, Bate. Dwaraka, Ann^mra, Tositra, Jooria, and 
NoaiKigar on the nortti coast, and different parts of Junagerh on the south. 
For the stipulations with them severally, and with other of the Kattiwar 
principalities, see Coll. of Treaties, p. C02, &c. 


BOOK I. inferior race, and looking upon most races as inferior, pre- 
cHAr. I. eluded by custom from marrying her to a husband of her 

■- own tribe, the Jharejas believed it to be more humane to 

1807. uip i\^Q 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 born. 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 incompatibility with 
the Hindu religion as well as with the laws of humanity, 
and a promise that they would desist from its perpetra- 
tion. The negotiation was a subject of some delicacy; 
but the Resident, by the weight of his character, and a 
judicious employment of the influence with which the 
situation and interests of the several chiefs invested him, 
overcame all difficulties, and carried the instructions of 
the Government into effect. An engagement was signed 
by all the principal chiefs for themselves and their frater- 
nities, by which they pledged themselves to renounce the 
usage of killing their female children, to expel from their 
caste any person who should be guilty of the crime, and 
to submit to any penalties which the Gaekwar's Govern- 
ment and the British Resident should inflict for breach 
of the obligation. 2 For some time they seem to have 
adhered 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 preju- 
dice and long-established custom should instantly vanish 
before the voice of humanity and reason ; and fear of 
punishment, 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 
secresy of domestic privacy was obviously almost imprac- 

1 The head of the Bombay Government, Mr. Jonathan Duncan, had en- 
countered, when Governor-General's agent at Benares, a similar custom 
among the Rajkumars, a liajput tribe established in that province, and had 
Succeeded in obtaining from them an engagement to abstain from the com- 
mission of the crime ; this was in 1789.— Papers on Female Infanticide, printed 
by order of the House of Commons, 17th June, 182-1, p. 22 ; the engagement 
is also printed. Ibid. p. 8.*« 

2 Report of his proceedings by Colonel Walker, I5th March, 1808.— Pari 
Papers, 31. 


ticable. Accordingly, at a long subsequent date, there BOOK 1. 
were grounds for believing that the crime was almost as chap. i. 
common as it had been before the interposition of the ■ 
British Government.* The sentiments of that Govern- ^^^' 
ment have, however, been sufficiently made known to 
insure its marked disfavour 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 instinct. ^ 

The adjustment of the Kattiwar tribute tended ma- 
terially to facilitate the improvement of the Gaekwar's 
finances, but their final settlement was retarded by the 
diversion which tho new minister exhibited to the eco- 
nomical measures of the Resident, and the secret counter- 
action which he countenanced or practised. It became 
necessary, therefore, to re-model the administration. Si- 
tardm was removed from the office of Dewan, the duties 
■of which were assigned to his uncle, Baba Eao ; whilst a 
general controuling and sanctioning authority was vested 
in Fatih Sing Gaekwar, the younger brother of the reigning 
prince, and heir to the throne. These ministers, holding 
their appointments by the tenure of the Resident's appro- 
bation, co-operated cordially with him, and results the 
most beneficial were speedily attained. In place of the 
seemingly hopeless condition of the public finances when 
the process of reform was commenced, when the ex^Dendi- 
ture nearly doubled the receipts, the revenue of the Gaek- 
<\'ar was raised in the course of six years to sixty-five lakhs 
of rupees, and his expences were reduced to fifty lakhs, 
Iseaving a surplus of fifteen lakhs applicable to the liqui- 
dation of his debts : perseverance in the same system for 
about a similar period was expected to ensure his libera- 
tion from pecuniary embarrassment, and the full command 
of all his resources. ^ The connexion which the Gaekwar 

' lu 1817, there were but sixty three Jhareja females living in all Kattiwar, 
born subsequently to the engagement with Colonel Walker.— Pari. I'apers, 
UO. In a vilhiRC called Draflfa, co'.uaining four hundred families, there was 
aot a female child. — Ibid. 1 12. 

2 Note by .Mr. Elphinstone v/h^zi Gcvemor of Bombay. — Ibid. IIG. 

^ liSu Ilecords. 


BOO 'a. I. had formed with the British, had been attended therefore, 
ciiAr. I. with unequivocal benefit to that prince, and, at the period 

at whicli we have arrived, was distinguished above all 

1807. ^]^Q 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 con- 
siderable influence in his counsels. Some of his ministers 
also were, with his knowledge and concurrence, in the 
receipt of pensions from the Government of Bengal, as 
compensation for private losses suffered from the late war. 
The Raja was, however, not altogether contented with his 
allies. His dominions had been heavily mulcted for his- 
share in the recent hostilities. - He had been compelled 
to cede part of Berar to the Nizam, and the province of 
Cuttack to the Company, and he contrasted the penalties 
that had been inflicted on him with the undeserved for- 
bearance which the British Government had shown ta 
Sindhia and Holkar, notwithstanding the more prominent 
j)art which they had taken in the operations of the war, 
and the more inveterate animosity which they had mani- 
fested. 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 Cornwallis, who, in a 
letter addressed to the Raja, had assured him of his. 
" intention of compensating his losses to the utmost prac- 
ticable extent consistent with equity and pubhc 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 
of the noble writer. It was argued with some plausibility 

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

' By the treaty of Deogaum, 17th December, 1803.— Coll. of Treaties, 26K 


that it would be inconsistent with equity and public fiiith BOOK I. 
to resume the lauds ceded to the Nizam, and it was main- chap. i. 

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. Ragoji 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 acquiesced unwillingly. To fulfil 
in some degree the purpose of restitution intimated by 
Lord Cornwallis, it was proposed to cede to the Raja a 
tract of little extent or value west of the Warda river, 
and the more considerable district of Sambhalpur on the 
east of Berar. The Raja declined to accept the former : 
the latter became, after a season, an unwilling and un- 
profitable dependency of Nagpur. Its cession was scarcely 
compatible with a strict observance of the obligations 
contracted with the people of the province when it came 
into British possession. 

The countries of Sambhalpur and Patna, forming an 
extensive tract, were, for the greater part, overrun with 
jungle ; but they afforded support to a scanty population 
scattered about in detached villages, and subject to the 
authority of a number of petty Rajput chiefs, loosely con- 
nected by affinity or allegiance, but not unfrequently dis- 
united 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 exacted payment of tribute ; but they 
had never been able to establish any recognised 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 de- 
tested alike by chiefs and people, and they cordially wel- 
comed and assisted the British division, which, in the late 
war, was sent in their direction. On that occasion they 
had readily promised allegiance to the British Government, 


OOK T. on condition that they should be permanently retained 
jHAp. I. amongst its subjects. As, however, little advantage to the 

resources of the Company's dominions was to be expected 

1807. fj.Qj-^j gQ pQQj. g^ dependancy, the pledge given to its inha- 
bitants was disregarded, and it was resolved to consign 
them again to their Mahratta oppressors. With a show 
of attention to its engagements, the British Government, 
at the same time that it announced to the chiefs its de- 
termination to relinquish its occupation of the country, 
pretended to ask their consent to the transfer ; offering to 
grant to those w^lio 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 
4ibandon them filled the people of Sambhalpur and Patna 
with consternation, and they protested against the mea- 
sure in the most earnest and affecting terms.* Their re- 
monstrances were unavailing ; and, after some negotiation, 
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 as- 
signed for their emigration arrived, natural attachment to 
their native soil and the homes of their forefathers over- 
came their hatred and dread of the Mahrattas, 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 Govern- 
ment from the obligations of perpetual protection or 
equivalent compensation, and the recusants were aban- 
doned to their fate.^ One chief alone, Jujar Sing of Eai- 

• A notion prevailed amongst the people that the province was ceded by the 
British Government in consequence of financial embarrassments. The head 
men of the villages thereupon assembled, waited 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 pre- 
-vent their being abandoned. — MS. Records. 

2 It is stated in a work which is in general of good authoritv, the Bengal 
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 in- 
tention of the Bengal Government to keep them as tributary dependencies ; 
that many attempts were made to induce the Raja to forego the concession, 
and accept an equivalent ; and that it was only upon finding him adhere per- 


gerh, allowed his allies no such pretext to shuffle oflf BOOE 
their responsibihty : he had consistently refused to be a chap 

party to the agreement to leave the country, and declared 

himself resolved rather to sufter 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 Nagpur, but they accompanied the exception 
with strict injunctions to the Raja to avoid giving otience 
to the Government of Berar, on pain of forfeiting his claim 
to British support. A Mahratta force was sent against the 
other Rajas, which, with some trouble, and more by trea- 
chery than force of arms reduced them to obedience.^ At 
a subsequent era, and under a different system of policy, 
Sambhalpur was finally re-annexed to the Presidency of 

Although deeply disappointed and annoyed by the 
refusal of the Bengal Government to understand the letter 
of Lord Cornwallis in ihe sense in which he interpreted it, 
the Raja of Nagpur was not in a position to resent its con- 
duct 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 subsequently 

tinaciously to the promised restoration, that the Government consented at 
last to relinquish the provinces; at the same time, in order to reconcile the 
jieople to the proceeding, they were told, that, should events again bring them 
under British rule, they should become permanently subject to it." The state- 
ment does not teem to be correct. In the treaty of Deogaum, the lOtli article 
confirms all treaties made by the British Government witli tlie feudatories of 
the I'.aja; and the stipulation applies especially to the agreemeiits with the 
Rajas of Sambhalpur and Fatna, in which they had conditioned that they 
should remain permanently under British authority. Their districts were 
ceded to Nagpur by Sir G. Barlow in August, 1806, by a formal engagement, 
in the preamble of which it is stated that the Governor-General agrees to 
restore all the territory of Sambhalpur and Patna which was ceded by the 
Raja to the Company. It is clear, therefore, that up to the date of this re- 
storation the provinces had been held by the Company ; and no claim to them 
by the IJaja, founded on a promise by General Wellesley, could have been 
preferred or recognised. — Coll. of Treaties, pp. 2G1, 300. 

• The fort of Sambhalpur was at the time of the cession in tlie hands of the 
Rani, the Raja being detained a prisoner at Nagpur. Finding himself unable 
to cam- the place by force, the JJahratta general pledged his Government in 
the most solemn manner to release the Raja and acknowledge 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 negocia- 
tions 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 
pjuch fatigue and suffering, escaped into the British territory*: protection, and 
ft 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. Records. 


BOOK I. carried into act by Holkar's colleague, Amir Khan. Insti- 
cHAr. I. gated also by other Mahratta princes and the Nawab of 

• Bhopal, with whom the Court of Nagpur was at enmity, 

1807. and impelled by their own habits of plunder, the confe- 
derated marauding bands known by the designation of 
Pindaris committed constant depredations on the frontiers 
of Berar, and on more than one occasion pillaged the 
country even in the vicinity of the capital. Eagoji Bhonsla 
and his ministers were well aware that his only security 
against the aggressions of his countrymen was the British 
alliance, and they were careful, therefore, to maintain it 
unimpaired. The connexion added to the strength and 
reputation of the British Government, as it was obvious to 
all the native states, that the most ancient and respect- 
able branch of the Mahratta confederacy was indebted for 
all the political consideration which it retained, to the 
friendly relations established between it and the British 
power, unincumbered by a subsidiary treaty, and not in- 
compatible with its independence. 

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 irresistible to the native powers*, 
and formidable to his European adversary, had been almost 
annihilated ; * and, although much of the territory con- 
quered from him on the west of the Jumna had been 
restored, he had been deprived of extensive tracts in 
Hindustan, and of all the reputation and authority he de- 
rived from the guardianship of the Emperor of Delhi, He 
was precluded by positive engagements, as well as by his 
fear of the consequences of their infringement, from seek- 
ing to re-establish his ascendancy in the Mahratta confe- 
deration ; and the sole object of his now humbled policy 
was to obtain money, on various pretexts, from the British 
Government, and from the neighbouring states. 

• 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, witli a large proportion of 
field artillery. — Malcolm's Central India, i. 133. 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 gi-eatly impaired.— Letters from a :Mahratta camp. ITiere 
•were other bodies of troops under native leaders, but they were of a still 
more imperfect and irregular description. — Prinscp, Transactions in India, 
i. 26. 


The equivocal behaviour of Sindhia in the interval that BOOK I. 
elapsed between the treaty formed with him in 1803, and chap. i. 
that with Holkar in 1805, virtually annulled the existing ' 

engagements, and rendered their renewal necessary. A ^^07* 
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 stipulations then pro- 
vided : it did little credit to either of the contracting 
parties, turning mainly upon matters of pecuniary interest, 
in which it was the aim of the Mahratta to get as much, 
and of the Governor-General to give as Httle, as possible. 
The disputes were characteristic. 

The treaty of Sirji Anjangaum permitted Sindhia to hold 
within the British possessions certain districts granted 
him in Jagir by the King of Delhi ; and it secured to mem- 
bers of his family, and to some of his chief ofiicers, com- 
pensation for lands held by them in the Doab before the 
war, either by 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 seventeen lakhs 
of rupees. By the final treaty, Sindhia agreed to relin- 
quish, 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 iDcace ; 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 

' In the cncacement now concluded, no notice was taken of the subsidiary 
treaty to wliich Sindhia had acceded in 1804. It might, therefore, be con- 
sidered as virtually cancelled. It was in fact altogether nugator}-. The 
force to be furnished by the British Government was not to be paid by tlie 
Raja, nor was it to be stationed in his territory. The arrangement amounted 
to no more than an agreement to fumisli Sindliia with a body of troops wlien- 
ever he should require them, if tlie purpose for which lie required them was 
Approved of by the Government of Bengal. It was very little probable that 
the latter would often give their sanction to Sindhia's military policy, and as 
little likely therefore that he would apply for troops. lie never did mike the 
application, and the treaty was a nullity-. 


BOOK r. pensions, which lapsed with the death of the pensioners. 

ciiAp. I. These grants and commutations were the subjects of long: 

■=^— and sometimes angry discussion. 

1807* 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 pub- 
lic and private property plundered from the British 
Residency in 1804, and for moneys advanced and charges- 
of collection. The sum claimed by Sindhia was nearly 
twenty-four lakhs of rupees ; that demanded by the 
Company, nearly twenty-seven lakhs. They agreed, how- 
ever, to forego a portion of their claim, and admitted a. 
balance in favour of Sindhia of 63,000 rupees (6,300?.), an 
amount which was vastly inferior to his expectations and 
his necessities : for the relief of the latter he was there- 
fore 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 Mahratta rapacity, of which the Mah- 
ratta princes in Malwa were not slow to reap the harvest. 
The exhaustion of Sindhia's resources, and the impossibi- 
lity of raising a revenue commensurate with his expendi- 
ture from his wasted and depopulated territories, crippled 
his movements, and disabled him from appropriating his 
full share of the spoil. His troops, still too numerous for 
his means, were repeatedlyin 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 enemies. The only prospect 
of providing them with an equivalent for pay, and of main- 
taining 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 Jodh- 
pur 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 render- 
ed. But Holkar and Amir Khaa had taken the disputes of 


the Rajputs under their management, and Sindhia was un- BOOK 
willing or unable to interfere with effect. After a feeble chap. 

attempt at interposition, he was contented to allow some of 

his principal officers to take occasional part in the contest, ^^O'- 
whilst he directed his attention more especially to the pro- 
secution of designs against the independence of Bhopal. 

The principality of Bhopal presented the singularity of 
a petty Mohammedan power in the very heart of the 
Hindu states. It was founded at the close of the seven- 
teenth century by Dost Mohammed, an Afghan adventurer 
in the service of the Emperor of Delhi, who, from being 
the superintendent of the small district of Bersia, in 
Malwa, raised himself, by that mixture of courage, activity, 
treachery, and political cruelty, which is not uncommon 
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 turbulent nobles and offi- 
cers 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 
whose youth had been spent in exile and predatory war- 
fare : placed, after many vicissitudes, at the head of affairs, 
he brought to their administration the qualities of activity, 
courage, and prudence, which promised to restore the 
declining prosperity and reputation 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 B3- 
rar, and Dowlat Rao Sindhia, to invade the principality, 
in order 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 remained that the state would re- 
cover from the pressure of such a formidable combination. . 


BOOK I. In this state of things, the old Nawab, Haiyat Moham- 
CHAT. I. med, died. He was succeeded by his son, who, finding 
• that his alHes pui'posed the dismemberment of his terri- 

1808. tory, reconciled himself to Vizir 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 expectations were not disappointed. Vizir Mohammed 
conciliated Sindhia, by promising to discharge the tribute 
which Ghous 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 Mohammed was well aware of the inadequacy of 
his means to cope with such powerful adversaries, and, 
anticipating the repetition of their efforts for his destruc- 
tion, endeavoured to interest the British Government in 
his favour. The system of policy then adopted, rendered 
his application ineffectual, and he was left to his own 
resources until a more auspicious period arrived, when the 
debt contracted to the Nawab of Bhopal, Haiyat Moham- 
med, for the assistance 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 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 de- 
scribed, 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 inter- 
dict 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 admini- 


stration. Neither of them long survived the recovery of BOOK 
their authority. Ambaji Inglia died early in 1809. Sirji chap, i 

Rao Ghatka was killed in an affray in the course of the 

same year.* Dowlat Eao, after Ambaji's death, seized on ^^^^• 
his fortress of Gwalior, and for the greater part of his life 
continued encamped in its vicinity, until his camp grew 
to be a considerable town, which is still the capital of his 
descendants. No other change ensued : the same pecu- 
niary embarrassments continued to be felt, and the same 
means of relieving them to be employed : the fruits of 
robbery and spoliation Avere dissipated by the wasteful 
and unprincipled system under which they were gathered, 
and the hordes of hcensed banditti which were let loose 
upon the surrounding states were a source of weakness, 
not of strength, to the prince whom they nominally served. 
The British Government, unable to rid itself of former 
impressions, continued to treat Dowlat Rao Sindhia with 
a guarded and timid policy for some time after his friend- 
ship had ceased to be an object of conciliation, or his 
enmity of fear. 

The power and resources of Jeswant Eao Holkar were in i803. 
like manner for some time estimated rather by the mis- 
chief which he had inflicted, than any which he retained 
the ability to commit. The unmerited liberality which 

' The impoi-tance attached to this individual bj'- his special exclusion from 
Sindhia's presence as an article of treaty, gives interest to the following details 
of his death, derived from an authority on the spot; — " Sirji Ra.o had gone to 
the durbar and was earnestly pressing Sindhia to accede to aoine of his pro- 
posals ; to which the Maharaja as usual returned evasive and unsatisfactory 
replies, and ordered his equipage to be got ready to go to an elepliant-tiglit. 
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 tlie Huzuriyas (personal attendants) 
present, incensed at such an insult, thrust him back ; and Sindhia escaped 
from tlie tent, giving an oi'der to secure the minister's person. Sirji l{ao 
drew his sword and resisted the execution of the order: a violent scuffle 
ensued, in which some individuals of botli 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 Eao and 
Manaji I'liankra, two distant relations of the Maharaja's family. In one 
minute the ropes of the tent in which tlie unfortunate minister had taken 
refuge were cut, and he himself dragged from beneath it ; and in the next he 
fell dead in the public streets, pierced with a dozen wounds inflicted by his 
pitiless enemies. Sindhia is said to have given orders, when he heard of tlio 
scuffle, to spare his father-in-law's life, and from the known lenity of liia 
disposition it is probable he did so. His pursuers eitlier wilfully or ignorantly 
mistook these orders, and in all probability rejoiced at an opportiuiity of 
getting rid of a man who was an object of hatred to themselves, of dislike to 
tlieir master, of terror to the wliole army, and apprehension to every couit 
in India."— Letters from a Mahratta Camp, by Captain Broughton, com- 
i^anding the liesident's escort, 1809, p. 223. 
VOL. I. B 


BOOK I. the British Government had evinced towards him had 
CHAP. 1. replaced him in the actual or prospective possession of an 

extensive and valuable territory,* and its selfish disregard 

180G. Qf inconvenient obligations consigned to his rapacity the 
chieftains of Eajputana, j^articularly the Rajas of Bundi 
and Jaypur.2 The motives of this uncalled for generosity 
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 exi- 
gencies of war. The necessary consequence 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 suffered. So far was he from acknowledging the 
extent of the leniency which had been shown him, that he 
immediately preferred, in insulting language, new and 
unreasonable claims ; demanding the cession of additional 
lands in the Dekhin, and of eighteen districts in Hin- 
dustan, and the grant of Jagirs for his family and adhe- 
rents.3 Protracting his march southwards as long as he 
could find any 'one whom he might plunder, he levied 
contributions on his way from the petty chiefs whom the 
British Government professed to protect, or to regard as 
allies ; * and he made no secret of his purpose to punish 

' The treaty with Holkar of December, 1805, restored to him the pos- 
sessions of the Holliar family in Mewar, Mahva, Harautf, and the Dekhin. — 
Coll. of Treaties, p. 294. 

2 A declaratory article, added to the treaty hy Sir George Barlow, abrogated 
the second article, by which Holkar ha'l renounced all right to Tonk-Kampura 
and the districts north of the Bundi Hills. The abrogation was interpreted 
by him as a virtual withdrawal of the protection granted to the Bundi 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 
Raja of Jaypur considered himself included: his claim was not admitted, as 
is subsequently noticed in the text. 

3 In one of his first letters he declared peremptorily that the districts whicU 
he claimed in Hindustan must be restored to him, and he insisted that others 
should be assigned to Amir Khan. The Bengal Government sheltered its- 
dignity under the plea of an erroneous translation of his expressions having, 
been made by Colonel Malcolm, through whom the letter had been transmitted,, 
but apparently with little reason ; and there was no question as to the general 
tone of the epistle. The Governor-General determined to take no ofiFence» 
ascribing Holkar's language " to the unbridled violence of his temper." The 
application was answered by Lord Lake, with an intimation that its repetition 
might lead to a renewal of hostilities ; and, although this intimation did not 
silence Holkar's pretensions, it induced him to urge them in more decent 
phraseology.— MS. Records. 

■• On his way through Hariana, which had been given to Abdul Samad 
Khan, as a reward for his services in the war, Holkar levied contributions 


the Bundi Raja expressly for the aid which he had given BOOK I. 
during the war to the British. He had scarcely returned chap. i. 

to his own domains when he addressed letters, or dis- -^ 

patched emissaries, to the other Mahratta princes, urging ^^^^• 
them to renew their ancient connexions, and prepare for 
another conflict with their common foe.* They were sufier- 
ing, however, too severely from their recent discomfiture 
to venture precipitately upon so dangerous an enteq^rise ; 
and, whatever the opinion which they might at first have 
been disposed to entertain of Holkar's courage and con- 
duct, it was speedily effaced by his outrageous behaviour 
and eventual derangement. 

The first object of Holkar's policy after his return to 
Malwa, was, the maintenance of a military force far beyond 
his own unaided resources. The plunder of his neighbours 
offered the only means of filling his treasury ; and the 
quarrels of the Rajput princes unhappily afforded to him, 
even in a gi'eater degree than to Sindhia, an opening for 
pecuniary exactions. On his return from the Punjab, 
Holkar halted for about a month in the Jaypur territory ; 
and, whilst his army laid waste its fields, he received 
eighteen lakhs of rupees from the Raja, as the price of 
his withholding his aid from the Raja of Jodhpur, with 
Avhom the Raja of Jaypur was at strife, and who, by giving 
shelter to Holkar's family when the Mahratta fled from 
Lord Lake, had established some claim to his gratitude. 
The money extorted from Jaypur precluded him from 
giving personal assistance to Jodhpur, but he evaded the 
strict fulfilment of the bargain by permitting his chief 
leader and intimate associate. Amir Khan, to carry his 
mercenary bands to whichever of the contending Rajas 
should bid most largely for their services. Holkar then 
occupied himself with the castigation of the Raja of Bundi, 
exacting from him heavy contributions, and with enforcing 
demands of a similar nature from Zalim Sing, regent of 
Kota. He then withdrew to Rampura-Bampura, where 
his health rapidly gave way to habitual intoxication and 

on the villages, and laid waste the lands. The Khan applied for militaty 
succour : this was refused ; bat in consideration of the recent date of the gran,t, 
and the impossibility of his having had time to organise his resources, pecu- 
niary compensation for his losses was awai'ded to him. — MS. llccords. 

» Sindhia, the Pcshwa, and the Ilaja of Nagpur severally communicated 
these letters to the Residents at their courts. — MS. Records. 


BOOK 1. unrestrained indulgence, the effects of which were exacer- 
CHAp. I, bated by the compunctious visitings of conscience. 

The animosity borne by the Peshwa to Holkar, aug- 

1807. mented his dissatisfaction with the favourable terms 
granted to that chief; and he strongly objected to the 
treaty which the British Government had concluded, that 
it conferred upon him rights and j^ossessions 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 exertions. 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 administration 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 encountering many 
vicissitudes, Jeswant Rao, by a course of successful pre- 
datory devastation, in which he was deeply indebted to 
the companionship of Amir Khan, found himself strong 
enough to drive Sindhia's troops out of the territories of 
the Holkar familj-, and establish himself in their govern- 
ment in the name and on behalf of their lawful prince, 
Kandi Rao, the infant son of the murdered Malhar Eao, 
who was at the time in Sindhia's hands, as well as Kasi 
Rao, his uncle. . The latter was allowed his liberty, and 
gave himself up to Jeswant Rao ; and, 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, Chimna Bhao : liis 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 
-dehvered to them as a pledge for the promised liquidation 
of their demands. As the promises made to the mutineers 
were slow of accomplishment, it occurred to them to inti- 
■ midate Holkar into more prompt compliance by j)roclaim- 


ing Kandi Rao the lawful Raja, and threatening to depose BOOK 
Jeswant Rao as usurper.* The danger was imminent ; the chap, j 

money was raised ; the mutinous soldiers were paid - 

and dismissed: they disperaed to their homes without 1B08". 
any concern for the fate of the unhappy youth whom they • 
had used as their instrument of intimidation, and aban- 
doned him to those jealous apprehensions which they seem 
to have tirst excited. In a week Kandi Rao was no longer 
an object of fear. It was given out that he had died sud- 
denly ; but it was the universal belief that he had been 
poisoned, if not by the orders, at least with the acquiescence 
of Holkar.- 

To this crime succeeded an event which in current 
belief was of an equally atrocious character — the death of 
Kasi Rao. The accounts of this transaction 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 evi- 
dence that Holkar himself had suggested a pretended at- 
tack 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 reckless cruelty of 
Chimna Bhao.^ The imputation of being accessory to the 

1 JIalcolm's Central India, i. 242. According to Amir Khan's account of 
the affair, this plan of enforcing payment was adopted by his recommenda- 
tion, not without a suspicion on Ilolkar's part that the whole was a device 
of Amir Khan to obtain an adjustment of his o^vn claims. — Mem. of Ainir 
Khan, 290. 

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

3 According to Malcolm, on the authority of Bangash Khan, one of the 
insurgent Patau leaders, a party under his confederate, Dadan Klian, at- 
tempted the release of Kasi Hao, who was confined .at Kai-gond, in Nimaur ; 
to prevent which, Chimna Bhao had him murdered in the thicket some dis- 
tance from the fort. According to the evidence of a Sipahi, in the service of 
Chimna Bhao, present at the murder, Kasi Kao was killed in Bijaygerh, a 


BOOK I. deed was however fixed upon Holkar by common consent, 
CHAP. I. and popular belief regarded his insanity as a just retribu- 

*: tion for the murder of a nephew and a brother. He 

1809. became subject to fits of mental derangement shortly after 
the death of Kasi Eao : they alternated with intervals of 
reason for about a twelvemonth, when they subsided into 
an unintermitted state of moody fatuity, which after a du- 
ration of three years terminated in death. 

The affairs of Holkar's dominions were conducted during 
his incapacity by his favourite mistress Tulasi Bhai and 
her minister Balaram Set ; but their hands were too feeble 
to maintain a steady curb upon the disorderly troops and 
their aspiring captains, and the country speedily became 
the scene of plunder and confusion. The party in Kandesh 
under Dadan Khan and other Patau leaders acquired a 
formidable consistency after the murder of Kasi Rao. 
They placed at their head Mahipat Rao Holkar, first cousin 
of Jeswant Rao, and proclaimed him sovereign. The troops 
sent against them either joined their ranks or were de- 
feated ; and they had a fair prospect of success, when, un- 
fortunately for their cause, they extended their depredations 
into the territories of Poena and Hyderabad, and imposed 
upon the British Government the duty of protecting its 

fort also in Nimaur, from which Dadan Khan had attempted to carry him off. 
The despatch from the Resident with Siiidhia, reporting the transaction, a^ees 
in making Bijaygerh the seat of the prince's detention ; but states tliat, orders 
having been sent to bring liim for greater security to Hollcav's camp, Chimna 
Bhao was escorting him on the Avay, when he was attacked at night by Dadan 
Khan's men, and, in the atfray that followed, Kasi Rao was accidentally shot. 
Amir Khan's story materially ditfers from the foregoing. He says, that tl;e 
Bhils of Kandesh, being in insurrection, had got hold of the wife of Kasi Rao, 
and, she being pregnant, they declared that if the child were a boy they would 
make him Raja ; that Chimna Bliao, 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 his own jjcople to make a sham attack l)y night upon 
his camp, and, in the confusion thus occasioned, he pretended great ahirm 
lest Kasi Rao should fall 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 Hol- 
kar. 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 mucli more likely to 
have occurred to the Patans, and it was no^oubt to guard against their avail- 
ing themselves of the name of Kasi Rao that he was murdered 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 ex- 
pressed 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 circumstances of a fact even upon contem- 
porary testimony. Mr. Prinsep hesitates to affix a date to this transaction; 
from the official correspondence it appears to have taken place about the mid- 
dle of February, 1808.— Central India, 1. 244; Mem. of Amir Khan, 313; 
MS. Records, 


allies. The subsidiary forces of both states took the field. BOOK I 

Colonel Wallace marched from Poona with one division, chap. i. 
and Lieutenant-Colonel Doveton from Jdlna with another. 

By a rapid cavalry movement of one hundred miles in ^^^^• 
forty-eight hours, Colonel Doveton came unexpectedly 
upon the insurgents whilst besieging Amalner, a fort be- 
longing 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. 
The Patau chiefs were conducted prisoners to Poona : 
Mahipat Rao escaped, but, separated from his military as- 
sociates, he soon fell into obscurity and occasioned no 
further trouble.* 

A diflferent destiny awaited another of Holkar's Moham- 
medan captains, who, by a singular combination of enter- 
prise, craft and good-luck, rose from the condition of a 
soldier of fortune to the recognised rank of an independent 
prince. Amir Khan was by descent an Afghan, whose 
grandfather had emigrated from Buner, and settled in 
Rohilkhand. From his earliest youth he had led the life 
of a soldier ; seeking service, sometimes with a few fol- 
lowers, sometimes w^ith 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 adherents. 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 different military and political transactions, of 
which Malwa and the valley of the Nerbudda were the 
principal field. He lent good aid to Vizir Mohammed in 
the defence of Bhopal ; but the resources of that chief 
being exhausted, he listened to proposals from Holkar, 
and united himself thenceforth steadily to his interests. 
Holkar was then making his escape from Nagpur, where 
he had been detained by the Raja ; and had no greater fol- 
lowing 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 

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


BOOK I. equipment turned the tide of his fortunes, enabled him to 
CHAP. I. possess himself of the territories of his family, and placed 

: him in a position formidable to Sindhia, to the Peshwa, 

1809. gjjj ^jjQ English. 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. Although professing 
allegiance to Holkar, and acting in his name, Amir Khai> 
retained the independent command of his own troops, and 
held himself at liberty to provide for their support by 
contributions 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 payment 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 colli- 
sion with the Government of British India. ^ 

Such was the utter prostration of the Mahratta confede- 
racy upon the close of the war : the Peshwa, chafing 
secretly under the fetters to which he had rashly sub- 
mitted, but impotent to break them, and affecting to wear 
them with cheerfulness ; the Gaekwar, saved from insol- 
vency 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 tlie 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 factious competitors for 
the authority which he was no longer in a condition to exer- 
cise. Yet, notwithstanding this abject state of the two 
last-named chieftains, the Bengal Government persisted in 
its purpose of conciliating their good-will, by leaving them 

^ Notices of the career of Amir Khan are to be found in Malcolm's Central 
India, Prinsep's Administration of the Marquis of Hastings, &c. ; but the most 
authentic account is a kind of autobiography, or Memoirs of Nawab Moliam- 
med Amir Khan, composed in Persian from his own dictation by Munshi 
BasJlwan Lai, translated by H. T. Prinsep, Calcutta, 1832. 


unquestioned licence to prey upon their still more feeble BOOK 
and disunited neighbours, the princes of Rajputana. chap, i 

That portion of Hindustan which extends from the 

districts bordering on the west bank of the Jumna to the 1807. 
desert that skirts the eastern bordei-s of the Indus, and 
which lies between the Punjab on the north, and Malwa 
and Guzerat on the south, is collectively known as Raja- 
wara 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 
represent 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 importance, from the 
hmited extent of their territory ; whilst others, although 
ruling over more spacious tracts, were equally unim- 
portant, from the sterility of the soil, and the scantiness 
of the population. Among these, three princes were ac- 
knowledged to be pre-eminent inrank and power, the Rana 
of Udaypur, the Raja of Jodhpur, and the Raja of Jaypur, 
so entitled from their respective capitals ; but, more cor- 
rectly speaking, the rulers of Mewar, Marwar, and Dhun- 
dhdr, the names of their several principalities. 

The Rana of Udaypur reigned over a rugged but not 
wholly sterile territory on the north-west of Malwa. He 
pretended to a direct descent from Rama, the mytho- 
historical monarch of Ayodhya, or Oude, through his son 
Lava, who migrated to the west. The Ranas of Udaypur 
are therefore regarded as members of the Suryavausa, ©r 
Solar dynasty of the Hindus ; bat, 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 succeeding to their prin- 
cipalities, an ornament worn upon the forehead, in con- 
firmation of their accession.* From the time of the 

1 Colonel Tod remarks, that, whilst the ffencalogies of many of tlie Rajput 
princes are questioned, the Hindu tribes yield unanimous sulfraj;e to the ruler 
of Mewar as the legitimate heir of the throne of Kama, and style him liinduai> 
Snraj, the Sun of the Hindus. He subsequently, however, adverts to the 
curious tradition mentioned by Abulfazl ; Ayi:i Akbari, ii. 8, and repeated ia 
fuller detJiil by Wilford, Asiatic Uesearches, ix. 233, of the descent of the 
Ranas of Udaypur from Naosliirwan, kinp of Persia, through his son Nao- 
shirzad. He is said to have rebelled against his fatlier, and, being defeated, to 
liave tied into Hindustan, whence he returned to i'ersia witii au ai'iuy (d 


DDK I. Mohammedan invasion of India, the Rauas of Udaypur 
juAP. I. were constantly engaged in warfare with the kings of Delhi, 

and repeatedly sustained fearful reverses. Driven from 

1807. their capital, Chitore, they transferred their residence more 
to the west, where Udaya Raja built a city, named after 
him Uday-pur, towards the end of the sixteen century ; 
and in the strong country in its vicinity they maintained 
their independance. 

Separated from Me war by the Aravali Mountains 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 contains some fertile tracts, especially on 
its southern boundaries. The Raja of Jodhpur is a member 
of the Rahtore tribe of Rajputs, and traces his descent 
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 descended the reigning dynasty; one of whom, 
Jodha, was the founder of Jodhpur in a.d. 1459 : the 
younger is claimed as their ancestor by the chief Thakurs, 
or feudal nobles of the state. The Rahtores of Marwar, like 
the Gahilotes of Mewar, suffered 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 
offices both civil and military, and becoming connected 
with the imperial house by giving their daughters in mar- 
riage 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 defeated in the field, their spirit was unbroken, 
and their principality unsubdued. After the death of 

Indians : he was again defeated, and was slain in battle, but his issue remained 
in India, and from them the Kanas descended. Another legend traces the 
family to Maha-bhilnu, daughter of Yezdegird, the last monarch of Persia. — 
Annals of Eajasthan, 1. 233. Tod thinks it not improbable that there may 
have been a connexion between tlie 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, 
establishes the fact that some of those princes exercised authority 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, 


Aurangzeb, their friendly intercourse with Delhi was BOOK 
resumed, and they were seen taking a prominent part in chap. 

the disorders that ensued. The decline of the empire 

freed them from all semblance 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 earUer 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 acknowledged the supremacy of the Mogul, 
and were distinguished amongst the principal ofl&cers 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 Mohammedan princes.^ 
Raja Jaysing, the founder of Jaypur, was actively con- 
cerned in all the stormy transactions of the disastrous 
period which followed the death of Aurangzeb ; until ob- 
serv'ing the irretrievable ruin of the empire, and the irre- 
sistible progress of the Mahrattas, he made terms with 
the latter, and withdrew from the politics of Hindustan, to 
the cultivation of the arts of peace, and the improvement 
of his country. He died in 1743. After his death, Dhun- 
dhar became a prey to intestine divisions and Mahratta 

At the close of the war with the Mahrattas, Rana Bbim 
Sing was reigning at Udaypur ; Man Sing was Raja of 
Jodhpur ; and Jagat Sing, of Jaypur. Neither of them 
possessed the quaUficatious which the times demanded ; 
the patriotic sentiments which should have suppressed 

1 Bhagwan Das is said to have been the first Rajput who submitted to 
an alliance -with a Molianimedan family : liis daughter was maiTied to the 
son of Alibar, Prince Selim, afterwards the Emperor Jehangir. Sliin Sing, 
ijephew of Bhagwan Das, was a great favourite with Akbar : and was 
successively viceroy of Bengal, Bahar, the Dekhin, and Cabul. — Annals of 
Baja^than, i. 353. 


BOOK I. selfish feelings and leagued them with their fellows, the. 

CKAP. I. judgment capable of estimating their own true interests^. 

or the courage and energy necessary to maintain their 

1807. independance. Listening alone to the dictates of per- 
sonal enmity, they paralysed by their dissensions the 
valour of their subjects, and aided and abetted the foreign, 
robber in the work of mutual destruction. The cause of 
quarrel by which they were at this time exasperated 
against one another was peculiarly characteristic of the- 
race, and to be paralleled 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 un- 
doubted 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 alUance was prevented by his 
death. She was then solicited in marriage by Jagat Sing 
of Jaypur, and his proposals were accepted by the Rana. 
An escort of three thousand troops was sent to Udaypur 
to convey the princess of Jaypur for the solemnization of 
the nuptials, when the negotiations were interrupted by 
the rival pretensions of Man Sing, the Raja of Jodhpur. 
He demanded the i)rincess as the affianced 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- 
assertion 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 surrounding 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 Pokarna, 
the castle of Sawai Sing, where he was concealed. At 
the expiration of two years his protector, finding the 
chief feudatories of Jodhpur greatly discontented by the 
preference given by the Raja to certain of his favourites, 


■communicated to them the birth and existence of the BOOK 
prince, and secured their concurrence in the vindication ciiAr. i 

of his claims. They repaired accordingly in a body to 

the Kaja, and demanded the fulfilment of his engagement. 1^07, 
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 Sawai Sing aAvaited a more 
favourable season for advancing the pretensions of the 
youth whose cause he had espoused. It was with this view 
that he urged Man Sing to demand the hand of the prin- 
cess of Udaypur, anticipating the series of difficulty and 
•danger in which he would be consequently involved. The 
anticipation was speedily realized. The party sent to 
Udaypur by Jagat Sing was attacked and routed ; and the 
Rana was compelled to retract his assent, and affiance his 
daughter to Man Sing. His rival was furious at the dis- 
appointment and the insult ; and a war broke out between 
the two Rajas, which was equally destructive to all the 
Rajput principalities. 

From the time when the first Baji Rao established 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 payment was at first made to the Govern- 
ment of Poona ; 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 composition, as the 
vagueness of the sum afforded them a convenient plea 
for unlimited exaction. There was consequently a con- 
stant arrear due by the Rajput states, and a constant 
pretext for the desolating incursions of the Mahratta 
troops. In the division of the spoil, the Jaypur tribute 
-was appropriated by Holkar ; that of Udaypur and Jodh- 
pur by Sindhia : but they had also conflicting pretensions 
each to a portion of the plunder of the other. Th^ 


BOOK I. Peshwa had likewise his claims to a share, but his alliance 
CHAP. I. with the British debarred him from their compulsory 


1807. rpY^Q i^ja 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 protection which he had given 
to the family of that chieftain during his campaigns in 
Hindustan. The Raja of Jaypur disregarded the com- 
bination, in reliance upon the British Government, wdth 
■which he 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 dis- 
possessed him of all territory north of the Bundi Hills, 
The declaratory article of Sir G. Barlow, as already 
noticed, annulled these stipulations, and virtually ex- 
cluded the Raja of Jaypur from the benefits of the alli- 
ance upon which he had depended ; and it was not to be 
wondered at that he should have remonstrated strongly 
1804. against his desertion. His abandonment w^as wholly in- 
defensible. It was not to be controverted that a treaty 
had been contracted with him, by which the enemies of 
one of the contracting parties were to be considered as 
the enemies of both ; and the Raja, in the event of a 
dispute with any other prince, was entitled to British medi- 
ation and aid. When he required the fulfilment of the 
stipulations, he was told that " no treaty existed ; it had 
been virtually abrogated by the non-performance 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 north- 
wards, but despatched them to Udaypur ; and had not 
only failed to cut ofi" Holkar's supplies, but allowed him 
to march through the Jaypur territory. He had no longer, 
therefore, anything to expect from the British Govern- 
ment." The Raja denied the justice of the charges 
adduced against him. He affirmed that his troops had 
separated from Colonel Monson with that officer's con- 
sent, and by the orders of Lord Lake ; that although hia 

1 The treaty is dated 12 Dec, 1803; the date of its ratification by the IJaja 
is left blank.— Coll. of Treaties, p. 253. 


forces were on their march to Udaypur, 3'et as soon as BOOK 
their services were required, they suspended their march, chap. 

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 promp- 
titude 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 Govern- 
ment had been dissatisfied with his conduct at any par- 
ticular time, it should at that time have expressed its 
displeasure, and at once have declared the alliance annulled. 
To have continued to employ the services of the Ilaja 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 inconvenient obligation, was both dis- 
ingenuous and dishonourable ; to desert an old friend 
because the 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 inviolate. The argument was incontrovertibly 
in the Eaja'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. Ad- 
mitting that the Raja had broken his engagement, the 
Government, by accepting his aid as if no such breach 
had occurred, virtually 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 unavailing, ' Ho 

' 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 Lordship that the protection 
of the British Government would be continued to him ; and they thought it 
neccs«iry to enjoin the Government of India to take care, in all its transac- 
tions 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 and generosity." The sin- * 

cerityof thise expressions would have been less liable to question if the policy 
which tliey condemned had been countermanded.— Malcolm's Political Hist, 
of India, i. 390. 



BOOK I. was consigned to the equally inexorable j)C>licy of the 
^HAP. 1. Mahrattas ; and the first-fruits of his desertion were the 
plunder of his country by the disorderly bands of Holkar 
as they returned from the Punjab, and the payment to 
their leader of twenty lakhs of rupees as the price of 
his withholding 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 joining in j)erson 
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 punctu- 
ality in the payment of his trooj)s by. the Raja of Jaypur, 
he abandoned Jagat Sing, accepted money and promises 
from Man Sing,^ and, marching into the country of Jaypur, 
commenced a course of dejjredation which speedily com- 
pelled the Raja to break up the siege of Jodhpur, and 
hasten to the defence of his own dominions. 

» Holkar's Vakeels expressed their master's ackno'.vledgments to Lord Lake 
for the abrogation of the treaty Avith Jaj'pur as a personal favour intended to 
conciliate him. The act was vieAved in the same light by the Peshwa and 
Kaja of Xiigpiir. — MS. Records. 

2 The Amir and Holkar got up a pretended disagreement as an excuse for 
the laiiGontrouled proceedings of the former at the latter's suggestion : accord- 
ing to his own story, he makes Holkar say, " Yoii must now separate ft-om 
me in public as in quarrel, so that our enemies and the world in general rnay 
see that your continuing to raise troops is a source of dissatisfaction and dis- 
pleasure 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 be- 
tween 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, pretended not to listen, 
but returned to his army; " p. 309. 

3 The terms of his compact with Man Sing were, according to Amir Khan's 
statement, that he should pay four lakhs and fifty thousand rupees (£45,000) 
per mensem, besides taking a brigade into permanent service ; and should 
further give the Amir a Jagir of four lakhs for kitchen expenses, and confer 
Jagirs also on his principal oflBcers ; p. .324. 


A double game was in like manner played by Sindhia. BOOK I. 
In the first instance he befriended the suit of the Jodh- chap, i. 

pur RajtO, and contributed to the defeat of the troops sent 

to escort the princess to Jaypur;* but, having received ^^'^'• 
payment of considerable sums affirmed to be due to him 
from the Rana, he professed to remain neutral in the con- 
test. His principal captains were, however, allowed to 
side with either of the competitors. They ranged them- 
selves under the banners of Amir Khan, and assisted to 
ravage Jodhpur until the harvest 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 British Government had purposed to re- 
compense the attachment of its adherents. 

The services of Amir Khan were not confined to the 
relief of Jodhpur from the presence of a victorious 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 divi- 
sions that in a still greater degree endangered his security, 
by the murder of Sawai Sing, and the extinction of the 
faction of v/hich 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 confidence. Amir Khan visited Sawai 
Sing, and gave him the most solemn assurances of his 
sincerity ; suspicion was completely disarmed, the visit 

• Tort 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 l\ana ; and that, having 
at the same time been denied a contribution from Jaypur, he insisted upon 
the dismissal of the Jaypur embassy. Upon the liana's refusal he advanced 
with his brigades, defeated the troops of Udaypur joined by the Jaypur de- 
taclnnei\t, which he dispersed; and, encampiiifc near Udaypur, compelled 
tiie liana to submit to his conditions. — Annals of linjastlian, i. 401. In another 
place he says, Mtln Sing assembled three thousand horse, and, joining to them 
the mercenary bands of Ileera Sing then on the frontier of Mewar, he inter- 
cepted the nuptial gifts of Amber ; ii. 142. The first account is probably the 
more correct, a.s Tod was in Sindhia's camp ; or it may be possible to reconcile 
the two. 

VOL. I. P 


BOOK I. was returned, and the Rajput was received in the tent of 
CHAP. I. Amir Khan, with every demonstration of respect and cor- 

— diahtj. Inventing a plausible excuse for a short absence, 

1807. j^niir Khan withdrew ; the cords of one side of the tent 
w^ere 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 dancing girls and musicians, all who had been present 
at the interview, were ahke the victims of this murderous 
device. The death of his rebellious feudatory put an end 
to the dangers and fears of the Raja of Jodhpur.^ Nagore 
was plundered, but Dhokal Sing effected his escape, and 
found a protector in the Raja 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 security. 

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 Sindiah presently demanded compensation 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 neigh- 
bours, to any pretext for Mahratta extortion, he was 
obliged to drain his treasures in order to purchase the for- 
bearance of both Sindhia and Amir Khan. The exhaus- 

1 According to Tod, the price of the crime was ten lakhs of rupees, and the 
two to\vn3 of Mundhiawar and Kuchilavas, each yielding an annual revenue of 
30,000 rupees ; ii. 150. Amir Khan states the sum at thirty-five lalihs 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 principal leaders. The Amir 
tells the story himself without any attempt at extenuation, and seems to regard 
it as an honourable exploit ; pp. 347, 3G0. 


tion of his resources was, however, less painful to him BOOK : 
than the degradation which he felt in being obliged to chap, i 

treat them as equals, and the total want of deference 

which ui)start adventurers and militaiy robbers paid to his 1^^^* 
exalted rank and ancient descent. In his distress, he 
applied earnestly for the intervention of the British Go- 
vernment, and offered the cession of one half of his terri- 
tory, if it would protect the other half from Mahratta 
spoliation. The same interposition was solicited by ano- 
ther 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 Govern- 
ment of Bengal, pledging themselves to abide by its medi- 
ation, and to submit to any conditions it should please to 
impose. They depended upon its interference as an obliga- 
tion which it was bound to fulfil, as inheriting the para- 
mount sovereignty of Hindustan. The dignity and power 
of the imperial court of Delhi had been appropriated by 
the Governor-General and the Council of Calcutta ; and, 
along with the authority, the duties which the Emperors 
were accustomed to discharge, had devolved upon them. 
The weaker states of India, they argued, had a natural 
right to look up to the British Government for protection 
against the ambition and rapacity of the stronger ; and 
they denied that there was any valid excuse for its ques- 
tioning the right, when it was fully capable of exercising 
the power. The Mahrattas, who were at that moment 
spreading terror and desolation from the Setlej to the 
Nerbudda, were wholly incompetent to offer any opposi- 
tion to the arms and authority of the Company ; and the 
Governor-General had only to speak the word, and uni- 
versal tranquillity would be restored. The policy of this 
course, they maintained, was equally obvious with its 
justice and humanity ; for the British territories would 
derive security and prosperity from the suppression of 
disorders, which excluded their population from all amic- 
able 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 Central India was allowed to 



J5Q0K I. fall into a condition of anarchy and ruin, which was accele- 
CHAP. I. rated 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 Govern- 
ment was resigned, the Rana of Udaypur was driven to the 
unpalatable measure of retaining the services of Amir- 
Khan : a fourth of his revenues was assigned to the Mov 
hammedan leader, as the hire of one of his brigades to be 
employed in collecting the revenues and guarding the 
frontiers of Mewar.^ The influence thus obtained by Amir 
Khan in the counsels of Udaypur, afibrded an occasion for 
a new display of his recklessness of human life, and added 
another victim to the many whom he had unscrupulously 
sacrificed to his interest or his policy. 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 na- 
tural reluctance of the father was overcome by the blended 
motives of policy, fear, and hope, and poison was adminis- 
tered to the princess.' .;.. 

1 So far -was adherence to this policy carried, that -n-hen 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, lie was 
enjoined by the Resident at Delhi, under the orders of the Government, 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, 1 807. —MS. Records. 

2 The Amir relates this arrangement with great self-complacency, remarking 
that the Rana and he exchanged turbans in pledge of fi-iendship"; p. 399. It 
must have cost the " the son of the Sun " many a bitter pang before he could 
stoop to such an interchange of marks of equality and fraternity with a 
Mohammedan trooper. 

3 Amir Khan relates this transaction without any reserve. 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 Miin 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 eifectthe 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 Raja 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 lierself in new and gay attire, she drank olf 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 

.' J>^oVA Am) BUNDI. raiH 9$ 

The transactions in which the three principal Eajput BOOK I. 
states were involved with the Mahrattas for some years chav. i. 
subsequently to the restoration of peace between the ■ "''' ■' ■ • " ' 
latter and the English, have been described at some l^^^- 
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 protection which they now solicited in vain. 
A brief notice will suffice for the remaining chiefs of the 
Rajput tribes. 

Tlie Raja of Bikaner, Surat Sing, was a member of the 
family which reigned over Marwar. His ineffective sup- 
port of the pretender, Dhokal Sing, has been mentioned. 
After payment of the stipulated contribution he was left 
unmolested, the desert surface of his country offering 
little temptation to the marauder. The same circum- 
stance, and the remoteness of its situation, protected the 
neighbouring state of Jesselmer, lying north-west of Mar- 
war, and inhabited chiefly by the Bhatti tribe of Raj)juts. 
Although secluded from the aggressions of the Mahrattas, 
domestic quarrels did their work as well. 

In an angle foimed between Jaypur and Malwa, the 
province of Haravati, so called from its principal occu- 
pants the Hara Rajputs, was divided between Kota and 
Bundi. Kota was under the management 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 associa- 
tion of craft, prudence and resolution, Zalim Sing, although 
obliged to pay tribute and occasional extraordinary contri- 
butions, contrived to remain on friendly terms with the 
Mahratta leaders, and to preserve his covmtry from their 
ravages : he had also established a character for firm and 
faithful adherence to his engagements ; and to his honour 
and integrity the chiefs of every nation and tribe were ac- 
customed to intrust their families and their wealth.^ The 

princess, although suggested by Amir Klian, was pressed on the reluctant 
liana by one of the Rajput nobles, Ajit Sing, whose memory on that account 
is execrated throughout Rajasthan. They both agree in tlie cheerful sub- 
rais&iou of the i)rincess to the will of her father, and the grief of her mother, 
■who died shortly afterwards.— Central India, i. 339 ; Annals of Rajasthan, 
i. 4G3, 

» Ambaji Inglia and Amir Khan both placed their families in the safe keep- 
ing of Zalim Smg ; and the fonner deposited at Kota his treasures, which were 
of considerable amount.— Central India, i. 493. 


BOOK 1. state of Bundi, which, in the reign of Akbar was one of the 
CHAP. I. most considerable Rajput principalities, had been reduced 
__ to narrow limits by a series of misfortunes and the enmity 
180/. Qf 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 ruhng 
Raja at the time of Colonel Monson's retreat, had given the 
British detachment a free passage through his territories, 
and afforded every assistance within his means. Those 
whom he had befriended, abandoned him to the resent- 
ment which his conduct had provoked in their behalf ; and 
for several years he was exposed to every species of insult 
and extortion, from the vindictive poHcy of Sindhia and 

The only other Rajput principality of any consideration 
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 independance 
under the shield of British protection.^ The engagement 
was concluded during the administration of Lord Wel- 
lesley, in conformity to his policy of interposing a chain of 
independent native princes between the Jumna and the 
Mahrattas. As this was contrary to the views of his 
successors, they would have thought it fortunate if the 
Rajas of Macheri and Bhurtpore, who were similarly cir- 
cumstanced, could have been induced to seek the disso- 
lution 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 granting them protection against the menaced aggres- 
sions of Holkar. Notwithstanding reiterated assurances 
to this effect, the Raja of Macheri, alarmed by the aban- 
donment of Jaypur, continued to apprehend a like deser- 
tion, until the obvious change in the counsels of Calcutta 
dissipated his fears. 
It is equally unnecessary to enter at any length upon 

1 Annals of Rajasthan, i. 501 ; Duff's Mahrattas, iii. 281, 311. 

2 Coll. of Treaties, 251. The treaty was a general engagement of defensive 
alliance : troops were to he sent to the aid of the Raja when required, after 
failure of mediation between Jiim and any prince with whom he might he at 
enmity. No subsidy or tribute was imposed. 


the condition of the J^it princes of Hindustan. Professing BOOK I. 
to descend from the illustrious tribo of Yadu, the Jats on chap. i. 
tlie Jumna had been transformed, by the necessity of ■ 
self-defence, from a race of pacific agriculturists, into a l^^'- 
• ation of soldiers and conquerors. Forced into martial 
distinction by the distractions of Hindustan which followed 
ihe reign of Aurangzeb, they continued, under a succes- 
sion of warHke chieftains, to take a prominent and f)rofit- 
able part in all the troubles which ensued, until the 
establishment of the authority of Sindhia at Delhi. In 
; his interval their leaders acquired extensive and valuable 
i 'ossessions ; and, although their power had been dimin- 
-hed by the superior resources of the Mahrattas, the 
epresentative of the original ruling family still retained 
: country of some extent, guarded by strong-holds, one of 
wliieh was for many years a monument of British dis- 
comfiture. The Raja of Bhurtpore had become subse- 
quently an ally of the British Government, and readily 
had recourse to its aid in moments of peril.' The suc- 
cessful defence of his fortress had, however, impressed 
him strongly with a mistaken estimate of his own import- 
ance, and in his intercourse with the protecting state he 
displayed equal arrogance and distrust. 

The only other prince of this tribe, the Eana of Gohud, 
was descended from a Jat leader who rose to distinction in 
he time of the firat Baji Rao, in the Peshwa's service. 
After the defeat of the ]\Iahrattas 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 
w-as allowed to retain them on condition of paying tribute 
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 British, 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 ; the fort 
of Gwalior, which, after its capture from Sindhia by the 
British had been given to the Rana, was re-taken ; and the 

' For nn account of the Jdts, see Tod's Rajasthan, ii. 370 ; also a sketch of 
their history, Calcutta Quarterly Magazine, March, 182fi. 


BOOK I. Rana was compelled to surrender himself a prisoner, upon 
CHAP, I. a verbal assurance of personal immunity. In the late war 
' with the Mahrattas, Ambaji Inglia, who governed Gohud 

1807. Q^ ^]^Q pa^j.^ Qf Dowlat Rao Sindhia, went over to his ene- 
mies ; and, as the reward of his desertion, a portion of the 
territory was guaranteed to him by treaty, whilst the 
Rana was replaced in the occupation of the remainder.* 
The policy of Sir G. Barlow, and his anxiety to conciliate 
Sindhia, led liim to annul the treaty with the Rana of 
Gohud, upon the plea that he had not fulfilled its con- 
ditions, and that the agreement was therefore virtually 
cancelled. 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 was 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 de- 
pendent of his government into an independent prince. 
The Rana himself, although not placed in the position 
which was at first designed for him, had no little cause for 
self-gratulation in his transformation from the condition 
of a prisoner and a fugitive, to that of a prince reigning) i 
in absolute sovereignty, under the security of British pro-iif 
tection, over a portion of those domains the whole c£ii 
which were held by his ancestors only through the suffer^ii 
ance of a Mahratta chieftain, subject to his exactions and 
liable to his resumption. ^ 


• 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.— Coll. of Treaties, pp. 25G, 2uS. ,.^^,. j^ , 

'■i Second treaty vnth Kirat Sing, IJajia of Gohua,'l§OG.— Coll. of Treaties, 
298. -^ ■■■^ ••■ ' ■■■ 

3 The conduct of Sir G. Barlow in regard to the Rana of Gohud has beea 
vindicated by high authority. In the debate on the India Budget in the 
House of Commons, lOth July, 180G, Sir Artliur Wellesley is reported to have 
asserted that Lord Wellesley had himself taken into consideration tlie expe- 
diency 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 contidence 
in the steadiness and consistency of Sindhia's counsels. Sir A. Wellesley 
states also that it had always been his opmion that Gohud and Gwalior ouglit 
to be restored to Sindhia, " Upon the whole," he concludes, " tlie couunitteo 

ORIGIN OF Tllfi SIKHli.^^^^ 

Although secetlers 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 the original institu- 
tion, the Sikhs were a religious community, who, in conso- 
nance 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 Moham- 
medans 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 dialects. These still constitute the 
scriptural authority, the Grantha, the book of the Sikhs. 
The doctrines and the influence of the teachers gave a 
common faith to the hardy and intrepid population of the 
i4)per part of the Punjab, and merged whatever distinctive 
api)ellations they previously possessed in the new general 
designation of " Sikhs," or " disciples," which thenceforth 
became their national denomination. 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 recruited by 
fugitives from political disorder and fiscal oppression, who 
readily adopted a faith which made but trifling demands 
upon their belief, and difl^ered in few material points from 
that which they professed. Community of danger became 
the bond of both a religious and a social organization, and 
a nation grew out of a sect. As the birth-place of their 
founder Nanak, and of the teacher who in a still greater 
degree gave to the Sikhs their characteristic pecuharities, 
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 
Setlcj to the Indus. 

will observe, that I consider Sir G. Barlow's treaty with Sindhia to have been 
consistent with the spirit of that whicli I was tlie instrument of concludintf at 
the close of the year 1803; and that the late Governor-General, Lord Wel- 
lesley, intended to have carried into execution that part of ita stipulations 
which refers to Gwalior and Gohud."— Hansard's Pari. L>eb. 





BOOK I. The circumstances under whicli the Sikhs achieved 
CHAP. I. their independance were unfavourable to the consolidation 
~7; — of their power. In their hostilities with the Mohammedans 
^"'' they acted without plan and wdthout an acknowledged 
head, and adopted a desultory system of warfare, in v/hich 
difierent leaders collected their relations and friends, and 
unexpectedly fell upon their enemies and laid waste the 
country. As the means of opposing their incursions de- 
clined, they were emboldened to undertake operations of 
greater importance requiring concert and combination ; 
and, for this purpose, the different Sirdars assembled occa- 
sionally at a jpublic diet usually held at Amritsar, the site 
of their principal shrine. When the Afghans supplanted 
the Moguls in the government of the Punjab, the Sikhs 
experienced some severe reverses from the mihtary skill 
and activity of Ahmed Shah ; but after his death they 
were at liberty to establish themselves as a political con- 
federacy in the countries which they now occupy. The 
districts were divided amongst different 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, Tov/ards the end of the last century twelve 
principal Misals were formed, varying considerably in the 
extent of territory which they governed, and in the number 
of horse which they could bring into the field. ^ 

In the course of time the inherent defects of a miHtaiy 
federation of this description began to be manifested, and 
individual ambition and ability to assume that ascendancy 
which they were calculated to attain. Amongt the least 
considerable of the Misals was that of Surat-Chak, so 
called from the lands which the progenitors of the chief, 
Charat Sing, had originally cultivated. Charat Sing com- 
menced 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, Eanjit Sing, had, 
however, surpassed both ; and by a singular combination 

1 An interesting account of the Sikh federation will he found in the 
" Origin of the Sikh power in the Panjab," compiled by Mr. Prinsep chiefly 
from the report of Captain William Murray, Political Agent at Ambala ; Cal- 
cutta, 1834. 


of courage and cunning, he had brought most of the chiefs BOOK I. 
on the west of the Sotlej under his controul. The chiefs c^ap. i. 
on the east of that river, whose possessions were con- 
tiguous to the province of Delhi, professed, after the close 
of the 3Iahratta war, an undefined allegiance to the British 
Government ; and some uncertainty with regard to the 
protection with which it was repaid compelled Eanjit Sing 
to proceed with caution in his project of extending his 
supremacy across the Setlej. That he was disappointed 
in his projects was attributable to the altered policy of the 
British Government upon the accession of Lord Minto to 
the office of Governor-General. ' 

From the review that has been thus taken of the 
j)olitical 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 
unnecessary forbearance was no doubt exhibited, and some 
degree of blame deservedly incurred for apprehensions 
needleasly entertained, and engagements unjustifiably vio- 
lated ; 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 con- 
tinued contests of the native princes operated favourably 
for the extension of British ascendancy; they disposed 
the weaker to welcome the approach of foreign protection, 
and they disabled the stronger from offering eftective 
opposition. On the other hand, the suspension of military 
operations of any magnitude for several years aflforded 
the British Government opportunity to accumulate and 

» A deseriptfon of the religious teneta of the Sikhs will be found in the 
Asiatic Researches, vol. xrii. ; and a more general account of their origin and 
history is puMiahed iu the eleventh volume of tlie same collection, by Sir John 
Malcolm. Mr. Prinsep's Tvork, just referred to, describes their later progress 
and the rise of Kanjit Sing. 


BOOK I. improve its resources, and, when again compelled to employ 
CHAP. n. them, to put forth its energies with a might which made 

*~~ resistance to it hopeless, and elevated it to an eminenco- 

180G. from which it directed without dispute the destinies of 


/Sir George Barloio, Governor-Qeneral. — Sitate of Hie Fi- 
nances. — Retrenchments. — Supplies. — Judicial and Re- 
venue Arrangements for Cuttack, the Doah, and Bundel- 
khand. — Revenue Settlements in the Ceded and Conquered 
Provinces. — Separation of Judicial and Revenue Functions 
at Madras. — Murder of Europeans at Vellore. — Arrival 
of the Dragoons. — Fort retake?!. — Military Inquiry. — 
Disposal of the Prisoners. — Causes and Circitmstances of 
the Mutiny. — Its Origin in religious Panic occasioned hy 
Military Orders. — Similar Alarms at Hyderabad, Wala- 
jabad, and Nandidriig allayed or suppressed. — Lord ^V. 
BentincJc and Sir John Cradock recalled. — Ultimate De- 
cision of the Court of Directors. 

WHEN the provisional assumption of the government 
of India by Sir George Barlow, consequent upon 
the death of Marquis Cornwallis, was known in England, 
the Court of Directors determined to nominate him per- 
manently Governor-Gene ralj and the nomination was ac- 
quiesced in by the Board of Controul. The principles of 
the policy which he j)ursued towards the native states have 
been sufficiently explained, and their consequences exhi- 
bited in the preceding pages. The other transactions of 
his administration were for the most part of inferior in- 
terest, though scarcely of minor importance. 

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 revenues by 
a considerable amount, and the deficit had been supplied 
by loans contracted at a high rate of interest,^ or by the 

1 A loan was opened in January, 1S05, at 10 per cent., by which sicca rupees 
2,12,47,000 (2,124,700/.) were raised. 


a^pUcatioa of the Company's commercial remittances to BOOK I. 
territorial disbursements. Heavy demands still remained chap. ii. 

fQV liquidation ; the pay of the troops was seven and eight 

mouths in arrear ; large sums were due on account of pen- ^^^^' 
sions to native chiefs and princes, and funds to meet these 
claims were for some time deficient.^ 

The restoration of tranquillity admitted of economical 
retrenchments in the principal article of public expendi- 
ture, the charges of the military department, and in 
nothing more than the dismissal of the irregular troops 
which had been taken into the British service during the 
war : these were disbanded, in several cases with injudi- 
qious haste ; and Jagirs were assigned to some of their 
leadere in commutation of pay or pension. A present 
inconvenience was thus in a great measure obviated, but 
the newly acquired districts were burthened with estab- 
lishments which even in the present day in some degree 
diminish the revenue that might else be raised from them. 
Extensive reductions of the regular forces were at the 
same time effected. ^,., .,.,. v^A•^>^V^^vv^i^\^\Vv■Ay^■/•> ii 

The economical principles which guided the proceedings 
of the government of Bengal, were equally impressed upon 
the attention of the subordinate Governments, and the 
impoi-tance attached to the object by Sir G. Barlow, is 
fiilly shown by the language in which his views were com- 
municated to Bombay and Madras. He reminded the 
supreme authorities at both Presidencies that, " the 
finances of the Company having been involved in extraor- 
dinary difficulties by the consequences of the late war, it 
had become the solemn duty of the different Indian Go- 
vernments to establish a system of the most rigid econo- 
my through every branch of their civil and military 
expenditure ;" and he therefore enjoined them " to abro- 
gate all such charges as were not indispensable to the 
good goveniment and security of the provinces under 
their controul. The extraordinary demands upon the 
public resources had arisen," he obseiwed, " almost exclu- 
sively from the enhanced charges of the military depart- 
ments ; but the circumstances of India were now propitious 

' Tlic demands payable by the Eengal Government amounted in May, 
1806. to ninety lakhs of rupees, to meet which not above forty lakhs were 


BOOK I. to their retrenchment, as no danger was to be apprehended 
CHAP. II. from French aggression, and the condition of the native 

states not in alliance with the Company precluded all ap- 

1806. prehension of their possessing 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 latter, the treaties which had been contracted with 
Sindhia and other princes had been drawn up with a view 
to remove all grounds of difference, and to conciliate them 
by concessions which would render 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 
relieve all pressure upon the finances, and restore depreci- 
ated public credit, leaving a surplus to pay off the public 
debt and provide the Company's commercial invest- 

This last consideration, the provision of the investment 
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 re- 
sources 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 in- 
creasing, from the valuable accessions of territory acquired 
during the war, and the certainty of their improvement 
under a regular and efficient system of administration. 
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 early part of 1805, the rate was not un- 
precedented or unusual ; and in the course of 1806 a loan 
was opened at eight per cent, per annum, with such entire 
success, as in the course of a few years to absorb all pre- 


ceding aud more burthensome obligations.' The rate BOOK I. 
then negotiated commenced a series of reductions of the chap. n. 
interest of the public debt, which has for some years past ' 

nearly equalised the interest paid in India with that which ^'^^^*- 
commonly prevails in the kingdoms of continental Eu- 

The exertions made by Sir George Barlow for the dimi- 
nution 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 relinquished his office to his suc- 
cessor, he had reduced the excess of annual charge to less 
than a half of its amount in 1805, and had matured a 
system of economy, which, in the first years of Lord 
]Minto's administration, transformed the deficit into a 

' Sicca rupees 20,65,00,000, or about 30,000,000/., were transferred and snb 
scribed to tiu$ 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. 

3 The statements appended to the Second Report of the Select Committee 
of the House of Commons, printed in Jlay, 1810, present the following com- 
parative view of the relative revenues and charges of India from 18P4-5 to 

Revenue. Charge. Excens of Charge. 

1804-5 . . .£14,949.395 . . .^£16,487,346 . . .£1,537,951 
1805-6 . . . 15,403,409 . . . 17,672,017 . . . 2,268,608 
1606-7 . . . 14,.53o.729 . . . 17,688,061 . . . 3,152,322 
1897-8 . . . 15,609,905 , . , 15,979,027 . . . 309,12:^ 
By a statement in the author's possession, compiled in the office of the ac- 
countantrgeneral in Calcutta, tlie returns of the three first years in Sicca 
Rupees are as follows : 

Revenue. Charge. Excess of Charge. 

1804-5 . S.R.1.3,06,49,241 . S.R.15,76,18,750 , S.R.2,69,69,509 

1805-6 . „ 13,58,28.952 . ., 16,44.88,747 . „ 2,86,49,795 

1S06-7 . „ 12,97,16,627 . „ 13,99,23,581 . „ 1,02,06,904 

and in the fourth year. Surplus Revenue. 

1807-8 . „ 13,87,59.682 . „ 13,77,19,952 . „ 10,39,730 
which surplus, calculating the rupee at 2s., which is something less than its 
intrinsic value, is equal to 103,973/. These particulars agree -with the state- 
ment given by Mr. Tucker ; of which he remarks, that, as they were prepared 
from official and authentic documents, they may be received with confidence. 
— Review of the Financial Situation of the East India Company, by H. St. 
George Tucker, p. 13. One source of difference in the two statements is the 
difference of excliange valuation. The old accounts of the East India Com- 
pany were converted from Indian into Englisli money at 25. per current rupee 
(116 of which were equal to 100 Siccas) for Eengal, 8«. per pagoda for 
Madras, and 2*. 3d. per Bombay rupee : a valuation which, however correct 
according to the state of the exchange, was far above the intrinsic value of 
the coins ; the current rupee at par being worth only Is. 9d. 'Ill, the pagoda 
7i. 6d. 'Sse, and the Bombay rupee 2s. -OOS.— Report of Select Committee on 
the Finances of the East India Company, August 1832, App.No. 20. In the 
above comparison of receipts and disbnrsements, 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-seventh of the 
aggregate sums. Now, although the exchange value of the Indian cur- 


BOOK I. In order to provide for the most urgent and immediate 
CHAP. II. demands, funds were raised by a loan in 1805-6 ; by -wliich, 

in the course of that and the following year, about four 

180G. millions sterling were supplied to the treasury : the deficit 
which remained was met by remittances from Europe 
which, during the three years from 1804-5 to 1806-7, 
exceeded by two millions sterling the supplies realised in 
England from the proceeds of the Company's trade. 

Besides the measures adopted for the removal of financial 
difficulties the Indian Governments were occupied during 
the interval between the departure of Marquis Wellesley 
and the arrival of Lord Minto in extending and consolid- 
ating 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 settle- 
ment of the revenue with the landholders ; and, in Septem- 
ber 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 con- 
firmed by a regulation of the Government ; ^ and the same 
enactment recognised the principle of substituting a quit- 
rent for a land assessment in respect to certain petty 
Eajas and Zemindars residing in the mountains and thick- 
ets of Orissa. AU other sources of revenue which had 
existed under the Mahratta Government were abolished, 
with the exception of an excise upon spirituous liquors, 
and a capitation-tax upon pilgrims to the temple of Jagan- 

rencies might be properly taken as the standard for their conversion into 
English money in regard to all receipts and disbursemerits, whether com- 
mercial or territorial, occnrring in England, yet snch a standard was -wholly 
inapplicable to revenues and charges beginning and ending in India itself. 
Tlie 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 2s. the rupee, would 
therefore be preferable, as nearer the truth ; but their use is inconvenient, as 
affording results different from those given in the Parliamentary and Indin 
House accounts, the authorities most readily available : these will therefore 
generally be followed. In the present case, besides the ditference of valua- 
tion, there is a discrepancy in the relative statements which is not easily ac- 
counted 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, offer a near 
though not close approximation ; the Parliamentary accounts making it 
7,208,003;., the Calcutta statements sicca rupees 6,47,86,478 (equal to current 
rupees 7,51,52,314, and, at 2s. the current rupee, to 7,515,231/. 
' Bengal Regulations. Keg. xii. 1805. 


uath. The latter was the subject of a further enactment * BOOK I. 
in the following year, by which the amount of the tax, the chap. ii. 

mode of levying it, and other circumstances connected with — — 

it, were detined, with a view to j)rotect the pilgrims from ^^^• 
the unwarranted exactions of the officers of the Govern- 
ment or of the temple, and to maintain order and security 
in the town of Jagannath-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 Cuttack. 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 commanded by their own Sirdars or chiefs, 
and occupied lands exempt from rent, in payment of their 
services. 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 estates.^ This system was un- 
changed ; but, in order to fix upon the landholders a better 
defined authority and more distinct responsibihty, they 
were formally invested with the title and powers of Daro- 
gas, or head-officers of police, under the general superin- 
tendence of the magistrate of the province. 

The introduction of the Company's judicial and revenue 
regulations in the territories lastly acquired in the Doab 
and in Bundelkhand had been accomplished by previous 
enactments.^ Those affecting the revenue were based 
upon the principle of an ultimate settlement in perpetuity 
in the Upper provinces as well as in Bengal, but postpon- 
ing its conclusion to the expiration of certain definite pe- 
riods. Two successive settlements were to be made for a 
term of three yeai-s each, and a third was to be concluded 
for a period of four years. On the close of each of the 

> Eeff. iv. 1806. 

2 Reg. xiv. 1805. A strikiiijf instance is afforded by one of the clauses of 
this reijalatiou of the high value of money under the Mahratta Government, 
and its anticipated reduction under the British. In all disputes concerning 
obli^'utions 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 specitied, the rate of interest was restricted to 13 per 
cent, per annum. 

s Reg. iT. 1804. * Hegs. xxv. 1803 ; v. viii. ir^. 1803. 

VOL. I. Q 



BOOK I. 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 property; and at the end of the three 
terms, forming an aggregate of ten years, it was proposed 
to conclude a perpetual settlement for all such lands as 
might be in a sufficiently improved state of cultivation 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 Government the determination 
not only of the final rate of assessment, but of the 
condition of the lands to be assessed. A still more im- 
portant modification of the original enactment was, how- 
ever, introduced by Sir George Barlow. On the termina- 
tion 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 super- 
fluous ; and enacted, that the proposed settlement of 
the revenue in perpetuity in the Ceded and Conquered 
provinces should depend upon the confirmation of the 
Court of Directors.^ Their confirmation was never con- 

The principal legislative enactment at Fort St. George 
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 judicature were established in the 
several Zillas, and the separation of the judicial from the 
revenue department 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 remo- 
delled. It had hitherto been constituted of the Governor 
and Members of Council, a board already fully occupied. 
In their stead three Judges were appointed to the special 
duty of hearing appeals from the courts below, in addition 

1 " The Governor-General in Council hereby notifies to the Zemindars and 
other actual proprietors of land in the Ceded and Conquered provinces, that 
the Jumma which may he assessed on their estates in the last j^ear of the set- 
tlement immediately ensuing the present settlement shall remain fixed for 
ever, in case the Zemindars shall now be willing to engage for the pajment 
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. 

2 Eeg. ii. 1806. 


to a Member of Council not being Governor of Madras, BOOK I. 
who was to act as Chief Judge.' No enactment of any chap. h. 

interest was promulgated during this period at Bombay. 

In the midst of their pacific occupations, the Govern- 180G, 
ments of India were startled by the occurrence of an 
event unj^recedented in the annals of British India, and 
inspiring fears for the solidity and permanence of the 
empire, — the massacre of the European officers and soldiers 
in the garrison of Vellore by the native regiments on duty 
along with them. This happened on the morning of the 
10th of July, 1806.2 

The fortress of Vellore, situated eighty-eight miles west 
from Madras, had been chosen, for the convenience of its 
position and the strength of its defences, as a safe re- 
sidence 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 
married, and the marriage of the fifth was in course of so- 
lemnisation 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 Carnatic, within the fort. The princes 
had been treated with a degree of distinction and liberality 
better suited to their former dignity than their fallen for- 
tunes. They were under no other personal restraint than 
the attendance 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 garrison and the pay- 
master of their stipends. Their allowances not only pro- 
vided amply for their wants, but enabled them to support 
some show of state, and to collect around them a swarm of 
needy adventurers and vagrant mendicants, the willing 
instruments of mischief and eager fomenters of discontent.^ 
The general charge of the princes and payment of their 

» Reg. iii. 1807. 

' The chief authorities for the foUo'wing narrative and observations are, the 
MS. Correspondence of the Madras Government; Papers printed for Parlia- 
ment in 1813; a Jlemorial addressed to the Court of Directors, and afterwards 
printed in ISIO, hy Lord William Bentinck ; and Sir J. Cradock's Address to 
the Court, printed in the Asiatic Annual Register for 1307. 

' The four elder princes were allowed 50,000 rupees a-year each ; the three 
next, 25,000 rupees; the two younger, 8,400 rupees ; and the remaining three, 
6000 each. There were above 3000 natives of Mysore in the fort and adjoin- 
ing Pctta or town, and above 500 Mohammedan Fakirs. The whole population 
of the town was about 8000. 


BOOK I. pensions were consigned to Lieutenant- Colonel Marriott. 
CHAP. II. No other officer was allowed to enter the palace without 

permission of the princes, and no European sentinel did 

18«G. (]mty within its precincts. The native sentries were posted 
only at the outer doors of the several dwellings. Colonel 
Marriott discharged also the duties of superintendant of 
police for the fort and the adjacent town of Vellore, the 
X)opulation 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 2nd battalion of 
the 23rd. The Europeans were about three hundred and 
seventy in number, the natives fifteen hundred. The whole 
were commanded by Colonel Eancourt, the colonel of the 
69th. Spacious barracks were severally appropriated to 
the use of the European and native troops. The officei-s 
occupied separate, and, for the most part, detached 

About three o'clock in the morning of the 10th of July, 
the tranquillity of repose was broken by the sudden dis- 
charge of fire-arms, and the sound was speedily repeated 
in various directions. The Sipahis had been assembled 
silently in their quarters under arms by their native 
officers, and led to unexpected assaults upon the European 
posts. The few English sentinels on duty at the main- 
guard and the powder magazine were shot or bayoneted 
almost before they were aware of their danger, 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 pursuance of the 
order, Colonel Fancourt, as he descended 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 
Burrounded, parties of the native soldiers forced their way 


into the houses of the Europeans, and put to death with BOOK I. 
unsparing ferocity all -whom they could discover. Thir- chap. n. 
teen officers were killed, besides several European con- ' 
ductore 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 
contented themselves with pouring their fire into the 
apartments ; in which the men, unable for want of am- 
munition to return it, screened themselves against its 
efifects as well as they were able by the beds and furniture. 
Early in the morning, a few officers, who had collected in 
one of the dwellings and had successfully defended them- 
selves, made their way to the barracks, and, placing them- 
selves at the head of the survivors, forced a passage 
through the mutineers and ascended the ramparts, where 
they took post in a cavalier. Hence they reached the 
magazine, 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 com- 
munication was kept up between the mutineers and the 
palace, and many of the servants and followers of the 
princes were conspicuously active in the scenes of blood- 
shed 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 flagstaff 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 regu- 
larity and conduct which marked the first proceedings 
of the insurgents soon disappeared ; subordination was 
speerhly at an end ; the Sipahis and followers of the 
palace dispersed in quest of plunder ; and many who had 
' A sun in the centre, vrith tiger stripes on a green field. 


BOOK I. been reluctant participators in the mutiny, wlio began to 
CHAP. ir. fear its consequences, or who sought to secure the booty 

they had obtained, availed themselves of the confusion to 

1806. 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 Carnatic, and the 
scene of Olive's celebrated defence, was about nine miles 
distant from VeUore. 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 morning ; and a squadron of the 19th, with a 
strong troop of the 7th Native Cavalry, with Colonel Gil- 
lespie at their head, was immediately on the road to Vellore, 
the galloper guns and remainder of the cavalry 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 lodgment, and some of the men, 
lowered by their comrades from the wall, opened the gate 
to the cavalry. There w^as 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 
ajjproach, 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 de- 
scended from the post to charge the insurgents, at the 
same moment that the gate w-as blown oj)en and the 
dragoons rushed into the fort. No resolute resistance 
was offered : after a feeble and straggling fire, the in- 
surgents 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 
taken, 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 mutineers. There still remained a multi- 
tude whose degree 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 alarm- BOOK I. 
ing on outbreak. chap, ii. 

The number of the prisoners was speedily increased by 

the apprehension of the fugitives in various parts of the 1806. 
country by the police or by the villagei-s, and by the spon- 
taneous 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 hundred Sipahis detained in confinement at 
Trichanopaly 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 con- 
demned to death.* The criminality of the rest was referred 
to a special commission, upon whose proceedings the Go- 
vernment long hesitated to pronounce a final sentence. 
Although little doubt could 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 satisfactory evidence of individual guilt, and 
it was incompatible with justice to condemn the whole 
upon probable imputation. To restore them to their 
military functions, was to insure impunity to insurrection ; 
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 eventu- 
ally prevailed. The ofl&cers and men who were absent 
at the time of the mutiny, or who had given proofs of 
their fidelity on the occasion of its occurrence, remained 
on the strength of the army : the rest were discharged 
for over from the service, with the grant to the ofiicers 
of small pensions for their support, and the numbers 
of the regiments were erased from the army list.^ The 

1 Three native officers and fourteen non-commissioned officers and privates 
■were executed by sentence of a native court-martial. — General Orders by the 
Govcnnneut, Fort St. George, 14th January, 1807. 

2 Two new regiments were formed in their place, the 24th and 25th, to 
which the European officers of the 1st and 23rd regiments, and such native 
officers and men as were not discharged, were respectively transferred. — 
Cieueral Orders, 14th Januarj-, 1807. 


BOOK I. disposal of the prisoners remained undecided until the 
CHAP. II. arrival of Lord Minto at Madras on his way to BengaL 

It was then resolved that a final investigation should 

1806. ^^Q place, and, with the exception of those against whom 
proof of plunder and murder could be adduced, and who 
were to be punished accordingly, the whole should be 
gradually enlarged, being dismissed from the service and 
declared incapable 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 
efiect without difficulty, and without being followed by 
any perceptible mischief. The ascertainment of the 
causes of the mutiny, and of the principal circumstances 
attending it, was equally a subject of prolonged delibera- 
tion and productive of conflicting opinions. 

Although the storm had burst so suddenly upon the 
victims of its fury, 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 ]\lay that deep 
and dangerous discontent pervaded the troops in garrison, 
upon the subject of orders regarding their dress and ac- 
coutrements, and rigorous measures were resorted to for 
its suppression. They had the usual efiects of ill-judged 
severity. They stifled the utterance but aggravated the 
feelings, and embittered dissatisfaction by forcing it to 
assume the mask of acquiescence. Secret associations 
were formed, not only to resist the obnoxious orders, but 
to brave the penalty which insubordination incurred, by 
contracting guilt of a still deeper dye ; and the native 
ofiicers 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 had been hurled by foreigners and infidels. Not- 
withstanding the oath of secrecy by which silence was 
imposed on all who were enrolled amongst the conspira- 
tors, intimations of the plot transpired sufficient at least 
to have put the objects of it on their guard. Not only 
were dark rumours of an approaching tumult current in 
the fort and Petta, but in the latter a Mohammedan Fakir 
repeatedly proclaimed in the Bazar the impending destruc- 
tion of the Europeans. Little regard was paid to his 


denuncLations, as they were uttered with a wildness of BOOK I. 
manner and vagueness of language which inspired doubts chap. n. 
of his sanity. Information still more positive was equally 
'lisregarded- At midnight, on the 17th of June, a Sipahi ^^^^• 

f the 1st regiment, named ^Mustafa Beg, had come to 
1 r.el Forbes, the commander of the corps, and com- 
, iiiicatod 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 pur- 
port of his statements, 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 

ourse that Mustafa Beg was unworthy of credence, and 
dL-manded his confinement as the punishment of his 
calumnious aspersions. He was accordingly placed under 
arrest, and so remained until the mutiny and murder 
which he had in vain announced had taken place. ^ The 
utter neglect of these intimations, and their vagueness 
and infrequency, might seem extraordinary, if there were 
not reason to believe that there prevailed at the time a 
more than even the usual estrangement between the 
European officers and the native troops, which is too 
often engendered by the contemptuous indifference enter- 
tained by the former for the feeUngs and opinions of the 
latter, and by their imperfect acquaintance with the 
native languages. Had there been any cordiality between 
the European officers and the native garrison, — had any 
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 difficult to conceive that they 

' Mastufa Beg escaped during the tumult, "but returned to the fort a few 
days afterwards, and was rewarded for his conduct by a pecuniary donation 
of 2000 pii^'odas and a Subahdar's pension. — G. 0. Madras, 7th Aug. 180G. 
A European woman, wlio had resided some years in Vellore, also apprised 
Colonel lancourt that secret n-.eetings were lield by the Sipahis in the 
Pettu, at which seditious language was held. No attention was paid to her 
testimony, as her character was disreputable.— JiIS. Proceedings of Court of 



BOOK I. could have been so wholly unprepared for such a widely 

CHAP, n. extended and desperate insuiTection.* 

The causes of this alarming occurrence necessarily 

1806. engaged the attention of the public both in India and 
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 difference of opinion. 
To an impartial judgment the real cause was liable to no 
misconception ; but its admission involved inferences 
which were j)ressed 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 depend 
for its solution upon the origin of the massacre at Vellore. 
By those who were unfriendly to missionary efforts, as 
well as those who were apprehensive of their effects upon 
native feeling, the transaction was appealed to as decisive 

» 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 regi-et 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 disaffection of the 
men is principally to be attributed." They also observe, " It has been repre- 
sented to us that the deficiency in the knowledge of the languages of the 
country prevalent amongst the officers of the army may have opeiated as 
another cause of the absence of confidence between the European officers and 
the native troops. We are aware of the injurious effects which this ignorance 
on the part of the European officers is likel)^ to produce, and whicli 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 com- 
munication with the native army." A knowledge of Hindustani had pre- 
viously 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 sys- 
tem, 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 Common?, 13th April, 1813. That 
the discipline of the garrison was relaxed, is proved by the evidence before 
the Committee as to a neglect of military duty on the very night of the mu- 
tiny; the punctual fulfilnient of which might have detected something 
•unusual amongst the native soldiery, and perhaps prevented the mischief. 
The European officer commanding the main-guard being summoned to go the 
roiinds at midnight, declared himself indisposed, 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.— Proceedings of 
Committee of Inquiry; MS. Eecords. 



of the reasonableness of their fears, and as justifying their 
opposition. No better reply could be devised by the 
frieiuls and supporters of missions, than a denial that 
the Vellore mutiny had any connexion with the propaga- 
tion 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 manner and season of its 
develo})ment by incidental and local excitement. 

Towards the end of 1 805, the new Commander-in-Chief 
at IVladras, 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 

f consideration with military men, at least in time of 
leace, received all the attention which its importance 
demanded ; and various regulations were drawn up regard- 
ing the regimentals and accoutrements of the native 
soldiery, with the avowed purpose of assimilating their 
■appearance to that of the European troops. With this 

atention, the Sipahis were forbidden to appear 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 mus- 
tachios according to a standard model. The issue of 
these orders was suspended in a few instances by the pru- 
dence of commanding officers of corps ; but they were 
generally known by the men, and almost universally inter- 
preted to imply a design on the part of the Government 
to compel the native troops to assume the practices, and 




' The Reverend Dr. Buchanan thus writes to the Government of Bengal : 
•' I understand that the massacre of Vellore has been unaccountably adduced 
some sanction to the principle opposing the pi'ogress of the Christian reli- 
Uion in Bengal. I had opportunities of judging of the causes of that event, 
which were peculiar. I was in the vicinity of the place at the time. I tra- 
velled for two months immediately afterwards in the province adjacent with 
the sanction of the Government, and I heard the evidence of Christians, Mo- 
hammedans, and Hindus, on the subject. That the insurrection at Vellore 
had no connexion M-ith the Christian religion, directly or indirectl)', imme- 
diately or remotely, is a truth which is capable of dem.onstration."— Letter 
from the lleverend C. Buchanan to the Governor-General, 7th Nov., 1807 ; 
Parliamentary Papers relating to ilissionaries, &c., 14th Apiil, 1813. Dr. 
Buchanan undoubtedly believed in what he asserted so roundly, but he was 
strangely misinformed. The most zealous and able defenders of the cause. 
Lord Teignmouth in his Considerations on the Duty of diffusing Christianity 
in India, .and Mr. Wilberforce in his speeches in 1813, afterwards 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 


BOOK I. eventually the religion, of Europeans.* Other innova- 
ciiAP, II. tions in their dress and accoutrements, such as a particular 

undress jacket, black leather stocks, and a turnscrew, which 

1806. 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 
insubordination w^as the result. 

The first overt exhibition of the spirit thus generated, 
took place in the second battalion of the 4th regiment of 
Madras infantry, quartered in Vellore, early in May. The 
grenadier company refused to make up the turban, stating 
their repugnance to it honestly, and at first respectfully 
and with calmness. Their representations were received 
by the commanding officer of the regiment with extreme 
intemperance, and his violence * provoked some disorderly 

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

2 It ajipears that Sir J. Cradock Avas not responsible for the two former ; 
they were certainly, however, in use.— Lord W. Bentinck's memorial, p. 51. 

3 It is not easy for persons unacquainted with the East to understand why 
BO 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. I'o substitute a hat for the equally 
national characteristic head-dress, the turban, was therefore considered to be 
a change of deeply significant import. 

* According to the official report, the captain of the grenadier company of 
the second battalion of the 4th regiment informed the lieutenant-colonel com- 
manding 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 companj'. 
The colonel called the men before him and questioned them regarding their 
repugnance; when they stated firmly, though respectfully, that they were well 
aware of the consequences of disobedience, but that 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 officers 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 bat- 
talion was mustered for parade, the men attended without their side-arms and 
refused to put them on: on which, the colonel deprived eveu the superior offi- 
cers of their swords, and dismissed the battalion ; some of the men of which, 
as they dL<;persed, called aloud, " Dhurtt 1 dhurtt : " meanbig " Away ! away ! " 
but with a somewhat uncivil import. Upon tlie 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 commissioned 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 
conduct of the commanding officer that tliey would not have been surprised 
if a mutiny had immediately followed, attended with all the fatal consequences 
arising from the otfended prejudice occasioned by so capricious and wanton 
an exertion of authority.— Parliamentary Papers. 


and unmilitavy conduct ; in consequence of which nineteen BOOK I. 
grenadiers were arrested, and sent to Madras for trial, by chap. n. 

order of the Commander-in-chief, who announced his 

resohition to have the turbans made up and worn, and in- ^^^• 
sistcd on prompt and unhesitating obedience. Of the 
]v,i.soners sent to the Presidency, two were sentenced by a 
native court-martial to receive nine hundred lashes each, 
and seventeen to receive hve hundred lashes each. The 
sentence was carried into execution in the two first 
instances ; * in the others it was remitted, in consequence 
of the professed contrition of the culprits. The award 
showed that there was no hope of redress from temperate 
representation ; especiaDy as the Governor in Council took 
up the subject in the same unquestioning spirit as the 
Commander-in-chief, and published his determination to 
enforce the order, and to employ all possible means of 
suppressing any act of insubordination. This was the 
radical error of the whole proceeding : it proved to the 
native troops that they could expect no countenance from 
their European ofi&cers, no consideration for their feelings 
from the Commander-in-chief or the Government, and 
corroborated the suspicion that the latter was inflexibly 
bent upon the abolition of the distinctions of tribe and 
caste, and the compulsory introduction of an outward con- 
formity at least to the practices of Christians. 

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 Mohammedan Syed and a Hindu Brahman, had 
given evidence that there was nothing in its construction 
that was incompatible with their religious faith. This 
was no more than true ; but although particular influences 
might in some cases have overcome the objection felt by 
the troops, and, as is not at all unusual 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 

> Lord W. Bentinck says, the two ringleaders only received punishment.— 
>remorial, p. 3. See also Madras General Orders by the Commander-in-chief, 
2nd July, 1806. 


BOOK I. the army, and it would have been more jnst and generous 
CHAP. II. in the Government, as well as more politic, to have 

refrained from rating the shape of a cap at a higher value 

1806. -tjjan the affections of the soldiery. 

With regard to the order abolishing marks of caste 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 been introduced very generally in practice 
before the code was drawn up, and that similar prohibi- 
tions 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 promulgated with impunity. Tlie 
commanding officer of a Sipahi battalion who has acquired 
the confidence of his men can do much, even in opposi- 
tion to their inclinations, without exciting that dissatis- 
faction which may be engendered by a formal order of the 
Commander-in-chief; and it can scarcely be considered 
peculiar to the natives of India, although in an especial 
degree to be predicated of them, that prejudices, which 
soften and dissolve before gentle and judicious influence, 
commonly harden into intractable rigidity when abruptly 
and harshly denounced. The practice of particular regi- 
ments, therefore, afforded 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 feelings thus 
exasperated, should have produced their fatal effects at 
Vellore, was no doubt attributable to an additional stimu- 
lus applied by the presence of the family of Tippoo Sultan. 
The followers and attendants of the princes, naturally ill- 
disposed towards the British Government, availed them- 
selves of the opportunity afforded by the prevailing dis- 
content, and contributed by all means in their power to- 
confirm the impression which the Sipahis entertained of 
the ulterior objects of the innovations commanded ; 
taunting them with the badges of Christianity which had 

1 So much of the order as related to sectarial marks and ear-rings was, in 
truth, not Sir J. Cradock's. It was circulated hy Iiis predecessor, ^yfajor- 
General Sir J. Campbell, Uth January, 1805, shortly before Sir J. Cradock's 


been imposed upon them in the turnscrew and the turban, BOOK I. 
and calling upon them to die rather than apostatise from chap. n. 

their faith. It was established by the evidence before the 

court and commission of inquiry, that some of the confi- ■^^^^'* 
dential servants of one of the princes, Moiz-ad-din, had 
been present at the secret meetings which had preceded 
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 eight days, they would 
be joined by other regiments, and by many of the principal 
Poligars, with whose aid the Mohammedan kingdom of 
]\[ysore would be re-established. The influence exercised 
by these instigations was the more immediate, from the 
circumstance 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 perpetration of atrocities which the injury oftered 
to their i)rejudices 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 incon- 
siderateness of the English authorities. Mischievous 
hands may have applied a torch, but no explosion would 
have ensued had not the material of conflagration been 
previously accumulated. 

That the mutiny of Vellore was of a purely political 
character, and arose out of a conspiracy to replace a Mo- 
hammedan 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 con- 
nexion, — was wholly incapable 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 communica- 
tions made to the conspirators in their name had proceeded 
from them, and it was clearly established that prior to the 
mutiny they had never held personal intercourse with any 
of the insurgents. Although it appeared that during the 


BOOK I. tumult some of the Sipahis received refreshments at the 
cH.ip. 11. liouses of two of the princes, Mohi-ad-din and Moiz-ad-din, 

and that the Mysore flag was brought from the residence 

1806. Qf ^i^e 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 suspi- 
cion whatever attached to the elder members of the 
family ; the younger were of too tender an age to be cogni- 
zant of such a project ; and the utmost criminality that 
could be charged against some of the intermediate mem- 
bers of the fraternity was the possibihty of their being 
aware of the agitation of a plot against the European 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 Marriott. Attachment to the Com- 
pany was not to be expected from them, but there was 
little to apprehend from their animosity. Their own 
characters and habits were a sufficient security for their 
harmlessness. They were bitter enemies to each other, * 
and were uniformly destitute of activity, enterprise, and 
courage. They had neither the spirit to conceive, nor the 
daring to execute, a project that demanded both ; and, 
whatever may have been their own wishes or the partici- 
pation of their adherents, there is ample reason to con- 
clude that the sons of Tippoo were not personally the 
originators or instigators of the mutiny. As, however, 
their presence was calculated to keep alive the hopes of 
their adherents, and furnish a rallying point to the dis- 
affected, they were removed from the Madras Presidency 
to that of Bengal, and placed under easy surveillance in 
the vicinity of Calcutta. - 

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

^ They vrere removed from Vellore, on the 28th of August, 1806, amidst an 
immense concourse of spectators, who manifested no sympathy in their fate, 
nor was it apparently any object of anxiety to themseires. 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 offlcjal 
surveillance, but no personal restraint. Moiz-ad-din, against whom circum- 
stances were most unfavourable, was kept for some time in confinement, but 
was eventually liberated. Some of the brothers, and a multitude of descend- 
ants, still survive. One of the brothers, Jami-ad-din Hyder, who at the time 
of the Vellore mutiny was about ten years of age, spent some years in Eng- 
land, and died here in 1842. 


Still more untenable were the opinions of those who BOOK I. 
behelil in the transaction the evidence of a general plot chap. n. 

nni'Miu' the Moh&mmedans of the Dekhin to restore the 

i'^nty of Islam and expel the unbelievers ; yet the l^^^* 
: iiment of Madras was at first inclined to adopt this 
. ;e\v, and declared its impression that a widely diffused 

•nfetleracy 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 Barlow saw 
the business in its true colours, and questioned the reality 
of any extensive or secret combination of the natives, and 
Lord William Bentinck 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 against 
them.' Of whom was such a confederacy to be composed ? 
The Mohammedan princes of the Dekhin were not likely to 
feel any great sympathy for the descendants of a military 
adventurer whom, while living, they had despised, even 
while they feared him. The principal of them, the Nawab 
of the Carnatic and the Nizam, could not have entered 
into such an association without its coming to the know- 
ledge 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 en- 
gage in a scheme, the success of which must have brought 
back the days of Moslem bigotry, intolerance and perse- 
cution. 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 Tippoo and 

• Mach stress -was laid tipon information received from a native Subahdar 
of ciivalry, who had been long in tlie service of the Company, and professed 
devoted allegiance to the Government ; but all that was fairly dedncible from 
his communications was, that the disaffection of tbe troops was more exten- 
sive than had been ima,2cined. All the causes of this disaffection he declared 
it was difficult to state, but he expressed his belief that it arose principally 
from the intrij^nes of Tippoo's family and their adherents: he stated that a 
number of persons formerly in the Sultan's senrice, or their relations, were 
now serving in the native regiments, and that agents and friends of tLo 
family were employed all over the country in instigating discontent. That 
the Company's regiments had enlisted many of Tippoo's soldiers was well 
known, and that they and the Mohammedans 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 Mohammedan dynast}'. The Subalidar's information wjos merely 
individual belief, unsupported by evidence of facta.— 3IS. Records ; Lord W. 
Bentinck's Memorial, 103. 

VOL. I. H 


BOOK I. any chief or princes out of the fort ; and, although some 
CHAP. II. of the mutineers talked vaguely of the support that was 

expected from one or two insignificant Pohgars, yet 

1806. neither messenger nor letter had ever been interchanged, 
and no warrant had been given by them for such a 
misuse of their names. A conspiracy of the Moham- 
medan princes was a mere shadow, created by an alarm- 
ist imagination, or by a wish to shift the responsibility 
from the real cause, the military orders, to one wholly 

But positive proof that the mutiny originated in no po- 
litical combination was afforded by occurrences in other 
quarters. The feelings that instigated the mutiny at Vel- 
lore were likewise entertained by the subsidiary force at 
Hyderabad, and consequences equally serious were appre- 
hended. 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. The}'- took upon themselves 
the responsibility of disobeying the general orders of the 
Commander-in-chief, and published a cantonment order in 
which the Sipahis were told that they were wholly mis- 
taken in supposing that any measures enjoined by the 
supreme authority could be intended in the smallest 
degree to infringe upon what the Government held so 
sacred as their religion ; but that, as they had so miscon- 
ceived 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 directed the making up of the new 
turbans to be suspended. The effect of this judicious 
procedure was immediate, and calm and confidence at 
once revived among the troops. In the investigation 
which succeeded, it was found that some of the disaffected 
nobles of the court of Hyderabad had taken advantage of 
the existing discontent to foment the irritation, and that 
one or two of the native officers 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 com- 
munion with Vellore could be traced than that of similar 



desperation, originating simultaneously from similar ap- BOOK I. 
rehensions.' chat. ii. 

At Wiillajabad, again, a like disposition was discovered, 
arising from a like cause. The order for the new turban 
was issued early in June, and was received with expres- 
sions 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 officers excited the alarm of the 
latter.2 The 1st battahon 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 investigation that took place showed 
that there had been great exaggeration in the tales which 
had inspired the panic ; and although some of the native 
officei-s and a few men of bad character had been active in 
aggi-avating 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 offensive orders, restored tran- 
quillity, and no further indications of disaffection were 

It was not to be expected that a ferment so violent, and 
a catastrophe so dreadful, should at once have passed over 
and been forgotten ; and, accordingly, some months 
elapsed before confidence and security were restored. 
The Sipahis were slow to credit the sincerity of the 
(lovernment, and, still suspecting its having entertained 
sinister designs, attributed their frustration to the mutiny 
at Vellore ; they therefore looked upon those who had 
fallen in the recapture of the fortress as martyrs for their 
faith, and in some places secretly solemnised their funeral 

' Rumours the most extraordinary and incredible spread amongst the 
troops at this station; it was reported that the Europeans had a design to 
•lassacre tlie natives, that a hundred bodies without heads were lying on the 
Mitnks of the Musa river, and that the Europeans had built a church which 
the heads of these 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 conse- 
(juence of long drills and generally harsh or inconsiderate treatment. On 
one occasion, after a drill from sunrise till seven, they were kept in the bar- 
racks till twelve cleaning their arms and accoutrements. On bemg dis- 
missed, some angi y and menacing exclamations were uttered. 



BOOK I. obsequies. This was the case at Nandidrtig, where part of 
CHAP. II. the 18th K I., a regiment raised in Mysore, was stationed; 
and, consequent upon the excitement thus occasioned, 
some wild and mischievous excesses were in contempla- 
tion : timely precautions prevented their commission, and, 
upon the discharge of some of those most deeply im- 
plicated, the rest expressed their contrition, and the agita- 
tion subsided. In truth, much of the excitement that 
prevailed during the latter months of 1806 was the work 
of the officers themselves : passing from one extreme to 
the other, they exchanged the supineness of security for 
the restlessness of suspicion, credulously listened to every 
whisper of insurrection, trembled at every idle tale of 
intended tumult and massacre, and kept both themselves 
and their men in a constant fever of aimless apprehension. 
The tranquillising operation of time, the repeated in- 
junctions of both the local Government and that of 
Bengal to the officers to abstain from all manifestations of 
distrust, and the strongest assurances published to the 
troops that the British Government would ever respect 
their religious creeds, gradually allayed anxiety and re- 
established trust.i 

Upon considering, therefore, the utter improbability of 
any combined co-operation of the Mohammedan princes of 
the Dekhin with the sons of Tippoo, the absence of aU 
proof of its existence, the extension of the discontent to 
places where no political influence in their favour could 
have been exerted, the prevalence of disaffection among 
the Hindus as well as the Mohammedans, and, finally ad- 
mitting 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 fairness to the ques- 
tion of the conversion of the natives of India to Chris- 
tianity, the nature of the panic which spread amongst the 
Sipahis requires to be candidly aj)preciated. It is a great 
error to suppose that the people of India are so sensitive 
upon the subject of their religion, either Hindu or Moham- 
medan, as to suffer no approach of controversy, or to 

1 " The panic wore away, tlie Sepoys forgot their fears of an attack upoa 
their religion, and the otficers no longer slept with pistols under tlie:r pil- 
lows." — Lord W. Bentinck's Jlemorial, p. 40. For the Government proclama- 
tion, see Appendix. 


encounter adrerse opinions with no other arguments than BOOK I. 
insurrection and murder. On the contrary, great latitude chap. ii. 

of belief and practice has always prevailed amongst them, — • 

and especially among the troops, in whose ranks will be ^^^^* 
found seceders of various denominations 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 
unusual activity in the propagation of those doctrines was 
exercised by Christian missionaries at the period of its oc- 
currence. It was not conversion whicli the troops dreaded, 
it was compulsion ; it was not the reasoning or the persua- 
sion of the missionary which they feared, but the arbitrary 
interposition of authority. They believed, of course er- 
roneously, that the Government was about to compel them 
to become Christians, and they resisted comj)ulsory 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 British Government and 
its Indian subjects remains unaltered. It is not enough 
that the authority of the ruling power should never inter- 
pose in matters of religious belief, it should carefully avoid 
furnishing grounds of suspicion that it intends to inter- 

A subject of minor importance, but one that was 
agitated with no less vehemence, divided the chief civil 
and mihtary functionaries at Madras ; each endeavouring 
to get rid of the responsibility of having issued the ob- 
noxious orders. Sir John Cradock urged in his defence 

1 The opinion that the Government liad some such project in view was not 
confined to tlie Sipaliis. Mir Alem, the veteran minister of tlie Nizam, and, 
as has been seen, the stauncli friend of the English, expressed liis surprise that 
the Britisli 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 Kesidents ; MS. llecords. 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 Mohammedans.— Lord W. Bentinck's 
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 Avas intended to make the Sepoys 
Christians."— Utter to Lord W. Bentinck, Uth August, 180G. This letter 
also shows, that, in a part of the Peninsula where the adherents of the 
family of Ilyder were most numerous, there were no reasons for believing 
that any intrigues had been at work in their favour.— Life of Sir T. Munro, 
i. 303. 


BOOK I. that lie had acted by the advice of his official military 
oiiAi'. II. counsellors, the Adjutant-General and Deputy Quai-ter- 

Master-General, officers of experience and well acquainted 

1806. -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 ex^Dected that 
he or the members of Council were to read and comment 
upon every article of a voluminous code of military regula- 
tions compiled under the instructions of the Commander- 
in-chief, and for which he was responsible ; that accord- 
ingly they sanctioned the regulations as a matter of form, 
examining those only which were designated as novel, and 
passing over those to which their attention w^as not 
directed as innovations upon established practice. In 
this manner they w^ere not aware of the order regarding 
the marks of sect, and the trimming of the mustachios ; 
* although they did notice and authorise the alteration of 

the turbans. The Governor of Madras seems to make 
light of the latter, and attaches most importance to the 
former ; but certainly the shape 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 expressed 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 measure, and solicited the 
advice and authority of the Governor 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 over- 
ruled : the Government repeated their conviction 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 arising from unfounded prejudice. It was 
proposed to substitute for the rescission of the order a 


proclamation, which, while it announced the determination BOOK 1. 
of the authorities to enforce obedience, disclaimed all pur- chap. ii. 

pose of religious interference ; but in the mean time in- 

formation of a different tenor from the preceding having 1806. 
reached Sir J. Cradock, he was led to believe that the dis- 
satisfaction had subsided, and that the proclamation was 
unnecessary. It would have been, no doubt, of little avail, 
as it expressed the obstinacy of the authorities in persistr- 
ing in the ofiensive innovation ; but the inaccuracy of the 
inteUigence which suspended its publication was presently 
afterwards demonstrated by actual occurrences, and a pro- 
clamation of a diflferent purport was put forth. The re- 
ference of the Commander-in-chief, and the mannei in 
which it was received, are decisive of the degree of respon- 
sibility 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 se- 
rious mischief, and however averse he may have been to 
ucknowledge 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 en- 
forcement, aud 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 prac- 
tice with caution and judgment, and not without due con- 
sideration for the circumstances which may call for its 
exercise, the feelings which it may embitter, or the conse- 
quences which it may provoke.* Herein consisted the er- 
ror of both Sir J. Cradock and Lord W. Bentinck, that 
they excluded every other view but that of military 

I 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 natires, 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 European discipline, for- 
getting the different characters of the native and the Englishman. There is 
an Asiatic sensitiveness and propriety in the conduct of the Sepoy, which 
renders the roughness and severity with wliich we treat English soldiers 
offensive and unnecessary towards him." — Relations of the British Govern- 
ment and Native States, by J. Sutherland, Captain 3rd Bombay Cavalry, 
p. 10. It seems extraordinary, that, after so many years' experience, the 
character of the native army should be imperfectly understood ; but recent 
events have shown tlmt it is not even yet accurately appreciated by the Indian 


OOK I. subordination.^ The Court of Directors considered their 
HAv. 11. conduct equally unsatisfactory : they were accordingly re- 

called ; and although at a subsequent period, and upon a 

180 G. calmer review of the transaction, they acquitted Lord W. 
Bentinck and Sir John Cradock of a wanton or needless 
violation of the rehgious usages of the natives, yet they 
retained 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. The deci- 
sion seems to be fully justified by a dispassionate survey 
of the transaction. A careful and considerate investiga- 
tion of the objections to the turban, which were advanced 
by the Sipahis in May, would in all likelihood have pre- 
vented the mutiny of July. 

It will now be convenient to advert to the proceedings- 
which during this period took place in Great Britain re- 
lating to the administration of the affairs of the Indian 


Proceedififfs hi England. — Refusal of the Directors to 
concur in the appointment of the Earl of Lauderdale as 
Governor-General. — Sir George Barloiu recalled hy the 
King's Sign-manual. — Discussions in Parliament and 
with the Board of Controul. — Lord Minto appointed 
Governor-General. — Proceedings in the House of Com- 
mons. — Impeachment of Lord Wellesley hy Mr. Paidl. — 
Papers moved for. — Charges relating to the Nawdb of 

1 On receiving advice of the repupniance 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 JIadras for trial, and that the non- 
commissioned ofiBcers of the 4thAvho had declined to wear the turban, and tlie 
commissioned officers, should immediately make it up and wear it, on pain 
of dismission from the service. The officer commanding the I9th 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 liesitation 
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 sometiiing like it. " The opposition which 
has been experienced in the late change of turbans is destitute of any 
foundation in the law or usage of Uie Mohammedan or Hindu religion, and 
any persons wlio may persevere in that opposition cannot, in consequence^ 
fail to be subjected to the severest penalties of military discipline." — G. 0. 
by Government, 4th July; Memorial, p. 94. 



Oude. — Nawah of Furricckahad. — Zemindar of Sasnee BOOK I. 
and others. — Proceedings interrupted hy Dissolution of cuap. in. 
Parliament. — lletiewed hy Lord Folkestone. — Impeach- 
ment abandoned. — Condennnatory liesolutions negatived. 
— Merits of the Oude Question. — Motion for an Inquiry 
into the Assumption of the Carnatic negatived. — Censure 
of Lord Wdlesley's Policy ly the Court of Proprietors. — 
Appointment of a Select Co?nmittee of the House of Com- 
mons. — Diminished Import Trade of the Company. 

THE embarrassed state of the fijiances of the East India 
CompaDy, attributed to the ambition and extrava- 
gance of Marquis Wellesley, and the countenance which 
he had shown to the extension of the private trade, and 
consequent encroachment on the Company's commercial 
privileges, had excited a strong feehng of hostility to that 
nobleman's administration in the Court of Directors, 
which awakened a corresponding sentiment in the ma- 
jority 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 vie^vs which were entertained at the India House ; 
and although he resisted, through the Board of Controul, 
the expression of the Court's disapprobation, yet he had 
consented to give it fuU effect by the appointment of Lord 
Comwallis, a nobleman of different character and princi- 
ples. The death of that nobleman threatened to frustrate 
the purposes of his nomination ; but the zeal with which 
liis intentions were carried out by Sir G. Barlow, upon his 
assuming the government, forcibly recommended to the 
Coui't his continuance as Governor-General. They were 
at first allowed to hope that then* wish would be complied 
with : but they were speedily disappointed, under circum- 
stances which, as involving questions of some importance, 
merit to be detailed. 

Information of the death of Marquis CornwaUis 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 Comwallis was one of the last 


BOOK I. measures of the retiring administration : it %vas readily 
CHAP. III. acceded to by their opponents, and it was resolved that 

his statue should be erected in St. Paul's cathedral. ^ The 

1^*^^- East India Company voted a grant to his heir of 40,000?. 
The appointment of a successor devolved on the new 
ministers, amongst whom Lord IMinto was charged with 
the superintendence of Indian affairs as President of the 
Board of Controul ; and by him a communication Avas 
made on the 14th of February to the Court of Directors, 
conveying his impression of the importance, in the actual 
state of affairs in India, of investing Sir G. Barlow with- 
out delay with the fullest powers, and recommending that 
he should be at once formally appointed Governor-General 
of India. The recommendation was immediately com- 
jjlied with, and the commission was made out and signed 
on the 25 th of February. It was therefore with no small 
degree of astonishment 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 adhering to the original ar- 
rangement ; until, finding that their remonstrances and 
arguments were ineffectual, they positively refused to can- 
cel the appointment. The ministry retaliated by a warrant 
under the King's sign-manual recalling Sir G. Barlow ; and 
the Court was finally compelled to agree to a compromise, 
by which the Earl of Lauderdale ostensibly declined the 
acceptance of the office, and Lord Minto was nominated 

The difference which had thus arisen between the Di- 
rectors and the Ministers afforded to the parliamentary 
adversaries of the latter a reasonable pretext for animad- 
versions 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 
Administration was vindicated by Lord Grenville, and the 
motion was negatived without a division. 

In the correspondence with the Board, as well as in the 

1 Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, 3rd February, 1806. 
a Pari. Debates, 8th July, 1806. 


debate in the House of Lords, it was manifest that there BOOK I. 
were two main points of difference between the contend- chap. in. 
ing parties ; one of a private, one of a pubhc nature. No 

xceptious to the Earl of Lauderdale were openly advanced ^^'^^•• 
! >y the Court ; but, besides tho preference of the indivi- 
dual in the instance of Sir G. Barlow, there is no doubt 
that the Earl of Lauderdale's known opinions in favour of 

Vee trade and popular government rendered him unac- 
ucptable to many of the members of the Direction.* 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 Grenville declaring that the grounds 
on which he was ready to admit those merits being Sir G. 
Barlow's zealous concurrence and effective co-operation in 
the measures and in the system of Marquis Wellesley, 
v.hose government was, in his opinion, the most splendid 
and glorious that India had ever known. The adoption 
of a totally opposite system by Sir G. Barlow must conse- 
quently have been utterly incompatible with his appoint- 
ment to the office of Governor-General, in Lord Gren- 
ville's estimation. At the same time, the Directors com- 
plained with good reason of the inconsistency of the Ca- 
binet in precipitately revoking an appointment 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 superses- 
sion, that it was impossible he could have derived any ad- 
ditonal 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 

> Lord Lauderdale was a zealous supporter of Mr. Fox's India Bill, and 
an opposer of the Company's privileges. In politics his opinion were ex- 
treme, and led him to advocate the principles of the French Revolution. He 
made himself conspicuous in the House of Lords by atfectinj,' a costume sup- 
posed to characterise Jacobinism. — Obituary notice, Gentleman's Magazine, 


BOOK I. temporary, until there should be more leisure to give it 
CHAP. III. that deliberation which its importance demanded. His 

letter, however, expressly stated that there was no inten- 

1806. ^^Qj^ q£ making any immediate change ; and the Court, 
naturally inferring that a much longer period than that of 
ten days was contemplated, resented the suddenness of 
the alteration as indecorous towards themselves, and un- 
fair and unjust towards Sir G. Barlow. Intended 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 per- 
sisted in. It was evident that the first announcement of 
the purposes of the Ministry was premature, and that 
either Lord Minto had acted ^vithout consulting his col- 
leagues, 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 secur- 
ing, by means of it, parliamentary 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 distinct perception of the 
virtual j)ower of the Crown to dispose at pleasure of the 
highest ofl&ces inlndia. It had been hitherto argued, thatthe 
clause in the act of 17842 — 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 Direction, or the vehemence of partisans in 
the Court of Proprietors, might uphold in ofl&ce, in spite 
of notorious incompetency or misconduct. In such au 
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 with his Majesty's Ministers, in order 

' Mr. Fox admitted that the appointment of Sir G. Barlow was made before 
the Administration was fully formed.— Pari. Deb. 10th March, 1806. 
2 24 Geo. III. cap. 25, sec. 22. 


to preserve that good understanding which was essential BOOK T. 
to the conduct of public affairs, yet they denied that they chap. in. 

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 Ministers, 
and the choice of the Court were confined to that person 
alone, then would not the absolute appointment to the 
important situations of Governor-General, or Governor of 
the subordinate Presidencies, devolve in fact upon the 
Crown?" The same arguments were repeated by Lord 
INIelville. 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 whicli gave to the Crown the power of recall 
could not be fairly construed as a transfer of the patron- 
age, 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 pro- 
visions should be interpreted. In his reply to the Court, 
Lord Minto confined himself to the question of right ; 
admitting that of the Court to appoint, asserting that of 
the Crown to recall. Lord Grenville's answer to Lord 
Melville was, that laws were to be understood as they 
were expressed, and not according to the fancies or feelings 
of individuals ; that the same objections which were now 
started had been made when the clause was 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 j)erson whom Ministers wished to 
serve, it would be a violation of the law ; but, although 
ho denied that the measure originated in favour to Lord 
Lauderdale, he refused to assign any motives for the re- 
moval of Sir G. Barlow. He also denied that his removal 
was founded upon any systematic exclusion of the Com- 
pany's servants from places of the highest authority in 


BOOK I. India ; and observed, that such an insinuation came v;itli 
cHAi>. lu. a pecuharly ill grace from the members of the late Admi- 

nistration, who had exercised their patronage upon the 

1806. same principle, and had sent out Marquis Wellesley, Mar- 
quis CornwaUis, and other noblemen to India. Lord 
Minto replied in a similar strain to a like representation 
from the Court of the injustice done to their civil servants 
by their exclusion from the chief dignities in India ; and 
observed, that no disadvantage had resulted from the 
nomination to the first stations in that country of persons 
who possessed rank and influence in Great Britain.^ He 
further remarked, that it was indispensable that the Go- 
vernment 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 observed, might make the Go- 
vernor-General the mere creature of a party, taking and 
leaving office with every change of Ministry, and regulat- 
ing his proceedings in India, less by a disinterested regard 
for the prosperity of that country, than by anxiety for the 
retention of power and place by his colleagues in England ; 
and they maintained, with unanswerable justice, that the 
Governor-General of India ought to be unfettered by 

1 The absolute exclusion of the Company's servants from the highest offices 
in India was never advocated ; it was only asserted, that, Avith regard to the 
appointment of Governor-General, advantage had resulted from the preference 
of exalted station in Great Britain, — a proposition to which few of the Com- 
pany's servants would hesitate to accede. With respect not only to the office 
of Governor-General, but to those of subordinate Governors, one of the most 
distinguished and respected of the Civil servants of the Company, the late 
Mr. Edmonstone, has left on record sentiments 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 opi- 
nion has always been generally adverse to selecting the Governors from among 
those who have belonged to the service, because I think, that, with very few- 
exceptions, an individual who has passed through the several gradations of 
the public service, and has consequently been known in the lowest as M-ell as 
the liighest 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 regards both the European and 
native population. A person of eminence and distinction proceeding from 
England to fill 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 usually 
command." — Evidence, Commons' Committee, 1832; Public Question, 1701. 
There are other obvious advantages from the appointment of a person of 
rank and connexion to the office of Governor-General in particular, that more 
than compensate for any want of stimulus to exertion which the possibility of 
attaining so elevated a station might be thought to afford to the servants of 
the Company. 


party and Ministerial obligations. The qualification of BOOK 1. 
partisanship for the office of Governor-General of India, chap. in. 

..'though first avowed by the TVhigs, is too congenial to 

the selfishness of that party spirit which governs the na- ^SOQ. 
tional 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 
1806, that the principle did not regulate their j^ractice. 
Lord Minto, although selected from the ranks of their 
ailversaries, was allowed to remain undisturbed in the 
discharge of his Indian duties until he was superceded by 
the Court of Directors. 

The discussion that thus arose was not without ulterior 
consequences. Whatever were the ostensible motives of 
the disputants, however veiled by sophistical reasoning 
or unmeaning professions, there is no doubt that patron- 
age 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 conciliatory manner, by leaving the appointment with 
the Court of Directors, subject only to its contingent an- 
nulment 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 
: o the Marquis Cornwallis, the intimation was not disre- 
garded ; and, on the first subsequent opportunity for the 
renewal of the charter, a clause was inserted ^ more dis- 
tinctly enunciatory of the power of the Crown, by which 
the appointments to the offices of Governor-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 Administra- 
tion of the da}'.- 

' 53 Geo HI. cap. 155, sec. 10. 

^ In the examination of Mr, Auter, the Secretary to the Court of Directors, 
before the Commons' Committee of 1832, the relative share of the Ministers 


BOOK T, The attention of the House of Commons was called to 
CHAP. III. other subjects connected with the Government of India ; 

and many of its deliberations were devoted, •s\ath little 

180G. advantage either to India or to Great Britain, to a futile 
attempt to impeach the late Governor-General, Marquis 

Mr. James PauU had resided some years in the prin- 
cipality of Gude,^ 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, until the period of a visit which 
he paid to England.^ Upon his return, the Nawab 
strongly objected to his being domiciled in Oude ; but 
his objections were withdrawn in consequence of the 
intercession of the Governor-General," and Mr. Paull re- 
paired to Lucknow, "sensibly feeling the obligations he 
was under to his Excellency, for whom he had only senti- 
ments of gratitude and profound respect."'* These sen- 
timents were short-lived. Mr. Paull, soon after Lord 
Wellesley's resignation, returned also to England : his 
first step was the purchase 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 2oth June, 1805, for the production of papers in- 
tended 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 

and Directors in the patronage of the highest offices in India was a subject 
fully discussed. Mr. Auber contended stoutly for the power of the Directors, 
but was obliged to admit that no Governor-General or Commander-in-Chief 
had ever been named by the Court of whom the Cro-rni had disapproved, being 
in fact nominated upon a previous communication with the Board, while 
several instances of disapprobation of inferior appointments and their conse- 
quent annulment had occurred. The Directors in fact may be said to exercise 
a kind of selection, but it must pe from individuals who they are assured will 
be acceptable to the Ministers. 

' He is noticed as agent for one of the Nawab's creditors in 1 796. 

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

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

■♦ Correspondence printed by order of Parliament, 16th June, 180C,No. 20. 



the eyes of the world, and in the face of the most solemn BOOK I. 
treaties had been dispossessed of a territory which had chai'. hi. 
a population of three millions of attached subjects, and 
yielded an annual revenue of nearly two millions sterling. 
Papers were also mcfved for, relating to the appointment 
of Mr. Henry Wellesley as Commissioner for the affairs 
of Oude ; which appointment, he not being a servant of 
the East India Company, was in defiance of an act of 
parliament and a violation of the law. No opposition was 
made to the production of the papers ; and subsequently 
similar documents were granted relating to Lord Welles- 
ley's treatment of the Raja of Bhurtpore, 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 sufficiently 
indicated their eventual result. The individual who had 
undertaken to establish the criminality of Lord Wellesley 
was ill quaUfied for the task, even if he had been provided 
with more tenable grounds for his accusations. The in- 
temperance 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 character had concurred in the 
unqualified reprobation of many of those measures of 
the Governor-General which were now brought under 
Parhamentary investigation.'-' He was opposed by both 
the political parties in the Commons : by one as partici- 
pant of Lord Wellesley's measures ; by the other on the 
principle that, although the system might be reprehensi- 
ble, yet Parliamentary inquiry was neither necessary nor 

' He accused, in his charge with respect to Oude, Lord Wellesley and Mr. 
H. Wellesley of coinmittini,' murder, when speaking of the employment of a 
military force against the refractorj' Zemindars in the Ceded districts ; and, on 
a subsequent occasion, he calls upon the House to consider the situation of 
India, from the accursed day when Marquis Wellesley set foot there, until 
the day of his departure, during which interval it exhibited a constant 
scene c>f rapine, oppression, cruelty, and fraud which poaded the whole 
country into a state of revolt, — Hansard's Pari. Del^ates, 23rd May and 6th 
July. 1806. 

■■' Mr. Thornton observed, that impeachment was a step miich stronger than 
anythinc which he was i)repared to think the conduct of Marquis Wellesley, 
improper as he esteemed it, could warrant him in adoptinu ; and Mr. (Jrant, 
althouph he certainly judued inquiry to be necessary, did not deem it iidvisable 
to proceed to impeachment. — Pari. Debitcs. 
VOL. I. I 



BOOK I. expedient.^ And he derived no weight from popular 
CHAP. iif. interest, as it was engrossed by considerations of nearer 

and more vital importance. 

180G. 'pijQ f^^J,^^ charge brought forward, the prodigal expendi- 

ture 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 so irregular a course. He ob- 
served, that " the honourable , member had not told the 
House what were the documents to be laid before it in sup- 
port of the charge, nor when they were to be produced : 
he understood, in fact, that the mover had really no 
documents, although he had proposed a day for discussion ; 
and if, when that day should arrive, he should be unpro- 
vided with means to substantiate his charge, he would 
find himself in a very awkward and unpleasant predica- 
ment." So ill concerted were Mr. PauU's proceedings, 
that, having moved that the charge be taken into con- 
sideration 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 obvious 
necessity, however, of bringing forward written vouchers 
enforced an alteration. The motion was withdrawn, and, 
in its place, papers to show the relative expenditure of 
successive Indian administrations were moved for, and 

1 The sentiments of Mr. Fox are worthy of note, from the difference of his 
language on this occasion and that which he used during the proceedings 
against Wai-ren Hastings. He said, " He, and others wiio agreed witli him, 
had no wish to disparage the proceeding, or to throw obstacles in the way ; 
hut, 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 inquirj' ; he might disapprove of, and strongly 
oppose systems, but he would not always think it necessary to resort to in- 
quu*ies. Impeachment was a bad mode of proceeding, except in particular 
cases ; and certainly it Avas not advisable to adopt it with regard to a Go- 
vernor-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 impeach- 
ments, or flew from them, or any other worse term might be employed, if 
worse could be found. To this he would make no answer." — Pari. Debates, 
1 3tli April, 1806. 


A tangible charge was at length elicited. Reverting to BOOK I. 
the treatment of the Nawab of Oude, and the appro- chap. iii. 

priation of the Ceded districts, it was affirmed that in 

these proceedings Marquis Wellesley had violated sub- 1807. 
sisting treaties, and every principle of equity and right ; 
had been regardless of his duty to the East India Company, 
his Sovereign, and his country ; had contemned the Par- 
liament, the King, and the laws; had dishonoured the 
British nation and name ; and had in these respects been 
guilty of high offences, crimes, and misdemeanours. A 
second charge was subsequently brought forward, accusing 
the Governor-General of having unjustly and violently 
comi)elled the Nawab of Furruckabad to give np his 
territory. Evidence was heard on the Oude charge, which 
closed on the 4th of July. On the 6th, Lord Temple moved 
that the charge should be taken into consideration ; but 
the motion was resisted on the plea of precipitancy, and, 
as further papers were requested, the discussion 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 proceedings ; 
and, upon the dissolution of Parliament which ensued, 
Mr. Paull, having canvassed unsuccessfully the borough 
of "Westminster, ceased to bs 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 object ; all purpose of impeachment being dis- 
avowed. A series of resolutions was proposed, condem • 
natory 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 dominions ; 
but, after a prolonged discussion, the resolutions were 
rejected by a considerable majority. It was then moved 
by Sir John Anstruther, and carried by a majority equally 
numerous, that the Marquis of Wellesley, in executing the 
late arrangements in Oude, was actuated by an ardent 
zeal for the pubhc 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 sub- 


BOOK I. jected to Parliamentary investigation has been explained 
CHAP. III. in a preceding volume.* It is, therefore, unnecessary to 

2 — do more in this place than to advert briefly to the prin- 

180/. cipal arguments, which, amidst much irrelevant matter, 
were urged by either party. 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 dis- 
charged 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 concession, 
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 resist 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 acqui- 
sition of territory thus obtained was in opposition to 
the sentiments of the Court of Directors as expressed 
in a despatch signed by them all, with one only exception ; 
and was a violation of the declared sense of Parliament, 
which had expressly denounced territorial extension in 
India as contrary to the honour and wishes of the 

In opposition to these assertions, it was affirmed, that 
the Kawab of Oude was not entitled to be regarded as an 
independent sovereign ; the military defence of his terri- 
tories having devolved upon the British from their first 
connexion with Oude, and their interposition in its in- 
ternal 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 

' Mill, 136. 



hcen deposed, and himself placed on the throne, by the BOOK I. 
iovernor-General. That the treaty of 1798 had reference chai'. hi. 
10 the actual position of the Nawab, but did not preclude — — ;; — 
interference whenever circumstances should urgently call ^^^'' 
for it. That subsequently circumstances had occurred 
which demanded 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 maladministration of the 
Xawab, and his inability to maintain subordination and 
realize his revenues : that, while the means of keeping up 
an effective subsidiary force were likely to be thus de- 
ficient, the necessity of augmenting its strength had been 
rendered imperative ; first, by the absence of adequate 
provision for internal defence ; and secondly, by the im- 
minence of external danger. The troops of the Nawab 
were a disorderly and disaffected body, a source rather of 
peril than of safety, whose reduction was highly advan- 
tageous to the state. Eepeated menaces of invasion had 
been put forth by Zeman Shah, the ruler of the Afghans ; 
and the presence of Sindhia's disciplined brigades under 
French officers upon the frontiers of Oude menaced the 
integrity of the principality, and imperiously enjoined 
defensive preparations. Under these emergencies, the 
annexation to the British Indian empire of the districts 
in the Doab which were most exposed to foreign aggres- 
sion was indispensably necessary 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 appropria- 
tion 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 Mahrattas, the move- 
ments of the British armies would have been embarrassed 
by the necessity of holding in check a disorganized and 
turbulent population. The readiest method of preventing 
such results was the establishment of the British autho- 


BOOK I. rity in the territories in question, the maintenance of 
CHAP, III. order, and the application of the revenues to the pay- 

ment of the subsidiary force. That the measure, whilst 

1807. it strengthened the British Government, •would be condu- 
cive 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 helpless, and he acquiesced ; but he was not so 
blind to his own interests as to be deceived by the sj)ecious 
plausibility with which the mutilation of his authority 
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 spolia- 
tion 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 Furruckabad 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 pubUc credit and advantage. 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 December, 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 a committee to inquire 
into the assumption of the Carnatic. After an adjourned 
debate, the resolutions were rejected ; and it was moved 
and carried, that it was the opinion of the House that the 
Marquis Wellesley and Lord Powis, in their conduct rela- 



tivo to the Ciu-natic, appeared to have been influenced BOOK I. 
l)y motives of anxious zeal and solicitude for the chap. hi. 
J , w.ancnt security, welfare, and prosperity of the British 
possessions in India.* Thus ended the discussions in 
Parliament respecting Lord Wellesley's administration ; 
liaving had no other effect than that of excluding him 
from a share in the administration of affairs at home, 
when his co-operation would have been of value to Mi- 
nisters and to the country. 

A very diSerent result attended the proceedings of the 
Court of Proprietors. In May, 1806, a motion w^as there 
made for the production of the correspondence 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 
v.-hich had been expressed by the Coui-t of Directors in 
the draft of a letter to Bengal, the despatch of which had 
been aiTested by the Board of Controul. The documents 
having been printed,- a motion was made at a subsequent 
meeting, that " this Court, having considered the papers 
!aid before it, most highly approve of the zeal manifested 
and the conduct pursued by the Court of Directors, and 
regard a firm adherence to the principles maintained by 
the Court to be indispensably necessary to preserve the 
.•^alutary authority over the government of India vested 
by law in the Court of Directors, to restrain a profuse 
expenditure of the pubhc money, and to prevent all 
schemes of conquest and extension of dominion, — mea- 
sures which the Legislature had declared to be repugnant 
to the wish, the honour, and the policy of the nation ; and 
tliis Court do assure the Court of Directors of their most 
cordial and zealous support, with a view to preserve un- 
impaired the rights and privileges of the East India Com- 
pany. After a debate of some length, the resolution was 
.submitted to decision by ballot, when a very large ma- 
iority of the Proprietors expressed their concurrence in 
I he views of the Directors.^* It will not fall within the 

' The numbers, for the motion 98, auainst it 19 ; raajoritj- 79. 

2 Papers printed for the use of the Proprietors, 7th May, 1806. 

3 Tlie num»)ers were, in favour of the resolution, 928, against it, 195. A 
■majority of seven hundred and tliirty-three Proimetors recorded their con- 
demnation of Lord Wellesley's policy. — Asiatic Annual Register, 1806; 
Proceedings, India House. 


BOOK I. limits of this work to describe the proceedings of the 
CHAP. iir. Company at a date long subsequent ; but it deserves to be 

noticed, as a remarkable instance of the inconsistency of 

1808. public bodies, that, thirty years afterwards, the resolution, 
now so numerously and strenuously supported, was vir- 
tually 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 testifying their approbation of the general policy of 
his administration, and consequently of the principles of 
subsidiary alliances and territorial aggrandisement. 

The only other proceedings of importance at home 
affecting the Company's interests were partly of a financial 
character, and partly preliminary to the discussion of a 
question, the determination of which was now not very re- 
mote, — 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 affairs of the East India Company. A committee 
was appointed accordingly ; and to it was referred a peti^ 
tion submitted by the Company, praying that 1,200,000?. 
due to the Company 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 com- 
mercial resources, which had been occasioned by con- 
tinued remittances of goods and bullion to India, and the 
suspension of investments in return, in consequence 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, ad- 
mitting a considerable balance to be due to the India 
Company by his Majesty's Government ; and it was ac- 
cordingly resolved 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 

' Asiatic Journal; Proceedings in the India House, 1st November, 1837, anti 
]7tli March, 1841. 


Hke trespassing of private trade. The improved and im- BOOK I. 
proving cotton manufactures of England were beginning chap. iv. 

to exercise a sensible effect upon the similar products of 

Indian industry ; and the import value of 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.' 


Lord Minto Governor-General. — Sir G. Barlow, Governor 
of Fort St. George. — Character and Policy of the Go- 
vernor-General. — Determination to establish Order in 
Bunddlhand. — Description of the Hilly district of the 
province. — Colonel Martindell sent against Ajaygerh. — 
Affairs of Rajaoli. — Ajaygerh surrendered. — Laksh- 
man Dawa sets off to Calcutta, — leaves it again suddenly. 
His Family put to Death by his Father-in-law. — Opera- 
tions against Gopal Sing. — Nature of his Incursions. 

— His Submission. — Storm of Kalivjar, — repidsed. — 
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. 

— Disastroiis Life of Shah Shuja. — Return of the Em- 
bassy. — Mission to Sindh. — Revolutions in the Govern- 
ment of that Country. — Failure of Negotiation. — 
Intercourse between France and Persia. — Ul-concerted 
Measures of the British Authorities. — Sir Harford 
Jones sent as Ambassador from England, — Sir John 

Imports, Piece-goods, 



I rom Denjral . 

. £1,219,828 





Anjengo . 



£2,993,490 £432,820 

Report of Select Committe, No. 1, printed by order of the House of Com- 
mons, I2tli May, 1810. 

Tlic trade in piece-goods was deemed of such importance at the renewal of 
the charter in 1793, tliat it was stated hy the Committee of Correspondence, 
that witliout it the Company could not liquidate their political debts, still less 
furnish the means of participation to the public to the extent which was pro- 
posed.—Hesolution 8th, April 1st, 1793. 



BOOK I. Malcolm from India. — Unsatisfactory Result of the latter 
CHAP. IV. Mission. — Return of the Envoy. — A Military Expedi- 
tion to the Gulph projected hy the Bengal Government. — 
Sir Harford Jones departs from Bombay^— proceeds to 
Shiraz. — Prosecution of the Mission prohibited. — He 
perseveres, — reaches Tehran, — concludes a preliminary 
Treaty. — Disavovjed hy the Indian Government. — The 
Treaty confirmed. — Diplomatic Relations with Persia 
taken under the Management of the British Ministry. — 
Sir Gore Ouseley Ambassador. — Definitive TrecUy con- 
cluded, — productive of little Advantage. 

THE nobleman on whom the government of India now- 
devolved had been long engaged in public life, and 
had been for many years an active member of Parliament. 
Connected with the Yv^higs in political principle, and the 
personal friend of some of their great leaders. Sir Gilbert 
Elliot had been chosen as one of the managers for the 
Commons in the trial of Warren Hastings, and to him had 
been intrusted the conducting of the proposed impeach- 
ment of Sir Elijah Impey.^ The knowledge he had thus 
acquired of Indian affairs recommended him, upon the 
accession of his friends to power, to the office of Presi- 
dent of the Board of Controul ; and, when it was found 
impossible to overcome the repugnance of the Court of 
Directors to the appointment 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 disposal of the Vellore 
prisoners, and, resuming his voyage, reached Calcutta on 
the 3rd July. Lord William Bentinck having at the same 
time been recalled. Sir George Barlow was nominated 
Governor of Fort St. George, and repaired thither in De- 
cember of the same year. 

The sentiments which had been expressed at home, 
both by the Ministry and the Court of Directors, adverse 
to the system of policy followed by Lord Wellesley, neces- 
sarily imposed upon Lord Minto the obligation of adopting 
» See vol.T. of Mill's Hlstorj-, p. 59. 


principles of a less ambitious tenor, and of pursuing the BOOK I. 
measures which had been instituted by Lord Cornwallis chap. iv. 
and Sir George Barlow for tlie retrenchment of pubhc ' 

expenditure and the preservation of external tranquilhty. l^OS. 
The general tone of the new Administration was, there- 
fore, moderate and pacific ; and the character of the 
Governor-General, delighting in the milder glories of in- 
ternal prosperity, the amenities of domestic society, and 
the cidtivation 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 various important 
transactions, arising out of Indian and of European politics, 
signalised his career, and exhibited not unfrequent depar- 
tures from the policy of imperturbable forbearance and 
scrupulous non-interference which had been followed by 
•is predecessors. 

The enforcement of submission to authority, and the 
tuial establishment of order in the provinces recently an- 
nexed to the British territories, were amongst the first 
objects of the Governor-General's attention. The avoid- 
ance of interference in the quarrels of the petty Eajas of 
Bundclkhand, and the attempt to secure their allegiance 
and good-will by conciliatory means, had entirely failed. 
The impunity with which some of the most notorious 
}>atrons of the bands of free-booters, by whom the pro- 
vince was overrun, were suffered to retain possession of 
the districts they had usurped, served only to perpetuate 
depredation ; and the uncontrouled liberty which had been 
left to the Ilajas, of asserting by arms their own real or 
pretended rights to each other's lands, was productive of 
interminable disputes, and a disorganising repetition of 
internal warfare. It was obviously necessary, if it was 
worfh while to retain the province, to adopt a different 
mode of governing it ; and a change of measures was re- 
solved on. It was ofi&cially announced that the submission 
which milder means had failed to introduce should be 
estabhshed by force, and that the Government would com- 
pel, where necessary, obedience to its commands. The 
promulgation of these designs went far to effect their 


BOOK I. fulfilment. The Rajas who had hitherto believed that the 
CHAP iv. interposition of the British agent would be limited to 

advice only, which they had hitherto ventured to treat 

1808. \viih utter disregard, hastened, when they found that 
something more than mere advice was seriously contem- 
plated, 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 appeared 
upon investigation that they rightfully belonged, 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 Ajaygerh, 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 encompassed on its 
southern and south-eastern confines by portions of the 
great Vindhya chain of hills, which stretches across India 
from the Ganges to the gulph of Cambay. The portions 
of the chain which border upon Bundelkhand, or are 
included within its limits, consist of four nearly i^arallel 
ranges, running obliquely from north-east to south-west 
distinguished as the Vindhyachal, Panna, Bhander, and 
Thamian or Kaimur hills ; they are not of great elevation, 
but rise one above the other as they extend to the south 
and west. They are separated by narrow valleys or table- 
lands of limited extent, which, as well as the hills, are for 
the most part rendered difficult of access, by underwood 
and thick jungle. From the most northerly range, or 
Vindhyachal, isolated elevations are thrown out north- 
wards into the plain, forming a characteristic feature of 
this part of the country, and afibrding favourable positions 
for the construction of hill-forts :^ two of these had been 
selected for the site of the forts above named, and 
Kalinjar and Ajaygerh were regarded by the Bundelas as 
impregnable, both from the natural difiiculties of the 
approach to them, and the fortifications by which those 
difficulties had been enhanced. 

' Memoir on Bundelkhand, by Captain Franklin ; Trans. Royal Asiatic So- 
ciety, i. 259. 


The Kiladar of Ajaygerh, Lakshraan Dawa, originally BOOK I. 
the captain of a band of plunderers, had become possessed chap. iv. 

of that strong-hold through the connivance of the officer ' 

who had been placed in command of it by Shamshir ^^*^^' 
Bahadur, and who had been directed to give it up to the 
British authorities. Lakshman was permitted to retain 
the fort as a temporary arrangement, and to hold in 
Jagir the adjacent 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, and no 
intention of giving up the fort was exhibited. A body of 
troops was therefore assembled, and sent under Colonel 
Martindell against Ajaygerh. 

No opposition was encountered by Colonel MartindelFs 
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 projecting 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, w^here they had constructed parapet 
walls, and behind them made a resolute stand. As no 
ladders could be brought up with which to scale the wall, 
the assailants were recalled, and preparations were made 
for resuming the attack on the following morning. The 
enemy evacuated the post during the night.' 

On the following day Colonel Martindell proceeded to 
Ajaygerh, and batteries were raised against the fort. Ope- 
rations were, however suspended, by repeated messages 
from Lakshman Dawa promising to deliver up the fortress, 
and negociations were protracted until the 11th of Feb- 
ruary, in this expectation. Further delay was then re- 
fused, 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 timely surrender, and 

« The loss of the assaihints was 28 Sipahis killed, and 115 wounded, in- 
ctadinj,' three offlcers, of whom Lieut. Jainieson of the light battalion died of 
hit voiinda. 



BOOK I. Ajaygerh was taken possession of in the course of the day.* 
CHAP. IV. Lakshman Dawa gave himself up to Mr. Richardson, the 
Governor-General'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 Naosheher^ 
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, cherished a 
hope that the British authorities would reinstate 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 gun, as life without 
reputation was not worth preserving. As Mr. Richardson 
declined a compliance with either alternative, the chief 
resolved 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 
departed as unceremoniously as he iiad arrived, and endea- 
voured to effect his return to Bundelkhand : his flight was 
intercepted, and he was brought back to Calcutta, where 
he w^as detained until his death.^ 

Upon the disappearance ot Lakshman Dawa from camj), 
it was considered advisable to place his family in greater 
security, as hostages for his conduct. They were ordered 
to prepare for removal into the fort, with assurances that 
they had nothing to apprehend from their detention ; and 
that one of their male relatives, who had not forfeited the 

> Official Despatches and Government Orders ; As. Annual Eegister, vol. xi. ; 
Chronicle, p. 27. 

2 Lakshman Davra, died in the neighbourhood of Calcutta in Novemher, 
1828. He had from the first refused to accept any provision in place of the 
lands 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 care of the Company's medical officer at Aljiiore, 
with -whom he continued until 1822, when he appears to have recovered his 
understanding. He was not released from all restraint for two years longer, 
when he consented to receive a pension of GOO rupees a month. After his 
death the surviving members of his family were allowed to return to Bundel- 
khand.— MS. Records. 


..vourable opinion of the British Government, should be BOOK J. 
iiitrusted with their guardianship. Baju Rao, the father- ciap. iv. 

in-law of the absent chief, was instructed to conduct the 

party to their quarters. He undertook the office with ^800. 
apparent cheerfulness, and repaired for that purpose to 
the house in which the family resided. "When a consider- 
able interval had elapsed after his entrance into the house, 
and no person seemed to be coming forth, a native officer 
of the escort entered, and found the old man seated before 
the door of an inner room with a drawn sword in his hand. 
As the Subahdar approached, Baju Eao retired into the 
chamber, and closed the door. Assistance being obtained 
the door was forced ; when the mother, the wdfe, the infant 
son of Lakshman Dawa, and four female attendants, were 
discovered lying dead on the floor, having been killed by 
Baju Rao, apparently with their own consent, as no cry nor 
any expression of alarm or suffering had been heard. As 
soon as the door was opened, Baju Rao inflicted a fatal 
wound upon himself. The catastrophe was in entire unison 
with native feeling ; and several of the Bundela chiefs in 
camp hesitated not to avow, that, under similar circum- 
stances, they would have perpetrated a similar deed.'' 

A protracted course of desultory and harassing hostilities 
had some time previously been commenced against Gopal 
Sing, a military adventurer who had usurped the district 
of Kotra, the inheritance of Raja Bakht Sing, a descendant 
of Chatrasul. The right of the Raja had been formally 
recognised by the British Government during the pre- 
ceding administration, and he had been authorised to 
recover his lands ; but, as he was not allowed to receive 
the assistance of British troops, the recognition 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. The 
task was easily accomplished, and even Gopal Sing came 

' MS. Records ; also As. Animal Kegister, vol. vi. ; History, p. 5. 

■■» See the Ikrar Naraa, 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 be reinstated 
runs, '* Little doubt can be entertained that you will be able to establish your 
authority, and to settle the Pergimnas, independently of the aid and sup'port 
of the British Government: at the same time, every proper and necessary 
aid whicli you may require, with the exception of troops, shall be furnished 
to you." 



BOOK I. into camp and professed submission. From motives which 
CHAP. IV. are unexplained, or from the instability of purpose which is 
not unfrequent in the native mind, he seems to have 
speedily repented of his acquiescence, and, departing 
abruptly from the British encampment, he retired Avith a 
few followers to the thickets above the first range of hills. 
Sensible that direct resistance to the superior force of the 
supporters of Bakht Sing would be unavailing, he adopted 
a course of destructive irruptions ; rushing down upon the 
plains and spreading terror and devastation in all direc- 
tions whenever an opportunity 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 over- 
taken and dispersed, they immediately re-assembled and 
renewed their depredations ; and it became necessary to 
provide a permanent check upon their ravages. A canton- 
ment was therefore established at Tiroha, at the foot of 
the first range, a few miles to the north-east of Kalinjar, 
from whence detachments were sent occasionally to guard 
the passes ; the unhealthiness of the climate preventing 
the presence of a force above the ghats throughout the 
year. The marauding attacks of Gopal Sing were in some 
measure counteracted by these arrangements, but they 
continued at intervals 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 districts was left to the unaided 
resources of the Eajas of Panna and Kotra. They proved 
utterly inadequate to the duty. Their united contin- 
gents were defeated in an engagement with their more 
warlike adversary ; and the country below the hills laid 
open to his attacks were remorsely devastated, until his 
progress was stopped by a detachment under ]\Iajor Kelly, 
which was sent from Colonel jNIartindell's camp at Chat- 
terpur. 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 BOOK I. 
army. chap. iv. 

Oopal Sing, finding himself more than a match for — — 
the force which remained to oppose him, resumed offen- ^^^^• 
sive operations ; and being assailed in a strongly stockaded 
jx>sition near Kakarati in the Panna principality, by the 
detachment under Captain Wilson, repulsed the assailants 
after they had suffered considerable loss, and compelled 
them to fall back towards the plains.' The junction of 
Major Delamain, with a squadron of the 2nd native 
<3avalry, restored the superiority to the British ; but 
Gopal, turning to the north amongst the hills, outstripped 
their pursuit, and coming suddenly down upon Tiroha, 
which was feebly guarded, he plundered and set fire to 
the cantonments, before troops, despatched from Ajaygerh 
as soon as the movement of Gopal Sing upon Tiroha was 
known, could arrive for its protection. Major Morgan, who 
commanded the detachment, followed the retreating 
enemy ; but whilst Gopal Sing, at the head of his horse, 
mana3uvred so as to engross his attention, the infantry 
marched unperceived again upon Tiroha, where they 
not only completed such part of the work of destruction 
as they had left unfinished, 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 from Colonel Martindell's camp, 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 forward 

* On this occasion, Gopal Sing showed that he iinited 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 

VOL, I. K 



BOOK I. in pursuit. After a laborious march he ascended the 
CHAP. IV. hills unperceived, and arrived at Jhargerh almost before 
■ his approach was discovered. The defences consisted of 
l-'^^O- a rampart and strong stockades situated upon a rocky 
eminence in a valley overgrown with bamboos and brush - 
wood : 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 elFected 
his entrance into the main body of the works as they 
were evacuated by the enemy, who plunged into the 
thickets and disappeared. After burning the stockades, 
and levelling the fort, the detachment returned to its 
post at Kakarati. The setting in of the rainy season put 
a stop to further proceedings. 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 Bhandar 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 No- 
vember, and on the morning of the 19th came upon a 
strong 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 adja- 
cent 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 fol- 
lowed their example, and broke upon the first volley from 
the advancing column. The troops in the fort surren- 
dered 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 offered him by the Raja of Eewa. His ' 


followers, consisting entirely of horse, were completely BOOK I. 
outoil ; and Gopal Sing escape J, almost unattended, into chap, iv, 

he jungle. Hei*e he continued, however, to maintain him- 

L'lf and followers for several months, and notwithstanding l^^^- 
His repeated discomfiture, remained unsubdued. 

In the mouth 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 
' Irown's force ; and, having been nearly surprised by Cap- 
tain Watson in the vicinity of Komtara, he retreated to 
the protection of his former asylum. Having received in- 
telligence of his position. Colonel Brown moved with great 
secrecy and expedition, and came by surprise upon him on 
the night of the 2Cth June. The enemy's camp was pitched 
at the head of the Dowani 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 into the district 
of Sagar ; but, becoming now convinced of the hopeless- 
ness of so unequal a contest, he proffered his submission 
on the conditions of receiving a full pardon for his opposi- 
ion, and provision being made for his family. The Bri- 
• ish Government, equally weary of a troublesome and 
unprofitable 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 record 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, baffled for a period of four years, and ulti_ 

I Sec the Sunniul granted to Gopal Sing on the 24th Feb., 1812 ; Report of 
Select Coinmittcc, An?., 1832 ; Political ApiiendLx,p..'^Gl. 



BOOK I. mately tired out, the resentment and the resources of a 

CHAP. IV. powerful antagonist.^ 

' ■ The final establishment of order and tranquillity in 

1812. Bundelkhand was in a still greater degree dependent upon 
the reduction of Kalinjar ; the strength of which fast- 
ness, and the vain attempts made in time past for its 
capture, impressed the natives with a univeral belief of 
its impregnabihty, and inspired its Kiladar, Dariao Sing, 
with confidence to persist in his opposition to British au- 
thority, and to continue his scarcely covert encouragement 
of every predatory leader. The mischievous consequences 
of allowing Dariao Sing^ to retain possession of Kalinjar 
were vainly pointed out, when the British authority was 
first introduced into Bundelkhand ; but the system of en- 
durance having now given place 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 Mar- 
tindell, 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 re- 
sidence of the Kiladar, the cantonments of the garrison, 
and several Hindu temples, apparently ancient : * the sides 

^ For the operations against Gopal Sing, see the Asiatic Annual Register, 
vol. xii. ; History, 40: Chronicle, pp. 9, 10, 61, 78: and Calcutta Annual Ee- 
gister, 1821 ; History, p. 76, 

2 Seep. 13, note. 

3 A squadron of the 8th light dragoons, five companies of the 53rd foot, a 
squadron of the 1st N. C. and three of the 3rd, Avith six battalions of N. I., 
three companies of pioneers, a datachment of European artillery, and a bat- 
tering train of twelve and eighteen pounders. 

* In some places, mutilated inscriptions were found in characters said to 
■fee 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. Kdlanjara, the cor- 
rect appellation of the mountain, is also a rame of Siva — he w^ho sees time 
itself decay — and all the Hindu traditions relating to this hill, connect it with 
its worship. Kalbhiroop (or correctly, Kala-bhairava), whose colossal image 
is specified by Abulfazl as existing at Kalanjar, 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 ce- 
neral description of the fort and its antiquities is given in Pogson's His- 
tory of the Bundelas, but the latter have been but cursorily and imperfectly 


of tho hill are abrupt, and are covered with an almost im- BOOK I. 
penetrable jungle of bushes and bamboos, the haunts of chap, i v. 

beasts of prey and of innumerable monkeys. The crest of 

the hill is formed of a ridge of steep black rock, which ^^^^' 
forms the base of a wall with loopholes and embrasures 
urrouuding the whole of the summit. The Petta, or town, 
iies 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 face 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 Kalanjari^ 
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 

After reconnoitring the defences of the fort, it was de- 
termined to erect batteries on the lesser hill , and by the 
26th of January, a path having been cleai-ed 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. Negocia- 
tions having failed, the batteries opened on the 28th, on 
which day also possession was taken of the Petta. No at- 
tempt was made to disturb the construction of the batte- 
ries, 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. AVhen the firing of the 
besiegers commenced, that from the fort was feebly main- 
tained and did little execution ; and it was expected, that 
as soon as a breach should be made, the fortress would 
fall an easy conquest : an anticipation that was fatally 

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 advanced to the assault. The 
party consisted of the five companies of his Majesty's 
63rd, 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 match- 


BOOK I. locks and volleys of heavy stones, until they made good 
CHAP, IV. their footing to within fifty yards of the breach, where 

• they halted, under cover of an old wall. The top of the 

1812. 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 match- 
locks. 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 minutes, the storming party was re- 
called. The loss they sustained was severe : ^ that suflfered 
by the garrison was not less. The attemjjt was not un- 
availing ; as the Kiladar, apprehensive of its repetition, 
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 two 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 commands of the British Govem- 

1 Capt. Fraser, Lieut. Rice, one serjeant, and ten men of the 53rd, were 
killed ; ten officers and one hundred and twenty men were wounded. Lieut. 
Faithful, commanding the pioneers, and nearly half his men, were ■wounded. 
The Sipahis had no opportunity of coming into action. 

2 Mahmud besieged it in a.b. 1023, but made peace with Nanda, its Hindu 
Eaja, and left it in his possession.— Briggs' Ferishta, i. 6G. 

3 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' Ferishta, ii. 123. 

* See above, p. 10. 


laeut became peaceable subjects, and their descendants BOOK I. 
are still enumerated amongst the Jagirdars of the pro- chap. iv. 
viuce.' -— — . 

The conduct of Jay Sing Deo, the Raja of Rewa, a small ^^^2. 
principality situated on the east of Bundelkhand, in 
countenancing Gopal Sing and other free-booters, had for 
some time past been unsatisfactory ; and, very soon after 
the reduction of Kahujar, a party of the plunderers known 
as Pindaris penetrated by way of Rewa into the British 
territory of I^Qrzapur, apparently with the connivance of 
the Raja. It was 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 govern- 
ment acknowledged ; but he was interdicted from com- 
municating with foreign states, obliged to agree to the 
mutual delivery of enemies and rebels, and to promise 
co-operation in military aftairs. The treaty was concluded 
in October, 1812. 

These arrangements were scarcely concluded when the 
Raja manifested a disposition to violate them. He objected 
to the establishment of a military post within his boun- 
dary ; opposed a communication through his country 
between the British districts which it separated ; treated 
the British political agents with indignity ; and either 
-iiSered or instigated the petty chiefs of Singrana, his 
• iependauts, to commit various acts of aggression on the 
adjacent country under British protection. To punish 
their ravages, and compel the observance of the stipulated 
treaty, Colonel Martindell marched into Rewa early in 
1813. He had advanced near to the capital, when the 
Raja solicited a suspension of hostilities, and consented 
to enter into a new treaty, confirming the former stipula- 

* Villages were assigned in perpetual Jagir, not only to Dariao Sing Chaubd, 
but to his coparceners, descendants equally of Ramkiishna Chaubc, to the 
number of eight. — See the separate grants, Keport of Select Committee, 
August, 1832; App. Political, p. 5G2; also Bengal and Agra Gazetteer for 
1841, vol. ii. part 2, p. 2dG. The Jagirs thus granted, .ts well as others of a 
similar class, to the ntimber of twenty-seven, were exempted by a special re- 
gulation, xii. of 1812, from the operation of the general rei^ulations, and from 
ttie jurisdiction of the courts of civil and criminal judicature. 



BOOK I. tions, and engaging to pay the expenses of the military 
CHAP. IV. operations. 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 proceeding 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 ap- 
peared to have been the unauthorized act of some of his 
feudatories, particularly the Raja of Sathani and Sarnaid 
Sing, Raja of Entouri. A force under Colonel Adams took 
the field immediately after the rains to punish the ag- 
gressors. The fort of Entouri was stormed and carried,, 
after an obstinate resistance. Sarnaid 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, terminated his existence. Some other forts were 
taken and destroyed; and the chiefs, alarmed, came into 
camp and submitted. A third treaty w^as then concluded 
with the Raja of Rewa ; by which, upon his renewing the 
stipulations previously contracted, he was placed in pos- 
session 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 Government had gianted to any of his chiefs,. 
and would refrain from molesting all such as had evinced 
towards it a friendly disposition. The Raja necessarily 
acquiesced, but the resentment felt by this petty court at 
an interference w^hich it had provoked has perhaps 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 difierent 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 

> See the three treaties of the 5th Oct. 1812, 2nd June, 1813, and 21st 
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 Pro- 
prietors, Aug. 1824. — Administration of the Marquis of Hastings. The opera- 
tions are related in the Calcutta Annual Register for 1821, p. 60. 


but thinly peopled district of Hariana, lying immediately BOOK 1. 
west of Delhi, had been taken within the range of British chap. iv. 

supremacy. The inhabitants of the province, who were 

of the J4t race, a resolute and high-spirited tribe, had l^^^* 
some years before taken advantage of the enfeebled ad- 
ministration of affairs at Delhi to throw off the allegiance 
which they had previously professed to the Mogul. Col- 
lected together in village communities they formed so 
many petty rei^ublics acknowledging no head ; and, al- 
though combining occasionally against a foreign enemy 
connected by no common tie of political interest or 
authority, and not unfrequently at deadly feud with each 
other. From time to time some Maratha or Moham- 
medan chieftain, or individual of their own body, esta- 
blished a military ascendancy over them to a limited 
extent, and for a brief interval; and, in one instance, 
George Thomas, an Irish adventurer,^ rendered himself 
the lord over a part of the province, with Hansi, its chief 
town, for his capital. His reign was of short duration ; 
but its overthrow was not eft'ected by the discontent of 
his subjects or the rivalry of his equals, aud it demanded 
the overwhelming force of Sindhia's disciplined brigades, 
commanded by General Perron, to dispossess him. Ha- 
riana was then governed by Perron in the name of Sindhia, 

> George Thomas arrived in India as a sailor about 1781. At Madras he 
deserted, and entered into the servit-e of some of the southern Poligars; 
thence lie made his way through the heart of India, and reached Delhi ui 
1787 : he there received a commission in the brigade of Begum Sumroo, and 
rose to high favour; but, being supplanted in the Begum's good graces hy 
some other adventurer, he quitted her service in 1792, and joined Apa Khande 
Ilao, one of Sindhia's discarded captains, who Avas 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 i)icces, and George Thomas, thrown on 
his own resources, determined to conquer Hariana for himself, lie suc- 
ceeded so far as to make himself ruler of a petty principality, extending about 
100 miles from N. to S. and in its broadest part about 75 miles from E. to W., 
comprehending 900 villages and several small towns. Hansi, which Thomas 
found in ruins, was restored and fortified by him, and, becoming his capital, 
was soon tenanted by between five and six thousand inhabitants. George 
Thomas w.-ts liaja of Hansi for four years, and had little to fear from any of 
his neiglibours, until Sindliia's authority extended to Delhi, aud introduced a 
power far superior to that of the European potentate. Thomas was besieged 
in Hansi by Du Perron with a strong and well-organized force, and sur- 
rendered on condition of being conveyed to a British station. Tlie stipula- 
tion 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 common sailor, with no other aid than Euroi)ean energy, personal strength, 
and intrepid resolution, could raise himself even to ephemeral sovereignty. 
—See Life of George Thomas, by Colonel Franklin. 


BOOK I. and, with the defeat of his troops, passed over to the 
c^HAp. IV. British. The Government of the day, imwilhng to retain 

the conquest, transferred it to several native chiefs in 

1809. succession ; but all found it impossible to establish their 
power without the assistance of British troops, and speedily 
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 recompense of his services, 
found himself compelled to follow the example of his 
predecessors, and the province was thrown again upon the 
hands of the British Government. As Hariana was con- 
terminous with ihe 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 authority of 
British functionaries. With this design the Honourable 
Mr. Gardner, assistant to the Resident at Delhi, proceeded 
with a strong escort into the province. Little difficulty 
attended his proceedings : 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 comjjact 
awed them into the observance of their engagements. 
The people of Baliali, a large village of Jats, who professed 
Mohammedanism, having robbed some traders almost in 
sight of the Commissioner's camp, a military detachment 
was sent against them. They fled into the adjacent 
country of Bikaner, and their village was destroyed. A 
more resolute resistance was encountered 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 
approached 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 BOOK I, 
horse, with a train of artillery, commanded by Colonel chap. iv. 

Ball,^ marched against Bhawani, and appeared before it on 

the 27th August : batteries were opened, and the walls l^^^- 
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 not shake oflP, they 
became in due time an orderly and obedient people, and, 
devoting themselves to agricultural occupations, rendered 
the province one of the most valuable districts subject to 
the British Government. 

A still more important departure from the principle of 
non-interference occurred in the same direction, and occa- 
sioned an extension of British supremacy to the frontier 
which still forms its north-western 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 Set- 
lej, encouraged him to i)ursue the same line of policy with 
respect to the Rajas on the east of the river, and to at- 
tempt to spread his influence and power across it to the 
Jumna. He was led to believe that he would not be ob- 
structed 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 stipulation of tribute or allegiance, and had 
contracted no formal engagement to protect them. He 
went to work, however, with his usual caution. A violent 
quarrel having taken place between the Rajas of Patiala 

' 1st battn. of the 9th, 2nd of the 18th, 1st of the 22nd, and 2nd of the 
23rd. besides some companies of the 1st of the 10th, and 2nd of the 24th, with 
the (1th rcgt. N. Cavalry, and Skinner's horse. 

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


BOOK 1. and Naba, the latter called Ranjit Sing to his assistance. 
CHAP. IV. The call was promptly answered ; and in October, 1806, 

' that chief crossed the Setlej with a strong body of horse, 

1808. gjj(j dictated terms of reconciliation to the contending 
parties. Some apprehension of his ulterior objects was 
entertained at Delhi ; but a letter was received from him 
expressing his i^rofound respect for the British Govern- 
ment, and no notice was taken of his proceedings. The 
result of this experiment confirmed him in the belief that 
he had no opposition to dread from his more powerful 
neighbours in establishing his authority over the states 
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 account of her 
insisting upon an assignment of revenue 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 protec- 
tion. 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 valuable 
diamond necklace and a celebrated brass gun ; but, before 
leaving the country, he levied contributions on some other 
petty Rajas, or seized upon their forts and confiscated 
their lands. His return was probably hastened by a know- 
ledge of the negotiations going on at Delhi, and by a 
report, which the chiefs industriously circulated, that 
their application had been favourably considered. In 
order to discover the truth of this assertion, Ranjit ad- 
dressed a letter to the Governor-General, stating that he 
had learned that troops were assembhng on the Jumna, and 
requesting to be informed of the cause. He declared his 
■wish to continue on friendly terms, but ventured to add, 
" The country on this side of the Jumna, except the sta- 
tions occupied by the English, is subject to my authority. 
Let it remain so." 


Although Lord Minto was resolved to resist the pre ten- BOOK I. 
sioQS of Raiijit Sing to the exercise of any authority on chap. iv. 

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-General's 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 rider. 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,.onthe 11th: his reception was at first courteous 
and cordial ; but in a few days a different feeling was dis- 
played, and much dissatisfaction was expressed that the 
British Government 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 camp, 
crossed the river with the 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 Thanesar. As Sir C. Metcalfe had re- 
fused to follow his extended march into the Doab, Ranjit 
retraced his steps, and returned to Amritsar, where the 
mission awaited him. The circumstances which had influ- 
enced the Governor-General's external policy had now in 
some degree ceased, and it was no longer necessary to 
temporise with the Raja of Lahore. Ranjit was conse- 
quently apprised that the Rajas between the two rivers 
were under British protection ; that he might retain such 
acquisitions as he had made on this side of the Setlej pre- 
viously to the existence of the relations which had been 
formed with the protected states, but that he must re- 
store all that had been made subsequently ; and that in 
order to guard against any future encroachments, a mili- 
tary post would be established on the left bank of the 
river. The 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 


COOK 1. Government ; that appeals made to the British Resident 
CHAP. IV. at Delhi by refractory chiefs had, to his certain knowledge, 
■ received no countenance or encouragement ; that blood 
1809. -j^^^ been shed, and treasure expended, in asserting a su- 
premacy which he claimed as his right ; and that it was 
as unfriendly as it was inconsistent to prevent his reap- 
ing the fruit of exertions which had been suffered to come 
to maturity in seeming acquiescence. He, therefore, re- 
quested 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 
should be the limit of Ranjit Sing's acquisitions, in that 
direction, with the exceptions above intimated, the Bri- 
tish Government immediately commanded the advance of 
a sufficient body of troops to uphold their resolution. A 
detachment under Colonel Ochterlony crossed the Jumna, 
in the middle of January, 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 

During the stay of the British embassy in the vicinity 
of Amritsar the anniversary of the Moharram 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 public demonstrations of passion- 
ate 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 tem- 
ple ; 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. Ranjit Sing came up at the 


close of the affray, and assisted in quelling a tumult which BOOK I. 
it was strongly suspected he had in some degree fomented, chap. iv. 

The camp was removed to a greater distance from the 

•wn, and no fui-ther molestation was experienced. ISQd. 

The advance of the troops to the Setlej, and the expe- 
ionce of their quality which the affair at Amritsar af- 
forded him, dissipated Ranj it Sing's dreams of conquest, and 
rendered him anxious to secure the forbearance and friend- 
ship of the British Government. Accordingly, on the 2otli 
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 
- oncern with the territories and subjects of the Raja to 
lie northward of the Setlej ; that the Raja should never 
aaintain on the left bank of the river more troops than 
vere necessary for the internal duties of the territory 
r.cknowledged 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 preced- 
ing articles. Thus terminated all unfriendly discussions 
with the Sikh chieftain.' That he was deeply mortified 
• »y the result cannot be doubted ; and there was reason to 
Deheve, that, if he could have relied upon effective sup- 
port from Hindustan, he would not have submitted so 
peaceably to such a diminution of his power and disap- 
pointment of his hopes.- Nor did he for some time lay 
aside his distrust of the ulterior designs of his European 
neighbour. An exaggerated notion of his resources, and 
suspicion of his ambitious projects, continued also for a 
considerable period to regulate the poHcy of the British 
Government towards him, and to suspend the establish- 
^nient 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 

» MS. Records; Prinsep's Life of Runjeet Singh, Calcutta, 1834, p. 64. 
' - There was credible evidence, that, during these discussions, a commu- 
jnicalion was kept up between the Raja and Sindlua, and unavowed a^ients 
were resident on either part at (Jwalior and Lahore: a correspondence "with 
'.Sarji Rao Ghatka was also detected, lianjit's sagacity, however, soon dis- 
. ..covered the weakness to which the Mahrattas had been reduced. — MS. 
' Hecords. 



BOOK L uniformly left him at liberty to extend his power over the 
CHAP. IV. independent principalities and states north and west of 
the Punjab 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 which had hitherto 
united them with the British Government, and rendered 
it necessary to define the reciprocal relations which were 
thenceforward to subsist : accordingly, a general declara- 
tion was circulated to them, announcing that the territo- 
ries of Sirhind and Maliia had been taken under British 
protection ; that it was not the intention of the Govern- 
ment to demand tribute from the chiefs, but that they 
would be expected to furnish every facility in their power 
to the movements of British troops through their dis- 
tricts, and to join the British armies with their followers 
whenever called upon. The several chiefs were permitted 
to exercise, and were guaranteed, the rights and authori- 
ties which they possessed in their respective territories ; 
but supplies of European articles for troops, and horses 
for cavalry passing through them, were to be exempted 
from transit duties. The declaration conveying these 
provisions became the charter of rights to which the Sikh 
chiefs have been accustomed 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 

1 Travellers in Runjit'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 
Baja, whilst ostensibly he gave them permission to j^o 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 im- 
pediments were exnerienced were most probably ascribable to the ignorance 
or impertinence of the subordinates. — See the travels of Moorcroft, Jaquemont, 
Vigne, &c. 

2 The chief of these were Saheb Sing, Raja of Patiala ; Bhye Lai Sing, 
of Kythal ; Jeswant Sing, of Naba ; Bhag Sing, of Jhfnd ; Guru-Dayal Sing, 
of Ladiia ; Jodh Sing, of Kalasia ; Gopal Sing, of Manimajra ; Daya Kunwar, 
Rani of Ambala; Bhanga 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 independent authority over their vassals; presenting in fact a 
state of things very similar to that of the early feudal anarchy of Europe.— 
MS. Records. 

3 Life of Runjeet Singh, 72. 


.lisscusions, and the imperative necessity of maintaining BOOK I. 
i)ublic order and security, speedily multiplied occasions of ciiaimv. 
interposition, and, after no long interval, compelled the • — — 
British Government to proclaim the right and the resolu- '^^^'^' 
tion to interpose.* The regulation of successions was 
also a subject which from the first demanded the interven- 
tion of the protecting power ;^ and political expedience 
lias dictated the enforcement of a principle recognised 
throughout the feudality of India, the appropriation of a 
subject territory in failure of lawful heirs by the para- 
mount sovereign.'' 

There is no satisfactory proof that the Emperor Na- 
poleon ever seriously contemplated the invasion of India. 
In an early stage of liis career, before his path to greatness 
%vas distinctly visible, he seems to have entertained some 
vague and wild dream of founding for himself an empire in 
the East.* The conquest of Egypt, in addition to the pur- 
pose of estabhshing a French colony in that country which 
should divert the stream of commerce between India and 
Europe from the Cape of Good Hoi:)e to the Straits of 
Bab-al-mandal, and thus annihilate one of the sources of 
British prosperity, had, according to Napoleon, for one of 
its objects, the formation of a basis from which to accom- 
pHsh the invasion of India ; but it is scarcely possible to 
believe that he could ever have gravely projected so im- 
possible a scheme as that of sending sixty thousand troops 
upon camels across the deserts of Arabia, and barren 

' A pal)Iic proclamation declaratory of the right and determination to inter- 
fere between the different Rajas in all cases of disputed territory, and at the 
same time repeating the resolution not to interfere in the internal administra- 
tion of justice between the chiefs and their subjects, was issued on the 1 1th 
August, 1811.— See Report of Select Committee, House of Commons. 1832; 
Appendix Political, p. 560. 

- In 1812, the Raja of Patiala, having rendered himself insupportable to his 
>abjects by his insane oppression, was deposed in favour of his son, a minor, 
undir the regency of the Rani, by the British Government. The measure was 
obno.\ious to some of the Raja's adherents ; and one of them, an Akali, at- 
tacked the Agent, Colonel Ochteilony, in his palanquin, and severely wounded 
him.— Life of Runjeet Sing, 76. 

3 Commonly to the exclusion of females, except in a few families where a 

ontrary usage has prevailed. Some of the chiefships hare so lapsed, thj 

principal of which are Ambala and Thauesar. — Bengal and Agra Guide, 1841, 

vul.ii. nart 2, p. 208. And, still more recently, Khytal.— Calcutta Journals, 

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 Constanti- 
nople and the Indies, and changed the destinies of the world. — Las Cases' 
Journal, i. 20G; Scott's Life of Napoleon, ii. 104, HI. 
VOL.1. L 


BOOK I. wastes of Baluchistan, to the banks of the Indus.^ The- 
CHAP. IV. subsequent mission of General Gardanne to Persia, and the- 

influence acquired at Tehran, regarded Russia more imme- 

1808. diately than India, and were suggested by the community 
of political interests, as Persia and France were simul- 
taneously engaged in hostilities with the former empire. 
Such, however, was the impression produced by these 
demonstrations, and such the dread of Napoleon's power 
and resources, that a French invasion of India was 
reckoned amongst the possible 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, which origi- 
nated in this policy, has been adverted to, and we have 
now to notice the measures adopted with respect to the 
two other states. 

The political condition of Afghanistan was almost 
whoUy unknown to the Government of Bengal. No 
English traveller had crossed the Indus^ since Foster; 
and his journey W£is performed under circumstances of 
personal disguise and hazard, which restricted him to hasty 
and superficial observation. Little information was to be 
gathered from his narrative. It was known from original 
authorities, that, of the country occupied by the Afghan 
tribes, the eastern portion, including Kabul and Ghazni, 

' L'expe'dition d'Egypte aroit trois buts: ^tablir sur le Nil nne colonic 
Fran90ise ; ouvrir un debouche h nos manufactures dans I'Afrique, I'Arabie, 
et la Syrie; partir d'Egypte comme d'une place d'armes ponr porter une 
arm^e de 60,000 hommes sur I'lndus, soulever les Marattes et les peuples 
opprime's : 60,000 hommes, moiti€ Europeens, moitie' recrues des climats 
brulants de 1' Equator et du tropique, transport's par 10,000 chevaux et 50,000 
chameaux portant avec eux des vivres pour cinquante ou soixante jours, de 
I'eau pour cinq ou six jours, et un train d'aitillerie de 150 bouches a feu de 
campagne, avec double approvisionnement, arriveraient en quatre mois snr 
rindus. L'oce'an a cess^ d'§tre uu obstacle depuis qu'on a des vaisseaux, le 
desert cesse d'en 5tre un pour une arm^e qui a en abondance des chameaux et 
des dromedaires. — M^moires de St. Helene, ii. 214. Scarcely less insane was 
his speculation of invading India by sea, and sending round the Cape a force 
of sixteen thousand troops under convoy of thirty-two ships of the line. — Las 
Cases' Journal, ii.248. 

2 Mr. Foster, a member of the Civil Service of Bengal, returned from India 
to England through the Pimjab, Afghanistan, and Persia: he travelled 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, 
amonest whom he was in much danger, are unavoidabiy meagre.— See liis 



nad been usually dependent upon Delhi ; and the western, BOOK I. 
compnsing Kandahar and Herat, ordinarily sul)ject to chap. iv. 
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 dis- 
tracted 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 Smdh. 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 
Sbah, although not the eldest son of these, made good his 
pretensions with the aid and support of his younger 
brother, Shuja-al-mulk, and retained a precarious occu- 
pancy of the throne for seven years. The injustice 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, Sirafraz 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 monarch ; for Fatih Khan, the 
eldest son of Sirafraz Khan, immediately devoted his 
abilities and influence, which were considerable, to the 
service of Mahmud, a brother and rival of the king. 
Shah Zeman, deserted by his troops, was taken pri- 
soner, deposed, and bUnded, and Mahmud was made 

The character of Mahmud was unequal to the exigencies 
of his perilous position. Indolent and timid, he trans- 
ffen'ed the cares of the government to his ministers, and, as 
long as his own ease and enjoyment were provided for, was 
"•holly indifferent to the prosperity of his kingdom. By 
Iks injudicious partiality to his Persian guards, and the 
IBibridled license in which he suffered them to indulge, he 

• They -were more than thirty. Humayun, the eldest, after a feeble effort 
^maintain his right, was taken by Zeman Shah, blinded, and died in cap- 
tivity. Zeman Shah, Mahmud, and Shuja-al-mulk, in their turns held tem- 
porary sway, and perished. Firoz-ad-din for some time occupied Herat, but 
•wu dispossessed, and fled to Persia, where he died. Shah Abbas, who was set 
VD as king for a short time, also died in exile. These were the only members 
Cf the fiunily who acquired notoriety. 



BOOK I. offended both the rehgious prejudices and the national 
CHAP. IV. feehngs of his countrymen, and provoked them to insur- 
rection.^ Shuja-al-mulk was called to head the insur- 
gents ; and, fortune abandoning Mahmud, his adherents 
were defeated, and he himself was taken prisoner. Shuja 
ascended the 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 authority 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, especially 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 finall}' established on a secure foundation.' 
Instead, however, of following up his success, and extin- 
guishing the last sparks of rebellion by the expulsion or 
capture of Mahmud, he returned to enjoy his triumph at 
Peshawar, and with singular imprudence despatched the 
principal part of his army to recover the province of 
Kashmir from the chief by whom the province was go- 
verned, and who was in arms against his sovereign.* It 

' The Gholam Shdhis, or Kazal-bashis, the king's Persian guards, were ob- 
noxious to the Afghans, not only from their insolence and licentiousness, but 
their professions of the Shia form of Mohammedanism, which considers Ali 
as the rightful successor of Mohammed, and denounces imprecations on the 
first three Khalifs, Abu-hekr, Omar, and Othman, as usurpers. The Af;:?hans 
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., toI. ii. 334. 

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

3 In August, 1803, the Resident at Delhi reported, that, according to the 
latest advices from Afghanistan, the authority of Shah Shuja was fully 
established. — MS. Records. 

* For the latter history of the Afghans, See Elphinstone's Embassy to Ka- 
bul, vol. ii. p. 279, and Conolly's Overland Journey to India; Afghan History, 
ii. 233. (Sac also the later accounts of Burnes, Vigne, &c. 


IS at this season that the mission from Bengal arrived at BOOK I. 

oshawar. chap. iv. 

The embassy to Kabul was fitted out in a manner 

intended to impress the Afghans with an exalted opinion 1^00. 
of the power and dignity of the Company, and was 
intrusted to a member of the civil service, Mr. Elphinstone, 
whose conversaucy with the language 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 un- 
trodden wastes of Bikaner and Jesselmer to the frontiers 
of Bahawalpur, then a dependancy 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 reached the Indus, and on the 7th of January 
crossed the river at Kaheri ferry. On the 5th of March, 
Mr. Elphinstone reached Peshawar, whither Shah Shuja 
liad recently returned from Kandahar. 

Although the envoy met with a courteous reception, 
and much cordiality prevailed between the members of 
the mission and the principal persons of the court, yet the 
objects of the embassy were never fully comprehended, 
nor was a feeling of distrust towards it ever entirely 
effaced. An alliance to resist a combined invasion of the 
French and Persians seemed to the Afghans to be a need- 

s3 precaution, as the danger was avowedly contingent and 
remote, and as it was one with which they deemed them- 
selves 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 
.'tmreasonably desired to know what benefit was to accrue 
to them from the confederacy. It was shrewdly enough 
argued by the diplomatists of Peshawar that they could 
not come to any decision upon an ex-parte statement, and 
that in justice 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 offensive and defensive alliance generally, they 
professed themselves to be willing to accede, as such an 




BOOK 1. alliance proposed a reciprocal advantage ; but they objected 
CHAP. IV. to enter into engagements intended solely for the protec- 
tion 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 the 
equivalent demanded was withheld, they concluded that 
some ulterior and unacknowledged purpose was enter- 

The importance of the object which Shah Shujaand his 
ministers had in view — the assistance of the British — 
was speedily enhanced by the course 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 re- 
sumed the offensive, occupied Kandahar and Kabul, and 
threatened Peshawar. The army was annihilated, the 
treasury was empty and the means of levying any con- 
siderable force were entirely deficient. In this emergency 
a pecuniary grant was urgently solicited from the British, 
Government ; and such was the state of popular indiffer- 
ence with regard to the contending parties, and the readi- 
ness of the chiefs to sell their services to the highest 
bidder, that a compliance with the application would in all 
probability have secured the ascendancy of Shah Shuja, 
and have seated him firmly and permanently in his do- 
minions.* 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 unterminated 
course of civil dissension and domestic anarchy, the policy 
of the British Government had undergone a change. The 
invasion of Spain by Napoleon, and the commencement of 
the Peninsular war, had indefinitely suspended the execu- 
tion of his designs upon India, and had made it no longer 
necessary to concihate the good-will or purchase the co- 
operation of the natives upon the frontier. It was there- 

1 The people of the towns were m general well-affected towards Shah Shuja, 
who was recommended to them hy his moderation and justice. The Hill tribes 
were indifferent, and followed their own chiefs, most of whom M-ere ready to 
sell their services to the highest bidder. Ten lakhs of rupees would probably 
have turned the scale decidedly in favour of Shah Shuja, and have secured 
him a permanent ascendancy. The grant of pecuniary aid was ad%'ocated 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 
Inia.— MS. Records. 


ore resolved to decline the grant of pecuniary aid in any BOOK I. 
foiin whatever, and to withdi-aw with unmeaning profes- chap. iv. 

sions of amity from all intercourse with the Durani 

sovereign. The consequences of the ambition of the 1809. 
French Emperor thus vibrated to the heart of Asia ; and 
s declaration, that the Bourbons had ceased to reign? 
ecipitated Shah Shuja from his throne, consigned him to 
life of exile and to a disastrous death, and ultimately led 
> the infliction of an indelible stain upon the military 
[)utation of the British in the East. 

Xotwithstandiug the disappointment of his hopes of 
'ihsing an equivalent advantage from the proposed con- 
•xion, Shah Shuja agreed to the terms of a treaty in 
hich it was stipulated, that if the French and Persians, 
who were in alliance, should endeavour to cross Af- 
ghanistan 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 
continue for ever between the contracting states ; that 
they should in no manner interfere in each other's coun- 
tries ; and that the King of Kabul should permit 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, neither king nor ambassador re- 
gained to exchange its authentication. Mr. Elphinstone, 
A lio had left the city on the 14th of June to await the 
ostoration of tranquillity, received on his route the order 
ior 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 unsuc- 
■cessfid. He then became the guest, and finally the pri- 
«oner, of Eanjit Sing; but effected his escape from Lahore, 
*nd found an asylum for many years in Ludiana, under the 
protection and with the support of the Government of 
India. At the end of 1832 he left his residence, and, pro- 

1 Coll. of Treatie?, p. 301. 



BOOK I. ceeding to the westward, raised a force with which he 
CHAP. IV. defeated the troops of the Amirs of Sindh, and compelled 

them to pay him a pecuniary contribution. He then 

1809. advanced to Kandahar, which 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 mighty 
however, have recovered the supremacy, as many of the 
principal leaders of the enehiy 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 pro- 
pitious auspices than had ever smiled upon his former 
efforts, — the avowed co-operation of Ranjit Sing and the 
Government of British India. The auspices were decep- 
tive. 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 
whose 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 Mohammedans in the commence- 
ment of the eighth century, and was retained as a depen- 
dency 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 dis- 
possessed by the Sumas, who were Hindus, and who pro- 
fessed a nominal fealty to the Patau sovereigns of Delhi. 
In the reign of Akbar, Sindh became more intimately 
attached to the Mogul empire ; but the government of the 
province was usually intrusted to native chiefs, whose 
degree of subordination was regulated by the ability of 
the court of Delhi to compel obedience. Towards the 

1 Parliamentary Papers relative to Shah Shujah's expedition into Afghan- 
istan, 1833-34 ; printed 20th March, 1839. 


ioso of the seventeenth century, the Kaloras, a race of BOOK I. 
religious teachers who pretended to derive their origin cuap. iv. 

from the Abasside Khalifs, and who converted their re- 

putation for sanctity into an engine of worldly aggrandise- i^Od, 
ment, had become possessed of extensive territory in 
Siudh, and usurped an ascendancy in its government, vrhich 
was legahsed in the reign of Mohammed Shah of Delhi 
by the appointment of Nur Mohammed Kalora as Subah- 
dar of Tatta. The vicegerent of Sindh was speedily relieved 
from his dependance 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 confirmed 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 brother, 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 acquired 
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, suc- 
cessively removed them, and seated Ghulam Nabi Shah, 
a brother of Ghulam Shah, on the musnud. Shortly after 
his accession, Bijar Khan Talpura, another son of Bahram 
Khan, returned to Sindh from Arabia, whither he had 
gone on pilgrimage, and undertook to revenge the death 
of his father. He was joined 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 defeated 
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 

' He founded the present capital, Hyderabad, In 1782. 


UUOK I. reduce Hyderabad, protested his readiness to acknowledge 
CHAP. IV. Abd-un-nabi as his sovereign, and faithfully adhered to 

his professions. The Kalora prince was acknowledged to 

3809. ]^Q lY^Q 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 
Eaja of Jodhpur, with the connivance, or at the instiga- 
tion, 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 unable to resist, and an apparent recon- 
ciliation was effected by the intermediation of the prin- 
cipal nobles. The reconciliation was insincere. The 
Talpura chiefs rebelled, were again defeated, and were 
again received into seeming favour, when either the di-ead 
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 kinsmen, to an interview on 
board his boat w^hen 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 sou of JMir Sobhdar 
Khan, the brother of Bijar Khan, who had been put to 
death along with their father Bahram Khan, rose in arms, 
and, assisted by the neighbouring chiefs of Khyrpur, Baha- 
walpur, and Daud23utra, compelled Abd-un-nabi once more 
to seek an asylum at the court of Kabul. Cu'cumstances 
were no longer propitious to his cause ; and, although as- 
sistance was promised him, none of any magnitude was 
afforded. The representations of the Talpura chiefs, 
their professions 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. 


. J-uu-nabi, after residing some years upon Jagirs as- BOOK I. 

igued him, lirst by the Afghan monarch, and afterwards chap. iv. 

by the Raja of Jodhpur, died an exile in the states of the • 

former prince, in the reign of Mahmud Shah, and the l^^^* 
Talpura chief finally established the authority of his 
family in Sindh. His personal elevation was not undis- 
puted, even by his own relations ; and the forces on either 
side were drawn out to decide the dispute by the sword. 
The counsels 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 Mir- 
pur, both descended from a common ancestor, were ac- 
knowledged to be independent in their own districts, 
while Fatih Ali was recognised as chief i-uler of Sindh. 
This power he shared with his three brothers, Gholam Ali, 
Karam Ali, and Murad Ali. At a 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 administered the affairs 
of Sindh.^* 

Imperfectly acquainted with the history and the re- 
sources of Sindh, and attaching to its commerce and 
alliance more value than belonged to either, the Govern- 
ment of Bengal had made several attempts to form 
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- 
couragement' was given to it by the ruling authorities ; 
and the factory having been attacked and plundered in a 
popular tumult, for which no reparation or redress was 
procured, the agency was discontinued. Circumstances 

' A« interestinp account of this transaction is j^iven by Mr. Crow, in his 
report on Sindh, and is extracted in Captain Postans' account of Sindh. 

•■' See ftlacraurdo's account of Sindh, Jouraal, lloj'al Asiatic Society, i. 223 ; 
Visit to tlie Court of Sindh, by Dr. Burnes ; Personal Observations on Sindli 
by Captain Postans ; and a Persian account, translated by Captain Pogson, and 
published in Calcutta. This latter differs, in some details, from the narrative, 
of the Kun)T>ean -writers, and is less favourable to the Talpuras, ascribing to 
the latter treacherous designs, which provoked, and in some degree justified, 
the treatment they experienced. 

' 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 all duties, and authorising him to build a factory at Aurangbunder, or 
at Tatta.— Coll. of Treaties, 488 . 




BOOK 1. now appeared more promising. Alarmed by the menaced 
CHAP. IV. 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. The 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 conciUate the British Government, 
and sent an agent to Bombay to propose the renewal of 
the commercial intercourse that had formerly existed. 
The proposal was favourably entertained, and Captain 
Seton was sent as envoy to Hyderabad. A treaty of 
offensive and defensive alliance was concluded 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 ob- 
structions opposed to his journey by the servants of the 
Amirs, — not, it was suspected, without their secret ap- 
proval,' — Mr. Smith reached Hyderabad on the 8th of 
August ; and on the 23rd of that month a treaty was 
signed, which engaged that there should be eternal friend- 
ship 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." The apprehension of a French invasion of India 
had subsided, and there remained no motive of weight for 
cultivating the friendship of a semi-barbarous and arro- 
gant 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 be dissatisfied, not only on account of the annul- 
ment of the treaty entered into with Captain Seton, but 
because they were apprised that any aggression upon the 

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

2 Coll. of Treaties, 306. 


neidil)ouring state of Cutch, to the affairs of which we BOOK I. 
shall hereafter have occasion to recur, would be decidedly chap. iv. 
resisted. No beneficial result consequently followed the ' 

connexion formed at this period with the rulers of ^^^^• 

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 po- 
litical revolutions in the west ; and the course of events 
in Europe cleared the road from Bushir to Tehran, and 
subverted the influence which the French embassy had 
obtained at the latter city. 

Napoleon had endeavoured at an early date to establish 
a connexion with the King of Persia ; and when he pro- 
jected the invasion of Egypt, the Directory, at his sugges- 
tion, sent secret agents to Tehran to prevail upon the 
reigning monarch, Aga Mohammed, to make a simul- 
taneous attack upon the Turkish provinces on the 
Euphrates. The unavowed character of the French 
emissaries perplexed the Persian sovereign : his death 
shortly afterwards, and the accession of Fatih Ali, caused 
their proposals to meet with but little attention ; and no 
disposition was e\nnced to adopt the views of France. 
This disappointment, and the successful mission of Sir 
John Malcolm to Tehran by Marquis Wellesley, excluded 
the influence 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 hos- 
tilities with Russia, and dreading the advance of the 
Russian arms, gladly welcomed an agent from the Frencli 
minister at Constantinople, and at his recommendation 
^despatched one of the nobles of the court to Paris to 
Hegociate a treaty of offensive alliance. A second envoy 
from Tehran accompanied Monsieur Pontecoulant, who 
had been despatched to Persia after the death of his 
predecessor, 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 


BOOK I, sent to Tehran under General Gardanne, who arrived at 
CHAP. IV. the Persian capital towards the end of December, 1807. 

-■ His suite consisted of twenty-five persons, mostly military, 

1808. besides a number of artillery and engineer officers, and 
a considerable body of artificers. The draft of a treaty 
was speedily completed, and sent to Paris for ratification. 
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 hia 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 negocia- 
tions, and the interval of the ratification of the treaty, 
many of the French officers attached to the embassy were 
dispersed through the country, and werejactively engaged 
in making, military surveys of it and ascertaining its re- 
sources ; while those remaining at the capital were as 
busily employed in drilling the new Persian levies, and 
instructing them in European disciphne. 

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, Heraclius 
and his successor Gurgein, the second of whom promised 
perpetual vassalage to Russia as the price of the aid 
solicited. The Persians had been driven out of the coun- 
try, and they had not only been foiled in|every attempt 
to regain it, but had sustained many disastrous defeats, 
and had lost extensive tracts in Armenia and Daghestan. 
In the first moments of distress the court had appHed 
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 Napoleon and Alexan- BOOK J. 
der in bonds of personal friendship and projects of mutual chap. iv. 

aggi'andisement. Although not immediately avowed, — 

although a show of regard was displayed, and offers of ^^^^ 
mediation were professed, — yet at the very moment when 
the King of Persia was assured that the strongest inter- 
cession in his favour should be addressed to the Czar, his 
cause had been utterly abandoned, and the integrity of 
his dominions sacrificed to Russia, in exchange for license 
to the French Emperor to pounce without check or hin- 
derance 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 consideration at Tehran. 
Unluckily, their measures were taken without previous 
concert, and the result was an undignified and impolitic 
coUision. The Government of England, in communication 
with the Court of Directors, resolved to send an ambas- 
sador to Persia, in the person of Sir Harford Jones, who 
had held for several years the ofiice of Company's Resident 
at Bagdad. He was accordingly nominated his Majesty's 
envoy extraordinary and plenipotentiary ; although his 
allowance 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 Ck>vernor-GteneraL had in the mean time determined 
to despatch 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 the following year, and on his arrival found 
that Sir John Alalcolm had preceded him to Bushir. In 
comphance with the orders of the Governor-General, he 
remained at Bombay until it should be ascertained in 
what manner the mission had been received. Sir John 
Malcolm reached Bushir in May, and announced his arrival 
to the courts sending his despatches by one of his officers, 


BOOK I. Captain Pasley. The letters were forwarded, but the 
CHAP. IV. messenger was detained at Shiraz until instructions should 

arrive from Tehran. After some delay, they were received. 

1808. rjij^g King, still clinging to the hope that the intercession 
of France would procure the restoration of some of his 
lost frontier, — a hope in 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, governor of the province, 
to carry on the negociations with its representative at 
Shiraz. To this Sir John Malcolm strongly objected, as 
derogatory to the dignity of his Government. Believing 
from the private information he received, that the French 
embassy had obtained too firm a footing at Tehran to be 
supplanted, and arguing that the connexion was a breacli 
of existing engagements, and inimical to British interests, 
he abruptly sailed from Bushir, and repaired at once to 
Calcutta, where his representations induced the Governor- 
General to conclude that measures of intimidation or 
hostility were necessary ; and orders were issued for 
fitting out a military expedition, which should occupy 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 despatches, 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 Harford Jones, in the 
event of his predecessor's withdrawal, to prosecute his 
voyage "without a moment's delay, should the circum- 
stances render, in his judgment, such a step advisable, 
without further reference to Bengal." The information 
which he subsequently received induced Lord Minto to 
believe 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 incompatible with the dignity of the Govem- 

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


ment, while it would be productive of no advantage. Sir BOOK I. 
Harford Jones was consequently instructed to await the «uap. iv. 
result of further deliberations. The countermand was ■ 
too late. Before it reached Bombay, 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 disappoint- 
ment, regret for having given offence to the British 
Government, and apprehension 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 em- 
barrassmeuts. Still, some reluctance seems to have been 
entertained to break so entirely with France as openly to 
sanction the advance of "^he mission to the capital ; and, 
although an invitation to proceed to Shiraz was very soon 
forwarded, Sir Harford Jones consented to go thither upon 
no other security for his ultimate reception at Tehran 
than the assurances of a native agent that on his arrival 
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 Alih- 
mandar who was sent to conduct 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 

• Malcolm ascribes this to " the anticipated failure of the French to fulfil 
their extravagant promises, the alarm excited by the military preparations in 
India, and the cupidity of the Persian court, which had been strongly ex- 
cited." — Pol. Hist. i. 415. Sir Harford Jones states, that Lord Minto accused 
him of having found his way to Shiraz by corruption.— Account of the Mission 
to Persia, i. 147. According to the Plenipotentiary'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 
jBIO.OOO to the Company, the Shah of Persia considered he had received twenty 
or twenty-five thousand pounds from his Majesty's envoy."— Account of th'a 
Mission, i. 144. 

VOL. I. M 


OOK I. at Shiraz, the despatches from Bengal arrived, recalling 
lAP. IV. the ambassador, and announcing the military projects of 

the Government. The information speedily transpired, 

1809. 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 com- 
mitted upon the dominions of the King of Persia as long 
as his Majesty displayed a wish to preserve the amicable 
relations by which he had been connected with the King 
of Great Britain. 

The appointment of an ambassador to Persia by 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 pro- 
tested against the innovation. 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 controuling the 
minister deputed to the Persian court, and directing the 
course and character of the negociations to be carried on 
with it : that such a minister appointed in England might 
not only fail to appreciate the interests of British India, 
but might act in direct oj)position to them ; and might 
not only pledge the faith of its Government to measures- 
imsanctioned by it, but even to such as were incompatible 
with its honour and safety : that the Indian Government 
was vested with the power of sovereignty within its own. 
Hmits, and had been recognised 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 regard to the claims of dignity, which amongst all 
nations in the world, but in an ^^ especial degree amongst 
Asiatic states, are essential to the maintenance 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, there- 
fore, that estimation of the power and dignity of the 
British Government in India, which, under a just sense of 
its imj)ortance, we have hitherto successfully laboured to 
preserve among surrounding states, is to fix upon the 
British Government the stigma of deceit, to afl^ect the 


reputation of our public faith, and to expose us to much BOOK I. 
of the danger arising from a real loss of power, by chap. iv. 

diminishing that awe and respect with which the Govern- 

ment has hitherto been contemplated, and on which ^^^0. 
the tranquillity and secm-ity of British India materially 
depend." * 

Notwithstanding the earnestness with which Lord 
Mnto asserted the sovereign prerogatives of the Go- 
vernor-General of India, the transfer of diplomatic rela- 
tions 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 in- 
timately interwoven with the pohtical 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 estabhshed, or to be established, with 
Pei-sia, can no longer be consistently confided to the 
arbitrement of a delegated and subordinate functionary 
however high his station 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 Shiraz, the Governor- 
General addressed despatches to the court of Tehran, 
disavowing the public character of the ambassador ; and, 
to Sir Harford Jones himself, orders were sent, command- 
ing him instantly to leave the country, with the intima- 
tion, that, on his failing so to do, any biUs drawn by 
him on the Indian Governments after the date of such 
disobedience would not be discharged. His Majesty's 
plenipotentiary could not resist the weight of this argu- 
ment, and signified his readiness to obey ; but in the 
mean time he had pursued his negotiation 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 ratify the treaty, but peremptorily ordered Sir H. Jones 

» Lord Minto'8 letter to the Secret Committee, as quoted by Malcolm.— 
Pol. Hist. i. 417, 




BOOK I. to quit Persia, making over charge of the mission to a 
CHAP. IV, medical officer of the Company until the arrival of Sir 
John Malcolm, whom he still resolved 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 ex- 
ercising apparently any ministerial functions. Sir John 
Malcolm arrived at Tehran in June 1810, — for no purpose 
apparently except to vindicate the dignity of the Gover- 
nor-General of India, and put the Company to an unne- 
cessary expense. His presence and services 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 in the following month.^ 
There were consequently, about the same period, three 
English ambassadors in Persia, whose relative importance 
it must have perplexed the Persians to determine, although 
they were astute enough to take advantage of so much 
competition for their friendship, and make the better bar- 
gain for themselves. 

By the preliminary treaty concluded between Sir Har- 
ford Jones and the ministers of the King of Persia it was 
stipulated that the articles should form the basis of a 
definitive treaty without alteration ; that every treaty made 
by the King of Persia with any one of the powers of 
Europe, should become null and void ; and that he would 
not permit any Europeail 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 

' A full account of the circumstances connected with Sir Harford Jones's 
embassy has been published by himself. — An Account of the transactions of 
his Majesty's Mission to the Court of Persia in the years 1807-11, by Sir Har- 
ford 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 mission occurs in Morier's First Jeuniey through Persia, \Miatever 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 way to Tehran, and ne- 
gociated a treaty which, in substance, was confinned by the British Govern- 
ment ; and that the projected military e-xpedition to the Gulf would have entailed 
a heavy cost, realised no solid advantage, and deeply, perhaps Incurably, 
wounded the pride of the Persian monarch and the patriotism of his people. 



: . be regulated by a definitive treaty. Should his Britannic BOOK T. 
Majesty make peace with the invading power, he should chap. iv. 
use liis eftbrts to negociate a peace also between it and 
Persia ; but, in failure of success, the military or pecu- 
niary aid should be still supplied as long as the invading 
force continued in the Persian territory, or until the con- 
clusion 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 Af- 
ghans 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 beautiful fruits of friendship be- 
tween the two serene kings." 

A definitive treaty, in conformity to these stipulations, 
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 conclusively agreed upon. The defensive cha- 
racter 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 aggression on the part of Persia. 
The other modifications little affected the preliminary con- 
ditions ; and, at a subsequent date, the Persian court was 
compelled to relinquish the stipulated subsidy.* Little 
ultimate advantage accrued to either power from the 
intercourse which it had been considered so essential to 
the political interests of both to maintain. 

' See the several engagements with Persia of 1809, 1S14, and 1828, in the 
. oaties printed by order of the House of Commons, 1 ith March, 1839. 




A2jpointment of Sir G. Barlow to the Government of 
Madras, — unacceptable to the Settlement. — The State of 
Popular Feeling. — Commencement of Agitation. — Case 
of Mr. Sherson. — Proceedings of the Commission for 
the Investigation of the Debts of the Nawab of the Car- 
natic. — Trials of Reddy Rao, — his Conviction, — his 
Pardon and Death. — Affairs of Travancore. — Dis- 
2nites between the Raja and the Resident. — Enmity of the 
Dewan, — sets on foot an Insurrection, — abetted hy the 
Dewan of Cochin. — ■ Troops ordered to Travancore. — 
The Resident's House attacked, — his Escape. — Operations 
of the Subsidiary Force. — Murder of Europ)eans by the 
Deivan. — • Army sent to the Province under Colonel St. 
Leger. — Storm of the Arambuli Lines. — Defeat of the 
Nairs at Quilon. — Advance 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 gibbeted. — Senti- 
ments of the Bengal Government. — Disorganised Condi- 
tion of Travancore. — Administration of Affairs by the 
Resident as Dewan under the Raja and his Successors. — 
Restoration of Prosperity. — Similar System and Residts 
in Cochin. — Disputes between the Governor and Com- 
mander-in-Chief — The latter refused a Scat in Council 
hy the Court, — his Dissatisfaction and Resignation. — 
Discontents of the Officers of the Coast Army, — their 
Causes. — Tent Contract abolished. — Reaso7is assigned 
in the Quarter-Master-GeneraVs Report, offensive to 
Officers commanding Corps, — demand a Court-Martial 
on Colonel Munro. — The Commander-in-Chief places 
Colonel Munro in Arrest. — Government cancels the 
Arrest. — General Macdoivall issues a General Order on 
the Subject, and embarks for England. — Counter Order 
hy the Governme7it. — Subsequent Severity. — Suspension 
of Major Boles. — Effect upon the Officers. — Orders of 
the 1st of May. — Violent Proceedings at Hyderabad. — 
Mutinoiis Conduct of the Garrison of Masulipatam. — 
Threatened March of the Troops to Madras. — Firmness 
of the Government. — Consequent Arrangements. — Test 


proposed to the European Offijcen. — Appeal to the Native 
Troops. — Their Allegiance. — The Garrison of Seringa- 
patavi in open Rebellion. — Colonel Close sent to Hyder- 
ohad. — Ojncers of the Subsidiary Force sign the Test, — 
their Example followed. — Arrival of the Governor-GeTieral 
at Madras. — Courts-Martial. — Sir Samuel Achmuty 
Commander-in-Chief and Member of Council. — Pro- 
ceedings in England. — Warin Disputes in the Court of 
Directors. — Officers restored to the Service. — Sir G. 
Barlow finally recalled. 

TO compensate Sir George Barlow for the disappoint- BOOK I. 
ment which, had been inflicted upon him by his super- chap. v. 

session in the high office of Governor-General, the Adminis- 

tration in England consented to his eventual elevation to 1^^^' 
that dignity, and in the mean while concurred in his 
nomination to the government of Fort St. George.* He 
was accordingly appointed Governor of Madras, and as- 
sumed charge of his new duties at the end of December, 

Various circumstances conspired to render the appoint- 
ment 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 pubhc 
economy and retrenchment produced a still more universal 
and profound impression adverse to his person and his 
government.^ Unfortimately, he does not appear to have 

' " lie (Sir George Barlow) is now subjected to the discredit of being super- 
seded in the Government-General ; to the succession of which, after having 
once actually filled that liigh oflBce, he stood for the third time appointed." — 
Protests of Messrs. Parry, Astell, Smith, and Bell, against the recall of Sir G. 
Barlow in 18 12. So Mr. Grant in a separate protest observes, " I come now to 
speak of the order rescinding the appomtment made by Sir G. Barlow, in May 
1807, to be Governor-General of Bengal in succession to Lord Minto." — ^Dis- 
sents, &c., published by Sir Robert Barlow. Murray, 1813. 

2 The occurrences of Sir G. Barlow's administration are fully detailed, not 
only in the numerous pamphlets ]cublished both by his friends and enemies, 
but in the official documents relating to the transactions themselves, and to 
the discussions which they occasioned in the Court of Directors, which were 
printed by order of Parliament at the following several dates, 25th May, 
1810; 1st April, 1811; 3rd May, 1811; 13th June, 1811 ; 21st June, 1811, and 
15th April, 1812. 

3 '* 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 pubhc disorder. I 
allude to tlie unjust but very general and vehement prejudices against the 



BOOK I. been qualified or disposed to dissipate the prejudices 
CHAP. V. which anticipated his presence. His manners were re- 

served and unconciliating : a stranger at Madras, and of 

1808. retiring habits, he gave his confidence too exclusively to 
the knot of civil and military functionaries by whom ha 
was immediately surrounded : his notions of the claims of 
the executive powers of Government to prompt and 
unquestioning obedience were lofty and uncompromising ; 
and in the stern 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 consideration for human feelings and in- 
firmities." These defects were not counterbalanced, in 
the estimation of those whom he was set over, by the 
acknowledged merits of his public character, his conscien- 
tious 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 sentiments 
which had for some time pervaded the Coast army, had 
accumulated elements of discord which the slightest 
breath was sufficient to set in agitation: dissensions and 
discontents accordingly immediately burst forth, and ren- 
dered the administration of the new Governor of Madras a^ 
season of unprecedented private misery, and unexampled 
public peril and alarm. 

The first occasion of offence occurred in the settlement 
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 prede- 
cessor, 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 

person and character of Sir G. Barlow, AvJiich may have been in some degree 
the unavoidable, but were certainly the unmerited, consequences of his linn 
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 Miuto to the Secret Committee, 5th Feb., 1810; Pari. Papers, 1st April* 
1811, p. 34G. 


• .avernment of Madras, to be retailed ia small quantities BOOK I. 
to the people, as a precaution against the recurrence of chap. v. 

those famines which had frequently desolated the Presi- 

(lency. Charges of fraud in this department were pre- 1^^* 
ferred against Mr. Sherson, and a committee was appointed 
for their investigation. That abuses in an arrangement so 
liable to be abused seemed probable ; but their nature 
and extent were undetermined, and the participation or 
cognizance of the principal unsubstantiated. His accounts 
submitted to the civil auditor were pronounced correct ; 
yet, as they did not tally with the native accounts of the 
office, Mr. Sherson, and ]\Ir. Smith the auditor, were both 
removed from their situations, and the former was sus- 
l)ended from the service pending the pleasure of the 
Court of Directors. An opinion generally prevailed that 
both these officers had been harshly, if not unjustly, dealt 
with ; and Sir George Barlow incurred much obloquy from 
having precipitately believed representations asserted to 
be interested or malicious. 

That he too hastily adopted a decided opinion in the 
matter, and, in his intolerance of supposed official pecula- 
tion, inflicted severe punishment before its justice was 
undeniiibly established, was shown by subsequent events. 
A prosecution was commenced 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 restored by them to the service, 
with a pecuniary indemnification of 20,000 pagodas for his 
losses. The resolutions were confirmed in terms still 
more emphatic by the Court of Proprietors.^ 

Animosities still more violent and extensive were en- 

endered by the part which the Governor of Madras 

aeemed it incumbent upon him to take in support of a 

> Sir John Nevrbolt: the other Judges were Sir Thomas Strange and Sir 
Irancis Macnaghten. 

- Report of Debate in the Court of Proprietors, 28th April and 5th May, 1815, 
by Mr. Fraser ; London, 1815. Report of Proceedings in the Supreme Court, 
Jkladras, I'Sth March, 1814; Honourable Company v. Sherson and others. 



BOOK I. committee which had been appointed under an act of 
CHAP. V. parliament for the investigation and adjustment of the 
" debts of the Nawab of the Carnatic. The principles 
1808. which had been enjoined by the Board of Controul in 1784, 
for the settlement of all claims upon the Nawab have 
already been described ; ^ and, under this application, the 
amount of debt admitted at that date without any scru- 
tiny, 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 exami- 
nation before a committee which was formed at Madras, 
the operations of which continued from 1785 to 1791. 
They allowed some of the demands brought before them, 
but left the far larger number for further investigation ; 
and there the matter rested. When the entire revenues 
of the Carnatic were assumed by the Company's Govern- 
ment, 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 commissioners to make a settlement were 
nominated. In the year following, an act of parliament 
was passed for enabling the commissioners acting in exe- 
cution 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 Legislature pro- 
vided that a fixed annual sum (3,40,000 pagodas, or 
£136,000) should be set apart from the revenues of the 
Carnatic for the payment of all such debts as should be 
admitted to be just and valid by commissioners appointed 
in England for their adjudication, assisted by similar com- 
missioners at Madras ; whose duty it should be to collect 
information and evidence, both oral and documentary, for 
transmission to the commissioners at home, in whom 
alone the power of final admission or rejection was vested : 
and, in order that the Indian commissioners might be as 
free as possible from all motives of local interest or 

1 Vol. V. p, 26. 

2 Parliamentary Debates, April 14th and IGth, 1806. In moving for leave 
to bring in tiie bill, Mr. Hobhouse gave a full and perspicuous history of the 
arrangements -which had been made for the liquidation of these debts. 


influence, it was ^reed that they should be appointed by BOOK I. 
the Governor-General, and that they should be selected chap. v. 
from the Civil service of Bengal. Accordingly, at the — — 
; oriod under review, three commissioners, who were mem- ^^^^• 
ers of the Bengal Civil Service, were sitting at Madras to 
•ivestigate the demands of persons claiming to be creditors 
■ f the Nawabs of Arcot, and producing bonds and other 
vouchers asserted to have been originally granted by those 
I >riuces in acknowledgment of actual loans or real pecu- 
::iary obligations. 

The long interval which had elapsed since the inves- 
tigation of the Carnatic debts had been commenced, and 
the prospect which the present arrangement encouraged 
of their being ultimately paid, had not only protracted 
the existence of those vouchers which were of unim- 
peachable authenticity, but had prompted the fabrication 
of a vast mass of fictitious documents' in evidence of 
um*eal transactions. It was not an easy task to discrimi- 
nate between the false and the true bonds ; and the 
former, having long passed from hand to hand without 
question, had become, in the ordinary course of transfer, 
the property of individuals wholly unconnectd 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 excusably 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 office at Madras, they found the diffi- 
culties, inseparable from the nature of their duty and the 
novelty of their position, aggravated by the opposition 
which they encountered. In this situation they gladly 
availed themselves 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 

• The extent of these forgeries and fabrications is shown by the result. 
Tlie final report of the Carnatic commissioners, dated March 1830, states 
the amount originally claimed to have been above thirty millions sterling 
(£30,404.919 1«. ^d.) The amount allowed was little more tban two millions 
and a half (£2,686,143 12». 8|d.) 


BOOK I. accountant in fhe financial office of the late Nawab of 

CHAP. V. Arcot, and was fully informed of the extent and character 

■ of the claims upon his master, and as he was a man of 

1808. ability and had always been reputed respectable and 


Shortly after this selection had been made, a bond held 
by Reddy Rao himself came under the inspection of the 
commissioners. Its authenticity was challenged by Ava- 
danam Papia, another native creditor. The commissioners, 
upon investigating 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 magis- 
trate, who committed Reddy Rao for trial. Regarding 
the prosecution as a mere trick intended to deprive them 
of essential assistance, the commissioners 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 unacceptable to the superior 
authorities, and might deprive the claimants in many 
instances of the only means by which they could 
substantiate their demands. Great excitement spread 
throughout the settlement ; and many individuals, of 
high rank in the service and much consideration in so- 
ciety, inveighed 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 of ill-timed and injudicious 
severity towards individuals were adopted, which had the 
appearance of a determination to substitute intimidation 
for inquiry. Indignant at the impediments which had 
been thrown in the way of the commissioners, the Govern- 
ment dismissed the magistrate, Mr. Maitland, by whom 
Reddy Rao had been committed ; required Mr. Parry, a 


merchant residing at Madras, ^vho had taken a conspicuous BOOK I. 
part in the opposition to the acts of the commission, to chap. v. 
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 Govern- 
ment, undue and unnecessary rigour was exhibited. The 
opposition may have originated in interested motives, and 
may have been intemperate and indecorous ; but some 
consideration might have been reasonably entertained for 
the feelings which the dread of loss of property could 
not fail to inspire, and the virulence of which would have 
been cori-ected by the steady perseverance of the com- 
missioners in the calm and impartial performance 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 entitled to the support of 
the Government, it needed not its wrathful and vindictive 
interposition. The interference of authority also in this 
stage of the business, whilst proceedings in the highest 
court of judicature were pending, was, to say the least, 
exceedingly ill-timed, as it afibrded a specious plea for 
accusing the Government of a design to obstruct the 
administration of justice. 

The trial of Reddy Rao took place : the Chief Jus- 
tice 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 English 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 referred the evidence through the 


BOOK I. Board of Controul to the King, recommending the de- 
CHAP. V. fendants to his Majesty, " not as the objects of his mercy^ 

but as suitors for his justice ; conceiving prosecutions to 

1808. ]jQ tiie 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 engines of wrong."' 
Necessarily guided by the opinions 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 human judgment : Reddy Rao poisoned 
himself in little more than a twelvemonth after his last 
trial. He had not long continued, after that event, to 
enjoy the confidence of the commissioners. Suspicion 
was awakened : it was discovered that he was deeply im- 
plicated in the issue of the fabricated securities, and in 
other frauds upon the Nawab's treasury ; and the very 
bond, the genuineness of which had been so tenaciously 
upheld by the commissioners, 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 maintain 
unimpaired the powers of the commissioners, had thrown 
the whole weight of his authority into ■fehe same scale 
with an impostor and a cheat ; and, in defence of a knave, 
had inflicted on men of character and honour penury and 
disgrace, because in protecting valuable interests they had 
been betrayed into indiscretion and intemperance.^ 

However inveterate the mutual ill-will which was en- 
gendered by these proceedings, they were far exceeded in 
intensity and importance by the dissensions 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 advisable to notice the political occurrences 
by which they were preceded. 

1 Two letters from Sir Thomas Strange, 27th Feb. and 4th May, 1809, to the 
Eight Honourable R. Dundas. — Parliamentary Papers, Carnatic debts. 

2 The best authenticated accounts of these proceedings are to be found in 
the papers printed for Parliament, 3rd May and 11th June, 1811, relatingto the 
Carnatic debts. Ex-parte statements, which agree as to the main facts, are to 
be met with in the Parliamentary papers referred to: also in Marsh's RevieAV 
of Sir G. Barlow's Administration ; London, 1812: Exposure of the Misrepre- 
sentations and Calumnies iu 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. 



Tho mutual dissatisfaction which had long subsisted BOOK I. 
between the llaja of Travancoro and the British Govern- chap. v. 

ment has been already adverted to. Towards the end of 

180b, tho subsidy which the Raja was bound to pay had ^^^^' 
fallen into a long arrear, and the Resident peremptorily 
demanded its liquidation. The Raja and his principal 
minister protested that the revenues of Travancore were 
incapable of supporting so heavy a burthen as the charge 
of four battalions of Company's troops, and required their 
reduction. The Resident repKed by insisting on the dis- 
missal of an imperfectly disciplined 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 essential part 
of his dignity, and indispensable to his personal safety ; and 
the i^roposal to disband it was treated as a preUminary 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 principality was beyond their 
means of defraying it.^ These assertions were denied by 
the Resident. 

• An opinion seems to have prevailed that the difficulty in the realisation of 
the subsidy arose from the refusal of the Company's Government to receive 
pajTnent in pepper, agreeably to the terms of the original treaty; but which 
having 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 payment 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 tliat in money, is assigned as a cause of the discontent of 
the Raja and subsequent disturbances. The statement is nevertheless erro- 
neous. In the first correspondence 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 contract 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 modifica- 
tions as should from time to time be agreed upon ; but there was no stipulation 
that its price sliould form part payment of the subsidy. No allusion to such 
pa>-ment is contained in the treaty of 1805. The original contract provides 
that the pepper shall be paid for in goods ; and, should they leave a balance, 
that should be paid in money. The commercial and political engagements 
were throughout distinct, and no complaint occurs in the correspondence on 
tliis account. The main ground of contention was the Carnatic Brigade. 


BOOK 1. Besides the cause of discontent arising out of the sulS™^ 
CHAP. V. sidy, which was common to the Raja and his counsellors, 

his Dewan or prime minister, Vailu Tambi, had personal 

1808. grounds for fear and resentment. Considering him to be 
the chief instigator of the Raja's backwardness in fulfill- 
ing his pecuniary 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 him- 
self 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. 
He prevailed upon the Dewan of the Raja of Cochin to 
join him in the plot ; and, giving encouragement to some 
French adventurers from the 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 summon 
them to combine for the defence of their religion, which 
he affirmed the English designed to overthrow. His in- 
stigations were effectual : arms were collected, and the 
people were prepared secretly for their use. The popular 
excitement became known to the Resident, and at his 
request reinforcements 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 infantry, with artillery, were 
commanded to march from Trichinopoly to his succour. 

Alarmed apparently by these precautionary measures, 
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 indistinct 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 Macaiilay, with a confidential servant, had time to BOOK I 
hide themselves in a lower chamber, the door of which chap. v. 
could not be easily distinguished from the exterior wall. — — - 
The insurgents, having broken into the house, sought for ^^^^• 
the object of their vengeance throughout the night in vain. 
At daybreak they beheld a vessel imder British colours 
entering the port, and other ships were discernible at a 
little distance making for the harbour. They now thought 
only of their own retreat, and hastily quitted the premises ; 
affording Colonel Macaulay 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 Trichinopoly 
had been countei-manded, the Madras Government giving 
ready credence to the simulated submission of the Dewan. 
The news of the insurrection obliged them to repeat their 
first directions, and in the middle of January the Trichi- 
nopoly force commenced its advance under the command 
of the Honourable Colonel St. Leger. 

Before he was joined by the principal reinforcements 
from Malabar, Colonel Chalmers, commanding the sub- 
sidiary troops cantoned at Quilon, had commenced offen- 
sive 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 Pariir, about ten miles to the south. 
His measures 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 residence. They had scarcely 
reached the spot when they were attacked by the enemy 
in numbers greatly superior, but they maintained their 
ground during the night ; and, being strengthened by the 
two flank companies of the 13th N. I. at day-break, they 
advanced against the Nairs, defeated them, and took posses- 
sion 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 
ooast from the north, the detachment commanded by 
Major Hamilton proceeded to meet them. They were 



BOOK I. encountered at the estuary of the Kaladi river, where 

CHAP. V. 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 division 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 detachnlent to the cantonment. The 

retreat 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 
January attacked the British lines, defended by one Euro- 
pean regiment and three battalions of Sipahis. The action 
began at six in the morning ; the enemy occupying a 
rising ground, from which their guns opened a fire on the 
British encampment. Leaving the 4th native infantiy to 
cover the camp. Colonel Chalmers formed the rest of his 
troops in two columns, the right under Colonel Picton, the 
left under Major Hamilton, and led them against the Tra- 
vancore force. A stout resistance was encountered, 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 ofi" the field, 
leaving seven hundred 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 followers against 
what promised to be an easier prey, — the post of Cochin, 
which was held by Major Hewitt with two companies of 
the 12th regiment, and six of the 1st battalion of the 17th 
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 


fpare way. Desisting from further engagements in the BOOK I. 
field, they spread round Cochin on the land side, and chap. v. 

covered the sea with their boats, so as to cut off all supplies. 

Before this manoeuvre had produced serious distress, the ^^00. 
Piedmontese frigate, with the Resident on board, anchored 
off the town ; and her boats, with some small armed 
vessels belonging to Cochin, quickly drove the enemy's 
flotilla into the river, pursued, and set it on fire. The 
blockade was consequently 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 disgraced their cause 
by acts of atrocity, which served no purpose except that of 
provoking retribution. An assistant-surgeon of the name 
of Hume, travelling 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 for supplies, the men were 
induced to laud by the appearance of cordiality among the 
people, and assurances that part of the subsidiary force 
was in the neighbourhood. Unaware that hostilities had 
commenced, the men, thirty in number, disembarked, and 
as soon as they landed were made prisoners, and shortly 
afterwards murdered. This was also done by order of the 
Dewan, who thus effaced, by his perfidy and cruelty, what- 
ever credit he might have claimed for zeal in the cause of 
his country and his prince. 

Finding it no longer possible to avoid the cost of 
military operations, the Government of Fort St. George 
resolved to act with vigour, especially as the advancing 
season of the year admitted not of further 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 battalions of native infantry ; and Colonel St. Leger 
ysas directed to march immediately to Trichinopoly, with 



BOOK I. a force composed of his Majesty's 69th regiment, a 
CHAP. V. ment of native cavalry, and three battalions of native 

infantry, ^ besides a detachment of Royal artillery, and the 

1809. 3j.(J Ceylon or Kafri regiment, which was to join from 
Ceylon. Two divisions, consisting of a European regi- 
ment and a battahon 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 eventu- 
ally co-operate with Colonel St. Leger's force. A pro- 
clamation was issued by the Madras Government, and 
distributed with Colonel St. Leger's advance, ascribing 
the necessity of military measures to the intrigues of the 
minister, and declaring that "the British Government 
had no other view than to rescue the Raja from the influ- 
ence of the Dewan, to put an end to the power of that 
minister, and to re-establish the connexion of the two 
Governments on a secure and happy foundation. 

The principality of Travancore is divided from the 
province of Tinnivelly by the southern portion of the 
mountain-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 ]Dasses are situated near 
the southernmost extremity of the chain, where the 
mountains dechne in elevation as they approach the sea ; 
and through one of these, the pass of Arambuh or 
Ai'amuni, it was determined on this occasion to force an 
entrance into Travancore. The Arambuli pass was de- 
fended by formidable lines, consisting of a number of 
small redoubts, each mounting two or three guns, and 
connected by a strong wall of masonry. The whole 
extended about two miles along the sides of steep and 
rugged hills, and terminated at either extremity by a 

> The force cousisted of her Majesty's 69th ; both battalions of the 3rd native 
infantry; 1st 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 
3rd Kafri regiment from Ceylon. But the last did not join till after the cap- 
tare of the Aramholi lines, 


strongly fortified mountain flanked by impenetrable jungle. BOOK I. 
The high road from Palamkota led through the centre of chap. v. 

the works, by a gateway which was commanded by two — 

large circular bastions armed with several pieces of ord- l^^^* 
nance.' Colonel St. Leger arrived at the foot of the lines 
on the Gth of February ; and, as the division was une- 
quipped with a battering train, determined to attempt to 
carry the pass by surprise. On the night of the 10th 
^Major Welsh, with two companies of the 69th, four flank 
and five battalion companies of the 3rd native infantry, 
quietly climbed the hill on which the southern works 
were erected, and, after six hours' arduous ascent, reached 
the foot of the wall unperceived. The ladders were 
planted, and the ramparts scaled, before any eS'ective 
resistance could be opposed ; and although a short stand 
was made, which was attended with some loss of life, - the 
redoubt was quickly in possession of the assailants. As 
soon as the day broke, the guns of the bastion were turned 
upon the defences of the pass, which they enfiladed ; and, 
reinforcements being sent to Major Welsh, he was strong 
enough to attack the rest of the hues, and the whole of the 
works were speedily cleared of their defenders. 

Having thus secured his entrance into Travancore, 
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 Papana- 
varam, 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 deprecating the nearer 
approach of the troops to Trivandrum, the capital. Hav- 
ing referred the letter of the King to the Resident, who 
was at Cochin, Colonel St. Leger marched to a position 
half-way between Udagiri and Kalachi, on the coast, 
detaching a part of his force to occupy the latter, and 
open a communication with Colonel Chalmers at Quilon. 
This officer had continued to be hemmed in by the enemy 

1 Welah'js Military Reminiscences, vol. i. p. 288. 

' Captain Cimninghaui of the 69tli was the only officer killed. 


BOOK I. during Colonel St. Leger's advance ; "but, having been 
cHAr. V. reinforced by part of the 19th regiment, had, shortly 

before the communication now opened, rid himself of his 

1809. 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 defenaed by 
batteries and entrenchments, he carried the works, cap- 
tured their artillery, and dispersed their force. After the 
action. Colonel Chalmers marched towards the capital, 
and arrived at the high ground within twelve miles of 
Trivandrum, 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 
Cuppage crossed the frontier on the north, without oppo- 
sition, 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 des- 
pairing 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 Trivandrum, 
Colonel Macaulay proceeded to the capital, and concerted 
with the Raja the conditions on which tranquillity was to 
be restored, and the prince allowed to retain possession 
of his dominions. 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 expira- 
tion of the month.* The Carnatic 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 subsidiary force. A new Dewan, sup- 
posed to be in the interest of the English, and recom- 
mended by the Resident, was appointed. The invading 

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


forces were withdrawn immediately upou the conclusion BOOK I. 
of the treaty : a portion of the subsidiary battalions was chap. v. 
permanently quartered in the proximity of Trivandrum ; — — 
the rest returned to their former cantonments. ^^^^* 

The zeal of the new minister in the cause of his Eng- 
lish friends was promptly evinced by the active measures 
which were instituted for the capture of his predecessor. 
Traces of him were discovered among the moimtains ; 
and means were devised for preventing his being supplied 
with the necessaries of life by the peasantry, who had 
hitherto ministered to his wants. Keduced to extreme 
distress, the Dewan made his way, as a last resource, to 
the Pagoda of Bhagwadi, which from ancient usage en- 
joyed the privileges of a sanctuary. The emissaries of the 
minister, although Hindus, disregarded the sanctity of 
the temple, forcibly entered it, and broke open the door 
of the chamber to which Vailu Tambi and his brother 
had retreated. As they entered the apartment, the De- 
wan was found expiring of wounds injflicted by his own 
hand, or, at his entreaty, by the hand of his brother, to 
save him from falling alive into the power of his unre- 
lenting foes. The brother was seized, taken to Quilon, 
and hanged in front of the 12th regiment, drawn 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 gibbet, amidst, it was 
said, the acclamations of the people. 

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 Bengal admitted the de- 
fensibility of the summary execution of the latter, upon 
the understanding that he had been implicated in the 
murder of Mr. Hume and the British soldiers ; but con- 
demned, 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 
security were attained, the Governor-General remarked, 

» Bcsule Dr. Hume, and the men of the 12th, Vailu Tambi was accused of 
having put to death three thousand native Christians, charged with no crime 
but their rehgion. 



BOOK I. by the death of the Dewan ; and the prosecution of a vin- 
CHAP. V. dictive pohcy, when the object of it had ceased to exist, 

was repugnant to the feehngs of common humanity and 

1809. the principles of a civihzed Government. He further 
observed, that although ostensibly the act of the Raja, 
yet it would not be believed by the pubhc that it had not 
the Resident's sanction, and did not originate in his ad- 
vice ; 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 reputation of the British Government, 
should have induced the Resident to prevent the expo- 
sure, or, if anticipated, to have pubhcly proclaimed his 

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, subsequently, was necessary for objects of 
British policy, and was not incompatible with the j)acific 
interests of the Raja and prosperity of his limited domi- 
nion. To impose upon him the maintenance of a force 
infinitely more numerous than was necessary f.or the de- 
fence of the country, and the cost of which heavily taxed 
its resources ; to urge the exaction with imrelenting 
rigour ; and to resent with impitying vengeance the pas- 
sions excited by a deep sense of national wrong among a 
semi-barbarous 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 religion 
it professed. 

Notwithstanding the severities exercised upon the 
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 
faU into arrear, and improvement in this respect was not 
to be expected from the increasing infirmities and im- 


becility of the Kaja. Under these circumstances, the BOOK I. 
Government of Bengal considered itself empowered by chap. v. 

the fifth article of the treaty of 1805 to assume the 

management of the country, but suspended the final 1^09. 
adoption of the arrangement until it should become un- 
avoidable. 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 Govern- 
ment, took upon himself the administration of the prin- 
cipality as the minister of the Raja, or Dewan.' The 
condition of Travancore unquestionably required the in- 
tervention of a stronger and wiser controul. The Raja 
was a cypher : the Dewan usurped the whole power, and 
employed it to defraud the prince and oppress the people. 
Inadequate as were the resources to the public exigencies, 
the country laboured under the severest fiscal exaction : 
justice there was none, and a general state of disor- 
ganization prevailed. The judicious regulations introduced 
by Colonel Munro restored order, secured the administra- 
tion of justice, and, wliilst 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 1 812. He was succeeded by 
his sister, such being the order of inheritance 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 

> We have Colonel Munro's o-nii 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 Govern- 
ment ; but I assumed the charge of the administration at the express request 
of the Raja, with the authority of the British Government." And to the ques- 
tion, whether it iras completely voluntar>' on the part of the Raja, he replies, 
" It was at the earnest request of the Raja.— Evidence of Colonel Munro ; 
Select Committee of House of Commons, March, 1832. Hamilton therefore 
is wrong in stating that the arrangement took place under the Raja's suc- 
cessor. — Description of Hindostan, ii. 317. 

■■» Evidence above referred to : also Extracts from Colonel Munro's Report to 
tlie Madras Government in 1818, quoted by filr. 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 paying 
eighteen lakhs of rupees due to the Company, and nearly six to individuals ; 
in abolishing the most oppressive monopolies and taxes, and in setthng the 
affairs of the country on the principles of justice and humanity." The land 
revenue was increa.sed 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 «nd all illegal exactions were abolished. 


BOOK I. management of the state to a native Dewan, extricated 
CHAP. V. from its embarrassments, with a greatly augmented 
— — revenue, and in a situation of complete internal tran- 
^«10- quillity.i 

Although the Raja of Cochin had abstained from actual 
hostilities and died during their continuance, not without 
suspicion of having fallen a victim to his unwillingness 
to engage in them, yet the participation 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 Sipahis 
in the field in place of his own troops, whom he was re- 
quired 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 Travancore, a similar system of 
reform was extended to Cochin, under the more imme- 
diate management of Captain Blacker, the Assistant Re- 
sident. Upon his departure, Colonel ]\Iunro assumed the 
duty ; and, under their joint superintendence, the like 
improvement was effected in Cochin which had been ac- 
complished at Travancore.- 

Whilst the Company's troops were thus employed in 
the coercion of refractory allies, and in extending 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, and was productive of the 
most alarming and dangerous results.^ Sir John Cradock 

• 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, 1813, No. 10; 
Welsh's Military Reminiscences ; the Asiatic Annual Register, vol. xi. History, 
ch. 3; and the General Orders of Government in the Chronicle of Madras 
Occurrences. The MS. Records have also been consulted. 

2 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, 1809, he was compelled to pay in 
addition 1,76,037 Arcot rupees; making a total of 2,76,037 Arcot rupees. — 
Coll. of Treaties, 472. 

3 " 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 officers 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 our first 


had been succeeded in the command of the Madras army BOOK I. 
hy Lieuteuant-General Hay Macdowall. The former had ciiap. v. 
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 affront, and, on 
the final extinction of his hopes, resigned his command ; 
expressing his resignation in terms strongly indicative 
of the bitterness of his mortification and disappoint- 

It has been mentioned, that, after the close of the Mah- 
ratta war, the Government of Bengal urgently pressed 
upon the subordinate Presidencies the necessity of ex- 
tensive retrenchments. In conformity with these injunc- 
tions, 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 regi- 
ments or brigades, 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 Ma- 
jesty's regiments, in place of Company's officers, occasioned 
amongst the latter frequent murmurs. The personal feel- 
acquisition of territory there. It led to the commencement of a civil war in 
theCarnatic; 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 xipon 
ns whilst in this state of internal convulsion ; and to subvert a Government 
which liad successfully resisted the roiieated attacks of the neighbouring 
states." — Paper accompanying Reply of Messrs. Grant and Astell to the 
Dissent of several Directors, &c. ; Pari, Papers, 1st April, 1811, p. 45. We may 
be permitted now to think that this language is somewhat exaggerated. 

' " The decision of the Court of Directors has placed me in so extraordinary, 
«o unexampled, and so humiliating a predicament, that the most painful emo- 
tions have teen excited ; and sixteen months' experience has convinced me 
that it is impossible to remain with any prospect of performing 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 preside; divested of the 
power of selecting for commands by the restriction 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 emolu- 
ments of office." — Letter to Sir G. Barlow from the Commander-in-chief, 
15th January, 1809; Pari. Papers, 25th Mav, 1810, part i. p. 8. 


BOOK I. ings of the Commander-in-chief heightened his sympathy 
CHAP. V. with the grievances of those under his command, and fos- 
— -— — tered their discontents ; ' and a state of disquietude and 
1808. dissatisfaction pervaded the minds of the officers, which, 
as compliance with their expectations was little to be 
looked for, required to be allayed by gentle management, 
and the avoidance of additional irritation. Unluckily, 
fresh occasions of excitement did occur, and that excite- 
ment 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 arrangement by which 
officers commanding native corps received a permanent 
monthly allowance, ahke in cantonments as in the field, in 
peace as in war, on condition of their providing the men 
with suitable camp equipage whenever it might be re- 
quired.- The retrenchment was originally suggested 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 accom- 
plished. The report advocated the change, and submitted 
a mode of efiecting 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 opprobrium 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 person could doubt the reasonable- 
ness of its abolition. The alteration was to be judged of, 

1 Memorial of the Officers of the Madras Army to the Court of Directors, 
forwarded by the Coramander-in-chief, with a Letter to the Government of 
fort St. George, 23rd January, 1809. The Madras Government, viewing the 
sentiments expressed in the paper with extreme disapprobation, dechned to 
transmit it to the Court, until it had been laid before the Governor-General.— 
Pari. Papers, 25th May, 1810. No. i. p. 25. At an earlier date, 1st May, 1808, 
General Macdowall enumerates, as the seeds of discontent widely dissemmated, 
the abolition of tlie Bazar Fund ; the degradation of the military character, 
from the Coramander-in-cliief to the youngest ensign ; the late reductions, and 
especially the abolition of the Tent Contract; and adds, "I much lament the 
expediency Avhich occasioned these disgusting measures." — Extracts from 
Lord Minto's Letter to the Secret Committee, 6th Feb. 1810; Pari. Papers, 
1st April, 1811, p. 346. The same letter supplies instances, if not of "the deli- 
berate intention of the General to make the army an instrument of opposition 
and disturbance," as affirmed by Lord ilinto, yet of great disposition to foment 
and heighten the prevailing discontents. 

2 Letter from Sir John Cradock to Lieutenant- Colonel Mimro, 7th Feb. 1807 j 
and his reply, 30th June, 1807 : Pari. Papers, 3ni May, 1811, p. 84. 


*....vever, by those whose interests it eftectecl, and in their BOOK L 
estimation it was a grievous wrong ; but, unable to deny chap. r. 

the defects of the system, or the expediency of its reform, 

their dissatisfaction found an excuse for its display in 1808. 
some unguarded expressions which occurred in the Quar- 
ter-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 public functionaries 
to put upon record more than is always necessary or judi- 
cious. Such was the case with Colonel Munro. Not con- 
tented with indicating such objections as could not be dis- 
jmted, 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 
imputation ; and, although Colonel Munro earnestly dis- 
claimed any intention of reflecting upon the honour and 
integrity of any portion of the officers of the army, 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. 

1 In enumerating 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 interest and duty 
of officers commanding native corps in direct opposition to one another : it 
makes it their interest that the corps should not be in a state of efficiency fit 
for field service, and therefore furnishes strong inducements 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 scarcelj' 
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 suffered. Unfortunately, the objections 
were preceded by the assertion, that " Six years' experience of the practical 
effects 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 sug- 
gested 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 
j ustly replied, " If such a case had occurred, why was it not noticed at the 
time ? " They had reason to be offended ; but still, as the offence grew out of 
an indiscreet mode of propounding undeniable generalisations, and was evi- 
dently not desired to apply to any particular case, they might have been 
satisfied with a declaration to that effect, and would no doubt have been so 
contented, had not an infectious irritability perple.\ed their sober judgments. 
Pari. Pauers. 3rd May, 1811, p. 96; ditto, 1st April, 1811, p. 65; ditto, 25tll. 
U&7, 1810, p. 13. 


BOOK I. Upon the receipt of the charges against Colonel J. 
cHAp.v. Munro,* the Commander-in-Chief hesitated whether he 

should admit them, and referred the question for the 

1809. opinion of the Judge-Advocate-General, who, after discus- 
sing 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 ; substitut- 
ing in its place a memorial to the Court of Directors, 
praying them to investigate the subject.^ Previously, 
however, to his being apprised of their change of purpose. 
General Macdowall had also viewed the matter in a new 
light, and had determined that the charge should be 
entertained. On the eve of his quitting Madras, he placed 
Colonel Munro under arrest, to 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, cir- 
cumstances had occurred, which, in the state of the Com- 
mander-in-Chief's feelings, were possibly not without 
some influence upon his determination. Major Blacker, 
of the Quarter-Master-General's department, was order- 
ed to join the force in Travancore. Another officer. Cap- 
tain Macdowall, who had been formerly employed in the 
province, remonstrated against the arrangement, and 
urged his own preferable claims. His pretensions were 
supported 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 nomination, reprimanded 

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

2 Letter from Colonel Leith, Judge-Advocate-General, to the Adjutant- 
General, 7th Nov. 1808; Pari. Papers, May, 1810, p. 17. 

3 The memorial is printed. Pari. Papers, 3rd May, 1811, p. 79. The otficers 
say, " Finding the mode (of court-martial) was considered by the Judge- 
Advocate-General to he irregular and inettectual, 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 candour 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. 13. 

* Pari. Papers, 25th May, 1810, p. 14. 



Captain ^Macdowall for the tone of his application, and BOOK I. 
tln-eatened to remove him from the office he held. On the chap. v. 
20th, Colonel Muuro -was placed under arrest ; the effect of 
which was to compel the Government to revoke Major 
Biacker's appointment, as the temporary removal of his su- 
perior rendered his presence indispensable at the Presiden- 
cy.* The close concurrence of these events suggests the 
possibihty of their connexion, and the likelihood that mat- 
ters of comparative insignificance, magnified into mischiev- 
ous importance by the passions of the individuals interested, 
contributed 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 ap- 
proved and adopted. This appeal was, in the first instance, 
forwarded through the Commander-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 Government, the 
Judge-Advocate-General, and the Advocate-General, and 
fortified by their joint opinions that it was bound to pro- 
tect the advisers of measures which it had made its own, 
the Government 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 Com- 
mander-in-Chief's commission subjected him so explicitly 
to the authority of the Governor in Council, that he was 
under the necessity of yielding obedience, protesting 
against what he designated as an undue interference. Nor 
was he satisfied with this expression of his indignation : 
on the eve of his embarkation for England, he directed the 
publication of a General Order, in which he announced 
that his departure alone prevented him from bringing 
Colonel Munro to trial for disrespect to the Commander- 
in-Chief, for disobedience of orders, and for contempt of 
mihtary authority, in having resorted to the power of the 
Civil Government in defiance of the judgment of the 

• Pari. Papers, 25th May, 1810, p. 9. 

2 See the whole correspondence, Pari. Papers, 2')th May, pp. 12—24. 


BOOK I. officer at the liead of the army, who had placed him under 
CHAP. V. arrest on charges preferred against him by a number of 

officers commanding native corps ; in consequence of 

1809. Avhich appeal direct to the Honourable the President in 
Council, Lieutenant-General Macdowall had received a 
positive order from the chief secretary to liberate Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Munro from arrest : and the order pro- 
ceeded to stigmatize the conduct of Colonel Munro as 
destructive of subordination, subversive of mihtary dis- 
cipline, a violation of the sacred rights of the Commander- 
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 disappro- 
bation of Colonel Munro's unexampled proceedings, and 
reprimanded him accordingly.^ 

Thus far the Government of Madras had acted with a 
degree of calmness and forbearance which derived additi- 
onal lustre from the contrast which it offered to the 
violence of the Commander-in-Chief. Instead of inter- 
posing to heal the wounds which the needless sensitive- 
ness of the officers had suffered from the incautious but 
indefinite language of an official report, and which a few 
words of explanation from the writer, supported by their 
own good sense and the mediation of their common su- 
perior, must have convinced them were more imaginary 
than real. General Macdowall echoed and aggravated their 
complaints, and, mixing up their grievances with his own, 
employed them as instruments with which to assail the 
Government in the person of one of its most meritorious 
and efficient servants. For the Government of Madms to 
have allowed Colonel Munro to fall a sacrifice to interested 
clamour or personal resentment on account of its own 
acts, would have forfeited for ever its claim to the respect 
of its subordinates. The opinions of Colonel Munro had 
been called for by those who were entitled to demand 
them, and so enjoined, it was his duty to state his honest 
convictions without reserve. These convictions were pro- 
nounced by the Commander-in-Chief of the day to be his 
own ; and the Madras Government, the Government of 

1 General Orders by the Commander-in-chief, head-qoarters, 28th Jan. 1809. 
—Pari. Papers, 25th May, 1810, p. 28. 


Bengal, and the Court of Directors, all concurred in their BOOK I. 
justice and truth, and took them as the principles of their chap. v. 

public acts. The responsibility of the subordinate ceased 

when the supreme power — one acknowledging no respon- ^^^^• 
sibility to its own servants — determined to identify his 
counsels with its own decrees ; and its decrees would have • 

been issued in vain, if the counsels which suggested them 
were to expose any one of its instruments to be degraded 
and punished by another. There can be no question, 
therefore, that the Government of Madras was bound to 
shield the Quarter-Master-General from the anger of the 
Commander-in-Chief ; and that it was legall}'' empowered 
so to interpose, was substantiated by the enforced submis- 
sion of the latter. His threats of what he would have 
done if he had remained, were like the fast-retiring w^ave 
of the Madras surf wasting itself in impotent foam and 
fuiy upon the beach. 

It happened, unfoi-tunately for the character of the !Ma- 
dras Government, and the tranquillity of the settlement, 
that, departing from the calm assertion of its own powers, 
and the dignified attitude it had hitherto held, the Govern- 
ment precipitated itself into a career of recriminatory and 
vindictive acts. Instead of regarding the general order of 
the Commander-in-Chief as the idle ebullition of an angiy 
spirit, the influence of which was neutralised by its own 
intemperance ; instead of taking time to weigh deliber- 
ately the probable results of engaging in an angry contest ; 
the Government instantly promulgated a public order ^ of 
scarcely less exceptionable phraseology, charging General 
Macdowall with having given utterance to insinuations 
grossly derogatory to the character of the Government, 
and subversive of military discipline and of the founda- 
tions of public authority, and with having on that and 
other recent occasions been guilty of violent and inflam- 
matory proceedings, and of acts of outrage : accusations 
not wholly borne out by facts, even if it had been decor- 
ous to proclaim them. Taking advantage also of the non- 
reception of General Macdowall's formal resignation, the 
order cancelled his appointment, and removed him from 
the station of Commander-in-Chief of the forces of Fort 

' The Commander-in-chief's order was not published till the 30th of Jan. 
The order of the Govern. uent is dated the 31st. 
VOL. I. O 


BOOK I. St. George : a somewhat superfluous mode of displeasure^ 
CHAP, V. as General Macdowall was on board the ship which was to 

convey him to England ; a destination he was not per- 

1809. mitted to reach, the vessel being lost at sea on the 

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 expire with the cause which had provoked 
it, few would have been disposed to call its proceedings 
seriously in question ; and after a short period the super- 
ficial 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. Measures were adopted 
which irritated the passions of the army more than any- 
thing that had yet occurred, and infused into the quarrel 
feelings of personal rancour, by which it had not yet been 
generally embittered. The order of the Government, 
which has just been 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 accompa- 
nied General Macdowall on board ship. Colonel Capper, 
the Adjutant-General, avowed himself responsible for the 
circulation of the order, and was included in the same 
penalty.' It was to no purpose, that these officers pleaded 
the merely ministerial character of their duties, and the 
obligation, imposed upon them by military discipline, of 
executing the orders of the Commander of the forces. It 
was argued by the Government, that, by giving authenti- 
city and c\irrency to a paper which they could not but bo 
aware was in the highest degree disrespectful to the Go- 
vernment, they were acting in direct violation of their 
duty to the latter, and thereby knowingly committed an 
illegal act, connected with views of the most reprehensible 

1 General Orders of the rrovernment of Fort St. George, 31st Jan. and 1st 
Teh., 1809 ; Pari. Papers, 25th May, 1810, p. 29. 


nature, which no authority could justify, and that they BOOK J. 
>re deserved the punishment they had incurred. ciiap,,v- 
^' I Capper sailed for England, and, like his superior, ——rz — - 
perislied on the passage. To Major Boles it was intimated, ^^^^* 
tliat if he acknowledged his error, the sentence might be 
luifcigated; 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 unequivocal and universal recognition of the 
illegality ; and, wherever a doubt is admissible, obedience is 
the safer course. That General Macdo wall'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 possible, 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 commands of the Commander- 
-in-Chief.' At any rate, the plea was urged in extenuation 

> Major Boles avers, that lie did not consider the order illegal or directed 
gainst the Government, and that many officers of rank ahd experience in the 
King's and Company's services concurred with him in concluding it to be 
exclusively applicable to Colonel Munro. — Pari. Papers, 25th May, 1810, i. 37. 
General Maitland, at the time Governor of Ceylon, in an elaborate examina- 
tion of tlie 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 conrse 
vindicated by many precedents, inst€ad of one for which no precedent could 
be pleaded.— Pari. Papers, 25th Slay, 1810, No. vi. p. 158. Although the Su- 
preme Government considered the general order of General Macdowali to be 
of a seditious character, and that the Adjutant-General and his deputy in 
issuing it had become thereby guilty of sedition, (Purl. Papers, 50th May, 1810, 
No. iii. p. 13,) yet the Governor-General avows that the suspension of those 
officers gave him great uneasiness, as he anticipated that it would furnish a 



BOOK I. of the act, and it would have been prudent to have so ' 
CHAP. V. accepted it ; for it might easily have been foreseen, that 

' to visit the offence with extreme punishment would excite 

1809. general commiseration for the victims and unpopularity 
for the judge. The consequences were such as should 
have been anticipated. Addresses were immediately for- 
warded 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 subscrip- 
tion 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 Government : 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 
Government 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 de- 
partment, when another general order of the Government, 
dated the 1st of May, announced a sweeping list of 
removals, supersessions, and suspensions. Four officers of 

plausible, and to military minds a, pretence for a more general 
combination against the Goveniment than any of the circnmstances ivhich 
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 that 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.) Tlie sense of the Court of Directors was still more 
decidedly expressed ; as, immediately after the arrival of the first intelligence 
of the proceedings of the JIadras Government, they ordered that Colonel 
Capper and Major Boles should be restored to the sernce. " As those officers 
were placed in a situation of ditficulty, their removal from their respective 
emoluments on the staff Avould have been a sufficient mark of your displeasure, 
and we therefore direct that their suspension from our senice be taken off. — 
Letter from the Court, 15th Sept. 1809. AVlien subsequent advice of the part 
taken by the officers in favour of Major Boles reached England, they rescinded 
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. 13. They after- 
wards 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 
Deputy-Adjutant-General in refusing to obey the command they had received 
from Lieutenant-General JIacdowall that the said order should be circulated 
to the army. " We therefore continue of opinion that Major Boles oiight not 
to have been suspended from the service."— Military Letter from the Court of 
Directors, 5th February, 1811 ; Pari. Papers, April, 1811, p. 178, 


rank were suspended the service ; an equal number were BOOK I. 
removed from their commands or staff appointments, and chap. v. 
four were superseded in the command of battalions : " 

among them were Colonels St. Leger, Chalmers, and Cup- ^^O-^' 
page, who had recently performed such distinguished 
services in Travancore.* The officers thus punished were 
accused of having signed, and influenced others to sign, 
an address to Major Bowles 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 off"enders 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 
^[ay was issued.- 

Although it could not be denied, that the officers of the 
ci-my had entered into combinations which were as de- 
cidedly incompatible with their military obligations as 
their subordination to the Civil Government, yet it is 
very questionable if the measures adopted were politic or 
necessary. The statement of General Macdowall's conduct, 
and the memorial to the Governor-General, had been drawn 
up under the influence of that excitement which existed 
at the time of the embarcation of the Commander-in- 
chief ; and the address to Major Boles originated in the 
occurrences immediately following. 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, 
Genei-al Gowdie, to the officers commanding the principal 
divisions of the army, desiring to know whether the me- 
morial had been circulated amongst the officers under 
their command, and enjoining them to be vigilant in 

> General Order, 1st of May, 1809; Pari. Tapers, May, 1810, 2 A. p. 22. 
The ofticers suspended were Lieutenant-Colonel the Honourable Arthur St. 
Le:?er, Major John De Morgan, Captain Josiah Marsliall, Captain James Grant. 
Removed: Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Bell, Lieutenant-Colonel J. M. Chal- 
mers, Lieutenant-Colonel J. Cuppage, Captain J. M. Coombs. Superseded; 
Captain Smith, Major Keasberry, Major Muirliead, and Major Haslewood. 

» Minute of the President in Council, witli enclosures, 1st May, 1809; Pari. 
Papers, May, 1810, 2 A. 3, 



BOOK I. bringing them to a sense of their duty ; and it is acknow* 
CHAP. V. lodged by Sir George Barlow himself, that, with one 
exception, the replies were in general perfectly satisfac- 
tory.' In fact, the memorial never was sent ; and it is 
admitted that all intention of sending it had been aban- 
doned, when it was made the ground of punishing those 
who were accused of having taken an active share in its 
signature and circulation .2 

Another objectionable feature in this proceeding was 
its being based on j)rivate 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-born clerks in the offices of the military 
department, who had been employed to transcribe various 
papers by some of the officers particularised. Their 
depositions were taken privately. Their testimony was 
never communicated to the accused, and might or might 
not have been true.' That papers such as were described 
had been in circulation, was not improbable ; but to what 
extent some of the individuals condemned were implicated 
in their distribution, had not been clearly established.* 
Several of them denied the justice of the charge ; but 
denial was useless, and proof would have been too late. 
Accusation and condemnation were simultaneous ; the 
officers so summarily punished were allowed no oppor- 
tunity 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 

A further unfortunate circumstance distinguished this 
general order of the 1st of May. With singular 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 

^ Minute last cited. ' Minute ditto, 

3 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 neither directly nor indirectly 
countenanced or influenced the circulation of any paper of the tendency 
alluded to in the order of Government." Colonel St. Leger and Major De 
llorgan denied having taken an active part in the circulation of the memorial, 
or influenced others to sign it. See their memorials in the Pari. Papers. 


amongst the members of the military class, the Govern- BOOK I. 
ment thought fit to compliment the subsidiary force at chap. v. 

iiyderabad for its satisfactory and exemplary conduct in 

having resisted all i)articipation in the improper and ^^^^• 
liungcrous proceedings which the order described. No- 
hing could have been more mischievous.* The officers 
of the Hyderabad force instantly and indignantly repu- 
diated the distinction, and, in their eagerness to show- 
that it was undeserved, plunged headlong into a career far 
more violent and indefensible than any which had yet 
annoyed or alarmed the Government. They immediately 
published a letter to the army and to the officers suspended, 
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 contribute to the support of those officers ; and their 
determination to co-operate with the army in all legal 
measures for the removal of the cause of the present 
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 Gover- 
nor in Council, signed by a hundred and fifty-eight officers 
of the divisions of Jalna and Hyderabad, urging strenu- 
ously the restoration of the removed officers as the only 
daneasures likely to prevent the possible and probable 
-Toonsequences which they else apprehended ; namely, the 
separation of the civil and military, the destruction of all 
discipline and subordination amongst the native troops, 
the ultimate loss of a large portion of the British pos- 
sessious in India, and the dreadful blow it would inflict 
on the mother country.^ In the course of the following 
month an address was presented to Colonel Montresor, 
commanding the Hyderabad force, by his officers, of a still 
more outrageous description." 

' General Orders of tlie Government; Pari. Papers, May, 1810, 2 A. p. 24. 
- Pari. Papers, May, 1810, 2 ii. p. 24. 3 i\y\a. p. 26. 

* On the '21st of July they presented to Colonel Montresor a paper which 
they styled tlicir nltimatum, but pledging themselves to remain quiet until a 
u'piy from Government should be received. In this they demanded the repeal 
t the orders of the 1st May, the restoration of the officers suspended or 
'•moved, the removal from their staff appointments of the officers who had 
iicen the principal advisers of the Government, and the grant of a general 
-Tunesty to the discontented. The signatures of all the officers except those 
a tlie staff were affixed to the paper, and a joint movement from Jalna and 
llvderabad on Madras was projected in case their demands were not complied 
with.— Pari. Papers, May, 1810, 2 C. p. 29. 


OOK I. About the same time with this manifestation of the 
HAP. V. growing sentiments of insubordination at Hyderabad, an 

overt act of mutiny was committed by the Company's 

1809. European regiment quartered at Masulipatam. The offi- 
cers of this corps had partaken in the general feelings, 
and had been further irritated by the indiscreet harshness 
with which their commanding officer had visited some 
imprudent 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 
arrest. The command was assumed by the next in rank ; 
a managing committee of officers was instituted, and a 
correspondence was opened by them with the Hyderabad 
and other mutinous divisions. Colonel Malcolm, who was 
at Madras, preparing to proceed on his mission to Persia, 
was despatched to Masulipatam to restore order and 
subordination : he was treated with courtesy, but returned 
to the 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 junction of the troops from Ma- 
sulipatam 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 con- 
cerned, these wild and criminal projects were arrested 
by the seasonable interposition of the Governor-General, 
and the return of the most violent and rash to a recollec- 
tion of their duty. 

The Government of Madras had thus, by unquestionable 
deficiencies in temper and discretion, brought matters to a 

1 Pari. Papers, May, 1810, 2 B. p. 33, and 2 C. p. 1. Colonel Malcolm sub- 
sequently published " Obsen'ations on the Disturbances of the Madras Army," 
in two parts; London, 1812. 


position from which it was equally dangerous to advance BOOK I. 
or recede. Several of the most distinguished of its mili- chap. v. 

tary servants counselled the rescission of the obnoxious 

orders, and the restoration of the suspended of&cers to 1^^^* 
the service.^ Such a concession might have moderated 
the violence of the tempest, but its efficacy in producing 
a continued calm was more than doubtful. It would have 
been an acknowledgment that the Government 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 
encouraged, in time to come, those who felt or fancied a 
^ievance, to resist the will of all future administrations, 
and seek redress by force and intimidation. There was an 
end of all civil government, — of all government, — if 
military combination was allowed 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 intrusted to defend the state against ex- 
ternal aggression, 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 con- 
duct of Sir George Barlow at this crisis. His determina- 
tion to uphold at every risk the rightful claims of the 
Gk)veniment to the obedience of the army was defensible 
on the grounds of the responsibihty, imposed upon him 
by his station, of preserving imdisturbed the social rela- 
tions of the civil and military power under his authority, 
of assei-ting 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 Legislature 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 part of the army had assumed. It was but a part ; and 
a considerable portion had not yet taken any share in their 
proceedings. The Commander-in-chief, and the great ma- 
jority of those officers who were highest in rank and most 

» By Captain Sydenham, the Resident at Hyderabad ; by Colonel 3Iontresor, 
commanding the subsidiary force ; and by Colonel Malcolm.— Pari. Papers. 


BOOK I. distinguished in reputation, and whose influence with 
CHAP. V. those under their command was of most importance, were 

staunch advocates of the principles of order and mihtary 

1809. subordination ; many, who had been involved in the pro- 
ceedings 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 rebeUion. The 
Government of Madras was assured of the decided support 
of the Government of Bengal, and had the command of 
the resources of that Presidency, as well as of Bombay 
and Ceylon. The King's regiments steadily 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 subsistence 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 Go- 
vernment of Madras entered upon the contest with 
promptitude and vigour. 

In order to ascertain its own strength, and discover 
what proportion of the officers were well-afifected, and at 
the same time to remove the disaffected for a season from 
situations where they might exercise influence or autho- 
rity, the officers generally were called upon to sign a test 
pledging themselves to support the measures of the Go- 
vernment. Letters were addressed to the commanding 
officers of stations, furnishing them with the proposed 
form of the test, and instructing them to procure to it 
the signatures of the officers under their command, on 
penalty of being removed from their regiments to stations 
on the sea-coast, where they would be required to reside 
until the situation of affairs, and the temper of men's 
minds, should allow of their being again employed.^ As 
the removal was avowedly temporaiy, and the recusant 

1 Pari. Papers, May, 1810, 2C.p. 41. The test or declaration ran thus: 
" We, the xmdersigned officers of the Honourable Company's service, do in the 
most solemn manner declare, upon our -word of honour as Biitish officers, that 
yve will obey the orders and support the authority of the Honourable the 
Governor in Council of Fort St. George, agreeably to the tenor of the commis- 
sions which we hold from that Government." — Ibid. 2 15. p. 9. 


.tficers were not to forfeit their pay, all appearance of BOOIv I 
unnecessary harehness was avoided, and a reasonable plea chai'. v. 

for remaining neutral was supplied to the least violent. • 

At the same time, the commanding officers of corps were, ^^*^^' 
ordered to assemble the native officers, and explain to 
them, and through them to the Sipahis, that the discon- 
tents of the European officers were entirely personal ; 
that the Government had no intention to diminish the 
advantages which the men enjoyed, but, on the contrary, 
was anxious to improve them, and that it confidently 
rehed upon their attachment and fidelity.* A general 
order to the same eftect was also promulgated, and active 
measures were taken to secure its circulation. The Com- 
|>any's troops were also so distributed in connexion with his 
Majesty's, as to render the latter an efficient check upon 
the former, and all the availing corps of the central divi- 
sion of the army were concentrated in the vicinity of the 
seat of Government. 

The majority of the officers, even of those whose 
loyalty and moderation had never been doubted, declined 
to sign the test, and were consequently removed from 
their stations.- The appeal to the native officei-s and men 
\YAS very generally successful. Wherever the orders of 
the Government reached them, they expressed their reso- 
lution to remain faithful to their vows of allegiance, and 
to obey no commands but such as they should receive 
from Government direct, or from officers whom the Go- 
vernment should set over them. This separation of the 
men from their officers was calculated to relax the reins 
of discipline, and sow the seeds of disorganization in the 
native army ; but the Indian soldier is of a plastic nature, 
which, where his own immediate interests or prejudices 
■^^e not concerned, soon takes and soon parts with impres- 
■*«ions. The only situations in which the agitation was 
not suppressed without recourse to more stringent cor- 
rectives, were Mysore and Hyderabad. 

In the former of these districts, the officers of the gar- 
rison of Seringapatam, rendered desperate by the measures 

» Pari. Papers, May, 18J0, 2 C. p. 30. 

' 0!)scrv:Uions of Sir John Malcolm, p. 32. Colonel Bannerman states 
®'^hat the published returns show but one hundred and rtfty signatures, out of 
''^lirtecn hundred officers on the strength tf the Madras Army.— Dissent, Pari. 
Papers, April, 1811,4.23. 


BOOK I. of the Government for separating the native soldiers from 
CHAP. V. their officers, rushed into unbridled violence and open 

rebellion. Compelling a small detachment of his Ma- 

1809. jesty's troops to withdraw from the fort, they seized upon 
the public treasure, drew up the bridges, and placed 
themselves in an attitude of defiance ; disobeying the 
orders of Colonel Davies, commanding in Mysore, and dis- 
regarding the remonstrances of the Political Resident, 
Mr. Cole. A detachment consisting of the 25th dragoons, 
a regiment of native cavalry, with a j-egiment of his Ma- 
jesty's foot, and a native battalion, commanded by Colonel 
Gibbs, marched to Seringapatam, 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 Chittledroog 
to reinforce the garrison. The Mysore horse met the 
battalions at some distance from Seringapatam, about the 
7th of August. No forcible opposition was offered until 
the 11th, when the Chittledroog force was in sight of the 
walls of Seringapatam, and of the camp of the detach- 
ment 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 approach of 
the dragoons, the Chittledroog battalions broke and dis- 
persed. 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 wounded slightly. During 
the night the fortress cannonaded the encampment ; and, 
although no great mischief was done, it was necessary to 
remove the tents to a safer distance. No further hostility 
was offered by either party. 

1 The returns give nine killed, one hundred and fifty wounded, and two 
hundred and eighty-one missing. The officers cf the Chittledroog battalion 
affirm that the men Avere ordered not to tire upon the Europeans, hut only to 
defend themselves against the Mysore horse. The absence of all casualties 
among the dragoons, with the exception of one officer wounded, which was 
possibly the consequence of a misunderstanding, is a strong corroboration of 
this assertion.— Pari. Papers, May, 1810, 2 0. p. 40; also 2 F. p. 33, &c.; also 
Trial of Colonel J. Bell; Pari. Papers, April, 1811. 


Hoping that the personal character of Colonel Close, BOOK I. 
the Resident at Pooua, and his great popularity with the chap. v. 

native soldiery, might enable him to exercise a salutary 

influence over the troops at Hyderabad, the Government ^^O^- 
called him from his political duties to take the command 
of the subsidiary force. He arrived at Hyderabad on the 
3rd of August ; and, notwithstanding some opposition, 
made his way to the cantonments, where he expostulated 
with such officers as were jiresent, and with such of the 
native officers and men as showed a disposition to listen 
to his observations. Little effect was produced apparently 
by his intervention ; and, having cause to apprehend per- 
sonal 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 divi- 
sions at Jalna, Masulipatam, and in the aSTorthern Circars. 
The former made two marches in advance, and the latter 
were under orders to take the field, when, fortunately, the 
determinations of the officers at Hyderabad underwent a 
change. On the 11th of August they addressed a peni- 
tential letter to Lord Minto, who was expected to arrive 
at Madras ; signed the test proposed 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 defection of 

1 The motives -vvliich influenced the officers are recapitulated bj' 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 anytliing beyond 
intimidation as a means of controulin,:,' Government, and exacting the con- 
cessions tiiey required : they advanced from faction to sedition, from sedition 
to revolt, confident that each step they made towards further violence -would 
be sufficient for their purpose. In tiiis course they gradually arrived at the 
last narrow boundary which they had yet to pass before the commencement of 
civil war ; and, while they yet hesitated on the last decisive step, tlie 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 ovils incident to such a conflict, and their 
compunction at becoming the immediate instniments of such calamities ; 
sentiments which terminated in a resolution to sacrifice their own objects and 
feelings to the public safety, and to submit themselves implicitly to the discre- 
tion of Government." Although Lord Minto doubts, to its full extent, this 
account of tiieir reasons for so suddenly stopping in their course, and ascribes 
it, in i)art at least, to a seasonable fear of failure ; yet lie admits that veiy 
inany must have been urged onwards, against their own better judgments, by, 
the impulse of example, and that these must liave rejoiced at the first overture 
of retreat.— Pari. Papers, May, 1310, No. iv. p. 9. 


BOOK I, the Hyderabad force arrested the progress of the mutiny. 
ciiAr. V. The Jalna division returned to cantonments. On the 16th 

of August the gan'ison at MasuHpatam tendered their ad- 

1809. hesion, and gave up the fort to General Pater ; and on the 
23rd the garrison of Seringapatam submitted uncondi- 
tionally, and evacuated the fortress. The declaratory test 
was universally signed, and a calm as profound as the agi- 
tation had been alarming was at once restored. 

The causes which induced this seasonable reaction are 
sufficiently obvious. The officers had hitherto rushed 
forward in the blindness of their anger, without seeing 
whither it was likely to lead them ; but they now arrived 
at the very verge of the precipice, and another step would 
have consigned them to irretrievable infamy and ruin. It 
is impossible to believe that the most daring and despe- 
rate did not at this moment wish for an excuse to go no 
farther. The senior officers in almost every command 
had throughout acted with so much moderation and 
judgment as to have secured the respect, although they 
had not always been able to repress the violence, of those 
subordinate to them ; and their representations contri- 
buted 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 retract derived confirmation from the apprehension of 
failure in advancing, and from a general belief that the 
native soldiery would fall oflf from their officers if the 
quarrel with the Government were urged to actual war- 
fare.^ These reflections had been for some time at work. 
Even in the almost universal rejection of the test, the 
indication of a returning sense of duty was manifested ; 
as the chief ground of refusal was not its general purport, 
but the possibility of its placing those who signed it in open 
hostility to those with whom they had been so far engaged 
in a common cause. Most of the officers declared them- 
selves from the first willing to sign it, with the reservation 
that they should not be required to take up arms against 

1 In several of the pamphlets published by the friends of the officers, it is 
asserted that '* the Sipahis adhered to the otflcers to the last." Lord Minto 
observes, tliat " 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 mani- 
fested little inclir.aion to support their European officers against the Go- 



their brother-officers. The readiness with which they BOOK I. 
toquiesced in their removal from their regiments and chap. v. 
stations evinced a similar state of feeling ; and it wanted 
only a beginning, an example of sufficient weight, for the 
change of sentiment to be universally and unequivocally 
exhibited. This was supplied by the conduct of the 
Hyderabad force, which had been foremost and most 
vehement in its opposition, and, having therefore the 
greatest sacrifice of personal feeling to make in yielding 
obedience, was the more deserving of imitation. With 
regard to the officers of the subsidiary force, they were 
of course influenced by the same motives as their com- 
panions in arms ; and there is every likhhood that the 
arguments and advice and the character of Colonel Close 
materially aflected their feelings, aided their judgment, 
and decided their determination. Another and very im- 
jjortant circumstance came opportunely to alleviate the 
jmiu and effiice the discredit of such a departure from 
iheir previous declarations. It had been known for some 
■time past that it was the intention of the Governor- 
General to repair to Madras,' and assume in person an 
investigation into the proceedings of the army. It v/as 
now ascertained that he was on his way. To his justice 
and impartiality the officers looked with confidence, and 
felt assured that they had nothing to apprehend in him 
from personal resentment. Although they signed the 
test of the Madras Government, yet it was to Lord Minto, 
and not to Sir George Barlow, that the officers at Hyder- 
abad, Masulipatam, and Seringapatam addressed their sub- 

Not that the officers of the Madras army had any reason 
to anticipate from the Governor-General a favourable 
award. His sentiments were known to be in accordance 
with those of the Governor in Council of Fort St. George. 
Communications of their proceedings, from the latter to 
the former, had dra^vn from the Supreme Government a 
review of the whole of the discussions, an elaborate vin- 
pdication of the course pursued by the Government of 
*^Madras, and an unqualified condemnation of the insub- 

« General Orders, Fort William, 20th July, 1809. 

3 Address from the offleors at Hyderabad to Lord Minto, 11th August; Pari. 
Papers, May, 1810, 2 F. 1. Declaration of those at Masulipaum ; ibid, p. 12. 
Address of those at Seringapatam, 21st August ; ibid. p. 4(i. 


BOOK I. ordinate and seditious spirit wliicli the officers had 
CHAP. V. displayed. ' The letter had been published at Madras, 

and circulated to the army ; but, notwithstanding its gene- 

,1800. i-al tenor, there was a calmness in its tone, and a reason- 
ableness in its arguments, which opened a prospect of 
considerate as well as just decision. Whatever might be 
the sentence of the Governor-General, the sting of person- 
ality was removed ; and it was the functionary, not the 
indi vidua], who was expected to pronounce judgment. 

It had been the purpose of Lord Minto to have sailed 
for Madras before the end of July ; but his departure was 
delayed by the assurance, which the Madras Government, 
with that singularly imperfect knowledge which it had 
on other t)Ccasions 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 
information was incorrect, he embarked, and reached 
Madras on the 11th of September. All parties anxiously 
waited his fiat. It was not long delayed.^ On the 26th. 
of the same month a general order announced to the army 
the Governor-General's reprobation of their past conduct, 
and his resolution to inflict such punishment as might be 
commensurate with the offences committed. This deter- 
mination was expressed in language designed and calcu- 
lated to assuage all irritated feeling, and it was too evidently 
grounded upon the nature of the past transaction for its 
justice to be called into question. The necessity of vin- 
dicating the authority of the Government w^as 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 distinguished 
by one remarkable peculiarity, — the more remarkable from 
the contrast Vv-hich it presented to the whole course of 
Sir George Barlow's proceedings, — the non-exercise of 
absolute power ; the abeyance of the right of the Governor- 

' Letter from the Supreme Government to the Governor iu Council, Fort 
St. George, 27th May, 1809 ; Tarl. Papers, :May, 1810. Ko. iii. 

2 Letter from the Governor-General to the Secret Committee, 10th October, 
1809, par. 37 : also Minute of Governor-General, 15th July, 1800 ; Pari. Papers, 
May, 1810, No. iv. : and MS. Piccords. 

sparl. Papers, May, 1810, No. iv. p. 14. 


General to decree punishment of his own will and plea- BOOK I. 
mire ; and the reference of those who were charged with chap. v. 

the highest degree of culpability to the judgment of their 

peers. A few only of the oflfenders were selected ; such 1809. 
as officers in command of stations or of bodies of troops, 
commandants of corps, and individuals conspicuous for 
violop-t 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 dis- 
missal from the service. The whole of the officers of the 
Hyderabad force were pardoned, in consideration of the 
important example which they had set of submission. 
Only three officers came under 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 character and welfare of the Coast army, 
which sunk deep into minds that had so long been used 
to the language of unbending sternness and unqualified 
reproof, and which now laboured under the humiliating 
consciousness that personal resentment, however 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 command- 
ant of the garrison of Seringapatam, was charged with 
joining, and with heading, the mutiny of the troops. The 
defence set up was, that he had consented to take the 
command only to prevent excesses ; that he exercised no 
real authority in the fort ; that he had signed the test 
without hesitation himself, and that it was through his 
influence the officers also finally signed it, and that the 
garrison finally surrendered the fort in a peaceable man- 
ner. He was pronounced guilty, and sentenced to be 
cashiered. A like charge and sentence characterised the 
trial of Major Storey, w^ho had consented to hold the 
command at Masulipatam, upon the arrest, by his brother- 
officers, of Colonel Innes, their common superior. A 
similar defence was offered, and the prisoner was recom- 
mended 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 

VOL. I. r 



BOOK I. by the courts, aiid eventually confirmed. Lieutenant^ 
CHAP. V. Colonel Doveton was charged with having moved his 

' detachment from Jalna with a mutinous and seditious 

1809. design against the Government of Madras. The defence 
was the same. Colonel L>oveton, it was affirmed, had only 
ostensibly participated in a movement which he could 
not hinder, with a view so to controul it as to render it 
inoffensive : he also produced a private letter from the 
Resident at Hyderabad, sanctioning his accompanying 
the troops, if he could not prevent their march. He was 
consequently fully and honourably acquitted. This sen- 
tence 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, tAvo, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Munro and Major Kenny, stood a trial, 
and were cashiered : the rest accejjted the alternative of 
dismissal.^ Until the termination of the trials, Lord 
Minto continued at the Presidency of Madras ; and when 
he quitted it, early in 1810, his authority was in some 
measure replaced by the presence of General Hewett, the 
Commander-in-chief of the Bengal army, who assumed 
the command 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 dissen- 
sions how essential was the possession of dignity, so 
vainly coveted by General Macdowall, 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 Pre- 
sidency, and endanger the existence of the British empire 
in India. The danger, though not visionary, was perhaps 
exaggerated. The quarrel 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 

'Report of the Trials; Pari. Papers, 1st April, 1811, Ko. vii. Letter 
from Lord Minto to tiie Secret Committee, 15th April, 1830 ; ibid. No. ix. 
p. 353. 


Barl(iw. However unreasonable the aversion thus che- BOOK I. 
ri^iH^'l. and however indefensible the extremities to which chap. v. 
1 unthinking men, it cannot be affirmed that ■■ 

T ; so widely spread were wholly without extenua- l^^^. 

tiou, or that the measures and character of the Governor 
were not calculated to provoke, although not to justify, 
disobedience. The Indian Governments of Sir George 
Barlow's day where w^holly unaccustomed to have their 
proceedings canvassed or their wisdom impugned, and 
they were intolerant of opposition. This had been par- 
ticularly 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 
exalted notions of the authority entrusted to him ; and 
when, from the concurrent causes which have been ad- 
verted 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 stig- 
matised them as personal and factious. That much of 
the opposition which he encountered was personal was 
undoubtedly true ; but it was not at first personal in a 
sense relating to him, so much as to the individuals them- 
.^elves, advocating their own interests, and smarting under 
:aistaken, 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. Ge- 
neral Macdowall had no right to complain of the Govern- 
ment of Madras for his exclusion from the Council ; that 
was the act of the Court of Directors : but he had reason 
to feel aggrieved when Government gave that exclusion 
ractical effect, constructing the plan of a campaign 
thout consulting him ; or consulting him tardily and 
servedly, and encroaching upon his pretensions to mili- 
tary patronage. Had he been treated with the same 
deference as if ho had filled a seat at the council-board, 
all cause of offence would possibly have been removed ; 
for, although warm and precipitate, his temper does not 
appear to have been unsusceptible of concihation. When 


BOOK I. the season of friendly intercourse had passed, and General 
CHAP. V. Macdowall had placed himself in the wrong by his nnjusti- 

fiable violence in the case of Colonel Munro, the cancelling 

180t). Qf ^^^ arrest was so necessary and so sufficient a vindica- 
tion of the authority of the Government, 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 
language of the order was undignified and intemperate. 
But the measures that ensued bore a different character, 
and were hasty and imprudent, and in some respects 
unjust. The suspension of the officers of the Adjutant- 
General's department for obeying the commands of their 
military superior ; the condemnation of officers without 
charge or trial, upon private information ; and their severe 
punishment for an unperpetrated offence — the intended 
transmission of a memorial which was never sent ; all 
originated in that spirit of official despotism w^hich con- 
ceived that its own judgment superseded all need of 
hesitation, all occasion for inquiry or trial. That Sir 
George Barlow conscientiously considered the station in 
which he was placed to be endowed with such preroga- 
tives ; that it was the dignity, not so much of his own 
person or power, as of that of the office of Governor in 
Council of Fort St. George, may be granted : but the 
removal of Major Boles was regarded even by the Govern- 
ment of Bengal and the Court of Directors as unjust ; 
and no less so were the orders of the 1st of May, which 
pronounced sentence upon meritorious officers for an 
uncommitted crime, upon private intelligence and without 
a trial. That they were most impolitic was proved by the 
irritation which they excited ; and which, from a smoul- 
dering 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 stern unfeeling tone of its gene- 
ral 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 disdain to blend the language of 


affectionate and paternal solicitude with the assertion of BOOK 1. 
authority ; and until, which was still more important, it chap» v. 

condescended to lay aside the sword of justice, and send 

the accused to those tribunals to which they acknowledged ^^0^- 
themselves to be amenable. That a profound sense of 
public duty was the chief moving principle of Sir George 
Barlow's conduct it was impossible to doubt ; but he trusted 
too exclusively 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 proceedings in 
England, to which the transactions at Madras gave rise. 
Tlie public was speedily inundated by the statements of 
the opposite parties ;' but the interest excited was incon- 
siderable, as attention 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 first upheld the measures of the Go- 
vernment 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 consi- 
dered, a sei-ious 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 
I a seat in Council, which involved the question of dis- 
placing 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 ques- 
tion by lot, Mr. Petrie, who had been opposed on many 
important points to Sir George Barlow, was removed. 
The dissents of those members of the Court who disap- 

' In addition to the publications of Mr. Marsh, a gentleman of the lejfal 
profession, who, while at .Madras, had been generally the adviser and advo- 
cate of Sir George Barlow's o|)po!ients, and of Colonel Malcolm, with the 
obyervfttions and replies which they produced, the principal autiiorUics on 
cither side are the following : 1. A View of the Policy of Sir George Harlow ; 
in a scries of Letters by Indns, 1810. 2. Letter from an Officer, at Madras. 
.^. An Accurate and Authentic Narrative of the Dissensions at Madras. 
4. NaiTative of the late Trials, <fec. 5. Account of the Discontents of the 
.ALadras Army. The two principal Reviews, also, took difToreut sides of the 


OOK I. proved of the decision, and the reply of those who sup- 
HAp. V. ported it, took a review of the v;hole of the transactions, 

and with equal ability and earnestness commended or 

1800, condemned the policy of Sir George Barlow.^ Similar 
discussions attended the apx-)sals made by the dismissed 
or suspended officers ; and at different dates their dis- 
mission was both confirmed and cancelled. The milder 
counsels at last prevailed, and all who had been sus- 
pended or dismissed were pardoned or restored to the 
service.2 In July, 1811, a motion was 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 
was equally the subject of a protest by those members of 
the Court who had uniformly supported his measui'es and 
vindicated his reputation.* 

• The procecdinfjs and the dissents of Messrs. Bannerman, Barinj?, Ingiis, 
Huddlestone, Elphinstone, and Patterson, with the reply of Messrs. Grant a^id 
Astell, are printed in the Pari. Papers, 1811, No. iv. 

'^ Most of the suspended officers were restored in 1811 ; those cashiered or 
dismissed, at subsequent dates. 

3 The dissents of Messrs. Parry, Smith, Astell, Bebb, and Grant were pub- 
lished by Sir Robert BarloAV, the brother of Sir George. Murray, 1813. 

•» Little occasion now exists, perhaps, for an appeal to authority to determine 
the character of the proceedings of the Madras army ; but tliere 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 following passages 
occur in a letter, dated Badajoz, 3rd December, 1809, addressed to Colonel 

" You cannot conceive how much I have felt for wiiat has passed on the 
Madras Establishment. I scarcely recognise in those transactions the men 
lor 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 mismanaged. Tliese 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 Govei-nor and the Commander-in-chief. 
Both, but principally the latter, looked for partizans and supporters ; and 
these have ended by throwing off all subordination, by relinquishing all habits 
of obedience, and almost by open resistance. 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 ought he not to have been 
brought to a court-martial for giving that opinion, but lie otight to have been 
brought to a court-martial if iie had refrained from giving it, Avhen 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 
wrong 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 



l\,,L'i,n I "^'<.7 uj Lord Miiito's Administration. — Invasion 
of Berar hy Amir Khan. — A Force sent to the Aid of the 
kaja. — Amir Khan's Defeat hy the Berar Troops, — . 
Retires hefore the British. — Disputes hetwee^i the Peshwa 
and the Southern Jagirdars. — Compulsory Adjustment. 
— Suppression of Piracy hy the States of Wari and 
Kvlapur. — Expedition against the Pirates of the Persian 
Gidph. — Joasmis — their Ferocity. — Destruction of 
Ras-al-Khaima and other Pirate Stations. — Expedition 
to Macao. — Operations against the French and Dutch 
Colonies in the Lidian Seas. — Successful Depredations of 
the French Cniizers. — Expedition against Rodriguez, — 
its Occupation. — Descent upon Bourhon. — Garrison of 
Rodriguez reinforced. — Second Descent upon Bourhon, 
and Capture. — Naval Transactions at the Isle of France. 
— French Frigates in the Harhour 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 fi'om Bengal and Madras. — Landing 
of the Forces in Grande Baye, — march to Port Louis. — 
Capitidation with the French Governor. — Blockade of 

Oovemments. I, who have arrived pretty nearly at the top of the tree, 
: i c the last man to give up any pouit of military right or etiquette, 
r.c no doubt whatever, not only that it was the right, but that it 
iluty, of the Governor in Council to interfere to save Colonel ilunro; 
; if be had nyt done so, and the public had sustained any loss or incon- 
■ from his trial, or if the public attention had been drawn to the in- 
-: Ilia trial, the Governor would have been severely responsible for the 
oniissiun to jierforui his duty. 

" So far for iny opinion upon the main points of the question. As for the 

otiiers, the conduct of oiUcers upon the addresses, the orders issued, the re- 

i-- entered into, the resignations of their offices, &c., Ac, they are con- 

s of the tirst error ; that is, of persons in authority making partizans 

placed under them, instead of making all obey the constituted au- 

;;:.: it;e> of the state. This conduct in the officers of the iirmy would have 

bLTii wrong, even if the cause had been just, and the Commander-in-chief 

h;iil ^ i-'licd to screen Colonel Mimro from the persecution of the Govern- 

:i ' i: is really not worth while to take up my time in describing, or 

mg, a description of the folly, the inconsistency, or the breaches 

id subordination contained in all those documents. I have so 

I ir the Madras army, to which I owe much, that I would sacrifice 

have it in ray power to restore them to that state of discipline, 

iicctability in which I left them in the year 1805; and I assure 

; I siiail rejoice most sincerely when I shall hear that their good sense 

a;; . ^od temper have predominated over their feelings of party and their pre- 

.iii.i,. •, >. '— I)c:<pat>.hes of the Duke of AVellmgtou ; Supplementary volume to 

itie tiirce lirst Parts, p. 231. 


the Dutch Islands. — Expeditioji against the Moluccas. — 
Capture of Amhoyna, — of Banda, — and of Ternate. — 
Expedition against Java, — accompanied by Lord 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. — Occupation of 
-JBatavia. — Advance to Weltevreeden. — Strength of Fort 
.Cornells. — Assaidt. — March of Colonel Gillespie's Co- 
^tumn, — Surprise of the Outwork, — Defences Forced. — 
'^Explosion of a Picdotibt, — the Fort taken, — the Pursuit 
and Dispersion of the Enemy. — Churhon and Madura 
occupied. — Final Defeat of General Jansens. — Sur- 
^ render of Java and its Dependencies. — Mr. Raffles 
[appointed Governor. — Colonel Gillespie Commander of 
''the Forces. — Capture of Yodhyakarta. — Expedition 
^^ against Palemhang. — Sidtan deposed. — Views of thej_ 
^' Court of Directors. — Beneficial Results of the Britiskf 
Administration ?^ ,^<*f^' j^ii^i 

VrO events of any jgreat political importance took plac^ 
-L^ on the continent of India, the occurrence of whiclvj^ 
*"^" was likely to aggravate the anxiety experienced by the Brif»j 

_^gQg tish Government from the dissensions that prevailed a,i^, 
Madras ; but, during the same period, various occasions of; 
minor moment had arisen for the exercise of its inter-^y 
ference and the manifestation of its power. Of this charj. 
racter were the proceedings consequent upon the conduQt^ 
of Amir Khan, of whom mention has been made in ouj^ 
preceding pages, and who provoked at this time the hos- ; 
tility of the Government of Bengal. Left without con- 
troul by the insanity of Holkar, and keeping together a^ 
numerous body of troops, for the payment of which l^ci^- 
possessed no means of his own, Amir Khan, after exhaustf^ 
ing the resources of the Rajput princes, was compelled t^^ 
look abroad for plunder, and enlarge the field of his depr©?^ 
dations. The Raja of Berar was selected as the victim o^ 
his necessities. 

In the commencement of his political career, Jeswant 
Rao Holkar had been detained for some time as a prisoner 
at Nagpore, and according to his own assertions, was pil- 


' ' ' by the Raja of jewels of very great value. Amir BOOK I, 
!iow demanded, in the name of Holkar, the restitu- chap. vi. 
.<-,, y,( the jewels* or their price ; and, as the demand was 7" 

ot complied with, he moved, in January 1809, to the 
Titiers of Berar with all his force, swelled to a large 
i lilt by the accession of the predatory or Pindari 
Dands,' 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 considerable city of Berar, of which and 
of the surrounding country he took possession. 

Although not bound by the terms of the existing treaty 
to give military aid to the Raja of Nagpore against his 
enemies, yet the aggi'ession of Amir Khan was considered 
by the Bengal Government to demand its vigorous inter- 
position. 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 envoys at Nagpore, that their master had been 
induced to invade the country by the invitation of the 
Nizam, who had offered to defray the cost of a still more 
formidable armament, might not be deserving of implicit 
ci-edit, yet the known sympathies 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 warrant and require our interference ; but 
whether an enterprising and ambitious Mussulman chief, 
at the head of a numerous army, irresistible by any power 
except that of the Com2)any, should be permitted to 
establish his authority on the ruins of the Raja's do- 
minions, over territories contiguous to those of the 

> MS. Records. Amir Klian mentions the manner in which Holkar became 
possessed of these jewels ; but states that thev were sold, find the produce was 
expended in raising troops, when he was seized by the Bhonsla Raja.— Life, 
p. 91. 

2 He states his force at 40,000 horse and 24,000 Pindaris. 



BOOK I. Nizam, with whom community of religion, combined with 
CHAP. VI. local power and resources, might lead to the formation of 
projects probably not uncongenial to the mind of the 
Nizam himself, and certainly consistent with the views 
and hopes of a powerful party in his court, for the sub- 
version of the British alliance. Of such a question there 
could be but one solution ;" ^ this was, the determination 
to defend the Eaja of Nagpore : and Colonel Close was 
ordered to march with a competent division to expel Amir 
Khan from the Berar territory. As the objects of the 
expedition were in an essential degree British, the assist- 
ance was wholly gratuitous, no compensation being de- 
manded from the Raja. Amir Khan x^rotestcd vehe- 
mently against the interposition ; and appealed with 
unansvv^erable justice, although with no avail, to the stipu- 
lations of the existing treaty with Holkar, on whose behalf 
he i^retended to act, which engaged that the British Go- 
vernment would not in any manner whatever interfere 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 v'ith 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 reputation. 

An army v^as accordingly assembled towards the end of 
1809 on the eastern frontier of Berar, composed chiefly of 
the subsidiary troops from Jalna and Hyderabad ; and 
another, of sufficient strength not only to protect the pro- 
vince from danger, but to undertake offensive operations 
if necessary, was collected in Bundelkhand. Before either 
force, however, could be fully formed and brought into 
acton, the invader had been checked by the unaided troops 

~ J Minute of Governor-General, Oct. 1S09; ilalcolm's Political Historj-, 
i. 402. 


of Nagpore. Whilst yet halting at Jubbulpore, Amir BOOK I. 
Khaii was threatened by the approach of a considerable chap, vi, 
foroo, under Sadik Ali Khan, to Srinagar, within twenty ' ■ " 

miles of his encampment. Placing more confidence in l^^^- 
intrigue than in ai-ms, 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 
Eaja, emboldened by the promised support of the British 
Government, refused to ratify the disgraceful bargain, and 
commanded Sadik Ali forcibly to compel Amir Khan's 
departure. And at the same time a letter was dehvered 
to that chief from the Governor-General, announcing his 
purpose of despatching an army against him unless he 
immediately 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 rejoined ; and part of his 
troops had been sent to the rear, under the impression 
that a pacific arrangement was about to be made. Hos- 
tages had been given him as a security for the payment 
of the stipulated contribution ; and it was so confidently 
believed by several of his principal captains that part of 
the money also had been paid, that they had insisted upon 
their shares, and refused to fight unless they obtained 
a portion of the spoil. Yv^eakened 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 of November, in a disadvantageous 
position at Jabra Ghat, when an engagement of several 
hours' duration took place ; in wliich, after the loss of 
several of his best officers, and exposure to imminent 
personal peril, Amir Khan vv^as completely defeated. He 
efiected, however, his escape to Bhopal. 

Being joined by Vizir Mohammed, and reinforced by 
the Pindaris, Amir Khan was soon in a condition to re- 
sume the oflensive : he accordingly marched against Sadik 
Ali, who had fallen back to the strong post of Choura- 
gerh, one stage to the south-west of Jubbulpore. The 
Berai* troops were drawn up, with the fort of Chouragerh 
in their rear and a rivulet in their front, the approach to 
which was rendered difiicult by deep ravines and much 



thorny jungle. Disregarding the advice of Vizir Moham- 
med to turn the position, Amir Khan attacked 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 territory of Bhopal. 
Sadik Ali refrained from following up his advantage, being 
probably little desirous of its prosecution.* This was of 
no consequence, as the contest was virtually at an end. 
Foes more formidable were now approaching the scene of 
action ; Colonel Close had arrived at Amravati on the 1st 
of December, and Colonel Martindell had moved to the 
confines of Bundelkhand ; the former crossed the Nerbud- 
da early in January. Well aware of his inability to cope 
with such enemies, Amir Khan divided his army, and 
sending off his main body by a different route, marched 
from Bhopal to Bhilsa and Seronj. He was followed to the 
latter town by Colonel Close, but to no purpose. Pretend- 
ing that his presence 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 probability that the prosecu- 
tion of this policy might lead to a protracted and expen- 
sive series of hostilities induced the Governor-General to 
depart from his original design, and content himself with 
the accomplishment of the main object of the armament. 
The troops were therefore recalled to their several sta- 
tions in the Company's territories or those of their allies ;* 

1 Memoirs of Amir Klian, p. 368. According to his own shewing, he re- 
turned to Chouraserh after his second defeat ; and so closely blockaded the 
Hyderabad force in its entrenchments there, " that the enemy could not breathe 
or scratch his head : " at the same time the Pindaris scoured the country in ^1 
directions. The descriptions of the different actions are animated, and, with 
some allowance for Amir Khan's personal exploits and perils, are in the main 
apparently accurate. 

- Colonel Close was invested with a discretionary power of acting upon his 
first instructions, but he was not disposed to take upon himself a responsibility 
from which the Governor-General shrank. The Court of Directors were 
" not satisfied Avith the expediency of abstaining from disabling anj' power, 
against whom we may have been compelled to take up arms, from renewing 
its aggressions." — Letter from Secret Committee; DIalcolm, Pol. Hist. 
i. 405. 


the campaign having served to display the power and the BOOK I. 
spirit of the Government, and the necessity of its inter- chap. vi. 

ference for the preservation of a state, once held to be of 

primary consideration in the political scale of Indian 1^09. 
potentates, against the attacks of a mere soldier of fortune 
and his predatory cohorts. 

The state of affairs at Poona demanded also about the 
same period the demonstration of the military power of 
the British Government. A spirit of reciprocal aversion 
had long subsisted between the Peshwa Baji Rao and the 
members of the Putwurdun family, who held extensive 
Jagirs in the southern portion of the Mahratta country on 
the frontiers of Mysore. These Jagirdars were the sons or 
relatives of Parushrara 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, Raghunath 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 cordiaHty had been restored ; 
and, after the death of Parushram, his descendants, en- 
gaged in constant and destructive hostilities with their 
neighbours, ascribed their sufferings to the continued 
animosity and intrigues of tho Peshwa.^ On the advance 
of the British army to reinstate Baji Rao, the elder 
brother, Apa Saheb, was induced, by his regard for Ge- 
neral Wellesley, to accompany him to Poona, and to con- 
tribute to the Peshwa's re-estabUshment.=' A seeming 
renewal of friendly intercourse was in consequence effected 
under Sir Arthur Wellesley's mediation ; but the recon- 
ciliation was as insincere as before. It was not in the 
nature of Baji Rao to forgive an injury, and the Putwur- 

> In 1796; Grant DufTs Mahratta History, iii. 134. 

■* " Since 1800, when I was in this country before, it has 'been one continned 
contest for power and plunder between the diflFerent chiefs who have armies 
under their command : between the Putwurdun family and Gokla in the 
countries bordering on the Toombuddra. the Werda, and Malpoorba ; betM-een 
the Putwurduns and the Kaja of Kolapore in those borderinjj on the Gntpurba 
and the Kishna."— Wellington Despatches, i. 124. At this thne,the beginning 
of 1803, the heads of the family were three brothers, sons of Parushram, Appa 
Saheb, Haba Saheb, and Dada Saheb, and their cousin, Chintaman Rao ; each 
of Avhoni commanded a force of about seveu thousrnd horse and foot, with 
some guns. — Ibid, i. 93. 

3 Wellington Despatches, i. 145, 173, 174, 


BOOK I. duns were too well acquainted with his character to place 
CHAP. VI. any faith in his jprofessions. They accordingly remained 
neutral in the following war, declining to send their con- 

1810. tingents upon the Peshv,'a's requisition ; but their neu- 
trality was considered by General Wellesley to have been 
an important object for the Company's possessions, and 
to have been capable of extenuation by natural and ex- 
cusable sentiments of nationality. This 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 Govern- 
ment for the many proofs of attachment which they had 
exhibited, but on account of its manifest impolicy and 
injustice.! jn conformity to his suggestions, the prin- 
ciples to be followed in adjusting the differences between 
the Putwurduns and the Peshwa were, to interfere in a 
certain degree, to ascertain the extent of the service to 
which the Peshwa was entitled from the southern Jagir- 
dars, to oblige them to afford it ; and, on the other hand, 
to protect them from the oi^pression of the Peshwa's go- 
vernment, and to guarantee to them their possessions as 
long as they should continue to serve the Peshwa with 
fidelity.2 Both parties were interested in preventing the 
practical adoption of these principles, and the final ad- 
justment of the differences between them was long de- 

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 employ- 
ment as the mere instrument of his revenge being pro- 
hibited, his povv-er was paralyzed. It was not so easy to 
bring the Jagirdars to reason ; especially as they were 
required to surrender certain lands which were not com- 
prised in their original grants, and to which they were not 
legally entitled. Their obstinacy was only overcome by 

' See the conference with Bapooji Gokla; Wellington Despatches, ii. 121: 
and afterwards with the Peshwa's ministers, on the 1st Slarch, 1S04 ; ii. 

'■* Wellington Despatches, ii. 149. 


the movement of the subsidiary force to the Krishna ; BOOK I. 
when, finding that the British Government was determined chap, vi. 
to uphold the rightful claims of the Peshwa, the chiefs » ' 

consented to meet the Resident and Baji Rao at Punder- ^^^'^• 
pm*, 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 hesitated to 
accede to any proposition which did not comprehend the 
entire resumption of their Jagirs, and the annihilation of 
a powerful and obnoxious family.^ 

The presence of the troops in the field afibrded 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 Con- 
can, from which their vessels were accustomed to commit 
depredations on native commerce. Their lawless proceed- 
ings had been imperfectly repressed by the occasional 
presence of one of the Company's ships of war ; but it 
was now resolved to put an end to the system, by de- 
priving their rulers of the harbours which gave shelter to 
the pirates. The approach of the British troops soon 
awed them, however turbulently disposed, to submission ; 
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 Severn- 
droog 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 

It had been found necessary at a previous period to 1809. 
undertake operations for the suppression of piracy of a 
more formidable description, and in the year 1809 an ar- 
mament was despatched 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 Musendom, and is met at that point by the 
other, which lies within the gulph. The former or eastern 
coast is subject to the Imam of Muscat, and is occupied 

' Malcolm's Political History of India, i. 396. 

2 Grant Duff's Mahratta History, iii. 350 : also Treaties with the Rajas of 
Kolapore and Sawant "Waree; Collection of Treaties, 27th May, 1818. 


BOOK I. by a well-disposed and commercial people. The inhabi- 
ciiAp. VI. tants of the latter or western shore, thinly scattered from 

Cape Musendom through a distance of nearly four hun- 

1809. (jpgj miles, had, from a remote period, been so notorious 
for piratical habits, as to have secured for their territory 
the denomination of the Pirate coast. Among these tribes 
the Joasmis were distinguished by their audacity and 
cruelty. They had recently embraced the reformation 
which Abd-ul-wahab had some years before introduced 
into Mohammedanism, and uoited to the fierceness of 
their lawless trade the ferocity of fanaticism. Profession 
of the faith of Islam, or instant death, was the fate of 
their captives. Their vessels, known as daos or bugalas, 
varying from one hundred and fifty to three hundred and 
fifty tons' burthen, and carrying from one hundred and 
fifty to two hundred men, were clumsily built, with a 
single mast, and mounted but a few guns. Singly, they 
were little formidable ; but they usually sailed together 
in small fleets, from which a merchant-vessel was rarely 
able to extricate herself. For a considerable period they 
refrained from molesting English ships. The Company's 
armed vessels were instructed to exercise similar forbear- 
ance, and to confine themselves to repelling aggression. 
Emboldened by this policy, and impelled by their re- 
ligious ardour, the Joasmis departed from the caution 
they had hitherto preserved, and no longer paid any re- 
spect to the British flag. In 1808, the Sylph, a small ship 
of only one hundred tons, having on board the native 
Persian secretary of Sir Harford Jones, was attacked and 
captured in sight of the Nereide frigate ; by which she 
was retaken, 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 
suffered had so exasperated the pirates, that every male 
Christian on board was murdered. It was no longer pos- 
sible 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.^ 

' Account of the Waliabis, by Sir Harford Jones, p. 211 ; Travels in Arabia, 


The expedition consisted of two of his Majesty's frigates, BOOK I. 
the Chiffonue and Clorinde, and six of the Company's chap. vi. 
armed vessels, in which nine hundred European soldiers ' 

and tive hundred Sipahis were embarked. The flotilla was 1809. 
commanded by Captain Wainwright of the Chiffonne ; 
the land division by Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, of his 
Majesty's 6oth. The armament left Bombay on the 4th 
September. Oft' Cape Musendom, it fell in with a fleet of 
twenty-seven daos; one was sunk, the others were dis- 
persed. The force then proceeded to Muscat, the Imam 
of which, equally hostile to the Joasmis as pirates and 
as Wahabis, gave prompt assistance to the objects of the 
expedition. The squadron arrived off" Ras-al-Khaima on 
the 12th of November. Notwithstanding its designation 
of Eas or head-land, the town was found to be situated 
on a low sandy peninsula, nearly a mile in length. The 
neck of the isthmus 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 shallow- 
ness of the water. 

In consequence of this difficulty, the bombardment of 
the towTi 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 eflected 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 
matchlocks 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 Eas-al-Khaima was in the possession of the British. 
Although the place was filled with valuable merchandize, 
the spoil of piratical expedition^ no plunder w^as per- 
'■•• ,;■ i .riJ.q . ^-.; 

by Lieutenant Wcllsted of the Indian navj-, i. 243. Both mention that the 
prisoners, not :Mohainmedans, were brouglit singly to the gangway, where one 
of the pirates cut their throats, with tlie 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 
promontorj- where their tnii ; port was built, hence called Kas-al-Khnima,the 
Cape of Tents, i. 256. 

VOL. I. Q 



mitted : the dwellings and magazines were set on fire, and 
the whole was consumed, together with forty-eight large 
daos and a number of smaller vessels. Several towns of 
inferior 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 proofs of their 
national spirit. At ther attack of the castle of Shinas, in 
particular, the most determined resistance was encoun- 
tered. 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 w^ere made repeat- 
edly to them in vain. They maintained an unceasing fire 
upon their enemies, and tossed back with the most deli- 
berate 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 beheve 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 captives.^ Above four hundred were killed. The 
others were protected with difficulty 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 Joasmis. The 
place was delivered to the Imam. At Luft, also, on the 
island of Kishme, a desperate opposition was experienced, 
by which an officer and ten men were killed, and many of 
the men were wounded. 

The success of these operations struck a salutary terror 
into the pirate tribes of the coast of Oman, and procured 
for some years security for the commerce 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 pre- 

1 " After the destriiction of one of their forts, several of the Arabs were 
brought on board our ships as prisoners: ^vhile uncertain of their fate, and 
before their wounds were dressed, they were asked what fate they anticipated . 
' The same immediate death as we should have inflicted on you had your for- 
tune been ours,' was the stern and characteristic reply." — Wellsted's Travels, 
i. 219. 


datory courses, which provoked a severer chastisement BOOK I. 
and more eftectual suppression. This will be the subject citap. vi. 

of a future narrative. The armament employed on the 

present occasion returned to Bombay, and received the ^^0^- 
merited acknowledgments of the local and supreme 
Governments. ' 

Wliile thus busily and anxiously engaged in appeasing 
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 AVestern hemisphere. Upon 
the occupation of Portugal by the French, and the flight 
of the Prince Eegent to Brazil, the Bengal Government 
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 Macao. A small expedition was accordingly embarked 
in June and July from Madras and Calcutta, the troops of 
which were commanded by ^Major Weguelin of the Bengal 
European regiment, and the ships by Kear- Admiral Drury.- 
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. Reluctant to 
part with any portion of their brief authority, and fearful 
of giving offence to the Chinese, the Portuguese authorities 
availed themselves of the absence of insti-uctions from 
their own Court, to resist as long as they could the dis- 
embarkation of the troops. Fortified with the sanction of 
the Viceroy of Goa, and determined to execute the instruc- 
tions of the Government of Bengal, Admiral Drury dis- 

1 Asiatic Annual Registers, vol, xi. Chron. 161, and vol. xii. Chron. 122; 
Account of the Expedition against the Pirates of the Gulph of Persia in 1809; 
Asiatic Monthly Journal, vol. ii. 341. 

2 The troops from Madras consisted of two companies of his Majesty's 
30th regiment, and were embarked on the Ilussell 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 Dc- 


BOOK I. regarded the remonstrances and procrastination of the 
CHAP. VI. Governor of Macao ; and, by landing the troops without 
' his acquiescence, extorted from him a reluctant assent to 

1809. 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 measure insti- 
gated by the intrigues of the Portuguese, but still more by 
becoming feelings of national dignity, the provincial Man- 
darins immediately objected in the strongest terms to the 
landing of the British troops. The Select Committee of 
Supracargoes had induced the Governor-General to believe 
that the Chinese would be indifferent to the temporary 
occupation of Macao, and would consider it immaterial 
whether it was guarded by the troops of Portugal or Great 
Britain. They had not, however, ascertained the senti- 
ments of the Chinese, and their conjectures were errone- 
ous. The local officers were still more vigorously upheld 
by their principals at Canton ; and the Viceroy, declaring 
that the unlicensed entrance of foreign soldiers into the 
territories of the Celestial dynasty was a violation of the 
laws of the empire, commanded their immediate with- 
drawal. 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 per- 
mission to the Emperor before they landed their troops, 
and that it was as absurd as it was disrespectful to pre- 
sume 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 pursued, the 
supracargoes prevailed upon the Admiral, against his own 
judgment, to repeat his applications, and to repair in 
person to Canton, and demand an interview with the 
Viceroy. That functionary, though he declined to receive 


the Admiral, sent some Mandarins of rank to confer with BOOK I. 
his ofl&cers, and wrote a reply to his letters. The tenor chap, vi, 
of his declarations was unchanged : the withdrawal of ■- 

the troops was insisted on as preliminary to all other l'*^'^^- 
discussion. The Admiral returned indignantly to his 
ships, and, still acting upon the suggestions of the supra- 
cargoes, threatened to blockade the port, and commanded 
all the Europeans to leave Canton. These measures were 
unavailing. An order arrived from Pekin, whither inform- 
ation of the transaction had been despatched, approving 
of the Viceroy's conduct, and commanding him, if neces- 
sary, to expel the intmders by force. The imperial com- 
mands 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 proceedings unless 
the armament was withdrawn. Major Weguelin, who, 
with the Bengal detachment, had joined on the 20th Oc- 
tober, 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 expended in the 
vain attempt to overcome the reasonable opposition of the 
Chinese to the unauthorized establishment of foreign 
troops upon their coasts. The reason of the case was not 
only clearly on their side, but their conduct exhibited 
a remarkable combination of firmness and forbearance. 
However unyielding in their resolution, no violence was 
resorted to ; and, as soon as the ships and troops had 
departed, the trade was resumed, and carried on as quietly 
as if no interruption had occm-red. 

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 importance ; and it was 
reserved for Lord Minto's administration to accomplish 
the extirpation of those remains of the colonial posses- 
sions of France in the Eastern hemisphere, that had so 


OOK I. long been suffered to inflict humiliation and injury upon 
iAP. VI. the subjects of a power ■which had only to will their 

extinction, and they ceased to be. The measures which 

1801*. 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 feel the superiority of British skill and 
prowess ; but although they swept the seas from Mada- 
gascar to Java, and sometimes carried their depredations 
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 

1 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. 

2 Amongst the most gallant actions was one fought in the Balasore Roads 
in February, 1798, between La Forte, a frigate of the largest class, and 
tlie 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 
this also, which was a desperately contested engagement, renewed lor 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 oflBcial reports are 
given in both. 

3 The Kent East-Indiaman, Captain Rivington, was captured at the mouth 
of the Iloogly river by tlie Confiance privateer, M. Surcouf, in October, 1800, 
after an action of an hour and forty-seven minates : her captain was killed. 
M. Surcouf for several years was distinguished for his intrepidity and success- 
ful enterprise : most of his prizes, and they were numerous, 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 Govern- 
ment, imputing to the navy some degree of disinclination to exert themselves 
for tlie protection of the trade. 

5 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. 


armed, and on the outward-bound voyage well manned, BOOK 1. 
enabled them sometimes to resist successfully the attacks chap. vi. 

of their enemies ; and, on one memorable occasion, a fleet 

of merchant-ships returning from China, under its senior ^^^'•^^ 
captain, Captain Dance, * beat off a French squadron of 
vessels of war commanded by Admiral Linois. In some 
actions between single vessels a similar result reflected 
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 home- 
ward voyage, when they had been weakened by the im- 
pressment 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 
following year, the Windham, Ceylon, and Astell, outward 
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 Indian 
ocean where they found a shelter and obtained supplies. 
This might have been effected at a much earlier date ; but, 
for reasons not easily comprehensible, the Company's 
Governments had been interdicted from engaging in any 
expedition against the islands, as involving a certain ex- 
pense both for their reduction and maintenance : ^ a piece 

> The China fleet, consisting of sixteen ships, on the 14th of February, 1804' 
oflF 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, after some manoeuvring, 
and the exchange of a short fire between 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 ; lirenton's Naval History, iii. 336. 

2 " At the commencement of the present war, intimation had been given to 
the East India Company to guard them against expending large sums in expe- 


BOOK I. of parsimonious prodigality, in which even the pecuniary 
CHAP. VI. saving bore no ratio to the pecuniary loss; as the value of 

the captured ships, and the charges of their convoy and 

1809. 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 attempt 
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 impractica- 
ble, as long as the blockading ships depended upon the 
distant settlements of the Cape or of Bombay for their 
supplies, it was determined 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, commanded 
by Lieutenant-Colonel Keating, was despatched from Bom- 
bay, under convoy of his Majesty's ship Belhqueux, Com- 
modore 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 supplies were sent for ; and 
Colonel Keating adopted all necessary precautions in order 
to strengthen himself in his position. The captures made 
in 1809 and 1810, however, showed that, whatever benefits 
might ultimately result from the occupation of Rodriguez^ 
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 victory. 

Although the position thus taken up proved inadequate 

peditions against the French islands." — Speech of tiie Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, 10th January, 1812; Hansard's Debates. 


to the entire prevention of maritime depredation, yet it BOOK 1. 
had the advantage of enabling the English men of war to chap. vi. 

remain more steadily and continuously in those seas, 

cramping the enemy's operations, occasioning frequent 1809. 
distress in the islands for want of supplies, and affording 
a salient point from which to harass and annoy them by 
occasional demonstrations or actual inroads. With this 
purpose, as well as to determine how far ulterior and 
more definite measures were practicable, the forces at 
Rodriguez, both military and naval, were strengthened, 
and in September, 1809, an expedition proceeded from 
Rodriguez to the Isle de Bourbon. 

A body of four hundred European and native troops 
were embarked in his Majesty's ships Nereide 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, Commodore Rowley, and the Sirius, Captain 
Pym. The whole proceeded to Bourbon, off the eastern 
extremity 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 ma- 
rines, 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 ship- 
ping, before their approach 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 Carohne, then lying in the bay with her 
prizes. The position of the enemy was strong, and was 
supported by eight pieces of artillery. Their defence was 
resolute; and it was not until the main body of the assail- 
ants was concentrated, 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 
were the CaroUne frigate, of forty-six guns, and some 
small trading vessels ; but, besides a gun-brig, and some 


BOOK I. small traders, two Indiamen, the Streatham and Europe 
CHAP. vx. were recovered. The troops were then re-embarked. 
— — - Upon hearing of this attack, a body of troops, under 
1801). ^jjg command of General Des Bruslys, the , Governor of 
Bourbon, marched from St. Denis, and made their appear- 
ance on the hills on the evening of the 23rd. Finding 
St. Paul in possession of the English, they retired during 
the night, rendering it useless to continue the preparations 
which had been made for the relanding of the troops. A 
convention was then concluded between the English com- 
mander 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,^ occa- 
sioned the prolongation of the armistice ; during which 
the public property was, agreeably to the stipulated con- 
vention, 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 proceeding of so 
feeble an armament confirmed the determination of the 
Government of Bengal to attempt, without waiting for 
specific instructions from home, the complete reduction of 
the French islands ; and, in the beginning of 1810, a rein- 
forcement of sixteen hundred European, and as many 
native troops, was despatched 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 Sirius, the Iphigenia, the 
Magicienne, and the Nereide, commanded by Commodore 
Rowley, in the Boadicea, and arrived off the point of de- 
barkation on the 6th. Colonel Keating on this occasion 
had determined to proceed at once against St. Denis, the 

' He left a paper intimating his having committed suicide, to avoid death on 
the scaffold ; and recommending his v ife and children to Providence, and 
those who could feel for them. His family, at the request of his widow, was 
sent with a cartel to the Mauritius. 

2 Official report, and other details; Asiatic Annual Register, vol. xi. 
Chron. 155. 


capital, in the hope of preventing protracted operations in BOOK I. 
the interior of the country, consisting chiefly of rugged, chap. vi. 

and in part inaccessible, mountains. The squadron ac- 

cordingly sailed to the northern coast, where the forces, ^^^"* 
previously distributed into four brigades, were appointed 
to land at two different points : the first brigade, under 
Lieutenant-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 ships having 
reached their stations, the landing of the principal divi- 
sions was commenced, and about three hundred men of 
the 3rd and 4th brigades, under Colonels Campbell and 
Macleod, with a party of seamen under Captain Willoughby. 
of the Nereide, were landed. 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 disembarka- 
tion of the rest of the troops became impracticable. The 
division on shore was necessarily left without support ; 
but, after a communication from the Commander-in-chief,' 
Colonel Macleod advanced to a battery on the Breton river 
at Ste. Marie, which he carried, and where he was unmo- 
lested during the night. 

The attempt to land at this spot was seen from the 
town, but the debarkation was considered to be impossi- 
ble, from the fury of the surf; and the piincipal 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 im- 
mediately effected a landing without loss, although exposed 
to a harassing fire from the light troops of the enemy. As 

I Lieutenant Fonlstone, of his Majesty's G9th, volunteered to be the bearer 
of Colonel Keating's orders : he was carried in a boat to the edge of the smf, 
and then swam through it to the shore. 


BOOK I. soon as the landing was accomplished, Colonel Fraser 
CHAP. VI, pushed on with his Europeans alone to the vicinity of the 

town, and occupied the heights above it to the westward, 

•1810. so as to cut off all communication between the capital and 
St. Paul. In the meantime, the Magicienne 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 
decided. The courage and activity of Colonel Frasers' 
division had reaped the full harvest of that good fortune 
which had given them the lead in the attack upon St. 

Having been joined during the night of the 7th by the 
rest of his force, Colonel Fraser, on the morning of the 
8th, leaving the SijJahis to protect his rear, descended 
from the hill with the Europeans, 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 regiment was ordered to charge, when they immedi- 
ately rushed upon the enemy with the bayonet, and broke 
them. The French attempted to form behind the parapet 
of the redoubt ; but they were pushed so closely that they 
were unable to make good their footing, and left the re- 
doubt in the possession of the British, who turned some 
of the guns found in it against the town, and were ena- 
bled 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 the bulk of the expedi- 
tion, which had been sent on to Grande Chaloupe, had 
arrived, and advanced to 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 capitulation 

1 There is a slight difference between the report of Colonel Keating and that 
of Colonel Eraser: the latter says that Colonel Drummond joined him at four 
with the 2nd brigade ; the former, that he himself arrived at that time, and 
commanded dispositions to he made for a general attack. 


which ensued, the whole of the island was ceded to the BOOK I. 
British with all public property ; the troops of the line chap. vi. 

surrendered themselves prisoners of war, to be sent to the 

Cape or to England. Colonel St. Susanne was allowed to ^^^^' 
proceed to the Isle of France on parole ; and Mr. Farqu- 
har, of the Bengal Civil service, who had been appointed 
by Lord Minto in the confidence of success to the govern- 
ment of the island, assumed charge of its administration. 
Pi'oclamations were issued by him, assuring to the inhabi- 
tants the secure possession of their property on their re- 
maining peaceable and obedient, and promising them the 
provisional observance of the established forms of law 
and government, and the maintenance of the estabhshed 
religion of the colony. This important acquisition was 
effected with little loss ; or eighteen killed and fifty-nine 
wounded. One ofi&cer only, Lieutenant J. S. Munro, of 
his Majesty's 56th, was amongst the former.* 

The capture of Bourbon, so creditable to both the mili- 
tary and naval forces employed, for the judgment by 
which it had been planned and the spirit by which it had 
been accomplished, was followed by a series of singular 
disasters suffered by 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 
experienced pilotage. The achievements which were pro- 
jected would no doubt have been successful, could they 
have been executed with the promptitude 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 Belloue, Minerve, and Victor returned, bringing with 
them the captured Indiamen, the Windham and Ceylon. 
Finding Port St. Louis blockaded, they made for the har- 
bour 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 

' Asiatic Annual Tlegister, vol. xii; Official details, Chron. pp. 27, 117. 
2 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 I. land, which had been taken, and was now occupied by a 
CHAP. VI. small detachment from Bourbon, the French squadron was 

surprised by a hostile fire from the guns of the fort, and 

1810. 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 recaptured by Captain Pym 
with the boats of the Sirius, w^hich was cruising in the 
neighbourhood in maintenance of the blockade. Sending 
off his prize to Bourbon, Captain Pym, in communication 
with Captain Willoughby of the Nereide, determined to 
attack the French ships in the harbour, and on the 22nd 
of August the two frigates stood in for that purpose. Un- 
fortunately 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 af- 
forded the governor, General Decaen, time to reinforce the 
crews of the vessels with seamen and soldiers, and to 
strengthen the batteries which had been erected on this 
part of the coast since the capture of the Isle de la Passe, 
and which mounted sixty guns. These were fully man- 
ned, and were supported by all the troops that could be 
assembled, and a numerous body of militia and volun- 

The firing commenced at a little after 5 p.m. on the 23rd. 
The Nereide anchored within half pistol-shot of the Bel- 
lone and Victor. The Magicienne, in following 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 position w^hich enabled 
them to work their guns with advantage. Their loss of 
men was constantly repaired by troops from the shore ; 
and the batteries and musketry on land poured a galling 
fire upon the British vessels, which were incapable of ma- 

The contest was nevertheless continued until after 
dark. At ten o'clock, the Nereide, which also had previ- 


ously grounded, having most of her guns disabled, the BOOK 1. 
greater part of her crew killed or wounded, and being ex- chap. vi. 

posed to the fire of the land-batteries as well as of the 

shipping, struck her colours ; ^ but the French, not 1^^^* 
noticing or not perceiving that this was the case, con- 
tinued firing upon her for some hours, until not a man on 
board remained unhurt. The firing continued with occa- 
sional interruption through the night. On the morning 
of the 24tli, all hopo of success being necessarily aban- 
doned, it was determined 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 Iphige- 
nia warped out of the action, and attempted to extricate 
the Sirius ; but finding this impracticable, she also was 
set on fire in the evening, and exploded. The Iphigenia, 
the sole remaining ship, contrived by extraordinary exer- 
tion to get back to the Isle de la Passe, where she landed 
the surviving crews of the other vessels. In this situa- 
tion, without provisions, and surrounded by a vastly 
superior force of the enemy — the Astrea, Venus, and 
La Manche frigates, with the Entreprenant sloop, 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 stipulated 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 go- 
vernor 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 report published by order of the Government of Bengal, Calcutta 
Government Gazette, 18th Oct. 1810, states that the Nereide drifted on shore, 
and was Uiken possession of by the enemy: the account in the text is from 
the Nercide's log.— Brenbm's Naval History, iv. 468. The French account 
asserts that her colours were flying at daybreak, but that information of her 
helpless situation had been previously received from a Trench prisoner on 
board, who made his escape and swam to the Minerve, and that from that time 
she was not fired on. 

'Asiatic Annual Register, vol. xii; Ilistory, p. 8, Chron. 65. Brenton's 
Naval History, iv. 40-3. A translation of General Decaen's official proclamation 
alter the action is published in the Calcutta Govenunent Gazette Extraordmary, 


BOOK I. The only Britisli ship of war now left of the blockading 
CHAP. VI. squadron was the Boadicea ; and Commodore Rowley was 

unable to prevent the blockade of the Isle de Bourbon, 

1810. v/hich was established by the French frigates, Astrea and 
Iphigenia, who intercepted several of the transports ar- 
riving with troops and stores for the destined expedition 
against the Isle of France. On the 12th of September, 
however, the Africaine frigate, Captain Corbett, arrived 
from England ; and Commodore Rowley, thus reinforced, 
immediately put to sea. The French frigates fled, and 
the English gave chase. The Boadicea being a heavy 
sailer, the French vessels soon shot far a-head, followed 
closely by the Africaine. Captain Corbett, apprehending 
the escape of the enemy, brought them to action, whilst 
the Boadicea was five miles astern. The wind died away, 
the Africaine was overpowered : the captain was kiUed, 
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 Sep- 

Commodore Rowley had not been many hours at an- 
chor when three sail appeared in the oflSng, two of which 
had suffered in their masts and rigging. He immediately 
made sail in pursuit of them, attended by the Otter and 
Staunch. The vessel that appeared not to be disabled had 
another ship in tow, which she cast ofi^, 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 }delded 
at once to the Otter. The former proved to be the French 
frigate Yenus ; the latter, the Ceylon^ an armed Indiaman 

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 
l)robably undervalued at four oflBcers and thirty-three men killed, and one 
hundred and twelve Tvounded ; the latter included M. Du Perree, the captain 
of the Bcllone. In the Nere'ide alone, one hundred and sixteen were killed, 
and many of the wounded died on landing. Captain Willoughby was wounded, 
but recovered with the loss of an eye. 




from Madras, which had been captured that morning, after BOOK I. 
a smart engagement, by the Venus and the Victor cor- 
vette, the vessel that had escaped. The resokite resist- 
ance made by the Ceylon, and the damage she had in- 
flicted upon the Venus, were the main causes of her own 
recovery, and of the capture of the Venus. On board the 
Ceylon was Major-General Abercrombie, who commanded 
the expedition now on its way from India. 

The struggle thus far honourably maintained by the 
French was now soon to terminate ; and an effort propor- 
tioned 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-Admiral's arrival he was 
able to put to sea with the Boadicea, Nisus, Africaine, 
Venus, now named the Nfereide, 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 expedition which had 
been directed to rendezvous at that island. On his way 
he fell in with the squadron from India under Rear- 
Admiral Drury, proceeding to the same destination, and 
in company with them amved at Rodriguez on the 3rd of 
November. The division from Bombay was already 
present, and that from Madras made its appearance three 
days afterwards. It was not until the 21st October that 
the armament from Bengal arrived. As the season was 
far advanced, and the period was approaching when the 
winds in these latitudes become variable, and violent hur- 
ricanes occur, the commander of the expedition considered 
it of the utmost importance that no further time should 
be lost ; and accordingly preparations 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 an- 
chor. As soon as this operation was effected, the whole 

VOL. I. R 


BOOK I. of the fleet was under weigh, and early on the 29th No- 
chap. VI. vember came to anchor off" the point selected for debark- 

ation in Grande Baye, near the north-east extremity of the 

1810. island, about fifteen miles north from the capital, where 
it had been previously ascertained that a fleet might be 
anchored in the narrow passage between a small island 
called from its outline 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 vessels of 
burthen could neither make their way through the reefs 
of rocks which formed the exterior 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 ofiicers 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 conducted. 
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 five brigades.^ The first, under 
Colonel Picton, consisted of his Majesty's 12th and 22nd 
regiments, and the right wing of the Madras volunteer 
battalion ; 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 battalion, with three hundred marines ; the fifth 
brigade was composed of his Majesty's 6oth, 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, comprising 
the 84th regiment, the flank companies of some other 

^ The Eiiropean force was composed of his Majesty's regiments, the 12th, 
14th, 22nd, 56th, 59th, 65th, 69th, 84th, and 89th, the Bengal and Madras 
artillery, and a company of the 26th dragoons ; six thousand three hundred 
strong: and two thousand seamen and marines. The native troops from 
Bengal and Madras consisted of four volunteer battalions and a part}' of 
Madras pioneers, three thousand men : altogether, eleven thousand three 
hundred. The squadron consisted of the Illustrious 74, and the frigates 
Cornwallis, Africaine, Boadicea, Nisus, Cloiinde, Cornelia, Jlenelaus, Psyche, 
Ceylon, Nereide, Phcehe, Doris, and Vesper, besides sloops and gun-brigs. 


corps, and the Bombay native troops. These, with the BOOK I. 
artillery and a large body of seamen, formed a force of chap vi. 
about eleven thousand men. To oppose them General • 

Decaen had not more than two thousand Europeans, ^^'^• 
including 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 moved 
towards Poi*t Louis. The road followed the direction of 
the coast for the first five miles, passing through a thick 
wood much entangled with brushwood, through which the 
men made their way with great difficulty and fatigue 
No enemy weis seen until, on clearing the wood, the heads 
of the columns 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 Aber- 
crombie 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, put 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 the charge. After the 
repulse of the enemy, the army resumed its march, and 
drew up in front of the lines defending Port Louis, pre- 
paratory to an assault on the following morning, whilst 
the ships of war, which had now come round to the 

' Among those who perished from heat and fatigue were Lieutenant Dove 
of his Majesty's 14th, and Captain Yates of the City of London Indiaman. 


BOOK I. harbour, should cannonade the town from the sea. This 
CHAP. VI, catastrophe was prevented by the offer of General Decaen 

to capitulate ; and, the terms of his surrender being 

1810. agreed upon, the Isle of France became subject to the 
British crown. The advanced period of the season ren- 
dering it unadvisable to protract the contest, terms more 
favourable than were merited, although 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 European 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 visionary ob- 
stacles which the selfish fears of the British Cabinet had 
opposed, and the imperfect information of the Indian 
Government had encouraged. The very effort that was 
ultimately made evinced the strength of the misconcep- 
tion that had invested the capture of the Mauritius with 
such unreal danger ; 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 w^as originally designated, is still 
subject to Great Britain. 

The settlements of Holland in the Eastern Archipelago 
had never, even after their enforced submission in common 
with the parent country to France, afforded to any great 
extent the means of harrssing the trade of India. French 
privateers only occasionally haunted the roads of Batavia 
or cruized amongst the islands of the Archipelago. Still, 

• Decaen had the effronteiy to demand that the French frigates, with al 
their crews and appointments, slionld he relinquished lor the conveyance ol 
the troops to France. " Que pour ce transport je conserverai les quatrc 
frigates de S. M.l'Empereur.La Manche,LaBellone, L'Astr^ La Minerve. 
ainsi que les corvettes La Victoire et L'Entreprenante, avec leurs oflaciers ei 
Equipages, armements et munitions, et approvisionnenient." He must have 
expected the reply, "Altogether inadmissible."— Calcutta Government 
Gazette, February 9, 1811. 

3 Asiatic Annual Register, xii. ; Historj-, p. 15 : Calcutta Government 
Gazette, February 9th, 1811: London Gazette Extraordinary, February 13, 


however, they constituted a rallying point, which was BOOK I. 
Il^frely to become of more consideration after the destruc- chap. vi. 

^^^B)n of those asylums which lay more in the route of the 

^^^Bclian trade ; and it was incompatible with the interests 1^^^- 
^^^ India and the policy of England longer to permit the 
presence of an enemy in any part of the Eastern hemi- 
sphere. The first measures for this purpose that were 
auctioned contemplated only a rigorous blockade of Java 
Aid 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 nu- 
merous and intricate channels among the islands of the 
Archipelago could be effectually blocked up only by the 
employment of the whole of the naval armament in the 
Indian seas ; and the enforcement of laws so unintelligi- 
ble to the plain sense of the Burmese and Malays as those 
of blockade, could have no other effect than that of irritat- 
ing 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, there- 
fore, by Lord Minto and Admiral Drury to be the more 
safe as well as more honourable 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 accomplishing this object w^as anticipated ; as, although 
reinforcements had arrived at Java from Europe, and the 
island was commanded by an officer in the interest of 
France, yet the jMoluccas it was known were indifierently 
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 Euro- 
pean 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 


BOOK I. 9th October, 1809, and by the middle of the following 
CHAP. VI. February arrived off the island of Amboyna, the most 

— considerable of the Dutch Spice islands and seat of go- 

1810. vernment. The vessels anchored off the town, situated 
at the bottom of a small bay, beneath a line of low hills, 
and defended by batteries along the beach as weU as on 
some of the neighbouring heights, and by Fort Victoria, 
mounting a number of heavy ordnance. 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 PhiUips, the 
other by Captain Court, The first stormed a batterj^ 
erected upon an elevation near at hand, the hill of Wanitu, 
and carried it after a resolute resistance, 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 redoubt, 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 oS", On the following morning, the 
batteries in the possession of the British opened on the 
town and fort, and soon silenced their fire. A summons 
to surrender was thereupon sent to the Dutch governor, 
and was promptly obeyed. A capitulation was entered 
into, by which the garrison, composed of more than thir- 
teen hundred Europeans and Malays, laid down their arms 
to a third of their number. 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, acknowledged their 
authority during the remainder of the war.' 

' Asiatic Annual Register, xii. ; Histor>-, p. 21. 



Duiing the winter and spring months succeeding the BOOK 1. 
lest of Amboyna, Captain Tucker reduced the smaller chap. vi. 

Is in its vicinity. In the commencement of the 

.ar, the Caroline and Piedmontaise fngates, and Bara- ^^^O- 
)uta brig, under the command of Captain Cole of the 
Caroline, with additional details of the Madras European 
regiment, commanded by Captain Nixon, were despatched 
to reinforce the troops at Amboyna, and provide for its 
security. Captain Cole was authorised, if he saw a reason- 
able prospect of success, to make a descent 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 de- 
fended by two forts — Forts Belgica and Nassau, by bat- 
teries mounting one hundred and twenty pieces of cannon, 
and by a force of above seven hundred regular troops 
besides mihtia. These were stationed towards the northern 
extremity of the island, where a landing had been effected 
in 1801, when the place was taken by Admiral Eainier, 
and where it was expected the disembarkation would be 
repeated ; but Captain Cole landed, with a party of two 
hundred seamen and soldiers, on the eastern side during 
the night, in a heavy squall of wind and rain, which effectu- 
ally concealed his movements. A battery close to the 
landing-place was surprised, and its defenders made pri- 
soners, 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 scahng-ladders, and cleared the walk 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, endeavoured 
to escape by the gate, but they were met by a party of 
lors ; and, in the conflict which ensued, the Governor and 
veral 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. 




BOOK I. A valuable booty rewarded the intrepidity and conduct 
CHAP. vf. which had so brilliantly achieved a valuable acquisition 
■' without sufl'ering any loss. 

1810. At the same time, Ternate 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 winds kept him oft* 
the shore, and a landing was not practicable before the 
28th. A hundred and seventy men were landed in the 
night with intent to surprise the forts and batteries which 
guarded the bay. The difficulties of the approach frus- 
trated the scheme, and the men were re-embarked. Early 
in the morning they were again put on shore ; and, whilst 
the frigate engrossed the attention of the enemy, they pro- 
ceeded unobserved to an eminence supposed to command 
the Fort of Kayomaira, the principal Dutch post. They 
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 disencum- 
ber 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 hundred yards of the 
fort before they were discovered. Disregarding a smart fire 
of grape and musketry, they rushed forward, escaladed the 
walls, and carried the fort. On the following morning 
the combined operations of the detachment and frigate 
overpowered the other defences of the bay, and by the 
evening the town and island were surrendered. Few 
casualties impaired the exultation of the victors. Their 
conquest completed the reduction of the Moluccas, and 
Java with its dependencies alone remained in the posses- 
sion of the Dutch.^ 

Prior to the Departure of Lord Minto for Madras, the 
practicability of the subjugation of Java had been brought 
under his consideration by Mr. Raffles, originally a mem- 
ber of the Penang Government, but who had attracted 

^ Asiatic Annual Register, xii. ; History, 27 ; [Chronicle, 80 ; OflBcial Des- 


the notice of the Governor-General by his acquaintance BOOK I. 
with the languages, and political circumstances of the chap. vi. 
tribes of the Archipelago, and had been in consequence 
appointed the Governor-General's 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 statements 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, de- 
ferred until the result of the expedition against the 
French islands should be known ; and in the interval the 
design received the prospective sanction of the autho- 
rities in England. No time was lost in preparing for the 
expedition. The King's regiments, which had returned 
to Madras^ 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, details of pioneers, and 
ai'tillery, horse and foot, with the Governor-General's body- 
guard, were assembled under the command of Colonel 
Wood. The command of the whole was vested in Sir 
Samuel Auchmuty, the Commander-in-chief at Madras. 
The Bengal troops sailed early in March, and reached the 
appointed rendezvous at Malacca by the end of April. 
Lord Minto accompanied them in the Modeste frigate, in 
the capacity, as he expressed himself, 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 command- 
ing the fleet sailed in the Illustrious. It was fortunate 
that their departure had not been delayed, for on the 
3rd of May a tremendous hurricane 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 
violence of the storm. The whole of the expedition was 
collected at Malacca by the 1st of June : but this was 

• The 1 4th, 69th, and 89th : the Madras pioneers were also re-embarked. 


BOOK I. mucli later than had been intended, the period having been 
CHAP. VI. delayed by the necessity of awaiting the return of the 

troops and transports from the Mauritius ; and it now 

181^- became a question of some anxiety whether and by what 
route the fleet could proceed. 

The setting in of the south-west monsoon rendered it 
highly inexpedient to attempt the usual navigation 
through the Straits of Banca. Besides the danger to 
w^hich the ships might be exposed from tempestuous 
vreather, 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 November, when the climate would become 
unhealthy, and the troops be disabled by sickness. The 
same objections applied to the track round the north- 
east of Borneo ; and there remained only the passage 
along the south-west coast of that island, in which the 
fleet would be sheltered from the fury of the monsoon, 
and would be assisted on their way by the breezes from 
the land. This route was accordingly strongly recom- 
mended 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 autho- 
rities, who pronounced it to be impracticable ; but Lore 
Minto, confiding in the information of Mr. Raffles, decided 
the controversy in favour of the inner passage, and lee 
the way in the Modeste. The difficulties were easily sur^ 
mounted under JNIi'. Greigh's skilful pilotage. In six weeks 
the fleet cleared the intricate channels, through which i1 
had passed without a single accident, crossed the sea frorc 
the point of Sambas, and anchored on the 2nd of Augusi 
on the north coast of Java. Had not the presence of tht 
Governor-General decided the question, we have his owi 
testimony that the enterprise must have been suspendec 
until the following year.^ 

The island of Java had for some time been almost losi 
sight of amid the convulsive revolutions which had shaker 
the jparent country. The last of these pretended to eX' 

•Parliamentary Debates, 10th January, 1812; Tlianks to tbe army an< 
navy, and to Lord Minto. Life of Sir Thomas S. Eaflfles, p. 90. Lord Minti 
remarks in a letter to the Court, "Tlie attempt must have been aban 
doned for the present year, if I had yielded to the predicted diflBculties of thi 


tinguish the national integrity of Holland, and reduce it BOOK I. 
to an integral department of France. Such a degradation chap. vi. 

could not fail to excite deep dissatisfaction both at home 

and abroad; and the inhabitants of the Dutch colonies 1811. 
more removed from the influence of the French Govern- 
ment than their countiymen in Europe, were in general 
more abhorrent of the alteration. Apprised of the pre- 
valence of these feelings, and of the weakness of adminis- 
tration 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 Bengal 
Grovernment was, however, averse to any imdei-taking 
which involved expense ; and the disinclination was forti- 
fied by the prohibitory orders of the Court of Directors 
against embarking in enterprises which possibly they 
regarded as afifecting the interests of the nation more 
immediately than those of the Company. The Admiral 
was permitted, 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 ofi" Point 
Parko on the oth of December, and pursued his course 
with little opposition to Gresik, where he burnt three 
hne-of-battle ships and an Indiaman, and destroyed the 
fort and batteries. By a convention with the Council of 
Surabaya the fleet abstained from doing further damage, 
on condition of being furnished with supplies, which were 
accordingly provided. The facihty 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 

» The squadron consisted of the CuUoden and Powerful seventy-fours. 
Cftroline and Fox frigates, and Victoria, Samarang, Seaflower, and Jaseur 


BOOK I. arrangements to be instituted, in order to place it in a 
CHAP. VI. state of greater security. Reinforcements were sent out ; 

and General Daendels, an officer of tried activity and re- 

1^11- solution, 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 reorganized 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 expedition, he had been recalled to 
France, and was succeeded by General Jansens, who had 
been governor of the Cape of Good Hope when it was 
taken by the English, and had recently arrived at Batavia 
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 Cornells, a position strong 
both by nature and art, about eight miles from Batavia. 

The fleet, the command of which had been assumed by 
Rear-Admiral Stopford, in the Scipio, and which with 
transports and brigs mustered above ninety sail, having 
on board about twelve thousand troops, European and 
Indian, in nearly equal proportions, anchored in the bay 
of Batavia on the 4th of August. A landing was imme- 
diately effected at Chilingyi, a village ten miles east of 
Batavia. No opposition was met with, disembarkation at 
this point not having been anticipated. The army was 
moved forwards two miles, in two divisions ; one on the 

1 The removal of Daendels was a source of great mortification to liim, 
and he Avas urgent with his successor to abstain from the assumption of 
authority until after the expedition should have arrived, and been, as he 
confidently asserted, defeated. Although it is possible that his military 
talents might have enhanced the difficulty of the conquest, and delayed its 
accomplishment, yet the number and equipment of the invading force, and 
the resources at the command of the Goveniment of India, ensured ultimate 


>ad to Cornelis, the other fronting that to Batavia. No BOOK I. 
'fort of any importance was made to disturb them ; and, chap. vi. 

he horses and guns having been landed on the 5th, a 

j'neral advance was ordered towards the capital. On the ^^^^* 
ight of the 7th, the van, commanded by Colonel Gil- 
spie, crossed the Anjole river by a bridge of boats, and 
V dawn hutted near the suburbs. In the course of the 
; ly a small detachment was sent into the city ; by whose 
j^'resence the work of plunder commenced by the Malays 
and Javanese was arrested, and large stores of colonial 
goods were saved from the flames. Many of the principal 
inhabitants had been compelled by General Jansens to 
quit Batavia ; but those who remained, readily submitted. 
In the evening, a large part of the advance 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 re- 

On the morning of the 10th of August, the advanced 
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 Jume], the second in command, had 
taken up a strong position about a mile from Welte- 
vreeden, on the road to Cornelis. Their right was pro- 
tected by a canal called the Slokan : their left was exposed ; 
but the approach both in front and on the flank was em- 
barrassed by pepper plantations and marshy ground, as 
well as defended by an abattis, 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 turn the enemy's left flank. After 
some delay, arising from the nature of the ground, the 
attempt succeeded. The villages were set in flames, and 
the British troops rushed forward to the charge. The 
enemy broke, and were pursued with vigour until they 
took shelter imder the guns of CorneUs.^ The main body 

'Their loss was severe; that of the British vas inconsiderable: but 
several oSlcers were wounded ; of whom Lieutenant Duffleld of the horse 


BOOK I. of the army came up towards the close of the engage- 
CHAp. VI. ment, and took post at Weltevreeden ; having secured a 
free communication with the town and shipping, a healthy 
and commodious station for the troops, and the command 
of the resources of the country. Three himdred guns 
were found in the arsenal at Weltevreeden, besides great 
quantities of ammunition and mihtary stores. 

Preparations were immediately made for an attack upon 
Cornells, which General Jansens expected to be able to 
maintain against all assaults until the rainy season should 
set in, and sickness should compel the retreat of the in- 
vaders. His 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 between the rivers in front, above 
six hundred yards, was guarded by strong entrenchments 
and redoubts, and was difficult of access from the rugged- 
ness of the ground. A like space in the rear of the works 
was still more strongly fortified. The whole circum- 
ference of the lines extended nearly five miles, and was 
defended by two hundred and eighty pieces of cannon. 

Although the necessity of an ultimate assault was an- 
ticipated by the Commander-in-chief, yet he thought it 
expedient to try the efiect of regular approaches ; and a 
battering train having been landed, and batteries con- 
structed, 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 efiect, and during the 
interval a furious cannonade was kept upon the works by 
the enemy, by which 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. The principal redoubt was re- 
peatedly silenced, and many of the guns in their bat- 
teries were dismounted. On the 2oth the cannonade was 

artillery died of his wounds. Lieatenaut Munro of his Majesty's 78th was 


. jsiimed, and returned with spirit : but although the BOOK I. 
enemy suftered severely both in men and guns, yet it was chap. vi. 

evident that no practicable breach could be made until 

the batteries were considerably advanced ; an operation 1*^^^- 
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 
arrived at which the place must be carried by storm, or a 
protracted and exhausting course of warfare would become 

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 principal attack to be made 
in that direction. The assault was intrusted to Colonel 
Gillespie, having under his orders the infantry of the ad- 
vance, and a part of the right brigade of the line com- 
manded by Colonel Gibbs. At the same time two other 
attacks were to be made upon the enemy's line ; 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, intersected by ravines, 
and parcelled out in pepper plantations and betel gardens. 
The darkness of the night aggravated the intricacy of the 

• The troops under Colonel Gillespie were the two flank battalions, con- 
sisting of the grenadiers of tlie 78th regiment, and of the 5th and Gth native 
volnntecr 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 14th, 59th, and 78th, five companies of the 89th, dismounted dragoons and 
body-gtiard, a body of marines, and Mudras pioneers. Colonel Gibbs' column 
was formed of the grenadiers of the 14th, 59th, and G9th, first battalion of the 
59th, and 4th and liglit infantry volunteer battalions. Colonel Macleod led 
the (J9th regiment. -Major Yule had under his orders the grenadiers of the 
20th native infantry, two companies of his Majesty's Gyth, the flank battalion 
of tlie reserve, with a detachment of the iladras pioneers and artillerj', and a 
troop of the 22nd dragoons. 


BOOK I. path ; and when, towards morning, the head of the column 
CHAP. VI. had approached near to the works, information was brought 

• ■ to Colonel Gillespie that the rear division had fallen be- 

1811. hind. A short halt was ordered ; but as it was impossible 
to remain unobserved after daybreak, and a retreat in the 
presence of the enemy might hazard the success of the 
expedition, Colonel Gillespie determined to make the as- 
sault at once, trusting that the strayed column would be 
guided aright by the firing, and would be in time to sup- 
port him before he was seriously engaged. 

The morning dawn showed the enemy's videttes at 
hand, and the column was challenged. The men, as com- 
manded, reserving their fire, rushed forward with the 
bayonet ; and the picquets were destroyed, and the ad- 
vanced redoubt was carried 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 demolished. As soon as the passage was eflected. 
Colonel Gillespie, turning to the left, stormed a second 
redoubt, which was within the lines ; and notwithstanding 
the superior numbers of the enemy, and a spirited resist- 
ance, 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 antici- 
pated, been guided to the scene of action by the cannon- 
ade, had hastened on to take their share in the conflict ; 
and, having crossed the Slokan, the grenadiers of the 14th, 
59th, and 69th regiments moved against a redoubt on the 
right, which they stormed, and carried with the bayonet 
in the most gallant manner. They had scarcely gained 
possession, when the powder magazine,^ attached to it, ex- 
ploded 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 

' It was said to have been purposely fired by some of the enemy's officers, 
■who perished in the explosion. No advantage accrued to the enemy from the 


gained a firm footing within the lines, and proceeded with BOOK 1. 
renewed spirit to storm the remaining redoubts to their chap. vir. 
right and left. TT^T 

In the meantime an active cannonade had been main- 
tained on the front, where the enemy had erroneously 
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 
obhged to remain contented with firing upon the enemy 
from the opposite bank. The detachment under Lieu- 
tenant-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 entrench- 
ment, 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 battahons, with twenty pieces of 
horse artillery, besides heavy guns, and a large body of 
cavalry, was seen drawn up on the plains in front of the 
barracks and lesser fort of Cornehs, 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 captured 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 disorganization of their 
army. Those who sought refuge in the thickets, were 
killed or dispersed by the 14th regiment and detachments 
of the Bengal volunteers. The efforts of their officers to 
keep them together as far as Beutenzorg, where entrench- 
ments had been thrown up, and a second stand was to 
have been made, entirely failed, and the fate of Java was 
decided. Six thousand prisoners were taken, mostly Eu- 
ropean 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 Cornells, the 

TOL. I. s 



BOOK I. killed and wounded amounted to nearly nine hundred, of 

CHAP. VI. whom eighty-five were officers.^ 

Although the dispositions of the Commander-in-chief 
rendered the fall of Cornehs little doubtful, yet that it 
Avas accomplished so quickly, and with a loss which, 
though severe, was disproportionate to the strength of 
the position and the importance of the capture, was main- 
ly 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 
enhanced, and success would have demanded infinitely 
greater sacrifices. The same promptitude and courage 
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 Jansens, 
with a small body of horse, retired to the eastern 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 had passed. The place was immediately 
surrendered. Another expedition proceeded to Madura, 
off the north-eastern extremity of Java, and occupied 
that island. On the 5th of September, Sir S. Auchmuty 
proceeded against General Jansens, who had assembled 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 landed on the following day, 
the town being abandoned. On the 16th, they came in 
sight of the enemy, about eight thousand strong, princi- 

1 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 ;.01iphant, 59th ; and Ross 69th : Lieutenants Hutchins, 
22nd dragoons ; Waring, Lloyd, Litton, and ^Macpherson, 69th ; Hipkins, 69th ; 
Coghlan, 14th ; Macdonald, 5th battalion A'olunteers ; and Murrall, ditto 6th : 
and Ensign Wolfe of his Majestj-'s 59th. 


pdly natives, with twenty pieces of cannon, drawn up on BOOK I. 
some high and rugged hills, forming the southern bound- chap. vr. 

ary 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 regiments, with 
the grenadier company of the 3rd volunteer native bat- 
talion, and details of artillery and pioneera, with six field- 
pieces. Having estabhshed 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 alac- 
rity and firmness ; the valley was traversed with little 
loss; and, as soon as the heights were ascended, the 
enemy retreated in confusion. As they consisted chiefly 
of cavalry, they easily outstripped pursuit ; but on learn- 
ing that they showed an incHnation to rally under the 
cannon of the small fort of Onarang, about four miles 
from the field of battle. Sir S. Auchmuty marched thither 
without halting, again put them to flight, and occupied 
the fort. This was the last eflbrt made by General Jan- 
sens. Finding that no dependance could be placed on the 
only troops he was now able to collect, he proposed imme- 
diately after the action to treat for a capitulation. A ces- 
sation 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 Java 
and its dependencies should be surrendered to Great 
Britain ; that all the military should be prisoners of war ; 
nd that the British governor should be left unfettered in 
regard to the future administration 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 wrested from the 
short usurpation of France and added to the dominion of 

1 General Jansens had been formerly govemor of the Cape of Good Hope 
•when it was taken by the English. Adverting to this disaster, the French 
Emperor, on liis departure for tlie government of Java, significantly remarked, 
" Sonvenez-vous, Monsieur, qu'un General Francois ne se laisse pas prendre 
ime seconde fois." He liad little reason to look for much favourable con- 
sideration on his return to France. 


the British crown, and converted from a seat of hostile 
machination and commercial competition into an augmen- 
tation 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 ap- 
preciated in England, but the acknowledgments of the 
Prince Eegent were conveyed to the army and navy.^ 
Medals were bestowed upon the King's and Company's 
officers who had distinguished themselves in the expedi- 
tion, and Lord Minto was raised to the dignity of Earl of 

After the reduction of Java, the government of the 
island was placed in the hands of Mr. Baffles, with the 
designation of Lieutenant-Governor of Java and its de- 
pendencies, and the command of the troops left on the 
island was conferred upon Colonel Gillespie. Some time 
elapsed before the authority of the new government was 
established. The Dutch colonists, who could have no 
particular affection for the French, and who had expe- 
rienced the overbearing and extortionary spirit of that 
military rule which was modelled upon the despotism to 
which France was subject, were for the most part well 
pleased with 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 suppress. Among these 
chiefs, one of the most powerful was the Sultan of Yo- 
dhyakarta, 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 under- 
standing with the Sultan, Colonel Gillespie conducted a 
force against his capital, and carried it by storm. The 
Sultan was taken prisoner and exiled to Penang, and his 
son was placed on the throne. The capture of Yodhya- 
karta, a place of great extent and some strength, defended 

' In the debate in the Commons on the vote of thanks to Lord Minto and the 
army and navy for the reduction of the Isles of France and Java, Sheridan and 
Whitbread professed to doubt if the acquisitions were worth the cost of money 
and life by wliich they had been made. These doubts were clearly the mere 
effusions of party spleen. 


hy one hundred thousand troops, who, although defective BOOK I. 
Ill arms and disciphne, were not wanting in intrepidity chap. vi. 

l^-juad fierceness, added another laurel to the wreath won by • 

I^Hbitish valour, and intimidated the native princes into a 1812. 
^^Beaceable submission to a government whose conciliatory 
^Hwhcy they had subsequently occasion to compare with 
^^Tne oppression which they had been accustomed to suffer 
from the Dutch. 

Previously to the contest with the Sultan of Yodhya- 
karta, it had been found advisable to despatch an expedi- 
t ion against the Sultan of Palembang, a state on the north- 
ast coast of Sumatra. Shortly after the conquest of 
J ava, 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 assertion, he razed 
the Dutch fort and factory, and caused the members of 
the factory of Palembang, now become the subjects of 
the British Government 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 Gillespie. He ar- 
^ rived 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 Gil- 
lespie with a small parfy 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 investiga- 
tion into the character and behaviour of the fugitive 
prince. The process seems to have been summary. Upon 
the depositions of two natives who had been sent to Pa- 
lembang 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, 


BOOK I. to whose right the English Company had succeeded in 
CHAP. VI. virtue of the cession of Java and its dependencies. A 

proclamation to this effect in the Malay language was read. 

1812. j^i ii^Q same time it was announced that the Commander 
of the forces had selected Pangerang Adipati, the Sultan's 
brother, 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 dependencies, under the title of Sultan 
Ratu Ahmed Najam-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 Pa- 
lembang, valuable for its mines of tin, in absolute and 
perpetual sovereignty and possession to the English. On 
the 18th of May, Colonel GiUespie, 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. Raffles were 
approved of by the Governor of Bengal.' 

Although the Court of Directors had sanctioned the 
expedition against Java, their views did not go beyond the 
expulsion or reduction of the Dutch power, the destruc- 
tion of their fortifications, the distribution of their arms 
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 vindictive 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 re- 
consideration of their orders ; and, upon the conquest of 
the island, committed 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, tinder 
their combined administration Java soon came to enjoy an 

1 jMost of the particulars given in the text are derived firom Thorn's Con- 
quest of Java. Major Thorn served as Deputy Quarter-Master-General to the 
forces in Java, 

2 Letter from Lord Minto to Mr. Raffles, Februarv, 18 H ; Life of Raffles, 
p. 23. 


«Bprecedented amount of tranquillity and prosperity. The BOOK I. 
• ly was divided into districts, each of which was 

i under the management of a European Resident, — 

' larged with the general collection of the revenue, 1813. 
stribution of justice according to such laws as 
were in force, and which were unexceptionable in principle. 
The iudiction of torture and mutilation was at once abo- 
shed ; and natives were admitted to juries, from which 
hey had under the Dutch regime been excluded. The 
firming of the revenues and imposts was abandoned, and 
he collections were made directly by the ofl&cers of the 
Government according to fixed rates. The arbitrary ex- 
..ction of an undefined proportion of the crops was discon- 
tinued, and a settlement 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 efiected in Java whilst under Bri- 
tish authority ; but the prevalence of undisturbed internal 
order and peace, concurrently with the improving resources 
of the state, evinced a material advance in the productive 
industry of the people, and an amelioration of their con- 

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 undetermined by the British Admi- 
nistration, amid the mighty transactions which at this 
13eriod involved the destinies of the world. One of their 
results was the re-estabhshment of the Netherlands as an 
independent monarchy, and the revival of those relations of 
amity, which had at various intervals united Great Britain 
and Holland. In the spirit of the connexion thus re- 
estabhshed, the British Government, without weighing 
with sufficient deliberation the circumstances which the 
altered political condition of Europe had created, and with 
a dereliction more liberal than politic of its own interests, 
hastened to replace the Dutch in their ancient Eastern 

' The iTvpTtncs of Java realised, in 1806-6, rupees 492,128. General Daeii- 
dc 1 them to 800,000. In 1814 they amounted to 5,368,065. 

1 ' ■-<, see " Substance of a Minute recorded by Sir Thomas 

i?. idix; printed (not publiahed) by Black and Co., London 

ls<14 : Ins LiK-, and History of Java. 


BOOK I. possessions ; and by a convention with the United Nether- 
CHAP. VI. lands, dated 13th of August, 1814, engaged to restore all 

• ■ the colonies, with exception of the Cape of Good Hope 

1813. and some places in the West Indies. Java was conse- 
quently 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 resigning his power to 
the Dutch commissioners, by the appointment of Mr. 
Fendall, of the Bengal service to the government of Java 
in the beginning of the same year. ^ 


Return of the Governor-General from Java. — Internal 
Administration. — Indications of future Hostilities. — 
Relations with Hyderabad and Nagpore. — Misgovern- 
ment of Oude. — Interference of the Government of Bengal. 
Differences hetv:een the Nawah and the Resident. — The 
latter supported hy Lord Minto. — Defects in the Judicial 
and Revenue Systems of the British Government. — Mo- 
hammedan and latter Hindu Systems. — Concentration of 
Functions. — Judicial officers. — Circumstances counter- 
acting defective Administration. — State of Civil and 
Criminal Justice. — Consequences of establishing Civil 
Courts., — Multiplication of Suits, — Arrears of Decisions^ 
— no Effective Remedy applied. — State of Criminal Judi- 
cature, — Similar Arrears. — State of Police — Classes of 
Robbers, — Prevalence of Dahoiti, or Gang Robbery, — 

' Some measures of the administration of Mr. Raffles had been disapproved 
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 for money, and the inexpedience of 
drawing on Bengal. Charges implicating his integrity had also been pre- 
ferred against him ; which, although acknowledged in most unqualified terms 
by the Court to be utterly luifounded, seem to have produced a bias unfavoura- 
ble to him in the mind of Lord Moira, and to have had some influence in his 
supersession. His provisional appointment, by Lord Minto, to be Kesident 
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. 


Atrocities Perpetrated, — Dijfflculty of Detection and 
Conviction. — Evils of Excluding Native Co-operation, — 
Attcitipts to recover it, — Failures. — Superintendents of 
Police and Special Magistrates appointed. — Employment 
of Informers. — Diminution of Dakoiti. — Revenue Sys- 
igfii^ — Review of. — Proprietary Right of the Sovereign not 
of hlindu but of Mohammedan Origin. — Doctrines of the 
latter. — Notions of the People. — Nature and Extent of 
Pvhlic Deiiumd under the Hindus and Mohammedans in 
Earlier and Later Times. — from whom demanded. — 
Variety of Proprietary Rights. — Village Communities, — 
their Origin, — Legislation, — Colonisation, — Conquest. — 
Traces of Property Extinguished by the Exactions of the 
Government, and Village Communities destroyed, — in 
some Provinces, — not in all. — Variety of Organization, 
different Rights of the Members, — Peculiarities of Con- 
stitution, — General Identity. — Classes of Tenants. — Per- 
petual, — Temporary. — The Public Revenue how realized. 
— Revenue Officers. — Head-men of Villages, — Modifica- 
tions of the O^ce. — Function of Zemindar, — Degree of 
his Proprietary Right, — Contingent Advantages, — Con- 
sideration among the People. — Course adopted by the 
British Government. — Permanent Zemindari Settlement 
ordered for Madras. — Commencement of Ryotwar Settle- 
ment. — Principles 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. — Settle- 
ment of the Ceded and Conquered Provinces of Bengal. — 
Commission of Inquiry, — Recommend Delay of a Per- 
manent Assessment, — Recommendation disregarded by 
tlie Government. — Expected Advantages of Permanency, 
not Realisable, — Illusory Nature of the Provision, — Mo- 
derate Assessment all that is essential, — Principle dis- 
countenanced in England. — Permanent Settlement of 
the Ceded and Conquered Provinces forbidden. — Regula- 
tions for the Protection of the Ryots. — House-tax, — 
Resistance at Benares, — Repealed. — Religious Riot at 
Benares. — Missionaries in Bengal, — Established at Se- 
rampore, — Checked by the Government. — Lord Mintds 
Encouragement of Oriental Literature, — Interest in the 


College of Fort William. — Financial Operations. - 
Close of Lord Minto's Administration. 

BOOK I, rpHE Governor-General returned fi'om Java to Calcutt 
CHAP. VII. A towards the end of 1811 ; and the remaining perio^ 

of his administration was occupied with the resumptio 

1^^- and prosecution of measures afiecting the welfare of Britis 
India in its amicable relations \vith the neighbourin 
states and its allies, and in the promotion of its interns 

The peace of India remained undisturbed ; but variou 
indications occurred of an approaching necessity for d( 
parting from the pacific principles which had generall 
regulated the policy of the Government. On the nortl 
the Court of Nepaul had asserted claims to territor 
within the Company's boundaries which were questione 
or denied ; and had instigated, or allowed its subjects t 
commit, encroachments and outrages which demande 
serious notice. In the south, the style assumed by th 
officers of the King of Burma in their intercourse wit 
the English functionaries at Chittagong, arising out c 
insurrections in the intermediate province of Aracai 
lately conquered by the Burmese, revealed an arrogan 
and usurping spirit which it would probably require fore 
to repress. On the western frontier, the banditti know: 
as Pindaris, were becoming daily more confident an^ 
daring ; and in 1812 a party of them violated the integrit 
of the British dominions, broke through the boundaries 
and advanced to the wealthy commercial city of Mirza 
pore, which they threatened to plunder. The approad 
of troops saved it from destruction, and the Pindari 
retired. To prevent the repetition of a similar imiptior 
treaties were foraied with the Rajas of Tehri and Rewa, 
by which they were bound to close the passes in thei 
several principalities against the Pindari incui-sions, and 
cordon of troops was stationed along the frontier fron 
Bundelkhand to Midnapore. At the same time that thes^ 
precautions were taken, it was foreseen that they woul( 
be mere palliatives ; and a time was contemplated whei 

» Treaty with Raja Bikramajit of Tehri, 23rd December, 1812. The treatie 
with the Rewa Kaja have been previously referred to. — Treaties with Nativ 
Chiefs, xltx. 


would be necessary to undertake a system of military BOOK I. 
and political operations calculated to strike at the root chap. vn. 

of this great and increasing evil. ' The period was not 

ferred: but the arrangements adopted belong to a ^^^^• 
; administration. The same was the case with 
the course that was ultimately pursued with respect to 
Nepaul and Burma ; and we may therefore suspend their 

iisideration until the power of the British Government 
as exerted to place its rights beyond dispute, to secure 
its confines from aggression, and to eradicate the preda- 
tory pestilence which had so long preyed upon the strength, 
and wasted the energies, of Central India. 

The subsidiary aUiance with Hyderabad had undergone 
no material alteration since the interference of the Govern- 
ment of Bengal in the appointment of a minister. The 
Nizam, discontented and sullen, took little concern in 
public business, and sought consolation for wounded pride 
in sensual indulgence. His minister, Munir-al-Mulk, equally 
indolent and incapable, followed his sovereign's example ; 
and all the labom*, but with it much of the authority, 
devolved uix)n the Hindu subordinate, Chandu Lai. Strong 
also in the assured support 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 
recommendation of the Resident, Chandu Lai consented to 
the reorganisation of the military contingent which the 
Nizam was bound by treaty to furnish, and, instead of a 
body of irregulars, to maintain a standing disciplined 
force under British ofiicers. 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 estimation 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 farmers 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 

' Secret Letter from Bengal, 2nd October, 1812; Papers, Pindari War, 
p. 14. 


BOOK I. also assented to the formation of a disciplined brigad 

CHAP. VII. under British officers. ^ 

" The necessity which has been described of interferinj 

1812, for the defence of the Raja of Nagpore, naturally directe( 
the attention of the Governent to the permanent mainte 
nance at his expense of a military force. Negotiation 
with this view were opened ; but the objections of th 
Raja to a subsidiary alliance were not to be overcome, an( 
the arrangement was deferred. ^ 

A long, and occasionally an uneasy, discussion with th 
Nawab of Oude, engaged at this time in an especial manne 
the deliberations of the Government and the Court of Di 
rectors. The frequent applications made by the Nawab fo 
the services of the subsidiary force in the compulsive coUec 
tion of the revenues of Oude had occasioned extreme dis 
satisfaction in the minds of both the local and the hom 
authorities, as they were well aware that the troops wer 
in this manner often employed on duties incompatible witj 
their military character, and were converted into instru 
ments of extortion and oppression. Supported by th 
sanction and injunctions of the Court of Directors, th 
Governor-General determined, towards the close of 181( 
to express to the Nawab in an unqualified manner, th 
sentiments with which his fiscal administration was re 
garded, and the conclusions of the Bengal Governmeni 
that a change of system was indispensably necessary. 1 
letter was accordingly addressed to him by Lord Mintc 
earnestly recommending to him to institute a reform whicl 
should be based upon the fundamental principles of a mo 
derate assessment, to be made by the officers of the Go 
vemment immediately with the landholders, without thi 
intervention 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 ii 
their occupancy as long as the amount of the assessmen 
was regularly discharged. Other reforms, relating to tb 
police and the administration of justice, were suggestec 
at the same time ; and the Resident was instructed to us* 
an urgent and decided tone in pressing these recommen 
dations upon the consideration of the Nawab. 

1 Report, Select Committee, 1832; Political Appendix, pp. 133, 266. 

2 Ibid. p. 227. 


The interference which was thus exercised by the Go- BOOK I. 
vernmcnt 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 estabhsh 
in his reserved dominions such a system of administra- 
tion, to be carried into eflfect by his own officers, as should 
be conducive to the prosperity of his subjects, and cal- 
culated 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 principles which 
were to regulate the intercourse between 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 sen- 
timents and coimsels of the British Government were to 
be communicated, enjoined that functionary to treat the 
Nawab with the utmost degree of respect, conciliation, and 
attention, and to maintain cordial union and harmony in 
all transactions. 

How was this to be accomplished when the sentiments 
of the Nawab diflered from those of the Resident ? what 
security was provided for the acquiescence of the former 
in the counsels of the latter ? who was to determine whe- 
ther the counsels of the British Government and of its 
representative were really calculated to promote the in- 
terests of the prince and his people ? and by what means 
compliance was to be enforced consistently with the de- 
gree of independence which the Nawab was allowed to 
retain ? were questions which the vague and indefinite 
phraseology of both treaty and explanation left for the 
embarrassment of Lord Wellesley's successors. 

On the present occasion, all these sources of perplexity 
occurred. Professing himself willing and desirous to defer 
to the advice of the British Government, the Nawab en- 
tertained insuperable and not unreasonable objections to 
the propositions submitted 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 pi-actice of farming the re- 
renues ; to institute an inquiry into the productiveness 


BOOK J. of the lands ; and, upon a determination of their value, to 
CHAP. VII. settle with the proprietors a moderate rate of assessment 

for a period of three years. To these recommendations 

1812. the Nawab at first gave his 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 BaiUie, sanguine in his 
expectations of success, treated the Nawab's doubts as 
evasi ve, and, instead of observing the conciHatory course 
prescribed by Lord Wellesley, pressed the reform with a 
degree of positiveness and importunity which furnished 
the Nawab with a fresh cause of alarm, and led him to 
apprehend that 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 Re- 
sident accusing the Nawab of disregarding the advice of 
the British Government, and the Nawab complaining that 
he was not permitted to judge what measures were con- 
ducive to the prosperity of his people, or carry them into 
efiect 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 in- 
dividuals 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 ex- 
isting or implied engagements with the British Govern- 
ment ; 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 per- 
sonal conferences, in which the Nawab under the operation 
of fluctuating feelings repeatedly promised acquiescence, 
and as often evaded the fulfilment of his promises, the 
Government of Bengal, then administered by General 
Hewett as Vice-President during Lord Minto's absence at 
Java, determined to refrain from urging the question of 
reform further. They argued that it would be of little 


arail to enforce the Nawab's adoption of a plan, the exe- BOOK I. 
cutioii of which he could easily, and would most certainly, chap. vii. 
frustrate ; that his objections to any particular scheme of - 
reform could not be construed into a systematic disregard l^^^. 
of the counsels of the British Government, for which, on 
the contrary, he professed the utmost deference ; and that, 
consequently, to have recoui-se to the only method of 
compulsion which could be contemplated, that of denying 
him the services of the subsidiary force for the suppres- 
sion of insubordination and resistance to his authority, 
would be an unjustifiable departure from the conditions 
of the alhance. Whilst expressing, therefore, extreme 
dissatisfaction with the Nawab for the insincerity and 
prevarication which he had displayed, the Resident was 
instnicted 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 refractory 
2Lemindar3 at the requisition of the Nawab's collectors, the 
Government confirmed a resolution to which they had 
previously come, of not allowing their employment with- 
out an investigation by the Resident of the occasion which 
demanded it. 

The question of reform remained unagitated during 
part of 1812 ; but causes of disagreement were not wanting. 
In the commencement of the year, an application was 
made by the Nawab for troops to put down an insurrec- 
tion ; but the Resident, ascertaining that the disturbance 
was of no importance, and was connected, as usual, with 
the exactions of the farmers of the revenues, insisted on 
the prior investigation of the merits of the case, or the 
deputation 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 
(rf his father, were opposed to the Resident, as these rights 
had been guaranteed by treaty. This interference in his 
domestic concerns was a source of severe mortification to 

;■ ' Letter from the Bengal Government to the Conrt of Directors, 15th 
October, ISU, in which the negotiations with the Xawub are detailed: Report 
Select CommUtee, 1832; Political Appendix, 414. The correspondence 
l)etwecn the Nawab, the Resident, and the Government are printed also in 
the *' Cade Papers," printed for the proprietors of East India Stock, June, 


BOOK I. the Nawab, and he strenuously denied the right of the 
CHAP. VII. Resident to interpose. Towards the close of the same 

year, the Government of Bengal had its attention called 

1813. ^o outrages and robberies committed on the British fron- 
tiers by marauding gangs from Gude, whom the Nawab's 
officers were either unable or unwilling to restrain. As 
this evil had been the frequent topic of unavailing repre- 
sentation, 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 acquiescence 
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 
Government pronounced their entire approbation of the 
Resident's conduct, and required the Nawab to adopt a 
more deferential style of address. 

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 execu- 
tion 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 obliga- 
tion to follow such advice ; that he had admitted the ne- 
cessity, 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 po- 
sitive orders of the Government, to induce him to abide 
by the terms of his engagements. Lord Minto declared 
also, that, upon receiving the Nawab's acquiescence, the 
British Government would have been entitled, and was 

1 Letter from the Governor-General to the Nawah Vizir, 2nd July, 1813; 
Oude Papers, p. 606. 

NAWAB's aversion to reforms. 273 

perhaps required, to insist on his carrying the proposed BOOK I. 
plan into eftect at once ; and instances the imtience and chap. vii. 

respect with which his objections had been listened to 

ar. ' ' I. as undeniable proofs of its forbearance and ^^^' 
m Not a single argument against the plan had 

been adduced, but had been respectfully entertained, de- 
liberately examined, and successfully combated ; and the 
doubts and fears still professed by the Nawab could be 
ascribed to no other motives than a decided resolution to 
oppose the introduction of reform altogether, in the vain 
hope that the Government would ultimately abandon the 
question 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 happiness and pro- 
iperity of Gude, the ease and reputation of the Nawab, 
and the best interests of both states. He was also warned, 
that, if he persisted in his refusal, he would violate an 
express stipulation 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 
therefore expressed his confident expectation that the 
refonu recommended would be carried into effect without 
further opposition or delay. The Governor-General ex- 
plained his views upon the other points under discussion 
in a like peremptory strain. 

Fortified with the decision of the Government, the Re- 
sident 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 
Gude 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 regulation, — without the previous concurrence of 
the Governor-General, was a direct violation of the treaty, 
for which the Nawab might be made responsible ; or, in 
other words, might be divested of all authority whenever 
it pleased the Government to call him to account. That 
such minute and vexatious interference was intended by 
the original contract, may be reasonably questioned ; but 

VOL. r. T 


BOOK I. the present discussions showed the extreme difficulty of 

CHAP. VII. defining the just Hmits of interposition, and the unavoid- 

— — able tendency of all such political associations to render 

1813. the will of the controuling power the sole standard of the 

necessity of its interference. The Nawab became alarmed, 

and, in the month of September, he announced his final 

determination to give immediate operation to the project 

of reform, by despatching officers to adjust an equitable 

assessment ; and he instituted arrangements for affording 

satisfaction on the minor topics of dispute. Before any 

important results could be realized from these preliminary 

measures, the Government of India passed into other 

hands, and different views influenced the counsels of Lord 


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 amelioration 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 re- 
venue which had been introduced ; and which, although 
they were based upon just and benevolent principles, were 
too entirely of a European complexion to be readily iden- 
tifiable with the very different aspects of society which 
existed in Hindustan. They had been framed upon in- 
sufficient inquiry, and had been brought in abruptly, 
without having been suffered 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 adapta- 
tion to circumstances ; and it was, and has since continued 
to be, the anxious object of both the local and home au- 
thorities to pro\dde a remedy for those defects which their 
development 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 facts on which they were founded belong to the period 

' In 1813, the Court of Directors circulated queries regarding the working 
of the Judicial system in India, to several of their most distinguished servants 
then in England. The questions and replies are printed in the Selections, 
from the Records at the East India House printed by order of the Court, 
vol. ii. 


now under review, as also they were restricted to the BOOK I 
Bengal provinces, some further notice of them here may chap, vn 

not be superfluous or out of place. ' 

Whatever may have been the case when the Moham- ^^^^• 
medan 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 domination had left few and obscure traces 
of Hindu institutions ; and those which they had sub- 
stituted, never very pure or perfect, had almost equally 
disappeared in the anarchy by which Hindustan had long 
been distracted. The same was very much the case with 
the territories under the Madras Presidency that had been 
subject to the Mohammedans ; and, if Hindu usages 
lingered in the Mahratta states, they had lost much of 
their primary character amid the irregular and arbitrary 
practices of the ruling authorities. The main principle 
that everywhere regulated the administration was the 
concentration of absolute authority ; and the same indi- 
vidual was charged with the superintendence of revenue, 
justice, and police, with little to guide or restrain him 
except his own perceptions and sentiments of equity, and 
a prudent consideration for his own safety and advantage. 
Even in the best of times the sovereign, whether King or 
Raja, was the fountain of law and justice ; and the Subah- 
dar, the Nawab, the Jagirdar, all holding delegated or 
usurped authority, claimed the same prerogative. The 
Kazi, or Nyayadhipati, Mohammedan and Hindu ex- 
pounders of the law, were sometimes retained in principal 
towns as judges of civil and criminal law ; but their autho- 
rity was ill defined, their labours were ill paid, and justice 
received little profit from their nomination. The poHce 
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 Patels, 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 and criminal suits. The leading 


OOK I. object of the native governments was the realisation of 
lAP. VII. the largest possible amount of revenue ; and all persons 

engaged in this duty, whether as fiscal officers or as 

1813. farmers 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 
uncontrolled will of individuals.^ 

Incompatible as such a state of things must be \\'ith 
the feelings and principles of Europeans, its eflfects upon 
the condition of the inhabitants of India were not whoUy 
subversive of their happiness. The persons placed over 
them belonged to themselves, were assimilated in religion 
and language, conversant with their usages, and not 
regardless of their good opinion. Their decisions, although 
not guided by a code of laws, were founded upon an ac- 
curate knowledge of XDersons and things ; and, when not 

1 All the Bengal civilians 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 authoritj' 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 1793. The 
spirit of the old institutions of Hindustan survived their formal abolition as 
long as the Company's servants united the offices of collector, judge, and 
magistrate." — Ernst, Records, p. 27. " During the Mohammedan government, 
in Bengal, in the large Zemindaris, consisting of several pergunnas, it was 
usual to have pergunna Cutcheris (courts), and the Tehsildar (collector) of 
the pergunna, who vras the Zemindar's agent, decided in civil suits ; village 
Gomashtas (agents) also exercised the same authority, 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 ci\il 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, magistrate, and collector." — Munro, ibid. 106. " The 
authorities by whom civil justice was administered were the following : in the 
country, the Potail ; over him the Mam.lutdar (disti'ict collector), and Sirsu- 
bahdar (head of a large division) ; and above all, the Peshwa, or his minister. 
Jagirdars administered justice in their own lands ; the great ones with little 
or no interference on the part of the Governments. In some towns, there was 
a judicial officer called the Nydyddesi (tl)e same as Nydyadhipati, superin- 
tendent of Nydya— justice), who tried causes under the Peshwa's anthority ; 
and any person whom the Peshwa pleased to authorise might conduct an in- 
vestigation, subject to his hishness's confirmation." — Elphinstone's Report on 
the Mahratta Provijices; Selections from the Records, iv. p. 18S. 


distorted by sinister influences, were commonly conform- BOOK I. 
able to equity and good-sense. The proceedings of these chap.vii. 

self-constituted courts were simple, and their sentences 

summary ; they were not embarrassed or retarded by If^^o. 
complicated forms and technical pleadings ; and they 
escaped the tax upon their money and time, which more 
elaborate judicature imposes. Another advantage con- 
tributed to counteract the defects of the system. In the 
absence of courts of justice provided by the state, the 
people learned to abstain from litigation ; and, when dis- 
putes among them arose, submitted them to the arbitra- 
ment of judges chosen among themselves.^ This expedient 
had probably descended from ancient times, in which it 
had been a recognised element of Hindu judiciary admi- 
nistration under the denomination of Panchayat ; ^ but it 
had fallen into desuetude in most parts of India, and sub- 
sisted, in any degree of efficiency, only in the south.* 
Although the Panchayats were not inaccessible to personal 
bias or corruption, and their proceedings were occasionally 
irregular and tedious, yet they were suited to the circum- 
stances and congenial to the feelings of the people, and 
supplied the place of better organised and more solemn 

• " 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 goverament : there must, therefore, have been some advantages in the 
system to counterbalance its obvious defects, and most of them appear to me 
to have ori^nated in one fact ; that the Grovernment, althougli it did little to 
obtain justice for the people, left them the means of procuring it for them- 
selves." — Elphinstone ; Selections, iv. 194. 

=« yrom the Sanscrit word pancha, or puncha ; revre, qumque, five: the 
court being originally, perhaps, formed of that number, but in common prac- 
tice it was exceeded. Mr. Elphinstone says, " The number was never less 
than five, but it has been known to be as great as fifty." — Elphinstoiie ; Selec- 
tions, 189. 

' Sir Henry Strachey says, " I do not recollect any remains of ancient Hindu 
institutions, not even the'Punchayet; but, the term being well knoAvn in 
Bengal, it is probable that the thing exists in some parts of the Bengal pro- 
vinces, 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 Puncliayet. Our civil courts never discourage any kind of 
arbitration ; tliey constantly recommend it to the parties, who will never agree 
to it."— Answei-s ; Selections, p. 53. All the Bengal civilians state the 
same. Mr. J. A. Grant, of Bombay, says of the Panchayats on that side of 
Lidia, " They direct their attention chiefly, I believe, to matters of discipliue 
and ceremonial observance, connected with the customs and usages of 
their several sects. They exercise no judicial authority."— Selections, ii. 192. 

* It was especially in the Mahratta provinces that " the Punchayet might be 
considered as the great instrument in the administration of justice. — Elphin- 
stone. Mr. Elphinstone, Colonel Munro.and Colonel Walker apeak favourably 
of their operation, although, from the details specified, they seem to hare 


BOOK I. Upon the establishment of regular courts of justic 
CHAP. VII. under the government of the East India Company, the 

novelty of a channel exclusively dedicated to the hearing 

1813. an(j 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 court ; and the numbers of the suitors 
speedily became so numerous, that the means of hearing 
and adjudicating their cases were wholly insufficient.^ Th 
jurisdiction of each court comprehended an extent of count r\ 
and an amount of population vastly beyond the powers of a 
single establishment. The very qualities which constituted 
the peculiar recommendations of the new courts added to 
their insufficiency^ As little as possible was left to in- 
dividual discretion. Deliberate forms and prescribed 
modes of procedure, whilst they secured exactness, im- 
peded despatch. Reference to the regulations of the 
Government, and to the written authorities of Hindu and 
Mohammedan law, retarded decision ; and the multiplica- 
tion of opportunities of appeal from one tribunal to 
another encouraged and pei'petuated litigation. The un- 
avoidable deficiencies of laws which, whether Hindu, Mo- 
been clumsy instruments. The members were selected by the parties, and 
were not uninfluenced by the hope of presents from one or both : the attend- 
ance of the members was very irregular, and there seem to have been no 
efficient means of compelling punctuality ; " it was generally effected by the 
intreaties of the parties interested." Proceedings were seldom recorded : " 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 ofiQcer of Government, to whom " for this 
cause frequent references were required, and he exercised a considerable influ- 
ence on the progress of the trial." Notwithstanding these imperfections, the 
Panchayat must have exerci.^ed a beneficial influence, as it enjoyed great popu- 
larity ; as is proved by the current phrase, " I'anch-Parameswara," Panchayet 
is God Almighty. — Elphinstone; Selections, iv. 191. 

' In 1797, the number of suits instituted was 330,977, although the western 
provinces had not been acquired : they began to decrease from 1803, and iu 
1813 were only 184,790.— Selections from the Kecords, iv. 34. 

2 In the Bengal Presidency the population subject to a Zilla court was gene- 
rally about a million. The Zilla of Midnapore was one hundred and thirty 
miles long by forty to fifty broad.— Sir Henry Sti-acheyand others. At Madras 
the Zillas were more compact, and generally contained about half a million 
inhabitants. — Cockburn. "The Ceded districts, at first divided into three, 
since into two, Zillas, contain about twenty-nine thousand square miles, — about 
the extent of Scotland, but more populous." — Thackeray ; Answers to Queries. 


kammedan, or English, were devised for wholly different BOOK I. 
conditions of society, and had not yet become adapted to chap. vii. 

the changes still in progress, with the unfitness of some ■ — 

of the European judges, from their imperfect knowledge 1^^^- 
of the languages of the country and the habits of the 
people,* as well as their ignorance of the principles of 
law and their occasional negligence, contributed to aggra- 
vate the defects of the system, and to obstruct the course 
of judgment. Arrears became 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 ; addi- 
tional powei-s were given to the judges, and the privilege 
of appeal was subject to new limitations ; — measures 
in some respects exceptionable, and in all inoperative ; 
and the accumulation of arrears, although to a less extent, 
still continued to constitute a serious evil.^ To the most 
obvious remedy, the multiplication of courts and judicial 
functionaries in an equally progressive ratio, was opposed 
the heavy expense of adding to the number of European 
magistrates.' 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 abihty and knowledge, was 
generally admitted ; but it was maintained that their 
notorious want of integrity rendered it impossible that 
justice could be distributed to the people through so 
corrupt and impure a channel.* The imputation was not 

1 " There is a want of something likfe professional knowledge, that is, know- 
ledge 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 ser- 
vice."— Doiin ; Selections. 

■-» The suits depending in Bengal at the end of 1802 were 170,706 ; at the 
€nd of 1S13, 143,163 : for the clearance of which it was estimated that three 
years would be required in the Zillah, and four in the provincial courts. — 
Commons' Committee, 1832 ; Judicial ; AppendLx, vii. 479. 

3 The annual expense of the judicial establishment in Bengal was calculated 
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 time 1,260,840. In 1813 it 
was 1,572,492. 

* *' I think it quite out of the question to trust the natives with any princi- 
pal part in the administration of justice. I am not aware that they want the 


OOK I. perhaps wholly unmerited, but the charge was much 
lAp. VII. unqualified, and the evils anticipated were greatly exag- 

gerated. Nor was it sufficiently considered by what 

1813, means they might be remedied : whether they might not 
be checked, if not prevented, by better jjay, higher dignity, 
vigilant superintendance, and occasional disgrace ; whether 
natives might not be influenced as well as Europeans by 
the hope of reward and fear of punishment. Corruption 
could not be universal. The temptation could not in 
every case outweigh the risk ; and no account was maide 
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 introduction 
of European agency, law and justice had been adminis- 
tered solely by natives ; yet society had been held together : 
and there had been times when, according to the testi- 
mony of travellers and historians, India had been populous 
and flourishing, the people thriving and happy. This waa 

ability sufficient to decide ordinary questions with tolerable skill, but even 
the better sort of them are notoriously open to corruption; there is scarcely 
any thing like principle among them. I know there are some who think 
these native judges do more harm than good, and should be dispensed -with 
altogether." — Dorin. " The natives can rarely, I fear, be exclusively trusted 
with the administration of justice ; and, m any part of the judicii system 
allotted to their execution, they must be superintended by Europeans."— Fal- 
coner. Sir Henry Strachey, Colonel Munro, and Colonel Walker entertain 
different views. " It is my opinion that all the judicial functions of Bengal 
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 Eu- 
ropeans ; in some respects better, and iit one tenth of 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 super- 
intendance of Europeans necessary." *' "We place the European beyond the 
reach of temptation ; to the native we assign some ministerial office with a 
poor stipend of twenty to thirty rupees a month : then we pronounce that the 
Indians are corrupt, and that no race of men but the Company's servants are 
fit to govern them." — Sir H. Strachey. " In a civilized populous country like 
India, justice can be well dispensed only through the natives themselves. It 
is absurd to suppose that they are so corrupt as to be altogether unfit to be 
entrusted with the discharge of this important duty : if they were so, there 
would be no remedy for the evil ; their place could never be supplied by a few- 
foreigners imperfectly acquainted with their customs and language. Again : 
" Give a native judge from five 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, and another. Make it worth 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 preceding observations has been to show that the natives of 
India may, in respect to integrity, be trusted with the administration of jus- 
tice ; and that some of the civil offices of cnvemment may l)e confided to 
them witli safety and advantage." — Walker; Answers to Queries; Selections, 
vol. ii. There will be subsequently occasion to advert to later opinions on 
this subject. 




<ffr |ll the case in some parts of the country ; and, if it was BOOK I. 
not so more generally, the cause was to be found in the chap. vn. 

absence of good government and the prevalence of internal 

disorder, in which all institutions had been overturned, 1^^^* 
and principles as well as the practice of justice had dis- 
appeared. It was taking a narrow and ungenerous view 
of the question to draw a conclusion unfavourable to the 
native character from the state in which it had been left 
by the recent times of trouble, and, overlooking what it 
had been in better days, deny the probabihty of its 
amelioration under more propitious circumstances. The 
truth was beginning to be discerned ; and, amid the pre- 
valence of a contrary opinion, some few of the Company's 
servants warmly advocated the extended employment of 
the natives in the administration of justice as the only 
practicable means of proportioning the supply to the 
demand. The question continued in suspense, and httle 
advance was made in the improvement of the judicial 
system in Bengal during Lord Minto's government. 
Measures were, however, in progress which were brought 
to maturity under his successor. Changes of more con- 
siderable magnitude took place at Madras, but they also 
underwent important modifications at a shortly subsequent 

1 Benpal Regulation xiii. of 1808 enacted that the origination of civil suits 
of five thousand rupees and upwards should be transferred from the Zilla to 
the provincial courts; and Kegulation xiii. of 1810 provided that decrees 
might be passed by one judge in sundry cases where two had been necessary, 
and that the fees on the institution of suits should be partly or wholly return- 
ed when the parties settled the cause by ai-bitratlon. At Madras, in 1808, 
Regulation v. enacted the payment of fees on the institution and trial of suits. 
Regulation vi. empowered the senior judge of the courts of circuit and appeal 
to take his tour of circuit duty. Regulations viii. to xiii. effected a new ar- 
rangement of the jurisdiction of the Zilla courts in the different divisions of 
the Madras provinces, and establislied four courts of appeal and circuit. In 
1809, Regulation vii. providetl for the occasional appointment of Zillah judges, 
extended the jurisdiction of the registers, limited appeals, and provided head 
native commissioners in certain cases. Regulation viii. defined the duties and 
powers of judges of the provincial courts acting singly. Regulation x. in- 
creased the number of powers of native commissioners ; and Regulation xii. 
limited and regulated the right of appeal. Up to the year 1808, the Regula- 
tions of the Bombay Presidency were framed as nearly conformable to those 
of Bengal aa circumstances would admit, with the exception that, while the Mo- 
hammedan law was there alene applicable to the decision of criminal trials, 
the Hindus imder the Bombay Presidency were allowed the benefit of the 
laws of their reUgion in all trials, of whatsoever description, wherein they 
were the defendant or accused parties. At this period the Government of 
Bombay exercised the right, with which it was invested by the 47th of George 
m. 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 iil. to xi. ; 1813, Regulations ii. iv. vii. ix. 


OOK 1. Delays of a similar nature, although not to a like extent 
lAp. vn. were found to prevail in the administration of criminal 

• justice ; and, in a great measure from a like cause, the in- 

1813. adequacy 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 between 
the apprehension of a prisoner and his commitment, 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 dis- 
charge. For this purpose, the Bengal Government asso- 
ciated 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 investi- 
gation by the local officers, for admission to bail upon 
charges not of a heinous nature, for the dismissal of frivo- 
lous complaints, and the avoidance of all unnecessary delay 
between the ajjprehension of a person accused and his 
examination before the magistrate.- The criminal, as well 
as the civil judicature, was the object of progressive le- 

The state of the police formed in Bengal a more imme- 
diate subject of solicitude than even the defects of the 
administration of civil or criminal justice. The Lower 
provinces of the Presidency were infested by the increasing 
numbers and audacity of various classes of robbers, who, 

1 Fifth Report, p. 69. ^ Regulation xvi, of 1810. 

3 Regulations ix. 1807, and iii. 1812. Madras Regulation i. 1810 provided 
for the apprehension and punishment of persons resisting or evading the pro- 
cesses of the courts: Reg. i. of 1811 directed quarterly jail deliveries to be 
held in certain Zillas: Reg. iv. of 1811 had for its general scope the objects of 
the Bengal Regulations : Regs. iv. of 1807, and iii. of 1812, the more speedy- 
trial and punishment, or acquittal, of persons charged with offences not of a 
heinous nature ; this also enjoined the Zilla magistrates to furnish an annual 
report of all cases depending on the 31st of December before them or their 
assistants. The Bombay Regulations are cited above. 


under the designations of Dakoits, Choars, Kuzzaks, Bud- BOOK I. 
huks, or Thugs, infested the country, and not unfrequently chap. vii. 

added murder to robbery. The Kuzzaks were mounted 

robbers, who occasionally singly beset the high roads, or, 181 i. 
having collected in parties, attacked and plundered whole 
villages. The Budhuks and Thugs were distinguished by 
their practice of strangling unsuspecting travellers, with 
whom they contrived to fall in upon a journey. The Da- 
koits and Choars were robbers who assembled 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 most formidable. Their depredations 
were firet noticed in 1772, when they were described by 
the Committee of Circuit as individuals not driven to 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 re- 
port, 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 confidence, and from 1800 to 1810 
kept the country in perpetual alarm.- Extraordinary efforts 
became necessary for their suppresfcion. 

1 " In accounting for Decoity or robbery in a Zilla, 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 tliis evil."— Tytler, 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 E. Strachey, Judge of 
Eajshahi ; Fifth Report, App. 588. 

'•' In the language of Lord Minto, " a monstrous and disorganised state of 
society existed under the eye of the supreme British authorities, and almost 
at the very seat of that Government to which tlie country might justly look 
for safety and protection. The mischief could not wait fir 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, 1st 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 ot person or property to the people of India," 
it was very possible for an individual unconnected with the judicial depart- 
i ment to be scarcely aware that such a crime as gang-robbery existed. In 
I dwelling upon the absolute amount of crime, its proportional ratio to the 
population is imperfectly adverted to. According to official returns, the total 

rjr of murders, including those committed by Dakoits, in the Lower pro- 
, was in the year 1813 two hundred and ten, the population being above 



The Dakoits, although in their aggregation and in their 
following acknowledged leaders or Sirdars they 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 confederations which have been organ- 
ised in modern days and more civilised communities in 
Europe, in their assembling by night only, and dispersing 
and following peaceable occupations during the day, most 
of them being engaged in the cultivation of the soil or fol- 
lowing mechanical trades. Individuals among them were 
weU known as Sirdars, by whom their expeditions were 
projected, and by whose orders the gang was assembled at 
an appointed spot, generally 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, re- 
paired to the place, variously armed, chiefly with swords, 
clubs, and pikes, and some with matchlocks. Their num- 
bers varied from ten or fifteen to fifty or sixty. When 
collected, their marauding excursion was usually preluded 
by a religious ceremony, the worship of the goddess Durga, 
the patroness of thieves, typified by a water-pot or a few 
blades of grass. The ceremony was conducted by a Brah- 
man of degraded condition and dissolute life. Having pro- 
pitiated 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 expe- 
dition, usually the dwelling of some shop-keeper or money- 
changer, in which it was expected to discover treasure. 
Occasionally the motive of the attack was vengeance ; and 
information given by the householder, or some of his family, 
against any of the members of the gang, brought upon him 
the resentment of the whole fraternity.^ Upon entering 
the village it was customary to fire a gun, as 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 entrance, 
others remained as a guard without. Unless exasperated 
by resistance, or instigated by revenge, the Dakoits did not 

^ 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 ilr. Mill, 
V. 390, two originated in revenge.— Fifth Report, App. 604. 


commonly proceed to murder ; but they perpetrated atro- BOOK I. 
cious cruelties upon such persons as refused, or were un- chap. vii. 

able, to give them information regarding property which 

they suspected of having been concealed, burning them l^^'^- 
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 tortures, which caused immediate 
or speedy death.' The object being accomplished, and the 
booty secured, the gang retired before daylight, and the 
individuals resumed their daily occupations. Such was 
the tensor inspired by their atrocities, and such the dread 
of their revenge, that few of their neighbours ventured to 
inform or give evidence against them, although weU aware 
of their real character and proceedings. The police, in- 
timidated or corinipt, rarely interfered until the robbery 
was completed and the perpetrators had disappeared ; and 
their interposition was far from welcome to the people, as 
their unprofitable and vexatious inquiries had frequently 
no other purpose in view than the extortion of money as 
the price of forbearing to drag the villagers, unwilling wit- 
nesses, 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, necessarily resided in the capital town 
of his jurisdiction, 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 distance from his station ; and 
not only was local investigation therefore impracticable, 
but it was impossible for him to exercise a vigilant personal 

' In one hundred and four houses attacked by Dakoita in the course ef 
thirteen months, eight persons were wounded, three were tortured, and five 
killed.— Dowdesweii'a Report, ibid. 606. In 1813, the whole number of Da- 
ki)itis under the Bengal Presidency was six hundred and ninety ; in which 
seventy-one peraons were killed, two hundred and forty-six tortured and 
wounded. Tlie returns show characteristic differences between the Lower 
and Upper provinces : 

Lakoilis. Murdered. Tortured and Wotmded. 
Lower prm-inces . . 505 31 149 

Upper provinces . . 185 40 97 

In the latter more ^rere murdered and fewer wounded in little more than one 

third of the robberies ; proofs of more fierceness but less cruelty Commons' 

Committee, H32; App. p. 506. 
I^^v- ' Dowdeswell's Report, and Letters of the Judges preceding. 



BOOK I. supervision over the officers of the pohce. The poHce ju- 
CHAp, VII. risdictions were originally intended to include tracts of 

about twenty miles square ; but they were of greater or 

1813. 2ess extent, according to circumstances, and usually em- 
braced a numerous population. Each of these was under 
a head officer or Daroga, who had at his disposal from 
twenty to fifty armed men, a very inadequate force in many 
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 institutions had been broken up either di- 
rectly or indirectly by the regulations of the Government. 
The Zemindars had been formerly charged with the manage- 
ment of the police, and were held accountable for all acts 
of robbery or violence committed 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 in- 
clined to interest themselves in a troublesome and thank- 
less office. The instruments employed under them had 
been of two classes : one, under the term Paiks and Cho- 
kidars, attached to them and their agents jjersonally ; the 
other, known as Pasbans, Nigahbans, or Hdris, connected— | 
with the villages : the former were the police of the wholer^H 
district ; the latter, the watchmen of their respective ham-'^' 
lets. Both were paid chiefly by allotments of land rent- 
free, or held at a low quit-rent under the Zemindar.- When 
he ceased or was forbidden to have any concern with the 
police, he had no inducement to keep up a pohce establish- 
ment ; and, when it was intimated 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 

1 By Reg. xxii. of 1793 ; on the grounds that the clause iu their engage- 
ments 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 subsisted between the 
perpetrators of them and the police -oflBcers entertained by the Zemindars and 
farmers of the land. 

^ Their numbers may be estimated from those of one district. In Burdwan, 
in 1788, there were two thousand four hundred Pasbans or Tillage constables, 
and nineteen thousand Paiks. — Judicial Letter from the Court of Directors, 
Nor. 1814; Pari. Papers, 1 July, 1819, p. 48. 


resumed the land. The Paiks were generally dismissed : BOOK I. 
the village watchmen lingered, but in a state of poverty chap. vii. 
and inefficiency which rendered them worse than useless. ■ 

It was of little avail, therefore, to place them by law under 1813. 
the authority of the now Darogas, and to enact that they 
should be kept up and duly registered : 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 
Hkely to be in concert with its disturbers.* 

The evil consequences of having so completely excluded 
native co-operation, had long been urged upon the consi- 
deration of the Government by many of its ablest officers ; 
and one of its first remedial measures was to re-invest the 
Zemiudara with a portion of their former authority. Re- 
gulations were accordingly enacted, by which respectable 
inhabitants of the several provinces were commissioned to 
act as Amins or superintendents of police : they were au- 
thorised to receive written charges of all offences of a 
heinous nature, issue warrants for the apprehension of of- 
fenders, and send the persons so apprehended to the police 
Darogas ; to apprehend, or cause to be apprehended, with- 
out warrant, persons engaged in the actual commission of 
a heinous crime or flagrant breach of the peace, and have 
them conveyed to the nearest police thanna ; they were 
enjoined 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 corruption, extortion, or oppression, done by them- 
selves, or any person acting under their authority .2 

In these regulations for enlisting persons of credit and 
influence in the preservation of the public peace, there 
were several radical defects which ensured their failure. 

> Reg. i. 1793 reserved the option of resuming tlie wliole or part of such 
allowances as had been made to the Zemindars for keeping up police thannas, 
or the produce of any lands which they might have been permitted to appro- 
priate for the same purpose. " Extensive resumptions were made under 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 drove them to a 
life of robbery and plunder for a subsistence."— Letter from the Court; Pari. 
Papers, 1819, p. 60. 

' Bengal Regs. xii. and xiv. 1807. 


BOOK L These police Amins were not only to give their service 
CHAP. vn. without pay, but, " considering the description of persono 

from whom they were to be selected, it was not expected 

r813. -tiiat 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 to perform its 
functions. It is not surprising that few should have been 
willing to accept the office. Even had these unreasonable 
stipulations been omitted, it was not to be expected that 
many persons of respectability would have been ambitious 
of a post which made them subordinate to the pohce 
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 pubhc offences, or the resort of 
robbers in any place within their estates ; and if they 
afforded to such offenders food, or shelter, 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 occu- 
pancy of their lands, to obviate the necessity which made 
them, according to Mr. Dowdeswell, alternately watchmen 
and robbers. 

Actuated by that spirit of exclusive reliance upon 
European agency which had been engendered by the 
institutions of Marquis Cornwallis, 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. These officers, 
acting in concert with the magistrates, or, as occasion 
required, independently of them, were not restricted to 
any particular station or defined district, and were enabled 

1 Bengal Reg. v. 1810. ' Bengal Eegs. ix. 1808 ; iii. 1812. 

3 Dowdeswell's Report; Fifth Report, App. 614. 
* Reg. iii. 1812. 


to exercise a more immediate supervision over the Darogas BOOK I. 
and police establishments, and to apprehend and punish chap. vii. 

ofienders in a more prompt and vigorous manner.' The 

arrangement was beneficial. But, besides these officers, ^^l^* 
magisti-ates were appointed with special powers to sup- 
press the crime of gang-robbery in the districts 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 arrested 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 appre- 
hended upon insufficient evidence : many of them were 
acquitted upon trial after having been long detained in 
prison : some died in confinement.* It was argued in 
defence of this procedure, that, although the acquitted 
persons might not have been concerned in the actual 
offence, yet they were cognisant of its perpetration, and 
neither took any steps to prevent it, nor to bring the 
perpetrators to justice ; that violent diseases required 
strong remedies ; and that it was better that a few inno- 

' Reps. X. 1808; viii. 1810. 

' At Muddenpove, 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, hix were pardoned upon a pretended confession; for it 
turned out on the trial of those committed, who were detained in prison above 
a year, tliat the wliole were innocent, tlie charge having been a fabrication. 
Three of the prisoners died in jail. — Sir H. Strachey; Answers to Queries; 
Judicial Records, ii. 70. At Nadiya, two thousand and seventy-one persons 
were apprehended as Dakoits from the 20th May, 1808, to tlie 31st of May, 
1809 ; of whom no less than one thousand eight hundred a.:d twenty-eight had 
been taken up as men of bad character 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-eiglit acquitted by the court. Of those who remained in jail after the 
first sessions of 18u9, tlie greater part had not been brought up for trial at the 
two sessions v^iich followed, but still remained in confinement. On the 31st 
of May. 1809, there were no less than one thousand four hundred and seventy- 
seven prisoners in the Nadiya jail who*had not been examined, liesides the 
two thousand and seventy-one prisoners above specified, a considerable num- 
ber of persons had been apprehended as Dakoits during the same period by 
Messrs. Blacquiere and Leyden, the magistrates of the twenty-four I'ergun- 
nas and joint inagistiates of Nadiya, and by their Goyendas, who, instead of 
being examined and tried, were sent down to the Presidency, and there kept 
in confinement.— Judicial Letter from the Court, 1st Oct. 1814; Pari. Papers, 
June 1819, p. 25. 



BOOK I. cent persons should suffer than the whole community live 
CHAP, vii. in alarm and danger. Equally exceptionable was the 

subordinate agency by which the objects of the magis- 

l^^^' trates were in most instances obtained — the employment 
of hired spies or Goyendas : it was admitted 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 maintained, that their instrumentality was absolutely 
necessary ; that no efficient police could be established 
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 improvement manifested in the dis- 
tricts round Calcutta was proportionate to the skill with 
which this powerful engine had been wielded.^ These 
were the sentiments of many of the most confidential 
advisers of the Government, and they predominated in 
its counsels. Notwithstanding this view of the case, and 
admitting the efficacy of the Goyenda system in the dis- 
tricts which were most disorganised, 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 indis- 
pensable, 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 instru- 
ments employed were the neglected and undervalued 
institutions of the country animated by skilful superin- 
tendence and encouragement : the landholders and head- 
men of the villages and of various trades were called upon 
to enter into engagements 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 rewarded for 
courage and good conduct. Attempts to deprive them of 
their service-lands were sedulously resisted, and the vil- 
lagers were encouraged to give them more liberal sub- 
' Dowdeswell's Report, p. 615. 


sistence. In this instance it was unequivocally shown BOOK I. 
that the cooperation of the people was to be had, and that chap. vii. 
when had it was efficacious. ' 

Notwithstanding this evidence of the feasibility of a ^®^* 
different system, no attempt was made to act upon it on 
a more extensive scale ; and the only enactments of the 
Gk>vernraent, in addition to those already adverted to, 
placed the rewards which had been given for the apprehen- 
sion of Dakoits upon safer principles. The amount payable 
upon conviction was augmented : it was made payable 
wholly, or in part, where conviction could not be esta- 
blished, 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 merito- 
rious exertions, and remuneration for expense 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 effect : the crime of gang-robbery, although 
not wholly eradicated, was materially checked, and during 
the latter part of Lord Minto's administration, it became 
much less frequent, and was less marked by cruelty and 

Shortly prior to the appointment of Lord Minto, a 

' In the year 1810, Mr. Butterworth Bailey was appointed to the office of 
mafjistrate 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 
the community in the detection and appreiiension of offenders." The causes 
of improvement are thus detailed by Mr. Bayley ; " The uniform punishment 
and dismission from office of the village watchmen wherever there was any 
appearance of neglect or connivance on their part in robberies, and the rewards 
which were constantly given to them for any proof of braveiy, activity, or 
good conduct in opposing or apprehending Dakoits ; the exertions made by 
him for obtaining a more adequate subsistence for the village watclimen, by 
carefully preventing all attempts on the part of the Talookdars to resume any 
part of the Chakeran lands, and by encouraging the head villagers to subscribe 
a more liberal remuneration for the support of their Chokidars than had 
before been customary." The Mandals, who were the principal fixed re- 
sidents, and were vested by long usage with considerable local authority and 
immunities, and the Chokidars under them, were the chief classes upon whom 
Mr. Bayley relied for information and aid in the improvement of the police. 
He however took Moochulkas not only from them, but also from the land- 
holders, gotnashtas, vendors of spirituous liquor, pawnbrokers, gold and 
silversmiths, &c., explaining to them personally the duties they were enjoined 
to perform, and the practices from which they were expected to refrain. — Let- 
ter of Court, 9th Nov. 1814; Pari. Papers, June, 1819, p.53. In this letter 
the Court take a general review of the past and actual sUte of the police in 


BOOK I. oontroversy had commenced between the authorities in 
CHAP. VII. England and in India respecting the course to be pursued 

with respect to the final settlement of the revenue from 

1813. ^Y^Q la^Qjj jjj those parts of the British territory where a 
settlement was yet to be effected, comprising the Ceded 
and Conquered provinces under the Presidency of Bengal, 
and the provinces in the south of India which had been 
annexed to the Madras Presidency by the humiliation and 
downfall of the Mohammedan (iovernment of Mysore. 
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 mea- 
sures, which had received the sanction and commendation 
of the Court of Directors, the Board of Controul, and of 
successive administrations, and which had been eulogised 
by high authorities as the result of consummate wisdom 
and enlightened disinterestedness,^ were now stigmatised 
as improvident and precipitate, as originating in defective 
knowledge and erroneous analogies, and as equally detri- 
mental to the prosperity of the state and the happiness of 
the people. The leading members of the Bengal and 
Madras Governments, trained in the school of Lord Corn- 
wallis, and, with the exception of the Governor-General 
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 settlement, and strenuously urged 
its universal adoption. The principal authorities of Eng- 
land, on the contrary, influenced by the proceedings and 
sentiments of some distinguished revenue officers of the 
Presidency of Madras, first suspended, and finally pro- 

1 " The distinguished character of Lord Cornwallis, and the authority 
which the permanent settlement derived 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 ques- 
tion as to its merits." — Commons' Committee, App. p. G7 ; Observations on the 
Revenue System of India, by the Right Hon. John Sullivan. In the Parlia- 
mentary 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 tlie corner- 
stone of the Government of India, and the extension of the principle to the 
Conquered provinces would found a solid basis for that Government to rest 
upon." On the same occasion. Lord Grenville urged the insertion of a clause 
in any charter to he granted to the Company declaratory of the adherence of 
the Indian Government to the principle of permanency. 



hibited, the conclusion of an assessment in perpetuity in BOOK I. 
those provinces to which it had not been extended.' To chap. vir. 
render this change of purpose intelligible, it will be 
necessary to take a brief survey of the condition of the 
agricultural population of India, and the principles upon 
which the realisation of the revenue derived from land 
was founded, previously to the establishment of the 
British Government, as well as of the proceedings of the 
British Government subsequently to those which have 
been already described in connexion with the permanent 
settlements made by Lord Cornwallis. 

Land is the main source of the revenue of the British 
Government in 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 profitable means of making provision 
for the public charges, it consults the advantage, and con- 
forms to the notions and feelings, of the people.^ 

' The Select Committee of the House of Commons, in their celebrated Fifth 
Report, printed July, 1812, first publicly called the princiiile in question, em- 
ploy inir what Marquis Wellesley termed ambiguous words, tending, according 
to Lord (irenville, if not to discredit the original measure, at least to discoun- 
tenance its proposed extension. The Report is known to have been the com- 
position of Mr. Cumming, at that time superintendent of the revenue and 
judicial department in tlie office of the Board of Controul, who was an im- 
plicit believer in the excellence of the Kyotwar settlement as advocated by Sir 
Thomas Munro.— Commons' Committee, 1832, App. ; Revenue remarks by 
Mr. Sullivan. We have also the testimony of Mr. Courtenay, between fifteen 
and sixteen years secretary to the Board of Controul, that the opposition to 
the permanent Zemindari settlement originated in the Board, not in the 
Court: " I may here mention, that the system known by the name of Sir T. 
Monro's system was the work of the Board, and in many parts of it was 
opposed by the Court. The same observation applies to many matters con- 
cerning the revival or maintenance of ancient native institutions, and the em- 
ployment of natives in public functions." And again : " 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 the Court." — Commons' Com. 
1832, App. ; Public answers, 292. 1585. 

' " 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 
l)ower is entitled to a certain proportion of the produce of every beega of 
land, demanduble in money or kind, according to local custom, unless it 
transfers its right thereto for a time, or in perpetuity."— Preamble to Reg. 
xix. 17'j3. " Any change from established custom in India gives rise to a 
great deal of dissatisfaction. The land-rent is what the peojde readily pay; 
and, although it may appear exorbitant, it is a revenue that is paid without 
much ditflcu'.ty. A tax In any other shape, however small, is comparatively 
disliked."— Christian. Evidence, Lords' Committee, 1830; Question 848. 
" Nine-tentlis 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 tiie property of Governm nt : and to me that appears to be one of 
tiie most fortunate circumstances that can occur in any country ; because, in 
consequence of this, the wants of the state are supplied really and truly with- 


BOOK I. But this fact being stated, there occur sundry questions, 
CHAP. VII. which, although repeatedly and earnestly investigated, 

have not yet been answered in such a manner as to secure 

1813. universal acceptance. They may be briefly resolved into j 
the following : 1. In what character did the native Go- ] 
vernments 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 demands - 
of the British Government regulated ? We shall endeavour 
to elicit a reply to these queries from the mass of conflict- 
ing 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 unme- 
thodised 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 points, 
omitting many of less moment, though of scarcely inferior 

I. The demand made by the Sovereign has been com- 
monly referred to his character of proprietor of the soil. 
It has been maintained that it is by his permission only, 
and with his sanction, that the land is occupied, and that 
the occupant sows his seed and reaps his crops ; that 
whatever produce is in 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 

out taxation. As far as this source goes, the people of the countrj' remain 
untaxed." — Mill, Evid,, Select Committee of House of Commons, 1831 ; Ques- 
tion 3134. The proportion was overrated, as was subsequentl.v remarked by 
the Committee ; it was about six-tenths : nor, as there will be occasion to 
remark, Avas it quite correct to say that the i-ent of land was never appropri- 
ated to individuals. 

' The principal authorities consulted for the following passages in the text 
are, The Fifth Report of the Select Committee of 1810, printed 1812, 1vol. 
jiolfo; Selections from the Revenue and Judicial Records at the India House, 
printed by order of the Court of Directors, 1820-1826, 4 vols, folio ; Reports of 
the Select Committees of both Houses of Parliament in 1830 1831, and 1832, 
with evidence and appendices, reprinted by order of the Court of Directors, 16 
vols. 4to. ; Colonel Wilks'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 Gallo- 
way on the Law and Constitution of India : Mr. Tucker on the Financial Sitn- 
ation of the East India Company ; Colonel Sykes on the Land Tenures of the 
Dekhin; Mr. Thomason on the Revenue Settlement of Azimghur; and a 
variety of tracts and papers. 


the character in which the sovereign appears in the laws BOOK 1. 
and institutions of the Hindus, in the laws of the Mo- chap. vu. 

hammedan conquerors of India, and in the practice of all 

modern native governments, and in which he is recognised l^^^- 
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 ancient laws and 
institutions of the Hindus, the accuracy of the assertion 
may be reasonably disputed. In adducing the authority 
of Hindu writers in favour of the doctrine, two sources of 
fallacy are discernible. No discrimination has been ex- 
ercised in distinguishing ancient from modern authorities; 
and isolated passages have been quoted, without regard 
to others by which they have been quaUfied or explained.' 
If due attention had been paid to these considerations, 
it would have been found that the supposed proprietary 
right of the sovereign is not warranted by ancient writers ; 
and that, while those of later date seem to incline to its 
admission, they do not acknowledge an exclusive right 

' See Mill, History of India, i. 212, and notes; also Grant's Reports on the 
Northern Circars and the Itevenues of Bengal; and the Minute of Lord Corn- 
wallis, Fifth Report, App. 473. Colonel Munro says, "Notliing can \<i plainer 
than that private landed property has never existed in India except on the 
Malabar coast." — lievenue Sel. 1. 94. And the Board of Kevenue observe, 
" We concur with Colonel Munro in thinking that Government is virtually the 
proprietor of the soil." — Ibid. 486. Such also is Mr. Fortescue's opinion with 
respect to the Western provinces ; and at a long subsequent date, " As to the 
proprietorship, my belief is, that the Government is the proprietor of the land, 
»nd that the person occupying it is well satistied with the occupation, paying 
the rent." — Lords' Committee, 1830, Evid., Question 511. And on the oppo- 
site side of India, Colonel Barnewall asserts that the people in Guzerat claim 
no property in the soil. Government is vested with the property in tiie lands ; 
and, as landlord, entitled to the rent, or a share of the produce equal to it. — 
Commons' Committee, 1832, Evid. 1755. 

' As observed by Mr. Mill, i. 213 and note, the Digest of Hindu law com- 
piled by the desire of Sir William Jones, and translated by Mr. Colebrooke, 
favours the proprietary right of the sovereign, particularly in stating, that, if 
no special engagement for a term of occupancy has been made, the occupant 
may at any time be dispossessed by the Raja in favour of a person offering a 
iiigher revenue.— i. 461. Colonel Wilks accuses the Pundits, who compiled 
the Digest, of falsifying the law ; but the charge is undeserved. The original 
passages of the Digest are not the law, they are the oiiinions of the compiler as 
to tlie 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-Fanchdnana, 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 :" and, 
when treating of sale without ownership, he observes, " The property is his 
who uses the land wiiere he resides, and while he uses it ; and thus, when 
land belonging to any j-erson is sold by the king, it is sale without ownership." 
— i. 476. The sale b illegal. 



BOOK I. but one concurrent with the right of the occupant ; they 
CHAP. VII. 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 asserted : 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 right is vested in the individual who 
first clears and cultivates the land ; it is therefore referred 
to colonisation ; a source which, as regards India and 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 assigned to him by law. Concurrent 
and not incompatible rights and claims are thus clearly 
recognised ; and the king's dues are based, not upon any 
indefeasible right of property, but in the first instance 
upon conquest, and in the second upon protection. 

The notion of the proprietary right of the sovereign is 

' The texts of Menu, which have been cited in proof of the proprietary right 
of the Haja, have been misunderstood. In B. viii. v. 39, the phmse rendered 
by Sir W. Jones "lord paramount of the soil," is Bhuraer-adhipati, supreme 
rnler of the earth : the title Adhipati, "over-lord," no m<ire implies owner- 
ship in this text than when it is used to denote the head-man of a village, 
GrdmMliipati; or governor of a district, De'sddhipati. In another text, in 
which the authority of a king is intimated to te analogous to that of a husband 
over a wife, tht.- sources of property in subjects are also enunciated: " Ancient 
sages have called this earth (Prithivi) 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 subjection of the earth by Pritlni is clearly an 
allegory of its conquest by the military caste, see Vishnu Parana, p. 103. 
The compiler of the Digest expressly states that the king's iiroprietary right is 
"denied by some, because Menu has only declared that subjects shall be pro- 
tected by the king." — i. 471. Menu then, even accoidingto the Pundits, is 
not authority for this doctrine. Another ancient lawgiver, Yiijnawalkya, is 
quoted in the Digest to show that the king has no particular property even in 
unclaimed or uncultivated ground; if a subject clioose, he may occupy it 
without leave, giving the Raja his due. — i. 461. Another writer of antiquity, 
Jamini, the author of the Mimansa, also denies the king's ownership: "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 ve>ted in him, else he 
would have property in house and land appertaining to the subjects abiding in 
his dominions. The earth is not the kind's, but is common toall behigs enjoy- 
ing the fruit of their own labour." — Colebrooke on the Mimdnsd Philosophy, 
Trans. Rdyal Asiatic Society, i. 458. Mr. Elpliinstone justly concludes, 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 jiroprietor for the other 
five-sixths, or three-fourths, who must obviously have had the greatest 
interest of the two in the whole property shared. —History of India, i. 42. 


rather of Mohammedan than Hindu origin. The doc- BOOK I. 
trines of the Mohammedan jurists are somewhat at chap. vii. 

variance on this matter. Those who belong to the school 

which has been chiefly followed in India, maintain the l^^^- 
right of individual ownership : yet they do so with con- 
siderable reservation, for they restrict the appropriation 
of all uncultivated land to the king ; assign to him the 
property 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 estimation a 
conquered country, although the inhabitants may be 
suffered to retain the occupancy of their lands, the pro- 
perty of them is vested in the sovereign.^ It is apparently 
to these doctrines, to the long continuance of Moham- 
medan 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 was 
founded, and whether erroneous or just, there is little 
reason to doubt that in later times at least it has pre- 
vailed very widely amongst the people,' and regulated the 

• 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; rive times, if tliat of his servants. 
— B. viii. v. 243. There is not a word of confiscation or transfer. 

a Galloway on the Law and Constitution of India, p. 101. According to this 
writer, a high authority in matters of Mohammedan law, the school of Abu 
Hanifa was that wliich was chiefly followed in Hindustan; and this jurist 
afarms that in conquered coimtries the people paying the legal impost pre- 
served their proprietary rights. General Galloway also states that this is 
denied by the Shafia Hnd Malikia schools; according to which the lands, 
although retained by the people, become the property of the sovereign. — Ibid, 
45. It is worth observing, tliat all the authorities cited by Mill, i. 214 note, 
with exceptit.n of Diodorus and Strabo, whose testimony is not entitled to very 
great deference, dirive tlieir opinions from their observation of the state of 
things under tlie Mohammedan governments. 

' Tl>e belief of Mr. Fortescue with regard to the opinions of the people of the 
Western provinces lias been already cited, note, p. 295. Tiie Abb^ Dubois is a 
good representative of the popular notions prevailing in the Dekliin, and he 
gays, " The lands which the Hindus cultivate are tlie domain of tiie 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. 49G. The author 
has heard tlie same sentiment exi)ressed repeatedly by well-informed Hmdus 
from the Upyier provinces. They have admitted the full right of the Govern- 
ment to dis])osse8s any occupants whatever, although, if the customary 


BOOK 1. practice of the native governments. This gives the ques- 
CHAp. VII. tion its importance. Abstractedly considered, it signifies 

but little whether the king be called the lord of the soil, 

1813. Qp ]yy ^j^y otheT 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 actual occupants in favour of others 
offering a higher amount of payment. The almost uni- 
versal 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 exercise through 
such instrumentality was resisted where resistance was 
thought likely to succeed ; and the consequences of the 
system were such as might have been anticipated — the 
decline and disorganisation of the country. 

The proprietary right of the sovereign derives then no 
warrant from the ancient laws or institutions of the 
Hindus, and it is not recognised by modern 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 commonly 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 

demands were paid, such act would be considered harsh and oppressive. In 
Bengal the notion hac probably been effaced by the Company's regu]ation& : 
the Zemindars have been taught a different lesson. 


standard than their abiUty to comply with the exactions BOOK I. 
of their rulers. chap. vii. 

11. The ancient Hindu law enacts that the demand of 

the Raja shall be levied in kind. The king is to have a l^l^- 
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 commit no sin.^ A fourth of the 
actual crop constituted therefore the utmost limit of 
demand, and that only in time of war, under the ancient 
Hindu 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, enabhng 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 propor- 
tion. It extended the claim of the Crown to the whole 
of the net produce ; assigned to the cultivator only so 
much of the crop as would suffice for one year's subsis- 
tence 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 landlord.^ The more 

' Menu, B. vii. v. 30. The commentator explains the several rates to 
depend upon the quality of the land, and the labour required to bring 
it into cultivation ; the higliest rate being levied on the best, the lowest ou 
the worst sort of land : the assessment was therefore irrespective of the actual 

' It has been argued, that this would furnish a plea to the Raja 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 obvious 
intention of the law. The passage should be thus rendered : " A Kshatriya,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 dittereut castes in times of distress, and is 
detached from the pa.ssages concerning revenue. That the distress here indi- 
cated means time of war is clear enough from the passage that immediately 
follows: "for battle is his duty; he should never turn his face I'lom light ; 
protecting the cultivators with his sword, let him levy taxes in a lawful 
manner." — v. 119. 

3 Such Mr. Mill considered it, and remarked, that there was no ownership of 
rent in India as in i:urope. — Commons' Committee, 1831 ; 3288. The assertion 
was incorrect : there was ownersliip of rent as long as the native Governments 
suffered it to continue ; and there still is such ownersliip 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 head, 
the land is their propertj'." Not very valuable property it should seem, lor 
♦' Imam .Mohammed has said, regard shall be had to the cultivator : there shall 

Kleft for one who cultivates his land as much as he requires for his own 


BOOK I. equitable spirit and sounder judgment of Akbar limited 
CHAP. VII. the demand of the sovereign to one-third of the average 

produce of different sorts of land ; the amount to be paid 

1813. preferably in money, but not to be increased for a definite 
term of years.^ Under more modern Governments, 
whether Hindu or Mohammedan, the demand seems to 
have fluctuated from a third or half of the gross produce, 
to the whole of the net produce, or even to have exceeded 
those proportions ;2 leaving to the cultivator insufficient 
means of subsistence, and not unfrequently compelhng 
him to abandon in despair the cultivation of .the lands 
which his forefathers had tilled, and to which his strongest 
affections chained him, extortion being thus punished by 
dearth and depopulation. 

III. According to the principles of the Mohammedan 
law, and the consequences to which they led, the classifi- 
cation of the parties interested in the produce of the soil 

This much shall be left him; what remains is Khardj, and shall go to the 
public treasury." This is the dictum of a great lawyer of the Haniffa school, 
Shams-ul-Aima of Sarakhs; and a firman of Aurangzeb directs his officers to 
levy the Khar^j according to the holy law and the tenets of the Abu Hanifa. — 
Galloway, 40, 43. Here is evidently the origin of the sovereign's claim to the 
whole of the rent. The unhappy *' infidel " cultivator had to pay a capitation 
tax besides. 

' Ayin Akbari, i. 306, 314. The term was fixed, in the 24th year of the 
reign, for ten years ; but the general assessment, or Jama-bandi, of Toral- 
Mal was apparently Intended to last for an indefinite period. — Ibid. Ap- 

2 In the south of India, HariharaRai,of Bijnagar,one ofthe latest independent 
Hindu principalities, fixed the rate at one-fourth ofthe gross produce, fixing it on 
each field, and requiring a money-payment. The Mohammedan Governments 
exacted half the gross pi-oduce of the irrigated lands, and a money-rate equal 
to from thirty to forty per cent, of the value of the unirrigated and garden 
produce. — Revenue Selections, i. 895. According to the Paifcara Madhaviya, 
a M'ork on law by the minister of Harihara, the king's share was one-sixth. — 
Wilks, i. 154. Jn the Western provinces the Government share was consi- 
dered 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 into the 
hands of Government is in a great manner nominal; for in the unsettled dis- 
tricts 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 imrossible that such a proportion should ever have been taken. — 
Commons' Committee, 1831, Evid., Question 3887. But he observes, correctly 
enough, with regard to tlie practice of later times, " According to all I can 
gather from tlie practice of former Governments, the Government demand was 
never less than tiie full lent, in many instances probably more; not unfre- 
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 improvident and 
arbitrary princes, enforced through the agency of farmers of tlie revenue, had 
thinned the population, and consigned extensive and fertile districts to the 
denizens of the forest. 


was exceedingly simple. Two only were recognised, the BOOK I. 
Ryot or cultivating tenant, and the Raja, or rent-owning chap. vh. 

landlord ;' the first earning a scanty support by his labour, 

the second 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. There were 
found, indeed, persons intervening between 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 important respects quite true — proprietors of the 
soil: there were no such persons, — at least, there were 
no persons who had a right to intercept, without a special 
grant to that effect, any portion of the rent or profit of 
cultivation. Further investigation shewed that the latter 
propositions were not altogether accurate : the structure 
of agricultural society in India was not so exceedingly 
simple ; a variety of proprietary rights and privileges had 
survived the disintegrating operations of foreign con- 
quest, foreign laws, oppressive government, and popular 
misconception, and required to be carefully studied and 
correctly understood before it could be safe or just to 
come to any unalterable conclusion. Traces of individual 
proprietary 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 property in 
India, which was early observable, was its distribution 
among communities rather than among individuals. The 
earliest records describe the agricultural population as 
collected into groups, villages, or townships, having 
attached to the particular village or town in which they 
resided an extent of land the cultivatable portion of which 
was sufficient for their support, and which was apparently 
cultivated in common.^ The internal administration of 

' So General Galloway: "The truth is, that between the sovereign and the 
Beb-nlarz, (master of the j^ound,) who is properly the cultivator, no one 
intervenes who is not a servant of the sovereijjn." — p. 42. "The land has 
been considered the jjroperty of the Circar and the Ryots ; the ijiterest in the 
soil has been divided between these two, but the Ryots have possessed little more 
interest tlian that of being hereditary tenants." — Thackeray, Fifth Report, 
App. 992. 

» Menu, vii. 120. and viii. 237. The Madras Revenue Board alHnn the 


BOOK I. the affairs of the village was left, in a great measure, to 
CHAP. VII, the people themselves, under the general superintendence 

of an officer appointed by the Raja, by whom the police 

1813. ^g^g regulated, the government revenue was collected, and 
justice was administered, in communication with the 
principal persons of the village. The general scheme of 
these village corporations has been repeatedly described.^ 
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 re- 
ceived 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. Establishments of this nature were 
found in their greatest completeness in different parts 
of the south of India, where Hindu principahties had 
been longest preserved : but they were also met with in 
the western provinces of Hindustan, where their organi- 
sation had assumed something of a military character^, 
and vestiges of them were not wholly obliterated even iA| 
Bengal. ^"1 

The circumstances which led originally to this distribu- 
tion of the lands among detached communities, are now 
beyond the reach of history. It may have been the result 

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 hundred 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 public use of the inhabitants ; 
and boundaries of fields and farms, rather than of villages, would have been 
disputed." — Hevenue Selections, i,487. 

' See the description in the first volume of Mill, p. 217, from the Fifth 
Report; Elphinstone, History of India, i. 120, and App. 476; and Wilks, 
Southern India, i. 1 17. In a deed of gift by the minister of Bukka Kaya, king 
of Vijayanagar, dated 1109, Saka (a.d. 1187), the following list of village 
oflficers is given: — 1. Reddi, or Fedda Reddi, head-man. 2. Kamam, 
accountant. 3, Purohit, priest. 4. Blacksmith. 5. Carpenter. 6. Money- 
changer. 7. Kavel, village watcher or police officer. 8. Potmaker. 9. 
Washerman. 10. Barber. II. Barikudu. messenger or menial. 12. Chekdri, 
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-carrier. — Ellis on 
Mirasi right, App. p. 36. Traces of village institutions were found by General 
Briggs in Bengal ; Land-tax, Supplement : although there, as in other places, 
the corporation, or association of persons constituting the proprietary and 
governing body, had disappeared. 


of a legislative provision, devised for the ready realisation BOOK I. 
of the revenue and convenient administration of the civil chap. vii. 

government ; but there is no record of its institution or 

>s author. Tradition ascribes it to the spontaneous ^^^^* 
.^reement of mankind in an early stage of society,' and 
ay have been suggested to the first Hindu settlers in 
a by the necessities of their situation. Whatever 
may have been its origin or antiquity, there is no reason 
to believe that the village communities now 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 peculiar features which 
they present have been modelled by the occurrences from 
which they have sprung. 

The political revolutions of later times, and probably 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 or without the cognisance of the ruling power, 
not likely to throw obstacles in the way of those who 
purposed to convert an unproductive wilderness into 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 institution of caste, which disjoins the 
people as a whole, combines them in their subdivisions ; 
like the process of crystallisation, which destroys the 
uniformity of the mass by the condensation of the par- 
ticles. But this is not the only source of reintegration ; 

• Vishnn Parana, p. 45. 

' See the instructions of Anrangzeb to his collectors, as cited by General 
Galloway, 55. 


BOOK I. there prevail other combinations of tribe or avocation 
CHAP. vii. some of which would be sure to influence the movements 

of a body of settlers on a new soil, and unite them into a 

1813. village community or corporation. The necessity of com- 
bination, 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, when the occupation of the new country 
was an act of violence and aggression committed against 
their neighbours, or against the barbarous tribes inhabit- 
ing extensive tracts in different parts of India, identity of 
kindred, caste, or tribe, as well as of interest, would unite 
the first assailants, and would extend a bord of union to 
their successors. Such transactions are known to have 
occurred within very recent periods. ^ in some instances 
one village community has fallen upon another, 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 

' Instances of recent colonisation are specified by Mr. Thomason. " A 
family of Chandel Rajputs emigrated from tlie Jonpur district, and settled at 
Purgunna Natherpur, where tliey acquired much land." " The ri>e of some 
Ahfr (shepherd) commuTiities illustrates the formation of such bodies by suf- 
ferance. Familiar with the forest (in the Azimghur district), tliey fixed their 
residence in some favourable spot, and began to cultivate ; and, when a set- 
tlement (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. ; Journal, Asiatic Society of 
Bengal, vol. viii, p. 96. 

2 Mr. Thomason supposes the original conquest of Azimghur by Rajputs, 
some time prior to the twelfth century, to have been the general foundation of 
the exi^^ting proprietary right of the soil ; and recently " Achar and its de- 
pendent villages were held by a tribe of Kaut Rajputs. The Dliunwars, 
(another Rajput clan), of the neighbouring estate of Khulsa, were nio'-e pow- 
erful : 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 neighbouring 
district of Ghazipur, then in British possession, and have since in vain at- 
tempted to recover their rights."— J. B. As. Society, viii. 96. During the 
course of the inquiry preceding the permanent settlement, it was found that 
the Pergunna of Mongir was divided among the descendants of two Rajputs, 
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 cultiva- 
tion.— Letter from Mr. Davis, Assistant Collector on Deputation, 11th August, 
1790; Fifth Report, 238. 


conquerors, have loosened the original compact ; and the BOOK I. 
village, once held by an individual upon condition of mili- chap. vu. 

tary service to a chief, may have assumed the form of a 

village municipality, or it may still retain many features ^^^^* 
of its original feudal character.' In some places the 
original occupants have been driven away or exterminated : 
in others they appear as serfs or slaves attached to the 
soil and accompanying its transfers, or being sold inde- 
pendently of the land.^* 

From these sources, — legislation, colonisation, and con- 
quest, — and from the two latter, especially in modem 
times, may be derived the origin of the village communi- 
ties 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 pay- 
ment 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 been 
ascribed, incorrectly it may be thought, to all the agri- 
cultural population of India — of persons cultivating the 
ground with their own hands and by their own means. ' 

' Such is the case with the greater part of tlie Zemindaris along the western 
frontier of Bengal, where, while the peasantry are mostly of the wild forest 
tribes, Koles, or Gonds, the proprietors of the villages are Kajputs. That 
these latter came aa conquerors as late as the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- 
turies is well known amongst themselves, and the origin of their possessions 
by allotment from the chief on the tenure of military service is also ailmifted. 
The relation between the holders of tlie several lots, and the representatives 
of the first leader, or tlie Rajas, is more or less perfectly preserved, but it re- 
tains almost universally some impress of its origin. See the remarks on 
tenures in Sambhalpur, Mill, i. p. 215, note. A similar state of things prevails 
in the Pergunnas of Palamu, Sirguja, Chota Nagpur, and others in tlie same 
direction. An interesting account of the origin and progress of the feudal 
Zemindari of Palamu was printed, but not published, by the late Mr. Augustus 
Prinsep, of the Bengal Civil Sersnce. Mr. Prinsepwas disposed to find similar 
femdal institutions in many of the 2^mindiiris of Bengal and Behar. 

• In Malabar and Canara, where the land was very generally divided and 
oecQpied as separate and distinct properties, the labourer was the personal 
tfRTe of the proprietor, and was sold and mortgaged by him independently 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 difficult to trace 
the remains of private property In the land, the labourers, usually of the de- 
graded or outcast tribes, were free. — Minute, Board of Revenue, Madras, Jan. 
1818; Revenue Sel. i. 887. Mr, Thomason, describing the agricultural la- 
bourers of Azinighur, speaks of them as having been, under former Govern- 
ments, 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. 11.5. 

s Mill; Commons' Committee, 1831, Evid, 3114. 


BOOK I. When the farther exactions of the officers of tlie state, and 
CHAP. vn. the usurpations which in the absence of all government 

they perpetrated, reduced the proprietors to extreme dis- 

1813. tress and insignificance, the village corporations were 
broken up, and the traces of proprietary right so com- 
pletely obliterated as to suggest a belief that it had never 
existed. Such seems to have been the state of the pea- 
santry 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 Government had been 
more moderate, or the villagers by union and courage, or 
combination and craft, had resisted or evaded extortion, 
they retained their character of proprietors, living upon 
the profits of their own lands.^ The state of the country, 

' 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 
tlie 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 Go- 
vernment to tiie land revenue, and of the proprietor of the land, were well 
known : an ancient grant to a temple specified the grant to be the Govern- 
ment share of the rent, because the land belonged to the jjroprietor, and could 
not therefore be given away by the state.— Fifth Keport, 803; Life of Sir 
Thomas Munro, iii. IGl. 

2 The term village Zemindars has been generally applied to these proprie- 
tors in Hindustan. — Fortescue ; Thomason, &c. Jananil<ars, or birthright 
holders, is their name in Malabar. — Board of Revenue, Madras. Amongst the 
Mahrattas they were called Tlialkaris, holders of the Thai, (Sthal, or land), or 
Watan-dars (holders of the country); Coates on theTownsliipofLony ; Trans. 
Literary Society of Bombay, iii. 226 : and in the Tamil countries of the Penin- 
sula, Blirdsis, or Mirdsdars (inheritors). Of the latter Mr. Ellis observes, 
" Miras, originally signifying inheritance, is employed to designate a variety 
of riglits 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 important historical illustration, 
which no one but Jlr. Ellis was competent, from a ])rofound knowledge of the 
languages and literature of the Soutti of India, and from enlightened expe- 
rience, to furnish. In the Appendix, which with the text was printed at Ma- 
dras in 1818, we find the following c including 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 projiei ty by the actual cultivator, unknown in otlier parts of India, 
and confined, in fact, to those provinces of the South which formerly consti- 
tuted the dominions 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 previously to the introduction of feudal tenures into Europe, and 
which is usually designated by the term allodium, with which tiie word Cany- 
atciii (entire and absolute possession) in derivative meaning intimately con-e- 
sponds. One of the most remarkable incidents in Mirasi is, the periodical 
interchange of lands, which, in Tonda-mandalam ar least, was anciently uni- 
versal; the holding of them in severalty being a modern practice. Now this 
was also a practice common to the nations among whom the allodial posses- 


the habits of the people, and the subdivision of property BOOK 1 
by the laws of inheritance, prevented the aggregation of chap, vii. 

lai'ge estates, or the formation of a landed aristocracy ; 

and the agricultural proprietors were therefore little else ^^^3. 
than petty farmers, employing, superintending, and not 
unfrequently assisting the labourers : but they were in a 
position to preserve their hereditary rights, and to per- 
petuate the organisation of the village communities. 
Much variety, however, prevailed in that organisation, not 
only in proportion to the degree of entireness in which it 
had been preserved, but from circumstances connected 
with its history which were no longer to be verij&ed. A 
village or villages had sometimes a single proprietor, more 
commonly a greater number ; but these were associated 
under a variety of conditions. Sometimes they held in 
common, sometimes in severalty ; and the rights which 
they claimtd were of various descriptions. They were 
mostly reducible to two chief classes, the rights of pro- 
perty and the rights of privilege : they were both here- 
ditary, 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 
association generally inherited rather a definite propor- 
tion of the whole than any specific spot of ground. Some- 
times the same family cultivated the same fields for suc- 
cessive generations ; but it was more usual to arrange 
.amongst themselves for fresh allotments from time to 
time, and to distribute different parcels of land in distant 
parts of the village estate to the same individual, accord- 
ing to the qualities of the soil, and in conformity to 
regulations sanctified by prescription. In their character 
of parties responsible to the Government for a portion of 
its demands 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 

slon of land primarily obtained, and from whom it passed to their Prankish 
•nd Saxon descendants ; as Tacitus observes, * The fields are occupied, in 
proportion to the nnml)er of cultivators, in turns by all, and are then divided 
among them, according to the rank of each : tiie extent of the plains facili- 
tates this partition. I'he cultivated fields are interchanged every year, and 
yet land reniiiins.'— De Mor. Gennanorum, c. 26. Were 1 to endeavour t*j 
describe the mode of periodical repartition practised in every Arudicadei vil- 
lage in Southern India, I could not convey my meaning in more appropriate 
er precise terms."— p. 85. 


BOOK I. collectively through their head-man or head-men. The 
CHAP. VII. shares, or the land where the land was cultivated sepa- 
' rately, might be mortgaged, or let, or sold ; but the act 

1813. ordinarily required the concurrence of the other members 
of the community, 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 the munici- 
pality, or give him any voice in the management of the 
affairs of the village ; neither did it 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 emoluments 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, 
wherever it had not been infringed or abrogated by the 
usurpations or exactions of arbitrary rule. ' 

I Occasionally an entire village might have become the property of a single 
individual; Minute, Sir Edward Colebrooke, Selections, iii. ; 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 in- 
terested : the divisions were effected either by integral allotment, or by frac- 
tional parts of each description oftheland,tobe 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 v llages, al- 
though comparatively few, the lands are undivided; j'et this circumstance 
neither alters nor affects in any way the right of property in them. When 
th^ lands are undivided, each sharer usually continues to cultivate the same 
fields. A proprietary share is considered large at two hundred and fifty b^gas, 
an ordinary one about seven b^gas ; some are as small as two b^gas.— Fortes- 
cue on Tenures in the District 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 accoVding to their an- 
cestral shares, or some arbitrary rule having reference to the quantity of land 
w^hich each member cultivates. — Thomason ; J. B. Asiatic Soc. viii. 98. In 
various places, what was considered the original number of shares remained 
unaltered ; but the distribution came to the same thing as their multiplication, 
it being in fractional parts : thus, some members miglit have a whole share, 
some a half, or some a hundredth part. This was the case in the Tamil coun- 
tries ; and the Thais of the Mahratta villages, and Pens and Tliokas of the 
Western provinces, seem also to have represented the original shares, and in- 
dicated the number of persons among whom the land was first divided.— Cole- 


The existence of proprietors of the soil not depending BOOK I. 
upon manual labour involved of necessity the existence chap. vii. 

also of a class or classes of persons willing to undertake 

tjie task of cultivating the land, paying a rent for the 1^13. 
occupancy transferred to them for that purpose. Such 
persons accordingly were found in all places where the pro- 
prietors 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 provinces, and 
in Hindustan. They were not wholly wanting even in 
Bengal.' It would occupy too much space to specify the 
various tenures by which they hold, and it will be suffi- 
cient to advert to them as distinguishable into two prin- 
cipal classes : the 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 sub-let the 
land, remaining themselves responsible to the individual 

brooke, 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 may be cultivated collectively or separately. In 
the former case shares only are subjects of sale, in the latter the land is sale- 
able.— Minute, Board of Revenue, Madras ; Selections, 1.904. The other 
statements of the text rest also upon these authorities. 

' In the Western provinces there were the Kudeem, or ancient Ryot ; 
the Piihi, the itinerant or temporary Ryot ; and the Kumera, or labourer: 
there was also the Kamfn, or partial cultivator, an artizan or the like, culti- 
vating a few bigas at his leisure. — Fortescue ; Selections, i. 406. In Azim- 
ghur there were tlie three classes, but generally resolved into two ; Ashraf, 
respectable; and Arzal, low. — Thomason ; J. B. As. Society, via. 112. In 
Bengal the cultivators were long since distinguished as holding Khud-kasht 
and Pai-kasht lands; the former cultivated by a permanent and resident, 
the latter by a temporary and migratory, tenant.— Harrington, Analysis B. 
Regulations; Introduction. The Zemuidari Regulations have merged the 
proprietor into the Khud-kasht cultivator, who was probably the permanent 
tenant. But there are other designations, less known, which preserve the 
distinctions ; the Praja, (or subject), having the right to sell ; the Kalpa, pay- 
ing him rent, and, while so doing, having the right of occupancy ; and the 
Patti-dar, holding of the same by annual lease. — Briggs, Land-tax of India, 
Supplement, 500. In the South of India, in the Tamil countries, tenants are 
termed Paya-karis, cultivating persons : the permanent, Ul-kudi I'aya-karis ; 
the temporary, Para-kudi Paya-karis : in Malabar, Patom-karis, rent-payers : 
In Canara, Gahinis, literally tenentes ; Mulagahinis, radical or permanent 
tenants ; Chali-gahinis, moveable tenants.— Madras Revenue Board ; Selec- 
tions. 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: 
bnt 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, 
h.'id their signiflcations been properly understood, little doubt could ever have 
been enteitained as to the character of the persons to whom they were applied. 


BOOK I. or community of whom the land was held ; they were also 
CHAP. vn. allowed to mortgage, but not to sell. The tenants for a 

" term were bound of course by the tenor of their agree- 

1813. ments : the tenants at will were often Httle better than 
mere labourers, and sometimes were degraded to the con- 
dition of slaves. 

From this sketch of the distribution of landed property 
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 native 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 insti- 
tutions, in colonisation, or in conquest, it had a real and 
substantial vitality, and animated the exertions of the 
great body of the cultivating population, until it was de- 
stroyed or wrested from them, partially at least, 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 sovereign, it was ne- 
cessary that the latter should provide agents to determine 
and realize his share. With this view, under the Hindi 
system an officer was placed, as has been noticed, at th^ 
head of every village or township, who was accountabU 
to a superior in charge of ten villages ; he again was re 
sponsible to the superintendent of one hundred villages 
and he to the head of a thousand villages.^ This last, th< 
governor in fact of a province, paid the revenue into th^ 
royal treasury. The Mohammedan Governments adoptc 
divisions, corresponding in a great measure with those 
the Hindus, but the organization was less definite : = an< 
in'the anarchy of the declining empire, and in the genen 
employment of the agency of revenue contractors, littU 
trace was left of the primitive institutions beyond th< 
head-man of the village, and the chiefs of one or tw< 

1 Menu, vii. 119, 123; Elphinstone's History of India, i. 39. 

2 In Bengal we have the Grdma or Gaon, the village ; the Taraf, the Par- 
ganna, and the Taluk or Zemindari, for the larger divisions.— Harrington's 
Analysis, ii. 67. Among the Mahrattas, the Patel, tlie D^smukli, and 
Sir-diSs-mukh, for the gradation of oflacers.— Sykes ; Journal Hoyal As. 
Society, ii. 208. 


large but undefined portions of territory ; the former de- BOOK I 
signated in various parts of India as Mokaddam, Mandal, chap. vii. 

or Patel, the latter known chiefly in Bengal and Hindustan — 

as Talukdar or Zemindar. ^^^^• 

The head-man of a village was the only functionary that 
was identified with the primitive institution, and who had 
lived on with it through all the revolutions which India 
had experienced.' Although, however, the office subsisted, 
it had not escaped alteration. The tendency of all public 
employment in India, from the office of the prime-minister 
to the function of village watchman, to become hereditary, 
is familiarly known. The station of head of a village 
followed the prevailing bias. From being an officer no- 
minated 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 re- 
garded 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 property as well as privilege became at- 
tached to the succession ; and the person holding the 
office sold or mortgaged it, or a part of it, and introduced 
a colleague,' Different castes found admission into the 

I «' In every village, according to its extent, there are one or more headmen, 
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 terra ' Mandal :' lie assists in fixing the rent, directing the cultivation, and 
making the collections." — Minute by Lord Teignmouth ; Fifth Report, 193. 
He particularises tlie .Mandals of Birbhum, Purnia, and Rajshahi, districts of 
Bengal. " Amongst the crowd of proprietors, 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; Selec- 
tions, i. 408. 

3 In the Mahratta countries, the confirmation of the head of the state con- 
tinued to be regardi'd as essential to the validity of the Patel's autiiority. " The 
Patels about Poona s ly that they hold their Patelships of the Emperor of 
Delhi, or one of the Sattara kings ; but many of them must hold of the Peshwa." 
— Township of Lony ; Bombay Trans, iii. 183. 

» The Patelship is hereditary and saleable, bnt the office is looked upon as 
90 respectable, and the property attached to it is considered so ])ermanent, 
that there are few or no instances of its being wholly sold, althougli part of it , 

has been so transferred. This has given rise to there being two Patela in 
y villages, and in some three or four. — Bombay Trans, iii. 184. 



BOOK I. village society, each having its own head ; or different 
CHAP, VII. branches of the same family chose to be severally repre- 

sented.i The headship was thus divided amongst fewer 

1813. Qj. more individuals. Nor was this a partition of a barren 
title or a post of honour : 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 primary insti- 
tution. From these and other sources of pecuniary benefit, 
the ojSice became in some parts of India a means of ac- 
quiring wealth, and an object of competition."^ 

The officers to whom the Mohammedan designations of 
Talukdars and Zemindars applied, indicated less distinctly 
their Hindu original. They differed 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 inquiries to the latter.' Conflicting specu- 
lation 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 

^ General Briggs found in a village near Calcutta, peopled by Mohammedans 
and Hindus, four Mandals ; three for the former, one for the latter. — Supple- 
ment, Land-tax. And in a village near Madras, three Pedda-kars, or head- 
men; one for each caste of the population. — Supplement, Coll., &c. Colonel 
Sykes gives an amusing and instructive account of the solemn arbitration 
of the dispute in which two Patels of a village had sold a third of the office to 
a third party, for money wherewith to pay the public revenue. They subse- 
quently contested the full advantages which the transfer was maintained to 
convey : a verdict was given against them in a Panchayat of Patels, who ap- 
portioned to each his separate share of precedence and emolument. Among 
other things it was decreed that each was to liave a pair of shoes a-year from 
the village shoemaker, two bundles of fire-wood on festival-days from the 
village menials, three pots of water daily from the watchmen, and a third of 
all sheeps' heads offered to the goddess Bhav^ni. What was still more valu- 
able, a similar partition was enacted of the rent-free lands attached to the 
office, and of all lands that might lapse from families becoming extinct. — 
Tenures of the Dekhin ; Journal Royal Asiatic Society. 

2 The founder of the family of Sindhia was a Patel : Madhaji affected 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 office 
and its emoluments in particular villages. — Sykes, Land Tenures. 

3 A Talook comprehended only a few villages or a small tract of ground. 
The Talook-dar, or holder of a ' dependancy,' sometimes held under a 
Zemindar, sometimes immediately under the (Government, to whom his collec- 
tions were paid. In the language of the Company's Regulations the latter is 
called an independent Talookdar. The Hindu name, Choudri, (a word of 
uncertain etymology, but apparently derived from Chaturtha-dhari, the 

I receiver of a fourth part,) was sometimes applied to a Zemindar. — Har- 

ington's Analysis, ii. 63. 


the same class of persons. In some places the title Ze- BOOK I. 
mindar signifies the proprietor of the soil, either as land- chap. vii. 
lord or cultivator, in his individual capacity, or as a ' 

member of a village community : in some places it de- ^°^ • 
notes a sort of feudal proprietor, 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 
inheritance, and claiming also as a hereditary right an 
allowance out of the Government share for maintenance, 
and as compensation for the trouble and responsibility of 
collection.^ It was in this latter capacity that the Zemin- 
dar became first conspicuous in the fiscal arrangements of 
the Governments of British India, and was regarded as 
having a claim to property in the soil. 

Nor vv^as this notion altogether without foundation. 
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, having 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 afibrded to the state a substantial security for the 
realization of its demands. The additional power which 
his relation to the Government placed in his hands was 

• Of the first class are the Zemindars of the Western provinces, as already 
noticed; and of the second, the 2feraindar8 of the border districts of Bengal, 
also adrerted to. The 2^niindars of Orissa, according to Mr. Stirling, are also 
the representatives of feudal chiefs, holding their lands by the tenure of military 
service ; Asiatic Researches, xv. 229. So are the ancient Zemindars of the 
Northern Circars, and the Poligars of the Dekhin appear to have had the same 
origin. The last class were found chiefly iu Bengal, but also in Hindustan. 
Their claim to a portion of the Government reveime only is clearly expressed 
in various Sunnuds or grants of the Mogul Government. One of these, 
quoted in the original by Mr, Thomason, dated 1G09, is a grant made by 
Jehangir to a converted Hindu, and. his descendants for ever, of twenty-four 
Purgannas in the province of Allahabad ; from the Junnna or annual revenue 
of which he is to deduct one hundred and twenty-five thou.-and rupees for his 
Naukar or subsistence, and one per cent, for Zemindari dues (Abwab-i- 
zemlndari). — J. Benyal Asiatic Society, viii. 91. Mr. Shore (Lord Teign- 
niouth) refused to admit a Sunnud to be a foundation of Zemindari tenure ; 
Fifth Report, 204 : but that was because he maintained tlie iiemindiirs to be 
proprietors of the land. Mr. Grant refers their origin to tlie time of Akbar. — 
Ibid. 632. 


OOK I. liable to be used by the Zemindar for his own advantage, 
fAP. vu. and opportunities were not hkely to be wanting which 

enabled him to appropriate to his own uses the rights 

^^^^' both of individuals and the state. The latter not unfre- 
quently waived its own claims in his favour by grants of 
waste land, or by the assignment to him of the rent of 
different places in perpetuity for its subsistence ; the right 
to the hereditary possession of which was admitted even 
when the Zemindar was relieved from all share in the col- 
lection 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 per-centage upon the 
actual collections, or what were understood to be the 
actual collections ; and he was authorized to impose, for 
his own benefit, taxes upon the industry of the people, — 
an authority of which he amply availed himself.- The 

' For this the term is Ndnkar, literally source of bread ; General Galloway 
explains it "bread for work:" it is much the same tiling, 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 lands within the Zemindari set apart 
for the support of the Zemindar. — Harrington, ii. 65; and Fifth Report, 633. 
Mr. Trant identifies Nankar Avith 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 collect 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 conse- 
quently was retainable where the duty of collecting the revenue was resumed 
or declined. There was another allowance, the Malikana, the origin of which 
is not obvious : properly, it denotes the right of the Malik or owner; but, until 
the Zemindars were acknowledged to be owners by the British Government, it 
did not belong to them. It not improperly originated (as Genera! 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 appropriated by the Zemindars, and to have been converted 
by them into an hereditary claim for ten per cent, on the Government collec- 
tions : and, finally, it was secured to them professedly in the capacity of pro- 
prietors of the soil, and therefore independently of official function, by the im- 
perfect knowledge of the British Government. — Regulation viii. 1793, clause 
xliv. The same Regulation secured to recusant Zemindars tluir Nankar lands 
also, as long as the joint amount of Malikana and Nankar did not exceed ten 
per cent. — CI. xxxvi. Certainly the Zemindars had no right to Malikana 
independently 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 Nij or own property. 

2 The unwarrantable exactions of the Zemindars are alluded to in the 
instructions of the Bengal Government of 1769; and some striking illustra- 
tions are given by Mr. Sisson in his report, dated April, IS 15. "One man 
buys a house, and celebrates his occupation of it by a religious ceremony ; 
more than double the cost is exacted from his Ryots : the birtli of a grandson 
costs him twelve hundred rupees; he collects from them on this account five 


distracted state of public affairs, and the imbecility of BOOK I. 
the native Governments, left the Zemindars still more at chap. vii. 

liberty to pursue schemes of personal aggrandizement and 

profit, to encroach upon the rights of the people, and ^^^^• 
withhold the dues of the Government ; until, in some in- 
stances at least, they raised themselves to the station of 
petty princes, levied troops and built forts, and defied the 
sovereign and his immediate representatives. To the 
people, the encroachments of the Zemindars upon the 
Government claims were either acceptable or indifferent, 
and they were not without equivalent advantages, which 
reconciled them to a curtailment of their own rights. As 
long as they were allowed to remain upon their lands, it 
made no difference to them whether the rent they paid 
went to the Zemindars, or the viceroys of the Sultan. 
The former lived and died among them, generation after 
generation ; they mixed with them on a variety of occa- 
sions ; they expended money upon public festivals, and 
supported public institutions ; they kept up a large fol- 
lowing 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 re- 
venue 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 established 
to be his due, and with the occasional imposts 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 

thousand. Another has his house burnt ; he not only extorts more than the 
value, but makes it an annual permanent charge to the Kyots. A third makes 
an aimu il progress through his estate, travelling in great state ; the Kyots are 
taxed with the cost. A Zemindar buys an elephant ; the Kyots pay for it. 
Every public or private religious ceremonial is an occasion of taxation : not a 
child can be born, not a head shaved, not a son married, not a daughter given 
in miirriage, not a member of the family dies, but it is a plea for extortion." — 
Sisson, Keport on Kungpore ; Selections, i. 390. This was the state of things 
in Runepore, so late as 1815, and under the British Government. It could not 
have been mucii worse under the native Governments. It was the same in the 
South of India, although tiicre these extra cesses are said to have been brought 
to the credit of the Government, no doubt very imperfectly. — Com. Com- 
mittee, 1832; Col. Sykes, 1957. 



BOOK I. who first contemplated him in this condition, as the here- 
CHAP. VII. ditary landlord of a large estate and the proprietor of 

the soil ; although, had they duly considered the limited 

1813. 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, recog- 
nising the Zemindars of Bengal, Behar and Orissa, as pro- 
prietors, and fixing for ever the amount to be paid by them, 
have been already detailed ; their results also, as far as 
they had been then ascertained, have been described.* The 
early arrangements adopted for the settlement of the re- 
venue of the Ceded and Conquered provinces have also 
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 settle- 
ment in Bengal, the home authorities directed its extension 
to the Presidency of Madras : its introduction was delayed 
by the difficulty of discovering individuals with whom the 

' Vol. V. 366. It may be convenient here to refer to the following au- 
thorities. The proprietary right of the Zemindars was advocated at an early 
date by Mr. Francis, in opposition to AVarren Hastings, who urged in favour of 
a proposed commission of inquiry, that it would tend to secure to the Ryots 
the perpetual and undisturbed possession of their lands. Mr. Francis replied, 
"The state does not consist of nothing but the Ruler and the Ryot ; nor is it 
true that the Ryot is the proprietor of the land. Tlie true landlord is tha 
Zemindar." — Minutes of Hastings and Francis, Nov. 1776. Mr. Shore says : 
*' I consider the Zemindars as proprietors of the soil, to the property of which 
they succeed by right of inheritance." — Fifth Rep. 203. The doctrine w^as 
next advocated by Mr. Rouse, in a dissertation on landed property in Bengal, 
1791. On the other hand, it was stoutly contested by Mr. Grant: " There is 
not in the Korthem Circars, any more than within the rest of the wide circle 
of the British dominions in India, with the exception of a few instances, a single 
individual among the native Hindoos, calling themselves Rajas or Zemindars, 
who have the smallest pretension, in form, right, or fact, to an inch of terri- 
torial property."— Fifth Rep. 633. But he erred in confining the right of pro- 
perty exchxsively to the sovereign. Mr. Place, at a somewhat later date, 1799, 
took up the claim of the Ryots or husbandmen, at leist, in the neighbourhood 
of Madras. — Fifth Report, 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 ; but, inasmuch 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, though not universally: "The Zemindar was the here- 
ditary administrator, I should say, of the revenue, with a beneficial interest 
in the land." — Commons' Committee, 1832; Evid. 1813. 


engagements were to be concluded, for the intervention of BOOK I. 
persons analogous to the Zemindars of Bengal between the chap. vu. 

cultivating population and the Government was generally • 

unknown. The reiterated injunctions of the Court of Di- ^^^^• 
rectors, 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 settlement, which, after some interval, was 
effected in the districts that had been longest subject to 
the authority 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 cir- 
cumstances and resources were imperfectly known, it was 
deemed prudent, before forming any assessment in perpe- 
tuity, 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, undertaken for the ultimate 
purpose of effecting a permanent Zemindary assessment, 
gave rise to a new .system of revenue administration, since 
designated Ryotwar, or a settlement individually and im- 
mediately with the Ryots, meaning by the term the actual 
cultivators of the soil. The survey was conducted by Co- 
lonel Reade, having for his assistants Lieutenants Munro, 
Macleod, and Graham ; the former of whom, afterwards 
Sir Thomas Munro, became subsequently more especially 
identified with the system.^ The objects they were directed 
to determine were, the extent of the land in cultivation, 
the quality of the different sorts of land, the tenure by 
which it was held, the value of the different crops, and the 
share of the produce to which the Government could justly 
lay claim. An annual adjustment was to be made with 

• The Northern Circars, the Jacir, part of Salem, Madura, and Tinevelly. 

' Military collectors were appointed to this duty by Lord Cornwallis ex. 
pressly because " few of the civil sei-vants were acquainted with the country 
languages, and were therefore obliged, both from habit and necessity, to fall 
into the hands of Dubashes (interpreters). —Letter to the Court of Directors, 
May, 1792 ; Fifth Report, 744. It appears that the implied rebuke was not 
without eflfect, as in the subsequent settlements several civilians were 
employed; ulthouRh this was the effect of positive orders from Marquis 
Wellesley, repeatedly confirmed by the Court of Directors, that ci- 
vilians only should be so employed. — Commous' Committee, 1832. Public 
App. (M.) 


BOOK I. each cultivator for the land he cultivated, at a maximum 

CHAP. VII. money rent for each field, according to the circumstances 

■ and capability of the land, whatever might be the produce ; 

1813. the amount to admit of reduction where the necessity of 

reduction was shown, and to vary from year to year, until 

the inquiry should be sufficiently 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 Seriiigapatam, under the conduct of different 
officers who had been mostly trained under Colonel Reade. 
There was some variety in their methods of discharging 
the duty,- and still more in the rate of their assessments ; 
but their operations were equally based upon the measure- 
ment of the lands, both cultivated and waste ; the deter- 
mination of their fitness for particular crops ;'' the money 
valuation of the estimated produce of the land in cultiva- 
tion, and its partition between the cultivator and the Go- 
vernment ; the rate varying from one-third of the supposed 
value of the gross produce to httle less than a half, or 
forty-five per cent.* The measurements and valuations 

1 Letter of Colonel Munro to the Board of Revenue, 30th Nov. 1806, with 
instructions to the surveyors, &c. — Fifth Report, 783. 

2 " The revenue surveys under the Madras Presidency were not regulated by 
any uniform rule, and in some respects were, perhajis, defective in principle. 
The most ample discretion was vested in the local (;fflcer on whom tliis duty- 
was imposed in each district; and the details naturally 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 coUectois Munro, Ravenshaw, Hurdis, Garrow, Wallace, &c.; Fifth 
Report, 745. 

3 In the first instance, the land was distinguished into three sorts : Nanja, 
wet, or that which was supplied with water by irri^'ation; 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 gram — tobacco, pepper, cotton, and vegetables. Each of these was sub- 
divided into a variety of species, according to their fertility : as many as 
twenty distiuctionj of each class are enumerated in Colonel Munro's instruc- 
tions to his assessors; but they were directed to restrict their specifications to 
ten kinds of dry land, eight of wet, and six of garden ground. — Instructions, 
&c. as above cited. 

* Colonel Munro obser\'es of the Ceded districts, and of the Dekhin, that the 
mode of assessment in force there, limits the Ryots 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| 

Leavmg to the Ryot per cent. . 66^.— Fifth Report, 342. 


were made in the first instance by native surveyors, but BOOK I. 
the final assessment by the head collector himself in per- chap. vii. 

sonal conference with the Patels and principal Ryots of 

every village. Reference was also had to the recorded col- ^^^^' 
lections of the native Governments ; and, where the total 
of the survey assessment exceeded it materially, some re- 
mission was granted. Remissions were also made upon the 
realisation of the year's revenue, if the season had proved 
unfavourable or the crops defective. 

The incidents of the Ryotwar settlement attracted the 
attention of Lord William Bentinck during his administra- 
tion of the government of Madras, and led him to the 
conclusion that the Zemindari system was incompatible 
with the true interests of the Government and the com- 
munity 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 des- 
potic authority, yet they still existed, and were to be dis- 
covered in every village. To create Zemindars, and invest 
them with a property to which they could have no claim 
but the arbitrary will of the state, was neither calculated 
to improve the condition of the people, nor provide for the 
future security of the Government.' The Zemindary settle- 
ments were in consequence arrested, and the principle of 
the formation of a permanent settlement with the Ryots 
was thenceforth to regulate the revenue arrangements at 
Madras. The determination was of short duration. 

The survey assessment of the Ceded provinces above 
the Ghats was scarcely completed ^ when the Government 
of Madras was induced to entertain a doubt whether it 
was not desirable to relinquish the Ryotwar system, and 
substitute for it some plan of settlement approximating 
more nearly to that of estates permanently assessed. The 
Board of revenue to whom the subject was referred, 
adopted a view unfavourable to the continuance of the 
Ryotwar system, chiefly on the grounds of its incom- 
patibility with the judicial regulations recently introduced 
at Madras, by which all questions of revenue were removed 

> Minntes of Lord W. Bentinck, and Memoir of Mr. Thackeray; Fifth 
Report, 912. 
« It commenced in 1802, and was finished in 1807. 



BOOK I. from the cognizance of the revenue authorities to regular 
CHAP. VII. courts of justice.' As long as a country was unsettled, 
and great discretional 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 
permanence of the Ryotwar system depended also upon 
the reduction of the assessment, as proposed by Colonel 
Munro, by one-fourth of its amount ; a sacrifice which the 
exigencies of the Government did not allow it to con- 
template. The Board therefore recommended, 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 pay 
ment of a sum determined by the aggregate collections 
former years, or the survey rent where it could be d 
pended on. The regulations of the Government, it wi 
asserted, were fully adequate to protect the Ryots again 
the oppression of the renter. The course thus pursued 
was sanctioned by the Court of Directors, who at this 
period seem to have been persuaded that no advantage was 
to be expected from the further prosecution of the Ryot- 
war assessments.' In finally approving of the arrangement 

1 The question was first brought forward and was fully 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. — Selections, i. 
681. It is also worthy of remark, that at this date Colonel Jlunro had gone to 
England, and Sir George Barlow had succeeded Lord W. Bentinck at Madras. 
The great advocate of the Ryotwar system was absent, and the head of the 
Government was naturally biassed in favour of a system, " a large portion of 
which had engaged his attention for twenty years, and which he had delibe- 
rately resolved on accelerating in the Ceded and Conquered provinces" of the 
Bengal Presidency. — Minute of Mr. Colebrooke, Sel. i. 45. 

2 Revenue Letter from Fort St. George, 24th Oct. 1808 ; Selections, i. 483. 

3 Extracts of Despatches from the Court, 30th August, 1809. The Court 
also dwell upon the obvious defects of the system, — the minuteness of inves- 
tigation which it involves, the necessary employment of countless native 
agents, the impossibility of effectually preventing their malpractices, and the 
diflaculty of adjusting the rents to all the varieties of seasous and public 




however, they intimated that they were not anxious for BOOK L 
the early extension of the principle of permanency into chap. vii. 
any of the territories into which it had not been intro- ' 
duced, and restricted the Madras Government from con- l^^*^- 
eluding such a settlement in any district without the 
previous sanction of the Court.' 

The prohibition against concluding a settlement in 
perpetuity in any of the Madras territories was announced 
scarcely in time to prevent the Government of Fort St. 
George from pledging itself to the measure. The results 
of the triennial settlement, although in several instances 
unfavourable, were considered sufficient guides to the 
determination of the utmost capabilities of the land, 
and the consequent 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 it into operation. With 
regard to the former, it was concluded that the period 
had arrived at which the Government 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, there- 
fore, to proceed at once to conclude a settlement for ten 
years with the 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 J3aid by 
them should become a permanent settlement at the end 
of ten years if approved of by the Court.'^ Their approval 
was not to be expected : 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 terminable 
at the end of the ten years : the principle of permanency 
was discarded, and positive orders were given for an 

erents; and conclude, that, "although the plan intelliirently followed up 
might l)e well calculated to discover the resources of a country, yet it was not 
to be preferred for constant practice ; and the doubt which Lieut.-Col. Munro 
has properly stated, whether it be equally well fitted for the improvement of a 
country as for the discovery of its resources, would, they were strongly 
inclined to believe, be resolved in the negative." — Selec. i. 598. 

• The date of this letter, Dec. 18 1 1, accounts for the change of opinion which 
it expresses. — Selections, i. 600. 

' Letter firom Fort St. George, 29th Feb. 1812 ; Sel. i. 513. 

YOL. I. X 



BOOK I. immediate return in all possible cases to annual and indi- 
CHAP. VII. vidual settlements with the cultivators — to the Ryotwar 
assessments. The orders were complied with. Sir George 
Barlow was presently afterwards removed from the 
government of Madras, and the revenue cUscussions ter- 
minated for the present at that Presidency.' 

The discussions in Bengal turned principally upon the 
question of permanency. With whom the settlement 
should be made had scarcely yet become a subject of 
consideration with the Government, which looked every- 
where for Zemindars ; but among its functionaries, and 
particularly in the unsettled districts, a couviction 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 expiration 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 Conquered provinces, that the 
revenue which might be assessed on their estates in the 
last year of the settlement 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 arrangement should 
receive the sanction of the Court of Directors. 

The commissioners, Messrs. Cox and Tucker, entered 
upon their duties at the end of 1807. Early in the follow- 
ing year they submitted a report of their proceedings,* 
and a description of the several collectorates in the dis- 
tricts which they had visited ; and they came to the 
conclusion that a permanent settlement 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 

' The letter of the Court is dated 16th December, 1812; Sel. i. 525. In the 
following August, a long and able minute of the Board of Revenue is recorded 
in vindication of their views and proceedings. Ibid. 577. 

a Kegulations X. 1808; vi. 1808. 

« Selections, i. 415. 


was in many cases contested. It remained to be deter- BOOK I. 
mined with what parties a settlement should be effected, chap. vii. 

Lands were held free upon tenures the validity of which 

required proof, and there were extensive waste lands of l^^^- 
which the rightful appropriation 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, pro- 
fessing to be fully aware of the advantages which might 
be expected from a perpetual limitation of the Govern- 
ment demand, the commissioners recommended 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 establish- 
ment on safe and equitable principles. Their recommend- 
ations were at variance with the established opinions of 
the Supreme Council. Mr. Colebrook, one of the members, 
objected to their reasonings, that they were the same 
which had been overruled or refuted in the discussions 
preceding the permanent settlement of Bengal ; and that 
experience had confirmed their fallacy, as the design of 
the permanent settlement of 1793 had been fully accom- 
plished 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 
immediate adoption in the Ceded and Conquered pro- 
vinces.' Mr. Lumsden, the other member of Council, 
although differing in some respects from his colleague, 
came to the same conclusion ; and Lord Minto, after a 
deliberate consideration of all the proceedings, 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 
• determination of the Government was disapproved of in 
England. The Court of Directors declared, indeed, that 
they neither meant to undervalue the advantage of the 
permanent settlement in Bengal, nor to desert the principle 
on which it was formed ; but it was evident that the 

' See the purport of the regulations referred to in a former place, p. 82. 
* Kevenue Letter from Bengal, September, 1808. 


BOOK I. principle was reluctantly entertained, and that doubts 
«;3iAp. VII. began to be suggested whether its consequences were not 

embarrassing to the Government, without yielding an 

1813. equivalent benefit to the people. * 

The expense of any scheme of administration must be 
proportionate to the advance of a state in wealth and 
power. The more numerous the people, the more exten- 
sive the territory, the more complicated 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 must be placed 
in situations in which an unusual application of all avail- 
ing resources is indispensable for their safety. It were 
most impolitic, therefore, if it were possible, to fix for 
ever impassable bounds to the public revenues, in ignor- 
ance of the possible extent of future exigencies. Such a 
limit was of course never in contemplation : but it was 
anticipated that the restriction of the Government de- 
mand 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 intro- 
duced into India ; and that in the end the revenue of the 
Government would augment with the augmented afiluence 
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 the manners, the wants, and the feelings of the 
people. It would be scarcely prudent to predict that 
those obstacles will never be overcome ; but many and 
great changes must take place before they can be so far 
surmounted as to justify a Government of India in ceasing 
to look to the land as the principal feeder of the pubhc 
exchequer. It were an act of suicidal improvidence pre- 
maturely to divest itself of so commodious and productive 

1 Revenue Letters to Bengal, 1st Feb. and 27th Nov. 1811 ; Sel. iii. 5, These 
and similar .despatches are referred to as the letters of the Court of Directors, as 
thev are so designated in the Records. Agreeably to the evidence cited in a 
former upte, they would with more propriety be termed the letters of the 
Board of fcontroul. 



a source of revenue to any extent which may not be in BOOK J. 
excess of the fair claims and reasonable expectations of 
the agricultural population, and which is consistent with chap. vh. 
their own usages and opinions. 

With respect, also, to the interests of the agricultural 
population, the advantages of a permanent settlement are 
in a great measure illusory. The basis upon which it rests 
is a proportion of the produce, a third or a half ; and this 
is then determined to be a definite an unvarying quantity. 
But it is uuiveraally 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 by conjecture, in- 
volving one of the well-known evils of the permanent 
settlement — great inequality of assessment. The total 
produce, indeed, cannot be fixed by regulation : it must 
vary both in quantity and quality with the amount of 
labour and skill bestowed upon its production, and upon 
the recurrence of favourable or unfavourable seasons. The 
proportion, however, being a fixed unvariable amount, 
does not fluctuate with the causes of fluctuation ; and, in 
the event of peculiarly unpropitious circumstances, this 
amount may be equal in quantity, not to a half, but to 
the whole of the crop. In answer to this it may be said, 
that in favourable times the fixed rate 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 
difierent periods a difi"erent rate of rent ? To have to 
make provision, whilst he prospers, against a possible re- 
Terse, subjects him to uncertainty a;s much as if his pay- 
ments varied from year to year: and to suppose that the 
Indian cultivator will exercise such foresight, 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 revenue. 

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 


BOOK I. Government demand has been calculated npon the esti-- 
CHAP. VII. mated money value of that produce. That this value 

should remain unaltered for ever is as impossible as that 

1813. society should stand still ; a stagnation less to be looked 
for in India than in any other part of the world amid the 
elements of incessant change that are daily springing up 
from the novel ascendancy of European principles 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 revenue assessment : a rise 
in the value of silver, and fall in the price of grain, are a 
virtual enhancement. The same might be the result of 
an extraordinarily abundant harvest, and consequent di- 
minution of demand ; by which prices might be so depre- 
ciated, that the sale of a farmer's whole produce might 
fail to realise the fixed money value of the Government 
share.' It is evident, therefore, that a permanent settle- 
ment, or an unvarying amount of revenue derivable from 
a money valuation of an unchanging 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 in- 
dustry of the agricultural population, 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 that of a nominally perpetual assess- 

' In the assessment made by Colonel Briggs in Kandesh, the people were at 
first highly pleased with the settlement, which was formed with tlie villages 
upon the average collections of ten years. At first it fell lightly ; but, the 
assessment being paid in money, it became heavy when the price of grain 
declined. When the country was first taken under Britisli management, the 
price of grain was about four shillings a bushel ; in four years, in consequence 
of increased cultivation and diminished demand, from the absence of troops 
and other circumstances, it had fallen to sixteen pence the bushel ; it was quite 
impossible, therefore, the villagers could pay the same amount in money in the 
fovirth year as they had done in the first. The public revenue of Kandesh, 
notwithstanding increased cultivation, therefore, was reduced from sixteen 
lakhs of rupees to eleven, and eventually to six lakhs. — Lords' Committee, 
1830 ; Evidence, Question 4049. So also Colonel Barnewall, speaking of 
Guzerat, observes, that hi consequence of the continuation of tranquillity, and 
the reduction of public establishments, the bulk of the population has become 
agricultural, and the supply of grain so far exceeds the consumption, that 
agricultural produce is no longer saleable at its former prices : the profits of 
the farmer are consequently diminished, and he is unable to pay the 
revenue demand of the Grovernment. — Commons' Committee, 1832 ; Evid. 
Political, 151. 


ment, — the invariable recognition of the right of the BOOK I. 
proprietor of the soil to a rent from his estate. As long chap. vh. 

as the Government constitutes itself sole landlord, and 

appropriates the whole, or nearly the whole, of the rent, l^l^- 
there can be no accumulation of capital, no advance in 
wealth, no creation of collateral resources among the mass 
of the population, for whatever period the assessment 
may be fixed. A moderate, rather than a perpetual settle- 
ment, is the real want of the people. Speculators in re- 
venue, middlemen. Zemindars, may be anxious for a 
permanently definite amount of the Government demand ; 
which, while it limits what they are to pay, permits them, 
as did the settlement of Lord Cornwallis, to crush the 
cultivator under exorbitant exactions : but there is every 
reason to believe that the actual occupants and cultivators 
think and care little about the question of permanency.^ 
It may be convenient to all parties to adjust the assess- 
ment for a term of years ; but as long as the amount is 
not extortionate, and a persuasion exists that it will not 
be increased without an adequate cause, the agricultural 
population of India will be contented ; for they will be as 
prosperous as they can become under the universal insti- 
tution of infant marriages, the equal partition of inhe- 
ritance, the few wants which the nature of the climate 
and the condition of society impose, and the entire ab- 
sence 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 state. 

• The evidence of Mr. Fortescue on this subject, as regards the people of the 
Upper provinces, is conclusive. According to him, the Kyots 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 aftecting their local 
interests, and such as are desirous of it are so from the representations which 
interested ]iersons have made to them of its advantages; that is, Zemindars of 
the villajie engaging tor the revenue as landiiolders, 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 2330-340. Mr. 
Mackenzie observes . " 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 connexion with the permanent settlement , on 
which the very few who were interested never probably relied, and of which 
the great body of the landholders never heard. Of some thousand petitions 
■which I received when in the Western provinces, and of many tens of 

thousands of petitioners whom I saw and talked with, not one touched upou 

this pomt." — Commons' Committee, 1832 ; General App. 212. 


BOOK I. In addition to the objections which might be urged to 
CHAP. VII. the measure generally, there was undoubtedly ample rea- 

son to question the propriety of its immediate adoption 

1813. JQ the particular case of the Ceded or Conquered pro- 
vinces. The experience acquired in Bengal had esta- 
blished the mischievous consequences of precipitancy. 
Even Mr. Colebrooke, who asserted that it had answered 
the objects 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 Government ; the greater 
number of them were in fact utterly ruined. Wholly un- 
accustomed to punctuality 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 disposed of by 
public sale. In the course of a few years, many of the 
Zemindars, whom the settlement of 1793 had proposed 
to transform into a landed 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 Co 
pany's regulations.^ Nor was the situation of the Ry 
bettered by the change. Originally left to the arbitral 
will of the Zemindars, the exactions to which they were 
exposed were tempered by the beneficial influence of a 
long-established intercourse with their ancient landlords. 
To the new purchasers of the Zemindaris, who were mostly 
men who had grown rich in the service of the English, 
and were residents of Calcutta or other commercial towns, 

' " My impression is, that a very small proportion of those with whom the 
permanent settlement was made are now owners of the land, verj' great alien- 
ations of the land being made in the first year of the settlement." — Mill, 
Commons' Committee, 1831; Question 3210. In Question 3997 allusion is 
made to the statement of the Fifth Keport, 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 oflBcers of the Company 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, aiid that a very considerable number of estates passed into 
the hands of the merchants and bankers of Calcutta. — Evid, Commons' Com- 
mittee, 1832; Revenue, Question 1861, Even as late as 1821-2, wlien the 
sales were much fewer than in the years immediately following the set- 
tlement, the number of estates sold for arrears of revenue was 396.— Ibid. 


their tenantry were merely objects of speculation, from BOOK I. 
whom they proceeded to extort the largest possible return chap. vn. 
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 condition to swell the 
corters of the state by their consumption of taxable com- 
modities.' To disregard the lesson, and repeat the same 
errors elsewhere, would have been wholly indefensible ; 
and it was so obviously the duty of the Government to 
guard against the evils which could not fail to follow the 
conclusion of a perpetual settlement upon imperfect in- 
formation, that it is difficult to comprehend how the 
measure should have found advocates among men of tried 
ability and mature knowledge. Their advocacy was fruit- 
less. The Court of Directors persisted in their prohibi- 
tions ; ' and the Government of Bengal was compelled to 
rescind a regulation which had enacted that the amount 
of revenue levied in the last year of the temporary settle- 
ment then subsisting should be fixed for ever.^ At the 
same time in conformity to previous enactments, it was 
provided, that, with respect to those estates which the 
commissioners should think sufficiently improved to 
justify such an arrangement, the assessment on them 
should be revised, and a rate be fixed in perpetuity. The 
provision was inoperative, as was probably expected. No 
estates were found that had reached the utmost limit of 

A difference of opinion also prevailed with respect to 
the method by which the resources of the unsettled pro- 
vinces were to be ascertained. To the suggestions of the 
Court that the scheme of the Ryotwar assessment fol- 

* The injurious operations of the permanent settlement of Bengal upon both 
the old Zemindars and the liyots are detailed in the Fifth Report, 60 : see also 
Mill, V. 3t)fi, 369. Sir Charles Metcalfe observes of the Bengal permanent 
settlement, that it was an experiment, in the results of which lie can discern 
no benefit that should induce its repetition. It not only sacrificed the pros- 
pective rights of the Government for ever, but, by declaring those to be pro- 
prietors who were not proprietors, it in effect destroyed the rights of all the 
proprietors and cultivators. — Commons' Committee, 1832; App. 469. Mr. 
Mackenzie states, that the Bengal assessment led to the greatest possible 
inequality, and left everything in a state of utter darkness and confusion. — 
Ibid. Evidence; Q. 2581. 

2 Letter from the Government of Bengal, 11th July, 1812. — Selec. i. 

3 Regulations x. 1807 ; and ix and x. 1812. —Selec. i. 162. 

* Letter from the Court, 16th March, 1813 ; Sel. i. 136. , 



BOOK I. lowed at Madras should be applied to them, the Govern- 
CHAP.\ai. ment of Bengal justly objected its inapplicability to a 
' territory where the lands were jointly occupied and culti- 

1813. vated by numerous owners, held together by a community 
of tenures imperfectly understood. To form engagements 
with individual occupants was quite as likely to inyade 
and overturn the rights and privileges of the landed 
proprietary as the Zemindari settlement had done ; and 
to deal separately with individual cultivators tended to 
disorganise and dissolve the village communities, — there- 
by depriving the people of the salutary habit of regulat- 
ing 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 asso- 
ciated proprietors, 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 numberless 
subordinate collectors and assessors, whose exactions from 
the people it would be impossible to check, and whose 
frauds upon the state it would be equally impossible to 
discover. Whether, therefore, the interests of the Go- 
vernment or its subjects were considered, a Ryot war 
assessment was regarded, and with reason, as alike objec- 
tionable.2 There was less reason in the objections urged 
against the preliminary measure of a survey of the lands 
to be assessed. It was afl&rmed that the plan had been 
repeatedly tried, and had been attended with so much 
inconvenience and such unsatisfactory results, that the 
Government felt satisfied the most experienced and ca- 
pable of its revenue officers would deem the revival of it 
an evil burthensome and opj^ressive to the people, and 
unproductive of any substantial benefit to the pecuniary 
interests of the state. In preference to such a mode of 

• Sir C. :Metcalfe, although friendly to the principle of Ryotwar assessment, 
objected to its introduction into the Western provinces, because it appeared to 
him 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 c.tmmoa 
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 
Govei-nment regulations and the courts of justice. — Commons' Com. 1832; 
App. p. 471. 

2 Revenue Letter from Bengal, 17th July, 1813; and Second Minute of Mr. 
Colebrooke ; Sel. i. 179. ■ 


obtaining a knowledge of the resources of the country, it BOOK I. 
would be advisable to rely upon the Zemindari and village i chap. vii. 

accounts, although it was admitted that they were not • 

imfrequently false or fabricated. Such a preference was ^^^^* 
evidently dictated by strong and unfounded prejudice. 
Eevenue surveys may very possibly be conducted in such 
a maimer as to be vexatious to the people and unprofitar 
ble to the Government : the conclusions to which they 
lead may not be entitled to unqualified credit : but expe- 
rience 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 the only safe 
means of making an approach to accuracy in determining 
the productive value of the land.i At this point the dis- 
cussion ceased. Different views influenced the measures 
of the succeeding Administration. 

Some attempts were instituted by the Government of 
Bengal to repair the evil which had been occasioned by 
the long neglect of the Government to exercise that inter- 
ference which at the time of the permanent settlement it 
had avowedly retained the right to exert in protection of 
the equitable claims of the Eyots.^ At first some inten- 
tion was manifested of acting upon the power so reserved ; 
and the Zemindars had been in the same year prohibited 
from imposing any new imposts, from cancelling 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, how- 
ever, evidently its own security, originating in an appre- 
hension 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 surveys, assessments were based, are thus enumerated by 
Mr. Mackenzie , " Our settlements were made in haste, on general estimates or 
Burmises, 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 

fjnerally worthless." — Letter to Mr. Villiers, Commons' Committee,! 1832; 
videiice, 417. 

3 Section 8. Reg. 1. of 1793, 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, Kyots, 
and other cultivators of the soil." 
3 Keg. viii. 1793. 


BOOK I. their failing to pay the demands of the state. Under 
CHAP. vn. these impressions, it was enacted that no leases should be 

granted for a period longer than ten years ; and that 

1813. when a Zemindari was sold for 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 summarily distraining for rent.^ The result of these 
measures 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 enacted ^ 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 understanding, instead of leaving the door open 
to oppressive fraud and endless litigation, which the ap- 
peal to so vague a standard as that of usage rendered 
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 o^ 
sale should have taken place ; that where the collectioi 
were regulated by pergunna or district rates, and thog 
rates were not fixed by anything more precise than ci 
torn, they should be of the same amount as those whicj 
were actually paid in the neighbourhood upon lands 
like quality, or they should not exceed the maximui 
rate paid upon the same land during any one of the three 
preceding years. No enhancement of existing rates was 
to take place, except under an engagement to that efi'ect, 
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 
agricultural implements and cattle were exempted from 
seizure. Process was also to be suspended where the de- 
faulter engaged by bond or sufficient security to institute 
a suit for the trial of a contested demand within a rea- 

> Regs.xliv. 1793, and iii. of 1796. 
2 Reg. vii. 1799. 3 Keg. v. 1812. 


■onable period. The latter clauses of this enactment BOOK I. 
were beneficial ; but the liberty given to the Zemindar to chap. vii. 

frame engagements for an indefinite period, and on such 

conditions as the parties might agree to, was speedily in- 1813. 
terpreted 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 provinces 
rendered it necessary to limit also the engagements be- 
tween individuals in those provinces ;^ and in the same 
districts the collectors were authorised, under the Board 
of Commissioners, to investigate the titles by which 
la-khardj 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.' 

In order to extend the public resources of the Govern- 
ment, it was thought advisable to impose a tax upon 
houses in the several towns and cities of Bengal, Behar, 
Orissa, and Benares :* religious buildings were exempted. 
Such a tax had been levied for some years without any 
difficulty or obstruction in Calcutta, and it was not ex- 
pected that any serious opposition would be offered to it 
in other cities. The Government was mistaken. The 
measure was regarded as an innovation, and was vehe- 
mently opposed. At Benares especially the resistance was 
most violent, and was curiously characteristic of the 
peculiarities both of the place and the people. 

As soon as the intentions of the Government became 
known, great excitement prevailed throughout the city, 
and meetings of the different castes and trades were held 
to determine upon the course to be pursued. No obstruc- 
tion was offered to the persons employed to assess the 
houses ; but the shops were closed, every kind of occupa- 
tion was abandoned, and such numerous crowds assembled 
on the outskirts of the town, that it was judged expe- 
dient by the magistrate to call to the assistance of the 
police a detachment of troops from the neighbouring can- 
tonments. Their services were not needed, as the people 
quietly dispersed ; but on the same day a solemn engage- 


' Letter to Oovernment of Bengal, 15th Jan. 1819 ; Selections, i. 3r>0, 
a Keg. xiv. 1812. » liegs. viii. and ix. 181 1. * R^g. xv.. 1810. 


BOOK I. ment was taken by all the inhabitants to carry on no 
CHAP. VII. manner of work or business until the tax was repealed. 

Everything was at a stand : the dead bodies were cast 

1813. unceremoniously into the river, because there were none 
to perform the obsequial rites ; and the very thieves re- 
frained from the exercise of their vocation, although the 
shops and houses were left without protection, — the peo- 
ple deserting the city in a body, and taking up their sta- 
tion halfway between Benares and Secrole, the residence 
of the European functionaries, about three miles distant. 
A petition was presented to the magistrate, praying him to 
withdraw the odious impost, and declaring that the peti- 
tioners would never return to their homes until their 
application was complied with : a reference to Calcutta 
was all that was 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 thou- 
sand, comprehending the aged and infirm, women and 
children. They were supphed with food regularly at the 
expense of the opulent classes, and were actively enjoined 
to unanimity and perseverance by their religious guidt 
and teachers. Their conduct was uniformly peaceable* 
passive resistance was the only weapon to which the 
trusted. They continued in the open air throughout tl 
day, but many returned at night to their homes. 

In this manner about a fortnight passed.^ The Govei 
ment somewhat misconceiving the character of the assem- 
blage, and at any rate deeming it impolitic to yield to any 
semblance of intimidation, ordered the enforcement of the 
tax, and the dispersion of the multitude, if necessary, by 
force. A sufficient strength had been collected for the 
purpose ; but, before the receipt of the orders, time, re- 
flexion, and discomfort had enfeebled the vigour of the 
opposition, and the people had for the most part returned 
to their dwellings. The determination of the Govern- 
ment caused them to reassemble, with the avowed deter- 
mination of marching in a body to Calcutta to petition 
the Governor- General personally for redress ; but this was 
a much more arduous undertaking than a bivouac in the 
» From the 26th December, 1810, to the 8th January, 1811. 


immediate vicinity of Benares, and could not be prose- BOOK I. 
cuted with the same unity of purpose. Every householder chap. vn. 

engaged, indeed, either to go himself, to send a represen- 

tative, 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 
rehnquishment. This was furnished by the interposition 
of the Raja of Benares, who, at the desire of the Govern- 
ment officers, repaired to the party, overtook them, and 
counselled them to turn back, and rest contented with 
with the renewed representation of their grievances 
through the usual official channel in a quiet and respect- 
ful manner. His advice was followed, and a second peti- 
tion was presented, to which in due time attention was 

In consequence of this opposition, and the universal 
unpopularity of the tax, it was repealed.- In the following 
year it was revived in a modified 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 
committee of natives chosen by the inhabitants of each 
ward in the presence of the magistrate : to these com- 
mittees also was intrusted the office of assessing the 
difierent shops and dwellings of their respective wards, 
the whole not to exceed a maximum average rate.' Some 
opposition was made to the arrangement at Dacca, but it 
^vas finally carried into operation. 

Although not connected with any of the financial 
measures of the Government of Bengal, nor resulting from 
any of its acts, yet it may be useful to advert in this 
place to a formidable tumult by which the tranquillity of 

' Personal infonnation and MS. Records. The public petitions proceeding 
from native communities in India which are much intermixed with Europeans 
are rarely of a genuine native cliaructer. They betray more or less European, 
and particularly professional, prompthig. At Benares there were few 
Europeans, no lawyers ; and the petition of the inhabitants was, most pi-o- 
bably, of their own unaided dictation. It is a document not without interest, 
as it not only expresses the sentiments of tlie people on the occasion on which 
it was presented, but shows that they were well informed of the proceedings 
and views of their rulers. It is therefore given in the Appendix. 

» Reg. viii. 1812. 3 Reg. xiii. 1813. 


BOOK I. tlie city of Benares was interrupted in the year preceding 
CHAP. VII. that in which the house-tax excited the discontent of its 

inhabitants : as the disturbance was characteristically 

1813. illustrative of the peculiarities of one of the most remark- 
able towns in India, and of the discordant elements of 
Indian society, which are alone restrained from frequent 
and destructive conflict by the vigilance, vigour, and 
impartiality of the ruling power. 

Benares is the holy city of the Hindus : it is crowded 
with celebrated shrines : pilgrimage to it is an atonement 
for all sin : to die within its precincts is a certain passage 
to eternal felicity. Such advantages ensure it a large 
resident population, and attract to it a numerous resort of 
Hindu pilgrims. The character of both classes is in 
general accordance with the reputed sanctity of the place : 
its efficacy 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 ex- 
piatory virtues. The population is, however, not wholly 
Hindu. Benares is a town of extensive commercial and 
manufacturing activity, and has always comprised a con- 
siderable body of Mohammedans engaged principally in 
manufactures. Its convenient situation had also, at the 
period under review, recommended it as the residence of 
several Mohammedans of high rank, members of the 
reigning family rf Oude, or the Imperial house of Delhi ; 
and their servants and retainers were numerous and disor- 
derly. Religious differences could not fail to find in such 
a mixed multitude ready instruments of quarrel, and the 
mutual animosity which at all times animated the 
followers of Brahma and Mohammed was at this time 
more than usually inveterate. It had unfortunately 
happened that some of the moveable feasts of the Moham- 
medans had occurred simultaneously with- some of the 
most popular Hindu festivals ; and the multitudes which 
were collected, and the feelings which were excited, 
threatened a violent collision. The precautions of the 
English functionaries suspended the season of its occur- 
rence, but were unable to prevent it from eventually 
taking place, and towards the close of 1809 an open 
ruptui-e could no longer be delayed. 


During the sovereignty of the Mohammedans, Aurang- BOOK 1. 
zeb and other bigoted princes had forcibly taken from the chap. vn. 
Hindus of Benares s^eral of their temples to transform — — 
them into mosques, and had allowed and encouraged the "i-^^^. 
Mohanuiiedans 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 jiai-t of the city an Imam-bara, a building for the 
occasional devotions of the Musselmans, was built in im- 
mediate proximity to a Lat or stone column typical of 
Bhairava, one of their subordinate deities, but held by the 
Hindus in peculiar veneration. As the Lat and its neigh- 
bour were both much frequented by the followers of the 
different religions, their encounters 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 ensued, part of the 
ornamental architecture of the Imam-bara was injured, 
and a hut serving as a temporary temple to the deified 
monkey Hauuman was demolished, and the idol was 
knocked over. The intervention of the poHce prevented 
further mischief on the spot ; but the aff'ray 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 detachment 
of Sipahis restored the appearance of tranquillity ; but 
they were no sooner withdrawn than the tumult recom- 
menced. The Mohammedan weavers assembled in the 
evening in great numbers, 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 filled them with horror and fury. Measures 
were taken to prevent the effects of their resentment ou 

• In the memorial addressed by the Hindus to the matnstrate, extenuating 
their own conduct and calling tor redress against the ilohaumiedaiis, they 
gravely averred that the Lat resisted every effort for its demolition, until the 
Koharamedans killed a cow and a calf, and threw the blood upon the column. 
It then trembled and broke. Some of the fragments were afterwards col- 
lected, purified by imirersion in the Ganges, and enshrined in a hollow copper 
cylinder which was set up where the stone column formerly stood. 

VOL.1. 2 



BOOK I. the following morning ; but, before a sufficient force could 
CHAP. VII. 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. From thence 
they moved to destroy the Mohammedan tombs at a 
burial-ground of reputed extraordinary sanctit}', 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 effected their purpose 
before reinforcements arrived in sufficient strength to 
render their attempts unavailing. Other armed bands of 
Hindus had at the same time assailed the quarters of the 
town occupied chiefly by the Mohammedans, murdering 
all who came in their way, and plundering and setting fire 
to their houses, until their excesses were arrested by the 
military dispositions which the magistrate and the com- 
mander 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 accord- 
ing to their respective 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 were the Eajputs and 
Gosains : the Brahmans and principal inhabitants sat 
fasting upon the steps by the river-side, night and day, 
during the continuance of the disorder, and were with 
some difficulty prevailed upon to return to their dwellings 
on t ' e afternoon of the 23rd. On the following day, the 
temples which had been closed were re-opened, 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 appre- 
hended and punished, and arrangements were adopted to 
prevent the recurrence of a hke ] opular commotion. The 
resort of persons of all descriptions from every part of 
India, and the dissolute and riotous conduct of a large 
proportion of its inhabitants or visitors, rendered the 
maintenance of order and tranquillity in the sacred city of 
Benares, for some time at least, a troublesome and imper- 



fectlv accomplished task ; but the unrelaxing firmness of BOOK I. 
British rule, a better knowledge of the British character, chap. vh. 

and the improving intelligence of the people, gradually 

lightened the labour, and, ten 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 administration 
at this season which deserve notice as marking the first 
steps of important changes still in progress, and likely at 
some future period to exercise a momentous 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 Eome had sent thither men of extraordinary 
ability and energy, who, by completely discarding all the 
indulgences of European civilisation, living among the 
natives as natives, appl^^ing themselves with intense 
diligence to the study of the languages and literature of 
the country, and acquiring a mastery over the vernacular 
dialects which has perpetuated the writings of several 
European authors as standard Tamil and Telugu compo- 
sitions, obtained a widely extended influence over the 
people, and formed a numerous body of professed believers 
in Christianity.2 The political agitations of Europe 
severed the teachers from their congregations, and the 
latter remained Christians in little except the name. To 
the Jesuit missionaries succeeded those of the Lutheran 
church : they were sent to India, in the first instance, not 
by Great Britain, but by Denmark f 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 Promot- 

• In 1820 the writer was in the habit of traversing every part of Benares 
■without fear of molestation or insult. The materials for the beautiful map of 
Benares, executed not lonj; afterwards by his lamented friend, Mr. James 
Frinsep, were collected by him in the city, in fearless reliance upon the good 
disposition of the people, wliich he invariably experienced. 

' Lettres Editlantes; Asiatic Researches, vol. xiv: ; Hough's Christianity in 
.India, ii. 400. See also his evidence, Commons' Committee, 1832, Public. He 
estimates the Roman Catholics in 1823, at between three and four hundred 
.thousand. — Question 185:i. 

' I'earson's Life of Swartz, i. 12. 


BOOK I. ing Christian Knowledge. One or two individuals found 
CHAP. vn. 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, although 
their success in the conversion of the heathen 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, a 
private individual, a member of the Baptist communion, 
with zeal as fervent as that of the German 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 Northamp- 
tonshire, by trade a shoemaker, and subsequently a 
preacher in the chapels of the society of which he was a 
member, early conceived the project of undertaking a 
mission to Bengal ; and, in the face of the most dishearten- 
ing 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 
1 793. After a short interval of want and anxiety, he 
obtained employment 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 

1 A Mr. Kiernander went from Madras in 1758, and, notwithstanding many 
ditHculties and disconra.t,'ements, he laboured there for some years with exem- 
plary piety and diligence, and with considerable success. — Life of Swartz, i. 
126, It was to him that Dr. Buchanan probably alluded, Mhen he stated that 
the Protestant mission in Bengal commenced in 17fi8. Before 1770, religious 
tracts were translated into the Bengali langnage ; and Hindu converts 
preached to their countrymen in the time of Hastings, in the town of Calcutta. 
This mission continued its labours till about the year 1790 when the supply of 
missionaries from Europe failed. — Letter to the Government of Bengal 
printed in Parliamentary Papers, 14th April, 1813. 


the policy of the day to the admission of Europeans ; and BOOK I. 
his diligence, his learning, and piety secured him friends, chap. vn. 

His communications with his coiTespondents in England, 

the prospects of success which his hopes rather than his ■^^^•^• 
experience dictated, and the example of his ardour and 
his pei-severance, animated their zeal ; and a society was 
formed, and funds were raised, for the purpose of sending 
other missionaries to his assistance. They arrived in 
1799 ; but, having come to Bengal without the licence of 
the Court, were not suffered to remain in Calcutta. The 
Danish settlement of Serampore offered them an asylum ; 
and there they fixed themselves, with the permission of 
the Governor, 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 Mohammedan and Hindu religions, which 
has been carried on ever since with unrelaxed vigour, and 
with improving prospects of eventual triumph.' 

The administration of Lord Wellesley, although it 
avoided giving direct encouragement to the Baptist mis- 
sionaries, or recognising them in that capacity, was upon 
the whole propitious to their exertions. The learning of 
their principal was one of their chief recommendations 
to the favour of the j\Iarquis, and Mr. Carey was appointed 
one of the professors of the College of Fort William soon 
after its institution ; thus obtaining a place of distinction 
in the rcognition 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 Serampore, evinced the industry, 
and added to the resources of the missionaries : they were 
further aided, not only by the funds of their own com- 
munity, but by those of other religious bodies, at whose 
expense, especially at that of the British and Foreign 
Bible Society, versions of the Scriptures into a great 
variety of the Indian dialects were executed ; and they 


1 Memoir of William Carey, D.D., by Eustace Carey; London, 1836. 


BOOK I. grew daily in wealth, consideration, and confidence under 

CHAP. VII. the countenance of the Government. 

The immediate successor of Lord Wellesley, Sir George 

1813. Barlow, loolied 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 E\i- 
ropean 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 the 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 Calcutta, and the connexion of the mutiny at Vellore 
with their religious apprehensions imposed upon the 
Government 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 sentiments 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 as usual, and no restriction was imposed on thei 
private instructions or scriptural translations ; but thej 
were forbidden to preach in the public streets, to sen< 
itinerant native preachers through the villages, or 
distribute gratuitously controversial and religious tract 
They considered it piTident to yield to the storm, anc 
to conform to the wishes of the Government in all respect 
in which they could conscientiously acquiesce.^ 

The degree of the conformity rendered did not, ho\ 
ever, satisfy the Government of Bengal ; as one of tl 
first acts of Lord Minto's Government was a renewal 
the injunctions which Sir G. Barlow had been oblige 
to adopt, and the menace of still more rigorous re 

' Dr. Buchanan acquits the Governor-General of any hostility to the dis- 
semination of Christianity : on the contrary, he says of'him, " Sir G. Barlow 
has often expressed his approbation of the means used for the diffusion of 
Christianity in India, and sincerely desires its success." — Letter to Govern- 
ment ; Pari. Papers. 

» Memoir of Dr. Carey, 483. 


Pamphlets in Bengali and Persian had been published, BOOK I. 
which, in the judgment of the Governor-General in Coun- chap. vii. 

cil, were calculated to excite among the native subjects ' 

of the Company a spirit of religious jealousy and alarm, ^^^^* 
which might eventually be productive of the most serious 
evils. The distribution of such publications, and the 
public preaching of the missionaries and their converts 
at the very seat of Government, might be supposed to 
have received the sanction and approval of the supreme 
authority ; and the prevalence of such an impression 
would both augment the danger, and render more diffi- 
cult the application of a remedy. Whatever might be 
the propriety of exposing the errors of the Hindu or 
Musselman religion to persons of those persuasions who 
sought instruction in the Christian faith, it was contrary 
to the system of protection, which the Government was 
pledged to afford to the undisturbed exercise of the 
religion of the country, to obtrude upon the great body 
of the people, by means of printed works, exhortations 
involving an interference with their religious tenets. 
The obligation, therefore, to suppress within the limits 
of the Company's authority in India treatises and public 
preachings ofl'ensive to the religious persuasions of the 
people, was founded on considerations of necessary cau- 
tion, 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 mis- 
sionary press more immediately under the controul of 
the officers of the Government, the missionaries were 
commanded to remove it from Serampore to Calcutta.' 

To the orders and injunctions of the Government the 
missionaries proferred a temperate and judicious reply. 
They disowned and condemned the language of a pamphlet 
which had given the greatest offence, — a scurrilous ac- 
count of Mohammed, which had called forth the remon- 
strances of the most respectable Mohammedan inhabitants 
of Calcutta, — and attributed it to the intemperance of 
one of their converts, who had translated it into Persian : 

' Letter from Bengal to the Secret Committee, 2iid Nov. 1807, vfith its en- 
closures ; Pari. Papers, I4th April, 1813. 


BOOK I. they pledged themselves for greater caution in future, 
CHAP. vii. but deprecated the removal of their press, as subjecting 
them to great inconvenience and ruinous expense. The 
^^^^- tone of their representations disarmed the Government 
of its rigour ; and they were allowed to continue their 
preaching in their chapel, and to remain at Serampore, 
on condition that every work that issued from the jjress 
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 violent 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 

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 pei 
sonal feeling ensured to their literary efforts his constani 
and warmest encouragement. The associate in early lifii 
of some of the most distinguished ornaments of th< 
literary society of Great Britain, Lord Minto brought witl 
him to India an enlightened and cultivated taste, and 
generous sympathy with every indication of intellectuj 
excellence. His liberal aid was therefore given to tl 
works published at Serampore, whether translations 
the Scriptures, or publications tending to make tl 
lanoTiage and literature of India more generally kno^ 
and more easily acquired.* The same feelings led him 

1 In the representation of the Government made by the missionacies, whi< 
is dated in September, 1807, they state that they had baptized upwards of on! 
hnndred natives. — Pari. Papers. No gi-eat nnmber in eight years, reckoning 
from 1799 only: if from 1794, a still more inconsiderable proportion. 

2 Several Grammars and Dictionaries, and other rudimental books, in 
Bentrali, Telinga, Mahratta, and Sanscrit, were printed at Serampore, chit-fly 
at the cost of the Government. Pecuniary assistance (ten thousand rupees) 
was afforded to the Malay translation of the Scriptures ; and aid was liberally 


befriend those natives of India who professed the lite- BOOK I. 
rature of their country ; and the first printing-press, chap, vii, 

established and conducted solely by native enterprise and 

skill, and for the purpose of substituting the productions l^^'^' 
of the press for the manuscripts hitherto in use, owed its 
existence to his patronage. But it was in his connexion 
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 ac- 
quirements to the instruction of their younger brethren : 
and a number of natives of talent, exercising over their 
countrymen the combined influence of learning and re- 
ligion, who were engaged in the service of the college, 
derived from their employment 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 intru- 
sive race. To them, and to their European associates, 
were owing a variety of useful works in the languages 
and literature of the East, intended to facilitate their 
acquirement, and bring within the reach of the Oriental 
student the means of becoming famihar with the laws 
and institutions, the religion and character of the people. 
Every attempt so directed was encouraged and aided by 
Lord Minto.2 

given to the Serampore translation of the liamayana, the works of Confucius, 
anil other literary publications. —Roebuck's Annals of of the College of Fort 

» It was not mere official phraseology, for Lord Minto was not addicted to 
its use, when in his last annual address he observed, " No part of my public 
fluties 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 tort William, p. 376. 

* Amongst other arrangements, a plan was proposed by the Governor- 
General for the foundation of Hindu colleges at Xadiya and Tirhoot, to coun- 
teract the want of public encouragement afforded to native literature by 
princes, chieftains, and opulent individuals imder the native Government, 
•who had lost both the means and the inducement to continue their patronage 
tinder the British Government, lie had also in contemplation to found similar 
institutions for the cultivation of Mohammedan literature. — Minute by 
Lord Minto, Gth March, 1811: Commons' Committee, 1832; Public; App. 
p. 325. 


DDK I. The last class of measures to which we shall advert, 

LA.P. VII. regard the financial condition of India during Lord Minto's 


1813. Tj^e necessity of as rigid a pursuance of the system of 

economy commenced by Sir G. Barlow as was consistent 
with the interests and honour of the empire was equally 
impressed upon his successor ; and during the whole 
term of his government a careful avoidance of expendi- 
ture was adhered to, carried in some cases perhaps to a 
hurtful excess. The occasions which called for military 
demonstrations, the extraordinary embassies which were 
fitted out, and the expeditions undertaken against the 
maritime possessions of France, disturbed the equable 
tenor of financial retrenchment, and involved unusual 
demands upon the public treasury ; but these interruptions 
were only temporary ; and the general result was an aug- 
mented amount of the revenues of British India, a di- 
minution of its burthens, and no enhanced rate of 

It has been already mentioned that the arrangements 
effected by Sir G. Barlow secured for the first year of Lord 
Minto's administration, according to one system of com- 
putation, a surplus receipt, or, according to a different 
set of accounts, reduced the excess of charge to an incon- 
siderable sum : the same diversity of result, arising from 
the same cause, prevailed the following year ; but from 
thence to the close of the period both statements agree 
in showing a considerable net local revenue after pro- 
viding for the interest of the public debt : the surplus 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 singular 
picture of the growth of public credit along with the 

' According to the statements furnished to the Committee of the House of 
Lords, the surplus was £1,988,000. In Sicca rupees, it was S. R. l,45,.33,190, 
which, at two shillings to the rupee, is £1,453,319. For a more p.irticular 
comparison between the two periods as expressed iu the home accounts, see 


increase of financial embarrassment, and of the increase BOOK I. 
of embarrassment with the augmentation of the public re- chap. vii. 

sources. In proportion 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 additions thus made to its in- 
cumbrances, 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 inconveniences which it occasions is 
fully compensated by the connexion which it maintains 
between the Government and the fundholders, 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 exceeded six hun- 
dred thousand pounds, bearing a proportion 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 1 805 to nearly twenty-one millions, 
with an annual interest of Jl, 79 1,000. During the two 
following years, the continued effects of the previous 
period of prodigality were still felt, and the debt went on 
increasing ; so that in 1807 it amounted to more than 
twenty-six millions, bearing an interest of i^'2,228,000. 
In 1813-14 the amount of debt remained much the same, 
being twenty-seven millions ; but the interest amounted 
to £1,636,000, being a permanent diminution annually of 
£592,000.^ This was effected by the successful opening 
of loans in August and December, 1810, at an interest of 

» Calcutta Annual Register, 1821 ; Historical Sketch, 18. 

' This was the average rate. Loans opened in 1790-1, 1796-7, and 1793-9, 
bore twelve per cent, — Government Notices ; Bengal and Agra Gazetteer, 
1841, vol. ii.partii. 459. 

3 Second Report, Commons' Committee, 1810, App. 8. It must be borne in 
mind that these sums are higher by one-seventh than they should be, accord- 
ing to the intrinsic value of the Indian currencies. The real debt ol 1806-7, in 
Sicca rupees, was 23,1.5,30,125, say ^23,153,000; and the amount of" interest, 
Sa. rs. 1,97,13,929. or jE 1 ,97 1 ,000. — Official Documents; Lords' Committee, 

K, App. C. i\o. 3. 


BOOK I. six per cent., to which the whole of the outstanding obli- 
CHAP. vu. gations were transferred ; the capital of British India, and 

' the credit of the Government, having thus gone on im- 

1813. proving, so that 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 flourishing state 
of the finances, and the payment in England 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 introduced, it was thought likely to 
lead to the transfer 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 money borrowed at 
a much lower rate of interest. For these purposes, the 
Indian Government of 1785 was authorised to grant bills 
at' eighteen months' date on the Court of Directors, for 
the principal of the debt then owing, to the extent of six 
crores of rupees, at the exchange of Is. 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 arrangement was 
looked upon as a failure ; a result ascribed by the Govern- 
ment to the low rate of exchange, the remote date at 
which the bills were payable, the advantages made in India 
by holding Government securities, and the more advan- 
tageous means of remittance through foreign channels. 

On the renewal of the charter in 1793, the principle of 
the plan was recognised, and it was provided that the 
Indian debt should be in this manner gradually trans- 
ferred to England, until it was reduced to two millions 
sterling, the exchange being fixed at 1*. lid. 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 existence of 
profitable means of remittance by the extension of the 
private trade, and the conditions of new loans granting 
for the interest, bills at 2s. 6d. the Sicca rupee, payable 
six months after sight, and ensuring similar payment of 
the principal when due, held out inducements even to the 


European fundholders to leave their capital in the Indian BOOK I. 
treasury. With the return of peace in India, capital was chap, vh, 

less in demand there ; while the political state of Europe, 

the high price of bullion, and the depression of the public ^^^^* 
funds, rendered its transmission to England highly advan- 
tageous. The consequence was a run upon the home 
treasury, which was productive of much embarrassment ; 
and the pressure was aggravated temporarily by the mea- 
sures adopted under the orders of the Court for its 
relief, — the resolution of the local Governments to pay off 
all the debts the principal of which was demandable in 
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 suc- 
cessful, that of twenty-three millions to which the home 
treasury was liable, more than thirteen were transferred to 
the new loan ; rather more than three were paid in cash 
by the local Governments ; 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 
Company had recourse to Parliament for aid. The incon- 
venience was gradually surmounted ; and, although 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 severe a demand. * 

Nor had the resources at home been subjected to these 
heavy demands without corresponding efforts haviug been 
made in India to provide for them. During the three 
concluding yeai-s of Lord Minto's administration, the 
supplies remitted from India exceeded the value of the 
Company's investments to the extent of nearly ten mil- 
lions sterling.* Of the amount so remitted neaiiy two 

' Petition of the Company to Parliament; Second Report of the Committee 
of the House of Commons, Mrv 1810, App. 6-10; Bentral and Ajcra Gazeteer, 
1841, vol. ii. part. ii. 454; Details of Public Loans; Report of the Commons' 
Committee, 1832, article Finance. 
' Excess of supply to London : 

in 1811-1-2 Sa. rs. 3,46,49,832 at 2s. 6d. £4,331 229 

1812-13 2,71,49,075 3,393,634 

1813-14 1,60,00,000 2,000,000 

— Financial Letter from Bengal : Papers relating to Finances of India, printed 
by order of the Court of Proprietors, March, 1824, p. 18. 


BOOK I. millions were in bullion ; ^ a circumstance which was un- 
CHAP. VII. precedented in the history of the commerce of India, and 

intimated an approaching change in the terms of its 

1813. intercourse with Europe. The transaction was also of 
peculiar importance at the season of its occurrence : the 
movements of the vast armies which were working out I 
the deliverance of Europe from military despotism de- ^ 
pended 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 pro- 
portion to the extent of her efforts, the treasuries of her 
Indian empire furnished a not inconsiderable nor unim- 
portant contribution. ^ 

The close of Lord Minto's honourable and successful 
labours was now approaching. The influence of party 
spirit, so long suspended, was at length allowed to ope- 
rate; and the continuance in office of an administration 
based upon principles opposed to those of the ministers 
by whom the Governor-General had been nominated, was 
found iu compatible with the longer duration of his power. 
Circumstances had also imposed upon the ministers the 
duty of conferring office upon another distinguished per- 
sonage ; and the endeavours of the Earl of Moira to carry 
into effect the wishes of the Prince Regent for the form- 
ation 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 government of India, and to make way for him by the 
removal of the Governor-General. A resolution was 
accordingly moved by the Chairman, under the dictation, 
no doubt, of the Board of Controul, that Lord Minto 
should be recalled. No reason for the measure was 
assigned ; but it was adopted in opposition to the tenor 

1 Bullion remitted to England : 

in 181 1-12 Sa. rs. 40.42.407 at 2s. 6d. £ 505,301 

1812-13 85,44,983 1,068,123 

1813-14 22,82,359 285,295 

As the price of bullion was high in England, the remittances realised more 
than even the exchange value. 
* Ali&on's History of Europe, viii. 63, Is.. 701.^ 


of a letter received from Lord Minto's friends, expressing BOOK L 
his wish to be relieved in January 1814. This letter was chap. vii. 

assigned as the reason for the immediate appointment of 

Earl Aloira ; but, as objected by one of the opponents of ^^^*^* 
the arrangement, Mr. Charles Grant, the plea was delusive, 
as no one could pretend to assign it as a sufficient reason 
for proceeding to the choice of a Governor-General, in 
Kovember, 1811, whose presence at Fort William could 
only be necessary in January 1814. On the same occa- 
sion it was determined to supersede Sir George Nugent as 
Commander-in-chief, Lord Moira uniting both the civil 
and supreme authority ; and not only to rescind the 
conditional appointment of Sir G. Barlow as Governor- 
General, but to remove him from the government of Fort 
St. George. These several measures were made the sub- 
ject of strong protests by several leading members of the 
Direction ; ' but the objections were over-ruled by the 
predominating spirit of ministerial obligations, and the 
change took place. Earl Moira was appointed Governor- 
General in India, and Commander-in-chief ; and General 
Abercromby, the commander of the forces at Fort St. 
George, was nominated for a time Governor 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 honour 
and advantage of Great Britain. Other administrations 
iftay have been signalised by more 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 

The term of Lord Minto's government was coeval with 
a material change in the character of the superior authori- 
ties under whom the power of himself and his predecessors 

1 See Dissents of Edward Parry, W. Astell, George Smith, and John Bebb, 
Esqrs., 20tti Dec. ; and separate Dissent of Mr. Charles Grant, 30th Dec, 1813 : 
published by Sir Robert Barlow, 1813.. 


BOOK I. had been immediately held. The East India Company 
CHAP. VII. ceased to retain the monopoly of the East India trade. 

The circumstances which led to this event we shall now 

1813. proceed to detail. 


Emharrassed Finances of the Company. — Ap^p^ication to 
Parliament for Assistance.-^ A Loan granted. — Inquiry 
into abuse of Patronage. — Renewal of the Charter. — 
Previous Correspondence with the Board — Demands of 
the Court. — Propositions of Mr. Dundas — Objections of 
the Court — Communication suspended — revived. — De- 
termination of Jlinisters to open the Trade with India 
resisted, but finally acceded to by the Company. — Claims 
of the Outports. — Change of the Ministry. — Lord 
BucJcinghamshire President of the Board. — Consequences 
of Delay. — Resistance to the Claims of the Outp)orts. —• 
Appeal to Parliament. — Resolutions proposed by Lord 
Castlereagh in the House of Commons ; by Lord Buck- 
inghamshire in the House of Lords. — Application of the 
Company to be heard by Counsel granted. — Questions at 
issue — political — commercial. — Trade with India and 
with China, Pecidiarities of the latter — secured to the 
Company. — Struggle for the Trade with India. — Argu- 
ments of the Company — of the Merchants. — Company 
consent to take off Restrictions from the Export, not from 
the Impoi^t Trade. — Financial and Political Evils atv- 
iicipated and denied — Attempt to substantiate them by 
Evidence. — Opinions of Warren Hastings and others 
respecting the mirestricted Admission of Europeans — 
Extension of Trade — independent Resort of Missionaries, 
ihc. — Debates in the House of Commons — first and 
second Resolutions carried — Debate on the third. — De- 
hates on the Report of the Committee. — Thirteenth Reso- 
lution adjourned — Debate on it resumed — carried. — 
Other Clauses suggested. — Bill finally passed in the Com/- 
mans. — Debates in the House of Lords — previous Dis- 
cussions. — Bill passed. — Proceedings in the Court of 
Proprietors. — Charter accepted. — Remarks. 


THE appointment of a Select Committee of the House BOOK I. 
of Commons in 1808 to inquire into the state of the chap. viii. 

affairs of the East India Company has already been ad- 

verted to ; as have the measures which, in compliance ^813. 
with their recommendation, were adopted by the Par- 
liament for the relief of the financial embarrassments of 
the Company, by the discharge of a portion of the 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 important subject 
relating to the internal administration of the Indian 

The relief afforded to the Company in 1808 by the sum 
of £1,500,000 received from the Government, together 
with more than usually favourable sales of merchandise, 
enabled the Court of Directors to provide for the wants 
of that and the following year without requiring further 
assistance. This state of prosperity was of no long dura- 
tion, and in the beginning of the session of 1810, the 
Company were again obliged to apply to Parliament for 
pecuniary aid.^ A deficit of two millions was anticipated 
in the receipt of the year ending March, 1811, as compared 
with the receipts ; arising from the excessive and unex- 
ampled drafts made upon the Court, amounting to nearly 
five millions, from India, in discharge of the Indian debt, 
and from the unexpected losses sustained in the Company's 
shipping ;2 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 repay- 
ment of a loan from the public. The petition was referred 

1 See petition of the East India Company for relief; Pari. Debates, 13th 
April, 1810. 

' In the years 1808-9 and 1809-10, fourteen large vessels, chartered by or 
belonging to the Company, were captured or were lost at sea : their cargoes 
alone were valued at more than a million sterling. — First Report, Commons' 
Committee, 1830, App. iv. 

VOL. I. A A 


BOOK I. to the Committee, by whom the correctness of its purport 
CHAP. VIII. was coDfirmed.' Shortly afterwards, a second petition 

was presented/ praying for a further settlement of the 

^°^^' amount due by the public to the Company : it was also 
referred 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 application, as the 
Government was straining the resources of the country 
to the utmost to provide for the magnitude of the national 
expenditure, and was floundering amidst the intricacies 
of the Bullion question. The urgency of the case, and 
the vital importance of maintaining unimpaired every 
form of public credit, gave irresistible weight to the 
appeal ; and, after some discussions, 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 millions 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 Com- 
mons, and, although strenuously opposed by Mr. Creevy, 
complied with.* 

Ti-ansactions affecting the moral credit of the Court of 
Directors had also, shortly before this period, been brought 
under the consideration of Parliament, and an alleged 
abuse of patronage was made the subject of inquiry. It 
was brought forward by the members of the Court them- 
selves, in consequence of a report having prevailed, that 
appointments in the service of the Company in India had 
been sold. On the 10th February, 1809, it was moved by 
Mr. Smith, seconded by Mr, Grant, that a Committee of 
the House of Commons should be nominated to inquire 
into the existence of any corrupt practices in the dis- 
tribution of the patronage 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 

' Report from Select Committee, ordered to be printed 11th May, ISIO. 
2 Pari. Debates, l4thMay, 1810. 3 jbid, lOtli May, 1811. 

* Pari. Debates, 9th and 15th June, and 3rd and 7th July, 1812. 


were solemnly pledged, neither directly nor indirectly to BOOK I. 
accept any pecuniary consideration whatever on account chap. vni. 

of the appointment or nomination of any person or per- 

sous to any place or office in the service of the Company :' 1813. 
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 without their 
participation or knowledge.^ Three civil and twenty mili- 
tary appointments were traced as having been sold. The 
obtaining of such situations 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 appointments were given to 
them by diflferent members of the Court.^ 

The main question, however, which occupied the atten- 
tion of the Court of Directors and his Majesty's Ministers 
was the renewal of the Company's charter. The term for 
which this had been granted 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 Exchequer moved, 
and it was ordered, that the Speaker should signify in 
writing to the Directors of the East India Company, that 
the Company's commercial privileges would cease and de- 
termine on the date above specified. 

The renewal of the charter had for some time pre- 
viously been the subject of a correspondence between the 
Board of Controul and the Crown.* On the 30th of Sep- 

' This formed part of the general oath to be taken by each Director according 
to clause I'.O of the 33rd of George III. 

^ It appeared that the price of a writership was about £3,500 ; that of a 
cadetship varied frera £150 to £500.— Report of Committee, p. 2 to 8 ; and 

a Report of the Committee appointed to inquire into the existence of abuses 
in tlie disposal of tl.e 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 Kegister, Proceedings India House, vol. xii. 

* The several communications with the Board, and various documents con- 
nected witli the discussion, from 1808 to July 1813, were printed by order of 
tlie Court of Directors, for the information of the Proprietors, in a series of 
fifteen papers, er. titled, " Papers respecting the N'egociation for a Renewal of 
the East India Company's exclusive Privileges," London, 1812-1813. 


BOOK I. tember, 1808, Mr. Dundas addressed a letter to the Chair- 
CHAP. VIII. man and Deputy Chairman, suggesting that it was now 

advisable to ascertain whether the Court of Directors were 

1813. desirous to agitate the question, and submit it to the early 
consideration of Parliament. Early in the month follow- 
ing, the Chairs, after consulting with the Secret Committee 
of Correspondence, expressed their concurrence, consider- 
ing that the interests of the public 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 
proposed, if they were compatible with the main princi- 
ples 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 de- 
veloped 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 Pro- 
prietors would be permitted to benefit by an enhanced 
rate of dividends on their stock, proportioned to the im- 
provement of the revenues of India ; that the aid of the 
British public would be contributed towards the Hquida- 
tion 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, particularly 
at a moment when the Company was a suppliant for pe- 
cuniary aid ; and the eagerness to extract an augmented 
dividend out of the anticipated improvement of revenue, 
instead of proposing 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 selfishness of a trading company than of the libe- 
rality becoming a great and enlightened Government. 

In his reply, dated the 13th Jan. 1809, Mr. Dundas, 
although admitting in substance the advantage of ad- 
hering to the system of commerce and administration 
which had been sanctioned by the existing charter, de- 


clined to acknowledge the claim of the Company to a right BOOK I. 
to the territory of India, and considered it premature to chap. vm. 

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 dis- 
charged. In like manner, the liquidation of the debt 
must be contingent 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 reimbursement 
of the expenses incurred in the acquirement of the terri- 
tory. 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, whe- 
ther India became the scene of them, or was likely to b© 
their aim. 

In the letter from the Chairs of the 16th Dec, all 
specific allusion to the Company's exclusive commercial 
privilege had been carefully avoided. The phrase em- 
ployed, " a regulated monopoly of the trade," ' implied of 
course that the commerce was to be left on its actual 
footing, — the assignment of a certain amount of tonnage 
to private merchandise in ships taken up by the Company, 
and the sale of private import goods through the Com- 
pany's establishments. Mr. Dundas was 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 mer- 
chants 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 Em- 
peror 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 divi- 
sions which had so repeatedly occurred between the two 

» " The system by which the Legislature has continued to the Company the 
government of the territories acquired by it in the East, with a regulated mo- 
nopoly of the trade, has been held by the most eminent persons acquainted 
with that quarter and its affairs, to be the most expedient both for the foreign 
and domestic interests of this country."— Letter from the Chairs to the Right 
Honourable Robert Duudas, 16th December, 1803; Papers, p. 9. 


BOOK I. branches of the military service in that country, and to 
CHAP. VIII. the divided responsibility which had hitherto impaired 

the efficiency of both. He thought this would be found 

1813. 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 any- 
thing 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 super- 
sede and destroy not merely the rights of the Company, 
but the whole scheme of Indian administration established 
by the previous acts of the Legislature, and consequences 
fatal to the Company, and most detrimental to the nation, 
would infallibly ensue. Although, therefore, willing to take 
into consideration the means of supplying the trade of pri- 
vate merchants with more beneficial and extensive accom- 
modation as far as was consistent with the preservation 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 privileges, and incapacitate them from perform- 
ing for themselves and the nation the part hitherto 
allotted to them in the Indian system. 

The negotiation 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 1809, 
the Court announced their readiness to resume the discus- 
sion ; 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 Directors that 
his Majesty's Ministers could not recommend to Parlia- 
ment the continuance of the existing system, unless they 
were prepared to assent that the ships, as well as goods of 
private merchants, should be admitted into the trade with 
India under such restrictions as might be deemed neces- 
sary. If the Court would agree to the enlargement of the 
trade, he was prepared to discuss the measures it might 
be necessary to devise. 


111 their reply to Lord Melville, the Court consented, BOOK I. 
however reluctantly, to propose to the Proprietors the chap. vm. 

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 assertions, they referred to the accounts 
of the trade which had been submitted to the Select Com- 
mittee. Influenced too, no doubt, by the measures which 
they understood to be in contemplation by the merchants 
of the commercial and maritime towns in various parts of 
the British islands, they expressed their confident belief 
that no intention was entertained by his Majesty's Mi- 
nisters of trying the hazardous 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 pubhc, to the single port of London. The 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 continuance 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 Melville had been 
approved of by the Court of Directors, and was accord- 
ingly 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 arrangements of the act of 1793, proposing only to 
adopt such modifications as should give greater facilities 
to the private trader, but no greater extension to the 
trade, they met with no favourable reception. The Presi- 
dent of the Board of Controul told the Court plainly, that, 
as far as related to the Indian 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 re- 
fused to acquiesce in any arrangements which imposed a 
restriction upon an improved commercial intercourse with 


BOOK I. India, approving of sucli only as were intended to restrain 
CHAP. VIII. unauthorised settlements in that country, and to secure a 

strict monopoly of the trade with China. A petition, 

1813. 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 charter. 

The announcement of the cessation of the East India 
Company's exclusive privileges was, we have contemporary 
evidence, received at first with very little interest. Men's 
minds were engaged with mighty events, by which the 
interests of commerce were overshadowed ; and it seemed 
scarcely worth while to dispute for the profit of any par- 
ticular branch of trade, when the independence of nations 
was at stake. By degrees, however, attention was drawn 
to the topic ; and the Parliament had no sooner met than 
a deluge of petitions poured upon the House, assailing the 
principle of monopoly, condemning the career of the India 
Company, calumniating the motives of the Directors, and 
advocating the abstract right of all British subjects to a 
participation in every branch of external commerce. The 
language of the j^etitions was prompted by the same spirit 
against which it was levelled. The petitioners looked only 
to their own anticipated advantages, and in their selfish 
eagerness would have trampled upon all prudent precau- 
tion 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 monopoly which they 
had enjoyed under the protection of the Company's privi- 
leges, of a portion of the trade and the whole of the ship- 
ping, was no longer to remain uninvaded. Bristol, Liver- 
pool, 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 me- 
tropolis.^ Not only were petitions to this effect presented, 

> Resolutions of the Buyers of Piece-goods, 21st April, 1812; Merchants, 
Manufacturers, Traders of London, 25th ditto; Petition ditto; Papers respect- 
ing the negociation, p. 133, <»c. See also petitions to the House of Commons 


but delegates from the outports were sent up to London BOOK 1. 
and formed into a committee empowered to act for the chap. vm. 

mercantile communities of the several places, and watch 

over their interests. Besides the outports, almost every l^^^- 
trading and manufacturing town of any consideration 
joined in petitioning against the renewal of the Company's 

Up to the beginning of 1812, the pretensions of the 
outports had excited apparently but little attention, and 
had received little countenance from the Ministers. Al- 
though 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 proposition 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 manage- 
ment, as likely to secure and facilitate the collection of 
the duties upon articles imported from India and China. 
Had, therefore, 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 ware- 
housing system of the Company, and the advantages 
realised therefrom would have been preserved. 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 administra- 
tion which occurred at this season, and which placed the 
Earl of Buckinghamshire at the head of the Board of 
Controul, was another event which was unpropitious to 
their pretensions.^ It was soon evident that the Company 
must forego all hope of profit derivable, directly or indi- 
rectly, from the trade with India, 

from the Merchants, Shipowners, &c. of London, and others, interested in the 
trade with India, and in tiie tea-trade ; Pari. Debates, 6th May, 1812. 

' See Parliamentary Debates, Session of 1812; Petitions from Birmingham, 
Mancliester, Sheffield. Nottingham, Blackburn, Paisley, Dundee, Perth, Bel- 
fast, and many other places in the three kingdoms. 

* This nobleman, as Lord Hobart, had been Governor of Madras from 1794 
to 1793. He tiad exp)erienced the mconvenieuce to which the Indian Govern- 
ments had been exposed in having to provide, amidst the financial embarrass- 
ments resulting from expensive warfare, for the Company's Investments. — See 
Memoir of the late Larl of Buckinghamshire, Monthly Asiatic Journal, Janu- 
ary, 1817. 


BOOK I. The conferences and correspondence with the Board 
CHAP, VIII. still continued ; and, as the opinions of the new President 

of the Board of Controul were in favour of the claims of 

I8I0. lY^Q merchants of the outports, the proceedings that had 
taken place were reported to the proprietors at large. The 
sentiments of the Directors could not fail to find an 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 measure of opening the 
outports to vessels of all descriptions from India was 
fraught with consequences ruinous to the Company, and 
to the long train of interests 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 Com- 
pany's China trade, the failure of their dividends, the depre- 
ciation of their stock, and their inability to perform the 
functions assigned to them in the government of British 
India. That, 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 consti- 
tution 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 Company had been deeply injured by preju- 
dice, ignorance, erroneous assumption, and, latterly, by 
extensive combinations, and by unfair representation, can- 
vass, and intimidation. And finally, the Court, trusting 
that Parliament would decide, not on the suggestions 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 principles. 

Although unappalled by the dark catalogue of imaginary 


terrors which the interested fears of the East India Com- BOOK I. 
pauy had conjured up for the salvation of their monopoly, chap. vm. 

yet the obvious evils attending the transfer of the details 

of an extensive trade from one class of persons to others, ^^l^- 
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 deli- 
beration and caution, and prevented them from bringing 
the decision of the question before Parliament during this 
session, notwithstanding it was one of the topics adverted 
to at the opening of the session in the speech from the 
throne. Previously to its introduction, another attempt 
was made by the Ministers to obtain the acquiescence of 
the Company in the proposed extension 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 in- 
compatible 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 prin- 
ciples 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, wh