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Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) online

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ever visited this part of the country.

" Haidar was born to create an empire ; Tipu to lose one," — was
the proverbial opinion, based on the prediction of the former and an
observation of their respective characters. It was justified by the
events, and forcibly sums up the merits of the two Musalman rulers of

Compared with his father, who often lamented his son's defects,
Tipu was weak both in mind and character. In person he was neither
so tall nor so robust as Haidar, and his complexion was darker. His
hands and feet were small and delicate, his eyes large and full, but he
had a short thick neck and was slightly inclined to corpulence. His
face was clean shaven, except for a thin line on the upper lip, and,
unlike his father, he retained his eyebrows and eyelashes. In dress
he generally affected simplicity and made this the rule for his courtiers
also. His turban, which was latterly green, was fastened in, in the
Mahratta fashion, by a white handkerchief tied over the top and under
the chin. He was very garrulous, and spoke in loud and sharp tones,
laying down the law on every conceivable topic.

There is a popular idea that as Haidar means lion (a name of 'Ali,
the son-in-law of Muhammad), so Tipu means tiger, but this appears
to be a mistake. He was named Tipu after a holy man whose shrine
is at Arcot, near which Haidar was when he heard of the birth of his
son at Devanhalli. The tiger, however, was adopted by Tipu as
emblematic. His throne was in the form of a tiger, with the head life-
size, in tTold,^ and tigers' heads formed the capitals of the eight pillars
supporting the canopy. His own uniform and that of his soldiers was
covered with the tiger stripe, and this was also engraved on his guns
and other articles. Tigers were chained at the entrance to his palace,
and he is declared to have said that he would rather live two days as a
tiger than two centuries as a sheep.

1 Now at Windsor Castle ; also the hitina, or bird of paradise, covered with jewels,
which glittered at the top of the canopy.


He was a good horseman and active in the field : also very
industrious in writing, the pen being scarcely ever out of his hand.
He could speak fluently Hindustani, Kannada, and Persian, but
though the range of his studies was limited, he vainly regarded himself
as one of the wisest of men. And so great was his conceit that he
also imagined himself to be one of the most handsome. He affected
an acquaintance with every known subject, and himself wrote detailed
instructions on the most diversified matters, both civil and military, to
all his subordinates. His rage for innovations, which has already been
illustrated in the account of his reign (see above, p. 409) unsettled
everything, while his dark and cruel bigotry blinded his perceptions,
threw power into unworthy hands, and alienated from him whole classes
of the most important of his subjects. Though perhaps he deceived
himself into a belief that his measures were for the good of the
people, they were really the outcome of caprice and self-conceit,
which at length gave rise to suspicions of aberration of the mind.

The town suffered plunder for a day, and at last guards having been
placed over the houses of the respectable persons, and four of the
plunderers executed, the soldiery was effectually restrained, and
tranquillity restored. This event was followed by the surrender of
Fatteh Haidar, the eldest of the sons of Tipu, and of Purnaiya, Kamar-
ud-Din Khan and other officers, on the following day. Circular orders
were issued by General Harris, accompanied by communications from
the Meer Soodoor, to the officers in charge of the different forts in the
territories, to deliver their charges to the British authorities, and giving
them general assurance of favour and protection. By these means the
country submitted, the ryots returned to their peaceful occupations,
and the land had rest from the ince.s.sant warfare of the past fifty years.
The disposal of the conquered territories engaged attention next.
After a mature deliberation of the various interests involved in the
question, the restoration of the descendant of the Rajas of Mysore to
the sovereignty, under British protection, of a part of the dominions,
and the division of the remainder between the allies, were the measures
resolved upon.^ The British share consisted of all the districts below
the (ihdts lying between their possessions on the eastern and western
coasts, namely, Kanara, Coimbatore, &:c., with such posts and fortresses
as commanded the passes ; and the island of SLriiigapatam. To the
Nizam were assigned the districts of (Uitti and Cluramkoinla, bordering
on the cessions made in 1792, together with all the country north from

' By a Commission composed of (Joneial Harris, Cnlimcl Arlluir Wcllcslcy, llic
Honourable Henry Wellesley, Lieut. -Colonel Williaiu Kirkpalrick, and Lieut. -
Colonel Barry Close, the Nizam concurring.



Chitaklroog and Sira. I'or the Mahrattas, whose forces were not
present at the siege, were reserved, on certain conditions, Harpanhalli,
Siinda and Ancgundi, with parts of the districts of Chitaldroog and
Bednur above the Ghats ; hut as they would not agree to the terms of
the proposed treaty renouncing a claim to plunder, these districts were
divided between the British and the Nizam.

The sons of Tipu were provided with liberal allowances, and
removed from the scene of their former greatness to the fortress of
Vellore.' The principal officers of the late Government were divided
into three classes, according to their respective ranks,, and pensioned ;
the stipends varying from three thousand to two hundred and ten star
pagodas per annum. To Mir Kamar-ud-Din Khan were assigned two
jagirs, one from the Company and the other from the Nizam, and he
was permitted to reside at Guramkonda. Purnaiya, who had been the
principal financial minister under the late Government, having given
satisfactory proof of his readiness to serve the new one in the same
capacity, it was deemed advisable to appoint him Divan to the young
Raja.- All negotiations regarding the revival of the kingdom of
Mysore were considerately postponed till the departure of the sons of
the Sultan from the capital, which took place on the iSth of June, 1799.

(Subsequently, in 1800, the Nizam ceded to the British the territories
acquired from Mysore in 1792 and 1799, in return for a force of British
troops to be stationed at Haidarabad. And in 1803 Holalkere,
Mayakonda, and Harihar districts were given to Mysore by the British
Government in exchange for parts of Punganur, Wynad, Yelusavirasime,
and some other places contiguous to their boundary.)

The Brahmans having fixed upon the 30th of June as the most
auspicious day for placing Krishna Raja Wodeyar on the masnad, the
ceremony was performed at Mysore at noon on that day by the Com-
missioners, headed by General Harris, and accompanied by Mir Alam
(the representative of the Nizam), under three volleys of musketry
from the troops on the spot and a royal salute from the guns of
Seringapatam. The deportment of the young prince, the despatch
on the subject says, was remarkably decorous. Some high Musal-
man officers of the late Government spontaneously attended on
the occasion. The inauguration having taken place under an open
pandal, the spectators were very numerous, and it would be difficult to

' Five years later, on the occurrence of the nuitiny at \"eIlore, they were removed
to Calcutta.

■ Tirumal Rao, previously referred to (p. 399), was also a candidate for this office,
with the support of the Rani. But a letter on the subject was sent to her by Mr.
Webbe, in Mahratta, signed S'rl Veb (in Devanagari characters), and Tirumal Rao
was liberally pensioned. He lived at Madras till his death in 181 5.


describe the joy which was visible in the countenances of all the
Hindus present.

The rebuilding of the old palace of Mysore was at the same time
commenced. Dr. Buchanan, writing in May 1800, says, "It is now so
far advanced as to be a comfortable dwelling, and I found the young
prince seated in it on a handsome throne. He has very much recovered
his health, and though he is only between six and seven years of age,
speaks and behaves with great propriety and decorum. From Indian
etiquette, he endeavours in i)ublic to preserve a dignified gravity of
countenance ; but the attentions of Colonel Close, the Resident, make
him sometimes relax, and then his face is very lively and interesting."

Purnaiya was now Divan and Regent, Colonel (afterwards Sir
Barry) Close^ was Resident, and Colonel Arthur Wellesley (the future
Duke of AVellington) commanded the Division. The combined
influence of such a triad was a sufficient guarantee for all that could
render the State secure and prosperous. The disturbances caused by
the Aigur chief in Manjarabad, and by Dhundia Wahag' in the north-
west were soon quelled. Purnaiya's thorough knowledge of the
resources of the country enabled him to add materially to the revenue,
which was further swelled by the sale of the large stores of sandalwood
which had accumulated for several years owing to Tipu's prohibition of
its export from his dominions ; so that although the Mysore State,
according to treaty, kept a considerable body of troops in the field
during the Mahratta war, the treasury continued to fill. " The

' lie came out as a cadet in 177 1, and was in TcUicherry during ils siege l)y
riaidar : served as Deputy-Adjutanl-Cleneral with the army before Seringapalani in
1792, and as Adjutant-General at the final capture in 1799. He was then ajipoinled
Resident in Mysore. In 1801 he was transferred as Resident to Toona, where he
remained till his retirement in 181 1, and died in England in 1813. He was aji
accomplished Arabic and Persian scholar. Closepet is named after him.

* He was a Mahratta by descent, and a native of Channagiri. From 17S0 lie
served as a horseman in Haidar's army, but during the invasion of Lord Cornwallis
decamped with a few followers and as much booty as they could get hold of lo
Dliarwar, where he lived by plundering. In 1794 he was induced to come to
Scringapatam with the prospect of being received into Tipu's service with all his
followers, consisting of two hundred horse. But refusing to embrace Islam, he was
forcibly converted and thrust into prison. At the capture of Seringapatam he was
ftjund chained to the wall like a wild beast, and the British soldiers out of jiily at
(mce freed him. He then escaped to the Mahratta country, and collecting a large
force committed many depredations in the north-west. In 1800, having assumed
the title of " King of the Two Worlds," he threatened the Mysore frontier with a
body of 5,000 horse. Colonel Wellesley went against him, and pursuing him for
months from point to point without being able to come up with him, at last succeetled
in surprising him, when this freebooter's army was entirely routed anil he himself
killed in a cavalry charge led in person by his distinguished opjioncnt.

E E 2



settlement of Mysore," as Major Wilks remarks, " was distinguished
from all preceding measures of British policy, was quoted with
applause in the remotest parts of India, and was acknowledged with
unlimited gratitude by the people to be governed, by leaving every
office, civil and military, to be filled by the natives themselves, with
the single guard of those powers of interposition in the internal affairs
of the government which were reserved by a special provision of
the treaty. . The experiment was new, and with relation to its
remote consequences, of momentous importance." It was, therefore,
no little satisfaction to the Governor-General, the Marquess of
Wellesley, in 1804, to record it as his deliberate declaration, that
during the past five years, " the affairs of the government of
Mysore had been conducted with a degree of regularity, wisdom,
di.scretion and justice unparalleled in any Native State in India."

Of the young prince himself we obtain a further glimpse in 1806,
from Colonel Welsh's account of a procession from Nanjangud to
Kalale. " The young Rajah," he writes, " was now twelve years old,
and as promising a boy as I ever beheld ; indeed, Major Wilks, who
was a man of sense and refinement, declared he had never known
a finer youth, European or native. His manners were far above his
age, but he was then under the tutelage of the celebrated Poorniah. .
During the procession, which took place on horseback, old Poorniah
checked the ardour of the Rajah, and we moved at a snail's pace for
the first three miles, when this fine boy, longing for a gallop, obtained
his guardian's leave, exchanged his State turban for a plain one, and
disengaging himself from several valuable chains and jewels which
decorated his person, gave his horse the whip, and commenced a
hi?ige, which he managed with grace and dexterity, while we formed
a ring outside and enjoyed the exhibition. After indulging himself for
a few minutes, in which we much admired his manliness, he resumed
his dress, and we proceeded in state to the end of the march." ^

Beyond advice from the Resident, little interference with internal
affairs was called for during the administration of Purnaiya, which
continued till 181 1. "The knowledge of the right of interposing had
proved sufficient of itself to prevent any .frequent or urgent necessity
for its exercise, and to secure in a respectable degree the protection
of the people in the enjoyment of their most important rights."
Purnaiya's system of go\-ernment was no doubt absolute ; and, as a
financier, the accumulation of surplus revenue presented itself to him
as a prime end to be attained. It may be questioned, therefore,

' ^/i/itary Rt'niiitisa'nces, from a Journal of Forty \ 'ears' Active Seii'iee in the
East /ndies. By Colonel James Welsh.


whether he did not to some extent enrich the treasury at the expense
of the State, by narrowing the resources of the people ; t'or by 181 1 he
had amassed in the public coffers ui)\vards of two crores of rupees. He
was a minister of the old school, and viewed with chagrin any attempts
which the Raja, as he came to years of discretion, made to assert his
prerogatives. This i)rovoked the resentment of the young Raja,
surrounded as he was by parasites who constantly urged him to take
the government into his own hands. In 181 1 he expressed to the
Resident a wish to govern for himself. The Resident endeavoured to
secure a share in the administration for Purnaiya, but the latter
declined further office, and retired to Seringapatam, where he soon
after died, on the 28th of March 18 12. Old and infirm, after a life of
unusual activity and care, " I am going to the land of my fathers," was
the tranquil message he sent a few days before to his friend Colonel
Hill, the Commandant of the fort. " Say that I am travelling the
same road," was the reply returned, and he survived the minister but a
short time.

Purnaiya was a Brahman of the Madhva sect, descended from a family
of the Coimbatore country. Plis talents were recognized by Haidar,
and he was made not only minister of finance, but was also put in charge
of the commissariat. He was short and stout in person, but much more
active than Prahmans in general are, and Haidar rewarded him with a
grant of the village of Maruhalli (south-west of Mysore). His tact and
the influence he had acquired are well illustrated by the course he
pursued, already related, at the death of Haidar, and the means he
took to secure the succession to Tipu. His services to the latter were
of the highest value, and next to Mir Sadak lie enjoyed greater power
under the Sultan than any other person. But he was in no small
■danger from the bigotry of his master. For the Sultan, it is said, once
proposed to him to become a Musalman. " 1 am \our servant,"
replied Purnaiya, and hastily withdrew. The Sultan's mother, who
had great influence with her son, on hearing of what hvid occurred,
strongly remonstrated with him on his folly, and he had the sense to
see the danger of proceeding any further in the matter. It must have
been with a sense of relief, therefore, that Purnaiya, when, after the fall
of Seringapatam, he was summoned to surrender, and assured that he
had no cause to be alarmed, replied, " How can I hesitate to
surrender to a nation who are the protectors of my tribe from Kas'i to
Rames'varam ? " The subsequent distinguished career of Purnaiya has
been made plain by our history. In 1807 he was offered a jiigir in
recognition of his services, and chose the fertile tract of ^'elandur, on
the borders of Mysore and Coimbatore.


Mr. Josiah Wcbbc had been appointed Resident in Mysore in succes-
sion to Colonel Close, but only consented to hold the office temporarily,
as he was anxious to leave India. Until his arrival Mr. J. H. Peile
acted as Resident for a few months. Mr. Webbe had been for many
years Chief Secretary to the Ciovernment of Madras, and was intimately
concerned in all the transactions of the south from the days of Haidar.
He left Mysore to go as Resident to Nagpore, and from there went
in June 1804, to relieve Malcolm at Gwalior, where he fell sick and
died at a critical time in the spring of 1805. An obelisk erected to
his memory by Purnaiya is conspicuous to the north of Seringapatam.

Major (afterwards Sir John) Malcolm^ became Resident of Mysore at
the beginning of 1803, but was destined to continue as an actor on a
far wider stage, and was one of the foremost men of his day in India.
Only the briefest outline can here be given of his illustrious career.
Serving in the army before Seringapatam in 1792, he was selected by
Lord Cornwallis to be Persian interpreter with the Nizam's contingent.
He returned to England in 1794, and came out with General (Sir
Alured) Clarke next year as Military Secretary on the secret expedition
destined for India, in which the ships were driven out of their course
to South America, and eventually arrived off the Cape of Good Hope
at a most opportune moment, which enabled them to decide the
contest with the Dutch that made the Cape a British colony. He
continued as ^Military Secretary under General Harris at Madras, and
in 1798 was appointed Assistant Resident at Haidarabad, where he
nearly lost his life in carrying out the disbandment of the French
forces. In 1799 he was First Secretary to the Commissioners for the
settlement of Mysore (Captain Thomas Munro being the other), and
immediately after was sent as Envoy to Persia by the Governor-General,
Lord Wellesley, who had early discerned his abilities. In ^March 1803,
he joined the army of General Wellesley, marching against theMahrattas,
at Harihar, as representative of the Governor-General, and was after-
wards sent on a mission to Bombay. Thus it was not till November
1804 that he came to Mysore itself, and after the stirring events in which

' He was of a Scotch family and not thirteen when taken by his uncle before the
Directors of the East India Company in 1781 for a cadetship. They were about to
refuse a commission in their army to such a boy, but on one of the Directors in a
disparaging manner saying to him, " WTiy, my Httle man, what would you do if you
met Haidar Ali ?" " I'd out with my sword and cut ofT his head," was the unex-
pected reply, on w hich lliey passed him at once. Boy Malcolm, as he was called,
became very popular and developed great talents. "WTien sent in charge of the escort
for exchange of prisoners with Tipu, the officer of the opposite party, seeing such a
stripling, asked where the commanding officer was. " I am the commanding officer,"
was the answer he was astonished to receive.


he had been engaged was turning his thoughts to a hfe of Hterary leisure
and the compilation of his History of Persia, when, in March 1805, he
was again summoned to Calcutta by the Govuirnor-General, and was
employed in negotiations with Holkar and Sindiah. In fact, " send
Malcolm " had come to be the remedy proposed for every emergency.
He returned to Mysore in April 1807, and was married there in July
to the daughter of an officer in Madras. But in February 1808, he
was a second time sent to Persia. Returning to Madras in 1809, he
was ordered to Masuli[)atam to repress the mutiny of the European
regiment, and was afterwards reappointed to Persia. In 1812 he received
five years' furlough to England. On his return to India he was engaged
in operations against the Pindaris and Mahrattas, and in 18 19 took charge
of the administration of Central India. He went home again in 1822,
and was subsequently appointed Governor of Bombay. After a most
distinguished career in India^ he retired to England in 1831, entered
Parliament, and died in London of influenza in 1833. A statue of him
by Chantrey was erected in Westminster Abbey and one in Bombay.

He was very tall and strong, and of untiring activity in body and mind.
Simple, manly, generous and accessible to all, he was universally beloved
both by Europeans and natives. Colonel Welsh, who met him at
Belgaum at the end of 1828, when he was Governor of Bombay, says,
" He proved to be the same honest John Malcolm I knew twenty-five
years ago, in General Wellesley's arm}-. All the fire, strength and activity
of youth, with those abilities which enable him to transact his business
in less time than most other men would take to consider about it."

During the prolonged absence of the permanent Resident the duties
of the office were ably discharged by Major Mark ^^'ilks, whose
History of Mysore is a monument of his knowledge of and interest in
the country. In about 180S he went to England and afterwards
became Governor of St. Helena, an appointment which he held till the
imprisonment on that island of the Emperor Napoleon Buonaparte.
He was succeeded at Mysore by the Hon. Arthur H. Cole, who had
been the Assistant Resident. This gentleman, a connection of the
Earls of Enniskillcn, held the position of Resident for many years, but
I have not been able to obtain any particular infi)rmation al)OUt
him, except that I believe he had been in Parliament. On leaving
Mysore he went to the Mauritius. In 1825 Mr. J. A. Casamaijor, of

' The Duke of Wellington, writing to him in 1824, says, " I can answer for it thai
from the year 1796 no great transaction has taken place in the East in which you have
not played a principal, most useful, conspicuous and honourable i>art ; and you have
in many services, di]ilomatic as well as military, been distinguished by successes, any
one of which in ordinary circumstances would have been deemetl sufficient for the life
of a man."

424 n/STORY

tlic Madras Civil Service, was Resident, and continued so till 1834,
when he was transferred to Travancore.^

To return to the Raja of Mysore. Krishna Raja Wodeyar, then
about sixteen years of age, commenced his rule under the most
favourable auspices, with a treasury well filled and the good wishes
of the whole country. Flatterers and parasites, however, gained
too ready an ear, and in 18 14 the Resident was compelled to
report that the Raja had already dissipated on worthless persons
the treasure accumulated by Purnaiya, while the pay of his troops
was several months in arrears. Though possessed of great natural
intelligence, he lacked the administrative ability which was essential
for governing the country, and was yet too jealous to delegate
the necessary authority to the Divan. While the Resident's advice
was disregarded, a lute player named Venkat Subbaiya, and other
indifferent characters, obtained an extraordinary influence over him.
The disinterested counsels of the few respectable native gentlemen at
his court met with no more attention than those of the Resident, and
although sharply rebuked by the British Government and warned of
the inevitable result of his extravagance and sensuality, the Raja
turned a deaf ear to all remonstrance. In 181 7 he was foolish enough
to enter into political intrigues which gave umbrage to the British,
though they did not proceed from want of loyalty on his part.

Colonel Welsh, an eye-witness whom we have already quoted,
writing of Bangalore so early as October 181 1, says, "The Rajah of
Mysore paid us a visit for the races, accompanied by the Hon. A. Cole
and his staff. . I have formerly mentioned this prince as a most
promising youth ; I much fear he has now broken that promise, for,
so far as outward appearance goes, no two beings could be more

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 50 of 98)