Francis Carnac Brown.

Letters to and from the Government of Madras, relative to the disturbances in Canara, in April, 1837, with some explanatory notes. To which is prefixed a letter to the Honourable the Court of Directors of the East India Company online

. (page 10 of 19)
Online LibraryFrancis Carnac BrownLetters to and from the Government of Madras, relative to the disturbances in Canara, in April, 1837, with some explanatory notes. To which is prefixed a letter to the Honourable the Court of Directors of the East India Company → online text (page 10 of 19)
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hy the Court Martial, and to carry those sentences into immediate
execution, without reference to Madras. This Officer was nearly an en-
tire stranger both to the people and to the country; and I am aware, felt
himself bound to be guided in his measures and opinions by the reports
he received of the state of North Malabar, as well as of Canara, from per-
sons whose information and authority he was not at liberty to doubt.
That his persuasion, derived from these sources, and partly perhaps from
what he saw in the Madras Papers, was, that the Natives around were
generally disaffected and ripe for revolt, became manifest, by his order-
ing the Fort of Cannanore to be put into a state of immediate defence,
a measure that was executed with equal skill, judgment, and prompti-
tude. Nor was this belief confined to himself only; for the salutation
with which the Natives were received was, that they were " a set of
traitorous, treacherous villains, for whom hanging was too good."

But the question which the Natives put, and which they solicit to have
answered, is, whose letters and reports was it which thus spoke of
them, which raised this general belief to their prejudice, a belief calcu-
lated to set their country, without remorse, under fire and sword ?

" The extraordinary tribunal," above mentioned, was a special com-
mission, consisting of two Judges, dispatched from Tellicherry to Man-


Why, Sir, what more certain, than that you and I
should be found with arms in our hands, defending our
homes and families, had we been deserted as the people of

galore, to try the other prisoners, under the summary provisions of
Regulation 20 of 1802.

As this Regulation is the Statute of Treasons under which the Natives
are attainted for their lives in the Presidency of Madras, every dictate of
humanity, as well as of justice, demands that its enactments be made
known. They are as follow: —

Clause I. ordains that, " Persons charged with treason, rebellion, or

other offences against the State, may, in particular cases, be

brought to immediate trial before the Court of Circuit, or before a

special Court," named and convened by the Governor in Council.

Clause II. The above courts, " consisting of three Judges and two

Mahomedan law-officers, or of any other nM»ifcer of Judges and

law-officers," are to take cognizance of these crimes.

Clause III. The Courts to proceed like Courts of Circuit, except that

their sentence is to be reported, before execution, to theFonjdarry

Udalut; and to be guided, in cases not provided for, " by special


Clause IV. Death or absence of any of the Judges or law-officers, not to

affect nor to interi'upt proceedings, even if no other judge be


Clause V. The Fonjdarry Udalut to report sentence and proceedings,

and await the orders of the Governor in Council.
Clause VI. Magistrates to assist in expediting trials, and bringing
offenders to justice.
These are the whole of the provisions of the Regulation. It will be
seen by them, that the law is entirely devoid of every safeguard with
which the universal experience of mankind has found it indispensable,
in order to secure the rendering of impartial justice, to fence round the
life of an individual charged with a crime against the state. Without
the benefit of a Jury, or even of one independent Native Assessor, the
Native accused of treason or rebellion under this law, has no right re-
served to him of challenging any one of his Judges, English or Native,
appointed by the Government, on any ground whatsoever ; not on the
ground of competency, qualification, knowledge, prejudice, nor integrity.
Not a provision is made, not a precaution is taken, by which the accused
shall be made acquainted and furnished with a copy, in writing, of the
precise crime he is charged with, specifying the day, the time, the
place, the manner of its commission, the names of the witnesses, and


Mangalore were? What more certain than that, as long as
we drew breath, we should never again trust their defence or
our own to the same defenders? We might as certainly be

the written depositions against him. Not merely wholly ignorant of the
law, but sometimes wholly ignorant of the language in which his trial
for life is held, and, in his Judges, perhaps seeing Europeans for the first
time, in this situation, in the state of mind in which he must thus cir-
cumstanced be plunged, without a friend near, and removed miles away
from his own country, not an individual of his own caste or com-
plexion is assigned to him, to calm his terrors, and support his resolution;
not a person is appointed, as an adviser, to inform his ignorance, to ex-
tenuate his guilt, or even to establish his innocence: nor is there a
precaution publicly taken, that the presiding Judges shall be sufficiently
conversant wilh some one of the native languages, as to understand
his viva voce defence for his life, and to detect the prevarications of
approvers, whose hopes of pardon maybe made to depend upon his con-
viction. And against whom, on the present occasion, was this law
enforced? The native letter-writer describes the greater part of "the
rebels" he saw at Mangalore, some of whom he conversed with, to
have been " mere Ryots, inoffensive villagers, whom nothing but the
fear of death for themselves and families led to join the insurrection."
This is his description of them. The following is the description of an
English eye and ear witness: — •" Some of them say they did go, because
their Potails ordered them; and they really look spooney enough to
obey such an order without thinking of consequences." After these
two descriptions, it is relief inexpressible to be able to reflect, from long
personal knowledge, upon the character and qualifications of the two
Judges, to whom was assigned the duty of trying these men.

But, as an index to the exasperated feelings which had been excited,
and which existed, elsewhere, it is necessary to revert to the instructions
which the Judges are related to have received from Madras. They were
ordered to depart, and commence their task with the least practicable
delay; for which purpose they were desired to communicate on their
way with the Officer commanding the Provinces, who, they were
instructed, would put them into immediate possession of the number
and names of the prisoners to be tried, their crimes, the depositions
against them, and the witnesses. This Officer, when applied to at Can-
nanore, wholly uninformed of one of these particulars, referred the
Judges to the Officer commanding at Mangalore. To him they wrote.
He proved to be an officer of the Bombay army, just arrived, an entire
stranger to the place, and left, as he replied, without a record, note, or


seized with those arms, and taken prisoners by a posse of
valorous Peons, every man of whom, imitating the example
set to them, only more successfully, disappeared for
several days; and upon their reappearance, were stripped
of their badges, and told that the restoration of these
depended on the number of prisoners they should capture
and bring in! * What more certain than that, upon the
evidence of any two or more of these men, we should be
convicted, and if, in defence, we turned to the President of
the Court Martial, and said : " We are innocent, we are
not rebels, nor traitors; arms we had for own protection,
and it is you, who drove us to have them;" what more
certain, than that we should be led to an ignominious
death ?

Sir, let me earnestly implore His Lordship in Council
to recall this fearful power of life and death, of which
he has divested himself. Divested himself! He does not
suspect to what deeds he may be a party. The human
breast knows no such vindictive passion as fear. I have
witnessed, and others have witnessed here, yes here, in
Tellicherry, many days after the Bombay troops had
reached Mangalore, a degree of alarm so great, that not

memorandum of any kind, to enable him to furnish any part of the in-
formation required of him, and wliich he was described to be quite pre-
pared to give! In other words, the Judges hastened to Mangalore, and
found no prisoners for trial ; the senior Officer there, to whom they
were sent, could not tell them who were the persons to be tried : the
OfiBcer commanding the Provinces, he who had received thepower of life
and death from the Government, could not tell them. What informa-
tion the Government possessed, or could furnish, on the subject in their
haste for punishment, may hence be gathered.

* The predicament obviously was, that not one of these Peons
could be discharged. It would have been too much to make it a matter
of crime against these men, that after seeing their superiors first send oft"
their wives and children, and then follow themselves to the beach with
the treasure, thoy, the Peons, did not wait to sec when their superiors
would return.


a hecatomb of victims would appease it! Will it be
believed, no, it will not, that the removal of the pubhc
treasure from hence, notwithstanding all tliat had passed
at Mangalore, was mooted and urged, the Assistant Magis-
trate being on the spot, and the Magistrate, responsible for
that treasure, within a few miles ! Is it not a miracle that
the whole country was not in a flame? The Government
knows not of, suspects not, conduct like this. Alas! Sir,
it does not, and it delegates away, without appeal, the
power of life and death I

I do not ask His Lordship in Council to credit, on mif
iiuthority, a word of what I have related. I ask him to
suspend his judgment ; to call for all the Mangalore trials,
civil and military, to read them, when he will see that I
have not related a tithe of what will be established by the
clearest evidence.* If ray entreaty could have weight, I

* The following is the confession of one of the first prisoners tried
before the special commission ;

" The consultation to attack Bellarypet was held at Moodnoor, in
Soolya, by K. Ramiah Gowda, the principal man, several Potails, and
all the chief inhabitants of Amara Soolya, in number about fifty.
Kallianappa came from the Poomaley jungle, with another Ramiah
Gowda, and about 120 armed men. The whole party went to Bellary-
pet; the public servants and money were seized 5 Soobryah was sent
with a force to Cassergode ; the rest advanced to Pootoor, and repulsed
the Sepoys. The rebel party here consisted of 200 armed men and 300
Ryots. From the Bungar Rajah's house, P. Antapi)a Slietty, and 200
armed men of Amara Soolya, advanced upon Mangalore. Many Ryots

followed. At the last annual feast at Adoor, Narsojee and a Caff'ree

woman, who were in jail at Mangalore, sent a Cadjan to Soobryah, in-
viting him to attack the town. After the jail was opened (on the 5th of
April), these two, with about 60 of the prisoners, joined Kallianappa.
Three years ago, Apparampara was seized and confined for eight months
in jail at Mangalore. He is the son of Rajah Appajee, liie elder uncle
of \'eera Rajah, the last Rajah. On his release he was directed to go
to Mysoor. I have heard that he was again seized and sent to Trichi-
iiopoly. Kallianappa was also seized and sent to Mysoor (Bangalore),
lie {this KftUianappd) is tlic son of tlic wife of \^ecr Rajiuider Wadya,


would beseech His Lordship in Council, as he consults the
honour of his own great country, and the peace and tran-

an uncle of Apparampara's : the Kallicmappa, v/ho attacked Bellarypet,
is another person ; he is the son of a woman who was kept by the above
Veer Rajunder Wadya, and is about twenty-five years of age, rather a
fool, short, dark complexioned, and somewhat pock-marked. At the last
Nowaratree festival, three persons (named) went to Trichinopoly, to see
Apparampara; they saw Kallianappa (the first one) at Mysoor. He
told them to raise a force below the Ghants, that he would raise one
above. He and a merchant raised a force to attack Merkara (the capital
of Coorg). L. Narnappa, Dewan, heard of the plot from a slave, and
gave information to the Sirkar. Guns were placed in Merkara, and a
gentleman (a conductor of ordnance) fell from the ramparts and died-
The force not appearing, the Dewan was disbelieved and put into con-
finement. Raniiah and the others, on this failure, were perplexed ;
when Ramiah exclaimed, ' If even a dog could be found that was born in
the palace (of the Rajahs), this dog would do to raise and command a force
against the Government ! ' Munjya then said he would bring a person
that was born in the palace ; he went, and brought the Kallianappa, who
attacked Bellarypet. For a month before the outbreak he was lodged in
the Poomaley jungle. The Coorgs and the people of Amara Soolya
(the rebels) are in great dread of cannon. When a ship came with a
cannon, which made darkness with its smoke (the Hugh Lindsay steamer)
the news spread through Coorg in a moment, there being posts at every
three miles."

This confession was fully corroborated in every main particular by
other unexceptionable testimony. In truth, every circumstance that was
disclosed, every inquiry that was made, only added strength to the uni-
versal conviction, that " the rebels/' from the first, were despicable in
tlie extreme, as to means, numbers, and resources. In their desire for
succour they wrote to the French Chief of Mahe entreating that he
would join them with his forces, consisting of six unarmed Peons !

This gentleman sent their letter to the principal Collector of Malabar ;
but I have strong reasons for believing that, in the faithful discharge of
his duty, lie likewise transmitted to his own Government a detailed con-
fidential report of every particular connected with the outbreak, which
he had good means of learning, botli from several of the Canarese fugi-
tives who sought the protection of the French flag at Mah^, and from
his being only four miles distant from Tellicherry; and that he drew,
for the information and for tlie reflection of his country, a picture de-
rived, not from words, but fiom iucouliovertible facts and occurrences


quillity of this, to depute to Canara some functionary of
high and commanding chaiacter, and armed with plenary

that happened within his own sight and cognizance, in two extensive,
maritime and frontier Provinces of the Madras Presidency, of the opi-
nion entertained at heart of the strength, the stability, and the security
of the Indian Empire, by the body of European functionaries, who ad-
minister the Government to the Natives.

The Native, in his letter, says that the war-cry at Mangalore,
throughout the days previous to the attacks, was, " The Devil Appa-
rainpara is coming;" and that this fearful sound it was which led to
the general panic and flight. Throughout Malabar all the authorities,
European and Native, and all the heads of villages, myself among the
number, received copies of Proclamations, offering 10,000 Rupees re-
ward (equal there to 10,000/. sterling in England), for the apprehen-
sion of the principal rebel-leader, " named Apparampara ;" and 5,000
Rupees (equal to 3,000/. sterling), for the second leader, " named Kal-

No man will bring himself to believe, that these two proclaimed ring-
leaders of the insurrection, this Apparampara and this Kallianappa, are
no other than tiie very same persons who are stated, in the confession,
to have been all the time confined in jail ; to have been then, and months
and months before, the one a prisoner at Trichinopoly, the other at
Bangalore ! No Englishman will prevail upon himself to credit, that a
British Government, the Government of Fort St. George, or some
power exercising supreme authority under it, could issue and circulate
Proclamations throughout the subordinate territories, setting an enor-
mous price upon the heads of two unfortunate men, who both were, all
the while, prisoners in two of the Government jails ! The incredibility
of such an occurrence will defend it from belief. But most true, too
true, alas ! is it, as the following accounts will show : —

" Mangalore, 29th April. — The latest news is as follows : — The
Palmers are released. He was released by the Coorg Dewan, Bappoo,
who, with his people, were within an ace of the pretended Apparam.
Perhaps you are not aware tuat the real apparam is in jail
AT Trichinopoly. Our force at Nerunky burned a Mutt (a small
temple), with plenty of food taken, ditto prisoners, with sundry killed.
Our enemies dispersed in every direction."

" 30lh April. — How mortifying that all this alarm should have been
created by Apparam 's shadow! The true Kallianapa is said to he
IN JAIL AT Bangalore."

It is hence a positive, and now an undisputed, fact, as the confession


authority ; who, with capacity to probe to the bottom, and
elicit, the whole truth connected with the late events, civil

stated, that both Apparampara and the real Kallianappa, " the two arch
rebels," were prisoners in jail, hundreds of miles away from Canara,
during the whole of the insurrection !

The confession describes Apparampara to be first cousin to the de-
posed Rajah of Coorg. Kallianappa is not even a relative ; he is the
son, as it would appear, by another father, of a wife of one of the
Rajah's uncles. Yet these two men, void of any other offence than the
foregoing, the one of being a Prince, and a male heir to the Raj, the
other, a man of birth and note ; Apparampara, in the people's belief, the
rightful heir, in common with the other members of the last Rajah's
family, to a sum of about twelve or fourteen lacs of Rupees, which had
long been invested in Company's paper, of every Rea of which the
family have been stripped; these two men are seized, transferred from
jail to jail, and confined without trial, as felon-prisoners, upon a Magis-
trate's warrant; they are thus treated, it appears, because fly where they
would. East, North, South, they must fly to, and be found in, the Com-
pany's territories. There remained to them, it is true, one refuge, one
escape from a dungeon: there was the friendly sea on the West; this
was open to them, into which to plunge and forget that Heaven had once
given them rank, station, wealth, a country, kindred, and a home ! From
the treatment dealt to these men, it may perhaps be conjectured that
the detestation manifested by the Coorgs to the Government may not be
wholly without foundation ; it may be thought, that the intensity of
bitter hatred expressed by the chief man among a wild, ignorant, people,
when he exclaimed, " Let but a palace-born dog be found, and he xuill
head us to shake off this yoke!" is not entirely without cause. Since
the suppression of the outbreak, they have repeatedly told the Governor-
General and the Governor of Madras, that, " come what may," they will
not continue subject, for another three years, to the Courts and Cutcheries
of Canara.

With regard to Kallianappa the second, he who actually came to Man-
galore ; on the dispersion of his followers, he was speedily taken, and
arraigned before the Court Martial, when he proved to be, as he had
been described, a poor, ignorant, simple-minded young man, whose pre-
tension to be made the nominal leader of the rebels consisted in his
having been born in the Palace of an obscure Concubine, and in his
name being Kallianappa. He told his story without guile or disguise.
He said he was living in quiet and obscurity, when he was taken to, and
kept in, the Jungle where the Gowdas and Potails had assembled; that


and military,* shall have the firmness and manliness to
declare it without respect to persons. Surely were an

they told him he must be their Rajah : whereupon they set him on
a horse, and as he had never been on one before, they tied his legs to
prevent him from falling off, and paraded him up and down ; that he was
a mere puppet, meant no harm, and endeavoured, to the degree in his
power, to prevent harm being done by others, and that, whatever he
had himself, rice or money, he gave to Dr. and Mrs. Palmer, and to the
Collector's servants, who were prisoners, and hiding with him in the
Jungle. His story was not disputed. It also came out that he had re-
fused to suffer Mrs. Palmer's Palankeen-bearers to leave her and her
child, saying, they were that lady's servants, and must remain as long
as she wanted them. Inquiry would have shown, that if the first rising
had taken place, as contemplated, this Kallianappa would never have
been heard of. He was condemned by the Court Martial, and, without
reference to Madras, executed.

* The greater part of a Bombay regiment, amounting to about 400
men and Officers, with a Joint-Magistrate at their head, were sent to, and
kept for many days, at Cassergode, a coast-town thirty-five miles south
of Mangalore, with orders not to act but in repelling an attack : and
this at a time when a traveller passing through that part of the country
wrote — "All is as quiet as if the street were covered with straw!"
Several Rajahs, living a few miles distant, wrote to Mangalore, com-
plaining of being deserted, and stating that not one of the ordinary
public Officers had been near them since the first outbreak. The Rajahs
received no answer. They then addressed the Joint-Magistrate ; he said
he would forward their remonstrance to the Huzzoor (the Presence).
One of the Rajahs showed a Mangalore Proclamation, offering 1,000
Rupees reward for the apprehension of certain persons who, it was
stated, "Tiad assembled with bad intentions," but apparently without
names, for names they had none ! The people in South Canara appeared
to think their plight had been considered too bad for remedy, and hence
all attempt at protecting them withheld; or, as was said, "theSirkar
seemed dead, and his servants discharged." They contrasted their situ-
ation with that of their neighbours in North Malabar. The Magistrate
there, Mr. Clementson, left witiiout one European Assistant, immediately
dispatched Sheristedar K. Karnagara Menon, one of the best known and
most influential men in the country, with instructions to see all the Rajahs
and principal men, to inform them that he was in the neighbourhood
(at Cannanore), and assure them they had nothing whatever to fear
from anything that had occurred in Canara, — a mission which the Sheris-
tedar faithfully, ably, and most diligently executed.


angel to descend from heaven, his Lordship in Council will
not beheve, that a few wild, untutored men, dwelling in
their jungles and mountains, who never heard of the name
of war until three years ago, when they beheld their
Swamee, their God as they called their Rajah, the Rajah
of Coorg, hurled in three days from his throne by the
British power, as an elephant tramples down a worm, that
such men could have worked themselves up to face that
power, unless goaded on by the sense of some intolerable
wrong or oppression ! They would have as soon thought of
facing the thunderbolt. But this letter, rather than the
subject, demands an end. 1 shall close it with the follow-
ing questions : — ^Is what I have stated true? If true, does
it concern the Governor in Council of Madras, more than
all men, to know it?

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your most obedient Servant,

F. C. Brown.


Cunnanore, 6th April, 1837.

I REGRET to have to notify, for the information of
the Right Honourable the Governor in Council, intelligence
of the most disastrous nature, and which from the conse-
quences likely to accrue from it must, I have every reason
to believe, be attended with a vast loss of life, both to the
Civil and Military Departments of the Government, and


which, from the entire stop put by the rebels to all com-
munication by Tappal from Mangalore, will probably be
the first intimation Government can receive on the subject:
consequently, I will attempt to lay before the Right Honour-
able the Governor in Council, the whole of the particulars,
commencing from the period the INIilitary were first called
out, until the hour I left Mangalore ; viz. two o'clock on
Wednesday the 5th of April.

On the night (ten o'clock) of the 30th of March, the

Collector of the district, Mr. , without having the

slightest idea of any spirit of disaffection existing in the
district, received information from a Tahsildar of a Talook
of the territory bordering upon the confines belonging to the
late Rajah of Coorg, that numbers of the inhabitants of the
Coorg country had suddenly risen, and taken possession of

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Online LibraryFrancis Carnac BrownLetters to and from the Government of Madras, relative to the disturbances in Canara, in April, 1837, with some explanatory notes. To which is prefixed a letter to the Honourable the Court of Directors of the East India Company → online text (page 10 of 19)