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 6 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 6 of 19)
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records at the India House, the trial, almost recent, of
Ramiah, "a Native Officer of the Government," the head
Sheristedar of Coimbetoor, and the very first Native in
rank, character, and consideration, throughout that large
Province. This Native Officer was tried by a European


Commission held under the same Regulation, consisting also
of a sole Commissioner, he, his accuser, the Collector and
Magistrate of the Province, and his Superior; and as the
Regulation enjoins, "in the way which in his particular case
was deemed most convenient.^' The way was, that this Na-
tive Officer, of the highest rank and station among a mil-
lion and more of his countrymen, was suddenly seized with-
out warning or accusation, suspended from office, separated
from all his family, kept a close prisoner in his house,
debarred access to any person whatever, all his private
papers and letters, all his accounts, all his books, seized and
carried off', — the houses of all his relatives, all his friends,
searched and ransacked, in order to discover a trace of evi-
dence to criminate him ; depositions against him extorted
by fear and threats; every word and every act of his life,
public and private, sought, traced, and hunted out, to be
tortured into a matter of charge; in fine, every oppression,
every cruelty, every indignity, which tyranny, whetted
apparently by baffled malignity, could devise, was heaped
upon his defenceless head. Not for days, nor even weeks,
but for many months following, was this Native Officer
knowingly subjected to this treatment, before the Board of
Revenue, the Superiors of his accuser and Judge, inter-
fered to mitigate its rigour. At length, at the expiration
of about three years of open shame and intolerable dis-
grace, this Native Officer was wholly acquitted, not of
crime, not of guilt, for suspicion was, from the first, the sole
matter of charge against him ; he was acquitted of all
suspicion of " violation of public duty :" he was so wholly
acquitted, both in India and by your Honourable Court,
that he is now, under your express sanction and authority,
the first and the only Native of Madras, who has been
raised to the office of Assistant Collector. If the record
of his trial were efFaceable, I cannot but be persuaded that
your Honourable Court, individually and collectively, heard
the aniple and authentic details of the treatment he suffered


from the mouth of Mr. John Sullivan, whose head Sheris-
tedar for eight years in Coimbetoor Ramiah was, and as he
there left him, loaded with the highest praise.

Was the voice of your Honourable Court heard in the
farthest corners of India, denouncing in accents of thunder
the treatment, called a trial, of this high Native Officer ?
Did any Gazette, any publication, any paper, accessible to
the Natives, appear, filled with your Honourable Court's
indignation at this conduct; reprobating it, not as being
illegal — for what conduct to a Native is illegal ? * — but as
being worse than illegal, as being cruel, unfeeling, and
unmanly? No, not one: you preserved over all the silence
of the dead. Be not surprised, therefore, for the blame
is not theirs, if the Natives are prepared, nor if they
have been fully prepared, to hear your voice now resound
at Madras, fraught with loud echoes of the praises,
the thanks, and the General Orders, which have been
lavished and published on all the deeds and achievements
at Mangalore.

36. Such, then, to sum up all in a few brief words, are

* Regulation II. of 1802, sect. 10: "The Zillah (local) Courts are
prohibited from entertaining any cause which, from the production of a
former decree, or the records of the Court, or other instrument, shall
appear to have been heard and determined by any former Judge, Super-
intendent of a Court, Collector, or other public officer, having competent
jurisdiction or authority."

Sect. 11:" The Zillah Courts are prohibited from interfering in any
respect in any cause or matter of a criminal nature, declared cognizable by
the Magistrates of the several Zillahs, the Courts of Circuit, or the Fonj-
dary Udalut, or any Courts for the trial of cases of a criminal nature,
that now exist, or which may hereafter he established."

Sect. 15 : " If a Native, or any other person not being a British sub-
ject, shall consider himself aggrieved under any established Regulation,
by an act done by any of the officers of Government described in Sect. 7
(Collectors of Revenue and their Assistants, &c.), pursuant to a special
order originating with the Governor in Council, or the Board of Revenue
or Trade, the officer by whom the act may be done shall not be liable lo be
sued for it."


the Governor in Council, whom European British subjects,
that is to say EngHshmen at Madras, are expected to reve-
rence and obey; such the Judges of Circuit, the Judges of
Civil and Criminal Justice, to whom alone they are now
made amenable in all cases not capital ; such the Collector-
Magistrates, alone exercising police jurisdiction over their
persons, and vested with revenue authority over their pro-

37. But the fate and fortunes of these aliens in India,
however indissolubly bound up with all the future hopes and
prospects of that great country, however certainly the cor-
ner stone of all solid, rational, belief in the easy, secure, and
permanent retention of that, her fourth vast Empire by
Great Britain, are as dust in the balance, when weighed
against the condition, present and to come, of its millions
of Natives. If Englishmen, the ornament and security of
every other region on the globe which they are suffered to
inhabit and improve, be the bane and the ruin of India,
and if it be thought at Madras that, although it be unavoid-
able legally to tolerate, it is indispensable practically to pro-
scribe them, let them be proscribed. But the Natives cannot
all expatriate themselves ; the Natives cannot all go to De-
nierara, to Jamaica, to Australia, to Mauritius, to Ceylon, to
the four quarters of the earth, where outstretched arms are
beckoning them to come in thousands and tens of thousands,
and offering, as an irresistible inducement for life-transport-
ation, abundant food for their starving bodies, and ample
occupation for their idle hands.

38. For the wants and necessities of those among them
who, resisting these allurements, prefer dwelling and de-
scending to the grave in the land, wherein their forefathers
dwelt in honour and died in peace, for thousands of years
before your rule, some attention, some consideration, will be
pronounced to be due. The most instant, the most urgent,
the most pressing, of all those present wants and necessities
is, that their sacred — sacred because helpless — cries of


local injustice and oppression shall directly reach your
Honourable Court and the people of England, through the
channel of persons, who shall be linked to them by the ties
of a common caste, a common country, a common lan-
guage, a common kindred, and more than all, and above
all, these requisites, by the ties and sympathies of a com-
mon humanity. Let me, therefore, most humbly and most
earnestly implore your Honourable Court to blot from your
recollection that it is an Englishman who is addressing you :
let me intreat you to banish from your minds the individual
— obnoxious if he unhappily be — who has been driven
before you to state their wrongs : let me, with respect not to
be surpassed, beseech you, solicitous as you are of knowing
their wants and of supplying their necessities, and valuing,
as beyond human price, the future peace and repose of your
own breasts, to do a blessed violence to your imaginations,
and to see before you, not him, this individual, but one of
your Native subjects, a Native of Madras : to see, only, one
of these Natives, who has left his home and country, and
appears a suppliant in your presence, bending under the
load he produces of official proofs and documents, establish-
ing in characters ineffaceable, the cruel sufferings and
calamities in which thousands of his fellow-subjects have
been plunged, wholly innocent as they were, even in thought,
of all crime and of all guilt towards the British Govern-
ment : proofs showing that, under a reliance upon your
anticipated silence and tacit approval, more than the law's
vengeance has been let loose and wreaked upon their per-
sons, their liberty, their homes, and their property ; in order
that this signal punishment, proclaimed to the world as the
due of traitors, might hide from the light of day the know-
ledge of the conduct of the Officers, Civil and Military,
at Mangalore ; whose meeting, whose resolution, and whose
attempt, to abandon the Capital and the Province of Ca-
nara, that trust confided to them by the British people,
more than a whole day before a man opposed to them


appeared, caused universal panic and confusion throughout
the whole Native population, far and near; which panic
and confusion, inevitable from such conduct, were after-
wards seized upon, to represent and to convert a mob-rising
of, at first, a few ignorant wild men, into general insurrec-
tion and civil war.

As the first and immediate reparation of wrongs and suf-
ferings such as these, and as an eternal barrier placed by
the virtue of your Honourable Court, against the recurrence
of the dishonour which has been brought upon the name of
England, this suppliant prays, that your Honourable Court
will not suffer another dispatch to depart for Madras, with-
out conveying in it your positive and peremptory orders to
the Governor in Council, to elect and immediately to cause
two or more Natives to take their seats, now and in all time
coming, as Members of the Council of Government at that

39. It is this first and indispensable act of justice and
humanity, this instant protection against the perpetration
of similar wrongs and outrages which the Natives of Madras,
with all respect and with all humility, now beseech at the
hands of your Honourable Court, entreating that their
cause may not fail from the weakness of the advocate.*

* The acts of the Governor in Council will best show his disposition
to give effect to the injunctions of the legislature, which has ordered, that
no Native shall be excluded from holding any office, by reason of his
birth, caste, colour, or religion.

In January, 18^, the Government acknowledged the receipt of a
Memorial, from the Native Gentlemen of Madras, praying to be enrolled
as Justices of the Peace, with or without emolument. Four months after,
a public paper, the Madras United Service Gazette, informs the world —
" The acts of Lord Elphinstone's Government, from the day of his arrival
in India, have deservedly gained him golden opinions from every class of
society. It is our highly gratifying task to announce, that the Right
Honourable the Governor's Private Secretary, on the 3d May, made
known that, with reference to an address presented to him by certain
Native Gentlemen, seeking to be admitted as Justices of tiie Peace, Lord
Elphinstone had been pleased to accede to the wishes therein expressed,


But, whether his pleadino- be successful or spurned, whe-
ther it be read or despised, your Honourable Court will, he
trusts, acquit him, after your having withlield, for four

and that he had determined to include the names of three Hindoo
Gentlemen in the commission about to be issued (here follow the names)
three of the most wealthy and respectable Native Gentlemen at Madras.
Heartily do we congratulate these Gentlemen on the honour that awaits
them, and in all sincerity do we rejoice at seeing the road to distinction
thus gradually opening to the Natives of this Presidency."

Madras has been in the possession of the British Crown for upwards
of two centuries (1630.) It is the capital of a kingdom far larger and
more populous than many kingdoms in Europe: its population has been
rated at 400,000 souls. It is here seen that, in the fifth year of the Charter,
after a pause of five months, a Governor is said to win " golden
opinions," because he lias discovered that three Native Gentlemen,
the most wealthy and respectable, may be placed '* on the road to dis-
tinction," by being nominated Justices of the Peace. Three persons out
of 400,000 ; out of a population twice as large as that of Glasgow, the
second city in the United Kingdom ! If there be no more Natives fit
for this titular office, what can be said for the Government ? if there be
more, what can be said of the mockery offered to them and to the
Natives at large by the parade of selecting three after five months' choice?

Such are the great and numerous distinctions showered upon the
Natives of Madras as the meed of unblemished lives ! As to their
masters, the European functionaries, the following is another signal
public instance of the sure and solid rewards which await, and which the
Governor in Council fails not to make an occasion for bestowing upon,
desert among them.

On the 8th May, 1838, the Fort St. George Gazette notified the pro-
motion to the dignity of Acting 2d Judge of the Court of Circuit and
Appeal for the Provinces of Malabar and Canara, stationed at Telli-
cherry, of the Criminal Judge who, on the 6lh April, 1837, just one
twelvemonth before, had reported to the Governor in Council his " safe
embarkation" and arrival from Mangalore, and the more than probable
massacre of all the Europeans and Sepoys by the insurgents! The
vacancy for this promotion was made, by sending the 2d Judge of that
Court, the same Judge whose public conduct on the Commission at
Mangalore the Governor in Council had stigmatized as "vexatious,"
" discreditable, and injurious to the public service," to preside over
another Commission assembled three hundred miles off, and nearer to
Madras, a place filled, one would suppose, with functionaries as fit, or


months, from his former letter the honour of a simple
acknowledgment, of having voluntarily sought again to in-
trude upon your notice. You will, he doubts not, arrive

who ought (o be as fit, as he for the duty ; by again sending off this
Judge at tlie hottest and most unhealthy season of the year, when it was
certain that he, or the Natives he would be obliged to take, must suffer from
the malignant fevers which, at that time, infect the jungles they would
have to travel through. Even this will, perhaps, be pronounced " too
bad!" But there was, as there is, in the same Court another, the third,
Judge, who, while the Criminal Judge of Mangalore (looking only to
time) has served ten years in India, has served twice the same number of
years in those two Provinces ; who, throughout those twenty years, has
never suffered a day to pass over his head without devoting a part of it
to the exemplary discharge of his duty. It is fit that the name of this
Gentleman, an example of public duty, conduct, and integrity, be known:
it is W. B. Anderson, Esq. of the Madras Civil Service. This act, there-
fore, the promotion of the Mangalore Judge, ten years his junior, but
fortunately brother to a Member of Council, having first accomplished
the punishment of the 2d Judge, was not considered complete without
the supercession and degradation of such a man as the 3d Judge, put
upon him in his own Court, and before all the Natives of the two
Provinces. Of course, in a few months, the instant his service expires,
he quits the country for ever, making way for a College-writer to govern
it, stimulated by the twofold example set before him. But can there be any
other design, in deliberate, premeditated acts like these, than to try how
the Natives shall be brought most to abhor, and most to despise, a
Government capable of them? Such an act proves, that that Govern-
ment holds them to have neither feelings nor opinions on the occasion.
What voice did make itself heard in Council I know not; after the ap-
pointment had been duly made and publicly appeared, it was sub-
sequently cancelled.

To show how utterly blind that Government is to the plainest indica-
tions of public feeling manifested by the Natives, even under its own
eyes, and how fatally ignorant and indifferent it will one day be dis-
covered to be, to all their opinions and sentiments growing up and
maturing around it, I cannot refrain from inserting an address, which
the Natives of Madras presented in Novr. 1837, to the late Governor of
Ceylon; an island quite distinct from the Government of India, and in
which six years of a wise and just administration have sufficed to intro-
duce and give life to public reforms and general improvements, so
wholesome and beneficial, as to have wrought a revolution well nigh


with him at the conviction that, whatever may be the con-
sequences to himself, whether greater loss, or eventual
ruin, or the breaking up of all the future tranquillity and

miraculous in the well-being of the people, and have made them, as the
revenues of the island attest, and close observation will bear out, among
the most prosperous, contented, and happy of any people in the world.

*' To His Excellency the Right Honourable Sir Robert Wilmot Horton,

Bt. C.C.H., Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Ceylon.
*' Right Honourable Sir,

" The times are gone by when those, who wielded the destinies of
India, regarded the welfare of its inhabitants as an object of secondary
importance, if indeed they considered it at all worthy of their serious
attention. The views of the former were opposed to the interests of the
latter, and thus the rulers saw reasons, arising out of the unnatural posi-
tion which they occupied with respect to the governed, to induce them
to suspect tlie attachment of a conquered people ; while to give addi"
tional magnitude to the evil, they looked upon them as too ignorant to
desire, and too contemptible to deserve, any consideration. A change has
come over the spirit of the times ; other men have succeeded these mono-
polists of power, and better measures have been substituted in the place
of a system of exclusive benefits ; so that a more liberal policy has at
length begun to identify the interests of Government with those of the
millions committed to its protection. The principles of Government in
operation are some of the causes of this alteration in the sentiments of
those entrusted with the administration of the affairs of India ; but the
country is chiefly indebted for the improvement, which has already in
part taken place in the condition of the people, to the good-will and
exertion of a few enlightened Statesmen, who, liberating their powerful
minds from theshackles of preconceived notions, justly base the stability
of this portion of the British empire on the attachment of the people,
and the prosperity of Government on the elevation of all classes of their
Indian subjects, to an equality with themselves in the possession and
exercise of political privileges.

"As Hindoos of this part of India, we exult in the prospect which opens
before us, and rejoice to number your Excellency among the benefactors
of our country. Though not immediately affected by the liberal prin-
ciples brought under your Government into beneficial operation, as
regards the welfare of the inhabitants of Ceylon, yet we know that their
influence cannot be limited to that island, and that the moral efl'ect of
your noble example will extend beyond it, and be felt in the councils of


amenities of his private life, the time is imperatively come
when, to address to your Honourable Court the words he
used to the Government of Madras, " to preserve silence on
the subjects of this Letter would be treason to the People
of England."

I have the honour to be,

Honourable Sirs,
Your most obedient, humble Servant,
And in India,
Your faithful, devoted subject,


London, 26th October, 1838.

the Legislative authorities of this part of the country, and tlius by its
indirect influence and necessary tendency, ultimately carry forward the
final emancipation of India; the foundation of which is already laid in
the recognition of the liberties of the people by the Legislative provisions
of the Charter. But in you, the Natives of India have had a zealous
defender of their privileges, and one memorable occasion in which you
prominently stood forth as the champion of those privileges in the island
of Ceylon, shall never be forgotten.

"Thus being endeared to the Native community, you are justly regarded
as one of the best benefactors of an ancient and numerous people, who
have adopted this mode of expressing, however feebly, their sincere
regard for your person and respect for your virtue. We, the Hindoos of
Madras, cannot of course represent the whole body of the Natives of
India, but we are confident that we are not alone in the expression of the
attachment and gratitude to which you have entitled yourself. — We do
not, therefore, scruple in the name of the community, to wish you a safe
return to your native country, and the enjoyment of every possible hap-
piness and prosperity,

" We have the honour to subscribe,
" Right Honourable Sir,
Your Excellency's most obedient and humble Servants,"
; ^ [The Signatures.]


(Note A. Page 23.)


Sir, Fort St. George.

1. I have the honour to request that the Judges of the Fonjdaree
Udalut will do me the favour to submit the following remarks to the
consideration of the Right Honourable the Governor in Council, with a
hope that he may be pleased to review the severe expressions of disap-
probation conveyed in the Extract from the Minutes of Consultation
under date the 24th ultimo, copy of which reached me on the 4th instant.

2. The Governor in Council declares, 1st, that he has a " very unfa-
vourable opinion of my conduct;" 2d, that I have "given way to pri-
vate feelings and idle notions of dignity;" 3d, that I have acted in a
manner which is " highly discreditable" to me, and calculated to " prove
injurious to the public interest;" 4th, that my proceedings are the less
excusable, as I cannot plead inexperience or ignorance of what was
expected of me; 5th, that my interference was vexatious; 6th, that I
have previously rendered myself obnoxious to the censures of Govern-
ment, for precisely similar conduct; and, in conclusion, I am warned,
that a repetition of such proceedings will be visited by a more decided
mark of the displeasure of Government.

3. The second of these declarations appears to be the most serious, as
it impeaches my veracity; for I am sworn to act on public grounds. In
the 9th paragraph of my proceedings of the 20th June, I declared, that
it was " not my wish to embarrass the Magistrate, or to interfere unne-
cessarily with the execution of his duty ;" and, in the 5th paragraph of
my letter to you, dated the 24th June, I (in reference to observations of
the Magistrate regarding "conduct not characterized by good feeling")
disclaim any other feeling "than what duty prompts."

4. As the Court of Fonjdaree Udalut give me credit for right
motives, on a view of what was submitted to them, the opinion of Govern-
ment may, perhaps, be foimded on something hastily introduced into



the Magistrate's addresses to Government, the language of whicli is de-
clared to be "objectionable." However the case may be, I trust that I
shall not be denied a declaration of the grounds on which the decision is
founded, if the Right Honourable the Governor in Council, on review
of what is already before them, and what I now submit, should still
adhere to so unfavourable an opinion of me.

5. As evidence that my conscience has acquitted me, and that I have
full confidence that even the Magistrate would not deliberately attribute
to me unworthy motives, I have to refer to the correspondence annexed to
this marked A., in which it will be seen that, on receipt of the observa-
tions of Government, I requested him, not only to state whether he was
of opinion that private feelings influenced me, and, if so, the grounds
thereof, but also to declare whether I had not, upon all occasions, co-
operated with him in the most cordial manner.

6. Mr. has not made so explicit an acknowledgment as I

expected. It, therefore, devolves on me to say, that I have repeatedly
brought to his notice good and bad conduct of his public servants,
observed on trials before the Special Commission, and that he has acted
in many instances on my information, in dismissing, or rewarding; that
I have communicated to him all information, relating to the rebellion,

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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 6 of 19)