Price Four Rupees Eight Annas.
te Jlamttbe of (torge frattris (Irani.
o?<j t>? 1911'
LIFE OF A GENTLEMAN
LONG RESIDENT IN INDIA.
BY G. F. GRAND.
A NEW EDITION
THE CALCUTTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
INTRODUCTION, NOTES AND
WALTER K. FIRMINGER.
CALCUTTA HISTORICAL SOCETY,
28, DALHOUSIE SQUARE, CALCUTTA.
Printed by D. L. MONRO at THE CALCUTTA GENERAL PRINTING COMPANY,
^oo, Bowbazar Street, and Published by the CALCUTTA HISTORICAL
SOCIETY at 28, Dalhousie Square, Calcutta.
LIFE OF A GENTLEMAN
LONG RESIDENT IN INDIA.
COMPREHENDING A PERIOD OF THE MOST EVENTFUL
IN THE HISTORY OF THAT COUNTRY, WITH REGARD
TO THE REVOLUTIONS OCCASIONED BY EUROPEAN
INTERFERENCE, AND INTERSPERSED WITH INTEREST-
ING ANECDOTES, AND TRAITS CHARACTERISTICAL OF
THOSE EMINENT PERSONS WHO DISTINGUISHED
THEMSELVES AT THAT JUNCTURE.
CAPE OF GOOD HOPE :
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR
INTRODUCTION BY THE EDITOR ... ... ... vii
ADVERTISEMENT ... ... _ ... xvii
PREFACE ... ... ... ... xviii
CHAPTER i. EARLY LIFE AND FIRST VOYAGE TO INDIA... i
2. CAREER AS A SOLDIER ... ... 13
,, 3. THE WRECK OF THE " AURORA " CALCUTTA
A JOURNEY HOME... ... ... 35
4. " NABOBS "APPOINTED A FACTOR ENG-
LAND ... ... ... ... 43
5. RETURN TO INDIA MADRAS IN 1775 ... 65
6. CALCUTTA IN 1775 ... ... ... 73
,, 7. MARRIAGE PHILIP FRANCIS INTERVENES ... 81
,, 8. HEAD COMMERCIAL ASSISTANT AT PATNA... 89
9. EVENTS FOLLOWING FRANCIS' RETURN HOME
BENARES CHUNAR ... ... lot
,. io. COLLECTOR OF TIRHOOT AND HAZEEPORE... 115
,, ii. GRAND LOSES HIS COLLECTORSHIP AND is IN
TROUBLE ... ... ... 121
12. REVIEW OF HISTORICAL EVENTS 1788-1799 151
,. 13. FINAL DEPARTURE FROM INDIA ... 174
ORIGINAL APPENDIX ... ... ... ... 202
NEW APPENDIX ... ... ... 251
NOTES ... ... ... ... ... 271
INDEX ... ... ... ... ... 321
ERRATA AND ADDENDA ... ... ... ... 336
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
1. COL. MORDAUNT'S COCKFIGHT AT LUCKNOW FRONTISPIECE.
IN THE PROVINCE OF OUDH. Painted by
Zoffany. Col. Polier, vide pp. 31 and 274,
is seen, the most prominent figure in the back-
ground, hand resting on his stick. The
person, apparently seated on the back of the
sofa, with a hukha in his hand, is Mr.
Womb well, Paymaster at Lucknow. Vidt
2. WARREN HASTINGS, GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF To FACE P. 7 2
BENGAL. Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds,
Engraved by Thos. Watson. March 26th,
3. SOOKSAGUR HOUSE From Colesworthy Grant's ,, 18
Rural Life in Bengal.
4. LA PRINCESSE DE TALLEYRAND. By Madame ,, 85
Vigte Le Brun.
5. WARREN HASTINGS' BUNGALOW, CHUNAR. ,, 105
Photo by A. de Cosson, Esq>
6. CHUNAR, NORTH FACE OF THE FORT. Photo 107
by A. de Cosson, Esq.
7. CHUNAR, RIVER VIEW. Photo by A. dt Cosson, ,, 113
8. BERHAMPORE IN 1805. From a Colour-drawing 137
by S. Moffat.
9. MARQUESS CORNWALLIS ... ... ,, 151
10. MARQUESS WBLLESLEY ... ... ,, 167
11. THE MARQUESS OF WELLESLEY. Portrait by ,, 199
R. Home and J. Heath.
12. TANK SQUARE, CALCUTTA. By W. Baillit 203
13. SOOKSAGUR RUINS. From Coleswortby Grant's ,, 289
Rural Life in Bengal.
14. MARY DUCHESS OF ANCASTER. From Metto- ,, 282
tint by f. McArdell after Thos. Hudson.
IT is not known whether or no this little book was,
before this present edition, ever published. The title-
page shows that it was u printed for the Author " at the
Cape of Good Hope in 1814, and its circulation may,
perhaps, like that of a previous book of Grand's on the
Land Revenues of Bengal, have been intended for a
limited circulation amongst the influential friends of
the Author. In the original it forms a quarto volume
of seventy-five pages and an Appendix of xxxi.
Dr. Busteed notes that the copy in the British Museum
has a pasted-in flyleaf u in which, written apparently
in a senile hand, is this note signed Jno. Row
' The annexed Narrative was the first book printed
in the English language at the Cape of Good Hope,
and was given me by Mr. Smith.' "
The India Office copy has been transcribed for me
by Mr. T. Taplin. It is a copy presented to the India
Office Library by Archibald Constable.
We may observe (p. 202) that Grand completed
the book at the Cape on ist February 1808, when
blessed in his " second domestic attachment." * The
incident of his first domestic attachment has its place
* This seems to show that the book could not have been written
ptur fairs chantet in 1814 or 1815. The book, although completed
in 1808, was not printed before 1814, a date, it might have
seemed, when Napoleon's fall would have rendered the Princesse
de Talleyrand amenable to unfavourable treatment by the restored
in the autobiography, but it is quite secondary to his
complaints on the score of the ill-treatment he con-
ceived himself to have received from Lord Cormvallis.
Strangely enough, in Elijah Barwell Impey's Memoirs
of Sir Elijah Impey (p. 308) there is a passage in which
Grand's Narrative is spoken of as if it were intended
by its author to serve as blackmail on the Princesse
de Talleyrand. Impey's son (a most incompetent
apologist) tells us that both Grand and his former wife
came to England in 1815 ; "his object was to publish the
particulars of that lady's life at Calcutta, in revenge
for his disappointment at Batavia her's to seek for
riches for that publication." This passage is the only
evidence that can be produced for the assertion that
Grand after 1802 ever again revisited England, but
Elijah Barwell Impey, not only asserts that Grand was
in England in 1815 but that both Grand and his former
wife were there and sought his advice.* u This advice,"
he says, "of course, was very unpalatable to both: the
lady took a legal opinion, and the gentleman took
himself off. What has become of him since, I know
not." Impey fils tells us that he saw the book " a
paltry book, published at the Cape." It need hardly
be pointed out that Grand had been a servant of the
Batavian Republic, not at Batavia, but at the Cape of
Good Hope. It is just possible that there is a chapter
of the story for the present, and perhaps for a long
time to come, doomed to oblivion. That the book
completed in 1808, and printed in 1814, was not written
* The Princess was in England in 1815.
with a view to blackmail the unfortunate Princesse
de Talleyrand seems to me to be apparent whether
we read it from line to line or read it " between
thejiaes." The question is whether or no the younger
Impey's unsupported statements can be received with
any credit whatever. He is a thoroughly inaccurate
writer, and not the least reliance can be based on his
unsupported assertions : and yet I scruple to believe
him to be absolutely dishonest. He tells us, for
instance, that in December 1801 or thereabouts he was
present at a re-union at Neuilly of u Sir Elijah and
Lady Impey, M. and Me. de Talleyrand, Sir Philip
Francis, and Mr. Le Grand ! " Grand, when the story
of this alleged re-union reached him in South Africa,
indignantly denied that he had ever seen his wife
since 1778. But the fact remains that the younger
Impey asserts that he met both Grand and his divorced
wife in 1801 and again in 1815 : and it is a question T
therefore, not of Impey's accuracy, but of his veracity.
It cannot, however, be believed that this book was
composed to serve as blackmail. If in 1815, Grand
attempted to make use of it for a purpose so dis-
honourable, we may ask what is there in it that could
have served such a purpose ? By that date Madame
de Talleyrand must have been quite prepared for the
worst construction of her past history. It is far more
likely that this book was written to set forth a tale
of woe against Lord Cornwallis and his colleagues.
It is an attack on Lord Cornwallis' administration in
the two most vital points the mismanaged war in
Mysore with its weak termination, and the policy of
the Permanent Settlement. The account of the war
against Tipu Sultan is in reality no account at all ;
it is but a partisan representation of certain events in
The lavish praise bestowed upon Warren Hastings
in the Narrative would be remarkable were it not
that Grand was so clearly Hastings's dependent. It is
significant that Grand says not a word about the second
Mrs. Warren Hastings, of whom he must have seen
a great deal, and, when he goes home in 1773, on the
Marquis of Rockingham^ he does not tell us that one
of his fellow passengers was the Baron Charles Von
Imhoff.* It is fairly clear that Grand knew how to
keep his tongue quiet. The humiliating account
he gives of General Richard Smith's birth and failings
might perhaps be ascribed to the fact the General was
a close supporter of Francis, the professing political
purist, and that Smith was one of the leaders in the
Parliamentary proceedings for the impeachment of
Hastings and Impey. Grand's review of Hastings'
policy has a real claim to be considered of independent
It can hardly be doubted that the interest of this
book to many who purchase it in the present edition
will be centred in that lady who, despite spurious
and unworthy portraits, over every generation of
Calcutta antiquaries exercises an extraordinary charm.
Dr. Busteed in the latest edition of the Echoes from
Old Calcutta has thrown so much fresh light on
* Imhoff was deported from Calcutta by order of the Court. See
Bengal: Past and Present, Vol. III., pp. 145-6.
the later history of Catherine Noel Verlee that it is
now almost possible to write an independent biography
of her. I shall not attempt to repeat even in the most
brief manner the facts of the history which Dr. Busteed
has revealed with enormous industry, and has set forth
with a charm so well known to readers of his more than
admirable work.* Having carefully considered the
facts, I must, however, confess that I hold that
although it is abundantly clear that on the night of the
8th December 1778, Philip Francis did, beyond all
doubt, visit the Grands' house with a criminal intent,
yet as Sir Robert Chambers if Hicky's Gazette may
be trusted puts it.
"i. There is no proof, either positive or circums-
tantial, that Mrs. Grand knew of, or
previously consented to his (Francis') coming
for any purpose.
u 2. There is no proof, either direct or founded on
violent presumption, that they were actually
together, much less that they committed
any crime together."
There has been a great deal of careless writing on the
subject. Even Sir James Fitzjames Stephen has said
"that in the case of Grandv. Francis 'it was proved
that he (Francis) got into her (Mrs. Grand's) bedroom
by a ladder.'! Nothing of the kind was asserted at
the time. The ladder was not set up against the house,
but against the wall running round the compound ;
* In addition to the documents quoted by Busteed, see the papers
printed in the Second Appendix to this Volume,
f Nuncomar and fmfey, Vol. II., p. 1 12.
there is not only no proof to show that Francis
reached Mrs. Grand's room, but good ground for
believing that he never got upstairs. The only
ground for believing that she and Francis ever met in
the upper part of the house is Grand's statement,
that she confessed her shame to him ! That Francis
was ever a successful lover of Mrs. Grand at all may
even be doubted that he was wildly enamoured is
Two things should be remembered about Mrs.
Grand at this time. She was born on 2ist November
1762, and therefore was at the time of Francis's trespass
only a little over sixteen years of age. Secondly, war
had broken out between England and France some few
months before, and her relatives at Chandernagore
had been reduced to a state of the greatest poverty.
When, on 9th December, Grand sent the poor child back
to her married half-sister's home at Chandernagore,
he was sending her to a ruined household. In the
year following we find her brother-in-law a prisoner of
war in the newly opened jail on the Maidan and her
aged father all but begging his bread at Balasore.
That having lost her reputation, the girl ultimately
went astray is unfortunately too true : but there
is quite enough in the early stages of her history
to win for her a sympathy, if indeed she would,
either then or now, care to have it so.
* Lady Francis records that her husband always maintained that
he had been an unsuccessful claimant to Mrs. Grand's affections.
Francis's refusal to meet Grand in a duel points this way.
That in after years our Author did sponge on his wife
is beyond doubt. Catherine Noel married Talley-
rand on 9th September 1802.* Grand would lead us
to suppose that his appointment by the Batavian
Government was due to the influence of his own
family, but Dr. Busteed has shown that Talleyrand
was the suggester of the appointment and that the
Princesse urged M. Van der Goes, the Minister for
Foreign Affairs of the Batavian Republic, to get
Grand, her real husband, u de s'embarquer sans
Since the appearance of the latest edition of
Dr. Busteed's Echoes from Old Calcutta (4th edition,
1908), which threw so much new light on Mrs.
Grand's career immediately following her departure
from India, we have heard a good deal about her
parentage and family from Mr. Lehuraux, the indus-
trious historian of Chandernagore, and also a great
deal from other writers about her later life in Paris.
We have heard of her in the Memoires de la Comtesse
de Boigne (where there is an unpleasant and incredible
anecdote) and in the Chronique de la Duchesse de
Dino, Monsieur R. Guyot gave several pictures of her
in an article " Madame Grand a Paris " in the Feuilles
d'Histdre of May 1 909, and last year we have from
M. Bernard de Lacombe a volume, which has al-
ready reached a third edition La Vie Privce de
Talleyrand Son Emigration Son marriage Sa
Retraite Sa Conversion Sa Mort. That the closing
* Le 22 Fructidor An X.
t See for evidence the notes at the conclusion of this volume
years of her life must have been sad ones we cannot
doubt. She died on the loth December 1839, as
Dr. Busteed correctly says, and not the 9th, as the
Duchesse de Dino records. On hearing of her death,
the ex-Bishop of Autun (with a brutality character-
istic of him) remarked u Ceci simplifie beaucoup ma
We have so long been asked to accept various
pictures as portraits of Madame Grand (the Serampore
daub for instance), that it is pleasing to know that the
portrait by Mlde. Vigee Le Brun which we have been
kindly permitted by Messrs. Thacker Spink to repro-
duce here, is undoubtedly genuine. Here is M.
Lacombe's description of the picture : u Sa taille souple
et gracieuse s'abandonne dans une attitude de repos.
Elle songe ; ses grands yeux candides semblent suivre
a travers 1'espace un reve heureux. Les traits du visage,
eclaires de cote, sont d'une finesse exquise ; le mention
est delicat ; les levres s'entr'ouvrent pour un sourire ;
les chevaux, releves et frises, entourent le front
d'une aureole legere, et retombent en boucles
sompteuses sur la gorge nue. Enfin, pour completer
le sujet, une toilette d'une elegance tres sobre, ou le
bleu pale, le gris et le blanc se foudent harmonieusement,
et qui n'a, pour ornements, qu'un fichu des mousseline
encadrant le de"colletage, un large noeud de sole
bleue des les cheveux, un autre sur la poitrine."* Yet
the portrait strikes M. Lacombe, as it must strike us,
* Here is an account of a ball dress worn by Madame Grand on
February 22nd, 1787 : " Un fourreau de taffetas blanc borde d'une
frange de sole rose, une jupe de crepe blanc raye" de ruban de
" Que dirait, devant le portrait de cette jeune femme r
au regard doux et sentimental, qu'un orage avait deja
boulverse sa vie ? "
I have endeavoured to make the Narrative easier
to read by breaking it up into chapters : in the
original it is continuous. The footnotes in square
brackets I have added myself : the others are from
the original. I have occasionally inserted dates (in
brackets) in order to fix the reader's attention. The
index is a new feature. Grand is far from being an
accurate writer, as will be observed from the comments
supplied in the footnotes and the notes at the
conclusion of this volume.
I am afraid the personality of the author of the
Narrative* will not impress the reader very favourably.
satin blanc paillete" en argent, horde" de meme ruban, les pare-
ments hordes idem et fleurs de laurier : les manchettes a deux
rangs de blonde batarde, les moignons de crepe blanc pailett
rattaches par un bracelet de pied d'alouette rose, une guirlande
de memes fleurs pour la taille, une ruche de tulle au bord du
corset." Cost 264 livres.
* When the press lists of the Imperial Record Department for the
Cornwallis period are published it will perhaps be possible to trace
the whole story of Grand's troubles in Behar but the most essential
documents are to be sought for at the Board of Revenue, Calcutta.
See Hunter Bengal MS. Records. In 1783 Grand brought charges
against the Judge at Durbungah which the Governor-General and
Council decided were "founded entirely on the misrepresentations of
your servants." In connection with this dispute, Grand wrote a letter
to the Chief Justice which is now among the Impey MSS. at the
British Museum. Dr. Busteed says that the letter shows that " the
writer was not only quarrelsome and self-important, tut a sneaking
sort of man also." Echoes, p. 278.
U A foreign adventurer with few scruples and with
little sense of honour," writes Mr. O'Malley in his
Gazetteer of Muzaffarpur. Yet, despite the many in-
accuracies in this book, despite the enormous conceit
which tempts us to place it aside with disgust, there is
so much that reveals the story of men and manners in
the days of Hastings and Cornwallis, that its publication,
I feel sure, will be welcomed. In the latter portion of
his narrative Grand is not telling us the whole truth,
and yet no doubt Behar owes him a debt for its once
flourishing indigo industry.
I have to express my gratitude to Mr. E. W. Madge
who, in my absence from Calcutta, has taken many
unselfish pains in hunting up for me the Registers at
St. John's and references to books in the libraries ;
to Mr. Lehura ux I am indebted for information derived
from the French archives at Chandernagore ; to Mr.
J. S. Davidson, J.P., for information about Grand's
connections by marriage the Ledlies ; and finally to
Mr. Cyril Champkin, for proof corrections and valuable
The dates of Grand's birth and death are not known.
According to Dodwell and Miles his commission as
Ensign was dated 1766, and this would lead us to
conjecture that he must have been born about 1749.
WALTER K. FIRMINGER.
SHILLONG, KHASI AND JANTIA HILLS,
33^ January, 1911.
I HAD long determined upon writing a narrative
of my life. It was suggested to me by friends who
felt for the vicissitudes which I had experienced.
I began it therefore in 1801, and continued it, from
time to time, till in 1808 I had brought it to a
close. The reason of the delay in its publication
has been detailed by notifications inserted in the
Cape Gazette. I thank those who have now afforded
me the opportunity of giving it to the world,
without subjecting me to a pecuniary loss. I
trust in its object removing the animadversions,
which men of illiberal dispositions, and perfectly
ignorant of what concerned me personally, had
endeavoured to impress the Public with, regarding
my career of service, and latterly the motives of
my actions. Equally do I hope, in behalf of my
much esteemed brother servants, that it will
conduce to render rulers cautious of infringing
and violating rights, which, by covenants exe-
cuted, and these sanctioned and established by
virtue of an Act of Parliament, each civil servant
of the East India Company is strongly entrenched
Should this have the desired effect, I shall
consider myself amply rewarded ; and in the
pleasure of having been the cause of doing away
an evil, and deterring those placed in power from
committing in future, acts which are not warrant-
able, I shall forget the individual wrongs which
I have suffered.
CAPE OF GOOD HOPE,! (Sd.) G. F. GRAND.
I5th April, 1814.. }
I HAVE long promised you, my dear friend, the
publication of the narrative of my life. You are
well aware that it was written at a period when my
prospects of advancement in rank and fortune were,
in an instant, blasted. The hasty and unexpected
decision of the Court of Directors, on my appeal to
their justice, against the arbitrary and illegal act
of their servants brought on this misfortune and
If befell me, likewise, at such an advanced time of
life and after above thirty years of honourable service,
both in the Civil and Military lines on the Bengal
Establishment, as utterly to incapacitate me, as I then
considered my situation, from embracing and follow-
ing other pursuits, which might have created a hope
of retrieving, before Nature closed her end, my fallen
fortunes in this world. I, thus, resigned myself to
adversity, and contemplated the fortunate career of
others of my brother servants, with the philosophic
reflection that what they enjoyed in riches and
power, they wanted, many of them, in health ; for,
blessed with a good constitution, and a mind conscious
of its unmerited fate, I bade fair to sink in the vale
of life, bereft of affluence, but freed from corroding
thought and lingering disease.
An incident, suddenly arising, changed this aspect.
A proposition was made to me, which beamed a
ray of hope, that fortune again would be favourable.
This revived ambitious views, which scarcely had lain
dormant. Sensible that my faculties were unim-
paired, I deemed it criminal to give up active scenes,
where the strongest expectation of success was
grounded. I seized, joyfully, the moment offered, and
perfectly free in my election, I repaired, in time of
peace, to the Cape of Good Hope, vested with a high
station, and the spontaneous assurance that nothing
would be left undone, which could tend to raise me
again to honours and wealth. Unfortunately, the war
broke out, and the wishes of myself, as well as those
friends intent on re-establishing me in life, were
defeated. You know the sequel. Happy in my
second choice of a partner, I upbraided not the
worldly opportunity lost. My happiness centered
alone in domestic concerns. May you be blessed in
the like manner, should it ever be your lot to deplore,
as I did, the cruel separation which forced me from
the first ! I now proceed to my narrative.
NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF A
GENTLEMAN LONG RESIDENT
EARLY LIFE AND FIRST VOYAGE TO INDIA.
BORN of a virtuous and noble family (my mother's
name being le Clerc de Virly, which Virly was a
signorial patrimony in Normandy, long the property
and residence of her ancestors, till the despotism of
Lewis XIV. by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes,
drove the Seigneur de Virly to take refuge with his
family in England, leaving his fair possessions and
wealth to the spoil of his tyrannical king) ; educated
at Lausanne (in the environs of which delightful city
and country, the Lordship of Ecublanc, situated on
the banks of the Lake of Geneva, between Lausanne
and Merges, had long been the seat of the Grands,)*
* In the history of the " Chapitre de Lausanne " are registered
two nobles Chanoines of the Catholic Cathedral in the I2th century,
viz., Gerard Grand and Eric Grand ; and vice versd in the 1 6th
century, by a reference to Moreri's Historical and Biographical
Dictionary, it will be seen in that century that a descendant,
named likewise Girard Grand, Doctor of Laws, and Counsellor of
the City of Lausanne, materially assisted with De Watteville, Vinet,
and others, in introducing the Reformation in Switzerland.
a NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF A
in the house and under the superintendence of the
best Parents, assisted by a private tutor, a clergy-
man living in the house, and with whom I used to
attend the lectures of the first Professors of Science
in that celebrated University, I could not otherwise
be formed, when I opened my career in the world, but
with a disposition inclined to honour, virtue and fraught
with every social tie.
Tinctured with a superficial knowledge of almost