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Malabar Manual Vol 1 CHAPTER III. HISTORY
William Logan!
Section (G). THE BRITISH SUPREMACY. 1792 to Date (1)

At the cession of Malabar, in the manner above related, to the British by the Treaties of Seringapatam,2 dated 22nd February and 18th March 1792, the country was found to be split into a number of kingdoms and principalities, a prey to the bigotry of its late Muhammadan conquerors, abandoned by its principal landholders, and distracted by the depredations and rapacity of the Mappilla banditti.

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., ii II. END OF NOTEs

The Joint Commissioners, whose proceedings will be stated in some detail shortly, thus described the territory which fell to the share of the British by the above treaties : — "Malabar, exclusive of the two merely tributary districts of Corga and Cochin (situated at either of its extremities), may be considered as consisting of two grand divisions, the northern and southern, separated by the Toorshairoo (Turasseri) or Cotta (Kotta) river.

“That to the northward comprehending the ancient Colastrian (Kolattiri) range (raj) or kingdom, now dismembered and partitioned out into the several principalities or districts of—

“1st—Chericul (Chirakkal) or Colastry (Kelattiri) proper ;

“2ndly—Cottattu or Cotiote (Kottayam or inflected Kottayattu), annexed to which was, or is, Wynad above the ghats (the former peculiarly noted for the production of pepper, and the latter for cardamoms) ;

“3rdly—The district of Cartinaad (Kadattanad), the woods in which contain abundance of neglected cassia or wild cinnamon ; and

“4thly—The petty township and contiguous districts of Cannanore (held by a Mappilla family possessing also the greater part of the Laccadive Islands, and which is much respected by all the others of the same tribe throughout Malabar) ; and

“5thly, 6thly and 7thly—The small taluks of Irvenaad (Iruvalinad), Corengotte (Kurangot) and Randaterra (Randattara), which last-mentioned place had become subordinate to the settlement of Tellicherry in the manner that will be hereafter pointed out

“The districts to the south of the Toorahairoo (Turasseri) river contain —

“1st—Coorimnaad (Kurumbranad), a distinct and independent rajaship ; and

“2ndly~Those districts that formed the dominions of the Samoory or Zamorin, such as Pynaar (Payyanad), with Warcumbra (Vadakkampuram) and Curcumbra (Kilakkampuram) to the north and east of Calicut ;

“and to the southward of that city and district, the countries of Ernaad (Ernad), Shernaad (Cheranad), Venkillycotta (Venkattakkotta), Malapuram (Malapuram), Capool (Kappul), Weenarcar (Mannarakkad), Cunumpoora (Karmpula), Nerenganaad (Nedunganad), and Poonany (Ponnani).

“Besides which, the Samoory claimed to be, with a more or less influence, the paramount sovereign over —

“The Nayarships of Pyoormulla (Payyormala) and Poorwye (Pulavayi) to the north and east of Calicut ;

“and to the southward of the Rajaships of Beypoor (Beypore), Perepnaar (Parappanad), Bettut or Vettutnaar (Vettattunad), and Tallapellie (Talapalli), called also Soukar and Chowghaut (Chavakkad), including the Nayarship of Coulpara (Kavalappara)

“And he had also possessed himself of the more full and immediate sovereignty over the three Nayarships of Colemgoor (Kollankodu), Codovoura or Koorwye (Kotuvayyur) and Mungary (Mangara), originally a part of the Palghaut (Palghat) country

“So that, exclusive of the residue of this last-mentioned district, and of the three lesser Nayarships of Congad (Kongad), Manoor (Mannur) and Yerterra (Edattara), and of the district of Coorimnaad (Kurumbranad) and of that of Velatra or Velnatera (Vellatiri) in the southern division of Malabar, the family of the Zamorin had, by a continued service of warfare and contest, thus reduced (before the period of their own expulsion by Hyder Ali Khan) to a greater or less degree of subordination and dread of their power, all the Raja’s chiefs and land-holders of the countries lying between the Toorshairee (Turassori) river [which is above stated to have been the boundary of the ancient Colastrian (Kolattiri) kingdom] and that of Cochin.”

To complete the list of British possessions on the coast at this time, it will be gathered from the foregoing narrative that the following had already, for longer or shorter periods and more or less uninterruptedly, been in the possession of the British :— .

(a) Tellicherry, with its dependencies, namely, the Island of Dharmmapattanam with Grove Island lying off it, the district of Randattara (also mentioned by the Commissioners), and the fort and district of Mount Deli.

(b) The Island of Chetwai, retaken from the Mysoreans by Colonel Hartley in 1790, and rented to the Cochin Raja at Rs. 40,000 per annum.

And (c) The fort and territory at Anjengo.

The localities of most of the above bits of territory are indicated in the sketch map given at paragraph 11 of Chapter IV, (Section (b), and further details of the precise limits of each little bit of territory will be found in that section itself.

Soon after the conclusion of the peace Lord Cornwallis, the Governor-General, instructed General R. Abercromby, Governor of Bombay, under date the 23rd March 1792, to enquire into the present state of the country and to establish a system for its future government, but to lose no time in coming to an agreement with all the chiefs for some specific revenue to be paid for the ensuing year.

Such of the friendly Rajas whose territories were not included in the cession were to be allowed the option of returning to them under the protection of the 8th article of the Treaty, or of remaining within the limits of the Company’s territories ; and Lord Cornwallis promised, in conclusion to depute two Civil Servants from Bengal to act in concert with the gentlemen to be appointed from Bombay.

In pursuance of these orders the General arrived at Cannanore and appointed Mr. Farmer, a Senior Merchant, and Major Dow, the Military Commandant of Tellicherry, as Commissioners, and issued instructions to them under date the 20th April 1792, to preserve the peace of the country, and after settling the amount of tribute to be paid by the native princes and chiefs, to direct their attention to collecting materials to form a report on the most eligible system of establishing the Company’s authority on the coast. The states of Coorg in the north-east and Cochin in the south, which were included in the cession, were made tributaries and included in the object of the commission.

Before proceeding to state in detail the measures adopted by the Commissioners for carrying out the above instructions, it will be as well to explain that the only plan on which this can be done with a view to giving an adequate idea, of the labours of the Commissioners, will be to adhere strictly to the chronological method.

The narrative will necessarily appear disjointed, but, having regard to the vast number of bits of independent territory which came under settlement, this cannot be helped. The Bombay Commissioners began at Tellicherry to effect settlements with the three northern Rajas of Chirakkal. Kottayam and Kadattanad, whose relations with the English from a remote period have already been dealt with in the foregoing pages.

The engagements or cowls entered into in 1790 with these chieftains, the terms of which have already1 been fully described were now found to be “not so comprehensive as could be wished, since they provided for the emancipation of the Malabar Rajas from Tippu, but did not clearly express their dependence on the Company,” for the instructions of the Governor-General issued on 8th April and 31st May 1790, and already fully described, were received only after the execution of the cowls.

NOTEs: 1. Pages 458-459. END OF NOTEs

These instructions contained clear directions as to the terms of dependence on which the chieftains were to remain under the Honourable Company, but they did not appear to have been communicated to those chiefly concerned.

It must also be here explained that with regard to the Chirakkal cowl it was granted to Unni Amma, a younger member of the family, who assumed the name of Ravi Varma, and was the only one on the spot, the real head of the house having fled with his mother to Travancore ; and that the Kottayam cowl was likewise granted to a junior member of the family, afterwards known as the rebel Pazhassi (Pychy) Raja, the senior Raja having also taken refuge in Travancore.

Owing to the terms of the cowls they held, the three northern Rajas did not immediately acquiesce in the Company’s sovereignty over them, but after some hesitation they soon found the necessity of relaxing their pretensions, and the Kadattanad Raja was the first to agree to a settlement1 on 25th April 1792, stipulating as follows : —

NOTEs: 1.Treaties, etc., ii. IV. END OF NOTEs

1st - The Raja to remain in the exercise of all his rights and authority subject only to the control of the Company in case of oppressing the inhabitants.

2ndly—A Resident or Dewan to reside with him to enquire into any complaints of oppression.

3rdly —Two persons on the part of the Company and two on that of the Raja to make a valuation of the revenues of each district.

4thly—Amount of revenue payable by each subject to be ascertained.

5thly—-The Raja’s tribute to be settled in October according to the appearance of the crop2 .

6thly—The Government share of pepper to be delivered to the Company at a price to be fixed in December.

7thly—The remaining pepper to be purchased exclusively by merchants appointed by the Company, and

8thly—Lesser points which might arise from time to time to be left with Mr. Taylor, the Chief of Tellicherry, to adjust, and the whole was to be considered as temporary and subject to the confirmation of General Abercromby on his return to the coast.

Similar3 terms were next accepted by the Kottayam and Chirakkal Rajas, and measures were adopted for obtaining a valuation of these districts.

NOTEs: 2.Treaties, etc., ii. V and VI.

3. Of pepper presumblay. END OF NOTEs

With a view to check the illicit trade in pepper, etc., carried on by the French at Mahe, the small district of Iruvalinad, of which frequent mention has already been made in the foregoing narrative, was retained under the direct management of a covenanted servant subordinate to the Tellicherry Factory, and the same system was likewise extended to the district of Randattara, already so often mentioned as a bone of contention between the Company and the Chirakkal Raja.

The Bombay Commissioners next turned their attention to Cannanore, another of the Malayali chieftainships, whose relations with the English from a remote period have already been detailed in the preceding pages. It will be noted that this chieftainess was not on a footing similar to that of the rest of the Malabar chiefs, for she had basely thrown over the English alliance instead of assisting the Honourable Company’s officers, and had been compelled by force of arms to withdraw from her alliance with Tippu.

The chief source of revenue in Cannanore being the commerce carried on by the Bibi with Arabia, etc., and the produce of the Laccadive Islands, she was called upon for a statement of the produce and value of her country preparatory to a settlement.

The Commissioners then proceeded to settle the case of the five friendly northern Rajas whose territories lying contiguous to Kolattiri proper or Chirakkal on the north of the Kavvayi river, were not included in the cession, although they were, prior to Hyder Ali’s conquest, under the suzerainty of the Kolaltiri family.

Hyder Ali attached their territories to his Kacheri of Bednur. They were the Rajas of Nilesvaram, Kumbla, Vitul Hegra or Beigada, Bungor and Chowtwara. The Nilesvaram Raja, although he was granted cowl by the factors in 1790, obtained permission from Tippu to return to his country. The Kumbla and Vitul Hegra Rajas were each granted1 a pension of Rs. 200 by the Company, with permission to reside at Tellicherry.

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., ii. Ill and IX. END OF NOTEs

As to the Bunga or Bunger and Chowtwara Rajas, they having made the offer of their services very late in the war, it was not deemed necessary to extend to them any indulgence of the kind. They had to return to their country, and were, it is said, imprisoned by Tippu.

Having put matters in train for a settlement in the north, the Bombay Commissioners next repaired to Calicut to negotiate with the Zamorin, who, however, delayed to attend on the Board. The Commissioners accordingly made a settlement of the Kurumbranad district with Vira Varma Raja, who had been a member of the Kottayam family and had been adopted as heir by the senior Kurumbranad Raja. The latter was absent in Travancore. They leased2 to him on the 27th May 1792, for the sum of Rs. 1,40,000 for one year, not only the two districts of Kurumbranad and Kolakkad, which appertained to his adopted family, but Payyanad, Payormala, Kilakkampuram, Vadakkampuram and Pulavayi, which were then understood to belong to the Zamorin, but classed in Tippu’s schedule under the taluk of Kurumbranad.

NOTEs: 2. Treaties, etc. ii, VlI and VIII. END OF NOTEs

This Raja had received no cowl from the Tellicherry factors, so as a preliminary condition to the grant of the above agreement he had to acknowledge that the Honourable Company “alone are the rightful sovereigns” of his districts, and he was in turn appointed the Honourable Company’s “manager” to "collect the revenues, administer justice, and preserve the peace” of his districts, and the Zamorin’s agents were required to settle with him for sums collected by them.

The Bombay Commissioners next learnt that General Medows, the Governor of Madras, in the course of the war operations on the other side of the peninsula, had allowed the Travancore Raja a controlling power over the Malabar Rajas ; and that on this plea the Travancore Dewan Keshu Pillay had collected, in the name of the Company and on the plea of contribution towards the expenses of the war, various sums of money from the revenues of the country for the years 1790 and 1791. The question as to whether he should be made to account for these collections occupied some of the Commissioner’s time, and was eventually left for disposal by the Governor-General.

The feud between Nayar and Mappiila in consequence of the complete subversion of the ancient friendly relations subsisting between these classes broke out afresh about this time, and Major Dow was deputed to the Mappilla districts, and a cowl1 of protection was issued in favour of the Kundotti section of the Mappilla class, who had been oppressed by the Nayar landholders.

NOTEs: 1. 1 Treaties, etc.., ii. X. END OF NOTEs

The next settlement was made for the Palghat district with Itta Punga Achchan, a younger member of the family, who, according to custom, exercised sovereign authority as regent in place of a superannuated senior Raja. On his acknowledging the sole sovereignty of the Honorouable Company over his district it was, on 12th July 1792, leased2 to him for one year for the net sum of Rs. 80,000 after allowing for charges of collection.

NOTEs: 2. Treaties, etc., ii. XI. END OF NOTEs

The Zamorin had driven a wedge3 through and had acquired, as already described, a large part of the ancient Palghat territory. In this agreement with Itta Punga Achchan this claim of the Zamorin to the Natuvattam was carefully ignored.

NOTEs: 3. The Natuvattam (Central circle), see map at, paragraph 11 of Section (b), Chap. IV. END OF NOTEs

And on the same4 day the Kavalappara Nayar acknowledged the Honourable Company’s sovereignty and was installed in his territory for one year his payments being fixed at Rs. 15,000. As however, the Cochin Raja had advanced a claim to sovereignty over the Nayar’s territory (Treaties, etc., i. Cl. Article III), the Nayar was further bound to abide by the decision of the Honourable Company in this matter. It may be added that the Nayar shortly afterwards proved to the satisfaction of the Commissioners that he was really independent of the Cochin Raja, and a decision was accordingly given in his favour on this point.

NOTEs: 4. Treaties, etc., ii, XII. END OF NOTEs

It was at first resolved to place the Nayars of Kongad, Mannur and Edattara under the Palghat Achehan, but as they had formerly taken the protection of the Vellatiri Raja, they were ordered to pay their revenue through that Raja, viz.

A dispute soon however arose between the Raja’s family and these Nayars, and they were thenceforward permitted to pay revenues direct to the Company.

Their territories were in this way first included among those for which the Vellatiri Raja next, on 30th July 1792, undertook to pay a sum of Rs. 38,410½. The Vellatiri or Valluvakon Rajas were, as the foregoing pages sufficiently indicate, the hereditary enemies of the Zamorins. The reigning chief had endeavoured, by favouring the Mappillas, to counterbalance the influence gained by the Zamorin through his Muhammadan subjects.

Mappillas consequently abounded in this chief’s territory, but as Muhammadan immigrants were few in his inland tracts he had perforce to recruit his Mappilja retainers from the lowest classes of all—the slaves of the soil or Cherumar. Having tasted the sweets of liberty under the Mysorean rule, these Mappillas did not readily yield submission to the ancient order of things when the Mysoreans were driven out. Although., therefore, the Vellatiri Raja’s districts were restored “to the Raja for management, it was soon discovered that he was powerless to repress the disturbance which speedily arose between Nayar and Mappilla, and it was in consequence of this that so early as May 1793 the Joint Commissioners had to resume his districts and manage them directly.

Another reason for direct intervention was that this chief and his family had all fled to Travancore, and that they had afforded the Honourable Company no help whatever in the war with Tippu.

In settling with the minister of the Vellatiri Raja the Commissioners learnt that it had been the practice with Tippu and his farmers to exact 10 per cent, on the jama or annual demand for the charges of collection in the southern districts. They therefore took this extra charge to account and increased the amount of the Vellatiri lease from Rs. 38,410½ to Rs. 41,594½.

The Parappanad district was next, on 11th August 1792, farmed3 out for the net sum of Rs. 14,000 to one of its Rajas, Vira Varma, one of the few members of the family who had escaped forcible conversion at the hands of Tippu’s myrmidons.

NOTEs: 3. Treaties, etc., ii, XIII. END OF NOTEs

The Vettattanad district was next leased on 14th August 1792, on behalf of the Raja, by his minister for Rs. 34, 807¼. But this Raja did not long survive ; he died on 24th May 1793, leaving no heirs natural or adoptive to succeed him, and his estates were declared to have passed to the Honourable Company.

The settlement with the Zamorin, which had been all the while under consideration, presented various difficulties. During the religious persecutions of Tippu, a younger member of the family, Ravi Varma, belonging to that branch of the family styled Padinhare Kovilakam (western palace), having proved himself a champion of the Hindus, obtained from General Medows at Coimbatore, on 27th September 1790, a cowl1 in the name of Kishnen Raja, heir apparent of the Zamorin, who had fled to Travancore, authorising the latter to administer the revenue of the country during the war and providing for the payment of an equitable poishcash to the Company at its termination.

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc, ii, XCVII. END OF NOTEs

Under the provisions of this cowl an agreement2 was, on the 18th August 1792, concluded with the fourth Raja of the Kizhakke Kovilakam (eastern palace), on behalf of, and as surety for the Zamorin for Rs. 4,16,366¼. It contained sixteen articles, which constituted the basis of all subsequent proceedings with this Raja.

NOTEs: 2. Treaties, etc., ii, XVI. END OF NOTEs

The districts leased were —

in Calicut—the cusba and Ramnad.

in Kurumbranad—Vadakkampuram and Kizhakkampuram, which the Kurumbranad Raja agreed to give up to the Zamorin.

in Vettattanad—-Ponnani, Choranad and Venkattakkotta.

in Chavakkad—Chavakkad, Nedunganad and Karimpuzha,

in Ernad—Ernad and Malapuram, and

in Palghat—Kollangod, Koduvayyur, and Mankara, and the duties on land and sea customs were also likewise leased.

As a mark of respect and superiority, the Rajas of Beypore, Parappanad and Vettattunad were required to pay their revenues through the Zamorin, who was also temporarily vested, “as in the ancient times”, with power to administer justice “over all these petty Rajas.”

The last separate district settled by the Commissioners was with the Beypore Raja for Rs. 10,000.

After this the Commission separated for a time, Major Dow proceeding to Cochin and Travancore with a view to secure3 the pepper produce and to obtain as much information as possible before the arrival of the Bengal Commissioners.

NOTEs: 3. Treaties, etc., ii, XVII. END OF NOTEs

Mr. Farmer remained behind and entered into an arrangement for the mint with the Zamorin, to whom it was leased for Rs. 15,000. He also appointed Mr. Agnew the Calicut Resident, as Collector General of the southern districts, and Mr. Sunkheet as Collector of Palghat. He then proceeded to the north to arrange definitely with the northern Rajas. There he was joined by Mr. W. Page, appointed as third member of the Bombay Commission.

The Chirakkal Raja’s revenue1 was fixed at Rs. 50,000, the Kadattanad1 Raja’s at Rs. 30,000, and the Kottayam1 Raja’s at Rs. 25,000 and all three Rajas now acknowledged the full sovereignty of the Honourable Company over their respective districts.

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., ii, XVIII, XIX and XX. END OF NOTEs

The articles were similar to those made with the Zamorin, with modifications to suit the circumstances of the districts, particularly in the mode of purchasing pepper.

In regard to the Bibi of Cannanore nothing was arranged. She claimed the restoration of the jaghire given to her by Tippu in lieu2 of four of her islands taken by him and attached to Canara, and which jaghire had been resumed by the Chirakkal Raja. She represented also that she had been obliged to mortgage the coir of her remaining islands to Chovakkara Mussa on account of the expense of former wars.

NOTEs: 2. Conf. p. 453, foot note. END OF NOTEs

The Chief (Mr. Robert Taylor) and Factors of Tellicherry were on 31st October 1792 appointed Collectors-General of the northern districts.

The Padinyaru Kovilakam branch of the Zamorin’s family, already noticed, possessing great influence in the country, was entrusted with the collection of the district of Nedunganad by the Eralpad Raja, the managing heir apparent of the Zamorin. On the strength of this the Padinyaru K. Raja attempted to render himself independent of the Zamorin. The dispute was carried on to such lengths that Captain Burchall was obliged to seize his person at Cherupullasseri. He died there a day or two afterwards, and at the instance of the Zamorin his brother and nephew were put under restraint, and released only upon the Kilakka Kovilakam Raja standing security for their good behaviour and payment of arrears of revenue amounting to one lakh of rupees.

Such was the general state of progress made by the Bombay Commissioners when the Governor, Sir Robert Abercromby, again arrived in Malabar, followed on 12th December 1792 by Messrs. Jonathan Duncan and Charles Boddam, the Commissioners despatched from Bengal by Lord Cornwallis to co-operate with those from Bombay. The following extract contains Lord Cornwallis’ instructions to Messrs. Duncan and Boddam and explains the scope of the Joint Commission.

Extract from the Governor-General's instructions to the Commissioners deputed to the Malabar Coast-

Third.—It is our intention that, in conjunction with the Commissioners on the part of Bombay, you shall enter into full investigation with a view to ascertain with as much accuracy as possible the general and particular situation of this Ceded country, in respect as well to its former as its late and present Governments, as far as may be requisite to enable you to point out in what manner justice has heretofore been and may in future be more advantageously administered to all classes of the natives, the nature of whose several tenures and more especially those of the Zamorin of Calicut and of the principal Rajas and Nayars and Mappillas throughout that and the other parts of the country are to be specified, accompanied with Estimates and statements, formed on the best materials you may be able to procure, of the amount of Revenue which these several Districts are capable of paying and may be equitably assessed at ; together with the particulars of their interior and foreign trade, on which subject you will form and report your opinion as to the best means of improving both, in such manner as shall have the greatest tendency to conciliate the Commercial Interests of the Company with those of the natives, and best promote the internal prosperity of the Country at large.

Fourth.—From the several Copies of Papers (consisting of the Correspondence that has hitherto passed on this subject) which the Secretary will furnish you with, you will learn what progress has hitherto been made by Mr. Farmer and Major Dow, with whom Mr. Page has since been joined in the Commission, consisting of certain articles agreed upon between them and the Rajahs of Cartinaad (Kadattanad) and others in the northern division of the Ceded country, by one of which the amount of the revenue payable the first year was to be ascertained from the appearance of the crop in October last. The result of this intended inspection you will no doubt learn on your arrival at Tellicherry ; and besides this the Commissioners from Bombay appear to have since concluded a money settlement for one year with the Zamorin and some other Chiefs of the Southern Districts, as you will find detailed in the latest advices received from Mr. Farmer.

Fifth.—Although these advices show that the general assessment of the Ceded countries in the coast of Malabar is likely to fall considerably short (for the first year at least) of their estimated Revenue Produce as contained in the schedule of Jamabandi furnished at the Peace by Tippu Sultan, we think it nevertheless probable that your and the other Commissioners’ further enquiries may ascertain the revenue capacity of the country to be at least much nearer the standard at which it was ceded to us than the amount of the Temporary settlements hitherto made seems to indicate ; but although it is certainly our object to fix on a fair and equitable Jama as payable to Government (and we rely on your best exertions and those of the gentlemen from Bombay to ascertain the real ability of the country in that respect), yet we are at the same time willing to admit and act upon the expediency of a principle of a suggestion which you will find urged to the Commissioner from Bombay in a representation made to them on the part of the Zamorin, viz. :—that with a view to conciliate the native Rajas, Landholders and cultivators to the Company’s Government, and encourage them to improve their respective' Districts and increase their productiveness, more especially by replanting the pepper vines wherever they have of late years been destroyed, their Burthens, that is, the revenue assessed on them, should in the beginning at least, be in general lighter than that exacted from them by Tippu, - in which view we think it may be very advisable for you and the other Commissioners to propose to the several Parties a settlement, either for their respective lives or for such a term of years as may be most agreeable to them, with a moderate increase (in such places as you think will bear one) on the reduced Jama that it may now be necessary to stipulate for ; so that the just advantages of Government may in some degree keep pace with the progressive improvement of the country under that system of good government which your researches and proceedings will, we trust, enable us to establish in it.

“And as the settlement for the first one year ending as we understand, in September 1793, will probably be everywhere concluded before your arrival on the Malabar Coast, your principal attention will, of course, be directed to the permanent adjustment of the public Revenue to take place from that period, for the first year of which series (or up to September 1794) we shall with a view of preventing interruption to the current business of the country or obstruction to the progress of its improvement, confirm as a matter of course the Jama which you and the other Commissioners may stipulate for each district ; but the settlement for the remaining years of each lease you and they are only to recommend and (as far as you may find satisfactory grounds) conclude with the several parties, subject by an express clause to our ultimate approbation or alteration, which shall be signified as soon after your report as possible.

Sixth.—The establishment of a Plan for the administration of Justice in the several Districts being a point the effectual attainment of which we have above all others at heart, we rely with confidence on your experience acquired on this side of India for your being able to determine in a satisfactory manner on the number and constitution of the several Courts of Justice that will be necessary to ensure to the utmost possible degree (as far as the state of society there will permit) the dispensation of equal Justice to all classes of the society ; and if, from General Abercromby’s presence on the spot or in the neighbourhood of the place at which your proceedings are held, he shall concur with you in opinion on these subjects, or in those plans that relate to the collection of the Revenues, or to the management of the trade of the country, we shall have no objection to find either one or all of them begun to be carried into execution (subject to our ultimate approbation) by the country being divided provisionally (even before your final Report to us) into such Revenue Divisions or Collectorships, and Judicial Jurisdictions, Civil and Criminal, and commercial agencies, as you shall intend ultimately to propose for our Confirmation.

Seventh.—The pepper produced on the Coast of Malabar constituting (as already intimated) a very material Branch of Commerce to the Honourable Company, it is our wish that a Provision on terms of perfect fairness to the natives may be effected in all the settlements for the Revenue payable to Government, so that as far as possible it may be made good in the natural pepper produce, taken at a fair market valuation instead of money payments, leaving whatever proportion cannot be secured in this way to be purchased by the Company’s commercial Agents on the spot on the footing (as nearly as may be) that their purchases of Investments are provided by the Regulations (with which you are acquainted) established for the Commercial Department in Bengal ; for we are aware that on the footing of any positively exclusive privilege the Company must lose in their Revenues and in the prosperity of the country more than they could gain by rigidly enforcing a right to monopoly or purchase in any other mode than that which we have thus pointed out.

Eighth.—You are also, in the same spirit of moderation and liberal attention to the rights of the native, to include in your Report the information you may be able to obtain in respect to the General state of the trade of the country in the other articles besides pepper, comprehending (as far as your opportunities may admit) that carried on in the Districts of the Raja of Travancore, and reporting thereon whatever means may occur to you for securing, on equitable principles, such share of it to the Company as former engagements (which Mr. Powney, the Resident with the Raja, will be directed to make you acquainted with), and more especially the late and recent exertions in favour of that country so fully entitle them to expect.”

The Governor-General did not fail at the same time to notice (despatch of 18th November 1792) with “much satisfaction” the “laborious and persevering attention” which had been already devoted to the objects of the Commission by the Bombay members of it. One of the first measures of the United or Joint Commission was to proclaim1 on 20th December 1792 the general freedom of trade in all articles except pepper which was held as a monopoly, and the Institution of “two separate courts of Equity and Justice” at Calicut on 1st January 1793, the first court to be presided over by the members in rotation, in which revenue and litigated landed claims were to be investigated, and the second to take notice “of all other subjects of claim and litigation not relating to the revenue or landed property.”

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., ii. XXIII, XXIV, XXVII. END OF NOTEs

They further, on 9th January 1793, sent round a circular2 to all the chieftains charged with the collection of the Revenue of their Districts, forbidding the collection, on any pretence whatever, of any presents or cesses such as had been customarily prevalent before the Mysore Government imposed the land cess, which alone they were authorised to collect.

About this time a hill tribe called Malasars (Mala—hill, and arasar - lords) in Palghat having inopportunely disturbed a Brahman festival by intruding into the circle for the relics of the feast, the Palghat Achchan caused the headman of the tribe to be decapitated. On this account the Commissioners soon afterwards insisted on the Achchan not only satisfying the family of the deceased Malasar, but entering before Mr. Lockhart into a written agreement1 not to exercise in future any criminal jurisdiction affecting the life or limb of any person without obtaining the sanction of Government.

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., ii, XXVI. END OF NOTEs

Messrs. Page and Boddam were next deputed to Cochin and Palghat respectively to ascertain the identity of the taluks referred to in the Cochin Treaty of 1790 and Tippu’s schedule of 1792, to enquire into the boundary dispute between the Cochin Raja and the Zamorin as well as that relative to three taluks between the former and the Travancore Raja, to adjust with the Dewan of the latter large sum of money said to have been unduly collected by him, and lastly, to settle the Cochin Raja’s claims on Kavalappara, which point was, as already stated, decided in favour of the Nayar.

While these Commissioners were engaged with the above-mentioned enquiries, the remaining members issued a proclamation of general amnesty for acts of homicide, maiming, robbery or theft committed prior to 1st February 1793 as a means of inducing the lawless among the population to resort to honest courses.

The Commissioners likewise prohibited the slave trade carried on extensively in children by Mappilla merchants with the French and Dutch ports of Mahe and Cochin respectively.

It was becoming very apparent that the breach between the Mappillas and the Nayars, particularly in the Vellatiri district, was very wide. The Raja was found to be powerless to prevent outrages of all kinds by Mappillas, or to punish them when the culprits were known. Moreover, on the outskirts of this lawless tract of country there dwelt a tribe of what were in those days called “jungle” Mappillas, who were banded together under chiefs and who subsisted on the depredations committed on their neighbours.

The best known chief of these banditti was styled Elampulasseri Unni Mutta (Mussa) Muppan, who had a loopholed and fortified house in the jungles at the foot of the ghats at a place called "Tereangnanor” in the records, and who kept a retinue of a hundred armed men. He declined to submit to the Honourable Company’s protection when asked to do so by one of the Company’s military officers, unless he were granted a pension, because he said his followers had no means of subsistence beyond what they could get by robbing their neighbours.

But in addition to professional robbers like this, the Vellatiri district swarmed with Mappillas driven to desperation by the exactions of the Raja’s Hindu agents employed in collecting the revenue, who resorted, much to the disgust of the British officers quartered in those districts in command of troops, to the most cunning devices for procuring military aid to support their extortionate demands on the inhabitants. The latter were in constant dread of being deprived of their lands by the Nayars, and of their being thus deprived of their only means of support.

The Commissioners had meanwhile also been busy with a plan for the general government of the ceded countries, and this having been sanctioned by the Governor, Sir Robert Abercromby, it was duly proclaimed in the Governors presence at Calicut on the 18th March 1793. The following extract from Mr. Farmer’s Diary describes briefly the ceremony which took place on the occasion.

The Diary entry runs as follows: —

“Calicut, 18th March 1793.

“Diary of the Proceedings of William Gamull Fanner, Esquire, Supravisor and Chief Magistrate of the Province of Malabar.

“This day, by appointment of the Honourable Major-General Robert Abercromby, President and Governor of Bombay, the gentlemen of the Civil Service present at Calicut were summoned to attend at the Government House, late the English Factory, where the Commandant of the troops likewise attended with a numerous assemblage of officers and other gentlemen.

“The Battalion of grenadiers, forming two lines, was drawn up on the road leading from the General’s encampment to the Government House ; the General was saluted with nineteen guns from six field-pieces in passing through the lines.

“Being arrived at the Government House, Major-General Abercromby read before all the persons assembled the following letter of instructions, which was then delivered to the Supravisor

“To Williams Gamull Farmer, Esq.

“ Sir,

“ ‘You are apprised of the reasons that have induced me to form a temporary Government for the ceded country, and the motives that have actuated me in the choice of a Chief Magistrate.

“ ‘The sovereignty acquired in these Provinces by the Honarable Company imposes serious duties on their representatives ; it is their duty to protect the persons and property of all ranks of subjects to administer unbiassed justice according to ancient laws and customs, but meliorated by the influence of our milder institutions, to respect religious opinions and established customs, to provide for the exigencies of Government by a fair and equal assessment, to diffuse the blessings of free intercourse and commerce, to preserve the rights of the superior class of subjects as far as is consistent with the general good, in fine to introduce good order and government where anarchy, oppression, and distress have long prevailed.

“These, Sir, are the duties imposed on the Honourable Company’s representatives ; a knowledge of these duties actuated the Commissioners in recommending a system of government, and these must actuate you in the execution of it.

“ ‘The general rules by which you will be guided are clearly defined, and particular instructions will be framed for the several Departments under your control. In addition to those instructions, I have to request you will remember that abuses are more easily prevented than remedied. The principle of the present Government is not to seek emolument or create places for persons, but to grant moderate salaries, and hold out to the hopes and ambition of the younger servants the honourable and liberal situations that superior stations admit of. You will also recollect and impress it on the minds of the gentlemen under you that it is an arduous task, and requires zeal and exertion to fill with propriety newly established officers under a Government recently formed. This zeal is expected from you ; without it every effort to establish will but weaken our influence, and where merit is so indispensably required, it will be properly noticed and rewarded.

“ ‘To enable you to enter on the execution of your office, I have only to add that by authority of powers vested in me, I hereby appoint you to assume the temporary management of the ceded countries under the name and title of Supravisor and Chief Magistrate of the countries henceforth to be denominated the Province of Malabar.

“ ‘You will be subject to such orders and directions as you may receive from Government, or the Commissioners may think proper to give you, and at the termination of the Commission you will assume the same powers over the Chiefship of Tellicherry as are now held by them.

“ ‘Wishing you success in the execution of your duty,

“ ‘I have, etc.,

(Signed) Robert Abercromby.’

“After the delivery of this letter the Government thus established was saluted by twenty-one guns from the field-pieces placed in front of the Government House.

“The following oaths were then taken by the Supravisor:-

“Revenue, oath.

“I, William Gamull Farmer, do promise and swear that, I will, to the utmost of my endeavours, well and faithfully execute and discharge the duties of an officer of revenue reposed in and committed to me by the United Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies, and that I will not demand, take or accept, directly or indirectly, by myself or by any other person for my use, or on my behalf, of or from any Raja, Zemindar, Talukdar, Poligar, Renter, Ryot, or other person paying or liable to pay any tribute, rent, or tax to, or for the use of, the said United Company, any sum of money or other valuable thing by way of gift, present or otherwise, over and above, or besides and except the actual tribute, rent, or tax authorised to be taken by and for the use of the said United Company, and that I will justly and truly account and answer for the same to the said United Company.

“So help me God !

“(Signed) W. G. Farmer,


“ 18th March 1793.

“Sworn to before me.

“(Signed) Robert Abeuoromby.

Phouzdarry oath.

“I, William Gamull Farmer, Supravisor of the Province of Malabar and entrusted as the Chief Magistrate with Phouzdarry jurisdiction, do solemnly promise and swear that I will exert my best abilities for the preservation of the peace of the District over which my authority extends, and will act with impartiality and integrity, neither exacting or receiving, directly or indirectly, any fee or reward in the execution of the duties of my office other than such as the orders of Government do or may authorise me to receive.

“So help me God !

"(Signed) W. G. Farmer,


“18th March 1793.

“Sworn to before me.

“(Signed) Robert Abercromby.

Sadar Adalat oath.

I, William Gamull Farmer, Supravisor and Chief Magistrate of the Province of Malabar, do swear that I will administer justice to the best of my ability, knowledge and judgment, without fear, favour, promise or hope of reward, and that I will not receive, directly or indirectly, any present or nuzzer, either in money or in effects of any kind, from any party in any cause, or from any person whatsoever, on account of any suit to be instituted, or which may be depending, or have been decided in the Court of Sadar Adalat under my jurisdiction, nor will I knowingly permit any person or persons under my authority, or in my immediate service, to receive, directly or indirectly, any present or nuzzer, either in money or in effects of any kind, from any party in any cause, or from any person whatsoever, on account of any suit to be instituted, or which may be depending or have been decided in the Court of Sadar Adalat under my jurisdiction, and that I will render a true and faithful account of all sums received for deposits on causes, and fees of court, and of all expenditures.

“So help me God !

“(Signed) W, G. Farmar.


"18th March 1793.

“Sworn to before me.

“(Signed) Robert Abercromby.

“James Stevens, Esquire, next took the necessary oaths as Superintendent of the southern Districts. Mr. Augustus William Handley, Senior Assistant to the Supravisor, and, as such, Judge of the Court of Adalat at Calicut, then also took the oaths appointed.

“After this Major-General Abercromby withdrew with the same ceremony he entered, the field-pieces saluting him with nineteen guns.

“The principal natives paid their respects. It was remarked as a propitious omen that the day of fixing a government for the Malabar Coast was the anniversary of the day on which it was ceded by Tippu in consequence of the treaty concluded with Earl Cornwallis at Seringapatam on the 18th March 1792.”

The Governor, before his departure from the coast, further issued a circular1 to all the Rajas and Chiefs explaining the purport and object of the measure which had thus taken effect. Agreeably to the plan, the ceded country was called the “PROVINCE OF MALABAR” and divided into two superintendencies, with a middle division directly under a Supravisor, as he was called, with superior political, revenue, and judicial powers and full control over the two Superintendents.

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., ii, XXXII. END OF NOTEs

His seat was fixed at Calicut. The Superintendents had revenue and magisterial power. The headquarters of the Northern Superintendent were fixed at Tellicherry, with the districts from Chirakkal to Kurumbranad and Coorg under his control.

The Southern Superintendent was stationed at Cherapullasseri, in charge of the districts from Parappanad to Chetwai together with the Cochin tribute. The military force stationed on the coast was subject to the sole requisition of the Supravisor, except in cases of ‘serious emergency.’

The Supravisor and Superintendents had also a number of assistants under them, and the Senior Assistant was Judge and Magistrate at Calicut.

There was to be only one mint for the whole country, under the control of the Supravisor at Calicut. All interior customs were to be abolished and duties on foreign exports and imports were to be collected by Government. The Senior Commissioner, Mr. Farmer, was made the first Supravisor, and he thereupon vacated his seat on the Commission. Messrs. Galley and Stevens were appointed Northern and Southern Superintendents respectively and Mr. Handley as Senior Assistant. The remaining members of the Joint Commission then continued their labours with Mr. Jonathan Duncan as President.

The Coorg tribute was next settled1 at Rs. 24,000 per annum. But disputes early commenced between this Raja and Tippu relative to their respective boundaries, and the latter’s vakils complained also of the Kottayam Raja taking Wynad, which district the Commissioners were then of opinion was not ceded by the treaty.

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., ii. XXXIII. END OF NOTEs

Two of them, Mr. Duncan and Major Dow, next proceeded to Cannanore to enquire into the alleged mortgage of the Laccadive Islands to Chovakkara Mussa and the land taken from the Bibi by the Chirakkal Raja. There they were joined by Mr. Page from Palghat, and engagements2 were taken on the 11th and 13th April 1793 from the Bibi, binding her to pay up arrears and to pay a “moiety of whatever is the produce of my country according to the funds thereof, and out of the Rs. 20,000 annual profit which I reap from my trade with the Laccadives, I am also to pay the half to Government.

NOTEs: 2. Treaties, etc., ii. XXXIV, XXXV. END OF NOTEs

And further stipulations provided for the future revision of the estimate of income, and for the sequestration, if need be, of the whole of the produce of the islands and of the islands themselves.

The pepper monopoly3 was next abolished in the south, while in the north it was limited to one-half of the produce to be taken in kind. Owing to some clashing between the authority exercised by the Joint Commission and by the Supravisor respectively, a uniform system of dealing with the pepper produce throughout the province was not introduced.

NOTEs: 3. Treaties, etc., ii. XXXVI, XXXVII. END OF NOTEs

The Commissioners next turned their attention to the affairs of the Honourable Company’s mortgaged district of Randattara, and an agreement4 was on 26th April 1793 entered into with the Achchanmar or Chiefs of that district, that on condition of the revenue of their estates being estimated at 20 per cent on garden produce and 15 per cent on rice lands, the rates which had prevailed since 1741, when the province was first mortgaged5 to the Company, and with an exemption in favour of temple lands and of their own houses, they renounced all future right to manage the district after the native fashion, with its fines and mulets and presents and succession duties.

NOTEs: 3. Treaties, etc., ii. XXXVI, XXXVII.

4. Treaties, etc., ii. XXXIX. END OF NOTEs

The waste lands of this district having been thus placed at the disposal of Government, a number of Native Christians who had fled from Canara and Mysore in consequence of Tippu’s persecutions were allowed to settle with their families on the waste lands in Randattara, and were granted advances of money to carry on cultivation.

Iruvalinad, the district of the Nambiars1, which was a most important tract of country to the Honourable Company in the early days of the Tellicherry Factory, was next taken in hand by the Commissioners. The district had been in a disturbed state owing to the mutual animosities and jealousies of the Nambiars themselves and to the confused method in which they conducted the administration. It was very necessary to protect the lower classes of the people from the exactions of the Nambiars, who now freed by the strong arm of the Company from dependence on those beneath them, would have taken the opportunity, if it had been afforded them, of enriching themselves at the expense of their poorer neighbours and subjects.

The Commissioners accordingly, on the 14th May 1793 took from them an agreement2 to protect the poorer class of landholders and to put an end to the exaction of the feudal fines and mulcts and duties and presents which had formerly been customary, and further arranged that the Nambiars were to conclude a detailed settlement3 with Mr. Galley the Northern superintendent at Tellicherry. An allowance of 10 per cent “on the Government’s moiety of Revenue was granted to the Nambiars for their support and comfort.”

NOTEs: 3. Treaties, etc., ii. XLI.

4. Treaties, etc., ii. LXIII, LXIV. END OF NOTEs

It may be noted in passing that the Honourable Company’s officers had had for many years previously exceptional opportunities of studying the organisation of this petty district, and the care displayed by the Commissioners in protecting the rights of the lower orders of landholders in this district should have been extended widely throughout the Province; but in place of viewing the janmam right over land in its true aspect as a mere right to exercise authority over the persons of those who resided thereon the Commissioners accepted the view that janmam right was a right to the soil the plenum dominium of Latin jurists, and as such they proceeded shortly afterwards, as will be presently seen, to set forth, and to direct the Courts to act upon, that EUROPEAN IDEA.

The Commissioners, after some unsatisfactory negotiations with the northern rajas, returned to Calicut, where they on 18th May 1793 accepted the (as it appeared to them at the time) agreeable proposal4 of the Kurumbranad Raja to appoint a person on the part of the Company to assist in his collections for the ensuing year, on the result of which a permanent lease might be granted to him not only for the district of Kurumbranad, but also for Kottayam and Parappanad, which were in the possession of his two nephews of the Kottayam family, over whom it was alleged he possessed entire ascendency.

NOTEs: 4. Treaties, etc., ii. XLII. END OF NOTEs

The latter district had fallen to the family by adoption and by the recent death of the old Parappanad Raja! As after events fully proved, however, the Kottayam nephew of Kurumbranad—the famous Palassi (Pychy) Raja was not amenable to control by his uncle, and the uncle was powerless to execute his own orders in the Palassi country. He further agreed subsequently to relinquish the districts of Payyanod, Puluvayi and Payyormala, which had been included in the first agreement entered into by him.

At this juncture the Mappillas of the south began to give trouble. Major Dow was deputed a second time to settle with the robber chiefs Haidros and Unni Mutta Muppan, but as they were refractory, Captain Burchall marched against Unni Mutta and surrounded his fortified house. The robber chief, however, made a desperate sally and escaped. Bui some of his noted followers were captured and his lands sequestered.

Meanwhile, encouraged by their success with the Kurumbranad Raja, the Commissioners proceeded to negotiate the same sort of agreement with the Zamorin, whose chief Minister, Shamnath, they had engaged to assist in the work and further to institute a canongoe establishment throughout the country to bring into and keep in order the accounts of each district, and to act as local assistants, guides and intelligencers to the servants of Government in the discharge of their duties, and to serve as checks upon undue exactions on the part of the Rajas.

To these two points the Zamorin was induced on 29th June 1793 to give his assent1 on condition of an adequate provision being made for his family. He further agreed to give up his right to customs and transport duties, he being allowed to keep accounts of the receipts in the Company’s custom houses. In regard to the mint a compromise was agreed to by the Commissioners that the general direction should remain exclusively under the Company, but that the Raja’s people should assist in the details of the business, and that he should be allowed half the profits.

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc.., ii. LXIV. END OF NOTEs

Similar terms2 were accepted shortly afterwards by the Rajas of Kadattanad and Kurumbranad, the latter making separate similar engagements also for Kottayam and Parappanad. Shortly after these arrangements had been made, Mr. Boddam rejoined the Commission from Palghat. Itta Punga Achchan, who had settled with the Bombay Commissioners for the first year’s lease, had shot himself and had been succeeded by his nephew Itta Kombi Achchan. The latter had imprisoned a rival claimant to the raj, by name Kunji Achchan, but on the arrival at Palghat of the deputed Commissioner, the latter was set free.

NOTEs: 2. Treaties, etc., ii. XLV, XLVII. END OF NOTEs

Similar terms3 to those arranged with the aforesaid Rajas had been made on 21st June 1793 with the managing Achchan, but with an additional clause restricting him from the exercise of any judicial authority in consequence of the beheading of the Malasar already alluded to.

NOTEs: 3. Treatieat etc., ii. XLVI. END OF NOTEs

Similar terms1 to those made with the Achchan were likewise arranged with the Nayars of Kavalappara, Kongad, Mannur and Edattara, and for the benefit of the subjects of the Achchan and of the three last-named Nayars the Commissioners agreed2 to the establishment at Palghat of an inferior Court subordinate to the Southern Superintendent for the trial of small suits and of 'inconsiderable quarrels, brawls and affrays.”

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., ii. XLVIII to LI

2. Treaties, etc., ii LII and LIII. END OF NOTEs

The Chirakkal Raja also at length, on 5th July 1793, acceded3 to the terms, and the Beypore Raja likewise executed an engagement similar to that entered into by the Palghat Achchan.

NOTEs: 3. Treaties, etc, ii. LV. END OF NOTEs

The deeds were all forwarded to the Supravisor with directions to appoint Tahsildars or Collectors in the several districts with subordinate Parbutties and Menons, exclusive of Canongoes, who were separately furnished with instructions so as to ensure “such a control over the collections as would enable the Company’s servants to ascertain at the end of the year the nature and constituent parts and amount of the public revenue.”

In regard to the remaining districts there were disputed claims, which previous to a settlement, it was necessary to adjust, the districts of Chirakkal and Parappanad were also in dispute, and it will be proper here to notice the conflicting claims.

The competitor for Chirakkal was a young Raja of the family, as already noticed, who had never left Travancore. His claims were set aside in favour of the Raja, with whom the settlement was first made, from his having been in possession from the earlier period , but the claimant was allowed to make good his right, if so advised, by suit in the Adalat Court.

Parappanad was subject to two claims, one from a person claiming as nephew of the late Raja, who had adopted a member of the Kottayam family of which the Kurumbranad Raja, as already mentioned, was the head. This claim was left open for investigation. The other was advanced by the Zamorin, but he was not able to substantiate it. The Kurumbranad Raja, who had made the settlement for his nephew, was therefore held responsible for the revenues.

The Zamorin’s claims to Vettattanad, on the ground that he had been levying some dues from the Mappillas of this district were rejected as untenable, as also was the one advanced by him to Kavalappara.

His pretensions to Chetwai Island were next enquired into and decided against him. It had been taken from him by the Dutch in 1717 and from the latter by Hyder Ali in 1776, and the English in 1790 took it from Tippu Sultan and leased it to the Cochin Raja for Rs. 40,000 per annum.

The Zamorin next preferred a claim to Payyanad, and as the four chiefs acknowledged him as their lord paramount, his claim was accordingly admitted.

His demand for the restoration of Pulavayi was left in suspense to be settled by the Supravisor as its Nayar chiefs were openly resisting the attempts of the Zamorin to interfere in the concerns of their country.

His claim on Payyormala he himself renounced, and this district was placed directly under the Company.

Finally, the Zamorin and the Talapalli or Punattur Raja both claimed the Chavakkad district, which had, the latter alleged, been at one time in the exclusive possession of his ancestors, but the Zamorin had been gradually usurping the district from them. It was arranged that both parties should enter into a written engagement binding themselves to abide by the Supravisor’s decision, and in the meantime a proper allowance for his support was granted to the claimant by the Zamorin.

Marco Antonio Rodrigues, a descendant of the former Linguists of the Tellicherry Factory, next laid claim to the petty district of Kallai in Chirakkal under a deed of conveyance1 to his grandfather by the Chirakkal Raja in 1758, and which the present Raja had quietly resumed. The claim was submitted for the decision of the Governor-General, and meanwhile the district was sequestered by the Company. How the matter was finally settled cannot be traced in the records.

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., i. LXXL. END OF NOTEs

Hyat Sahib, a converted Hindu of the Nambiar caste of Chirakkal, whose interesting biography has already2 been related at some length, advanced his claims on a similar deed3 granted by the Chirakkal Raja in 1783 to the three taras or villages of Chalat, Talapil and Kunattur, which were the identical places claimed by the Bibi of Cannanore as her jaghire, obtained4 from Tippu at the time of her daughter’s marriage to Tippu’s son. The grant to Hyat Sahib was pronounced invalid by the Commissioners as having been obtained by fraud and the claim was rejected.

NOTEs: 2. Conf. p. 431 foot-note.

3. Treaties, etc., i. XCI.

4. Conf. p. 453. END OF NOTEs

On the representation of Said Ali, the Quilandy Tangal or Muhammadan high priest, that a jaghire had been conferred on him by Tippu, a grant exempting his house and property from taxation during his lifetime was given him.

The French claim to the petty district of Kurangot as a dependency of their settlement at Mahe early led to much discussion, and was in itself very much involved, but France was just then in the throes of the Reign of Terror. King Louis XVI died on the scaffold on the 21st January 1793.

On the 1st of February war was declared by the French Republic against England and Holland, and for the third time in its history the French settlement at Mahe had to open1 its gates to a hostile English force under Colonel Hurtley on the 16th July 1793. The garrison, after surrendering, was allowed to march out with all the honours of war. The settlement was placed under Mr. G. Parry as Superintendent of Police.

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., ii. LVII. END OF NOTEs

It was at this time that Mr. Murdoch Brown, who had been in French employ and whose name is intimately connected with the early administration of the country, joined the Company's service. He was at first made Deputy Superintendent of Police, which appointment being disapproved by Government he resigned it. But he was afterwards re-entertained as Superintendent of Police, and was subsequently made overseer of the Company's plantation in Randattara, of which he eventually became the possessor2 by purchase on a ninety-nine years’ lease. His descendants still hold this estate under the original grant.

NOTEs: 2. Treaties, etc., ii. CCLXIX. END OF NOTEs

Having concluded the general mode of arrangement for the ensuing year, the Commissioners next proceeded to draw up general regulations for the administration of the revenue, founded entirely on the Bengal Code, modified so as to adapt it to the circumstances of the country. These were followed by Regulations for the civil and criminal administration of justice to take effect from 1st July 1793, with some supplementary articles in both departments.

In the Revenue Department, Dewans were appointed to help the Supravisor and Superintendents, and bound by muchilkas or penal obligations for good behaviour and integrity. In the Judicial Department seven local Darogas or native Judges were appointed, subordinate to the Provincial Courts of the Superintendents, viz.., at Cannanore, Quilandy, Tirurangadi, Ponnani, Palghat, Tanur and Chetwai.

The Roman Catholic padre of Calicut, however objected to the “infidel tribunal” of the Darogas, and claimed the ancient privilege of the Portuguese Factory of jurisdiction over Christians. This claim being incompatible with the principles of British rule was rejected, but the padre was allowed to attend the Fouzdarry Court to explain the law at the trial of Christians.

The Commissioners further laid down regulations3 relative to the janmis. This subject is fully discussed in section (a) of Chapter IV. The Joint Commissioners viewed the status of a janmi as being equivalent in all respects to that of a Roman dominus. The matter was very insufficiently investigated by the Commissioners. The janmi was simply a man exercising authority within a certain defined area, and entitled as such to a well-defined share of the produce—the pattam or ancient land revenue assessment—of the land lying within that area. But by the Commissioners’ action the jenmi was constituted the lord of the soil, and it is not to be wondered at that in time the janmis began, with the help of the courts of justice, to show very small respect for the rights of the tillers of the soil—the ryots in fact.

NOTEs: 3. Published subsequently by the authority of the Supravisor, Mr. Farmer.-Treaties, etc., ii. LXVIII. END OF NOTEs

The ryots, on the other hand, viewed the government as the inheritors in succession to Tippu and Hyder Ali of the pattam or land revenue assessment, and this was explicitly stated to the Commissioners by a deputation of influential Mappillas whom the Commissioners called together to consult on the subject. If the Commissioners had followed out the rule laid down in the fourth paragraph of the agreement with the Iruvalinad Nambiars which has already been commented on, the status of the ryots of Malabar would have been very different at the present day.

But the erroneous idea thus authoritatively promulgated was accepted without question in all further proceedings both in the Administrative Department and in that of Civil Justice, and the question as to whether the Commissioners’ action was correct or not was not raised until so recently as 1881.

They also framed regulations1 for the custom house collections, prohibited the export slave trade and dealing in gunpowder, warlike weapons and stores. They declared the trade in timber to be free, abolished the levy of profits on black pepper, coconuts, etc., as impolitic, and instructed the Supravisur to levy a modern tax in the shape of licence on the retail tobacco trade. They granted one per cent of the land collection of the Zamorin’s districts to Shamnath, a Palghat Brahman and the Sarvvadi Karyakkaran or chief minister of the Zamorin, for services rendered by him to the Company.

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., ii. LXII. END OF NOTEs

An attempt was made by two of the Rajas of the Padinyaru Kovilakam (western palace) of the Zamorin’s house to assassinate2 him because he failed to procure them their restoration to Nedunganad. These Rajas then proceeded to the southward to raise disturbances, and were joined by Unni Mutta Muppan, the Mappilla bandit chief, and some Gowndan Poligar chiefs from Coimbatore who had rebelled against Tippu. Subsequently, too, they were joined by Kunhi Achehan of the Palghat family, who fled to them after having murdered a Nayar. This Kunhi Achchan’s claims to the management of the Palghat District had been rejected by the Joint Commissioners.

NOTEs: 2. Though severely wounded, he recovered under the treatment of Surgeon Wye. END OF NOTEs

The Padinyaru Kovilakam Rajas, for whose capture the Supravisor offered Rs. 5,000 reward, were hotly pursued by Captain Burchall as far as the Anamala Mountains, whence they escaped into Travancore. The Coorg Raja next renewed his complaints about the boundary in dispute with Tippu, and Captain Murray was in consequence deputed to his country and appointed Resident at his court.

Major Dow next proceeded to the Court of the Travancore Raja on a separate commission from the Bombay Government to organise the military defence of the country. Mr. Boddam was compelled by illness to proceed to the Carnatic, and the two remaining members went to the south to Alikkotta and Cochin, where the Cochin Raja’s revived claims to Kavalappara, and the important question whether the district of Cranganore formed part of the Company’s island of Chetwai or not, engaged their attention.

The deputed Commissioners, to whom among other subjects the first point had been committed for enquiry, had at a very early stage given their opinion that the Kavalappara district ought not to be granted to the Raja, as his claim was based solely on its having being inserted in the Cochin Treaty of 1790—a judgment in which the other members concurred, and to which the Commissioners now adhered in the renewed discussion.

As to the second point, after a lengthy correspondence with the Raja, and with Herr Van Anglebeck, the Dutch Governor of Cochin, determined to let Cranganore remain with the Raja until the pleasure of Government should be known.

They likewise agreed to the renewal of the lease to the Cochin Raja of the island of Chetwai.

Meanwhile a storm was brewing in the district of Kottayam in the north. The Kurumbranad Raja had agreed with the Joint Commissioners, as has already been stated, to manage that district, and it has also been observed that that agreement was a mistake inasmuch as the Kurumbranad Raja had no power or influence in the district, which was completely under the control of Kerala Varma Raja of the Padinyaru Kovilakam (western palace) of Kottayam, the head-quarters of which were located at Palassi, whence Kerala Varma was usually styled the Palassi (Pycliy) Raja. It will be convenient in the rest of this narrative to give him this abbreviated title.

The Palassi (Pychy) Raja had already, in April 1793, been guilty of the exercise of one act of arbitrary authority in pulling down a Mappilla mosque erected in the bazaar of Kottayam. The Joint Commissioners took no notice of the act, although it was in direct opposition to the conditions, of the engagement made with the Kurumbranad Raja for the Kottayam district.

Again, in September 1793, the Mappillas of Kodolli applied to the Palassi (Pycliy) Raja for leave to build or to rebuild a mosque, and were told in reply to give a present. They began to build without making the preliminary gift to the Raja, so he sent Calliadan Eman with five armed men to bring the Mappilla headman (Talib Kutti Ali) before him. The headman delayed; the escort attempted to seize him ; whereupon Kutti Ali drew his sword and killed Calliadan Eman, and was in turn killed by the others.

On receipt of news of this affair the Raja sent an armed party with orders to slay all the Mappillas in Kodoli. The party went and slew six Mappillas with a loss to themselves of two killed and four wounded.

The Supravisor and Commissioners, probably from various reasons, and more especially the danger of throwing the Palassi (Pychy) Raja, with Wynad at his back, into the arms of Tippu, and the danger of losing the pepper crop of the district, took no steps to deal summarily with him, as they had already done with the Achchan of Palghat for the execution of the Malasta. They contented themselves with a mild remonstrance addressed to the Kurumbranad Raja and with the despatch of troops to Kodolli and Palassi.

The Palassi detachment was accompanied by a European Assistant. The Raja, alarmed at the movement of troops, designed as he thought to make him a prisoner, refused to come to Tellicherry to explain the matters to the Northern Superintendent, and ironically referred the Supravisor for explanation to his “elder brother” of Kurumbranad. He further in his reply expressed surprise at his not being “allowed to follow and be guided by our ancient customs” in the slaughter of erring Mappillas.

With disturbances thus brewing both in the north and in the south the Joint Commission was brought to a not unsuccessful close, for the bulk of the country continued to be in a fairly peaceful state and to pay a fair revenue. Among the last acts of the Joint Commissioners were the inauguration of a postal establishment and the institution of enquiries regarding the manufacture, and regarding other industries, which subjects were left at present in abeyance by order of Government.

On the 11th October 1793 the Commission dissolved itself. The members forwarded to the Governor-General a most elaborate and very valuable report on the province, framed from materials which they had with untiring industry collected.

Just before the Joint Commission was dissolved, the Supravisor made a grant exempting the lands of the Kundotti Tangal (a high priest of one section of the Mappillas) from payment of the revenue, as had been the custom in Tippu’s time, on the condition that the Tangal and his people would prove loyal to the Honourable Company a promise which they have ever since very faithfully fulfilled.

The Supravisor (Mr. Farmer) was now in uncontrolled charge of the province, and among his first acts after issuing the janmi proclamation already alluded to, was to settle the long pending dispute between the Zamorin and Punattur Rajas by inducing1 the former to allow the latter 20,000 fanams or Rs. 5,700 annually for his support.

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., ii. LX, LXI, and LXIX. END OF NOTEs

To encourage people in catching elephants he next gave2 up the Government royalty in them and proclaimed that the Company would be satisfied with one-third of the value of any elephant caught.

NOTEs: Treaties, etc., ii. LXX. END OF NOTEs

The system of joint collection and of canongoe inspection of the real revenue funds of the country did not from various causes turn out satisfactorily. The first difficulties were experienced in the northern division, where the Rajas generally complained that the country could not bear the assessment which they had engaged to pay, and they evinced a spirit of dissatisfaction.

The Supravisor was advised by one of the Commissioners, Mr. Duncan, that. “no consideration of temporary pecuniary advantage to the Honourable Company ought to induce him to enter into, or very much risk the contingency of being led into a state of warfare with any of the Rajas, especially with those who hold cowls from the chiefs of Tellicherry.”

Therefore in Mr. Farmer’s conference with the Kadattanad Raja, he in December 1793 made certain concessions1 to him by altering the demand from half the produce in kind to half the pattam, and by other measures which it is needless to specify in detail as the Government of India afterwards rescinded them.

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., ii. LXXIII. END OF NOTEs

The Palassi (Pychy) Raja appears to have been the most discontented of all, and up to November 1793 no collections of revenue had been made in Kottayam. Moreover, the Palassi (Pychy) Raja had threatened to cut down all the pepper vines if the Company’s officers persisted in counting them. In short he conducted himself in a way that fully justified the Joint Commissioners in styling him “the most untractable and unreasonable of all the Rajas.”

On the deputation of one of the Company’s Linguists, Mr. Lafrenais, to enquire into his grievances, it was discovered that his uncle, the Kurumbranad Raja, from views of personal advantage, had secretly instigated him to resist the execution of those very terms of settlement with the Commissioners which he had himself concluded with the Company on behalf of his nephew. He thus hoped to involve the Company in active hostilities with the Palassi (Pychy) Raja, who now, convinced of his machinations, entered on 20th December 1793 into an agreement2 direct with Mr. Farmer for the districts of Katirur, Palassi, Kuttiyadi and Tamarasseri on the same liberal lines as those accorded to Kadattanad.

NOTEs: 2. Treaties, etc., ii. LXXV. END OF NOTEs

But over and above those concessions to the Palassi (Pychy) Raja, Mr. Farmer further agreed3 for one year, until orders could be obtained, not to collect the assessment on temple lands, and to remit further one-fifth of the revenues for the maintenance of the Raja, and for the support of the temples one-fifth more in consideration of the assistance given against Tippu and of the Raja’s ancient friendship with the Company.

NOTEs: 3. Treaties, etc., ii. LXXTV. END OF NOTEs

The same liberal terms accorded to Kadattanad were also granted4 to the Chirakkal Raja on 7th January 1794.

NOTEs: 4. Treaties, etc., ii. LXXVI. END OF NOTEs

There is every reason to believe that these concessions, all which were subsequently rescinded by the Governor-General, secured (for a time at least) the tranquillity of the northern division of the province.

The Bengal Commissioners submitted on the 2nd February 1794 a supplementary report dwelling on the subject of the troubles excited by the Padinyaru Kovilakam Rajas of the Zamorin’s house and Unni Mutta Muppan, the unadjusted boundary concerns with Tippu and regarding the money levied in Malabar by the Travancore Dewan, which last transaction had on enquiry been denied by the Dewan. The Commissioners were now of opinion that the sums exhibited were not justly recoverable.

Sir John Shore, the Governor-General, in a lengthy letter to the Bombay Governor, the Honourable G. Dick, dated 27th March 1794, conveyed the Supreme Government’s general approbation and confirmation of the several institutions and regulations framed by the Joint Commissioners—of the agreements concluded by them with the Rajas—and of the decisions arrived at by them in the cases of disputed claims.

Respecting other points it passed the following orders : —

To treat Randattara as a part of the Company’s domain, but to relinquish all demands on the Chirakkal Raja for debts due by him and his predecessors on former accounts, inclusive of his suretyship for the debts of his kinsman the Nilesvaram Raja.

To apprehend the Padinyaru Kovilakam Rajas of the Zamorin’s house, or allow them the option of retiring to Travancore on an adequate pension.

To allow Cranganore to remain with the Cochin Raja, as well as to renew the Chetwai lease with him for a term of years with the assent of its inhabitants.

To allow the three villages of Perur, Allungur and Kunatnad to remain with Travancore till the decisions of the Court of Directors were received.

And to relinquish the claims on the Travancore Dewan for the collections made by him during the war.

Regarding the Bibi of Cannanore the Supreme Government called for further particulars in respect of the sums brought to the Company’s credit by the reduction of Cannanore in 1784 by General Macleod and regarding the mortgage claims to the islands of Chovakkaran Mussa, and directed that an officer in a cruiser should be deputed to report on the state of the Laccadive Islands.

With regard to the boundary disputes the Supreme Government proposed to despatch Captain Doveton to enquire into the subject of the doubtful possession of Wynad and the frontiers in order to bring the whole into an amicable adjustment.

The despatch further authorised the abolition of the Tellicherry Factory.

This measure was at once carried into effect, and the old Tellicherry Factory, which had exercised, as these pages show, such abundant influence for good in the annals of the Malayalis for over a century, and which had existed as oasis of peace and security and good government during all those troublous times, ceased to exist as such on the 27th July 1794. A temporary Commercial Residency under the Chief Mr. Taylor, was established in its place at Mahe.

In the beginning of the year 1794 Mr. Farmer left, and was succeeded in the Supravisorship by Mr. J. Stevens, Senior.

The new Supravisor found fault with the engagements recently concluded with the three northern Rajas by his predecessor, and after a lengthy correspondence the agreements were rescinded by the Bengal Government as containing concessions improper and impolitic as well as opposed to the regulations framed by the Governor-General on the Joint Commissioners reports and the Supravisor was further directed to conclude engagements for a term of years with all the Rajas and chiefs. But he had to defer for a time the settlement with the northern Rajas and made but low progress with those in the south.

In the interim an agreement1 was on 8th May 1794 entered into with the Mappilla bandit chief Unni Mutta Muppan by Major Murray and with a view, if possible, to secure peace to the country his small district of Elampulasseri was to be restored to him and a money allowance of Rs. 1,000 per annum granted. But he renewed his pretensions to a share of the revenue and began levying blackmail. The Supravisor thereupon revoked the engagement, and in lieu of it offered a reward of Rs. 3,000 for his capture. Captain MacDonald seized and demolished his stronghold on the forest-clad hill of Pandalur near Malapuram, as well as several other fortified houses belonging to him and his followers, and pursued him far into the jungles.

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., ii. LXXVIII. END OF NOTEs

The petty robber chief Haidros was captured by the Ponnani Mappillas, was put on his trial and sentenced to death but the sentence was commuted into one of transportation to Botany Bay.

By October 1794 a beginning was made with the execution of the quinquennial2 agreements by the Rajas and chiefs in the south. These leases, after recapitulating the Provisions of the Commissioners’ agreements of 1792 and 1793, prohibited the levy of all exactions recently abolished and allowed only the collection of land revenue and the charges for collection while deductions were made for bringing waste lands into cultivation.

NOTEs: 2. Treaties, etc., ii. LXXX to LXXXII, LXXXIV to LXXXVII. END OF NOTEs

In reality, however, the Devasthanams or temple lands, and cherikkal or private lands of the Rajas and chiefs, were also left out of assessment.

The data for fixing the revenue payable in each instance were as follows:

The gross revenue realisable was first estimated ; from it 10 per cent was deducted as charges of collection, 20 per cent as allowances for the Raja or chief, and 3½ per cent, for temple lands and the Raja's or chief's private property.

A decennial3 lease of the Chetwai island was likewise, in accordance with the Governor-General's orders, granted in November 1794 to the Cochin Raja for the net sum of Rs. 30,000 per annum exclusive of the collections of customs, which were to be retained by the Company.

NOTEs: 3. Treaties, etc., ii. LXXXII. END OF NOTEs

The authority of the Company’s judicial courts was likewise to be in force throughout the district. The island had produced only Rs. 22,053 when managed by the Company’s officers direct in the previous year, but the Raja consented to pay the higher sum in order to keep the island out of the hands of the Zamorin, his hereditary foe.

Upon similar data settlements were next effected with the Rajas in the north. The Kottayam and Parappanad leases were, however, once more executed by the Kurumbranad Raja—a repetition of the old mistake, as events soon proved, made originally by the Joint Commissioners. In this lease were included the district, of Tamarasseri and eleven desams of Pulavayi as appendages of Kottayam, while the Pulavayi Nayar chiefs were granted a separate lease.1

NOTEs: 1. Treaties, etc., ii, XCIV. END OF NOTEs

The Danish Governor of Tranquebar, through his Agent Mr. W. Brown of Alleppey, had in 1792 and 1793 advanced claims to the Danish Factory at Calicut. The Danish Governor of Tranquebar (Ans Arnest Bonsark) had in 1752 sent an agent by name Jacob Christovo Suytenan to the Zamorin to effect a settlement in his dominions, and a plot of ground at Calicut called “Valappii Kadute” had been granted to the Danish nation on the same terms as those granted to the French Factory there, viz. : payment of customs on all goods imported and exported, supply of munitions of war, and aid in case of an attack on the Zamorin’s territories. This plot of ground adjoined the grounds of the French Factory.

In 1766 the grant was continued by Hyder Ali. But in 1788, when Tippu began his religious persecutions in Malabar, the Danish Factor (Manuel Bernardes) under the orders of Tippu’s Fouzdar Arsad Beg Khan precipitately fled from the place, abandoning his trust. The Governor-General, to whom the matter was referred, expressed in 1795 an opinion adverse to the Danish interests, as it was clear that the Danish Factor had voluntarily abandoned the possession in 1788 in Tippu’s time. There the matter rested for many years ; the buildings were in existence up to 1817 and were then in use as a hospital.

The present Calicut hospital appears to occupy the exact site of the Danish Factory. In 1845 the British Government acquired for four lakhs of rupees all Danish claims in India and extinguished this one among others.

As already said, the repetition of the old mistake of entrusting the management of the Kottayam district to a chief who had no power or influence therein, and the passing over of the Palassi (Pycliy) Raja’s claims to the Government of that district, very soon bore disastrous fruit.

Some time before the lease was concluded, one of the Iruvalinad Nambiars—Narangoli—had brought himself within reach of the law. One of his people had been killed by a Mappilla, and in revenge the Nambiar put to death three of that class, being instigated (as it was alleged, but there was no conclusive proof of it) to that act by the Palassi (Pychy) Raja. However this may have been, the Nambiar fled to the protection of the Raja, and in spite of the Supravisor's remonstrances, that chief protected the refugee. The Supravisor then declared the Nambiar to be a rebel and confiscated his lands and property.

But there was worse to follow, for about 28th June 1795 the Palassi (Pychy) Raja not only stopped the collection of the revenue of Kottayam, but once more took the law into his own hands. Two Mappillas were suspected of having committed a robbery in the house of a Chetti. The Raja explained afterwards that they confessed their crime; they were certainly kept in confinement for some months. Then they were tried according to the ancient usage of the country, it was alleged, and on their own confessions were sentenced to death. Their execution was carried out on or about the above date at Venkad by impalement alive according to ancient custom. This barbarous form of execution was known to Malayalis as the Kalu or eagle, and the impaling stake appears to have been so named from its resemblance to that bird.

The news of this event reached the Supravisor early in July, and shortly afterwards there arrived intelligence of another arbitrary act on the part of the Raja ; he, it was said, deliberately shot another Mappilla through the body while retiring from his presence whither he had gone to present a gift. These arbitrary acts could not be overlooked.

The Supreme Government directed that the Raja should be put upon his trial for murder, but it was not easy to bring this about, for the Raja was well guarded by five hundred well armed Nayars from Wynad. In August 1795 the Supravisor stationed detachments of troops at the bazaar of Kottayam itself and at Manattana to protect the Kurumbranad Raja’s revenue collectors. These detachments were withdrawn for a time because of troubles with the Mappillas in Ernad and Vellatiri, but they were again posted in November to keep the peace, and as Mr. Rickards expressed it :

“From this time forward the conduct of Kerala Varma, (Palassi Raja) continued to be distinguished by a contempt for all authority.” He delighted to show how powerless Kurumbranad was to carry on his engagement for the Kottayam district.

Meanwhile events in the war already alluded to begun in Europe by Republican France against England and Holland were destined to spread their influences to the Malabar coast. The French Republican army entered Holland. The Stadtholder fled to England , and thence in February 1795, after the proclamation of the Batavian Republic in alliance with France, he addressed a circular to all the Dutch Governors and Commandants to admit British troops into all the Dutch “Settlements, Plantations, Colonies and Factories in the East Indies” to prevent them from falling into the hands of the French.

Mr. Vanspall was at this time Governor of Cochin, began laying in provisions with a view to standing a siege, and he invited the Cochin Raja to help him. On July 23rd Major Petrie, under orders from Colonel Robert Bowles, commanding the troops in Malabar, marched from Calicut to the Dutch frontier with a small force of infantry to obtain a peaceable surrender of the Dutch settlement. But the Governor refused to give up the place, and Major Petrie had then to wait till a siege train could be brought up. The Supervisor (Mr. Stevens) proceeded in person to Cochin in the beginning of September to endeavour to arrange matters with Mr. Vanspall, and a conference ensued, at which it was agreed that the surrender should take place. But next day the Governor changed his mind and the negotiations were suspended.

A force consisting of the remainder of His Majesty’s 77th regiment (two companies being already with Major Petrie at Cochin), another battalion (the 5th) of native infantry, and a company of artillery with 6 six-pounder field-pieces, 6 eighteen- pounders, 6 twelve-pounders and 2 eight-inch mortars, was accordingly ordered down the coast to Major Petrie’s assistance. The force was safely landed to the south of Cochin, and on the night of 19th October fire was opened.

“A shell1 was cast with excellent skill into the centre of the Government House, bursting without any disaster : the white flag was at once hoisted, and a suspension of hostilities agreed to during the negotiations for a surrender.” Major Petrie’s reply to the Dutch proposals was sent off at 11-30 on 19th October; the armistice was to last till 4 a.m., by which hour Mr. Vanspall’s acceptance of the term was required. The terms were2 accepted, and Cochin passed into British possession at noon on 20th October 1795.

NOTEs: 1. “British and Native Cochin,” by C. A. L. : Cochin, I860, p. 15.

2. Treaties, etc., ii. XCVl. END OF NOTEs

With Cochin there passed also into the hands of the British the Dutch, formerly Portuguese, settlement of Tangasseri on the point of land lying west of Quilon bay, and the various petty places named in paragraph 299 of section (6), Chapter IV, lying to the north and south of Cochin in the territories of the Cochin and Travancore Rajas, which now, with Cochin itself, constitute the British taluk of Cochin.

Cochin and these dependencies were finally ceded to the British Government by the Paris Convention of 1814.

One of the members of the former Joint Commission—the Honourable Jonathan Duncan—having been appointed as Governor of Bombay, visited in November and December 1795 Travancore and Malabar whilst en route by sea from Bengal to the Presidency.

During his visit to Travancore Mr. Duncan concluded a temporary commercial engagement and a treaty3 of “future prepetual friendship, alliance and subsidy” with the Travancore Raja on the 17th November 1795. The taluks of Perur, Alungad and Kunnatnad had been ceded by Tippu to the British in 1792.

NOTEs: 3. Treaties, etc., ii. XCVII to XCIX. END OF NOTEs

The question as to whether these districts should be occupied by the Honourable Company or left on the former footing as part of the Raja’s territory was now decided in favour of the latter. The Raja had at a comparatively recent date1 acquired these districts by conquest from the Raja of Cochin and his feudatories, and it was on this account, and because Tippu’s troops had in 1790, after the taking of the Travancore lines, overrun this part of the country, that the Sultan had claimed them as his own possessions.

NOTEs: 1. Conf. p. 403. END OF NOTEs

The Governor also held conferences with the subordinate Rajas of the Padinyaru Kovilakam (western palace.) of the Zamorin’s family and finally settled, with a view to the preservation of peace, an allowance2 of Rs. 10,000 for their maintenance payable by the Zamorin.

In his minute of 17th December 1795, written on board the “Panther” on his way to Bombay, Mr. Duncan considered at great length another question of importance which forced itself upon his notice.

Out of a total revenue of something more than fourteen lakhs of rupees due for the year ending September 1795, no less a balance than upwards of six lakhs of rupees remained uncollected on the 31st October 1795. Prior to Mr. Duncan’s arrival at Calicut on 21st November the Supravisor had, however, collected Rs. 1,67,794 of the arrears, but a balance of nearly four and a half lakhs of rupees remained unadjusted.

Mr. Ducan under these circumstances procured agreements2 or insisted on the deposit of good securities3 by the principal indebted chieftains. And he further insisted on their signing agreements4 binding themselves to regularity in the future payments of their dues, and in default of the regular discharge of their obligations he insisted on their agreeing to pay interest on all arrears at the following rates:

NOTEs: 3. Treaties, etc., ii. CXII.

4. Treaties, etc., ii. C, C1, CIII, CIV, CV.

5. Treaties, etc., ii. CVI to CX. END OF NOTEs

For the first 8 days after due date 12 per cent per annum.

Do. next 20 do. do. 24 do. Do.

Do. do. 30 do. do. 36 do. do.

and so on, 1 per cent, per mensum being added to the rate of interest for each additional month on which the arrears remained unpaid. And on failure to pay arrears within twenty-eight days, the Honourable Company were to be at liberty to enter into possession and collect the revenue direct from the ryots until ample security was given “for the future punctuality of the payments”.

There can be no manner of doubt that the system of settlement adopted by the Joint Commission, of which Mr. Duncan was President during the greater portion of its existence, was very unsuited to the circumstances of the country.

The Zamorin had in a very characteristic letter, as he himself put it “opened his heart” to the Joint Commissioners, and at an early period in 1792 had assured them that “By the ancient customs of Malabar the Nayars held their lands free ; they paid no revenue to any one, but were obliged to attend their Rajas when called on to war.

And his experience in endeavouring, as required by the Commissioners, to levy the general assessment imposed by the Mysoreans was thus graphically described :

“As for me, when my people ask for revenue (from the Mappillas), they shake their swords at them”.

And as to the Nayars : “They think that my government is returned, and they hope to be relieved of all the oppressions of Tippu. To this I am obliged to reply that the country and the government is with the Company, whose armies must protect it ; that, unless they willingly contribute to the expense of maintaining them according to what is just, the country may go back to Tippu, and instead of living in peace under the shadow of the Company, all our troubles and vexations may return and we may be driven back into the Travancore country.

“This is I tell them ; but after all, you know they are not like the people of other countries, who live collected in cities where the hand of government can reach them and the tax-gatherer has an easy task. They live in woods and in hills, with every house separate., and that house defensible.”

Had the Joint Commissioners, instead of accepting as conclusive the statement that the Nayars paid “no revenue to any one,” pursued their investigations a little farther than they did, and sought reasons for the assertion that Malabar was an exception to all other territories in India in having no land revenue system, they would undoubtedly have been convinced in the end that the Zamorin’s statement was not strictly accurate. The fact was that, as stated more at large in section (a) of Chapter IV, Malabar was no exception to the rule, and that pattam, which the Joint Commissioners viewed simply as rent in the European sense, was in reality a land revenue assessment imposed on every cultivated acre of land, as indeed the very name itself indicates, for pattam is simply the pad (i.e., authority’s) varam (share of the produce).

End of part 1 of this chapter. Go to part 2 of this chapter.

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