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remainder of his force on the next morning—short review of the further operations of the subsidiary force at Quilon—the enemy makes a second attack on these lines, on the 31st of January; and is again repulsed with slaughter—colonel Chalmers, in his turn, attacks the enemy's lines, on the 21st of February—destroys their batteries, and takes seven pieces of ordnance—enemy is dispersed in this quarter of Travancore—this force afterwards proceeds to within twelve miles of the enemy's capital, there ordered to halt until the conclusion of the treaty-proclamation, and reward offered for the apprehension of the dewan— he kills himself with his own hand—is brought to Trevandrum–exposed on a gibbet—
It may be necessary to premise, before entering into the particular circumstances of the war, alluded to at the conclusion of the preceding chapter, that a long and intimate friendship and alliance had subsisted between the East India company and the king of Travancore. This connection was not secured at first by any solemn compact, but was regarded always with as much good faith, as if it had been protected by the most formal and sacred obligations. During the existence of this alliance, the support of the rajah's territories and throne, in seasons of difficulty and danger, has not been nominal merely but substantial. A most remarkable instance of active friendship was afforded by the marquis Cornwallis, on a memorable occasion, when Tippoo Sultaun threatened, with a very formidable force, the invasion of the Travancore lines. At this juncture his lordship interposed, almost unasked, all the authority of the supreme government between his ally and the enemy, and saved his dominions from the impending attack. This seasonable service was not rendered, without much hazard and expense to the British government, being the avowed cause of the first war with the sovereign of Mysore.
In later times, when it had become more the practice, from the extent of our dominions, or the intricacy of our relations, to mark the nature of the company's alliances, by direct and explicit engagements, the king of Travancore, with other Asiatic potentates, had been required to enter into treaties of offensive and defensive aspect. Though these treaties are of very recent date, they are yet but little known, and from report, rather than from any
authentic source; instruments of this nature, being generally committed to the private custody of those, in charge of the company's archives. From this circumstance, it is impracticable, in most instances, for any but the parties to the treaties, to render an accurate account of their conditions; but they may be supposed, in this particular case, to be simple, and plain indeed. The kingdom of Travancore may be said, in its geographical position, to be insolated, or cut off from the whole world, but the British Indian territory; our possessions completely hemming it in on three sides, and the Indian ocean on the fourth ; a boundary scarcely less our own ; beyond which it pursues no commercial speculations, nor has been known to maintain any public or political engagements. A power, so circumstanced could not be much perplexed in her diplomatic negotiations or ties. All her defence must be expected through the surrounding frontier of her friend ; all her apprehensions, if she can entertain any, must arise from the same source. The utmost that such a state can have naturally to stipulate, is freedom from attack, or, at most, the quota of supply, that she should contribute to the common protection of a territory identified with her own. Yet it would seem, that this power, wholly under the covering wing of British influence, has been burthened with all the heavy trappings and incumbrances of ordinary Asiatic alliances, and has been doomed to bear the appointment of a regular resident, without any possible diplomatic occupation; and of a subsidiary force, without any practicable effect, but to check and overawe the state which it professes to protect, in its integrity and independence. Under the operation of the first treaty, executed, we believe, at the end of the marquis Wellesley's administration, the king of Travancore was bound to maintain, in time of peace, two battalions of Sepoys, within the interior of his country, with their commandant and complement of officers ; and, by the modification of this, or a subsequent treaty, negotiated by the government of Bombay, he was afterwards called upon to increase his subsidy to the extent of three battalions, with a suitable corps of artillery. Whether this contingent was to be further augmented in time of war we have not the means of ascertaining, nor the precise sums disbursed by the Travancore treasury for the maintenance of the troops; but in the latter respect it is understood, that the Bombay government, which negotiated the treaty, in the genuine spirit of trade, conditioned for the payment of a part of the subsidy, in an article of traffic, the growth and staple of the country, and then in universal request. But whether there was a positive provision of this description, it is not material to enquire, since, in point of fact, the actual payment of the subsidy was adjusted after this Course. The conditions of the treaty were duly and regularly fulfilled on the behalf of the king of Travancore, until the end of the year 1808; and it will not be doubted that the British government continued, within the same period, to furnish its military contingent, to the extent of the stipulation ; and both the contracting parties might have been expected to discharge their respective duties until this hour, but for a fluctuation of commerce, affecting the value of the article introduced into the pecuniary clause of the engagement, or, according to another suggestion, probably the natural one, a new construction put, at this particular date, on the oting on which the contracting p. ood by virtue of the treaty, w - ce to each other. This co’s “....... if admitted by the
Travancore government, would have converted its sovereign into a mere dependant; or a petty commercial agent, to supply, according to his
means, the demands of the company's
trade. It is certain, at this aera, that the price of pepper, the article in which the subsidy was partly paid, had fallen, from the circumstance of war, and the generally crippled state of commercial intercourse throughout the world, considerably below the estimate on which it had been calculated. A requisition, it is said, was thereupon made to the Travancore government, that the future payment of the subsidy might be in money, instead of the produce of the country. The rajah's answer to this requisition, is said to have been to the effect –“ that the price of the article, as regarded the contracting parties, was stated and covenanted, looking to all times and all seasons, and did not depend on the value pla. ced on it by strangers, and indifferent persons; that if it had been since depreciated, by external circumstances, as an object of trade; and if there were not, at this time, all the facilities for advantageously disposing of it, as existed at the date of the treaty, this was a risk incident, by the very nature of the engagement, to the obligation on the part of the British goyernment, which had a correspondent benefit in a favourable state of things. At any rate, the mode of payment, and the price of the article, was determined by the desire or acquiescence of the company; and it would be highly unreasonable to throw an article, not every where marketable, into the king's stores, who had no adequate means of exporting it, thereby rendering him liable to the whole loss of a speculation solely and purely anothers.” If a requisition, in substance as stated, had been made to the king of Travancore, this answer would appear most natural and conclusive; and should have delivered him from all further importunity on the subject. Even if no express covenant had existed in the treaty for the payment of the subsidy, in the way described.
yet the acceptance of it for a time,
according to such regulation, ought to have induced some degree of delicacy and forbearance as to the introduction of any change in the future manner of payment. It is, however, generally stated and believed, that the request was repeated, and pertinaciously urged, but produced not the desired effect. This, aided, perhaps, by other cooperative causes, was the means of creating certain coolness, if not absolute personal ill will between the British resident and the king's dewan, or principal minister. But whatever might have caused the subsisting difference, whatever the extent and the object of it; it was obvious to all, at this season, that the dewan and the resident were completely at variance with each other; their representations and their acts, manifesting publicly, and without a wish of concealment, the spirit by which they were directed. In this condition of things, it was not very probable, that any public measure, be it what it might, could be promoted through agents, actuated by such opposite motives and tempers. Still, however, the public relations between the parties remained undisturbed. It was soon dicovered by the British resident himself, that the views of his government would not be speeded, unless he could procure the removal of the obnoxious minister, and his labours, both at his own court and at that of Travancore, were industriously directed to that end. But as the dewan had considerable influence of his own, and a certain favour with the king, this attempt of the resident did not succeed, but, on the contrary, was attended by consequences extending the existing breach. The dewan, in his turn, employed all his interest with his master, and at the Indian presidencies, to effect the recall of the resident, and equally without success. In the interval, it was perceived, that the personal feelings of the parties towards each other, did not abate ; and that, unless some immediate uneasure should be resorted
to for the obviation of the natural effect of such sentiment, the most lamentable events might be expected to ensue. It is scarcely to be imagined, that the king will displace his confidential servant, intelligent of all his affairs, and competent to the administration of them, from the accidental circumstance of his not being in good fellowship with the representative of his ally. A solicitation to this effect, without entering into the merits of it, bears so strong a semblance of a disposition to intermeddle in the internal government of the country, that it is likely of itself to provoke opposition. The rajah would have had no difficulty in discovering that if it should be once attended to, it might be converted into a precedent for further applications of a similar tendency, and might be urged at all times, and on the same ground, until a minister should ultimately be ap
pointed, who would exactly tally with
the humour and purposes of the British embassador. But what would become, in the event, of the interests and inportance of the king of Travancore ? There would be but one appointment more needed, to reduce his kingdom into a dependant and subordinate province. But though these obvious difficulties, which could not be overlooked, lay in the way of concession on the one part—there were no obstacles, of an insurmountable nature or of a very uncommon complection, on the other. It would have been no great saerifice to peace, to have replaced an envoy at a friendly court, who had chanced to be implicated in a personal dispute with the first minister of the government. The course of policy, in such a contingency, would seem plain enough of itself, without any example to enforce it—but a precedent of this sort was not wanting. A governor-general, of as high character and as much political wisdom as ever presided over the company's affairs, removed the resident from one of the principal Mahratta counts, on no other ground,
for it would have been impossible for policy or spleen to have suggested .
or fancied any other, than the unfavourable sentiment of the durbar towards his person. Let the diplomatic pretensions of lieutenant-colonel Macauley, therefore, have been more generally admitted, even than they are, they might, it should seem, have been suffered, without any compromise of the interests of the East India company, or the character of the individual, to give way, to prevent a public calamity. The circumstances of the misunderstanding between the British and the Travancore minister was thoroughly understood at Madras, and had been, for some time, a topic of general discussion, if not of direct deliberation in the council of that presidency. It was, however, utterly impossible, from the notoriety of the fact, that the government of Fort St. George should be ignorant of that which was known to the whole Indian community ; it must, therefore, be a matter of surprize as well as regret, that it should hazard the evil of a war with a state in actual friendship, the effusion of British blood, the probable danger of an insurrection in Malabar, and the almost certainty of a revolt in the scarcely-subdued Poligar countries, rather than remove a public officer, who could not, any longer, from intervenient causes, no matter what they were, fulfil the duties given to him in charge. Yet in this obdurate and absurd policy, if so it can be called, did the Madras government persist, at the risk of the complicated calamities enumerated, and the great danger, afterwards exemplified, to the personal safety of the resident.* In a conduct equally as inexplicable, did the same government authorize or countenance its resident to insist, in contradiction of the very purpose of his mission, on the removal of the minister of the court, at which he was appointed to reside. An interference so direct in
the internal administration of the af. fairs of a separate and independent power, and in so material a point, would seem to assume such an authority, as to supersede the necessity of maintaining the medium of diplomacy for the negotiation of public business. Sustained by the authority of his government, and in obvious contempt of the sentiment of the court to which he is sent, the British resident, it may be presumed, whatever may be his will or disposition, can have little power to promote the views of his appointment, and, it may be feared, if his public deportment rise superior to his private , sentiment, that the spirit which he himself is able happily to controul, may not be so easily kept in check by the subordinate, the native officers of his mission. They who have any knowledge of the natives of India in general, must be sensible of the facility with which such officers imbibe the feelings of their superiors, and how apt they are to imitate and improve on the example. What may we not, therefore, have to apprehend from the operation of such causes, on the affairs, fearfully involved, of the separate governments 2 It must have been a most painful and odious task even to the resident, whose negotiations must have been personally managed with the dewan, to have proposed to that minister the necessity of his retirement from office, and inore especially to have explained the causes, out of which the necessity was supposed to arise. Of the circumstances that made this measure requisite, nothing is known, but whether they were political or private, they could be discussed with little propriety, and with less temper between parties previously indisposed to each other. But there are duties, often imposed on the public servant, respecting the execution of which he can have no option; and which, in despite of his own feelings or delicacy, he is pe
* At one time it was generally reported and believed, that the resident had been recalled, and that another officer, (Major Blackburne,) had proceeded to relieve him, and had advanced *veral stages towards Travancore, when his appointment, but on what grounds it is not
known, was suddenly rescinded.
remptorily bounden to discharge. In such a situation colonel on ley appears to have been food at this moment ; and he sens to have carried his sense of duty so far as it was capable of extending ; tho' go a the date now contemplated, the end ol the year 1808, his exertions had not been crowned with any visible success. At this season, to give effect, perhaps, to the representations and views of the British resident, a large body of troops were detached from Trichinopoly, professedly with the intent to proceed in a southerly direction, and according to general report, against Travancore. No secrecy, indeed, was affected as to the design of the armament, the cornmand of which was committed to lieutenant-colonel Macleod, of his Majesty's 69th regineut. This officer had made several days march on his route to the place of his destination, when he was suddenly ordered to halt; under an impression, perhaps, that the objects of his government migh, be effected without any actual hostile ineans, and possibly, that the kilowieuge of the movement of the troops, here, and in other quarters, about the same time, might have been considered as a demonstration, sufficiently powerful to induce the king of Travancore to make the desired change in his councils. At the same moment of time, a king's regiment and two battalions of Sepoys, were ordered to move in the like direction from Seringapatam, under the command of colonel Forbes. It is said, however, and the fact appears very probable, that the march of the troops, and other military prepara
was likely to be attended with personal danger, on account of the unpopularity of his ministry, he induced colonel Macauley, to promise him the security of his own escort, to conduct him out oi the kingdom, to an asylum which he mentioned. This escort was accoidingly sent to him at the time agreed upon, , when the preparations were supposed to have been arranged for his departure. On the same night, when the resident had retired, without suspicion, to rest, he was suddenly aroused from his slumber by a loud noise, as if of numbers talking together, in the vicinity of his house. He immediately rose, and proceeded to the window, whence he thought he could discern a body of men drawn up in regular array, and seemingly sur. rounding his habitation. The conversation continued from without, in the course of which he heard his name frequently and distinctly mentioned. })etermined to break silence, he instantly demanded, through the lattice, “, Who's there " Upon this, many voices cried out at once, “It is the colonel !” and several pieces were almost instantaneously discharged at the casement, where the resident stood, but without doing any mischief. Perceiving himself surrounded by a party of armed men, whose design could not now be doubted, the colonel seized his sword, and was hurrying down the staircase, with an intent of opposiug the entrance of the party into his house, chusing to yield his life in the defence of his threshold, rather than resider himself up, as anticipated by him, to a lingering death in the bands of a merciless enemy. For this purpose he was rushing to the outward door, when he was stopped in his design, by a domestic,an ordinary clerk in his service, who conjured and intreated him most ferventiy not to give himself up to despair, while providence might interpose and point out some unseen means of deliverance. At this very instant a thought suggested itself to this faithful servant, that he might ensure his master's safety, and his own, by committing themselves to a recess in a lower apartment, which was protected by a door, scarcely dis