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MURDER OF THE DEVAN BASAVA. 205
General Fraser set a price of one thousand rupees upon the capture of the Devan Basava. He was brought in from Nalkanadu. A Coorg man escorted him in the evening to the Kaggocfaac/u Cutchery, at the foot of the Mercara hill. A message was received there at nightfall from the Rajah. Basava was strangled by the men in the Cutcherry, and hung up on a tree in the jungle not far away. Next morning the Coorg, who had delivered Basava, was sent about his business, and report was made to General Fraser, that Basnva had committed suicide, and had been found in the jungle at a distance of a mile and an half from Mercara. Dr. Grant was sent down, and duly reported, that he had no doubt but the Devan had committed suicide. (His determination must have been very firm, for the Doctor found him suspended by two ropes, and a third rope, a spare one, it must be supposed, was found at the foot of the tree.) The Rajah's scheme succeeded well enough. General Fraser fully believed in the suicide of Basava; all the Coorgs seemed to believe it; and the Exrajah was now at liberty to shift all blame from himself upon the dead man. Still, light began to break in upon the darkness of Coorg affairs, as soon as it became known, that the Rajah was to leave the country. General Fraser wrote on the 7th June to the Governor General. "The Rajah is cunning, false, hypocritical and well capable of deceiving those around him, who happen not to be aware of the past events of his life. But, in my opinion, he has forfeited every claim to indulgence, and I think, that his atrocious character would render it discreditable to the British Government, to concede more to him, than was granted to him, life and honorable treatment."
He was sent out of the country. He rode away on an elephant through Mercara, ordering the band to strike up "the British Grenadier," as if he had no sense s
of his fall. A number of his wives accompanied him. In their palkis and his own, he carried away vast property in gold and jewels. At the first halting place beyond the frontier of Coorg, he buried a great quantity of treasure, which was partly stolen by his confidants, partly discovered and surrendered to the British authorities. He was first taken to Bangalore, then to Vellore, finally to Benares.
Thus ends the history of the Coorg Rajahs.
The Government of the Company succeeded.* Person and property were now safe, peace and security were established in Coorg. The former Devans became the Head servants of the new Government. Every thing was done to please the Coorgs. They took kindly to their new masters, who were so kind to them; and when in 1837 an insurrection broke out in Coorg and the neighbouring districts, the Coorgs once more armed themselves, seized the leaders of the rebels and delivered them over to Government. They were most liberally rewarded.
* Final Proclamation of General Fraser. "Annexation of Coorg.
Whereas it is the unanimous wish of the inhabitants of Coorg to be taken under the protection of the British Government, His Excellency the Right Honorable the Governor General has been pleased to resolve, that the territory, heretofore governed by Virarajendra Wodear shall be transferred to the Honorable Company.
The inhabitants are hereby assured, that they shall not again be subjected to native rule, that their civil and religions usages will be respected, and that the greatest desire wiH invariably be shown by the British Government, to augment their security, comfort, and happiness.
(Signed) J. S. FRASER. Lt. Col. and Political Agent. Camp at Mercara, 1th May 1834.
THE COORG MISSION.
When the account of the reduction of Coorg arrived in England, considerable interest was awakened in behalf of the inhabitants of the new province, whom British arms had delivered from cruel bondage, and whose brave and frank character seemed to establish a peculiar claim upon the sympathies of the Friends of Indian Missions. The Wesleyan and the London Missionary Societies were inclined to extend their operations to Coorg, but both Societies subsequently found, that they could not spare men for a new Mission at a distance from their older stations. In the year 1834, the Basel Missionary Society commenced operations on the western coast in the neighbourhood of Coorg and extended their stations to the North and South. Mercara and Virarajendrapett were now and then visited; but no proposal was made to the Committee, to occupy Coorg: Thus the country remained nearly twenty years under British rule without the establishment of a Mission.
At last the writer of these pages was led to commence the long delayed work in an unforeseen and singular manner. After having held out for upwards of two years against a disease, which had prostrated him in 1850, he was induced by the advice of his excellent and kind physician to return to Europe. Three months, however, before his appointed departure, a Coorg man, disguised as a Sanyasi, came to him and applied for instruction in Christian doctrine. Debts had driven the man from home, and having left all, he was in search after philosophy in Hindu fashion; he longed to obtain "the sight of God." A Christian Canarese book and a singular dream led him to the Missionary. After some weeks he began to comprehend the meaning of the gospel, and asked for baptism. He had, in the mean time, given a true account of himself, and appeared so much in earnest, that he received the promise of baptism, if he was ready to return to his country and to bear witness to Christ among his relatives and countrymen. He pleaded his debts aud his disgrace, and said that, if he ventured to return now as a Christian, he would immediately be seized and probably carried into prison. Nor could, he tell, whether his wife would receive him, as he was now considered an outcast. His objections were overruled. He received the promise, that the author would accompany him to Coorg on his way to Europe, via Dharwar and Bombay, and help him, if necessary. If his family disowned him, he might return to Mangalore and enter the Catechist Institution with a view to qualify himself for future work in his country, whenever a way might be opened.
On the 17th February 1853, early in the morning, Stephanas Somaya of Almanda, who had been baptized on the previous 6th January, returned unexpected and unnoticed to his house, accompanied by the author. His wife received him with great joy, and declared that she would live and die with him. On the following day Stephanas took formally possession of his house, and the author resolved on standing by the family and becoming security to the creditors, who speedily assembled, for the liquidation of the debts of the convert.
After two days, while the author stayed at the Public Bungalow of Virarajendrapett, Stephanas' neighbours and relatives drove him and his family out of their house at night, and forced them to seek refuge with their European friend. This gross violation of the law could not be tolerated. Bat left to himself, the poor and now hated convert must have been worsted. The author, therefore, finally made up his mind, to set every other consideration aside; to behave like COORG MISSION. 209
a soldier, who cancels his sick leave when there is fighting; to act on his own responsibility without waiting for Committee orders, and to leave the care of his health to his Master.
The superintendent of Coorg, who was appealed to, inquired into the case, and reported to the Commission of Mysore and Coorg. Finally" the matter was referred to the Governor General, who decided, that the law of India was supreme also in Coorg, and that the Christian convert must be protected in all his rights as well as any other subject. On the first of June the family returned to their house and property from Mercara, where they had lived in the mean time with the author, and where the mother and the three children had been baptized. The Monsoon set in, and the author remained in the neighbourhood of the convert family through the rains. After the rains, preparations were made for the building of a little Church and a dwelling house, on a piece of ground given by Stephanas to the Mission, and the work of preaching at the principal places of resort was commenced. The subjoined report in two letters, published in the Madras Christian Herald, will suffice to show the progress of the new Mission.
A few weeks after the publication of the report, the author left the little congregation at Almanda in charge of the Catechist, and repaired to Bangalore, (where he carried the Coorg Memoirs through the press,) for the purpose of applying to Lieut. General M. Cubbon, the Commissioner of Mysore and Coorg, for Government support in behalf of English and Canarese Schools to be established in connection with the Mission, among the Coorgs. His application has been received with great kindness, and he feels assured, that his adopted country, after having been neglected for a while, will receive its full share of the bounty of