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EMBARKATION FOR ENGLAND.
The Author embarks for the Malabar Coast and England
Arrival at Goa-Residence at Goa and Panjeem-Onore taken by the English from Tippoo Sultaun—Pass the Fortress when blockaded by the Sultaun's Troops, without affording reliefResidence at Tellicherry-Cruel Fate of the English Prisoners with Tippoo Sultaun, taken at Bednore–Savage Treatment of the Officers and Privates in marching through the CountryFate of General Mathews and two other Gentlemen taken off by Poisoned Coffee--Mechanical Tiger-Refinements in Cruelty-Rigid Discipline of Tippoo-Hyder Ally's Character superior to his Son's—Origin of Hyder-Mangulore-Splendour of the Tiger Throne- The Huma-Prayer of Tippoo—ACcount of Hyder's Durbar—Many Particulars of Tippoo's Character, Dress, &c.- Anecdote of a Chinese-Lulhabhy-Sail from Tellicherry-Anecdotes of Hyder Ally and Zamorine of Calicut-Chetwa-Departure for Europe-Reflections on that event, and the melancholy fate of former Shipmates—Voyage from the Malabar Coast to St. Helena-Sargasso, or Grasssea-Flying-fish-Terrific Storm-Arrival in England.
On the eighteenth day of January 1784, I embarked with my family connexions, and several valuable friends, who had taken their passage for Europe, in the General Elliott East Indiaman; many others accompanied us on board, from whom we parted with sincere regret. We sailed immediately for the Malabar coast, where we were to complete our cargo of pepper, at Goa and Tellicherry; a fair wind carried
us clear of the harbour, and in a few hours we lost sight of all the endeared and interesting objects on Bombay.
In two days we arrived at Goa, spent a fortnight there with Mr. Crommelin, the English resident. While the ship was receiving her cargo, we made several excursions into the adjacent country ; sometimes sailing up the river, we visited the desolate city of Goa, formerly described, which now presented a still more melancholy picture of wretchedness and ruin. The churches, monasteries, prisons, and inquisition, were kept in repair; but the streets in general exhibited only mouldering palaces and falling houses, depopulated and silent! The governor, Don Frederic, no longer styled Viceroy, but Captain General of India, was a nobleman of amiable manners, and an accomplished gentleman : he entertained us in a princely style at his palace, and formed in every respect a striking contrast to the courtiers by whom he was surrounded.
Alternate land and sea breezes wafted us pleasantly from Goa to Tellicherry.
I described Onore in the voyage to Anjengo; it was now in possession of the English, who took the fortress from the sultaun of Mysore at the commencement of the unfortunate expedition under general Mathews. Onore fort was at this time defended by Captain (now Major) Torriano, an officer in the Bombay artillery, frequently mentioned for his gallant behaviour when acting as brigade major to the British troops employed in Guzerat for the assistance of Ragonath Row. This enterprising officer ac
quired additional honours in his defence of Onore against the force and treachery of Tippoo Sultaun, during a siege of three months, and a blockade of much longer continuance. Captain Torriano was my intimate friend, as also of several other passengers on board the General Elliot. We knew his arduous situation, we knew him resolutely determined to maintain his post until a peace, although in want of ammunition, stores, and provision for the garrison, and destitute of almost every comfort and necessary of life ; what then must have been our feelings when we were obliged to pass within view of the blockaded fortress, without affording relief to himself and his brave comrades !
We continued a fortnight at Tellicherry to complete the cargo
pepper. Our Tellicherry friends formed parties for us to Mahie, Durmapatam, and other places in its vicinity. The country is extremely pleasant for such excursions, and the weather at this season delightful. Indeed, the climate of Tellicherry is reckoned one of the finest in India ; the land winds are generally moderate, the sea breezes cool and refreshing. A constant trade during the fair season, with vessels of all descriptions from different parts of India, renders this settlement very lively; while the number of civil servants, with the garrison officers and their families, beguile the rainy months in cheerful society and domestic enjoyments.
During our stay my friends kindly procured me every possible variety in the natural history of this part of Malabar; among others a beautiful frog, richly shaded and spotted with blue, vellow, orange,
white, and black; the black and white halcyon, mentioned at Fort Victoria, and some delicate specimens of the tree-frog, and flying lizard, called by naturalists draco volans. Most of the plants in the Tellicherry district are similar to those indigenous to Anjengo, already described. Many of the wild flowers are beautiful, none more so than the gloriosa-superba, which in the southern districts of Travencore is a de. structive weed. The specimens brought to Tellicherry well deserved the epithet superba ;' the elegant clusters of flowers, arrayed in brilliant flame-colour, pendent in every graceful form, from this climbing plant, running over the hedges, add an uncommon richness to the foreground of the Malabar landscape. The root of the gloriosa is of a poisonous nature, and being sometimes mistaken for edible roots, occasions very deleterious effects, and sometimes death.
Every rural excursion in the neighbouring country, and every social pleasure in the fortress, was tinged with gloom from reports daily reaching us of the sad fate of our unfortunate countrymen in the dominions of Tippoo Sultaun. Some gentlemen belonging to the embassy lately sent from Madras to Mangulore to settle terms of peace with that prince, as noticed in the preceding account of Onore, brought us the most dreadful intelligence of the British prisoners in Mysore. Bednore capitulated to Tippoo Sultaun the end of April 1783, on honourable terms. On an ill-founded and frivolous pretence of an infringement of the treaty, General Mathews, and a garrison of six hundred Europeans and fifteen hun
FATE OF GENERAL MATHEWS.
dred sepoys, were treacherously made prisoners, treated in the most ignominious manner, and marched with savage cruelty to different fortresses in the Mysore dominions, where they were so closely confined, that during the Commissioners' journey they could neither see nor hear from any one of them. By different channels they learned too much of their unparalleled sufferings. During the march from Bednore to their allotted prisons, the officers and men were indiscriminately tied to each other with ropes, and sometimes chained together in pairs, without any distinction; the feeble with the strong, the sick with the healthy, and, not unfrequently, the living with the dead. Several instances having occurred of a lifeless corpse being dragged for miles chained to a wretched comrade, who could obtain no relief from the merciless conductor until they arrived at the nightly halting-place, when the chain was unlocked and the body removed for sepulture, a favour not always granted. In some instances the corpse was thrown out to the prowling hyenas and jackals.
From the memoranda I made on conversing with the gentlemen from Mangulore, I find two different accounts of the fate of General Mathews, and the officers above the rank of lieutenant, so treacherously surrounded at Bednore: that the field-officers, captains, and commissaries of the army were all put to death, there remained no doubt. The manner in which the tyrant's orders were executed is not so clearly ascertained. By some it was asserted that General Mathews, another field-officer, and Mr. Charles Stewart, the head commissary, and formerly a resident