In 1642, when Madras was in its third year, a certain Father Ephraim, a French Capuchin, chanced to set foot in Madras. Father Ephraim had been sent out from Paris as a missionary to Pegu; and he had travelled across India from Surat to Masulipatam, where, according to his instructions, he was to have secured a passage to Pegu in one of the Company's ships. His information was out of date; for the Agency had lately been transferred from Masulipatam to Madras, and the Company's ships for Pegu were sailing now from Madras instead of from Masulipatam; so Father Ephraim journeyed southward from Masulipatam to look for a vessel at the new settlement. At Madras no vessel was starting immediately, and Father Ephraim had to bide his time. Meanwhile he made himself useful by ministering to the Roman Catholics of the place. Official and other documents show that Father Ephraim was a very devout and a very able man. He was 'an earnest Christian,' 'a polished linguist,' able to converse in English, Portuguese and Dutch, besides his own French, and he was conversant with Persian and Arabic. He had the charm of attractive friendliness, which is so common with Frenchmen, and he captivated all with whom he conversed. The Portuguese and other Roman Catholic inhabitants of Madras, to whom the Company's disapproval of the ministrations of Portuguese priests had been a frequent source of trouble, formally petitioned Father Ephraim to settle down in the city; and the Governor in Council, greatly preferring a French priest to a Portuguese and thoroughly approving of Father Ephraim personally, supported the petition with a formal order that, if the priest would stay, a site would be provided on which he might build a church for his flock. Father Ephraim himself was not unwilling to stay, but he was under orders for Pegu, and, furthermore, Madras was within the diocese of San Thome, and the Bishop was not likely to approve of a scheme in which the ministrations of his own priests would be set at naught in favour of a stranger. The Company, however, was influential. A reference was made to Father Ephraim's Capuchin superiors in Paris, and they approved of his remaining in Madras; another reference was made to Rome, asking that the British territory of Madras should be ecclesiastically separated from the Portuguese diocese of Mylapore, and the Pope issued a decree to that effect.
A site for a church, as also for a priest's house, was provided in White Town, within the Fort St. George of to-day, and a small church, dedicated to St. Andrew, was built; and for a good many years it was the only church of any kind in the settlement.
The Portuguese ecclesiastics of Mylapore were never reconciled to this ecclesiastical separation of Madras, and when Father Ephraim went by invitation to Mylapore to discuss certain ecclesiastical business, he was forthwith arrested, clapped in irons, and shipped off to Goa and lodged in the prison of the Inquisition. The Governor of Fort St. George took the matter in hand, but Father Ephraim was in prison more than two years before he was eventually released and sent back to Madras.
Later, Father Ephraim rebuilt St. Andrew's Church on a larger plan, and the building was opened with ceremony; and Master Patrick Warner, the Company's Protestant Chaplain at Fort St. George, complained indignantly to the Directors in England that Governor Langhorn had celebrated the popish occasion with the 'firing of great guns' and with 'volleys of small shot by all the soldiers in garrison.'
Father Ephraim had already built a church in old Black Town, which seems to have stood somewhere within what is now the site of the High Court. Another French Capuchin had meanwhile come to Madras to help him in his ministrations to his ever-increasing flock; so the church in Black Town had its regular pastor.
After more than fifty years of self-sacrificing work in Madras, Father Ephraim died of old age, sincerely esteemed by all who knew him.
Some years after his death St. Andrew's was again rebuilt, and it was now a large edifice, with a high bell-tower, and a small churchyard around. In the suburban district of Muthialpet there was also a 'Portuguese Burying Place,' which is now the 'compound' of the Roman Catholic Cathedral and its associated buildings in Armenian Street; and a small church stood within this enclosure. Adjoining the Portuguese Burying Place was the 'Armenian Burying Place,' which is now the enclosure of the Armenian church; and it was the Armenian Burying Place that gave the name to the street.
When Madras was captured by the French, there were people who said that the French priests in Madras had given information to their countrymen; and three years later, when Madras was restored to the Company, the Governor in Council confiscated St. Andrew's church. A reference to the Directors in England as to what they were to do with the confiscated building brought back the very decisive reply that they were "immediately on the receipt of this, without fail to demolish the Portuguese Church in the White Town at Madras, and not suffer it to stand." The church was demolished accordingly, as also a Roman Catholic chapel in Vepery. The church in old Black Town had already been demolished by the French when they destroyed the greater part of old Black Town itself; and, in accordance with another edict of the Directors in England, by which the Company's representatives in Madras were "absolutely forbid suffering any Romish Church within the bounds, or even to suffer the public profession of the Romish religion," Roman Catholicism was altogether scouted in Madras.
Twenty-five years later, the English troops, after defeating the French in various engagements, captured Pondicherry and demolished its fortifications; and the peace of Paris left the French in India powerless. With the danger of French aggression removed for good, the Company were less intolerant of the religion which Frenchmen professed; and a few years later they paid the Capuchin priests some Rs. 50,000 as compensation for the destruction of the church in White Town and of the chapel in Vepery.
With funds thus in their hands, the Capuchin fathers set about building a new church in the 'Burying Place.' This new church, which they built in 1775, was the edifice which is now the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Armenian Street. On the gate-posts appears the date 1642, but this was the year in which the Company made a grant of the land for a Roman Catholic Cemetery and in which Father Ephraim arrived and the Madras Mission began, and is not the date of the building of the present church or of its predecessor. The Capuchin missionaries continued in charge of Roman Catholic affairs in Madras until 1832, in which year they were put under episcopal jurisdiction.
Reference has been made in this chapter and elsewhere to the churches that were already in existence in Mylapore when the English first settled in Madras. According to local tradition, the Apostle St. Thomas made his way to the East, and, after preaching in various parts of India, settled down in the ancient Hindu town of Mylapore, where he made numerous converts. The Hindu priests, indignant at the loss of so many of their clients, sought the missionary's life. The Apostle, according to the tradition, lived in a small cave on a small hill—the 'Little Mount'—fed by birds and drinking the water of a spring that bubbled up miraculously within the cave. Driven from the cave, he fled to another hill, a mile or so away—'St. Thomas's Mount'—where he was killed with a lance. The dead body was buried at Mylapore. Such is the story; and in the present-day church on the Little Mount the visitor is shown a cave which is said to have been the Apostle's hiding-place; and within the nave of the cathedral at Mylapore he is shown a hole in the ground—now lined with marble—in which the Martyr's remains are said to have been buried.
When the Portuguese came to Mylapore in the early part of the sixteenth century, they built a church upon the ruins of an ancient church that had enclosed the tomb; and the new church became eventually the Cathedral of San Thome. The sixteenth century building was pulled down in 1893, and the present Cathedral—a handsome Gothic structure—was built. Mylapore is now a suburb of Madras, and is within British dominion; but the bishopric, which was originally supported by the King of Portugal, who had the right of nominating the bishop, is still supported by the Portuguese Government.
Mylapore has a history of its own that is outside the scope of the 'Story of Madras;' but a few words about the glories of a city that is now a suburb of Madras will not be out of place.
Mylapore and Madras, standing side by side, are a conjunction of the old and the young. Mylapore, or Meliapore, the 'Peacock City' of the ancient Hindu world, has existed for twenty centuries, and perhaps a great many more; Madras has existed less than three. It was at Mylapore that, according to tradition, the body of the martyred Apostle St. Thomas was buried; Mylapore was the birth-place of Tiruvalluvar, an old and illustrious Tamil author who belonged to the down-trodden class, and of Peyalvar, an eminent Vaishnavite saint and writer; it was here that a company of Saivaite saints, Appar and his fellows, assembled together and wrote their well-known hymns; and it was here also that Mastan, a renowned Mohammedan scholar, lived and wrote and died.
Of the ancient glories of Mylapore no vestige remains; but several of the churches of the Mylapore diocese belong to the sixteenth century, including the celebrated 'Luz' Church, the Church of the Madre-de-Deus at San Thome and the little Church of Our Lady of Refuge between Mylapore and Saidapet, besides the churches at the Little Mount and St. Thomas's Mount, of which the latter is a sixteenth-century development of an old chapel that existed there before the coming of the Portuguese.
It is of interest to note that there are those who say that a Mylapore church gave its name to the city of Madras. They say—not, I believe, without evidence—that the rural village of Madraspatam, where Mr. Francis Day selected a site for the Company's settlement, had been colonized by fisherfolk from the parish of the Madre-de-Deus Church—the Church of the Mother of God—and that the emigrant fisherfolk called their village by the name of their parish, and that the name was eventually corrupted into 'Madras.' The origin of the name 'Madras' is uncertain; and the explanation is at any rate interesting and not unlikely to be true.
Among the interesting buildings in Madras must be included Chepauk Palace, which was built about a century and a half ago as a residence for the Nawab of the Carnatic, and which is now the office of the Board of Revenue. The high wall that enclosed the spacious Saracenic structure in its palace days has been pulled down, and the public can now gaze at a building that was once carefully screened from the public eye, and can enter at will without having to satisfy the scrutiny of armed men at the gate. A change indeed—from the sleepy residence of a Muhammadan ruler, with his harem and his idle crowd of retainers, to bustling offices where a multitude of officials and clerks are working out the cash accounts of the Government of Madras!
The 'Carnatic' was a dominion that extended over the territory that is now included in the Collectorates of Nellore, North Arcot, South Arcot, Trichinopoly, and Tinnevelly. The town of Arcot was the capital of the dominion, and the Nawab of the Carnatic was sometimes spoken of as the Nawab of Arcot. Chepauk Palace belongs to the history of the Carnatic, and a few historical notes will make things clear.
In our first chapter we intimated that Madras, when Mr. Francis Day acquired it, was within the domain of the disappearing Hindu Empire of Vijianagar, of which the living representative at the time was the Raja of Chandragiri, from whom Mr. Francis Day accordingly obtained a deed of possession. Seven years afterwards, the Raja of Chandragiri was a refugee in Mysore, driven from his throne by the Muhammadan Sultan of Golconda, who assumed the sovereignty of Hyderabad and the Carnatic. The Sultan of Golconda thus became the recognized overlord of Madras; and the Company were careful to secure from their new sovereign a confirmation of their possession. But the power of the Sultan was destined to fall in its turn; for Aurangzeb, the Moghul Emperor at Delhi, being desirous of uniting all India under Moghul rule, waged war against the Sultan of Golconda—who, as a Shiah Mohammedan, was a heretic in Aurangzeb's eyes—and defeated him. Aurangzeb put Hyderabad under a Nizam whom he named 'Viceroy of the Deccan' and the Carnatic under a Nawab who was to be subordinate to the Viceroy. But the Emperor who succeeded Aurangzeb had none of their predecessors' greatness; and soon after Aurangzeb's death the Nizam of Hyderabad assumed independence, with the Nawab of the Carnatic as his vassal.
In 1749 there was a quarrel for the Nawabship. The French at Pondicherry supported one claimant, and the English at Madras supported the other. This was the gallant Clive's opportunity. Exchanging the clerk's pen for the officer's sword, the youthful 'writer' marched with a small force to Arcot and captured it on behalf of the Company's nominee, and then sustained most heroically a lengthy siege. Clive triumphed; and Mohammed Ali, otherwise known as Nawab Walajah, became undisputed Nawab of the Carnatic. Later, with British support, the Nawab renounced his allegiance to Hyderabad, and reigned as an independent prince.
In his capital at Arcot, Nawab Walajah, who had many factionary enemies, would assuredly have found himself in a dangerous centre of intrigue; but he was wise in his generation; for as soon as he had gained his independence he sought and obtained from the Governor of Madras permission to build a palace for himself within the protective walls of Fort St. George. Arrangements for the work were made; and one of the streets of the Fort—the street which still bears the name of 'Palace Street'—received its name because it was the street in which the Nawab's residence was to be built. Eventually, however, the scheme was set aside; and in the following year the Nawab acquired private property in Chepauk, and engaged an English architect to build him a house. Chepauk Palace thus came into existence. The grounds of the Palace, which the Nawab surrounded with a wall, formed an immense enclosure, which included a large part of the grounds of Government House of to-day and a great deal of adjoining land.
Chepauk Palace was the scene of some grand doings in its time; and soon after it was built the Nawab entertained the Governor of Madras and his Councillors, one of whom was Mr. Warren Hastings, at 'an elegant breakfast;' and, when the feast was over, he divided some Rs. 30,000 among his guests. The Governor got Rs. 7,000, and, on a sliding scale, the Secretaries, who were last on the list, got Rs. 1,000 each.
The relations, however, between Nawab Walajah and a later Governor of Madras were not so cordial. In 1780 Haidar Ali with an immense army suddenly invaded the Carnatic, and annihilated a British force that was sent to oppose him; and Tipu, his son and successor, continued the campaign. The Company's treasury at Madras was straitened with the expenses of the war, and the Nawab, whose capital was in the hands of the enemy, was unable to contribute thereto; but when Tipu was eventually defeated, the Nawab was induced to assign the control of the revenues of the Carnatic to the Company. A few months later the Nawab felt that he had made an unwise bargain, and he declared his renunciation of the agreement; but Baron Macartney, the newly appointed Governor of Madras, kept him strictly to his word. The Nawab wrote various official letters, complaining in one that Lord Macartney had 'premeditatedly' offered him 'Insults and Indignity,' and in another that he had shown him 'every mark of Insult and Contempt.' The Directors in London, expressly declaring their desire to content the influential Nawab, decided in his favour; whereupon Lord Macartney, who in the opinion of his friends had been set at naught for the sake of the wealthy potentate, indignantly resigned the Governorship of Madras, and went home. Friendly relations between the Nawab and the Madras Government were thereupon resumed, and when Nawab Walajah died, at the age of seventy-eight, he was eulogised in an official note in the Fort St. George Gazette.
The career of his son and successor, Umdat-ul-Umara, was less auspicious. Although his accession was the occasion of friendly letters between himself and the Government of Madras, the Nawab's rejection of the Governor's suggestion that the financial arrangements between himself and the Company should be made more favourable to the Company irritated the Governor, and the Governor's efforts to induce the Nawab to change his mind irritated the Nawab. Meanwhile Tipu Sultan was preparing for another war with the Company, and when, after a brief campaign, Tipu was killed while fighting bravely in defence of his capital, it was declared that an examination of Tipu's correspondence showed that the Nawab of Arcot had been guilty of treasonable communications with Mysore. It was accordingly resolved that the Company should assume control of the Carnatic; but, as the Nawab was seriously ill, nothing was done until his death, when British troops were sent to occupy Chepauk Palace.
The Nawab's son refused to recognize the Company's right to control his father's dominions, whereupon the Company set him aside, and put his cousin on the throne in his stead. The Company were now the actual rulers of the Carnatic, and the future Nawabs were styled 'Titular Nawabs.' In 1855 the third of the Titular Nawabs died without any son to succeed him. Lord Dalhousie was Governor-General of India at the time, and it was Lord Dalhousie's declared policy that if the ruler of any native state died without issue, his dominions should formally lapse to the Company. On this principle the Carnatic now became a formal part of the British dominions, and the dynasty of the Nawabs came to an end; Chepauk Palace, which was the personal property of the Nawabs, was acquired by the Company's Government for a price, and was eventually turned into Government offices.
The many thousands of Mohammedans, however, who dwelt in the crowded streets and lanes of Chepauk, and who had looked upon the Nawab as their religious chief, would have been afflicted at the cessation of the Carnatic line; and after the Indian Mutiny the Government of India, respecting Mohammedan sentiment, recognized the succession of the nearest relative of the late Nawab and obtained for him from the King of England the hereditary title of Amir-i-Arcot, or 'Prince of Arcot'—an honorary title but higher than that of Nawab. A sum of Rs. 1,50,000 per annum—(not an excessive sum in relation to the revenues of the Carnatic, which are now collected by the Madras Government)—is expended annually in pensions to the Prince and to certain of his relatives; and he lives in a house called the 'Amir Mahal' (the Amir's Palace), which was given to him by the Government. The Amir Mahal stands in spacious grounds in Royapettah. At the principal entrance, the gate-house is a tall and imposing edifice in red brick. At the gateway, sentries, armed with old-fashioned rifles, stand—or sometimes sit—on guard; and the Prince's Band is often to be heard practising oriental music in the room up above.
Regarded in relation to its history, Chepauk is something more than 'one of the Government buildings on the Marina.' Let us remember that, when it was enclosed within the walls that are now no more, it was the home of Mohammedan potentates—sometimes a scene of gorgeous festivity—sometimes a scene of desperate intrigue. In imagination we may people the front garden with the gaily-uniformed Body-Guard of the Carnatic sovereign, mounted on gaily-bridled steeds; and we may see the Nawab himself coming magnificently down the front steps and climbing into the silver howdah that is strapped on the back of a kneeling elephant. A blast of oriental music, and the procession goes on its way; and we may wonder at which of the tiled windows on the upper floor the bright eyes of the Lalla Rookhs and the Nurmahals of Chepauk are slily peeping at the spectacle. The vision vanishes. The procession now is a procession of clerks to their homes when their day's work is over; and the music is a ragtime selection by the Band of the Madras Guards on the Marina, close by, with ayahs and children around. We are in the twentieth century; but for a moment we have lived in the past.
In the early days of Madras all the employees of the Company, from the Governor down to the most junior apprentice, lived in common. Their bedrooms were in one and the same house, and they had their meals at one and the same table. The house stood in the middle of the Fort, and was the 'Factory'—a word which, as already explained, was used in former times to mean a mercantile office, or, as Annandale in his dictionary defines it, 'an establishment where factors in foreign countries reside to transact business for their employers;' and the Factory in Fort St. George was both an office and a home.
The community life, with the common table, was maintained for many years, but in course of time, when the number of the employees had greatly increased and some of the senior officials had wives and children, one man and another were allowed to live in separate quarters, within the precincts of the Fort; and eventually the common table, like King Arthur's, was dissolved. Even then, however, and right on until the beginning of the nineteenth century, the junior employees had a common mess, and were under something like disciplined control.
Like all the other buildings inside the Fort and within the walls of White Town, the Factory—which was sometimes spoken of as 'The Governor's House'—was without a garden; and it was only to be expected that the resident employees, most of whom were young men, should wish for a recreation ground to which they could resort in their leisure hours. Some of the wealthy private residents of White Town had shown what could be done; for they had acquired patches of land outside the walls, which they had enclosed with hedges and cultivated as gardens, with a house in the middle of each garden, in which, as either a permanent or an occasional residence, the owner and his family might hope to find relief from the stuffiness of the streets of the rapidly developing city. In the 'Records' any such villa is spoken of as a 'garden-house' and even now in Madras the term 'garden-house' is occasionally used in Indo-English as signifying a house that stands within its own 'compound,' as distinct from houses that open directly into the street.
The Company's agents in Madras realized the desirability of laying out a garden for the recreative benefit of the Company's employees. Outside the walls, therefore, of White Town they hedged off some eight acres of land in the locality in which the Law College now stands, and they cultivated it as a 'Company's Garden;' and within it they built a small pavilion. We may imagine that in the cool of the evening it was common for a goodly number of the Company's mercantile employees to leave their apartments in the Fort and stroll beyond the walls the short distance to the 'Garden,' which in those early days was refreshingly near the seashore. In our mind's eye we can blot the Law College out of the landscape and can see a party of youthful merchants engaged as energetically as was suitable to the heat of Madras in the then fashionable game of bowls—or, less energetically but much more excitedly, gathered in a ring round two cocks that are tearing each other to pieces—a particularly popular form of 'Sport' in old Madras; and, although the Directors in London appropriately forbade to their employees the use of cards or the dice-box, we can espy a tense-visaged quartet within the shadow of the pavilion with a 'pool' of 'fanams' (coins worth about 2-1/2d.) on the table, or possibly, rupees or pagodas, absorbed in a round of ombre or one of the other card games that were in fashion. The sun has set, and the shadows are lengthening. A bugle sounds from the Fort; and the employees stroll back to supper, which, according to an old account, invariably consisted of 'milk, salt fish, and rice,' but which will be privately supplemented afterwards with potations of arrack-punch by those who can afford nothing better and with draughts of sack or canary by those who can.
In the course of a few years the 'Company's Garden' was spoiled. Black Town had been springing up close by; and, when a wall was built round old Black Town, the Company's Garden was unpleasantly included therein, and the Garden was now in the north-west corner of the Indian city. Moreover, a part of the Garden had begun to be utilized as a European burial-ground, and huge funeral monstrosities of the bygone style had begun to dominate the enclosure.
The Company's agents in Madras felt that a new recreation ground was a necessity; and they were agreed that there ought to be not merely a 'Company's Garden,' but a 'Company's Garden-House.' They wrote to the Directors saying that there were occasions on which the Company in Madras had to entertain 'the King (Golconda) and persons of quality,' and that they had no building that was suitable for any such ceremonial proceedings. True there was the Council Chamber in the Fort, but the Council Chamber was the place where the Company's mercantile transactions were discussed; and the Chamber, as well as all the other buildings in the Fort, was closely identified with the 'Factory;' and the Company's chief officials in Madras declared—not, we may suppose, without regard for their own convenience—that a stately 'Garden House,' unassociated with ledgers and bills of sale, ought to be built, in due accord with the stateliness of the Company itself. Their application for permission to put the work in hand was met by the Directors in London with the typically frugal reply that the work might be done but care was to be taken that the Company should be put to 'no great charge.' Possibly the representatives in Madras were able to provide additional supplies on the spot, but, however that may have been, the house was 'handsomely built,' yet 'with little expense to the Company.' The new garden seems to have comprised the area within which the Medical College and the General Hospital are now situated. The grounds, which stretched down, even as now, to the bank of the river, were well laid out, and the Company's first 'Garden House' was a fine possession.
In 1686 Master William Gyfford, Governor of Fort St. George, had a fancy for using the Garden House as a private residence for himself. It is not to be wondered at that he did so; for Master Gyfford, after twenty-seven years' residence in Madras and more than twenty-seven years in the East, was in poor health, and lately he had been taken ill with a 'a violent fitt of the Stone and Wind Collick.' The gardenless 'Factory' in the Fort was a gloomy apology for a 'Governor's House,' and the crowd of employees that were accommodated there must have been a serious infliction upon the invalid Governor; and he found the Garden House an agreeable retreat. In his new quarters he got better of his illness; and he dwelt there a considerable time, till in the following year he left Madras for England for good. The story is interesting, for it records the first occasion on which a Governor of Madras lived in a separate house outside the Fort.
On various occasions the Company's 'Garden House,' with its extensive grounds, was used for public purposes, justifying the plea for its construction. For example, when the Company received the news of the accession of King James II, the event was celebrated with brilliant proceedings at the Garden House. Similarly, at the accession of Queen Anne 'all Europeans of fashion in the City' were invited to the Garden House, where they 'drank the Queen's Health, and Prosperity to old England.' In an earlier chapter we have related how a young Nawab of Arcot who had just succeeded to his murdered father's throne was entertained at the Garden House with great doings. Governor Pitt made great developments in the Gardens, and was another Governor who liked the Garden House as a residence. An Englishman who was living in Madras in 1704, when Pitt was Governor, has left an interesting account of the Garden House as he saw it:—
'The Governor, during the hot Winds, retires to the Company's new Garden for refreshment, which he has made a very delightful Place of a barren one. Its costly Gates, lovely Bowling-Green, spacious Walks, Teal-pond, and Curiosities preserved in several Divisions are worthy to be Admired. Lemons and Grapes grow there, but five Shillings worth of Water and attendance will scarcely mature one of them.'
Before long it had come to be an unwritten regulation that Governors at Fort St. George might reside at their choice either in the Fort or at the Garden House. There came a time, however, when the Governor had of necessity to betake himself to the Fort; it was the time when the French were besieging Madras. During the siege the enemy used the Garden House as a vantage-ground for their big guns; and afterwards, when they had captured Fort St. George and were in occupation of the city, they pulled the Garden House down, lest the English, trying perhaps to recapture the Fort, should be able to use it as a vantage-ground in their turn.
Thus, when Madras was restored to the English, the Garden House had disappeared, and the only house for Governor Saunders was the original residence in the middle of the Fort. Governor Saunders, however, was not content with the walled-in accommodation that the Fort provided and was unwilling to forgo the residential privileges that his predecessors had enjoyed; so a private 'garden-house' in Chepauk was rented in his behalf. It belonged to a Mrs. Madeiros, a rich Portuguese widow, whose husband, lately deceased, had been a leading merchant in White Town.
Mrs. Madeiros's house was 'Government House, Madras,' of the present day. The house, however, has been enlarged and the grounds have been extended since Governor Saunders lived there as a tenant.
Governor Saunders liked his residence, and, before he had been there a year, the Company acquired it from the widow, who had no use for it now that her husband was dead; and the Governor was careful to leave on record the reason of the acquisition:—
'It having been always usual for the Company to allow the President a house in the Country to retire to, and Mrs. Medeiros being willing to dispose of her House, situated in the Road to St. Thome, for three thousand five hundred pagodas (say Rs 12,250), Agreed That it be purchased accordingly, The Company's Garden-house having been demolish'd by the French when they were in Possession of this Place, and Mrs. Medeiros's being convenient for that Purpose, and on a Survey esteem'd worth much more than the Sum 'tis offer'd at.'
The Company always enjoyed a good bargain, and Governor Saunders was justified in thinking that he had made a very good one in respect of the house; for, a few years later, the house, with certain extensions and improvements, was written down in the Company's books at a valuation of nearly four times the price that was paid for it.
We have brought our story down to the acquisition of Government House, but it remains to relate some of the historic events in which Government House has figured since it was acquired.
During the second siege of Madras by the French, under Lally, the besiegers occupied the Garden House, and during their occupation they did a great deal of wanton damage before they ceased their vain endeavours. Two years later, however, the English had the enjoyment of a delicate revenge. They captured Pondicherry and brought Lally to Madras, where they imprisoned him in the Garden House till a vessel was available to take him to England. The damage that he had done had not yet been repaired; and a contemporary Record says that 'Mr. Lally was lodged in those apartments of the Garden House which had escaped his fury at the Siege of Madras,' and that in respect of his table he was allowed to give his own orders 'without limitation of expence,' with the result that he 'seemed to have intended Revenge by Profusion.'
A few years later Tipu, Sultan of Mysore, at the head of a body of horsemen, made a sudden raid on Madras; and the troopers scampered about the well-laid-out grounds of the Garden House, looting the villages on either side. According to accounts, Governor Bourchier and his Councillors were there when the raiders came, and they would assuredly have been caught had they not managed to make their escape in a boat that was conveniently tied up on the bank of the Cooum river.
More than one Governor of Fort St. George has died at Government House, and it was there that Governor Pigot died in extraordinary circumstances. The tale has been told in a previous chapter, that Lord Pigot was arrested by his Councillors, with whom he had quarrelled, and that he died in confinement in the Garden House.
The reader has yet to be told how the Garden House was finally transformed into the Government House that we see to-day.
In 1798 Lord Clive, son of the great Robert Clive, was sent out to India as Governor of Madras. Within the first six months of his arrival there was the excitement of a war with Mysore, in which the terrible Tipu Sultan was killed during the assault on his capital. During the tranquil remainder of his five years in India, Lord Clive turned his attention to domestic reforms, and amongst them he resolved that the Garden House should be improved. In an official minute he wrote:—
'The garden house, at present occupied by Myself, is so insufficient either for the private accommodation of my family and Staff, or for the convenience of the public occasions inseparable from my situation, that it is my intention to make such an addition to it as may be calculated to answer both purposes.'
Lord Clive thereupon, in 1801, developed Government House at a cost of more than Rs. 3 lakhs; and two years later he built the beautiful Banqueting Hall, at a cost of Rs. 2 1/2 lakhs. The recent fall of Tipu's capital of Seringapatam was an event that the Banqueting Hall could appropriately commemorate; and Lord Clive, with pious respect for his dead father's memory, coupled Plassey with Seringapatam, and ordered that the fine figure-work on the facade of the hall should be a commemoration of both victories. In England the Directors of the Company complained of what they called 'such wasteful extravagance;' but the developments were a real want, and it is a matter of present-day satisfaction that the Madras Government have no need to be acquiring a site now and to be building a new Government House in these expensive days. Lord Clive was certainly no miser with the Company's money, for he built also a second Government House—a 'country residence' at Guindy. The 'country residence' was developed and improved some forty years later by Lord Elphinstone, who was Governor of Madras in the middle of last century. It is a truly beautiful house, standing in beautiful grounds; and it has lately been a proposition that the house at Guindy should be the Governor's only residence, and that Government House, Madras, should be used for Government offices.
'Government House, Madras!' To most people it is suggestive of dinner parties within and garden parties without; and the Banqueting Hall is suggestive of dances and levees and meetings for good causes. But to people who can look at Government House, Madras, with an historic glance it rouses other memories. Within its original walls more than two centuries ago a belaced Senhor kept Portuguese state. It was here that Frenchmen were encamped while their guns were fruitlessly hammering at the walls of Fort St. George. It was here that Lally lived sumptuously in prison, till he was sent to Europe—eventually to be executed in Paris for having failed to capture Madras. It was within these grounds that Tipu's horsemen were scampering about on a September morning, looking for houses where money or jewels could be commandeered. It was here that an ennobled Governor of Madras lived in gilded captivity till death set him free.
MADRAS AND THE SEA
Madras is now a seaport of considerable repute; but it is interesting to recall the fact that less than forty years ago the city was without a harbour, and that ships which came there had to anchor out at sea. In the days of the Company, passengers and cargo had to be landed on the beach in boats; and, as the waves that chase one another to the shores of Madras are nearly always giant billows crested with foaming surf, the passage between ship and shore was not without its discomforts and also its risks.
Warren Hastings, when he was senior member of the Madras Council and was in charge of Public Works, wrote it down that he thought it 'possible to carry out a causeway or pier into the sea beyond the Surf, to which boats might come and land their goods or passengers, without being exposed to the Surf.' At various times different engineers devised plans for such a pier as Warren Hastings proposed, but nothing was actually done, and it was not until the sixties of last century that a pier was actually made. It was not a stone causeway such as Hastings seems to have had in his mind, but was a lighter and likelier structure of wood and iron; and it did excellent work, making it easy for passengers and cargo to be landed in fair weather. Madras was still, however, without a harbour; but before many years a harbour was taken in hand, and in the summer of 1881 its two arms, enclosing the small pier, were practically finished. There was much rejoicing; but the congratulations were short-lived, for on a certain night during the winter of the same year there was a cyclone off Madras, and the next morning the citizens saw that their harbour had been wrecked by the devastating waves. It was fifteen years before the harbour had been restored, upon an improved plan; and even then it was a poor apology for a haven; for when a storm was expected, ships were warned to put out to sea, as the cyclone had shown that a stormy sea was less dangerous than the storm-beaten harbour. Within recent years, however, the harbour has been so much altered and strengthened and developed that it is regarded as a splendid piece of engineering, and shipping business in Madras has benefited greatly. Large vessels can now lie up against wharves, to discharge or to load their cargo, and passengers can embark and disembark in comfort, and the increase in trade has been great. Much watchfulness, however, is still very necessary; for, on an exciting night a few years ago, part of the extended harbour-wall was washed away by a storm.
Yes, Madras is an important seaport; yet it is a fact that, except to men whose business is with the sea, Madras is much less like a seaside town than it was in its earlier years, and many of the people who live there seldom see the briny ocean—even though they may sometimes be reminded of its nearness when in the stillness of the night they hear
'The league-long breakers thundering on the shore.'
For one thing, the greater part of Madras is not so near the sea as it was in former times; for the southern wall of the harbour has acted as a breakwater, causing the sea to recede a very long way from the original shore; and houses in the thoroughfare that is still called 'Beach Road' are now a very long way from the beach, and it is only from upper stories that the sea in the distance is visible. Southward, moreover, the magnificent road that is still called the 'Marina' is fast losing its right to the name; for it is only across a broad stretch of ever-extending dry sand that the dark blue ribbon of tropical sea is beheld therefrom.
In earlier days Madras was verily a city of the sea. Both White Town and Black Town lay directly along the sea-beach, and the coming and going of the Company's ships were momentous events. Surf-boats used to land on the beach outside the 'Sea-Gate' of the wave-splashed Fort, laden with cargo from the Company's ships lying out in the roads; and the bales were carried through the gateway into the Company's warehouses within the Fort-walls. The Sea-Gate is still to be seen, and it still looks towards the sea; but the sea is far away, and the Sea-Gate is now one of the least used of the entrances to the Fort.
In former times the Company had a considerable fleet of first-class sailing-ships, and, owing to the frequency of wars with either the French or the Dutch, the Company obtained royal permission to equip their ships as men-of-war armed with serviceable guns, which could be turned against an enemy if occasion required. The voyage from England to India was by way of the Cape of Good Hope, and it lasted at least three or four months, and often very much more. For example, when Robert Clive came out to India for the first time, the vessel was so buffeted by contrary winds that the commander thought it best to run across the Atlantic and let her lie up so long in a South American port that Clive learned to speak Spanish with considerable fluency; and it was not till nearly a year after leaving England that the young writer arrived at Madras.
Furthermore, besides the various adventures that were natural to a sea-voyage, there was the contingency of a sea-fight, and the possibility of being taken to Pondicherry or Batavia as a prisoner of war instead of being landed at Madras as a paid employee of the 'Honourable Company.'
It was usual for several ships to sail together, for mutual protection; and passengers had reason to congratulate themselves when they were eventually landed safe and sound at Madras. It can be readily imagined that the sight of a vessel of the Company approaching in the distance caused a stir of excitement amongst the residents of Fort St. George. There were no telegraphs from other ports to give previous notice of a vessel's prospective arrival; and the fact that a ship was at hand was unknown until her flag or her particular rig was discerned in the distance, or until one of her guns gave notice of her approach. The comparative regularity, however, of the winds in Eastern seas caused 'seasons' in which vessels might be expected; and when a season arrived, the look-out who happened to be on duty on the Fort flagstaff must have been particularly alert. Ay, and there must have been much hurrying to and fro in the streets of White Town when the signal had been given and the news had spread that the sails of a Company's ship had been sighted, and while the vessel, perhaps with several consorts, came nearer and nearer, till at last the anchors were dropped and salutes were exchanged between ship and shore.
[Footnote 3: 'The flag displayed by the Company's ships bore seven horizontal red stripes on a white ground, with a St. George's Cross in the inner top corner.'—Love.]
There was good cause for excitement. The ship brought letters from home—perhaps after several months of no news at all. There were the private letters that told the news about near ones and dear ones; there were the official letters that decreed appointments in the Company's service and promotions and penalties, and dealt with the Company's business; and there were the 'news-letters'—the old-fashioned predecessors of the modern newspaper, which were written by paid correspondents, whose duty it was to give their clients news of London and of England and of Europe. The news was often astounding, and was sometimes extraordinarily behind-time. For example, the Company's employees in India were still professing loyalty to the Most High and Mighty King James II nearly a twelvemonth after that monarch had fled to France and had been succeeded by William and Mary; and the employees at Madras were surprised indeed when a ship arrived one day from England with the belated news.
The salutes have been fired, and the vessel has been surrounded by a flotilla of surf-boats and catamarans. The commander and the passengers are being rowed ashore, and the Governor with his Councillors, dressed all of them in their smartest official attire, are waiting on the beach outside the Sea-Gate of the Fort to bid them a hearty welcome. Amongst the passengers there are probably some youths who have been posted to Madras either as apprenticed 'writers' or as military Cadets; and perhaps there is a senior employee who is returning to India after the rare event of a holiday in England. Possibly too there are some ladies, either wives of employees who have been willing to accompany or to follow their husbands to the mysterious East—or, as was not infrequently the case, young ladies who, with the consent of the Directors, have been shipped out to India by their parents or guardians or on their own account, in the hope that companionable bachelor employees, pining in their loneliness, will jump at the chance of matrimony.
The surf-boat comes nearer and nearer; and when it gets among the breakers there are feminine screams of terror. The alarm is not without cause; for at one moment the boat is being balanced on the top of a heaving wave, and the next it is almost lost to sight in a foaming hollow. The excitement in the tossing boat is tremendous; but it is brief; for there are only three or four breakers to be negotiated, and in less than a minute a curling wave has caught the boat in its clutch and hurls it with a thud into the shallows. Naked coolies rush forward and lay hold of its sides, lest the backwash should carry it seaward again; and, with the help of the next wave, they manage to haul the boat a little further on shore, and the passengers are able to disembark—splashed, perhaps, but safe and sound.
When the greetings are over, the Governor leads the way into the Fort, where a general meal is served and the news is told and the exclamations of surprise are many. In the evening there is a banquet, and after the banquet, 'when the gentlemen have finished their wine,' and have rejoined the ladies, the stately dances of the period are 'performed;' and it is not unlikely that before the assembly breaks up, some, if not all, of the newly-arrived young ladies have received and have accepted offers of matrimony; and it is possible that two or more gallants have had a serious quarrel about this young lady or that, and even possible that, out of the Governor's sight, swords have been drawn in her regard.
On the morrow the unloading begins; and for many days a fleet of surf-boats is busily engaged in bringing ashore the broadcloths and other English wares which the Company will be able to sell at a large profit—not forgetting the barrels of canary and madeira and other luxuries that have been imported both for private consumption and also for the general table in the Fort. And when the unloading is over and the ship has been overhauled after her long voyage, the surf-boats will then be engaged in carrying to the ship the calicoes and other Indian wares that are to be exported to England for the Company's profit there.
The sea-trade of Madras is very much greater now than it was in the days of old. Not a day now passes but at least one steamship glides into the Madras Harbour, and it is always a much larger vessel than was the very largest of the sailing-ships that in those bygone times tacked laboriously to an anchorage in the Madras roads. But the excitement has disappeared. The steamers come and go with as little stir—or not so much—as when a tramcar leaves a crowded street-corner.
In Madras there are still some reminders of the times when nautical affairs were in more general evidence in Madras than they are now. For example, the 'Naval Hospital Road' is still the name of a thoroughfare which leads from the Poonamallee Road, opposite the School of Arts, to Vepery, and it is a reminder of the fact that there were once upon a time sufficient naval men in Madras to make a hospital for sick seamen a necessity. The buildings of the old Naval Hospital still exist; they are the buildings in the Poonamallee Road opposite the School of Arts. In the early part of last century the Naval Hospital itself was abolished, and the buildings were converted into a 'Gun Carriage Factory'—and this is now no more. It is a good many years indeed since the Gun Carriage Factory was closed down; and in Madras at this particular time, when there is a very pressing demand for house accommodation, many people wonder that such spacious premises in so busy a quarter of the city should have been lying idle for so long and are hoping to see them once more serving some useful purpose.
Another reminder of the nautical conditions of those days is to be found in the existence of an 'Admiralty House.' 'Admiralty House' is a fine residence in San Thome, and is now the property of the Raja of Vizianagram. It was apparently the San Thome residence of the Admiral of the East Indian fleet. That official had another residence within the Fort, which used also to be called 'Admiralty House'—the house which Robert Clive occupied at the time of his marriage, and which is now the Accountant-General's office.
We will glance at one more reminder of the nautical Madras of bygone times. At Royapuram there is a large house which is now styled 'Biden House,' and is used as a harbour-masters' residence, but which until a few years ago was called 'The Biden Home' or 'The Sailors' Home.' It is not an ancient building, but it was nevertheless built in the days of the sailing-ship, and is a reminder of the times when sailing-ships used to lie out in the Madras Roads and the 'Sailors' Home' offered seamen entertainment more physically and morally wholesome than that which was provided in the low-class hotels and saloons which laid themselves out for the spoliation of Jack ashore—and of the time when the wreck of a sailing-ship on the Coromandel coast was not an uncommon occurrence and parties of distressed seamen were not infrequently to be seen in Madras, for whom a temporary 'Home' had to be provided. The 'Old Salt'—the picturesque sea-dog of sailing-ship days—has disappeared except from story-books—the old-fashioned seaman with earrings in his ears and a villainous 'quid' in his mouth, dressed in a blue jersey and the baggiest of blue trowsers, and lurching as he walked, always 'full of strange oaths', and larding his speech with nautical jargon. On shore, after a long sea-voyage, and with money in his pockets, the 'Old Salt' in an Eastern port was not always a factor for peace and progress. He was not uncommonly too frequent a visitor at what the Madras Records call the 'punch houses,' and the Records show that he often caused a disturbance. But he was a brave fellow, and at sea he did much for England's trade and for England's greatness. In an Indian seaport he was a picturesque, if troublesome, personage, and nautical Madras has changed with the Old Salt's disappearance.
THE STORY OF THE SCHOOLS
A tourist who goes the round of Madras must surely be impressed with the numerous signs of its educational activity. Apart from the multitude of juvenile schools in every part of the crowded city, the number of academic institutions is large, and educational buildings are amongst the most prominent of its edifices. Our tourist, putting himself in charge of a guide at the Central Station for a drive along the beautiful Marina, sees a number of academic buildings on his way. The Medical College is just outside the station yard. The classic facade of Pachaiyappa's College for Hindus peeps at him gracefully across the Esplanade. The Law College lifts its Saracenic towers above him as he passes by. Across the road he sees the collection of miniature domes and spires and towers that surmount the various buildings that make up the far-famed Christian College. Driving along the Marina he sees the Senate House of the Madras University surmounted by its four squat towers; farther on he sees the staid Engineering College, and the still staider Presidency College, and, beyond, the whitewashed buildings of Queen Mary's residential College for Women; and on his way back by the Mount Road he sees the Muhammedan College, with its little white mosque and its spacious playing-fields in the heart of the city. There are yet more colleges in Madras; and there are also numerous large schools, some of which are attended by more than a thousand pupils.
Yes, the educational activity in Madras is great; and it is interesting to reflect that it is a development from very small educational enterprises in the days when Madras was young.
The initial enterprise was small indeed. The first school in Madras was the little "public school for children, several of whom are English", which the French Capuchin priest, Father Ephraim, opened in his own house in White Town very soon after Madras came into being. His pupils were mostly Portuguese or Portuguese Eurasians, the children of Portuguese subjects who had come from Mylapore and who, for purposes of trade or commerce, had settled down within the English Company's domain. His English pupils must have been children of the very few of the Company's civil or military employees that were married, or of the still fewer English free settlers. Father Ephraim, who according to accounts was a really learned man, charged no fees, yet was deeply interested in the welfare of his scholars; and the little school must have supplied a great want in those far-off days. It is interesting indeed to think of that little 'public school;' for the room in the priest's house was the scene of the very first beginning of what are now the mighty educational activities of Madras—an earnest, moreover, of the great things that the Roman Catholic Church was going to do in the way of education, both for boys and for girls, in South India.
Father Ephraim's school continued to prosper under his successors, and in the seventeenth century it was transferred, as a poor-school, to a building in the grounds of what is now the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Armenian Street; and in 1875 it was put under the control of the brothers of St. Patrick, an Irish order of educational monks, and it became St. Patrick's orphanage. Later the brothers transferred themselves and their orphanage to the spacious park—Elphinstone Park—on the southern bank of the Adyar River, the premises which they occupy still.
For some thirty years the Company took no part in educational work, and the children of Madras were left entirely to Father Ephraim's care. Then for two years a certain Master Patrick Warner was the Company's temporary chaplain of Madras—a conscientious and uncompromising Protestant minister who wrote some long letters to the Directors in England denouncing the laxity of the conduct of the Company's employees and deploring the influence that Roman Catholic priests had been allowed to obtain in Fort St. George. Finally, he went back to England, with the threat that he was going to interview the Directors on various matters pertaining to Madras; and that he succeeded in making himself heard is to be seen in the fact that in the following year the Directors sent a Protestant schoolmaster out to Madras. The letter in which they notified the appointment to the Governor in Council at Fort St. George was assuredly inspired by Master Patrick Warner's undoubtedly high-minded representations. They wrote that, as there were now in Fort St. George 'so many married families,' they were sending out 'one Mr. Ralph Orde to be schoolmaster at the Fort ... who is to teach all the Children to read English and to write and Cypher gratis, and if any of the other Natives, as Portuguez, Gentues (Telugus), or others will send their Children to School, we require they be also taught gratis ... and he is likewise to instruct them in the Principles of the Protestant religion.' Mr. Ralph Orde arrived by the same ship which brought the letter, and his arrival (1677) is another notable event in the history of education in Madras. It was the first beginning of Government education—the laying of the first stone in what is now such a vast edifice.
[Footnote 4: In modern Madras the great majority of the Hindu residents are Tamils; but in the beginning there were very few Tamil immigrants, and the Hindu residents were nearly all of them Telugus (Gentoos).]
In appointing a schoolmaster, the Directors meant to do their best for education in their rising city; for they had engaged no mean dominie on a menial's pay. In choosing Mr. Ralph Orde they chose a good man, and they paid him accordingly. He was to dine at the General Table, and his salary was to be L50 a year, which in those days was no small sum—more than the salary of some of the Members of Council. Perhaps, indeed, they got too good a man for the post; for after five years of educational work in Madras, Mr. Orde complained that his schoolmastering had been 'much prejudicial to my health,' and he asked to be relieved of his duties and to be appointed to a post in the Company's civil service instead. His request was granted. A new schoolmaster was appointed; and as a 'Civilian' Mr. Orde worked with such success that in two or three years he was sent to Sumatra to be the Chief of a factory that he was to found on the west coast of the island. The ex-schoolmaster would, perhaps, have risen to be Governor of Madras, but it would seem that life in the East had really been 'much prejudicial to his health,' for he died in Sumatra ten years after his first arrival in Madras.
In 1688, by virtue of the Company's Royal Charter, a Corporation of the City of Madras came into being, and it was among their delegated duties that they should build a school in Black Town for the purpose of teaching 'Native children to speak, read, and write the English Tongue, and to understand Arithmetic and Merchants' Accompts.' Three years later, however, Elihu Yale, Governor of Madras, complained to the Corporation that, although they had been empowered to levy taxes on the citizens, they had not so much as thought about building a school, and had neglected various other civic responsibilities. The Company—rightly or wrongly—sought to justify their inaction with the excuse which the Corporation of Madras has—rightly or wrongly—made for civic inaction so many times since, namely that 'no funds' had been assigned to them by Government for the works that they were called upon to undertake. As for taxation, they remarked that the people in Black Town had not been schooled to civic taxation; and it is true that any ruthless collection of taxes might have meant wholesale departures from the city, or at any rate a serious check to further immigration. So the municipal school for Native children never came into being.
Meanwhile the Company's free school in White Town, started by Mr. Orde, continued its work under Mr. Orde's successors; and elementary instruction was imparted therein to a heterogeneous crowd of children—English, Eurasians, and Indians—Christians and Hindus. Eventually the school was put in charge of the chaplain of St. Mary's Church in the Fort, and the chaplain and his churchwardens agreed in thinking that such education was not of the kind that a Church should control, and that it was rather their duty to institute in Madras a residential free-school for poor Protestant children of British descent, which should be conducted on the lines of the many 'charity schools' in England; and in 1715, with the approval of the Directors, 'St. Mary's Church Charity School' was founded. The event is of particular interest; for St. Mary's Church Charity School developed later into the 'Male Asylum'—the institution which has done so much for boys and girls for so many years, and which, after changing its habitation on various occasions, is now comfortably housed in spacious premises in the Poonamallee road.
The year 1715 is noteworthy on another account. St. Mary's School having been founded solely for the benefit of children of European descent, the native children who had attended the Company's day-school were deprived of education. The Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge undertook to supply the want, by establishing schools in Madras for the special benefit of Indian children; and the year 1715, therefore, is the date which marks the first beginning of the educational work that English Protestant missionary societies have done in India. The Society found themselves unable to take up the work immediately themselves; so they applied to the vigorous Danish Lutheran Mission at Tranquebar, which was then a Danish settlement; and a Danish minister was sent to Madras to set things going.
In the course of time Madras had become a much more habitable city than it had been in its first beginnings, and a much more possible place of residence for European women. The Company's employees, therefore, were more and more disposed to matrimony; and, as already related, the Directors, believing that married men made steadier employees, had from early times encouraged the nuptial humour by sending out from England periodical batches of well-connected young women as prospective brides for employees who lacked either the means or the inclination to take a trip home to choose partners for themselves. The number of European fathers and mothers, therefore, in Madras was continually increasing; and for the education of their children, as also for that of children of well-to-do Eurasians, there was need of a different kind of education than the various free-schools supplied. Home education, with or without paid tutors and governesses, probably served its turn with some, but it was certain that sooner or later the private school would come into being.
We are unable to say when the first private school in Madras was started; but an advertisement in one of the issues of the Madras Courier, in 1790, shows that a private school for boys was started in that year; and it was probably the first. The enterprising educationist was Mr. John Holmes, M.A., who opened the 'Madras Academy' in Black Town for the instruction of boys in 'Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, History, the use of the Globes, French, Greek, and Latin.' Other towns in the Madras Presidency had their English residents, so Mr. Holmes offered to accommodate 'a few Boarders;' and the offer was found so convenient that certain parents wanted accommodation for their girls as well as for their boys. Mr. Holmes was willing to receive all the pupils that he could get; for in an advertisement two months later he announced that he was going to move to a larger house in which 'apartments will be allotted for the Young Ladies entirely removed and separate from the Young Gentlemen.'
The Madras Academy was eminently successful; but the mixed boarding school was not its most commendable side; and in the following year an enterprising lady-educationist announced that she was opening in Black Town a 'Female Boarding School,' in which her young ladies would be 'genteelly boarded, tenderly treated, carefully Educated, and the most strict attention paid to their Morals,' and the school was to be conducted as far as possible 'in the manner most approv'd of in England.' The enterprising lady-educationist was a Mrs. Murray, who had been a mistress in the Female Asylum. Her syllabus of education was of a more feminine sort than that which was followed at the Madras Academy; for, as announced in the prospectus, it included 'Reading and Writing, the English language and Arithmetic; Music, French, Drawing and Dancing; with Lace, Tambour, and Embroidery, all sorts of Plain and Flowered needle-work.' The two syllabuses are interesting reminders as to what were the usual subjects of education for European boys and girls a century and a half ago.
Schools, therefore, were available for children of every class—European and Indian, rich and poor; but the schools for Indians, conducted either by missionaries or by indigenous teachers, were of an elementary kind; and, apart from Oriental studies in indigenous institutions, there was little or nothing in the way of higher education for Indians either in Madras or anywhere else in India. This condition was altered, however, during the governorship of Lord William Bentinck, the magnanimous if not brilliant governor-general whose term of office lasted for seven years, from 1828 to 1835.
During this period everything favoured educational progress in India. There was peace in England and there was peace in India. It was a time of great educational developments in England, as is manifested by the fact that within this period the London University and Durham University were opened, and the great British Association for the Advancement of Science was established. Such conditions in England had their influence in India, and the more so because Lord William Bentinck was ardent for progress. The opening of the Madras Medical College in 1835 was one of the signs of the times. During Lord William Bentinck's term of office education in India was reformed. Macaulay, afterwards Lord Macaulay, was an Indian official at the time, and he penned a notable report on education in India, in which he belittled vernacular learning and asserted that the Government of India would do well to discountenance it altogether, and to introduce western learning and the study of English literature into all schools under Government control, and to make it a rule that the English language was to be the only medium of instruction. Whether or not Macaulay's views were correct, they were adopted by the Government of India, and Lord William Bentinck issued in 1835 a resolution in accordance therewith, in which he sought to secure the people's acceptance of English education for their children by notifying that a knowledge of English would in future be necessary for admission into Government service. Government service is particularly coveted in India, and the resolution encouraged the foundation of schools of a good class in which special attention would be given to the study of the English language; and within a few years a number of important educational institutions had been founded in different parts of India.
In South India the Madras Christian College, called originally 'The General Assembly's Institution,' was first in the field. It was founded in 1837, by the Rev. John Anderson, the first missionary that the Church of Scotland sent out to Madras. The name of the founder is preserved in the 'Anderson Hall' in one of the college buildings; but the remarkable progress of the institution has been very specially due to the untiring energy of the Rev. Dr. Miller, whose statue stands on the opposite side of the public road. Dr. Miller was Principal for a number of years, and now (1921) at a great age the venerable educationist is living in retirement in Scotland.
In 1839, two years after the foundation of the Christian College, the Roman Catholic Bishop in Madras, Dr. Carew, founded St. Mary's Seminary, which after forty-five years became St. Mary's College, and which is now represented by St. Mary's High School for Europeans and St. Gabriel's High School for Indians.
Two years later, in 1841, the Presidency College had its beginning, in a rented room in Egmore. At its foundation it was not a Government institution, but was a public school under the control of governors, who were chosen from among the leading Europeans and Indians in Madras, with the Advocate-General as their first president. It was styled 'The High School of the Madras University,' and it was the founders' intention that when a college department had been added, the institution should be called the 'Madras University,' and should apply for a charter. In the sixties, however, the Madras Government was considering a scheme of its own for a University of Madras, whereupon the governors of the 'University High School' transferred their school to the Government, who called it the 'Presidency College.' The Presidency College continued to work in the rented building until 1870, when the building that it now occupies was publicly opened by the Duke of Edinburgh.
Pachaiyappa's College, a well-known Hindu institution, had its first beginning in 1842. Like the other colleges in Madras, it began as a school; the school was called 'Pachaiyappa's Central Institution,' and was located in Black Town. The present buildings were opened in 1850 by Sir Henry Pottinger, an ex-governor of Madras, amid a large gathering of leading European and Indian residents; and for a number of years the annual 'Day' at Pachaiyappa's College was an important social event. Pachaiyappa was a rich and religious Hindu, who made his money as a broker in the Company's service, and who died more than a hundred years ago leaving a lakh of pagodas—some 3 1/2 lakhs of rupees—for temple purposes. The trustees neglected the provisions of the will, whereupon the High Court assumed control of the funds, which under the Court's control rose to the value of nearly Rs. 7 1/2 lakhs. The original amount was set apart for the fulfilment of the terms of the will, and the surplus was assigned to educational purposes in Pachaiyappa's name.
The education of girls shared in the development; for in 1842 the first party of Nuns of the Presentation Order was brought out from Ireland, and a convent, with a boarding school and an orphanage,—the 'Georgetown Convent' of to-day—was established in Black Town. The 'Vepery Convent School' and some of the other successful convent schools in Madras are controlled by nuns of the same Order.
Education in India was given further impetus in the time of Lord Dalhousie. During his term of office (1848-1856) the present system of education, under a Director of Public Instruction, was introduced, and Government was empowered to make liberal educational grants, and to establish universities. The despatch in which the educational developments were announced has been called 'the intellectual charter of India.'
Various institutions in Madras are representative of this later development. A Government 'Normal School'—which has grown into the 'Teachers' College' of to-day—was established in 1856, to increase the number and the efficiency of indigenous teachers; and the Madras University was incorporated in 1857, for the control and the development of higher education. Of large high schools still existing, the Harris High School in Royapettah was founded by the Church Missionary Society in 1856, for the education of Mohammedan boys, and was named after Lord Harris, who was Governor of Madras at the time; and the Hindu High School, in Triplicane, was founded in 1857. Doveton College, Vepery, for Anglo-Indian boys was opened in 1855. It owes its existence to a wealthy Eurasian, Captain John Doveton, who obtained his Captaincy in the service of the Nizam of Hyderabad, and who left a large sum of money to an earlier institution, the Parental Academy, which was afterwards called Doveton College in the deceased officer's honour. Within later years philanthropic and enterprising Indians have done much for education, and numerous schools both for boys and for girls have been established by their efforts.
An educational building of curious interest is the office of the Director of Public Instruction, in Nungumbaukam. It is commonly known as the 'Old College'. In the masonry of a large arch at the entrance, as well as on another arch within, quaint designs have been introduced—mysterious faces, and flags, and strange geometrical figures. The house was the property of a wealthy Armenian merchant named Moorat, who died more than a hundred years ago; and it may be supposed that the quaint designs were after the nature of family memorials. In the early part of last century the Armenian merchant's son sold the building to Government, who used it as a 'College for Junior Civilians.' Hence the designation 'Old College'; but the name does not mean that it was a building in which young civilians were trained, but means that it was a building in which there were 'colleagues' in residence, or, in other words, that, the 'General Table' having been dissolved, the 'College' was a mess-house for junior civilians. Later, its large hall was for many years a recognized assembly-room for amateur concerts, amateur dramatic entertainments, and other occasions of social reunion. The quaint devices on the gates are still preserved, and the name of the old 'College' still survives; but the associations have gone. Not even as a ghost does the long-robed Armenian merchant tread the floors; the junior civilians, with their ancient pranks and their antiquated jests, have departed; in the great hall the lilt of the song and the frenzy of the fiddles for the dance and the amateur mouthings of the drama are heard no more. A multitude of turbanned clerks are pouring forth the blue-black ink from their pens; schoolmasters haunt the portals to press their claims for educational grants for their own particular schools; and the click of a chorus of typewriters is the only music that is borne upon the breeze.
I have told the story of the schools. It is creditable to Madras; for great things have been done since that first little 'public school' was opened in the Fort.
HERE AND THERE
Before closing the story of Madras, it will be well to speak, at least very briefly, of some of the prominent landmarks of the city that we have not yet described.
Of churches, we should mention St. George's Cathedral. It was opened in 1816, not as a cathedral but as an ordinary church; for Madras then was not a diocese by itself, but was a part of the immense diocese of Calcutta. The new church was regarded as a necessity; for a great many 'garden houses' had sprung up in and about the Mount Road, in the area that was called the 'Choultry Plain,' and the Directors of the Company agreed with representations from Madras that it was undesirable that English residents within the bounds should be able to stay away from the Church-services on Sunday with the reasonable excuse that the nearest Anglican church—St. Mary's in the Fort—was too far away from their houses for them to be expected to attend. So the new church was built; and some twenty years later, when Dr. Corrie, Archdeacon of Calcutta, was consecrated first Bishop of Madras, the church became 'the Cathedral Church of St. George.' St. George's Cathedral is a stately building, with a spire 139 feet high, and it stands in spacious grounds. The total cost was more than two lakhs of rupees; but nobody had to be asked to subscribe, for the money was available from a peculiar source. It was an age in which State lotteries were in vogue; Madras had followed the fashion with a series of official lotteries, and a 'Lottery Fund' had been created from the profits, so that there was always a good supply of cash available for extraordinary expenses, such as mending the roads or entertaining distinguished visitors. It was from the Lottery Fund that the cost of building St. George's was met.
St. Andrew's Church—most commonly known as 'The Kirk'—was planned while St. George's was being built; and it is remarkable that it was not projected sooner than it was. Scotchmen in Madras, as in other parts of India, apart from Scottish soldiers, have been many; and the names of a number of Madras roads and houses—such as Anderson Road, Graeme's Road, Davidson Street, Brodie Castle, Leith Castle, Mackay's Gardens—are reminders of the fact that not a few of the Scots of Madras have been influential; and at the time when a second Anglican church was being built in the city it was suggested to the Directors of the Company in England that the numerous residents who were members of the Church of Scotland ought to have a church too. The Directors, who realized no doubt the desirability of being agreeable to the many Scots in Madras, one of whom at the time was the Governor himself, Mr. Hugh Elliot, consented to the suggestion, and in 1815 they sent out a notification that a Presbyterian church was to be built not only at Madras but also in each of the other Presidency cities at the Company's expense, and that the Company would maintain a Presbyterian chaplain at each. The Directors laid down no instructions as to what was to be the maximum cost of each kirk, but it was unpretentious buildings that they had in mind. At Bombay a large kirk was built for less than half a lakh of rupees, but for the kirk at Madras the Madras Government submitted a bill for nearly Rs. 2 1/4 lakhs—some Rs. 10,000 more than the total cost of St. George's Cathedral, and the Directors were indignant. The Kirk, however, had been built; and it is one of the handsome churches of Madras. It is a domed building, with a tall steeple over the Grecian facade; and some of its critics have said that the combination of dome and steeple gives the edifice a strangely camel-backed appearance; but, however that may be, the dome adds beauty to the interior. When the Church was opened, it was found that the dome evoked disturbing echoes, and a large additional expense had to be incurred to exorcise the wandering voices. The steeple reaches a height of 166 1/2 feet, which is 27 1/2 feet higher than that of St. George's.
[Footnote 5: Major de Haviland, of the Madras Engineers, built St. George's on a plan designed by Major Caldwell, his senior in the service. Major de Haviland both designed the Kirk and built it, and he devoted himself to his work and was very proud of his creation, which was nevertheless much criticized by unfriendly critics.]
The Roman Catholic Cathedral at Mylapore has been described on page 61. A sketch of the handsome building is given on the next page.
The High Court, a red Saracenic structure that spreads itself out over a large area between Georgetown and the Fort, is a modern building. It was opened within the memory of elderly lawyers of Madras, some of whom used themselves to practise in the big building which is now the Collector's Office, opposite the gate of the Port Trust premises, and which was for many years the habitation of the Supreme Court at Madras. The present High Court is a mighty monument to the development of 'The Law' in Madras. In the early days of Fort St. George the Company administered its own justice to its own people, and the court was held in a building in the Fort. Punishments in those far-off times, judicial or otherwise, were usually severe; and the Records show that even a civil servant of junior rank who gave trouble was liable to be awarded some such penalty as to sit for an hour or more on a sharp-backed 'wooden horse,' with or without weights attached to the delinquent's feet. In the town that grew up outside the Fort, justice as between natives of the soil was administered by an Indian adikhari, who represented the lord of the soil. As the Company's influence and authority increased, various courts of law were created—and the Records show that there were certainly crimes enough to justify their creation. A large number of the criminal trials in the earlier years of Madras were in respect of thefts of children, to sell them as slaves, especially to Dutch merchants along the coast, where the victims were not likely to be traced. Slavery was a recognized condition of life in old Madras, as indeed it was in the whole of Europe; and in the Council-book of Fort St. George there is still to be seen an Order, dated September 29, 1687, "that Mr. Fraser do buy forty young Sound Slaves for the Rt. Hon'ble Company," who were to be made to work as boatmen in the Company's fleet of surf-boats. It was in reference to a slave that the first case of trial by jury was held in Madras, in 1665, and it was a cause celebre. The prisoner was a Mrs. Dawes, who was accused of having murdered a slave girl in her service. The Governor himself, who, like a doge of Venice, was both ruler and judge, was on the bench, and the twelve jurymen gave a unanimous verdict that Mrs. Dawes was 'guilty of the murther, but not in mannere and forme,' by which they seem to have meant that the circumstances of the case exonerated her from the capital charge. Being pressed to give a verdict 'without exception or limitation,' they brought in a unanimous verdict of 'not guilty,' whereupon the Governor felt that, although the woman had been guilty of a crime, he had no help for it but to set her free. He thereupon wrote to the Directors in England, expressing his disapproval of 'such an unexpected verdict,' and notifying that in his ignorance of the law and its formalities he was by no means confident that he had done the right thing; and the end of it was that the Governor, presumably with the Directors' approval, created two justices, on whom was thereafter to fall the responsibility of hearing all such serious cases. Change upon change! and to-day the Madras High Court, with the various other courts in different parts of the city, is a very visible symbol of the serious reality of the administration of justice.
The story of the origin of the principal literary and scientific institutions in Madras is interesting. In the olden times, when there were no literary or scientific magazines by which an 'exile in the East' could keep himself in touch with the developments of genius throughout the world, people in India with literary or scientific tastes had to be content to gratify their tastes with local researches, and to depend upon one another for any interchange of ideas. This meant that old-time literary and scientific societies in India were naturally more enthusiastic than most such societies in India are now. Madras indeed has been particularly fortunate in her time in having had residents who were earnest in cultured pursuits, and whose work survives, directly or indirectly, at the present day.
For example, it was an old-time Madras Civilian, with a hobby for astronomy and with a private observatory of his own, that created a local interest in the science and is thereby to be regarded as the originator of the Madras Observatory—the first British Observatory in the East, a famous institution in olden days, which secured for Madras the honour—which is still hers—of setting the standard of time throughout the whole of India. The Madras Civilian was Mr. William Petrie, an extraordinarily versatile genius, who entered the service as a young man and rose to be a member of the Government, yet managed to find time for very serious astronomical pursuits in his house at Nungambaukam. Going home to England on long furlough, Mr. Petrie allowed the Madras Government to acquire his instruments; and in 1791, when he came back to Madras, the Madras Observatory was built, with Mr. Petrie as adviser.
Another enthusiastic scientist in Madras in the same period was Dr. James Anderson, who, after many years of work in the Company's medical service, settled down at Madras as 'Physician-General,' on a salary of L2,500 a year, and devoted himself and a large part of his handsome salary to botanical pursuits. He acquired in Nungambaukam more than a hundred acres of land, which included what are now the grounds of the houses that go by the names of Pycroft's Gardens and Tulloch's Gardens; and for nearly a quarter of a century, until his death, Dr. Anderson utilized his leisure in the creation and development of a useful and ornamental botanical garden. He was most enthusiastic over his hobby, and he was continually carrying out botanical and agricultural experiments, of medical or commercial or industrial value. His grounds were open to the public, and 'Dr. Anderson's Botanical Gardens' became famous, and were a place of popular resort. Dr. Anderson died at the age of seventy-two; and in St. George's Cathedral his memory is graced with a fine statue that was carved by the most eminent sculptor, Sir Francis Chantrey, and for which his medical brethren in the Madras Service subscribed. How many years after his death his gardens continued to exist it might be difficult to say, but they must have suffered badly from the want of the ardent botanist's enthusiastic care. But the botanic spirit that Dr. Anderson had started remained alive in Madras; for in 1835, when, to the regret of many, his gardens had been split up into building-sites for two private residences, there was still a sufficient number of botanically inclined people in the city to found the Agri-Horticultural Society of Madras, a still-energetic body whose beautiful gardens at Teynampet deserve to be more generally appreciated by the public than they are.
The Madras Literary Society was founded a good many years ago. Its work now is that of a circulating library; but in earlier times it was especially a 'literary society,' and its meetings, at which lectures were delivered or papers were read and discussed, were crowded gatherings of the leading Europeans in the city. The original Literary Society included scientific researches within its scope, and scientific members used to discourse learnedly on scientific subjects of topical interest, such as 'The Land-Crabs of Madras,' or 'Prehistoric Tombs in the Salem District,' or 'Gold in the Wynaad of Malabar.' The name of the Society remains, but the literary and scientific meetings are no more. The last lecture, if memory fails not, was delivered in the nineties, and the audience was not large enough or enthusiastic enough to denote that lectures were any longer in demand. As a 'Literary Society and Auxiliary of the Royal Asiatic Society,' the institution has outlived its requirement; but it has a valuable store of more than 50,000 books, new and old, on all subjects, and it is continually adding to the number; and, as a circulating library of a high standard, it fulfils an excellent literary purpose.
The Madras Museum is a magnificent institution. It is to the Madras Literary Society that it owes its being; and the Literary Society did Madras splendid service in the initiation thereof. This was in 1851, when the Literary Society presented its fine collection of geological specimens to the Madras Government as the nucleus of the rich and varied store of treasures that the Madras Museum now displays. The Government lodged the geological specimens in the 'Collector's Cutcherry'—a house which forms a part—the oldest part—of the Museum buildings of to-day. Before the Government acquired the house in 1830 for a Cutcherry, the house had been private property, and, under the name of the 'Pantheon,' it had been for many years the predecessor of the Old College as the 'Assembly Rooms', wherein Madras Society had its balls, its plays, and its big dinners. The name of the old building still survives in the Pantheon Road, in which the Museum is situated.
A high circular building on the Marina always attracts a stranger's attention. It has a curious and interesting history. It is commonly called 'The Ice-House,' and the name suggests its original purpose. A number of years ago, when ice-factories had not been started and when in Madras the luxury of the 'cool drink' was unknown, somebody conceived the idea of importing ship-loads of blocks of ice from America. The idea was developed, and about the year 1840 a commercial scheme took shape. A large circular building was erected close to the sea-beach as a reservoir for the imported ice, which sailing-ships brought in huge blocks from the western world; and for a number of years the scheme was a commercial success. The ice was sold at four annas a pound, and many people in Madras remember the time when it was the only ice that was to be had, and large quantities of it were sold. With the eventual institution of ice-factories, which could supply ice at a much cheaper rate, the enterprise came to an end, and for a considerable time the ice-reservoir was out of use. Then somebody bought it, and put windows into the walls, and turned it into a residence; and meanwhile, as a result of the construction of the harbour, the sea receded a long way down the Ice-house shore. As a residence, however, a house of so strange a shape was not in request; and eventually some benevolent Hindus turned it into a free hostel for any preacher or religious teacher of repute, whatever his creed, who might be temporarily staying in Madras, especially if he felt that he had a message to deliver to the city. But the reputable prophets who availed themselves of the proffered hospitality were few; and the 'Ice-house' had a deserted look. A few years ago the Madras Government acquired it for the excellent purpose of a 'Brahman Widows' Home' for Brahman girl-widows at school. This is the purpose that it now fulfils. From Ice-house to child-widows' home! It is a great transformation—from a house whose chambers were stored with hard blocks of cold ice to a house whose chambers are aglow with the warmth of young life! There is room to hope that in course of time the Child-widows' Home will have outlived its purpose—in the time when gentler ideals will prevail, and the sorrows of child-widows will have ceased, and the institution will no longer be a need.