Sunday, July 02, 2006

July 1710, and early arrivals

Cuddalore History, early arrivals

By a curious coincidence Madhusudhanan has chosen to start his blog in July, which by chance is the same month that my forebear John De Morgan first arrived in Cuddalore 296 years ago.

He was a French Huguenot refugee to England, who had enlisted in the East India Company as a private, the most junior rank in the English armies of the time. It is through my research into his life and into his time at Fort St David, that I first came to know Madhusudhanan, and to share our common interests in Cuddalore history.

We hope to illustrate and bring to life the long and fascinating history of Cuddalore, not just in the time of the British, but also in earlier times.

John De Morgan first arrived at Cuddalore as one of 34 soldiers shipped on the Des Bouverie a large three masted East India Company sailing ship, which was bound for Madras, and item 10 on her manifest was a “List of the Soldiers for the Fort on the Des Bouverie.” [i]

The Fort St David records preserved in the British Library show that the De Bouverie had first called at Cuddalore before proceeding to Madras where it arrived on Tuesday 11th of July 1710.

9th of July 1710. This morning arrived a ship from Europe belonging to the Rt Honble Company named the D’Buveree. Captn Raymond Comm’d.

10th This morning said Ship sailed out of this road being bound to Madras.[ii]

Perhaps John was allowed to come up on deck to look at the land that would be his home for much of the rest of his life. Like so many of his compatriots, his voyage had been horrendous, and his life was likely to be short and brutal.

Could he see and smell the sweet musty coast of India as so many other English did as they first arrived?

Des Bouverie was one of a number of East Indiamen that arrived at approximately the same time off the coast of Madras during that year. Another ship in the same fleet, which had arrived on the 4th of July 1710, was the Susanna. John De Morgan was probably very lucky that he had not been put aboard the Susanna, which had made a very fast passage, but had not stopped en-route for fresh supplies of water or vegetables, for most of the Susanna’s men were sick before they even arrived.

“Mr Richard Hunt Paymaster reports that of the 46 Soldiers sent on ship Susanna for this port, there is but 33 surviv’d the Voyage, and most of them in a very weak condition, the comand’r. Having touch’d no where from England.”[iii]

On Thursday 13th of July Richard Hunt reported: -

that of the 34 Soldiers that were sent out on ship Des Bouverie there are 32 come on shore all in very good health the two that are wanting the Commandr. Declares that the one dyed and the other run away with his boat at the Cape.”[iv]

It is possible that John owed his health to William James, the Des Bouveries Surgeon who on Thursday 3rd of August 1710 presented a petition to the Governors in Council: -

“requesting he may be paid the ten shillings per head for the Hon’ble Companys Soldiers that came out on said ship”. The Council “Agreed and Ordered that the Paymaster doe adjust the acct, with him, and pay him what due according to the Hon’ble Companys orders per ship Heathcote.”[v]

Over the coming months we hope to post John De Morgan’s and many other stories, and we hope that visitors to the site will join us in adding to the knowledge of Cuddalore through the ages. John De Morgan went on to eventually rise to the command of the Fort and to fight off the French attack in 1746.

Using documents and tales we hope to bring the past of Cuddalore to light.


[i] Diary and Consultation Book 1710. Pages 70 & 71.

[ii] IOR G/18/2 PT2.

[iii] Diary and Consultation Book 1710. Page 70.

[iv] Diary and Consultation Book 1710. Page 72.

[v] Diary and Consultation Book 1710. Page 80.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Cuddalore under British Regime

From CuddaloreOnline

Europeans started establishing their business settlements in Indian coast ever since 17th century.In the eastern coast French establised their business settlements in Pondichéry and British established their settelements and business establishments in Cuddalore.

Later British started ruling the region and they built several forts.Fort St.David was the first fort built by British.Robert Clive,who laid a strong foundation for British rule in Indian subcontinent used St.David Fort as the centre for his military operations.

Fort St.David: Fort St.David was built in 1653 A.D. by Elihu Yale.The fort was strengthened on 1693,1698,1702,1725,1740 and on 1745.

Until 1758 Cuddalore was the capital to South Indian terrioties which was under British control then.British ruled a greater part of South India(entire Tamil Nadu,parts of present Andra Pradesh,Kerala and Karnataka) from this fort(St.David).

The fort was attacked by French in 1758.It was after this attack St.David Fort lost its political importance.The operational power was shifted to Fort St.George,Madras. Even today the post office in Devanampattinam (popularly know as Silver Beach) uses the rubberstamp with Ft. St.David embossed in it.

Garden House: The present official residence of Cuddalore District Collector was then know as Garden House.It was then the residence of Robert Clive.The roof of the Garden House was built without steel and wood.It was built using only bricks and slaked lime.It bears testimony of the later medival architecture.St.David fort was also built using the same ingredients and techniques.

The large vacant space next to Garden House which now know Chevalier Shivaji Arangam or Manajai Nagar Ground was an esplanade then.British used to have esplanades near their fortresses.

Brookes Pet: Brookes Pet is half a kilometer from present Vandipalayam.It was named after Henry Brookes who ruled between 1767 and 1769.

Cumming Pet: The area to north of Thriupathiripuliyur is know as Cumming Pet.It was named after William Cumming who ruled the region from 1778.Cumming Pet was once a place meant for washermen.On 1798 Tipu Sultan-The King of Mysore invaded Cumming Pet and the settelements there cleared on the invasion.

Cuddalore Old Town(O.T.) Present day Cuddalore O.T. was know as Islamabad during the Mughal period.Even today the majority of the people in Cuddalore O.T. follow islam. Cuddalore O.T. has one of the oldest and biggest mosque in South India.The mosque and most of the houses there(still) were built in Persian style.Until 1866 District Collectorate,Cuddalore Municipal Office and other administartive offices were in present Cuddalore O.T..In 1866 all these offices were shifted to Manjai Nagar.It was only after the shift in 1866 the term Cuddalore OT and Cuddalore NT (NewTown) came into existance.Still there are several streets and localities named after popular British rulers.Clive street,Wellington street are some to name.

Gadilam Castle: Nawab Umdat-ul-Umara built Gadilam Castle in 18th century.Gadilam Castle was located to the North of Gadilam river.It was bulit excatly in the place where the present Brindhavan Hotel is located.

Capper Hills: Capper Hills was named after Francis Capper who was the Captian till 1796.He resided in a palace in there.British buit a prison in the Capper Hills.Freedom fighters like Barathiar and other prisoners of war were imprisoned there.

Bristish educational instition: In 1717 St.David school was started in Cuddalore O.T. to educate the children of East India Company.On 1886 a college was started in its premises.The college was named after St.Joseph.It is one of the earliest schools in India which follows Western education system.

Roads named after British like Napier Road,Lawrence Road,Imperial Road and streets like Clive street,Wellington street, business establishments like Panpari market and Parry's House remains a reminder of the British rule here.