Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Description of Fort St. David, circa. 1773

A Description of Fort St. David, circa. 1773

Fort St. David is a small, but strong and regular fortification, built on a rising ground, about a mile from the Black-Town, which is called Cuddalore. This last has a wall running round it, with the addition of a few bastions, but is too large even for all the English troops on the coast properly to defend.

In it, reside the greatest part of the native Indian inhabitants of Fort St. David's boundaries. Both the town, and the fort, are situated near the sea side; Cuddalore lying almost due south from the fort. The extent of this settlement's boundaries, are, towards the land, about four miles, and three along the sea side: the former are pointed out by a thick hedge of the aloe plant and cocoa-nut tree, having bastions of six or eight guns, at about three-fourths of a mile from each other. In one of these little forts Deputy Governor Starke had fitted up a pleasant apartment, and to which he frequently retired from Fort St. David.

The country within the boundaries is very pleasant, and the air fine, having seldom any fogs. In the district are many neat houses with gardens; the latter were laid out with much good taste by the gentlemen, who either had been, or were in the company's service. These gardens produce fruits of different sorts, such as pine-apples, oranges, limes, pomegranates, plantaines, bananoes, mangoes, guavas, (red and white,) bedams (a sort of almond), pimple-nose, called in the West Indies, chadocks, a very fine large fruit of the citron-kind, but of four or five times it's size, and many others. At the end of each gentleman's garden there is generally a shady grove of cocoanut trees....

In the neighbourhood of the agreeable retreats before mentioned, are many pleasant rows of the ever-green tulip tree, which are planted through great part of the boundaries, in the same manner as the elms in St. James's Park. At some little distance from one of these walks, is a building, belonging to the company, and designed for the governor, and called 'the garden-house.' It is roomy, handsome and well built; and has a very good and large garden belonging to it, with long and pleasant avenues of trees in the back and front.

From: Sir George Forrest. The Life of Lord Clive. Vol. I. London and New York: Cassell, 1918, 52-53.

1 comment:

Stephan said...

Dear Nick,
I am currently doing some research into the life of Richard Lathom, who was EIC Chief of Cuddalore between 1773-1776 and possibly again in 1780. Have you come across any information about Richard Lathom ? I am having some difficulty in finding out when he finally left Cuddalore. He was involved in the infamous Pigot affair in Madras in 1776 and fell foul of the Arcot interest at some point. Best wishes, Stephan Roman