Monday, July 19, 2010

Yale's Big Bang Approach to Land Acquistion

When Raja Rama of Chingee sold Cuddalore to the English it was agreed that the boundary of the land acquired should be set at the distance reached by a cannon ball fired from a large cannon.

One can only wonder what the poor local inhabitants thought about the whole event. Especially those whose homes just happened to be near where the cannonballs landed.

Elihu Yale who eventually went on to found Yale University in America was the East India Company official who handled these negotiations.

The following extracts transcribed from original records in the British Library describe the events.

Rama Raja King of the Chingee Country Did sell and Alienate to the Right Honble English East India Company the Fort of Tegnapatam als: Fort St: David with all the Ground, Huses, Towns, Rivers, Woods etc. within the Circumference of the Random shot of a great Gun, from the said Fort, as May more plainly appear, by his Letters, Patents, or Royal Cowle granted to the said Right Hon’ble Company in conformation thereof whereby all Royal Authority & Kingly rights formerly in the s’d: Rama Raja is now devolv’d & center’d in the said English Company and therefore all Customs etc: Duties formerly paid Rama ------ or his officers ought now to be paid to the ------------ the company—

The said Cowle or Letters Patents Run in general terms without any exception, but It is said that Mr: Thomas Yale who negotiated This affair at Chingee did verbally agree that the Dutch Factory shou’d be excepted; by which pretence the Ministers of Rama Raja wou’d wrong fully wrest from the said English Company all Customs due from the Dutch; however the said Mr: Yale & those with him do affirm that they never intended by that verbal exception anymore than that the Dutch shou’d have the priviledge and use of their Factory as formerley when the Government of these parts was under Rama Raja which is Ended the most genuine sense; nor is there the least notice taken of it in our Cowle.

Translate of a Bill of Sale
under the Seal of Raja Ram
Rajah Chetterpetty Dated
4th Moharram in the 1st year
of the Mahratta Cycle answer
=ing to 1690 September 24

Extract from the Fort St David Diaries and Consultation of the 11th February 1690 relating to the Dutch Factory. (Notes from IOR G/18/1)

consent to the President Yale and Council for
the use of the said Honble Company and their
Successors for ever for the sum of forty thousand
(40,000) Cheokarems which has been fully
received by us through the hands of Rahoojee
Rendernada our servant according to our

A Certificate from Cheveda Balazee
Dated the 1st Rabee Laker in the 1st
year of the Mahratta Cycle answering
to 1690 dec. 19 of the particular
extent of the Right Hon. Company’s
Bounds in this place he being
authorized to measure the same
by King Ram Rajah.

Wheras that Mahraaza Saib (alias Raja Ram Rajah Chetterpetty) has been pleased to give up the Fort of Tevenepatam to the Honble East India English Company at Madras and ordered them to take possession of all such Lands and Villages within the distance of a Cannon shot which was fired in the presence of Davelet Ram and Gopall Dadazee the Subadar and fell near the Tank called Damara Gunta to the Southward of Cuddalore when it was also ordered that the ground should be measured from thence and that all the Villages that were within that distance should be taken possession of and therefore the said Subadar appointed Sevezee Puntoloo Bookkeeper and Semperety alias accountant who have measured the Ground, on this Govinda
Kishava Sankerazee Mahadav, myself and Sava Razoc Mandel have inspected it and the Places within it were as follows:-

Bar of Gardanedy
Rama Kishnaporam
Caravar Cuppem with its woods
Ganganaick Cuppem
Bar of Penna River
Half of Condanga River
and half of the mountains
Wochey Mada
Manja Cupam

These being all the Villages and Lands within the extent of the Cannon Shot the Company may enjoy them. The head subadar, Havildar, Mazomadar, Taraphear, Samperty, Dashey, and other officers have nothing to do with them. The said Company may therefore happily enjoy the premises (which
have been graciously by the said Maharaza Saib) with their sons & Grandsons
Etc. of their line as long as the Sun and Moon Endure.

The line traced by the cannon balls was planted with thorny shrubs and this formed the Bound Hedge. The outline of this boundary hedge can still be identified in property boundaries to this day.

A local man called Anniyan provided me with the following modern equivalents for the names given above.

Bar of Gardanedy                 -             ?
Rama Kishnaporam              -             ?
Caravar Cuppem with its woods -       Karaiyeravittakuppam
Terpopolore                        -             Thirupadripuliyur
Ganganaick Cuppem           -             Kankanakuppam
Bar of Penna River              -             River Pennar/ Pennaiyar/then pennai
Wadagambem                    -              ?
Half of Condanga River      -             Kadilam River
and half of the mountains    -            Capper hills
(Capper Hills was named after Francis Capper who was the Captain till 1796; British built a prison in the Capper Hills. Freedom fighters including Barathiar and other prisoners of war were imprisoned there.)
Chemmendalem                  -            Semmandalam
Wochey Mada                   -                ?
Manja Cupam                    -               Manjakuppam


Karthikeyan R said...

Thanks a lot for all your efforts to provide us the history of Cuddalore. We are very much indebted to you for your great work.

Zav said...

Wochey Mada - uchimedu (in Cuddalore - Pondy ECR)

MysticPen said...