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A. ARNACHELLUM, Merchant, Bangalore
In the preceding list of names of English and Native Gentlemen, should there be any mistake, either as to precedency, rank, or office, it is respectfully requested that the error may be regarded in its true light, as entirely unintentional.
The names of gentlemen received too late for insertion in this list, together with those which may hereafter come to hand, will be prefixed to the second volume.
Inquiries into the events and transactions of past times interest our curiosity; they teach us lessons of practical wisdom; and they sometimes incite, or qualify, us to be useful to our fellow men. While our curiosity is gratified by the knowledge acquired of matters unknown, or only partially known, to us before, we reflect on the springs of human action, observe wherein they are right, and but too often wherein they are wrong; and, whether nations or communities are committed to our guidance, or we have only to regulate our own personal affairs and interests, we alike learn what to do, and what to leave undone, what to seek, and what to avoid. Besides, as we are social beings, formed not for ourselves alone, but for others also, it may happen that when our researches bear on a once distinctly national, but now dependent, people, inclination may be caused to co-operate with the power of exerting beneficence; and a prostrate people may, by degrees, be elevated and informed; may be awakened to a consciousness of moral dignity, and be themselves rendered increasingly useful, wise, and happy.
The principal subject of the work now to be submitted to the reader, is the ANCIENT SOUTHERN KINGDOM OF MADURA, so entitled from its principal town. It is contained between 8o and 11° of north latitude, and 95° to 97° of east longitude: its proper boundaries are, the river Cauvery on the north; the Bay of Bengal and Straits of Manar on the east; Cape Comorin and the Indian Ocean on the south; and the chain of Ghauts, or mountains, on the west. It is called Pandionis-regio by Ptolemy, being a translation of its native name; and the capital town is by him spelt Modura, nearly the same with its present appellation. The ancient native designation of the kingdom is Pandiya-mandalam, or the Pandiya territory: the name of the
eapital is properly Mathurai; and it also once bore the name of Alavayi, from a particular mythological legend, to be found in the body of the work. The boundaries of the kingdom have been stated by various native writers, with unimportant differences, and may be summed up in the translated words of a late head Bramin of the temple, who says, “ The Pandion territory is south of the river Vellar, east of the town of Perur, north of Cape Comorin, and west of the eastern sea.” Hence it would appear that its northern boundary was anciently less restricted than in more modern times. It is considered by native authors as only a portion of the Dravida eountry, or that within which the Tamil language is vernacular; and some further observations, illustrative of their opinions, may with advantage be deferred until we come to notice the relations of the Pandiya-mandalam, with other ancient kingdoms.
The history of the country, thus defined, is professedly the leading object of the present work. So far as the utility and purpose of this introduction is concerned, it may be perhaps the best mode of proceeding, to take up this point in reversed order. Madura is now merely a decayed fortified town; and, within circumscribed boundaries, the seat of an English collectorate: but it once included the present modern kingdom of Tanjore ; the independent district of the Tondiman; a portion, if not the whole, of the cullectorate of Trichinopoly; together with the collectorates of Coimbatoor and Tinnevelly. The country came into the possession of the British, partly in consequence of the very recent struggles with the native Polygars, (more accurately Palliya-carer ; that is, heads of districts,) who were originally feudal chieftains, holding lands on condition of military service, from the later sovereigns of Madura; and continuing for some time, like offsets from their country Banyan-tree, after the parent trunk was uprooted. More remotely, the acquisition of the capital and country is to be traced to the part taken by the English and French in the wars of the nabobs of Arcot with the pretender, Chunda Saheb, and his auxiliaries. Passing lightly over those transactions, we vote simply (as will be seen in the following manuscripts) that, in consequence of a contested succession, the aid of Chunda Saheb was invoked by one party, and that of Subder Alli, son of the reigning nabob, by another party. The interminable feud was fed and nourished till it had drained the treasures of both the competitors, when the country, the object of their competition, became
of the armed interventionists; a seizure, in its remoter consequences, attended
by battles, sieges, devastation, and misery to the inhabitants, requiring in this place only a general indication, without details. But these miseries were not before unknown. Yet the country had, comparatively, enjoyed a long rest under its princes of the Carnataca dynasty; a part of whom indeed had ruled with a feeble or iniquitous sway; but who, taken as a whole, had added to the lustre and consequence of the kingdom. Some of these princes appear at times to have had disputes with the Mysore rajahs; and one, we find from manuscript authority, had great influence at Conjeveram, (once the capital of an ancient kingdom,) extending to the regulation of castes and ceremonies, in a way that would indicate almost sovereign power. But next to the head of the dynasty, the most illustrious of this series of rulers was Trimala-Naicker, or Trimul-Naig, as his name is commonly written by Europeans. This prince seems to have possessed as enlarged and liberal a mind as could well fall to the possession of one placed in his circumstances; and that, under such circumstances, he was still the slave of superstition will not excite much surprise. He built an extensive and superb palace, still existing in partial ruins, in which the Saracenic style of architecture singularly mingles with the one properly Indian ; leading to a supposition that he must have procured his architect, or some of his workmen, from Bisnagur, where, owing to wars and negociations with the potentates of Delhi, that style was probably well known and imitated. Trimul-Naig also expended vast sums on the temple, its servants, ornaments, and festivals. An extensive and beautiful tank east of the fort, known by the ordinary term of Tepa-Kolam, was dug, and ornamented with magnificent flights of stairs on the whole of the four sides, and with the usual sacred emblem of a small pagoda in the centre, by his order; and an annual festival, when the god takes his pleasure on the water on a floating ornamented raft, was instituted by him: affording, singularly enough, a raree-show for the English many centuries afterwards. But the chief work of the monarch was a very large and magnificent hall, or great choultry, to the east of the temple, and close to it. This work, of which some curious anecdotes will occur in the course of our illustrations, is truly wonderful; arising, not only from the large dimensions of the blocks of granite made use of, which is a more common thing, but also from the ingenuity, excellence, and great singularity, of the sculptured work cut out in bold or entire relief from the pillars; and unrivalled, unless by similar works at Conjeveram. There is also a Simasanam, or throne of