Digital Rare Book:
A Journey from Madras through the countries of MYSORE, Canara, and Malabar - performed under the orders of the most noble the Marquis Wellesley, Governor General of India, for the express purpose of investigating the state of agriculture, arts, and commerce; the religion, manners, and customs; the history natural and civil, and antiquities, in the dominions of the Rajah of Mysore, and the countries acquired by the Honourable East India Company.
By Francis Buchanan
Printed for T.Cadell and W.Davies, London - 1807
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At Bangalore, Buchanan described the fort, palace and 'extensive gardens' made by Haidar and Tipu, but was also reminded of the desperate position of Lord Cornwallis during the Third Mysore War: 'his marches from Bangalore may everywhere be traced by the bones of cattle, thousands of which perished through fatigue and hunger.' At Seringapatam, 'the peaceful bullock was returning to his useful labour,' although there was little evidence of any attempts to improve the breed, and buffaloes were more useful for carriage. They carried 320 lbs.a day, while bullocks managed only 206lbs. The farmers too had become poorer. In Haidar's time (1765-1782), a rich farmer might own 12 ploughs and 48 oxen: by 1800, farmers in the environs of Seringapatam owned only 4 ploughs and 2 oxen. The place had 'a most dreary, ugly appearance, for naked rock and dry mud walls are the predominant features,' Buchanan wrote. He also offers a few thoughts on why Tipu died where he did, near the Watergate; he mentions the European commodities which had been introduced to the capital, including broad cloth, looking glasses; watches and laid paper, and he conversed with Purniya, formerly Tipu's Chief Minister, and subsequently installed by the British to look after the infant Raja of Mysore.
When 'A Journey from Madras through the countries of Mysore, Canara and Malabar' was published in 1807, the 'Edinburgh Review and Critical Journal (Oct. 1808) was critical: 'The work before us is a journal... nowhere is one subject fully discussed,' or 'our author possessed no means of communication with the natives but through an interpreter.' In conclusion however, it is acknowledged that Buchanan 'has rendered an essential service to the Indian historian' and his book 'will remain an interesting and valuable publication relating to a country scarcely known in Europe.'