Tn Prince of Orange had issued instructions from Kew to the Dutch Colonies to permit the entrance of British troops and ships of war for the purpose of preventing them falling into the hands of the French republicans, and orders were given to the military to use force should they be refused admittance. Accordingly in July 1795 Lord Hobart, Governor of Fort St. George, invited Governor van Angelbeek to place his colony in the possession of the British, to be restored to the Dutch at the general peace, at the same time threatening force in case of resistance. The local Dutch Government, understanding that the subversion of the old constitution of the Netherlands had been the sole work of the French, decided to adhere to the Stadtholder, but to defend themselves at Colombo, Galle, and Trincomalee if the British attempted hostilities. To Lord Hobart the Council acknowledged the British as their `close and intimate allies,' and were prepared to receive 800 European troops, for which, however, they were not then in a position to pay, but were not ready to put the Dutch settlements under the protection of His Britannic Majesty, such a course not being required by the letter of the Prince of Orange.

The proposals of the Council were accepted by Lord Hobart, and the British forces arrived at Trincomalee. But difficulties were made by the local commandant, and the British officers reverted to their instructions and required the delivery of the forts. This was On August 2; the demand was refused, and the British landed unopposed but took no further steps for the moment. In the meanwhile the Dutch at Colombo had learnt that the revolution at home had been effected not by the French alone but by the majority of the nation, and in consequence decided to acknowledge the Batavian Republic, to break off all engagements with the British, and to defend the fortress to the last. This decision was communicated by letter dated August 15, 1795, to the British, who now proceeded to action at Trincomalee. The forts at this place capitulated to Colonel Steuart after a bombardment on August 28 and 31, Batticaloa fell on September 18, and Jaffna without resistance ten days later.

From Trincomalee Robert Andrews, a civilian in the Madras service, was sent as ambassador to Kandy. He returned to India with a Kandyan embassy under Migastenne Disawa, and in February 1796 a treaty was signed at Madras, by which the Court was to possess a situation on the coast of Lanka for the sole purpose of securing salt and fish and, further, to have ten vessels free from all inspection and duty. Andrews returned to Kandy to obtain the royal signature, but the terms, which gave to the Court what it had in vain attempted to get from the Dutch, were rejected. The opportunity, once lost, did not recur.

The Count de Meuron by a provisional agreement signed at Neuchatel on March 30, 1795, had arranged for the transfer of his proprietary regiment, of which five companies were in Colombo, to the British service; the discharge from the Dutch employ actually was effected on October 13. The Madras Government, after the fall of Jaffna, had offered once more their original conditions, but these were refused by the Dutch, who concentrated their soldiers in Colombo and prepared to defend the capital to the last. The British troops coasted along the west of Lanka as far as Negombo, whence they advanced by land, reaching the Kelani River on February 8 and 9 without any opposition. The Dutch made no attempt to withstand the invaders between Negombo and the Kelani owing, it is said, to the advance of the Kandyans; they intended to resist at the river, but again withdrew to Grand Pass, and the British crossed on February 11. They were attacked by the French Lieutenant-Colonel Raymond, late of the Luxemburg Regiment, next day, but occupied the Pettah. The failure of the Dutch to make a stand at the river is explained partly by the fact that the British held the sea and could have landed troops in their rear.

The Dutch Government, which in October had resolved to resist to the last, had at its disposal 1617 men, composed of 845 Europeans and 772 Malays. The British not only possessed troops to the number of 5500, of whom 2700 were Europeans, but also had command of the sea. The Dutch had been in expectation of help from the Netherlands and Batavia and of the arrival of a French fleet, and had also hoped that Tipu Sultan of Mysore would have made a diversion in their favour. They.must have realised at an early stage that resistance was hopeless; all the staff officers, with the exception of one, and the whole of the Council were in favour of capitulation, by which private property as well as pensions to public servants would be preserved. Accordingly negotiations were commenced on the British summoning the fortress, and Colombo was surrendered on February 15, 1796; the terms cast no obligation on the British to restore Lanka to the Dutch at the peace, though at the time it was anticipated that this would be done. The Dutch Governor Van Angelbeek has been charged with treason, and. the failure to make any resistance, which contrasts so unfavourably with the desperate fight of the Portuguese against overwhelming numbers in 1656, lent colour to the accusation. But the documents themselves show that defence was contemplated until the position was seen to be untenable. Jacobinism is said to have been rife among the garrison, but has not been shown to have been the cause of the surrender.

The Maritime Provinces of Lanka were now in the possession of the British. The first Englishman who is known to have lived in the Island was the Franciscan friar Andrew, who laboured in the North and lost his life there at the hands of the Hindus in 1627 or 1628. Another was the master gunner in the Kandyan service who was killed at the `Great Stockade' in 1632. Ralph Fitch had touched at Lanka early in 1589, and James Lancaster in 1592. But the Englishman best known is Robert Knox, who with his father, the captain of the Ann, and her crew was taken prisoner by the Kandyans in 1659, and after a captivity of twenty years escaped with one companion in 1679 he has left us a most complete and accurate account of the interior of the country.

The British settlements were attached to the Madras Presidency and administered by the East India Company through military governors. The first was Colonel (later Major-General) Steuart; his successors were Major General W. E. Doyle, who governed for a few months from January 1, 1797, and Brigadier-General de Meuron. Their jurisdiction was both civil and military. Towards the end of 1795 Robert Andrews was appointed Resident and Superintendent of Revenue; under him were Collectors with Madrasi subordinates. Courts-martial dealt with eases of felony and murder, other matters coming before the Collectors. The Madras administration proved a failure. The chief causes were (1) the supersession of the natives of the country by foreign Madrasis, who were followed by swarms of Tamils in the hope of farming the revenues; (2) the subjection of each coconut tree as from September 1, 1796, to a. yearly tax of one silver fanam, an impost sometimes in excess of the value of the produce; (3) the abolition of the ancient service-tenure of land, which was replaced by a tax of one-tenth of the paddy crop; and. (4) the `union of powers of renter and magistrate.' It was reported that the `Revenue can only be collected at the point of the bayonet.' A Committee under De Meuron was appointed in June 1797 to investigate these and other matters, but, before it had tune to take action, the whole country burst into violent revolt, which only came to an end early the next year. The Committee recommended the banishment of the Madrasis, the abolition of the obnoxious tax, the restoration of service-tenure and of the authority of the native chiefs, and lastly the institution of a mild and upright administration.

On October 12, 1198, the Hon. Frederic North assumed the Government. He was the first civil Governor and Commander-in-Chief and was appointed by the king, though the administration continued to be subject to the Company. The change seems to have been due to a decision to take Lanka under the king's own authority, in view of the delay in settling with the Dutch. North's period of Government was marked by many experiments. At first the Governor was assisted by nd Council; he was the Treasurer and also the President of the Supreme Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, and of the Greater and Lessor Courts of Appeal in civil cases. In 1800 and 1801 there was instituted for lesser criminal offences and petty civil cases the Fiscal's Court, consisting of three members, while for civil cases the Landraads were reconstituted outside Colombo, Galle and Jaffna, in which towns a Civil Court was set up. By the Charter of April 18, 1801, the Supreme Court, with its jurisdiction at first confined to Colombo District, was constituted in place of the old Supreme Court of Criminal Jurisdiction in that district, and of the Civil Court of Colombo; the High Court of Appeal consisted of the Governor, the Chief Justice, the Puisne Justice, and the Secretary to Government. In the same year the Landraads of Galle and Jaffna were abolished in favour of the Civil Courts, a measure followed up in 1802 by the merging of all the remaining Landraads into the Civil Courts, or with each other into Provincial Courts. The Fiscal's Court now was called the Court of Justices of the Peace, one of whom sat daily and was styled the Sitting Magistrate. In 1810 the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court set up in 1801 was extended to all the British Settlements, and the old Supreme Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, which still functioned outside the Colombo District, disappeared.

In the executive government the Collectors or Disawas at first were retained, but about 1801 they wore abolished and instead served on a Board of Revenue and Commerce: in their place a number of uneovenanted Agents of Revenue and Commerce were appointed. By the Peace of Amiens the possession of Lanka was confirmed to the British. On January 1, 1802, their settlements in the Island became a Crown Colony, with a Council, His Majesty's Council on Lanka,' consisting of the Chief Justice, the Commander in-Chief and the Chief Secretary, and with a new Civil Service, that now existing. This service is the oldest in the East under the Crown. The constitution remained substantially in this state until 1833.

Education had been neglected by the military Governors but was revived by North, who followed the lines of the Dutch: in 1801 there were 170 schools, The schoolmasters also were Notaries and Registrars. In addition there was an Academy at Colombo with three preparatory schools.

Service-tenure had been reverted to by North on the recommendation of the Committee of Investigation, but in 1800 the Governor had come to the conclusion that abolition of the system was desirable in view of its abuse by the headmen;, and of the fact that the land so held formed an inadequate remuneration for the services petformed: at the same time he was of opinion that its discontinuance would result in the encouragement of agriculture and commerce as well as in the increase of revenue. Accordingly he sanctioned an optional scheme, of which he hoped that the people would take advantage. This proved a failure, and on May 1, 1802, the old system was abolished, a tax in the form of a share of the produce being substituted and personal service being enforced but paid for.

The chief sources of revenue were the Pearl Fishery, the monopoly of cinnamon, arrack, for which the principal market was in India, the duty on areca nuts, salt, tobacco, and the Uliyam tax on the Moors in lieu of personal labour, which had been discontinued by the Madras administration but was reimposed by the Secretary of State in 1802. An impost, which caused some trouble, partly through Kandyan intrigue, was the quaintly termed Joy tax on jewels instituted in 1800.

We must now turn to North's foreign policy, which reflects very little credit on him. On July 26, 1798, Rajadhirajasinha died and was succeeded by a youthful relative, who was set on the throne by the First Adigar Pilama Talauwe, under the name of Sri Vikrama Rajasinha (1798-1815). Muttusami, brother of one of the queens dowager, a member of the rival faction, fled to British territory, and was accorded a refuge at Jaffna. In February 1799 North bad an interviews at Avissawella with Pilama Talauwe, whose object was to sound the Governor before developing his plans. At a second interview in December the Adigar directly requested the Governor to assist him in taking away the king's life and placing himself on the throne, in return for which he would make the English masters of the country. The overtures of the Adigar quite properly were rejected, and the Governor should have broken off all communication with the disloyal minister of a king with whom he was at peace. North seems to have been misled as to the extent of Pilama Talauwe's influence in the interior; he clearly regarded the Adigar as the real power ruling through an unpopular foreign puppet. In January 1800 a further conference took place between Boyd, the acting Secretary to Government, and the Adigar, who was informed that the Governor desired the continuance of the minister's power, and would secure it to him provided that the king placed himself and his country under British protection and admitted a garrison into the capital. The safety of the king's person and the continuance of his dignity were stipulated and the question of an embassy broached. Later on tee Adigar again urged the deposition of the king to which North refused to agree as he had recognized him and had received no offence. The Governor's proposal. was that the king should remove himself and his court to British territory, the Adigar ruling as his deputy at Kandy; he was only willing to send an embassy provided that the king consented to its being accompanied by a sufficient military force. This embassy he pressed for from a desire to elude the arts of the Adikar,' whom by this time he must have felt to be his superior in oriental diplomacy. At an interview between Boyd and the Adigar on February 1, the minister renounced all attempts on the king's life. It was clear that the Adigar expected the troops accompanying the embassy to take Kandy. But by March 4 he must have been certain that the king would not allow the entrance, of so large a force into the capital, and enquired what would be considered by the Governor sufficient aggression on the part of the Kandyans to involve the two parties in war: he was then told plainly that he himself would be considered the instigator of such hostile action.

Fig 10.1A View of Kandy overlooking the Kandy Lake which was built by Sri Vikrama Rajasinha{Last King of Kandy}

On March 12 the embassy under General Macdowall set out, but, if its object was to seize Kandy, was a failure from the beginning, as a large part of the escort was stopped at Ruwanwella. Sri Vikrama refused the treaty, in particular the articles by which the Governor undertook to send troops to Kandy whenever deemed necessary for the security of the king's throne, and counter-proposals were put forward by the Court, among them one on the subject of the ten ships, the very claim so foolishly rejected in 1796. The suggestion that the king should live in British territory does not seem to have been made. Later on the Kandyans through the chief Lewuke, one of the Adigar's enemies, once more tried to secure an establishment on the seacoast, but without success.

In February 1802 an embassy from Kandy under the Second Adigar Migastenne was received at Colombo, and demanded the cession of three small islands as well as the right to ten ships. Privately the ambassador renewed Pilama Talauwe's proposals to dethrone the king, but North declined to listen to him. The First Adigar also was refused an interview until he should convince the Governor of his sincerity. Accordingly he resolved ta involve the king and the British in hostilities. In April thirty or forty British subjects, Moors from Puttalam, were forcibly detained, ill-treated, and robbed at the instigation of the Adigar, whose agent sold the stolen areca nuts. Demands for reparation were made to the Court, but were put off time after time until 1803, when the Governor decided to enforce the claim by arms and to exact security against a repetition of the offence. Due notice was given to the king and the Adigar and terms of settlement proposed, but without effect.

Fig 10.21804 Silver dump Rix Dollar with Elephant.

The British forces set out from Colombo on January 31, 1803, under General Macdowall, and from Trincomalee under Lieutenant-Colonel Barbut, and occupied Kandy on February 21. Barbut had found that Prince Muttusami, who claimed the throne and had fled to British territory in 1798, was well received on the north and east frontiers of the kingdom. Accordingly the pretender was brought to the capital and crowned on March 8, when he entered into a treaty with the Governor. By this compact the Seven Korales, the forts of Girihagama and Galagedara in Tumpane on the present Kurunegala-Kandy road, and the road to Trincomalee were to be ceded to the British; the new king was to enter into no relations with foreign powers save with the consent of the Lanka Government; he was to pay for British troops, if required for his support, and also provide a pension for the prince lately on the throne'; a British minister was to reside at the Court, when so required; finally, the frontier duties were to be abolished and free trade established between the interior and the Maritime Provinces. In short, the treaty was intended to reduce the Kandyan kingdom to the position of a British protectorate. But Muttusami had no following in the neighbourhood of Kandy, Sri Vikrama was still at large, and his capture was the object of a fruitless expedition to Hanguranketa, undertaken at the instance of Pilama Talauwe. On March 28 a conference was held between Macdowall, Muttusami, and the Second Adigar, at which it was agreed that Sri Vikrama should be delivered to Government and Pilama Talauwe invested with supreme authority, paying an annuity to Muttusami, who should hold his court at Jaffna. The cession of Fort Macdowall (at the present town of Matale) with its surrounding district was substituted for that of Girihagama, the treaty to come into force as soon as Sri Vikrama was in the hands of the British. Meanwhile there was to be an immediate cessation of hostifities.

On April 1 General Macdowall departed from Kandy, leaving a garrison under Barbut; great loss had occurred through disease, and its safety entirely depended on the good faith of the Adigar. His power was not such as North imagined, and hostilities were continued by the chiefs. On May 5 North met Pilama Talauwe at Dambadeniya, in the newly ceded Seven Korales, and the treaty of March 28 was confirmed. It afterwards transpired that the Adigar had intended to kidnap the Governor, who was saved by the timely appearance of :Barbut from Kandy. This officer died on May 21, and the command of the Kandy garrison devolved upon Major Davie, an officer whose capacity and experience were quite unequal to the situation. Macdowall was requested by the Adigar again to come to Kandy. This he did on May 23, but, the minister failing to appear, left the capital for the last time, sick with fever, on June 11. The garrison, left to its fate, was closely blockaded: the Europeans were dying at the rate of six a day; and 450 out of the 700 Malays deserted. On June 24 the Kandyans attacked but were repulsed. Davie now was persuaded by his officers that further resistance was impossible, and the garrison capitulated on the condition that the able bodied should march with their arms to Trincomalee with and that the Adigar should care for the sick and wounded until they could be removed. Unfortunately the Mahaweliganga was in flood. The king now having the troops at his mercy, demanded the surrender of Muttusami, who was basely given up and was at once killed, and then ordered the return of the soldiers unarmed to Kandy. Once their arms were laid, down a general massacre ensued on June 26 at `Davie's Tree' on the outskirts of Kandy. The sick and wounded already had been butchered. The one redeeming feature of this sordid affair was the constancy of the Malay officer Noruddin and his brother, who refusing to abandon the British service were murdered at Hanguranketa. Captain Madge of Fort Macdowall, hearing of the massacre, retreat to Trincomalee: the post of Dambadeniya successfully held out against the Second Adigar until relieved from Colombo. The ill-conceiced expedition, undertaken by North in reliance on the good faith of Pilama Talauwe, whom the Governor knew to be thoroughly unscrupulous, thus ended in utter disaster: many lives had been lost; the hospitals were crowded, and a very large number succumbed to the diseases contracted during the campaign. The king was victorious, but the massacre was fatal to the continued existence of the Kandyan kingdom.

Towards the end of July the Kandyans were threatening the frontiers, and in August and September invaded the British territories in all directions, prevailing upon many of the natives to join them. The enemy advanced within fourteen or fifteen miles of Colombo, and on August 21 took the small fort of Hanwella; this was shortly afterwards recovered and the Kandyans driven back to Sitawaka. The king, however, with the usual ignorance of the outside world characterizing the Kandyan Court, hoped to take Colombo with a few six-pounder guns, and again early in September attacked the fort of Hanwella, defended by invalids. But on September 6 he was completely routed, and retreated, never stopping in his flight until safe within his own dominions: Lewuke, who was unfortunate enough to overtake the fugitive, paid for his temerity with his life. In this action the British recovered 150 Bengal and Madras lascars, who had been pressed into the Kandyan service and took this opportunity tb desert. After this hostilities were confined to incursions into the king's territory, with instructions to lay it waste, until the arrival of fresh reinforcements. General Wemyss relieved Macdowall in February 1804, and a concerted attack from all sides was proposed with the object of causing the greatest devastation and injury to the enemy's country,' the troops to meet in Kandy on September 28 and 29. The expedition, however, was countermanded, but with such lack of clearness in the instructions that Captain Johnston set out from Batticaloa, occupied Kandy, and finding himself unsupported fought his way to Trincomalee, with a force of eighty-two Europeans and 202 sepoys. Of these he lost in killed and wounded seventy-one, but of the rest few survived owing to sickness. Desultory war continued, martial law being in force in the British territories, until February 1805, when an extensive invasion by the Kandyans took place. Their only success, however, was the surprise of the small frontier fort of Katuwana. After this the British received large reinforcements, the king had smallpox, and a tacit suspension of hostilities ensued owing to the exhaustion of the Kandyans.

Nothing can be said for North's weak and vacillating policy, if indeed he had a policy; it was not even justified by success. He doubtless shared Wellesley's idea of elevating the British Government to a position of paramount power in India, and does not seem to have been particular as to the means adopted. He clearly had little reliable information touching Pilama Talauwe's position in the Kandyan country or the king's power, but he was well aware of the Adigar's character; yet he staked the success of the expedition of 1803 upon that minister's good faith. The only honest policy to have been adopted was an absolute refusal to enter into the Adigar's intrigues at the outset. Pilama Talauwe's policy throughout was consistent, namely to depose the foreign dynasty and to make himself supreme; but he was not strong enough to overcome, the jealousy of the other chiefs and the king showed more ability than he credited him for possessing. The British Government to the Adigar merely was a tool, to be discarded once he was on the throne, but he does not seem to have been responsible for the massacre of 1803, which was the work of the king himself.

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The letter of the Prince of Orange is given in the Report on the Dutch Archives, p. 138; the Prince's instructions of February 2, by which naval and, military commanders were ordered `de se metre sons la protection de S.M.', were riot received in Lanka.

The Wellesley Manuscripts, extracts from, published in Ceylon Literary Register, ii. pp. 124 if.; Description of Lanka, James Cordiner, 1807; Voyages and Travels to India, Lanka, etc.', Lord Valentia, 1809; Narrative of the Operations of a Detachment in an Expedition to Candy. . 1804, Major Johnston, 1810; View of the Agricultural, Commercial and Financial Interests of Lanka, A. Bertolacci, 1817 ; Account of the Interior of Ceylon, John Davy, 1821; Eleven Years in Ceylon, Major Forbes, 1840; Ceylon, H. Marshall, 1846; Ceylon, Sir James Emerson Torment, 1859; Collected Papers on the history of the Maritime Provinces of Lanka, 1795-1805, L. J. B. Turner, 1923; `Pilama Talawe, Maha Adigar: his political intrigues, 1798-1803,' L. J. B. Turner, in C.A. iii. p. 219.

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