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Cape Comorin to Madras.] ORIENTAL COMMERCE.
NEGAPATAM.—The fort is in latitude 10° 45′ N. and longitude 79° 54′ E.; it is a regular pentagon with wet ditches, and the whole of the fortifications are strong, and in good repair. The town is situated to the N. of the fort, near which is a river capable of receiving small country vessels, which has two entrances, one to the N. and the other to the S., the land between them forming an island; the boats use the windward entrance in passing out, and the leeward one in returning, according to the monsoon. On the N. side of this river is a strong battery, to which boats entering, must go within the length of their oars, and the landing-place is close to it. There is a bar at the mouth of the river, which in bad weather breaks very much, and becomes dangerous.
The common anchorage in the fair season is abreast the fort in 5 fathoms, 1 to 2 miles off-shore. In unsettled weather it is prudent to anchor further out in 6 or 7 fathoms, the flagstaff bearing W. S., and the highest of the five pagodas at Nagore N. W., which is good holding ground.
PROVISIONS AND Refreshments.-The watering place is about half a mile the river, at a large tank entirely commanded by the fort. The watering here would be both troublesome and tedious without the assistance of the natives and their boats. Fresh provisions for present use may be got here, with vegetables and fruit, sufficient for a fleet of ships, and also rice; but fire-wood is a scarce commodity.
NAGORE.-About four miles from Negapatam, in latitude 10° 49′ N. longitude 79° 54′ E., are the five white pagodas of Nagore; they are excellent sea-marks for distinguishing the river, which is close to them on the N. side, where a great trade is carried on in piece-goods, rice, &c. The river has a bar, on which are eight feet at high water, spring tides. The anchorage in Nagore Road is about 24 miles off the entrance of the river, in 5 or 6 fathoms, the five pagodas bearing W. S. W., or W. by S. The coast is low, and at times inundated near the mouth of the river.
KARICAL is in latitude 10° 52′ N., and longitude 80° 8' E. This settlement, with the places depending on it, belonged to the French, and was granted to them by the King of Tanjore in 1739; and in 1745, a number of villages was added to it. In the wars between the English and French it frequently changed masters. It carries on a great trade in piecegoods and rice. Two rivers, both navigable branches of the Cavery, run through this district, and fertilize the country, which abounds in rice and other provisions. The town is on the N. side of the fort, separated by an esplanade, and is large, spacious, and well-built. The marks for anchoring vary according to the monsoon: in the S. one bring the flagstaff to bear W. S. W. in 5 or 6 fathoms; and in the N. monsoon it is to be brought to
ORIENTAL COMMERCE. [Cape Comorin to Madras.
bear W. By this means the passage becomes easier to boats passing to and from the shore.
TRANQUEBAR, the principal settlement belonging to the Danes in the East Indies, is in latitude 11° 1' N. and longitude 79° 55′ E. The town is upwards of two miles in circumference, the streets broad and straight, and the houses very neat, the whole surrounded with a good stone wall, having several bastions well provided with artillery. Before the gate that leads into the country stands a fine citadel. The fort towards the sea is wellbuilt, and regular, remarkable for its extraordinary whiteness, being visible at a great distance. The district belonging to the town is of considerable extent, full of villages, many of them large and well-built, and the principal one is thought to contain as many inhabitants as the town of Daneburgh, and several mosques and pagodas.
TRADE.-The commerce here is trifling. The natives trade with the coasts of Pegu, Sumatra, and other places.
COINS.-Accounts are kept here in rix-dollars of 12 fanams; and also in rupees of 8 fanams, each fanam equal to 80 cash.
The rix-dollar is imaginary money, and 18 per cent. below the Danish current rix-dollar; its value therefore is 37 d.
The coins are silver rupees, double and single fanams, and copper dudus, or cash.
The value of the Tranquebar rupee will be 244d. sterling; as the coinage is so regulated, that 1302 are worth 600 old Spanish dollars, weighing 43 lbs. 7 oz. 2 dwts. troy.
Star pagodas are worth about 34 fanams, and Spanish dollars from 19 to 21 fanams.
WEIGHT. The maund weighs 68 lbs. Danish, or 74 lbs. avoirdupois. DEVICOTTA.-This fort is situated on a small island just within the entrance of Coleroon River, in latitude about 11° 22′ N., which has within its bar water sufficient for large ships. The fort is strong, and built of brick.
PORTO NOVO is in latitude about 11° 29' N. and longitude 79° 49′ E. It was formerly a place of considerable trade, where the French and Dutch had factories. Here is a river navigable only for small country vessels. Fresh water is filled out of a tank a little way up this river; but it is brackish, bad, and apt to give the flux. The road of Porto Novo, by being sheltered to the S. E. by the Coleroon Shoal, is by far the smoothest and safest on the Coromandel shore. Here you may anchor in six fathoms, the flagstaff W. N., 2 miles off-shore, and the southernmost of the Chalambaram pagodas S. W.
Cape Comorin to Madras.] ORIENTAL COMMERCE.
COINS.-Accounts are kept in collums of paddy, or in chuckrums. The collum is a measure which is between 70 and 80 quarts, but varies in different parts. The medium price of a collum of paddy is 3 gold, or 7 silver fanams, about 1s. 4d. sterling; so that 100,000 collums of paddy, at the afore-mentioned price, will produce 15,555 star pagodas, 25 fanams.
In the Tanjore country the star pagoda is valued at 45 Madras, or silver fanams; 1 chuckrum is equal to 20 Madras, or 10 gold fanams; 2 chuckrums and 1 fanam are equal to 1 Porto Novo pagoda.
The Porto Novo pagoda passes current at Madras for 371⁄2 Madras fanams. 100 Porto Novo pagodas are reckoned 83 star pagodas, and 100 star pagodas equal to 120 Porto Novo pagodas. In the Company's accounts the Porto Novo pagoda is reckoned at 36 fanams.
CUDDALORE is about three leagues to the N. of Porto Novo, in latitude 11° 43′ N., and longitude 79° 50′ E. The river is small, shut up by a bar at the entrance, and navigable only by boats. The town extends about three-quarters of a mile from N. to S., and about half a mile from E. to W. Three of its sides are fortified: that to the sea is for the greater part open; but the river passing between Fort St. David and the town, flows, just before it gains the sea, along the E. side of the town, of which, whilst it washed the skirts on one hand, it was on the other separated from the sea by a mound of sand, which the surf throws on the shore in most parts of the coast. It is very populous, and a place of some trade. A little above the town stands Trivada pagoda, which forms a citadel to a large pettah, or town. The marks for anchorage are the flagstaff N. W. and Fort St. David N. N. W. off-shore about 11⁄2 mile. Fort St. David is about a mile to the N. of Cuddalore. In this district are manufactured dimities, and various descriptions of piece-goods.
PONDICHERRY, in latitude 11° 56′ N., and longitude 79° 54′ E., is built in a circular form on the borders of the sea, and strongly fortified. It is divided into two parts, the Black Town and the White Town; the latter spreads along the sea-coast, and is again divided into two parts, the N. and S. The tower bearing the flagstaff is in the middle, and separates the two quarters. The Black Town is separated from the White by a ditch running through the whole extent of Pondicherry; it reaches to the ramparts, and contains a population of nearly 80,000 souls, and a cathedral belonging to the Jesuits. The White Town is very inconsiderable. Its length comprehends the whole front of the place on the sea-shore; but its width from the shore to the ditch, which separates it from the Black Town, is not more than 300 toises; this space is filled with handsome houses, but few of them
ORIENTAL COMMERCE. [Cape Comorin to Madras.
are more than one story high. It contains a parish church, the duty of which is performed by the Capuchins of the French mission.
COINS. Accounts are kept in pagodas, fanams, and cash; 60 cash making 1 fanam, and 24 fanams 1 pagoda. The coins current are gold pagodas, silver rupees, and fanams; also copper cash or dudus, thus divided:
26 Dudus............ equal to ............1 Fanam.
There are various kinds of pagodas current here, and nearly all of the same weight. That of Pondicherry was originally equal in value to the star pagoda; but its standard has been considerably lowered; it passes for 3 rupees, though the exchange varies from 350 to 360 rupees per 100 Pondicherry pagodas. The exchange for Spanish dollars is from 210 to 215 rupees per 100 Spanish dollars.
WEIGHTS.-Gold and silver are weighed by the seer, pagoda, rupee, and fanam. A seer weighs 24 rupees, 81 pagodas, or 731 fanams; a rupee weight is equal to 30 fanams, or 480 nellos; a pagoda weight is 9 fanams, or 144 nellos: thus 3 rupees are equal in weight to 10 pagodas.
71 pagodas weigh a French mark, or 3778 English grains, so that the seer contains 4293 grains.
The commercial weights are the candy of 20 maunds, each maund 8 vis. The Pondicherry maund is 25 lbs. 14 oz. 51⁄2 drs. avoirdupois.
MEASURES.-Rice, and all other sorts of grain, are sold by the garce of 600 marcals; and 100 marcals are nearly 18 English bushels. The garce thus equals 13 English quarters.
ALLEMPARVA, OR ALLUMPAROA.-This fort is to the N. of Pondicherry, in latitude 12° 46′ N., longitude 80° 4' E. It has many wells of good water, which are not to be found in all parts of the coast near the The pettah extends along the coast to the N.
SADRAS, about seven leagues N. N. E. from Allemparva River, is in latitude 12° 31' N., longitude 80° 13' E. The fort and town are now in a ruinous condition. About seven miles to the N. of Sadras, in latitude 12° 36′ N., longitude 80° 15′ E., are the Seven Pagodas or Mahabalipooram, containing some curious antiquities.
MELIAPOUR, or St. Thomé, is about three miles to the S. of Madras. This town, which lies close to the sea-side, is almost a heap of ruins. There are some churches, especially a cathedral, the see of a Bishop suffragan to Goa, and in whose diocese are all the Portuguese churches on the Coast of Coromandel.
Inland there are high mountains, the northernmost of which is known from the others round it by being rounder and flatter, with a church built on its top. This is called St. Thomas's Mount, in the neighbourhood of which are the country houses of many of the European residents in Madras.
MADRAS, or Fort St. George, our principal settlement on the Coast
of Coromandel, and to which all the others, and some on the Malabar Coast, are subordinate, is in latitude 13° 4′ 45′′ N., and longitude 80° 20′ 53′′ E. It is the seat of a Governor and Council, subject to the controul of the Governor General.
Madras is divided into two parts, the Fort, or White Town, and the Black Town. The Fort stands close to the sea-side, and is one of the best in the possession of the British nation; although not of so regular a design as Fort William at Calcutta, yet, from the greater facility of relieving it by sea, and the natural advantage of the ground, it may on the whole be deemed at least equal to it.
In the middle of the fort stands the old or original fortress, erected on the first arrival of the English here; it is about 100 yards square, surrounded with battlements, having four bastions and two gates; one to the W., where the main guard is kept; the other to the E., facing the sea. This building is now converted into the offices of Government, and the town residences of many of the Company's civil servants. To the N. of the old fort stands the exchange, which is a magnificent building; on the top is a lighthouse, which is of essential service to ships coming into the roads in the night. The light is 90 feet above the level of the sea at high water; it may be seen from the decks of the Company's ships above 17 miles, and from their mast-heads near 26 miles. The S. part of Pulicat Shoal bears from it N. by E. 2 E., distance 13 miles. To keep clear of the shoal, the light should always bear to the W. of S. S. W. W.