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Butler, Robert, Lieutenant and Captain, East India Company Army (ca. 1792-1862). Archive of Seventeen Original Manuscript Documents (and Two Original Envelopes), Compiled during Butler’s Service in the Madras Native Infantry in ca. 1815-1837, Including the Original Commission Appointing Him a Lieutenant in the 11th Madras Native Infantry (Signed by the Governor of Madras, Hugh Elliot and with the Seal of the East India Company), Official Papers Regarding Butler’s Sick Leave, Penalties for not Reporting his Return, a Subsequent Pardon, Money Loans, Payments and Allowances from the Madras Native Infantry, House Renting near “Camp at Kulladghee” [Kaladgi], and a Shipment of His Order of “1 Linen Surcingle, 1 Set of White Tape Headstall & Reins, 1 Pale […?] Saddlecloth with Gold Lace…”. Fort St. George, Madras, Cannanore, Camp at Kulladghee, &c., ca. 1815-1837.


Ca. 1815-1837

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Seventeen original manuscripts, from ca. 20x33,5 cm (13 ¼ x 8 in) to ca. 11x18 cm (7 ¼ x 4 ¼ in). Brown ink on watermarked laid and wove paper (single leaves or bifoliums); one document on vellum; four printed forms are completed in manuscript. In all ca. 24 pp. of text. The vellum document with the official seal of the East India Company on the left margin. With two original envelopes ca. 9,5x21 cm (3 ¾ x 8 ¼ in) and 7x16,5 cm (2 ¾ x 6 ½ in). Foldmarks and creases, paper slightly age-toned, one letter with tears on the margins, but readable; one document with the upper right corner detached but present; overall a very good archive.

Historically significant archive of early original manuscripts, documenting the military service of Robert Butler, a British officer of the East India Company’s Madras Native Infantry, in the first third of the 19th century. Butler entered the service of the East India’s Company Army in the 1810s, being appointed a Lieutenant of the 11th Regiment, Madras Native Infantry in 1812, and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the East Indies in 1855 (The London Gazette. Tuesday, February 6, 1855, p. 435). Possibly, he was the author of “Narrative of the Life and Travels of Serjeant B… Written by Himself” (Edinburgh: David Brown, 1823), describing the adventures of a young British soldier in India in the 1810s.

The collection includes the original commission appointing Butler a lieutenant in the 11th Madras Native Infantry (signed by the Governor of Madras, Hugh Elliot), originals and certified copies of the documents regarding his sick leave, penalties for not reporting his return, a subsequent pardon, money loans, payments and allowances from the Madras Native Infantry, house renting near “Camp at Kulladghee” [Kaladgi], and a shipment of his order of “1 Linen surcingle, 1 set of white tape headstall & reins, 1 pale […?] saddlecloth with gold lace…” Overall a fascinating collection of early original manuscripts, providing insight into the military service during the East India Company’s rule in India.

A list of documents:

1) [Elliot, Hugh, Governor of Madras in 1814-1820, Signed by].

The Right Honourable Hugh Elliot, Governor and Commander in Chief of the Fort and Garrison of Fort St. George and Town of Madraspatnam, and of all the forces which are, or shall be employed for the Service of the United Company of Merchants of England, Trading to the East Indies <…> to R. Butler.

Greeting. We reposing especial trust and confidence in your loyalty, courage and good conduct, do by these presents, constitute and appoint you to be Lieutenant in the Eleventh Regiment of Native Infantry in the said United Company’s service, and do give and grant you full power, and authority to take your rank as Lieutenant in the Eleventh Regiment of Native Infantry in the said service from the twenty-third day of April One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twelve. <…>. Given under our hand, and the seal of the said Compan in Fort St. George, this Eighteenth Day of February, <…> in the year of Our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifteen.

2) Affidavit, to be sworn to by a Subscriber (Subaltern), applying for Assistance from the Fund, while resident in England, on Sick Certificate.

I, Robert Butler, Lieutenant <…> 11th Regt., M.N.I., do hereby make oath and declare, that the income arising from my property, my pay, and all other sources, does not exceed £ one hundred two <…> per annum; and that the sum of £48 forty-eight <…> per annum, which I solicit from the Madras Military Fund, is requisite to make my whole income equal to £ 140 per annum. And I do further make oath and declare that my Indian allowances have been paid up to the 1st of October 1820… <…> Sworn before me <…> this 5th day of August 1821…

3) Extract from General Orders by Government Dated Fort St. George, 22d November 1825.

Captain Robert Butler of the 21st Regiment of Native Infantry on this Establishment who proceeded to Europe on Furlough on the 1stof October 1820 not having reported his return to this Presidency until the 5thInstant or more than 5 years from the date of his Furlough, the Honorable the Governor in Council notifies, that Captain Butler <…> is hereby become incapacitated for returning his place in the regular Army until permission to that effect shall be received from the Honourable the Court of Directors <…> /A true extract/. Deputy Adj. Genl. of the Army.

4) Fort St. George, 29 May 1826. Commander in Chief’s Office. To Captain Butler, 21st Regt. Nat. Infry. [A copy of the official letter to the Military Auditor General from the Military Department, dated 23 May 1826].

[Leaf 2]. Sir, I am directed by the Honble the Governor in Council to transmit to you the annexed copy of a letter from the officiating Military Secretary to the Commander in Chief <…> and to convey to you authority for passing arrears of pay and allowances to Captain Butler <…> on his declaration on honor as to the date up to which he had received them…

5) Adjutant Genl. Office, Fort Saint George, 15 January 1827.

To Captain Butler, 21st Regiment Native Infantry.

Sir, with reference to the annexed extract from General Order by Government dated 12th Instant, I have the honor by Order of His Excellency Commander in Chief, to direct that you will join your Regiment forthwith…

[Extract <…> Letter dated 19th July 1826]. “Being satisfied from the circumstances which have been brought to our notice, that the Absence from India of Captain Robert Butler beyond the prescribed period of five years was occasioned by inevitable accident within the meaning of the 78thSection of the Act of the 33d Georg 3d Chap. 52, we have resolved to restore him to his rank in your Establishment which Resolution has received the approbation of His Majesty’s Commissioners for the affairs of India.”

6) Camp at Kulladghee, 1 October 1829.

I acknowledge to have received from Captain Robert Butler of the 21stRegiment N.I. the sum of /2000/ tow thousand rupees as a loan to enable me to complete the building of a new house which sum I promise to repay to Captain Robert Butler on his order. I also promise and engage to rent the house above alluded to to Captain Robert Butler on the following terms:

1st. That the monthly rent shall be fifty rupees and to commence from this date.

2nd. That the house shall be at my disposal at the end of each month provided I get a purchaser.

3rd. That I will not rent the house to any other Gentleman as long as Captn. Butler wishes to keep it <…> Matthw. Hobart, Barrack Sergeant.

[A note by Butler underneath]:

My dear Gray, Will you have the goodness to take charge if this document & act upon it as circumstances may require. Yours sincerely, R. Butler. Camp at Kullafgee, [Oct.] 31st, 1820.

[A note by Gray on the next leaf]:

Camp [Bagurattah?], 23 Feby. 1830. My dear Ley, Having left Kullaghee I can no longer look after Butler’s interest in this document and shall feel much obliged if you will do so and act as circumstances may require until you hear farther from him or me. Sincerely yours, Geo. Gray. To Captain J. M. Ley.

7) Camp at Kulladghee, 5 October 1829.

I hereby certify that Captain Robert Butler, 21st Regt. N.I. is in a bad state of health. I recommend, that for recovery thereof he be allowed to proceed to the Western coast for three months. S. [A. Boyes?], Asst. Surgeon, 21st Regt. N.I.

8) Camp at Kulladghee, 21 October 1829.

To Captain R. Butler, 21st Regiment N.I. Sir, As you are about to proceed on Sick Certificate to the Western Coast, I have been directed by the Officer Commanding to furnish you Extract from G.O.C.C. of the 2nd of March 1827, and 23rd June 1829, for your information and guidance, the receipt of which you will be pleased to acknowledge…

9) Kulladghee, 1 November 1829.

Received from Capt. Butler the sum of Rupees seven Annas eight and Pice six <…> on account of the 4th […?]. Also 12 books.

10) Pay Office, Malabar & Kanara. Cannanore, 29 December 1829.

Statement. Paid to Captain R. Butler of the 21st Regiment N.I. in arrears for November and Dec. and advance for December 1829 January 1830 Rupees 753. Deducted Military Fund and Donation 42-2-8. Deposited this day in my Treasury 410-13-4…

11) Pay Office, Malabar & Kanara. Cannanore, 11 January 1830.

To Captain R. Butler of the 21st Regiment N.I.

Sir, Herewith I have the honor to transmit you the Pay Certificate, required for you, &c…

12) Cannanore P.O., 11 January 1830.

Memorandum. Paid to Captain R. Butler of the 11th Regiment N.I. the Amount of his deposit in this office. Rupees 410-13-4. Coins paid. 410 Surat Rs. ---- 410-8-; 16 Copper pice ----- 5-4; Rupees 410-13-4.

13) Adjutant General Office, Fort St. George, 13 January 1830.

To Captain R. Butler, 21st Regiment N.I. Sir, The Commander in Chief has granted you Leave of Absence from your Corps and Station, until the 1st July, 1830…

14) Camp [Bagreecoteeh?], 23 February 1830.

“If Sergeant Hobart sells his house, Capt. Ley to claim the amount due on Captain Butler’s mortgage which is now after deducting five month rent from October to February inclusive seventeen hundred and fifty Rupees (1750 Rs.), and should the Sergeant only get 2200 for the house, Capt. Gray authorizes Capt. L. to take 1200 in full of all demands against Segt. Hobart by Capt. Butler…”

15) Fort St. George, 2 April 1830.

Military Fund Office. To Captain R. Butler, 21st Regiment, N.I.

Sir, As requested in your letter of the 24th Ultimo I have the honor by desire of the Directors to transmit herewith a Statement of your account with the Military Fund, exhibiting a balance due by you on account of Donation and Subscription, amounting to Madras Rupees 64= 3= 4 which you will be pleased to put in a train of liquidation. <…>

16) Cannanore, 11 June 1830.

My dear Butler, I had the pleasure of receiving your of the 9th & 10th last evening and this morning & I have now the pleasure of sending <…> the balance of your pay and a pay certificate. I have taken this course in consequence of having seen Mr. [Maclean?] here this Mg., as you would not be able to obtain any money for an order on him during his absence. You seem to have forgot that yesterday was Sunday and that an office is opened before 10 on any day. <…>

17) Madras, 1837. To Captain R. Butler.

Sir, We have the pleasure to advise you of our having shipped on your account on the Cutter Arrow, the articles mentioned in the annexed statement <…> 1 box: 1 Linen surcingle; 1 set of white tape headstall & reins; 1 pale […?] saddlecloth with gold lace […?].

Item #MC8
Price: $3250.00