TRAVANCORE. The appointment of a new Resident in 1904.



A hand written letter in the finest palace script on one side of a  very large bifolium. 17½ x 11¼ ins, written on the  front sheet, which has a decorative gold border of floral design. It is addressed to His Excellency The Honourable Sir James Thomson, K.C.S.I., Governor in Council, Fort St George dated The Palace, Trevandrum, 28th November 1904 and signed Rama Varma. His Highness acknowledges the receipt in Public Durbar of the news that as noted in the letter the appointment of The Honourable Mr James Andrew as Resident at the Maharaja’s Court. The impressive letter has the usual three horizontal folds and is accompanied by its original envelope, similarly gold decorated and addressed. The envelope is chipped and curled around the edges but still retains an original heavy red wax seal, 2 x 1½ ins over the flap, having been opened at the other end.  Most unusually the letter is being offered with a very large 3¼ ins red wax seal with long red and gold silk cord and tassels. We believe this would have been fastened to the traditional kareeta – a silk bag in which formal Indian royal letters were delivered. The appointment of a Resident to an important 19 gun salute state was a matter of great concern and the result of considerable deliberation. Such an  example of a ruler’s most formal letter to a high ranking official is extremely scarce.       aug9/2

Provenance: The letter came to us in an archive of manuscript material from the family of Sir James Thomson.

H. H.  Sir Sri Rama Varma V, G.C.S.I., Maharaja of Travancore ruled this important 19 gun salute state from 1885 to 1924, He was made a Knight Grand Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India on the 1st January 1888. He was born in the year of the Indian Mutiny, 1857. 

Sir James Thomson, K.C.S.I. [1848-1927]. a member of the Governor’s Council at Fort St George [Madras], was Acting Governor of Madras between April and December 1905. He was a Scot, educated at the Grammar School and University of Aberdeen, going out to India in 1871 serving first at Godavari becoming Collector & Magistrate there in 1885. From 1889 he was Resident to the rulers of Travancore and Cochin before occupying senior posts in the revenue and salt departments of government. As a member of council he was appointed C.S.I. in 1902 and in 1902 advanced to the honour of Knight Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India

James Andrew, an Irishman, arrived in 1879 in the Madras Civil Service. After service at N.  Arcot, Ganjam, Trichinopoly, Tanjore, and Coimbatore he was appointed Resident to Travancore and Cochin in 1904, later becoming a mdember of the Governor General’s legal council.


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