[taken from Chapter 7 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]
seventh son of the Rev. Thomas Cubbon, vicar-general and Margaret, daughter of the Rev. James Wilks, Rector of Ballaugh, and sister of Col. Mark Wilks (see p. 154), was born at Maughold vicarage, his father being then vicar of that parish. He was an active and daring boy, and greatly enjoyed scrambling over the hills and rocks which abounded close to his home. He attended the parochial school, and then went to the Rev. Henry Maddrell, in Ramsey, of whom he remarked in after life: " I wish he had taken more pains to thrash Latin into me." In 1801, through the influence of his uncle, Col. Wilks, he received an Indian cadet's appointment He was first appointed to the 2nd Madras battalion, and then, in 1804, to the 2nd battalion of the 6th Native Infantry, in which he served with the force commanded by Col. Chalmers in Travancore. In 1810, he was appointed to the commissariat department. In the following year he received the post of assistant commissary-general, which he declared to be " a distinction far above my rank or claim on the service," though. at the same time, he said he had been unlucky in his regimental promotion. In 1827, he became commissary-general. In 1834, he was appointed sole Commissioner of Mysore, and such confidence was placed in him that he received very large discretionary powers. He was made a K.C.B. in 1856. During the Mutiny, Mysore remained perfectly quiet under his wise rule. With reference to this the governor-general wrote to him saying:
The services you have rendered to the state in connection with the administration of Mysore for nearly a quarter of a century are, as they always have been, most highly appreciated by the Government. These services were a few years ago marked by the special appro bation of the Queen, and the Governor-General freely and gladly concedes to you the high merit of having subsequently during the late crisis, and in the midst of difficulties which you have in no way exaggerated, kept the provinces under your charge in perfect tranquillity. The value of your services to those provinces, and the honour and esteem which, by your high character, as well as by your administrative ability and success, you have won from every branch of the community, European and native, stand on record and can never be forgotten by the Supreme Government.
In the following year an order was issued to transfer the superintendence of Mysore affairs from the governor-general to the Government of Madras. When SIR MARK heard of this order he sent in his resignation, but, when the people learned that he had done so, they prayed Lord Canning not to accept it, and so the order was withdrawn. Early in 1861, however, he felt compelled to resign Owing to ill-health. He left India in April, dying at Suez on the 23rd of that month. His remains were brought home and interred in Maughold churchyard on the 17th of May.+1 Let us see what was thought of him in the country which had received the benefit of his administration:-
With the exception of Sir T. Munroe, we have never seen his equal as a statesman and ruler. He has solved the problem as to what kind of government best suits an Indian province, and what is most conducive to the people's interest in combination with revenual prosperity. He may be fitly designated the tutelar guardian of the country, and is looked up to and venerated as such. Were Mysore in rebellion to-morrow. his word would be sufficient to suppress it, and such has ever been the respect entertained for him and the influence of his salutary policy, that no army was required to overawe the millions subject to his rule+2
From another authority we learn that " in Sir Mark Cubbon were rarely combined a cultivated intellect, a calm judgment, a firm will, and an enduring patience, which was the more conspicuous because associated with extraordinary penetration.": It describes him as being '` striking and prepossessing in appearance; dignified yet simple and unassuming in demeanour; liberal to profusion, with an exquisite tenderness of sympathy,"" and as possessing a tact which extended to all the exigences of his position. It further states that "from many succeeding viceroys he enjoyed the greatest confidence, from his many friends he won the warmest esteem from his assistants the most devoted attachment, and from the people to whom he was for 27 years the friend and benefactor the profoundest gratitude. "+3 When the tidings of SIR MARK CUBBON'S death reached Mysore all public offices were closed and all public business throughout the Mysore territory suspended for three days. A large sum was raised to erect a memorial which took the form of an equestrian statue. But no such memorial was necessary to perpetuate the remembrance of the good work he did in Mysore, as the following extract from " The Nineteenth Century Magazine" for March, 1888, in a valuable article on "The Bankruptcy of India," will show:-
It so happens that there is a direct example of the effect of the two methods-the one of appointing a very few Europeans merely to superintend and improve the native administration, and gradually introduce an improved system suited to the. people; the other to pitchfork Europeans into every office of consequence and force departments and public works upon the country almost without calculation as to their effects. In Mysore the two plans followed one after the other. Sir Mark Cubbon administered the province of 5,000,000 people with four Europeans at a cost for the European agency of £13,000 a year, He used his influence as far as possible to cheek the abuses and foster the advantages of the native local administrations, encouraged the construction of public works by the natives themselves, insisted on light taxation, and abstained from continuous petty intermeddling. What was the result? In 1861-62, though Mysore had suffered from short monsoons, and consequently bad average harvests since 1853, the people were beyond all question, in a state of the greatest prosperity. Distraint for land-tax had become almost unknown. Notwithstanding all this attention to the people, the surplus for the year was £105,000 and there were no less than ninety-six lakhs of rupees, or nearly one million sterling, in the treasury. These were, indeed, the golden class of Mysore, and the cultivators were living in comfort almost in wealth. There were drawbacks of course, but they were small compared with the benefits, and to this day the people look back with bitter regret to the happiness they experienced under that light and considerate rule.
+1 The above is an abstract of the account by the
Rev. S. N. Harrison in the Manx Note Book, Vol.
1. pp. 51-4.
+2 The Bangalore Herald.
+3 The Madras Times.