John Munro, 9th of Teaninich
John Munro was born in June 1778, second son of Captain James Munro, 7th of Teaninich (Royal Navy). The Munros of Teaninich were a cadet branch of the Scottish Highland Clan Munro and their family home was at Teaninich Castle in Ross-shire.
John Munro, 9th of Teaninich entered the army at an early age and was sent to Madras where he took part in the Battle of Seringapatam, and was shortly afterwards appointed Adjutant of his regiment, in which office he displayed a thorough acquaintance with military duties. John Munro also became an accomplished linguist, being able to speak and write fluently in French, German, Italian, Arabic, Persian and several of the Indian dialects.
John Munro held various appointments on the Staff, and was private secretary and interpreter to successive Commanders in Chief in India. He was personally acquainted and in constant correspondence with Colonel Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington during the Mahratta War. John Munro assisted in quelling the Nellmore Mutiny and was soon afterwards appointed Quartermaster-General of the Madras army, at the early age of twenty seven years.
Administrative career and Legacy
Col. John Munro distinguished himself well in the field, and had a talent for handling the Indian people. His tactful handling of the people of Travancore and Kingdom of Cochin at a time of the attack by Velu Thampi Dalawa on the East India Company, led to his being appointed the Resident of the Company for these kingdoms. Col. Munro also served as the Diwan (Prime Minister) to the Regents Rani Gouri Lakshmi Bai and Rani Gouri Parvati Bai of the kingdom of Travancore and Raja Kerala Varma of the kingdom of Cochin from 1812 to 1818. With this freedom of action, he won the confidence of the rulers and the people as to be able to introduce the practice, in the administration of justice, of having a Christian sitting on the bench as judge beside a Brahmin. Nothing in his career so marked him as a great administrator; he saw what other men failed to see for a long time after that, the British and Indians learned the secret of true co-operation. He was instrumental in influencing these rulers to introduce a large number of progressive reforms. During his tenure as the Diwan of these states, he reformed the judicial system, improved the revenue of the states, prevented corruption and mismanagement and started the process of abolishing slavery in 1812. Slavery was abolished in the Munroe Island on the 8th of March 1835 and finally by Royal proclamations by the maharajah of Travancore in 1853 and 1855. He removed many of the irksome taxes levied on the poorer sections of the community. Despite being the resident of the English East India Company, during differences of opinion between the English East India Company and Travancore or Cochin, he always argued in favour of the princely states. Col. John Munro faced severe criticism and official censure by the methods which he was bold enough to adopt, but he proved the true wisdom of his plan, by making it work to the benefit of the governors and the governed. He lived to see Muslims and high caste Hindus appreciate the integrity and fairness of Christian judges, and he paved the way for those who since his day have tried to interpret Western Christianity to the Eastern people.
For these reasons, he was adored by the people of these kingdoms and an archipelago of eight islands located in the Ashtamudi Lake, called the Munroe Island, has been named in honour of Col. John Munro. History has recorded that Col.John Munro was one of the most brilliant and popular administrators of Travancore and Cochin.
- James St. John Munro (born 1811 in Scotland - died 1878 in Montevideo, Uruguay, he left issue)
- Charlotte Munro (1813 - 1875, married George Augustus Spencer)
- Charles Hector Hugh Munro (1816- ?)
- John Munro (1820 - 1845, served as Captain in the 10th Light Cavalry of the Bengal army and as Aide de Camp to Lord Hardinge. After being promoted to Major, he was wounded at the Battle of Moodkee in Dec 1845 and died two days later)
- Stuart Caradoc Munro (1826 - ?)
- Maxwell William Munro (1827 - 1854, died at sea)
- "History of the Munros of Fowlis". pages 427 - 430. By Alexander Mackenzie. Published 1898.
- "The Monroes of Lower Iveagh. By Horace Monroe, Canon of Southwark.
- Menon, Sreedhara (1996). A survey of Kerala History. Madras: S.Viswanathan Printers and Publishers. pp. 339, 348, 349.
- "Monro Island".
- Clan Munro Association USA Genealogy CD. 2010