As per these records, in 1834, Macaulay was carried on a palanquin for seven days from Madras to Ooty to be present when Lord William Bentinck, Calcutta governor, was sworn in as the first governor general of India at Ooty Club.
Macaulay stayed in Ooty for three months, during which one of his palanquin bearers got into a relationship with a local woman. While returning to Madras with Macaulay, the palanquin bearers were near St Stephen’s church in Ooty when a mob stopped them and dragged out the bearer who they said had promised to marry the woman. NDC says Lascelles was a witness to the incidents and mentions it as a first person account in his book.
Lascelles writes, “I was proceeding somewhat late on a Sunday morning in April 1834 to the church at Ootacamund, which is situated on the road to Madras, when my attention was attracted by the sight of two palanquins passing the church, surrounded by a mob of men and women, who were endeavouring to arrest the progress of first palanquin.
“At the end, the bearers were forced to take another direction and take palanquins to the office of the commanding officer of the district. Here, a gentleman stepped forth from the first palanquin and followed by several persons en- tered the office. On enquiry, I learned that in the palanquins were Macaulay and his servant.
In a short time, the gentlemen and those who had followed him came out. He re-entered his palanquin and was borne away on the road to Madras while the mob quietly returned up the hill, the way they had come. I accosted one who appeared to be the leader and asked him what had taken place. He replied, ‘Tom Macaulay Saib is a very good gentleman …he gave 100 rupees’. ”
Those days, one could buy 100 acres of land in Ooty with Rs 100. There were several versions of the incident; everyone tried to keep it a secret from Bentink. The judge says, “Scarcely had the breakfast commenced when his lordship, addressing his secretary, said, ‘Well, so Macaulay is gone’ and added to the surprise of all gathered there, ‘And pretty exit that was he made … you think that no one knows anything that is going on, except yourself; pray who tells me everything but Tom, the barber … Tom got 10 rupees for assisting in Macaulay’s exit’… on the whole it was a very silly affair. ”
From that day, as Lascelles says, “Macaulay was styled ‘Silly Tom’ instead of ‘Lucky Tom’ in gossip on Neilgheri hills. ”