OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 13


Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 <13> 14 15 16 17 18

The inhabitants, men, women, and children, fled in terror from their splendid villas, around the city, into the fort of St. George. A fast-sailing vessel was dispatched to Calcutta, to implore the governor-general to send them speedy aid of men and money. The forces were called together from different quarters, and Sir Hector Munro at the head of one body, and colonel Baillie at the head of another, were ordered to combine, and intercept Hyder. First one place of rendezvous, and then another was named, and, before the junction could take place, Baillie had managed to allow himself to be surrounded, near Conjerveram, by the whole host of Hyder, and, after a brave defence, was compelled to surrender, one half of his troops being cut to pieces. The insults and cruelties of the troops of Hyder to their captives were something demoniac.

Munro had sent to demand troops from the nabob of Arcot, for whom the English were always fighting, and received a message of compliments, but no soldiers. On the defeat of Baillie, he made a hasty retreat to Mount St. Thomas. Meantime, the call for aid had reached Calcutta, and Hastings instantly responded to it with all his indomitable energy. Had Hastings been a tolerably honest man, he would have been one of the greatest men who ever ruled the destinies of India. He thought no labour, anxiety, or sacrifice too great, for the maintenance of the British ascendancy there; and he was as little restrained by conscience as by fear in his endeavours to that end. He called together the council, and demanded that peace should be made at once with the Mahrattas; that every soldier should be shipped off at once to Madras; that fifteen lacs of rupees should be sent without a moment's delay to the council there; that the incompetent governor, Whitehill, should be removed; and Sir Eyre Coote sent to perform this necessary office, and take the command of the troops. Francis, who had not yet embarked, raised, as usual, his voice in opposition. He contended against sending any of the troops, and only half the money. So bravely can men write against others, so ruinously for their country would they manage themselves. If " Junius," for such we believe Francis to have been, could have ruled now, Madras had been lost. But Hastings' proposals were all carried. The troops, under Sir Eyre Coote, were hurried off, and messengers dispatched in flying haste to raise money at Moorshedabad, Patna, Benares, Lucknow - everywhere, where the authority of Hastings could extort it. At the same time, other officers were sent to negotiate with the Mahrattas for peace.

Coote landed at Madras at the beginning of November. A council was immediately called, Whitehill was removed from the government of the presidency, and the member of council next in seniority appointed. Hyder, by this time, had reduced Arcot, Wandewash, Chingleput, and Vellore, and would soon have annihilated our whole dominion in the Carnatic and the Northern Circars. Coote had brought with him only five hundred British troops and six hundred Lascars. The whole force with which he could encounter Hyder amounted only to one thousand seven hundred Europeans and five thousand native troops; but he was promised a considerable reinforcement of native infantry, and a few native cavalry, who, under major Pearse, were marching over land from Calcutta, a distance of one thousand one hundred miles. Coote, whose name as the conqueror of the French at Wandewash and Pondicherry struck terror into Hyder, soon resumed his triumphs on his old ground; drove the enemy from Wandewash, and compelled them to raise a number of these sieges. Hearing then of the arrival of the Irenen armament off Pondicherry, he marched thither, and posted himself on the Red Hills. The French fleet, consisting of seven ships of the line and four frigates, were anchored off the place. The French inhabitants had seized the British resident, thrown him into prison, and occupied the town in arms. Coote disarmed them, released the resident, and then marched against Hyder. But the French squadron having sailed away for the Isle of France, from apprehension of the approach of a British fleet, Hyder rapidly retreated, and, entering the territory of Tanjore, laid it waste, while his son, Tippoo, laid siege again to Wandewash. Coote failing to take the fortified pagoda of Chillambram, Hyder was again encouraged to advance, and on the 6th of July Coote managed to bring him to action near Porto Novo, and completely routed him and his huge host, though he had himself only about eight thousand men. Hyder, who watched the battle from a hill, seated cross- legged on a stool, saw the route with inconceivable astonishment. He raved, tore his" clothes, cursed his attendants when they approached him, and refused to move from the spot, till a privileged servant thrust his slippers forcibly upon his feet, exclaiming, " We will beat them to-morrow; in the meantime, mount your horse! " Hyder gave way, but bitterly rued following the advice of the French, exclaiming, "The defeat of many Baillies will not destroy these English. I can ruin their forces by land, but I cannot dry up the sea!" He retired quite crestfallen to Arcot, and ordered Tippoo to raise the siege of Wandewash.

Notwithstanding that Hyder had esxablished his camp soon after in a strong position near the village of Pollilore, he was attacked on the 27th of August by Eyre Coote. On this occasion Sir Hector Munro warned Coote of the disadvantages of ground under which he was going to engage, and the inevitable sacrifice of life. Coote replied angrily, " You talk to me, sir, when you should be doing your duty!" a speech which wounded Munro so deeply as to lead eventually to his quitting India. His warning, however, was just. Coote did not succeed in driving Hyder from his post without severe loss. But again, on the 27th of September, another battle was fought between them in the pass of Sholinghur, near Bellore, in which Coote defeated Hyder with terrible loss. This battle relieved the English garrison in Bellore, and after taking Chittore, Palipete, and other places, the rainy season put an end to operations, but the Carnatic was saved.

On the 22nd of June, 1781, lord Macartney arrived at Madras to take the place of Whitehill as governor. He brought the news of the war having broke out betwixt the English and the Dutch, and he determined to take advantage of it to seize the Dutch settlements on the coast of Coromandel and in Ceylon. But Sir Eyre Coote had lately had a stroke of palsy; his faculties were failing, and his temper growing morose. Finding he could obtain no assistance from the commander-in-chief, Macartney called out the militia of Madras, and at their head reduced the Dutch settlements of Sadras and Pulicat. Finding Sir Hector Munro waiting at Madras for a passage to England, in consequence of the insulting conduct of Sir Eyre Coote, he induced him to take the command of an expedition against Negapatam. Admiral Hughes landed the troops near Negapatam on the 21st of October, they then united with a force under colonel Braithwaite, and on the 12th of November Negapatam was taken, with large quantities of arms and military stores. Leaving Braithwaite to make an expedition into Tanjore, where, in February of the coming year, he was surrounded by Tippoo and Lally, the French general, and taken prisoner, admiral Hughes sailed across to Ceylon, a most desirable conquest, because of its secure harbour of Trincomalee, as well as the richness and beauty of the island, and on account of its position, lying only two days' sail from Madras. On the 11th of January, 1782, Trincomalee was won.

But in February the long-expected armament from France arrived on the Coromandel coast. It was this armament that admiral Johnstone had been ordered to intercept, but had failed to do so, and only captured some Dutch merchantmen in Saldanha Bay. Suffrein, the admiral, was one of the ablest sea-commanders of France. On his way he had secured the Cape of Good Hope against the English, and he now landed at Porto Novo two thousand French soldiers to join the army of Hyder Ali. Tippoo, flushed with the recent capture of colonel Braithwaite, invited the French to join him in an attack on Cuddalore, an important town betwixt Porto Novo and Pondicherry. This was done, and Cuddalore was wrested from the English in April.

Whilst these events were taking place on land, repeated engagements took place betwixt the English fleets on the coasts. That of admiral Hughes was reinforced by fresh ships from England, and betwixt February, 1782, and June, 1783, the English and French fleets fought five pitched battles with various success. In none of these was any man-of-war captured by either side, nor any great amount of men lost; but, eventually, Suffrein succeeded in retaking Trincomalee, in Ceylon, from the English.

From Cuddalore, Tippoo and Bussy, the French general, turned their forces against Wandewash; but they were met by Coote, though he was now sinking and failing fast. Still he advanced against them, with something of that spirit which had made him victor over Lally and Bussy, on the same spot, two-and-twenty years before. They retreated, and he attempted to make himself master of the strong fort of Arnee, where much of the booty of Hyder was deposited; but Hyder made show of fighting him whilst Tippoo carried off all the property. Tippoo was obliged to march thence towards Calicut, where the Hindoo chiefs, his tributaries, were joining the English under colonel Mackenzie. Hyder at this moment was confounded by the news of the peace made by Hastings with the Mahrattas, and expected that those marauders would speedily fall on Mysore. His health was fast declining, and yet he dared not introduce his allies, the French, into his own territory, lest he should not so readily get them out again. Besides his suspicions of the French, he had constant fears of assassination. One of his attendants hearing him speaking in his sleep, ventured to ask him when he awoke what had troubled his dreams. " My friend," he said, " the condition of beggars is more enviable than mine; they see no conspirators when awake, and dream of no assassins when asleep." Hyder died in December, 1782, whilst Tippoo, his heir, was absent on the expedition to Calicut, and Sir Eyre Coote, who, on the retreat of Tippoo and Hyder from Arnee, had contemplated an attack on Cuddalore, had found his health fail him so greatly that he gave up the command to colonel Stuart, and sailed for Calcutta. No sooner, however, did he hear of Hyder's death, than he fancied he had strength enough to try another turn with Tippoo, and once more sailed for Madras, but only landed there to expire in April, 1783.

At the time that Tippoo heard of the death of his father, he was, assisted by the French, eagerly pressing on the most inferior force of colonel Humberstone Mackenzie, who had been laying siege to Palagathery, not very distant from Seringapatam. Mackenzie being obliged to retire, was suddenly set upon, before daylight, near Paniany, about thirty- five miles from Calicut, by the whole force; but he repulsed them with great slaughter. Tippoo then fell back and made the best of his way to Iiis capital to secure his throne and the treasures of Hyder Ali. He found himself at the age of thirty master of the throne, of an army of nearly one hundred thousand men, and of immense wealth. With these advantages, and the alliance of the French, Tippoo did not doubt of being able to drive the English out of all the south of India. Yet, with his vast army, accompanied by nine hundred French, two thousand sepoys, and nearly three hundred Caffirs, Tippoo retreated, or appeared to be retreating, before general Stuart, with a force of only fourteen thousand men, of whom three thousand alone were British. He was, in fact, however, hastening to defend the northwest districts of Mysore from another English force on the coast of Canara. This force was that of colonel Mackenzie, joined by another from Bombay, under general Matthews, who took the chief command in that quarter.

So long as Matthews had the able co-operation of Mackenzie, colonel Macleod, and other brave officers, all went prosperously. Bednore, the rich capital of the district, and the forts of Ananpore and Mangalore, fell one after another. But Matthews was so immeasurably rapacious, that he not only seized on everything possible from the natives, but refused to allow any share to the other officers in the army. They refused to submit to this, and Mackenzie, Macleod, and major Shaw repaired to Bombay to lay their complaints before the council. The case was so flagrant that the council at once removed Matthews, and appointed colonel Macleod to supersede him. Unfortunately, these officers, on their return, were attacked in a small boat, as they went along the coast, by a squadron of Mahratta pirates; Mackenzie and Shaw were murdered, and Macleod made prisoner. Matthews soon lost all that the army there had conquered; surrendered Bednore to Tippoo on promise of being allowed to march away to the coast, but was immediately seized and flung into prison with the troops. Tippoo defended this conduct on the plea that Matthews had purloined the public treasure, which he had engaged to leave in the fort. The charge was probable enough, for the cupidity of Matthews appears to have been insatiable, his own troops accusing him of scraping together from plunder eight hundred thousand pounds besides jewels. Matthews was murdered in prison, with several of his officers.

A fragment of his army had secured themselves in the strong fort of Mangalore, which was bravely defended by colonel Campbell against Tippoo and the French. Meantime, general Stuart was actively besieging Cuddalore, in which Bussy lay with a strong French and Mysorean force. During the siege, a young French officer, in a sally, was wounded and taken prisoner, who afterwards became marshal Bernadotte, and eventually king of Sweden. He remembered on his northern throne the kindness of Stuart and of the Hanoverian colonel Wangenheim, serving in the English army. News now arrived of peace concluded betwixt England and France. The French, to whom their possessions, Pondicherry, &c., were restored, at once ceased hostilities and went to occupy their reacquired settlements. But Tipoo continued the war, bent on taking Mangalore. Nothing could now have prevented the English from completely conquering but the stupidity of the council of Madras. They sent commissioners to treat with Tippoo, who, once getting them into his camp, made them really prisoners, kept all information from them, and induced them to issue orders to the English officers to cease hostilities. By these orders a junction was prevented betwixt Stuart and colonel Fullarton, and the immediate investment and seizure of Seringpatam, Tippoo's capital. Fullarton had overrun a great portion of the southern districts of Mysore, and had entered into close alliance with the zamorin of Calicut, the rajah of Travancore, and other rajahs, tributary to Tippoo all the way from Cochin to Goa. With full supplies of provisions and other aids from these chiefs, Fullarton was in full march to join Stuart, and laid siege to Seringapatam, when he received peremptory orders to give up the enterprise, as they were about concluding terms with Tippoo. Exceedingly disconcerted by these commands, which thus frustrated the results of this wonderful campaign, Fullarton, however, had no alternative but to obey, and Tippoo thus held on till he had starved out Campbell, and gained the fort of Mangalore. Then he concluded peace on condition of mutual restitution of all conquests since the war.

<<< Previous page <<< >>> Next page >>>
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 <13> 14 15 16 17 18

Pictures for Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 13

Dunbrody Abbey
Dunbrody Abbey >>>>
Church of Dungannon
Church of Dungannon >>>>
Calcutta
Calcutta >>>>
Fort of Allahabad
Fort of Allahabad >>>>
Futtehpoor
Futtehpoor >>>>
Great Mogul
Great Mogul >>>>
Banks of the Ganges
Banks of the Ganges >>>>
Tippoo Saib
Tippoo Saib >>>>
View near Agra
View near Agra >>>>
Warden Hasting
Warden Hasting >>>>
Taje Mahal
Taje Mahal >>>>
Rohilla Chief
Rohilla Chief >>>>
French and English cruisers off Ceylon
French and English cruisers off Ceylon >>>>
Defeat of Hyder Ali
Defeat of Hyder Ali >>>>
Bundelcund
Bundelcund >>>>
Cheyte
Cheyte >>>>
Brahmin
Brahmin >>>>

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About