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CHAP. II. - James Mill, The History of British India, vol. 3 
The History of British India in 6 vols. (3rd edition) (London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1826). Vol. 3.
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Origin, Progress, and Suspension, of the Contest for establishing Mahomed Ali, Nabob of Carnatic.
A new scene is now to open in the history of thebook iv.Chap. 2. 1749. East India Company. Before this period they had maintained the character of mere traders, and, by humility and submission, endeavoured to preserve a footing in that distant country, under the protection or oppression of the native powers. We shall now behold them entering the lists of war; and mixing with eagerness in the contests of the princes. Dupleix, whose views were larger than, at that time, those of any of the servants of the Company, had already planned, in his imagination, an empire for the French, and had entered pretty deeply into the intrigues of the country powers. The English were the first to draw the sword; and from no higher inducement than the promise of a trifling settlement on the Coromandel coast.
A prince who, amid the revolutions of that country, had, some years before, possessed and lost the throne of Tanjore, repaired to Fort St. David, and entreated the assistance of the English. He represented his countrymen as ready to co-operate for his restoration; and promised the fort and country of Devi-Cotah, with the payment of all expenses, if, with their assistance, he should recover his rights. The war between the French and English had brought to the settlements book iv.Chap. 2. 1749. of both nations in that quarter of India, a greater quantity of troops than was necessary for their defence; and with the masters of troops it seems to be a law of nature, whenever they possess them in greater abundance than is necessary for defence, to employ them for the disturbance of others. The French and English rulers in India showed themselves extremely obedient to that law. The interests of the Tanjore fugitive were embraced at Fort St. David; and in the beginning of April, 1749, 430 Europeans and 1,000 Sepoys, with four field-pieces and four small mortars, marched with him for Tanjore.
Tanjore was one of those rajahships, or small kingdoms, into which the Mohamedans, at their first invasion of India, found the country in general divided. It occupied little more than the space enclosed and intersected by the numerous mouths of the river Cavery. The Coleroon, or most northern branch of that river, bounded it on the north, and it extended about seventy miles along the coast, and nearly as much inland from the sea. Like the rest of the neighbouring country, it appears to have become dependent upon the more powerful rajahship of Beejanuggur, before the establishment of the Mohamedan kingdoms in Deccan; and afterwards upon the kingdom of Beejapore, but subject still to its own laws and its own sovereign or rajah, who held it in the character of a Zemindar. In the time of Aurungzebe, it has been already seen, that a very remarkable personage, the father of Sevagee, who had obtained a footing in the Carnatic, had entered into a confederacy with the Rajah or Polygar of Mudkul or Madura, against the Rajah or Zemindar or Naig (for we find all these titles applied to him) of Tanjore, whom they defeated and slew; that afterwards quarrelling with the Rajah of Mudkul, about the divisionbook iv.Chap. 2. 1749. of the conquered territory, the Mahratta stripped him of his dominions, took possession both of Mudkul and Tanjore, and transmitted them to his posterity.1 His grandson Shawgee was attacked and taken prisoner by Zulfeccar Khan, who, to strengthen his party, restored him to his government or zemindary, upon the death of Aurungzebe. Shawgee had two brothers, Shurfagee and Tuckogee. They succeeded one another in the government, and all died without issue, excepting the last. Tuckogee had three sons Baba Saib, Nana, and Sahugee. Baba Saib succeeded his father, and died without issue. Nana died before him, but left an infant son, and his widow was raised to the government, by the influence of Seid the commander of the fort. This powerful servant soon deprived the Queen of all authority, threw her into prison, and set up as rajah a pretended son of Shurfagee. It suited the views of Seid to allow a very short existence to this prince and his power. He next placed Sahugee, the youngest of the sons of Tuckogee, in the seat of government. Sahugee also was soon driven from the throne. Seid now vested with the name of sovereign Pretaupa Sing, a son by one of the inferior wives of Tuckogee. This was in 1741. The first act of Pretaupa Sing’s government was to assassinate Seid. It was Sahugee who now craved the assistance of the English.2 And it was after having corresponded for years with Pretaupa Sing, as King of Tanjore; after having offered to him the friendship of the English nation; and after having courted his assistance against the French; that the English rulers now, without so much as a pretence of any provocation, and without the allegation of any other motive than the advantage of possessing Devi-Cotah, dispatched an army to dethrone him.1
The troops proceeded by land, while the battering-cannon and provisions were conveyed by sea. They had begun to proceed when the monsoon changed, with a violent hurricane. The army, having crossed the river Coleroon, without opposition, were on the point of turning into a road among the woods which they would have found inextricable. Some of the soldiers, however, discovered a passage along the river, into which they turned by blind but lucky chance; andbook iv.Chap. 2. 1749. this led them, after a march of about ten miles, to the neighbourhood of Devi-Cotah. They had been annoyed by the Tanjorines; no partisans appeared for Sahugee; it indeed appears not that so much as a notice had been conveyed to them of what was designed; and no intelligence could be procured of the ships, though they were at anchor only four miles off at the mouth of the river. The army threw at the fort what shells they had, and then retreated without delay.
The shame of a defeat was difficult to bear; and the rulers of Madras resolved upon a second attempt. They exaggerated the value of Devi-Cotah; situated in the most fertile spot on the coast of Coromandel; and standing on the river Coleroon, the channel of which, within the bar, was capable of receiving ships of the largest burden, while there was not a port from Masulipatam to Cape Comorin, which could receive one of 300 tons: it was true the mouth of the river was obstructed by sand; but if that could be removed, the possession would be invaluable. This time, the expedition, again commanded by Major Laurence, proceeded wholly by sea; and from the mouth of the river the troops and stores were conveyed up to Devi-Cotah in boats. The army was landed on the side of the river opposite to the fort, where it was proposed to erect the batteries, because the ground on the same side of the river with the fort, was marshy, covered with wood, and surrounded by the Tanjore army. After three days’ firing a breach was made; but no advantage could be taken of it till the river was crossed. This was dangerous, as well from the breadth and rapidity of the stream, as from the number of soldiers in the thickets which covered the opposite shore. To the ingenuity of a common ship’s carpenter, the army book iv.Chap. 2. 1749. was indebted for the invention by which the danger was overcome. A raft was constructed sufficient to contain 400 men; but the difficulty was to move it across. John Moore, the man who suggested and constructed the raft, was again ready with his aid. He swam the river in the night; fastened to a tree on the opposite side a rope which he carefully concealed in the bushes and water; and returned without being perceived. Before the raft began to move, some pieces of artillery were made to fire briskly upon the spot where the rope was attached; and moved the Tanjorines to a distance too great to perceive it. The raft was moved across; it returned, and recrossed several times, till the whole of the troops were landed on the opposite bank. Major Laurence resolved to storm the breach without delay. Lieutenant Clive, who had given proofs of his ardent courage at the siege of Pondicherry, offered to lead the attack. He proceeded with a platoon of Europeans and 700 Sepoys; but rashly allowing himself, at the head of the platoon, to be separated from the Sepoys, he narrowly escaped with his life; and the platoon was almost wholly destroyed. Major Laurence advanced with the whole of his force, when the soldiers mounted the breach, and after a feeble resistance took possession of the place. An accommodation between the contending parties was effected soon after. The reigning king agreed to concede to the English the fort for which they contended, with a territory of the annual value of 9000 pagodas; and they, on their part. not only renounced the support of him for whom they had pretended to fight as the true and lawful king, but agreed to secure his person, in order that he might give no farther molestation to Pretaupa Sing, and demanded only 4000 rupees, about 400l., for his annual expenses.1 It may well be supposed, that tobook iv.Chap. 2. 1749. conquer Tanjore for him would have been a frantic attempt. But no such reflection was made when a zeal for the justice of his cause was held up as the impelling motive to the war; nor can it be denied that his interests were very coolly resigned. It is even asserted that, but for the humanity of Boscawen, he would have been delivered into the hands of Pretaupa Sing.2 He found means to make his escape from the English; who imprisoned his uncle, and kept him in confinement for nine years, till he was released by the French, when they took Fort St. David in 1758.3
While the English were occupied with the unimportant conquest of Devi-Cotah, the French had engaged in transactions of the highest moment; and a great revolution was accomplished in Carnatic. This revolution, on which a great part of the history of the English East India Company depends, it is now necessary to explain. Carnatic is the name given to a large district of country along the coast of Coromandel, extending from near the river Kistna, to the northern branch of the Cavery. In extending westward from the sea, it was distinguished into two parts, the first, including the level country between the sea and the first range of mountains, and entitled Carnatic below the Ghauts; the second, including the table land between the first and second range of mountains, and called Carnatic above the Ghauts. A corresponding track, extending from the northern book iv.Chap. 2. 1749. branch of the Cavery to Cape Comorin, sometimes also receives the name of Carnatic; but in that case it is distinguished by the title of the Southern Carnatic.1 The district of Carnatic had fallen into dependence upon the great rajahships of Beejanuggur and Warankul; and after the reduction of these Hindu powers, had been united to the Mahomedan kingdoms of Beejapore and Golconda. Upon the annexation of these kingdoms to the Mogul empire, in the reign of Aurungzebe, Carnatic was included in the general subjugation, and formed part of the great Subah of Deccan. In the smaller provinces or viceroyalties, the districts or sub-divisions were proportionally small; and the sub-governors of these divisions were known by the titles of Zemindar, and Phouzdar or Fogedar. In the great Subahs, however, particularly that of Deccan, the primary divisions were very large, and the first rank of sub-governors proportionally high. They were known by the name of nabob or deputy; that is, deputy of the Subahdar, or Viceroy, governor of the Subah; and under these deputies or nabobs were the Zemindars and Fogedars of the districts. Carnatic was one of the nabobships,book iv.Chap. 2. 1749. or grand divisions of the great Subah of Deccan. During the vigour of the Mogul government, the grand deputies or nabobs, though immediately subject to the Subahdar, or Viceroy, were not always nominated by him. They were very often nominated immediately by the emperor; and not unfrequently as a check upon the dangerous power of the Subahdar. When the Subahdar however was powerful, and the emperor weak, the nabobs were nominated by the Subahdar.
When Nizam al Mulk was established Subahdar of Deccan, a chief, named Sadatullah, was nabob of Carnatic, and held that command under the Nizam till the year 1732, when he died. Sadatullah, who had no issue male, adopted the two sons of his brother; Doost Ali, and Bâkir Ali. Bâkir Ali he made governor of Velore: and he had influence to leave Doost Ali in possession of the nabobship at his death. Nizam al Mulk claimed a right to nominate his deputy in the government of Carnatic; and took displeasure that Doost Ali had been intruded into the office with so little deference to his authority; but he happened to be engaged at the time in disputes with the emperor, which rendered it inconvenient to resent the affront. Doost Ali had two sons and four daughters. Of these daughters one was married to Mortiz Ali, the son of his brother Bâkir Ali, governor of Velore; another to Chunda Saheb, a more distant relative, who became duan, or minister of the finances, under Doost Ali his father-in-law.
Trichinopoly was a little sovereignty bordering on the west upon Tanjore. Though subdued by the Mogul, it had been allowed, after the manner of Tanjore, to retain, as Zemindar, its own sovereign, accountable for the revenues and other services, book iv.Chap. 2. 1749. required from it as a district of the Mogul empire. The rajahs of Tanjore and Trichinopoly were immediately accountable to the nabobs of Carnatic; and, like other Zemindars, frequently required the terror of an army to make them pay their arrears. In the year 1736 the Rajah of Trichinopoly died, and the sovereignty passed into the hands of his wife. The supposed weakness of female government pointed out the occasion as favourable for enforcing the payment of the arrears; or for seizing the immediate government of the country. By intrigue and perfidy, Chunda Saheb was admitted into the city; when, imprisoning the queen who soon died with grief, he was appointed by his father-in-law governor of the kingdom.
The Hindu Rajahs were alarmed by the ambitious proceedings of the Nabob of Carnatic and his son-in-law, and incited the Mahrattas,1 as people of the same origin and religion, to march to their assistance. The attention of Nizam al Mulk was too deeply engaged in watching the motions of Nadir Shaw, who at that very time was prosecuting his destructive war in Hindustan, to oppose a prompt resistance to the Mahrattas; it has indeed been asserted though without proof, and not with much probability, that, as he was but little pleased with the appointment or proceedings of Doost Ali, he instigated the Mahrattas to this incursion, for the sake of chastising the presumption of his deputy.
An army, commanded by Ragogee Bonslah, appeared on the confines of Carnatic, in the month of May, 1740. The passes of the mountains might have been successfully defended by a small number of men; but an officer of Doost Ali, a Hindu, tobook iv.Chap. 2. 1749. whom that important post was committed, betrayed his trust, and left a free passage to the Mahrattas. Doost Ali encountered the invaders; but lost his life in the battle. Subder Ali, the eldest son of the deceased, retired to the strong fort of Velore, and began to negotiate with the Mahrattas. A large sum of money was partly promised, and partly paid; and Trichinopoly, which rendered Chunda Saheb an object of jealousy to the new Nabob, was secretly offered to them, if they chose the trouble of making the conquest. They returned in a few months and laid siege to Trichinopoly. Chunda Saheb defended himself gallantly for several months, but was obliged to yield on the 26th of March, 1741; and was carried a prisoner to Satarah; while Morari Row, a Mahratta chief, was left Governor of Trichinopoly. Subder Ali, afraid to trust himself in the open city of Arcot, the capital of Carnatic, took up his residence in Velore. Bâkir Ali was dead, the late governor of Velore, and uncle of the Nabob; and Mortiz Ali, his son, was now governor in his place. By instigation of this man, whose disposition was perfidious and cruel, Subder Ali was assassinated; and an attempt was made by the murderer to establish himself in the government of the province; but, finding his efforts hopeless, he shut himself up in his fort of Velore; and the infant son of Subder Ali was proclaimed Nabob.1
book iv.Chap. 2. 1749. Nizam al Mulk, however, had now left the court of Delhi, and returned to his government of Deccan. To arrange the troubled affairs of Carnatic, he arrived at Arcot in the month of March 1743. He treated the son of Subder Ali with respect; but appointed his general Cojah Abdoolla, to the government of Carnatic; and compelled Morari Row, and the Mahrattas, to evacuate Trichinopoly. Cojah Abdoolla died suddenly, apparently through poison, before he had taken possession of his government; and the Nizam appointed An’war ad dien Khan, to supply his place. An’war ad dien Khan, the son of a man noted for his learning and piety, had been promoted to a place of some distinction, by the father of Nizam al Mulk, and after his death attached himself to the fortunes of his son. When Nizam al Mulk became Subahdar of Deccan, he made An’war ad dien Nabob of Ellore and Rajamundry, where he governed from the year 1725 to 1741; and from that period till the death of Cojah Abdoolla, he served as Governor of Golconda. In ostent, Nizam al Mulk conferred the government of Carnatic upon An’war ad dien, only for a time, till Seid Mahomed, the young son of Subder Ali, should arrive at the years of manhood; but, in the mean while, he consigned him to the guardianship of An’war ad dien, and in a short time the young Nabob was murdered by a party of Patan soldiers, who clamoured for arrears of pay, due to them, or pretended to be due, by his father. An’war ad dien escaped not the imputation of being author of the crime, but he was supported by Nizam al Mulk, and appointed Nabob in form. It was An’war ad dien, who was the Governor of Carnatic when the French and English contended for Madras, and whom Dupleix treated alternately as a friend and a foe.
Nizam al Mulk, whose abilities and power werebook iv.Chap. 2. 1749. calculated to confirm the arrangements which he had made in Deccan, died in 1748, after a whole life spent in the toils and agitations of oriental ambition, at the extraordinary age of 104. The government of Sadatullah and his family had been highly popular in Carnatic; that of An’war ad dien Khan was very much hated: A strong desire prevailed that the government of An’war ad dien should be subverted, and that of the family of Sadatullah restored: The death of Nizam al Mulk opened a channel through which the hope of change made its way: Chunda Saheb was the only member of the family of Sadatullah, who possessed talents likely to support him in the ascent to the proposed elevation: The keen eye of Dupleix had early fixed itself upon the prospect of the ascendancy of Chunda Saheb; and if that chief should, by the assistance of the French, acquire the government of Carnatic, the most important concessions might be expected from his gratitude and friendship. At the first irruption of the Mahrattas, the whole family of Doost Ali had been sent to Pondicherry, (so strongly had the Indians already learned to confide in the superiority of European power) as the place of greatest safety in the province. They received protection and respect; and the wife and family of Chunda Saheb, during the whole time of his captivity, had never been removed. Dupleix treated them with the attention calculated to make a favourable impression on the man whom he wished to gain. He even corresponded with Chunda Saheb in his captivity; and agreed to advance money to assist in raising the sum which the Mahrattas demanded for his ransom. He was liberated in the beginning of the year 1748, and even furnished, it is said, with 3,000 Mahratta troops. He entered book iv.Chap. 2. 1749. immediately into the quarrels of some contending Rajahs, whose dominions lay inland between the coast of Malabar and Carnatic, with a view to increase his followers, and collect treasure; and he was already at the head of 6000 men, when the death of Nizam al Mulk occurred.
To maintain his authority, in his absence, both at court and in his province, Nizam al Mulk had procured the high office of Ameer al Omrah, for his eldest son, Ghazee ad dien Khan, who always attended the person of the Emperor. His second son, Nazir Jung, had resided for the most part in Deccan, and had officiated as his father’s deputy, as often as the wars of the empire, or the intrigues of the court, had called him away. Though the obedience of Nazir Jung had been so little perfect as to have been lately chastised even by imprisonment, he was present when his father died; the army was accustomed to obey him; he got possession of his father’s treasures; the Emperor was far too weak to assert his right of nomination; and Nazir Jung assumed the power and titles of Subahdar of Deccan.
There was, however, a favourite grandson of Nizam al Mulk, the son of a descendant of Sadoollah Khan, Vizir to Shaw Jehan, by a daughter of Nizam al Mulk. His name was Hedayet Mohy ad dien; to which he added the title of Mirzapha Jung. He had been Nabob of Beejapore, for several years, during the life of his grandfather; who, it was now given out and believed, had nominated him successor by his will.1 Such a competitor for the government of Deccan appeared to Chunda Saheb the very man on whom his hopes might repose. He offered his services, and they were greedily received. To attainbook iv.Chap. 2. 1749. the assistance of Dupleix was regarded by them both as an object of the highest importance; and in a Subahdar of Deccan, and a Nabob of Carnatic, whom he himself should be the chief instrument in raising to power, Dupleix contemplated the highest advantages, both for himself and for his country. Chunda Saheb persuaded Mirzapha Jung that they ought to commence their operations in Carnatic; where the interest of the family of Chunda Saheb would afford advantages. Their troops had increased to the number of 40,000 men, when they approached the confines of Carnatic. They were joined here by the French, who consisted of 400 Europeans, 100 Caffres, and 1800 Sepoys, commanded by M. d’Auteuil.1 They immediately advanced towards An’war ad dien, whom on the 3d of August, 1749, they found encamped under the fort of Amboor, fifty miles west from Arcot. The French offered to storm the entrenchment; and though twice beaten back, they advanced three times to the charge, and at last prevailed. An’war ad dien was slain in the engagement, at the uncommon age of 107 years; his eldest son was taken prisoner; and his second son Mahomed Ali, with the wreck of the army, escaped to Trichinopoly, of which he was Governor.2
Dupleix affirms, that had the victorious leaders, according to his advice, advanced without delay against Trichinopoly, while the consternation of defeat remained, they would have obtained immediate possession of the place, and the success of their enterprise would have been assured. They chose book iv.Chap. 2. 1749. however to go first to Arcot, that they might play for a while the Subahdar and Nabob; they afterwards paid a visit at Pondicherry to M. Dupleix, who gratified himself by receiving them with oriental display; and was gifted with the sovereignty of eighty-one villages in the neighbourhood of the settlement.1
They marched not from Pondicherry till the very end of October; and instead of proceeding directly against Trichinopoly, as they had settled with Dupleix, they directed their march to the city of Tanjore. The urgency of their pecuniary wants, and the prospect of an ample supply from the hoards of Tanjore, made them undervalue the delay. The King was summoned to pay his arrears of tribute, and a large sum as a compensation for the expense of the war. By negotiation, by promises, and stratagems, he endeavoured; and the softness of his enemies enabled him, to occupy their time till the very end of December, when news arrived that Nazir Jung, the Subahdar, was on his march to attack them.2
Nazir Jung had been summoned, upon his accession, to the imperial presence; and had advanced with a considerable army as far as the Nerbudda, when a counter-order arrived. Informed of the ambitious designs of his nephew, he accelerated his return; and was arrived at Aurengabad, when he heard of the overthrow and death of the Nabob of Carnatic.1 The impolitic delays of his enemies affordedbook iv.Chap. 2. 1749. time for his preparations; and they were struck with consternation when they now heard of his approach. They broke up their camp with precipitation: and, harassed by a body of Mahrattas, in the service of Nazir Jung, returned to Pondicherry.2
Dupleix was admirably calculated for the tricks of Indian policy. Though he exerted himself with the utmost vigour to animate the spirits, and augment the force of his allies; lending them 50,000l., declaring that he would lend them still more, and increasing the French forces to the number of 2000 Europeans; yet contemplating now with some terror the chance of a defeat, he sought to be prepared for all events, and endeavoured secretly to open a negotiation with Nazir Jung. He addressed to him a memorial, in which he set forth the enmity which was borne by An’war ad dien to the French nation; and the necessity under which they were placed to avail themselves of any allies to secure themselves from its effects; that the death of that Nabob, however, had now freed them from such obligation, and they were ready to detach themselves from the enemies of Nazir Jung; that they had already manifested their friendly dispositions towards him, in sparing Tanjore, and suspending the siege of Trichinopoly, which the victorious army of them and their allies, there was no doubt, might have easily taken.3 It was only, says Dupleix, the arrival of an English force in the camp of Nazir Jung, that prevented the Subahdar from embracing the proposal.4
book iv.Chap. 2. 1749. From the beginning of 1747, the English had been intriguing, both with Nizam al Mulk and with Nazir Jung, against the French. Besides a letter from the English Governor to the same effect, Commodore Griffin, in a letter to Nizam al Mulk, dated March 6, 1747, said, “I shall not enter into a particular detail of all the robberies, cruelties, and depredations, committed on shore upon the King my Master’s subjects, by that insolent, perfidious nation the French; connived at, and abetted by those under your Excellency (the Nabob of Arcot), whose duty it was to have preserved the peace of your country, instead of selling the interest of a nation, with whom you have had the strictest friendship time out of mind; a nation that has been the means not only of enriching this part of the country, but the whole dominions of the grand Mogul; and that to a people who are as remarkable all over the world for encroaching upon, and giving disturbances and disquiet to all near them; a people who are strangers in your country, in comparison of those who have been robbed by them of that most important fortress and factory, Madras; and now they are possessed of it, have neither money nor credit, to carry on the trade.———And now, excellent Sir, we have laid this before you, for your information and consideration; and must entreat you, in the name of the King of Great Britain, my Royal Master, to call the Nabob to an account for his past transactions, and interpose your power to restore, as near as possible in its original state, what has been so unjustly taken from us.” Application was at the same time made to Nazir Jung for his interest with his father, which that prince assures the English by letter he had effectually employed. A favourable answer was received from Nizam al Mulk, and a mandate was sent to An’war ad dien Khan, called at that time by the English Anaverdy Khan, in which were the followingbook iv.Chap. 2. 1749. words: “The English nation, from ancient times, are very obedient and serviceable to us; besides which they always proved to be a set of true people, and it is very hard that they met with these troubles, misfortunes, and destruction. I do therefore write you, to protect, aid, and assist them in all respects, and use your best endeavours in such a manner, that the French may be severely chastised and rooted off, that his Majesty’s sea-port town may be recovered, and that the English nation may be restored to their right, establish themselves in their former place, as before, and carry on their trade and commerce for the flourishment of the place.” An agent of the English, a native, named Hodgee Hodee, who dates his letter from Arcot, the 10th of March, 1747, presents them with the real state of the fact in regard to An’war ad dien, the Nabob: “I take the liberty to acquaint your worship, that as the Nabob is but a Renter, he does not much regard the distress of the people of this province, but in all shapes has respect to his own interest and benefit; therefore there is no trusting to his promises. The French are very generous in making presents of other people’s goods, both to the old and young.” He advises the English to be equally liberal with their gifts, and says, “Don’t regard the money, as Governor Morse did, but part with it for the safety of your settlement.” Another of their agents, Boundla Mootal, informed them that if they expected any cordial assistance from An’war ad dien, they must send him money for it. The second son of An’war ad dien, Mahomed Ali Khan, showed himself during this period of French ascendancy, rather favourable to the English: probably, from that spirit of discord which prevails in the ruling book iv.Chap. 2. 1749. families of the East, because his eldest brother displayed a partiality to the French.1
When, after the deaths of Nizam al Mulk and An’war ad dien Khan, and the captivity of the eldest son of An’war ad dien Khan, Nazir Jung marched into Carnatic against Chunda Saheb and Mirzapha Jung, he summoned Mahomed Ali to join him from Trichinopoly, and sent to Fort St. David to solicit assistance from the English. The arrival of Mirzapha Jung, the defeat of An’war ad dien, which happened when they were engaged in the attack of Tanjore, and the apprehended schemes of Dupleix, had struck the English with alarm. “They saw,” says Mr. Orme, “the dangers to which they were exposed, but were incapable of taking the vigorous resolutions which the necessity of their affairs demanded.” They allowed Mr. Boscawen, with the fleet and troops, to set sail for England, at the end of October, and sent only 120 Europeans to support Mahomed Ali at Trichinopoly.2 The presence, however, of Nazir Jung, at the head of a great army, encouraged them to command the detachment at Trichinopoly to accompany Mahomed Ali; and a few days after their arrival in the camp, Major Laurence, with 600 Europeans from Fort St. David, joined the army of the Subahdar.
The two armies were now sufficiently near to skirmish; when thirteen French officers, displeased that they had not shared in the spoils of Tanjore, resigned their commissions, and infused terror and alarm into the men they were destined to command. D’Auteuil, considering it no longer safe to venture into action with men thus affected, decamped the night before the expected battle, and retreated in the direction of Pondicherry; leaving Mirzapha Jung and Chunda Saheb,book iv.Chap. 2. 1749. in a state of despair. Mirzapha Jung thought it best to yield himself up to his uncle, by whom he was immediately put in fetters; Chunda Saheb, with his own troops, made his way to Pondicherry.1
The dangers were formidable and imminent which now stared Dupleix in the face; but he had confidence in the resources of his own genius, and the slippery footing of an oriental prince. He sent an embassy to the camp of the victorious Subahdar, offering terms of peace; and at the same time entered into correspondence with some disaffected chiefs in his army. These were leaders of the Patan troops, which Nizam al Mulk, as the principal instrument of his ambition, had maintained in his service; and of which he had made the principal captains Nabobs of different districts in his Subah. It was the standing policy of all the Mahomedan princes in India to compose a great part of their armies of men drawn from the more hardy people of the north, the Tartars and Afghauns. Of these people the men who arrived in India were mere soldiers of fortune, accustomed to seek for wealth and distinction through crimes. If the master whom they served were able to chastise their perfidy, and feed their hopes of plunder and aggrandizement by the prospect of his conquests, they were useful and important instruments. The moment they appeared to have more to gain by destroying than by serving him, they were the most alarming source of his danger.
Nazir Jung had the usual character of a man educated a prince. He devoted his time to pleasure, and book iv.Chap. 2. 1750. withdrew it from business; decided without consideration, hence unwisely; and was at once too indolent and too proud to correct his mistakes. Under such a master, the Patan lords expected, by selling their services to a competitor, to add both to their treasures, and to the territories of which the government was lodged in their hands.
The deputies of Dupleix had returned from the camp of Nazir Jung, when D’Auteuil, who continued to watch the motions of the army, observing the negligence with which the camp was guarded during the night, detached an officer with 300 men, who entered it unobserved; penetrated into it a mile; spread terror and alarm; killed upwards of a thousand of the enemy; and returned with the loss of only two or three men: another proof of the extraordinary weakness of an Indian army, when opposed to the force of the European mind.
The Subahdar, alarmed at the presence of so enterprising an enemy, hastened to Arcot; while the English, quarrelling with him about the performance of his promises, and the abandonment of their cause by withdrawing his army, left the camp in disgust, and removed the only important obstacle to the machinations of the conspirators and Dupleix.
While the Subahdar spent his time at Arcot in the pleasures of the harem and the chase, of both of which he was immoderately fond, the French exhibited new specimens of their activity and enterprise. A small body of troops sailed to Masulipatam, at the mouth of the river Kistna, once the principal mart of that region of India; attacked it by surprise in the night; and gained possession with a trifling loss: And another detachment seized the Pagoda of Trivadi, about fifteen miles west from Fort St. David. Mahomed Ali obtained permission to detach himself from the army of the Subahdar, for the purpose of dislodgingbook iv.Chap. 2. 1750. them from Trivadi; in this he obtained assistance from the English, who were deeply interested in preventing the French from gaining a position so near. Some attacks which Mahomed Ali and the English made upon the pagoda were unsuccessful; and these allies began to quarrel. Mahomed Ali would neither advance pay to the English, nor move his troops between the pagoda and Pondicherry; upon which they left him. The French, who expected this event, waited for its arrival; attacked Mahomed Ali; gained an easy victory, and made him fly to Arcot, with two or three attendants. The French still aiming at further acquisitions, advanced against the celebrated Fort of Gingee, situated on a vast insulated rock, and deemed the strongest fortress in Carnatic. They stormed the fortifications to the very summit of the mountain; and contemplating afterwards the natural strength of the place, felt astonished at their own success.
This last exploit disturbed the tranquillity and the amusements of the Subahdar; and he offered to enter upon negotiation. The demands of the French were lofty; Nazir Jung, therefore, began his march to Gingee. But it was now October, 1750, and the rains began. The Subahdar kept the field; but felt exceedingly weary of the contest; and at last appeared inclined to concede whatever was demanded by the French. Dupleix nith the Subahdar, when his commander at Gingee receives from the traitors the concerted call: He marches with his whole force; attacks the camp of the Subahdar, and is joined by the traitors; by one of whom Nazir Jung is shot through the heart. In his Memoir Dupleix affirms, that he wrote immediately book iv.Chap. 2. 1751. to inform the Commander at Gingee of the conclusion of the treaty, and to prevent further hostilities, but that his letter arrived not till after the revolution was performed.
Mirzapha Jung was now freed from his imprisonment, and vested with the authority of Subahdar. Immediately, however, the enormous demands of the Patan nobles, to whose perfidy he owed his power, began to oppress him; and he only parried their importunities by asserting the necessity of forming his arrangements in concert with Dupleix. Lofty were the hopes, in which that ambitious leader seemed now entitled to indulge himself. Mirzapha Jung advanced to Pondicherry, and lavished upon him every testimony of gratitude and friendship. Dupleix exerted himself to satisfy the Patan lords; who, seeing his determination to support their master, permitted him to retrench their demands, and treasured up their resentments for a future day. An adept in Indian policy, when he had men of their dangerous character within the walls of Pondicherry, would have taken care how they made their escape.
Dupleix was appointed Governor of the Mogul dominions on the coast of Coromandel from the river Kistna to Cape Comorin; and Chunda Saheb his Deputy at Arcot. Mahomed Ali, who had fled to Trichinopoly, upon the assassination of Nazir Jung, now offered to resign his pretensions to the nabobship of Carnatic, provided Dupleix, who listened to the overture, would obtain from the new Subahdar a command for him, in any other part of his dominions.
Mirzapha Jung left Pondicherry in the month of January, 1751, accompanied by a body of French troops, with M. Bussy, who had signalized himself in the late transactions, at their head. The army had marched about sixty leagues; when a disturbance, in appearance accidental, arose among a part ofbook iv.Chap. 2. 1751. the troops; presently it was discovered, that the Patan chiefs were in revolt; and that they had seized a pass in front through which it behoved the army to proceed. They were attacked with great spirit; the French artillery carried every thing before it; and a victory was gained, when the impetuosity of the Subahdar carried him too far in the pursuit, and he was shot dead with an arrow. M. Bussy was not a man who lost his presence of mind, upon an unexpected disaster. He represented to the principal commanders the necessity of agreeing immediately upon the choice of a master; and as the son of Mirzapha Jung was an infant, and the present state of affairs required the authority of a man of years, he recommended Salabut Jung, the eldest surviving son of Nizam al Mulk, who was present in the camp, and who without delay was raised to the vacant command. Salabut Jung promised the same concessions to the French which had been made by his predecessor, and the army continued its march towards Golconda.1
The Europeans in India, who hitherto had crouched at the feet of the meanest of the petty governors of a district, were astonished at the progress of the French, who now seemed to preside over the whole region of Deccan. A letter to Dupleix, from a friend in the camp of Salabut Jung, affirmed that in a little time the Mogul on his throne would tremble at the book iv.Chap. 2. 1751. name of Dupleix;1 and however presumptuous this prophecy might appear, little was wanting to secure its fulfilment.
The English, sunk in apathy or despair, were so far as yet from taking any vigorous measures to oppose a torrent by which they were likely to be overwhelmed, that Major Laurence, the commander of the troops, on whose military talents and authority their whole dependence was placed, took the extraordinary resolution, not opposed, it should seem, by the Council, of returning at this critical juncture to England. They used their influence indeed, to prevent Mahomed Ali from carrying into execution the proposal he had made to the French of surrendering Trichinopoly; but Mahomed Ali, and the English, in concert, made offer to acknowledge Chunda Saheb Nabob of all Carnatic, with the exception of Trichinopoly and its dependencies. This the French treated as a departure from the original proposal of Mahomed Ali, and replied with haughtiness and contempt. The English now engaged to support him, and he resolved to hold out. The Governor of Madura, however, a small adjacent province, formerly a Hindu rajahship, declared for Chunda Saheb, and an attempt, made by a party of the English, to reduce it, was repelled.
Toward the beginning of April, Chunda Saheb began his march from Arcot; and about the same time Captain Gingens, with the English, was dispatched from Fort St. David. Chunda Saheb was encamped near the fort of Volconda, on the great road between Trichinopoly and Arcot, when the English approached. A battle was brought on; but the English officers spent so much time in deliberation as to discourage the men; and the European soldiers fledbook iv.Chap. 2. 1751. shamefully from the field, even while the Caffres and the native troops maintained the contest. The army retreated; and though it posted itself, and encamped at two different places, Utatoor and Pitchonda; it quitted both upon the arrival of the enemy, and at last took shelter under the walls of Trichinopoly. Chunda Saheb and the French lost no time in following, and sat down on the opposite side of the town.
The city of Trichinopoly, at the distance of about ninety miles from the sea, is situated on the south side of the great river Cavery, about half a mile from its bank; and, for an Indian city, was fortified with extraordinary strength. About five miles higher up than Trichinopoly, the Cavery divides itself into two branches, which, after separating to the distance of about two miles, again approach, and being only prevented from uniting, about fifteen miles below Trichinopoly, by a narrow mound, they form a peninsula, which goes by the name of the island of Seringham; celebrated as containing one of the most remarkable edifices, and one of the most venerated pagodas, in India; and henceforward remarkable for the struggle, constituting an era in the history of India, of which it was now to be the scene.
The presidency of Fort St. David, somewhat roused by seeing the army of Mahomed Ali driven out of Carnatic, and obliged to take shelter beyond the Cavery, made several efforts to reinforce the troops they had sent him; whom, after all, they were able to augment to the number of only 600 men. There was another misfortune; for notwithstanding the urgency with which, in the depressed and alarming state of their affairs, the English were called upon for the utmost exertions of their virtue, “a fatal spirit of division,” says Major Laurence, “had unhappily crept in among our book iv.Chap. 2. 1751. officers, so that many opportunities and advantages were lost, which gave the country alliance but an in-different opinion of our conduct.”1 The French, however, made but feeble efforts for the reduction of the place; and the English were too much impressed with an opinion of their own weakness to hazard any enterprise to dislodge them.2
While the war thus lingered at Trichinopoly, Clive, who had been made a captain to supply some of the removals occasioned by the recent discontents, persuaded the Presidency to create a diversion, by sending him to attack Arcot, the capital of Chunda Saheb, left with a very slender defence. This young man was the son of a gentleman of small fortune in Shropshire. From the untractableness of his own disposition, or the unsteadiness of his father’s, he was moved when a boy, from one to another, through a great variety of schools; at which he was daring, impetuous, averse to application, and impatient of control. At the age of nineteen he was appointed a writer in thebook iv.Chap. 2. 1751. service of the East India Company, and sent to Madras. There his turbulence, though he was not ill-natured, engaged him in quarrels with his equals; his dislike of application and control prevented his acquiring the benevolence of his superiors.1 When the capitulation with Madras was violated, Clive made his escape in a Mahomedan dress, to Fort St. David, and when the siege of Pondicherry was undertaken, he was allowed to enter into the military service, with the rank of an ensign. At the siege of Pondicherry, and the enterprise against Devi-Cotah, he rendered himself conspicuous by courting posts of danger, and exhibiting in them a daring intrepidity. Discerning men, however, perceived, along with his rashness, a coolness and presence of mind, with a readiness of resource in the midst of danger, which made Laurence, at an early period, point him out as a man of promise. Upon the conclusion of the affair at Devi-Cotah, Clive returned to his civil occupation; but no sooner did his countrymen resume the sword, than his own disposition, and the scarcity of officers, again involved him in operations, far better suited to his restless, daring, and contentious mind. He had accompanied the troops sent for the defence of Trichinopoly, till after the affair at Volcondah, and had been employed by the Presidency in conducting the several reinforcements which they had attempted to forward. He was now furnished with 200 Europeans, and 300 Sepoys: and to spare even these, Fort St. David and Madras were left, for their defence, the one with 100, the other with fifty men. To command them he had eight officers, of whom six had never been in action, and four were young men in the book iv.Chap. 2. 1752. mercantile service of the Company, whom his own example had inflamed. For artillery they had three field-pieces; and two eighteen pounders were sent after him. The enemy, who remained in garrison at Arcot, which was an open town, defended by a fort, abandoned the place, and gave him possession without resistance. Expecting a siege, he exerted his utmost diligence to supply the fort; and that he might prevent the fugitive garrison, who hovered around, from resuming their courage, he made frequent sallies; beat up their camp in the middle of the night; defended himself with vigour when assailed; and harassed them by incessant and daring attacks. In the mean time Chunda Saheb detached 4,000 men from his army at Trichinopoly, which were joined by his son with 150 Europeans from Pondicherry; and, together with the troops already collected in the neighbourhood, to the number of 3,000, entered the city. Clive immediately resolved upon a violent attempt to dislodge them. Going out with almost the whole of the garrison, he with his artillerty forced the enemy to leave the street in which they had posted themselves; but filling the houses they fired upon his men, and obliged him to withdraw to the fort. In warring against the people of Hindustan, a few men so often gain unaccountable victories over a host, that on a disproportion of numbers solely no enterprise can be safely condemned as rash; in this, however, Clive run the greatest risk, with but a feeble prospect of success. He lost fifteen of his Europeans, and among them a lieutenant; and his only artillery officer, with sixteen other men, was disabled.
Next day the enemy were reinforced with 2,000 men from Velore. The fort was more than a mile in circumference; the walls in many places ruinous; the towers inconvenient and decayed; and every thing unfavourable to defence: Yet Clive found thebook iv.Chap. 2. 1752. means of making an effectual resistance. When the enemy attempted to storm at two breaches, one of fifty and one of ninety feet, he repulsed them with but eighty Europeans and 120 Sepoys fit for duty; so effectually did he avail himself of his feeble resources, and to such a pitch of fortitude had he exalted the spirits of those under his command. During the following night the enemy abandoned the town with precipitation, after they had maintained the siege for fifty days. A reinforcement from Madras joined him on the following day; and, leaving a small garrison in Arcot, he set out to pursue the enemy. With the assistance of a small body of Mahrattas, who joined him in hopes of plunder, he gave the enemy, now greatly reduced by the dropping away of the auxiliaries, a defeat at Arni, and recovered Conjeveram, into which the French had thrown a garrison, and where they had behaved with barbarity to some English prisoners; among the rest, two wounded officers whom they seized returning from Arcot to Madras, and threatened to expose on the rampart, if the English attacked them. After these important transactions, Clive returned to Fort St. David about the end of December. The enemy no sooner found that he was out of the field than they re-assembled, and marched to ravage the Company’s territory. Reinforced by some troops which had arrived from Bengal, he went out to meet them in the end of February. They abandoned their camp upon his approach; but with intent to surprise Arcot, from which the principal part of the garrison had marched to the reinforcement of Clive. They expected the gates to be opened by two officers of the English Sepoys, whom they had corrupted; but the plot being discovered, and their signals not answered, they did not venture to book iv.Chap. 2. 1752. make an attack, and suddenly withdrew. Though informed of their retreat, Clive was still hastening his march to Arcot, when at sun-set his van was unexpectedly fired upon by the enemy’s artillery; and a hot engagement ensued. The superior force of the enemy afforded them great advantages and seemed likely to decide the contest, unless by some expedient their cannon could be seized. At ten at night Clive detached a party, who, favoured by the darkness, came upon it unexpectedly in the rear; defeated the troops who were placed for its defence; and succeeded completely in that important enterprise. After this disaster, the enemy dispersed; and before Clive could undertake any new exploit, he was ordered to the presidency; where it was determined to send him with all the troops under his command, to Trichinopoly. It was fortunate that the enemy, dispirited by the last, in addition to so many former disappointments and defeats, disbanded themselves at the same moment; the country troops departing to their homes, and the French being recalled to Pondicherry.
While these active operations were performing in the province of Arcot, Mahomed Ali, though he appeared to have little to dread from the attacks of the French upon Trichinopoly, began to have every thing to dread from the deficiency of his funds. The English, whom he engaged to maintain out of his own treasury, were now obliged to be maintained at the cost of the Presidency. His own troops were without pay, and there was no prospect of keeping them long from mutiny or dispersion. He had applied for assistance to the government of Mysore, a considerable Hindu kingdom, which had risen out of the wreck of the empire of Beejanuggur, and viewed with dread the elevation of Chunda Saheb, who had formerly aimed at its subjugation. Mahomed Ali renewedbook iv.Chap. 2. 1752. his importunities; and, by promising to the Mysoreans whatever they chose to ask, prevailed upon them to march to his assistance. They arrived at Trichinopoly about the middle of February, 20,000 strong, including 6000 Mahrattas, who had entered into their pay, and of whom a part were the same with those who had assisted Clive after the siege of Arcot. Their arrival determined the King of Tanjore, who till then had remained neutral, to send 5000 men. A few days after Clive was recalled to Fort St. David, he was again prepared to take the field; but on the 26th of March Major Laurence returned from England, and put himself at the head of the reinforcement, which consisted of 400 Europeans and 1100 Sepoys, with eight field pieces, and a large quantity of military stores. Both parties had their eyes fixed upon the reinforcement, and Dupleix sent repeated orders that it might be intercepted at all events. The efforts, however, of the enemy, proved unavailing; and Laurence in safety joined the camp.1
It was now determined to attack the enemy in book iv.Chap. 2. 1752. their camp. This attack the French had not the resolution, or the means, to withstand, and formed the determination of passing over to the island of Seringham. Chunda Saheb, it is said, remonstrated, but without avail. In the hurry of their retreat, the enemy were able to carry over only a part of their baggage, and burned what they were unable to remove of the provisions which they had collected in their magazines.1
As delay was dangerous to the English, from the circumstances of their allies, it was their policy to reduce the enemy to extremities within the shortest possible time. With this view Clive advised them to detach a part of the army to the other side of the Coleroon, for the purpose of intercepting the enemy’s supplies. Though there was hazard in this plan; for an enterprising enemy, by attacking one of the divisions, might gain a decisive advantage before the other could arrive, Laurence accepted the advice; and Clive was detached for the performance of the service. It was executed with his usual activity, spirit, and success. Dupleix made the strongest exertions to reinforce and supply his army; but was baffled in every attempt. D’Auteuil, at the head ofbook iv.Chap. 2. 1752. a large convoy, was first compelled to suspend his march; was afterwards attacked in the fort to which he had retired; and at last taken prisoner. The enemy were soon in distress for provisions; their camp was cannonaded by the English; the troops of Chunda Saheb left his service; and he himself, looking round for the means of personal safety, chose at last to trust to the generosity of the King of Tanjore, and delivered himself, under promise of protection, into the hands of the Tanjorine commander. The French soon after capitulated, and surrendered themselves prisoners of war.
The fate of Chunda Saheb was lamentable. He was immediately put in fetters by the faithless Tanjorine. A dispute, under the power of which of them he should remain, arose between the Mysorean and Mahratta chiefs, the Tanjorine Generals, and Mahomed Ali. To compromise the dispute, Major Laurence proposed that he should be confined in one of the English forts. The parties separated without coming to an agreement; and the Tanjorine immediately ordered him to be assassinated. Dupleix affirms that he was murdered by the express command of Major Laurence, which it is difficult to suppose that Dupleix must not have known to be untrue. But it is true, that Laurence showed an indifference about his fate which is not very easy to be reconciled with either humanity or wisdom. He well knew that his murder was, in the hands of any of them, the probable; in those of some of them, the certain consequence, of their obtaining the charge of his person. He well knew, that if he demanded him with firmness, they would have all consented to his confinement in an English fort. And, if he did not book iv.Chap. 2. 1752. know, it is not the less true, that in the hands of the English he might have become a powerful instrument with which to counterwork the machinations of Dupleix. At any rate Dupleix, of all men, on this ground, had the least title to raise an accusation against the English; since he had resolved to imprison for life his unfortunate ally, and to reign sole Nabob of Carnatic himself.1
The failure of the enemy at Trichinopoly, the possession of which both parties appear to have valued too high, produced in the breasts of the English hopes of undisputed superiority, and of that tide of riches, which unbounded sway in the affairs of Carnatic promised to their deluded imaginations. Major Laurence was in haste to march through the province, investing his triumphant Nabob; and saw no place, except Gingee, which he imagined would retard his progress.2
He was not a little surprised when the delays of the Nabob indicated much less impatience. The Nabob was, in fact, engaged in a troublesome dispute. Among the inducements which he had employed to gain the assistance of the Mysoreans, he had notbook iv.Chap. 2. 1752. scrupled to promise the possession of Trichinopoly and its dependencies. The Mysorean chief now insisted upon performance; and the Mahratta captain, who eagerly desired an opportunity of obtaining Trichinopoly for himself, encouraged his pretensions.
Intelligence of this dispute was a thunderstroke to Laurence. His country had paid dear for Trichinopoly; yet now it appeared that it could not be retained, by him for whom it was gained, without a flagrant violation of honour and faith. The violation of honour and faith the Nabob, in the Indian manner, treated as a matter of entire insignificance. The Mysorean could not but know, he said, that such a promise was never made to be fulfilled; and doubtless no Indian can believe of any man, that he will keep more of a promise, than it is his interest, or than he is compelled, to keep.1
After some time lost in altercation, the Nabob promised to fulfil his engagement, and deliver up the fort in two months; and with this the Mysorean, finding more could not be obtained, allowed himself for the present to appear satisfied. The English, leaving a garrison in the fort, set forward to establish their Nabob; but the auxiliary troops of Tanjore, and of Tondeman, had marched to their homes; and the Mysoreans and Mahrattas refused to depart from Trichinopoly.
Dupleix was not reduced to despondency, by the stroke which the English imagined had realized their fondest hopes. As it was the character of this man to form schemes, which from their magnitude appeared romantic, so was it his practice to adhere to book iv.Chap. 2. 1752. them with constancy, even when the disasters which he encountered in their execution seemed to counsel nothing but despair. Nor did the resources of his mind fail to second its firmness. He still found means to oppose a nearly equal, in a little time a more than equal, force to his opponents.
It was resolved, and very unwisely, that the first operation of the English should be the reduction of Gingee; garrisoned by the French; and the only place in the province expected to yield a serious resistance. Major Laurence condemned this plan of operations; and recommended the previous recovery of the province, and the collection of the rents; but by the influence of Mr. Saunders, the President, his opinion was over-ruled.1 Dupleix dispatched a force for the purpose of seizing the passes of the mountains by which Gingee is surrounded, and of intercepting the English convoys. The detachment of the English army, which had arrived at Gingee, marched to dislodge them; but, instead of succeeding in their object, sustained a defeat.
The French, elevated by this advantage, reinforced their victorious party with as many troops as they found it possible to send into the field. This army, by way of triumph, marched close to the very bounds of Fort St. David. A company of Swiss, in the English service, were sent on this emergency from Madras to Fort St. David, in boats, contrary to the advice of Laurence, who entreated they might be sent in a ship of force; and Dupleix, unrestrained by the vain forms of a treaty of peace, subsisting between England and France, while both parties were violating the substance of it every day, took them prisoners of war by a ship from Pondicherry road. Laurence hastened toward the enemy. His forcebook iv.Chap. 2. 1752. consisted of 400 Europeans, 1700 Sepoys, 4000 troops belonging to the Nabob, and nine pieces of cannon. The French army consisted of 400 Europeans, 1500 Sepoys, and 500 horse; who declined a battle, till Laurence, by a feigned retreat, inspired them with confidence. The action, which took place near Bahoor, two miles from Fort St. David, was decidedly in favour of the English; but would have been far more destructive to the French, had the Nabob’s cavalry done their duty, who, instead of charging the routed foe, betook themselves to the more agreeable operation of plundering their camp. After this seasonable victory, Captain Clive was employed, with a small detachment, to reduce the two forts, called Covelong and Chingliput, which he executed with his usual vigour and address; and then returned to Europe for his health. About the same time the monsoon compelled the army to withdraw from the field.
During these transactions, Nunjeraj, the Mysorean General, was not idle before Trichinopoly. He made several attempts to get into the fort by surprise, as well as to corrupt the troops; and his efforts held Captain Dalton, commanding the English garrison, perpetually on the watch. The views of that chief were now, also, directed toward the French; and so much progress had been made in the adjustment of terms, that a body of 3000 Mahrattas were actually on their march to join the enemy, when the victory at Bahoor produced a revolution in their minds; and they joined the English, as if they had marched from Trichinopoly with that express design. During the interval of winter quarters, the negotiations with the French were completed, and the Mahrattas, at an early period, marched to Pondicherry; while the book iv.Chap. 2. 1752. Mysoreans, to give themselves all possible chances, remained before Trichonopoly, as still allies of the English; but they declared themselves, before the armies resumed their operations; and attacked an advanced post of Captain Dalton’s, defended by sixty Europeans and some Sepoys, whom they destroyed to a man.
Before these designs of the Mysorean and Mahratta chiefs were brought to maturity, Major Laurence had given his advice to seize them, in one of their conferences with Captain Dalton.1 If there was any confidence, during negotiation, reposed in the English by the Indians, beyond what they reposed in one another, a confidence of which the loss would have been risked by such a blow, we are not informed; the danger, which might have been averted by securing the persons of those enemies, was of considerable amount.
Dupleix, though so eminently successful in adding to the number of combatants on his side, was reduced to the greatest extremity for pecuniary supplies. The French East India Company were much poorer than even the English; the resources which they furnished from Europe were proportionally feeble; and, though perfectly willing to share with Dupleix in the hopes of conquest, when enjoyment was speedily promised, their impatience for gain made them soon tired of the war; and they were now importunately urging Dupleix to find the means of concluding a peace. Under these difficulties Dupleix had employed his own fortune, and his own credit, in answering the demands of the war; and, as a last resource, he now turned his thoughts to Mortiz Ali, the Governor of Velore. He held up to him the prospect of even the Nabobship itself, in hopes ofbook iv.Chap. 2. 1753. drawing from him the riches which he was reputed to possess. Mortiz Ali repaired to Pondicherry; and even advanced a considerable sum; but finding that much more was expected, he broke off the negotiation, and retired to his fort.
The contending parties looked forward with altered prospects to the next campaign. By the co-operation of the Mysoreans, and the junction of the Mahrattas, the latter of whom, from the abilities of their leader, and their long experience of European warfare, were no contemptible allies, the French had greatly the advantage in numerical force. In the capacity, however, of their officers, and in the quality of their European troops, they soon felt a remarkable inferiority. Laurence, without being a man of talents, was an active and clearheaded soldier; and the troops, whom he commanded, both officers and men, appeared, by a happy contingency, to combine in their little body all the virtues of a British army. The European troops of the enemy, on the other hand, were the very refuse of the French population; and Laurence himself candidly confesses that their officers were frequently seen in the hour of action, making the greatest efforts, and without effect, to retain them in their ranks. Among their commanders, not a man showed any talents; and Dupleix with great bitterness complains, that, with the exception of Bussy, he never had an officer on whose ability he could place the smallest reliance.1
book iv.Chap. 2. 1753. Early in January the two armies again took the field: The French, consisting of 500 European infantry and sixty horse, 2,000 Sepoys; and 4,000 Mahrattas, commanded by Morari Row. The English consisted of 700 European infantry, 2,000 Sepoys, and 1,500 horse belonging to the Nabob. The French, to avail themselves of their superiority in cavalry, avoided an action, and employed themselves in making war upon the English convoys. This they did, with so much effect, that Major Laurence was frequently obliged to escort his stores and provisions with his whole army from Fort St. David. In this manner the time was consumed till the 20th of April, when an express arrived from Captain Dalton, that he had only three weeks’ provisions remaining in the fort.
When the English, after the capitulation of the French at Seringham, marched from Trichinopoly,book iv.Chap. 2. 1753. and left Captain Dalton Commandant of the English garrison, a brother of the Nabob was at the same time appointed Governor of the town. By an unhappy oversight the magazines were left under direction of the Mohamedan Governor; and Captain Dalton satisfied himself with asking from time to time in what condition they remained. When the Mysoreans, however, had shut him up in his fort, and, scouring the adjacent country with their cavalry, had prevented for some time the arrival of supplies, it occurred to him, rather too late, that he had better see with his own eyes on what he had to depend. His ally, he found, had been selling the provisions at an enormous price to the people of the town; and he was left in that alarming condition, of which he hastened to make report to Major Laurence.
Only one resolution was left to the English commander, that of marching directly to the support of Trichinopoly. His army suffered greatly on the march, both by desertion and sickness; and, upon his arrival at the place, he found that all the force he could muster for offensive operations, after leaving the proportion necessary for the duties of the garrison, consisted of 500 Europeans, and 2,000 Sepoys. The Nabob had 3,000 horse; but they were badly paid; and executed their duty with proportional neglect and disobedience. The French followed with 200 Europeans and 500 Sepoys, to the support of the Mysoreans; and Trichinopoly became once more the seat of a tedious and harassing warfare.
It deserves remark, that Major Laurence, who had recommended the seizure of the Mysorean and Mahratta chiefs, uniformly disapproved of the attempt to retain Trichinopoly after the promise to give book iv.Chap. 2. 1754. it up.1 It is equally worthy of remark, that the delicacy of the Presidency witheld their hands from the persons of the hostile chiefs; but easily endured the violation of the engagement respecting Trichinopoly. Delicacy would have been less violated in the one instance by following the advice of Laurence, and prudence would have been more consulted by following it in both. The cession of Trichinopoly to the Mysoreans would have enabled the English to establish their nabob, with little opposition, in the sovereignty of Carnatic, and would have saved them from two years of expensive warfare.
It was on the 6th of May, 1753, that Major Laurence again arrived at Trichinopoly; and from that day to the 11th of October, 1754, the most active operations were carried on. Neither the French, with their allies, were sufficiently powerful to reduce Trichinopoly; nor had the English sufficient force to compel them to raise the siege. The two parties, therefore, bent their endeavours; the English, to supply the garrison with a sufficient quantity of food, to enable them to prosecute their objects in another quarter; the French, by cutting off the supplies, to compel the garrison to surrender. On both sides the greatest exertions were made; severe conflicts were frequently sustained, in some of which decisive advantages, at one time on one side, at another on the other, were on the point of being gained: and never did English troops display more gallantry and good conduct, than in defence of the unimportant city of Trichinopoly. More than a year had been spent; and neither of the contending parties seemed nearer their object, when a new scene was introduced.1book iv.Chap. 2. 1754.
The objects, which fired the ambition of the European Governors in India, were too distant to warm the imaginations of the Directors and Proprietors of the French and English Companies in Europe; and to them the burden of the war had become exceedingly hateful. Aware of the passion for peace which now animated his employers, and of the opinion disseminated in Europe of his ambitious and warlike views, Dupleix had opened a negociation with Saunders, the Governor of Madras, in January, 1754, The real point in dispute was whether or not Mahomed Ali should be acknowledged Nabob of Carnatic; the English contending that he should be recognized by the French, the French contending that he should be given up by the English. The parties were far from being disposed, on either side, to concede the point; and the state of circumstances was little calculated to facilitate a compromise: the negotiation turned, therefore, on matters of form; and never, surely, did negotiation find more ridiculous matters of form on which to employ itself. In a country in which all questions of dominion are determined by the sword; in a question which, without any consideration of right, they themselves had, during four years, been labouring to decide by the sword, they affected to sit down gravely to a comparison of pretended titles and grants. The authority to which both parties appealed was that of the Mogul, though the Mogul himself, in the district in question, was an usurper, and that of a very recent date; though the power too of the Mogul was such, that he had no more authority book iv.Chap. 2. 1754. in Deccan than he had at Rome. The authority on which the government of Carnatic immediately depended was that of the Subahdar of Deccan; and the Subahdar of Deccan was Salabut Jung, the friend of the French: So far, in point of title, they had the undoubted advantage. The patents, however, which Dupleix had received from Salabut Jung, and which placed the nabobship of the Carnatic entirely at his disposal, he asserted to have been confirmed by the Mogul. The English, on their side, affirmed that they had a patent constituting Mahomed Ali Nabob of Carnatic; and they called upon the French to produce their documents. The French did exhibit some papers, which the English, and probably with truth, asserted to be forged. The English were called upon to produce their pretended patent, and had none to produce: Upon this with mutual crimination the proceedings broke off.1
The parties upon whom the decision depended in Europe came together with minds more disposed to accommodation. The English Company had, from an early period of the war, importuned the ministry with complaints, that during the existence of a treaty of peace between England and France, they were oppressed by the burden of a dangerous war, produced by the ambition of a French governor in India. The same subject had formed the matter of remonstrancebook iv.Chap. 2. 1754. between the English and French governments; and it was at last agreed that the dispute should be terminated by a distinct negotiation. M. Duvelaer arrived in London, vested with the powers of the French East India Company; Lord Holdernesse negotiated on the part of the English; while the Duke of Newcastle, as minister of England, and the Duc de Mirepoix, as embassador of France, shared, when necessary, in the conferences and decisions.
Dupleix, in stating afterwards the reasons of his conduct, asserted that, in the situation into which Deccan was thrown, upon the death of Nizam al Mulk, an interference in the affairs of the country was not a matter of choice. The chiefs who contended for power, supreme and subordinate, were all ready to tempt, and by the most important concessions, the European nations to grant them support. If one nation, from an extraordinary effort of self-denial, should decline such advantages, what was to be expected but that another would embrace them? and that, rising in power above its rivals, it should first oppress, and finally expel them from the country? Dupleix was the first to perceive these consequences; and, from the promptitude and decision of his character, the first to act upon his discovery. This priority, which naturally promised to be advantageous to him, was the reverse. It stamped his whole career with the character of aggression; though the English themselves drew the same conclusions, as soon as they were suggested to them by the proceedings of Dupleix; and guided their proceedings by the belief, that it was not safe for them to see their rival aggrandized by favour of the native powers. That to play a high game in India, was a wish dear to the heart of Dupleix, sufficiently appears; but that there book iv.Chap. 2. 1754. were strong reasons for the part which he acted, no one acquainted with the affairs of India will attempt to dispute.
The French East India Company, however, and the French Ministers, were but little acquainted with the affairs of India; those who envied, and those who hated Dupleix, accused him of wasting the resources of the Company in ambitious wars; the English Company and the English Ministry accused him of embroiling the two nations in India; and there was a general prejudice against him and his proceedings, both in France and in England, at the time when the conferences in London were held. The English Ministry prudently dispatched a considerable fleet to India while the negotiation was still proceeding. The French Ministry had no fleet to spare; and dreaded the superiority which such a force might bestow. The French Company were at the same time extremely eager to taste the gains of commerce, which they promised themselves in peace; and, from all these causes, were disposed to make ample concessions. It ultimately appeared, that no definitive arrangement could be made except upon the spot. The English, however, exclaimed against any negotiation which was to be conducted by Dupleix, the object of which, they affirmed, his ambition and artifice would be sure to defeat. The French Ministry were not far from harbouring the same opinion; and easily enough assented to the proposition of sending commissioners from Europe to settle the differences of the two nations in India.
A point was thus gained in favour of the English, on which their fortune in India very probably hinged; for when, after the short interval of two years, war was renewed between the English and French; when the English were expelled from Bengal; and the influence of Bussy was paramount at the court of thebook iv.Chap. 2. 1754. Subahdar; had Dupleix remained at the head of French affairs in India, the scheme of that enterprising governor, to render himself master of Carnatic, and the Subahdar master of Bengal, would have stood a fair chance of complete accomplishment.
On the second of August, 1754, M. Godheu, appointed commissary to negotiate a peace with the English, and vested with authority to supersede Dupleix in the government of all the French possessions in India, arrived at Pondicherry. Dupleix affirms, that in the negotiations at London, for the sake of removing all local prejudices and views, it had been established that the governors in India on both sides should be removed; and commissioners, free from all bias, should be sent from England to terminate the costly disputes.1 If this was a condition really made, the French, it would appear, consented to a departure from it, as they raised no complaint against Mr. Saunders, who continued the President of Madras. The English in this manner obtained the important advantage of having the negotiation conducted on their side by a person conversant with the affairs and interests of the two nations in India, while it was conducted, on the part of their antagonists, by a man to whom they were in a great measure unknown.
Godheu lost no time in taking upon himself the exercise of his authority, and in commencing his negotiations with Saunders. The strong desire of his employers for peace appears to have been the book iv.Chap. 2. 1754. predominating consideration in his mind; and he manifested, from the beginning, a disposition to concede, of which the English made ample advantage. On the 11th of October, a suspension of arms was established for three months; and on the 26th of December, a provisional treaty, to be confirmed or altered in Europe, was signed at Pondicherry. By this treaty, every thing for which they had been contending was gained by the English; every advantage of which they had come into possession was given up by the French. By the stipulation to withdraw effectually from interference in the affairs of the native princes, Mahomed Ali was left, by the fact, Nabob of Carnatic or Arcot. And by the stipulation to arrange the territorial possessions of the two nations on the principle of equality, the important acquisition of the four Circars was resigned.1 Till the decision of the two Companies in Europe should be given, the contracting parties were to abstain from hostilities, direct or indirect; and their possessions to remain as they were.
That the severe strictures which Dupleix made upon this treaty were in some degree overcharged, is not to be denied. There is no reason to believe him, when he asserts that Trichinopoly was on the point of surrendering for want of supplies; for, at the time of the suspension of arms, the relative advantages ofbook iv.Chap. 2. 1754. the contending parties appear to have been nearly the same as they had been twelve months before. It is equally impossible to believe, what the English writers affirm, that the advantages of the English were now so great as to make it politic on the part of the French to conclude the treaty, unfavourable as it was. Admiral Watson had indeed arrived with a fleet, consisting of three ships and a sloop; having on board a king’s regiment of 700 men, with forty artillery men, and 200 recruits. But 1500 European troops had arrived with Godheu on the part of the French;1 and Dupleix boasts, with some reason, that he could have added to these the Mahrattas, the Mysoreans, and, on certain conditions, the King of Tanjore.2 Bussy too had improved with so much ability his situation with Salabut Jung, that he ruled in a great measure the counsels of the Subahdar of Deccan.
After displaying, in the most brilliant manner, the extraordinary superiority of European soldiers, in the subjugation of the Patan rebels, he compelled Salabut Jung to raise the son of Mirzapha Jung, the late Subahdar, and friend of the French, to the government, originally enjoyed by that unfortunate prince, of the strong hold of Adoni and its territory, augmented by the possessions of two of the Patan nobles, by whose treachery the father was slain. “An example of generosity,” says Mr. Orme, “which, if true, could not fail to raise admiration in book iv.Chap. 2. 1754. a country, where the merits of the father are so seldom of advantage to the distresses of the son.”1
The settlement of the dominions of Salabut Jung was formidably opposed by the Mahrattas, who, in the weakness which ensued upon the death of Nizam al Mulk, were actively employed in adding to their conquests as much as possible of the Subah of Deccan. A Mahratta general, named Balagee Row, had opposed himself, at the head of 25,000 horse, to the march of the Subahdar, between the Kistnah and Golconda, but, by negotiation and a suitable present, was induced to withdraw. Within a few months he appeared again, with a force which would have enabled him to gain important advantages, had not the talents of Bussy, and the execution of European firearms, which astonished the Indians, decided in a variety of engagements the fortune of the day. Danger came not from one quarter alone. Ghazee ad dien Khan, the eldest son of Nizam al Mulk, destined by his father to maintain the interests of his family at the court of the Mogul, had apparently acquiesced in the accession of his second brother to the government of Deccan, to which, as to a destined event, he had been accustomed to look. Upon the death however of Nazir Jung, as he had become very uneasy in his situation at court, he solicited, as the eldest son and successor of Nizam al Mulk, the appointment of Subahdar of Deccan. The assent of the Emperor, which was now a mere form without power, was easily obtained; and Ghazee ad dien arrived at Aurungabad in the beginning of October, 1752, at the head, it is said, of 150,000 men, of whom a large body were Mahrattas, commanded by Holkar Malhar. At the same time Balagee Row, and another Mahratta general, named Ragogeebook iv.Chap. 2. 1754. Bonsla, in concert, it is said, with Ghazee ad dien Khan, entered the province of Golconda with 100,000 horse. To meet these formidable armies, Salabut Jung and Bussy took the field with very unequal numbers; when Ghazee ad dien Khan suddenly died. He was an old man, worn out by the pleasures of the harem; and his sudden death was by no means a surprising event; but, as it was singularly opportune for Salabut Jung, it was ascribed to poison, said to be administered, at his instigation, by the mother of the deceased; and, as the event was favourable to the French, the story of its odious cause has been adopted, with patriotic credulity, by the English historians.1 The Mahratta generals still continued the war; but were in every encounter repulsed with so much slaughter by the French, that they soon became desirous of peace, and Salabut Jung was happy to purchase their retreat by the cession of some districts, to Balagee Row in the neighbourhood of Boorhanpore, and to Ragogee Bonsla, in the neighbourhood of Berar; where that Mahratta chief had acquired for himself an extensive dominion. By the services which, in all these dangers, Bussy had rendered to the cause of Salabut Jung,2 whom he alone preserved upon the throne, his book iv.Chap. 2. 1754. influence with that prince had risen to the greatest height: And though the envy and jealousy of the Ministers, and the weak character of the Subahdar, exposed his power to perpetual jeopardy; and on one occasion, when he was absent for the recovery of his health, had almost destroyed it; the prudence and dexterity of that able leader enabled him to triumph over all opposition. In the latter end of 1753 he obtained for his country the four important provinces of Mustaphanagar, Ellore, Rajamundry, and Chicacole, called the Northern Circars; “which made the French,” says Mr. Orme, “masters of the sea-coast of Coromandel and Orixa, in an uninterrupted line of 600 miles from Medapilly to the Pagoda of Jagernaut;”1 and “which,” says Colonel Wilks, “not only afforded the requisite pecuniary resources, but furnished the convenient means of receiving reinforcements of men and military stores from Pondicherry and Mauritius; and thus enabled Bussy to extend his political views to the indirect or absolute empire of Deccan and the south.”2 All these brilliant advantages were now cordially resigned by M. Godheu; and it will certainly be allowed that few nations have ever made, to the love of peace, sacrifices relatively more important.
Dupleix, says Mr. Orme, whose concluding strictures upon his enemy are equally honourable to the writer and the subject, “departed on his voyage to Europe, on the 14th of October, having first delivered his accounts with the French Company to Mr. Godheu, by which it appeared that he had disbursed on their account near three millions of rupees more than he had received during the course of the war. A great part of this sum was furnished out of his own estate, and the rest from moneys which he borrowedbook iv.Chap. 2. 1754. at interest, from the French inhabitants at Pondicherry, upon bonds given in his own name. Mr. Godheu referred the discussion of these accounts to the Directors of the Company in France, who pretending that Mr. Dupleix had made these expenses without sufficient authority, refused to pay any part of the large balance he asserted to be due to him; upon which he commenced a law-suit against the Company; but the ministry interfered and put a stop to the proceedings by the King’s authority, without entering into any discussion of Mr. Dupleix’s claims, or taking any measures to satisfy them. However, they gave him letters of protection to secure him from being prosecuted by any of his creditors. So that his fortune was left much less than that which he was possessed of before he entered upon the government of Pondicherry, in 1742. His conduct certainly merited a very different requital from his nation, which never had a subject so desirous and capable of extending its reputation and power in the East Indies; had he been supplied with the forces he desired immediately after the death of Anwar-o-dean Khan, or had he afterwards been supported from France in the manner necessary to carry on the extensive projects he had formed, there is no doubt but that he would have placed Chunda Saheb in the nabobship of the Carnatic, given law to the Subah of the Deccan, and perhaps to the throne of Delhi itself, and have established a sovereignty over many of the most valuable provinces of the empire; armed with which power he would easily have reduced all the other European settlements to such restrictions as he might think proper to impose. When we consider that he formed this plan of conquest and dominion at a time when all other Europeans entertained the book iv.Chap. 2. 1754. highest opinion of the strength of the Mogul government, suffering tamely the insolence of its meanest officers, rather than venture to make resistance against a power which they chimerically imagined to be capable of overwhelming them in an instant, we cannot refrain from acknowledging and admiring the sagacity of his genius, which first discovered and despised this illusion.”1
In a short time after the conclusion of this treaty, both Saunders and Godheu took their departure for Europe; pleasing themselves with the consideration that, by means of their exertions, the blessings of peace between the two nations in India were now permanently bestowed. Never was expectation more completely deceived. Their treaty procured not so much as a moment’s repose. The English proceeded to reduce to the obedience of their Nabob the districts of Madura and Tinivelly. The French exclaimed against these transactions, as an infringement of the treaty with Godheu; but finding their remonstrances without avail, they followed the English example, and sent a body of troops to reduce to their obedience the petty sovereignty of Terriore.
Madura was a small kingdom, bordering on Trichinopoly towards the south; and Tinivelly was a kingdom of similar extent, reaching from the southern extremity of Madura to Cape Comorin. These countries had acknowledged the supremacy of the Mogul government of Deccan, and had paid tribute through the Nabob of Arcot. When Chunda Saheb was master of Trichinopoly, he had set up his own brother as Governor of Madura; but during the disturbances which followed, a soldier of fortune, namedbook iv.Chap. 2. 1755. Aulum Khan, obtained possession of the city and government. When Aulum Khan marched to the assistance of Chunda Saheb at Trichinopoly, where he lost his life, he left four Patan chiefs to conduct his government, who acted as independent princes, notwithstanding the pretensions of Mahomed Ali, as Nabob of Arcot. To compromise the dispute about Trichinopoly, Mahomed Ali had offered to resign Madura to the Mysoreans. And upon his liberation from the terror of the French arms, by the treaty of Godheu, he prevailed upon the English to afford him a body of troops to collect, as he hoped, and as the English believed, a large arrear of tribute from the southern dependencies of his nabobship.
The troops proceeded to the city of Madura, which they took. The Polygars, as they are called; the lords, or petty sovereigns of the several districts; overawed by the terror of European arms, offered their submissions, and promised to discharge the demanded arrears; but for the present had little or nothing which they were able to pay. Instead of the quantity of treasure which the Nabob and English expected to receive, the money collected sufficed not to defray the expense of the expedition. The disappointment and ill humour were consequently great. The conduct of the English officer who commanded became the subject of blame. He formed a connexion, which promised to be of considerable importance, with Marawar; a district, governed by two Polygars, which extended along the coast on the eastern side of Madura, from the kingdom of Tanjore till it joined Tinivelly; but this connexion gave umbrage to the Polygar Tondeman, and the Rajah of Tanjore, in satisfaction to whom it was renounced. With Maphuz Khan, the brother of the Nabob, who attended book iv.Chap. 2. 1755. the expedition, as future Governor of the country, the officer formed an agreement, at a rent which was afterwards condemned, as not one half of the requisite amount: And the English detachment, upon its return, was imprudently exposed in a narrow pass, where it suffered severely by the people of the country. From all these causes, the existing displeasure found an object and a victim, in the unlucky officer, who was tried, and dismissed from the Company’s service.1
About the same time with these transactions in Madura, Salabut Jung, accompanied by Bussy and the French troops, marched against the kingdom of Mysore, to extort arrears of tribute, said to be due from it, as a dependency of the Subah of Deccan. Upon this emergency, the Mysorean army before Trichinopoly (the Mysoreans had refused to abandon their pretensions upon Trichinopoly, when the treaty was concluded between the English and French), was recalled. As the Mysoreans were threatened at the same time by an army of Mahrattas under Balagee Row, they were happy to acquire the protection of Salabut Jung, by acknowledging his authority, and paying as large a sum as it was possible for them to raise.
By the departure of the Mysoreans from Trichinopoly, Mahomed Ali was left without an ostensible opponent in Carnatic: and he was vested, as pompously as circumstances would permit, with the ensigns of his office and dignity, at Arcot. It still remained to compel the Zemindars or Polygars, and other Governors of forts and districts, to yield him a revenue. The English, after stipulating to receive one half of all the moneys collected, sent with him a large detachment to enforce a tribute from thebook iv.Chap. 2. 1755. northern chiefs, who recognized the authority of the Nabob, and produced a portion of the demanded sums. The reputed riches of Mortiz Ali, the Governor of Velore, rendered his subjugation the main object of desire. The English detachment was strongly reinforced; and encamped with the Nabob within cannon-shot of the fort. Mortiz Ali applied to the French. M. Deleyrit, who was Governor of Pondicherry, informed the English presidency, that he regarded their proceedings at Velore as a violation of the treaty; and that he should commence hostilities, if their troops were not immediately withdrawn. The English rulers, soon aware that Velore could not be easily taken; and unwilling to put to proof the threat of Deleyrit, who had made 700 Europeans, and 2,000 Sepoys take the field; recalled the army to Madras. An attempt was made to obtain a contribution for the Company from Mortiz Ali; but the negotiation terminated without any effect.1
Meanwhile the Polygars of Madura and Tinivelly who had made an ostensible submission during the presence of the English troops, were affording dangerous employment to the Governor Maphuz Khan. A confederacy was formed, which it soon appeared that the Governor was altogether unable to withstand. The English sent a large body of Sepoys. But in spite of this support, the refractory chiefs continued unsubdued; the country was thrown into confusion by a petty warfare which extended itself into every corner of the provinces; and no tribute could be raised. Highly dissatisfied with the unproductive state of a country, which they had fondly believed to be the richest dependency of the Carnatic Nabob, the English determined to manage it themselves; and book iv.Chap. 2. 1755. Maphuz Khan was ordered to return to Trichinopoly. But that chief entered immediately into confederacy with the Polygars; set himself in opposition to the English; obtained possession of the town and fort of Madura by a stratagem: And, with much uneasiness to the English, the disturbances in Madura and Tinivelly were prolonged for several years.1
During these transactions of the English, not very consistent with their agreement not to interfere in the disputes of the native princes or add to their territory in India, the French were restrained from that active opposition which, otherwise, it is probable, they would have raised, by the dangerous situation of their affairs under the government of the Subahdar.
The enemies of Bussy, in the service and in the confidence of Salabut Jung, were both numerous and powerful; and exerted themselves in concert, and with eagerness, to change the confidence and attachment of their feeble-minded master into distrust and hatred. It was now about two years and a half since the grant of the northern Circars; when certain favourable circumstances enabled them to make so deep an impression on the mind of this prince, that the French troops were ordered to quit his territories without delay. Bussy, in expectation, probably, that the necessities of the Subahdar would speedily make him eager to retract his command, showed no hesitation in commencing his march. It was continued for eight days without interruption: but his enemies had a very different intention from that of allowing him to depart in safety. When he approached the city of Hyderabad, he found his progress impeded by large bodies of troops; and the road obstructed by all the chiefs of the neighbouring countries; who had orders to intercept his march. Upon this he resolved to occupy a post of considerable strength, adjoining thebook iv.Chap. 2. 1755. city of Hyderabad; to defend himself; and try the effect of his arms, and of his intrigues among the chiefs, whom he well knew, till the reinforcements which he expected from Pondicherry should arrive. Though surrounded by the whole of the army of the Subahdar, and so feeble in pecuniary means, that his Sepoys deserted for want of pay, and he durst not venture them in sallies, for fear of their joining the enemy, he found the means of supplying himself fully with provisions, and of resisting every attack, till his succours arrived; when the Subahdar sent to demand a reconciliation, and he was restored to a still higher degree of influence and authority than he had previously enjoyed.
Among the means which had been employed to reconcile the mind of Salabut Jung to the dismissal of the French, was the prospect held up to him of replacing them by the English. No sooner therefore were the measures against Bussy devised, than an application was made for a body of troops to the Presidency of Madras. To the Presidency of Madras, few things could have presented a more dazzling prospect of advantage; and in any ordinary situation of their affairs, the requisition of the Subahdar would have met with an eager acceptance. But events had before this time taken place in Bengal which demanded the utmost exertions of the English from every quarter; made them unable to comply with the proposal of the Subahdar; and thenceforward rendered Bengal the principal scene of the English adventures in India.1
Vide supra. Also Aurungzebe’s Operations in Deccan, by Scott, p. 6.
History and Management of the East India Company, from an authentic MS. account of Tanjore. See also Orme, i. 108, who in some particulars was misinformed.
“The meaning of this letter is to let your Majesty know, I shall esteem it a great honour to be upon such terms with your Majesty, as may be convenient to both; for which reason, I hope, this will meet with a gracious acceptance, as likewise the few things I send with it.” Letter from Governor Floyer to Pretaupa Sing, King of Tanjore, dated 30th Nov. 1746.—“I received your letter, and am glad to hear of the King of Tanjore’s regard and civility towards the English: You may be assured, that after the arrival of our ships, which will be very soon, I will serve the King, and all the people that will do us good against the French, who are enemies to all the world.” Letter from Governor Floyer to Maccajeeniko, officer of the King of Tanjore, dated 3d Jan. 1747.—“This is to acquaint your Majesty of the good news we have received from Europe two days past. The French nation (enemies both to your Majesty and the English) had fitted out a force with design to drive the English out of India; and had they been successful, they would never have stopped there; but would have made settlements in whatever parts of your country they liked best; as they have already done at Carical. But it pleased God, that their vile designs have been prevented; for our ships met them at sea, and took and destroyed the whole of them. …I do not at all doubt, but that in a short time we shall be able to put you in possession of Carical, which I hear you so much wish for.” Letter from Governor Floyer to the King of Tanjore dated 19th Jan. 1748. See i. 25, 26, of a Collection of Papers, entitled Tanjore Papers, published by the East India Company in three 4to. volumes, in 1777, as an Appendix to a vindication of the Company, drawn up by their counsel Mr. Rous, in answer to two pamphlets; one entitled “State of Facts relative to Tanjore;” the other, “Original Papers relative to Tanjore.” This collection of papers, I shall commonly quote, under the short title of Rous’s Appendix.
Orme, i. 109–119. History and Management of the East India Company, p. 68–70.
History and Management, p. 69.
This is stated by Orme, (ii. 318) who tells us not who this uncle was (he must have been maternal), but only that he was the guide of his nephew, and the head of his party.
According to Colonel Wilks, (p. 5) the ancient name was Canara, and the Canara language is only found within a district bounded by a line, beginning near the town of Beder, about sixty miles N. W. from Hyderabad, waving S. E. by the town of Adoni, then to the west of Gooti, next by the town of Anantpoor, next Nundidroog, next to the eastern Ghauts, thence along the range of the eastern Ghauts southwards to the pass of Gujjelhutty, thence by the chasm of the western hills, between the towns of Coimbetoor, Palatchi, and Palgaut, thence northwards along the skirts of the western Ghauts, nearly as far as the sources of the Kistna, thence in an eastern and afterwards north eastern direction to Beder. He adds, p. 6, that the Tamul language was spoken in the tract extending from Pullicat, (the boundary of the Talinga language on the south) to Cape Comorin, and from the sea to the eastern Ghauts. This tract bore, anciently, the name of Drauveda, “although,” says the Colonel, “the greater part of it is known to Europeans exclusively by the name of Carnatic.” It was called by the Mahomedans Carnatic below the Ghauts, as Canara proper was called Carnatic above the Ghauts.
By Mr. Orme, i. 41. Col. Wilks, states on verbal authority, that the Mahrattas were invited by the eldest son of the Nabob, jealous of Chunda Saheb, ubi supra, p. 251.
For this part of the History of Deccan in detail, see Orme, i. 36–62; Cambridge’s War in India, p. 1–6; History and Management of the East India Company, p. 50–72; Memoire pour Dupleix, p. 35–43; Memoire contre Dupleix, p. 19–59; Revolution des Indes, i. 67–289. This last work was published anonymously in two volumes 12mo. in 1757. It is written with partiality to Dupleix; but the author is well informed, and a man of talents. The leading facts are shortly noticed by Wilks, ch. vii.
Seer Mutakhareen, iii. 115. Wilks says he was Governor of the strong fort of Adoni, ch. vii.
Memoire pour la Compagnie des Indes contre le Sieur Dupleix, p. 39.
Orme, i. 127; Memoire, ut supra, p. 40; Memoire pour le Sieur Dupleix, p. 45.
Memoire pour Dupleix, p. 47. The French Company assert, in their Memoir against Dupleix, (p. 44), that it was to gratify his vanity by this display, that the chiefs delayed the march to Trichinopoly: which seems the invention of malignity. Orme says, with better reasons, that to keep the army in obedience, it was necessary to obtain money, which they levied by contribution in the province.
Orme, i. 133–136; Mem. pour Dupleix, p. 51. The French Company accuse Dupleix again falsely of being the author of the ill-timed invasion of Tanjore: Mem. contre Dupleix, p. 45.
Seer Mutakhareen, iii. 115. Mr. Orme (i. 136) is mistaken when he says that Nazir Jung had marched toward Delhi, to oppose his elder brother: it was at a subsequent date that Ghazee ad dien marched for Deccan.
Orme, i. 136, 137.
Memoire pour Dupleix, p. 53.
Ibid. p. 54.
Rous’s Appendix, i. 8–22.
Orme, i. 130, 133, 138.
Cambridge’s War in India, p. 6–11; Orme, i. 138–142; History and Management of the East India Company, p. 73; Memoire pour Dupleix, p. 54; Memoire contre Dupleix, p. 47; Revolution des Indes, i. 232–238.
For the above details see Orme, i. 142–166. History and Management of the East India Company, p. 74–79; Cambridge’s War in India, p. 10–16; Seer Mutakhareen, iii. 116–118, the author of which says that Mirzapha Jung had a plot against the Patans, who on this occasion were not the aggressors; Memoire pour Dupleix, p. 55–68, who says he entered into the conspiracy against Nazir Jung, because he would not listen to peace; Memoire contre Dupleix, p. 47–61; Wilks, chap. vii. with whom Dupleix is a favourite.
Memoire contre Dupleix.
Laurence’s Narrative in Cambridge’s War in India, p. 28. “In the middle of July,” says Orme, i. 182, “the discontent which prevailed among the officers made it necessary to remove several of them at a time when there were very few fit to succeed to their posts.
Law, the commander of the French forces, whom I am much more inclined to believe than Dupleix, one of the most audacious contemners of truth that ever engaged in crooked politics, asserts his want of strength for any efficient operation; as Dupleix, who had entered into a correspondence with Mahomed Ali, and relied upon his promise to open to the French the gates of Trichinopoly, sent him not to attack Trichinopoly, but to receive possession of it; he adds, that when they were surprised by Mahomed Ali’s firing upon them from the walls, they had not a single piece of battering or heavy canon in the camp; that it was three months before they were supplied with any; that at first the whole army consisted of 11,860, but after the detachment sent for the recovery of Arcot, it consisted only of 6,680, of whom 600 only were Europeans. See Plainte du Chevalier Law contre le Sieur Dupleix, p. 21–23. Dupleix, on the other hand (Memoire, p. 74), speaking in round humbers, says that the natives, who had joined Chunda Saheb, raised the army to 30,000 men. So widely asunder are the statements of these two men, at the head of the departments, civil and military.
See a panegyrical life of him, for which his family furnished materials, in Kippis’s Biographia Britannica, vol. iii. art. Clive.
Dupleix accuses Law with great violence, for not intercepting this convoy, and the English writers have very readily joined with him. But if the facts asserted by Law are true, it was from want of means, not of capacity or inclination, that he failed. He says that the whole army, even after it was joined by the remains of the detachment sent to Arcot, and by the body under Aulum Khan, did not amount to 15,000, while the enemy were three times the number: That the cavalry of Chunda Saheb, who had long been without pay, refused to act; and were joined by several other corps of the native army: That from the importunate commands of Dupleix to blockade and starve Trichinopoly, he had extended his posts much beyond what the smallness of his means rendered advisable; and was weak at every point: That he made every effort to intercept the convoy at a distance; but the cavalry of Chunda Saheb refused to act; and Aulum Khan, after promising to support the detachment, failed, on the pretext that there was not a farthing to give him. See the details as stated by Law, Plainte, p. 23–28. The Company, in their reply to Dupleix, defend the conduct of Law. Mem. contre Dupleix, p. 74.
This movement has been violently condemned, and Dupleix ascribes to it the defeat of his schemes; but Major Laurence (Narrative, p. 31) says that “they (the English officers) reckoned it a prudent measure at the time.” From the weakness of the French a retreat was unavoidable. Law asserts that had they permitted the English to take possession of Seringham, they were taken in Caudine forks. He asserts also that they were already suffering for want of provisions; and that between abandoning Trichinopoly altogether, and the resolution which he adopted, there was no middle course. The wise course would have been, no doubt, to abandon Trichinopoly; and of this, Law says, he was abundantly aware. But this the reiterated and pressing commands of Dupleix absolutely forbad. I confess the defence of Law seems to me satisfactory. Plainte du Chev. Law, p. 29–31. Orme says that the enemy burned a great store of provisions, when they passed over into Seringham; but what Law says is much more probable, that the army was already beginning to be in want.
This is directly affirmed by the French East India Company (Memoire contre Dupleix, p. 70), and evidenced by extracts which they produce from the letters to Dupleix written by his own agent, at the court of the Subahdar. Mr. Orme says (i. 252) that the patent of Nabob was actually procured before Chunda Saheb’s death. The truth is, that each of them, Chunda Saheb, and himself, wished to get rid of the other, and to be Nabob alone; and they were endeavouring, by mutual treachery, to disappoint each other’s designs. Mem. ut supra, and its Appendix No. vi. For the above details, from the death of Mirzapha Jung, see Orme, i. 186–242; History and Management of the East India Company, p. 80–82; Cambridge’s War in India, 16–37; Memoire pour Dupleix, p. 71–77; Memoire contre Dupleix, p. 70–74; Plainte du Chevalier Law, p. 19–35. Law says, p. 33, that they made some attempts for the escape of Chunda Saheb, by water; but the river was too shallow at the time to float the boat.
Laurence’s Narrative, p. 38.
Colonel Wilks is very severe on the treachery of the Nabob, and on the English for abetting it. Historical Sketches, ut supra, p. 285–291.
Laurence’s Narrative, p. 42.
Laurence’s Narrative, p. 52.
In his letter to the French minister, dated 16th October, 1753, he says the recruits whom the Company sent him were, enfans, décroteurs, et bandits. He says, “L’examplé que vous a présenté l’Angleterre en n’envoyant que des troupes aguerries auroit du engager la Compagnie à avoir la mème attention dans le choix.” He adds, “Je ne sais que penser de celui qui est chargé des recrues, mais je crois qu’il n’y employe pas la somme que la Compagnic lui passe pour chaque homme: c’est n’est sans doute pas votre intention m la sienne, mais il n’en est pas moins vrai que tout se qui nous parvient n’est qu’un ramassis de la plus vile cauaille.—Permettez moi, monseigneur, de vous supplier de donner à ce sujet les ordres les plus precis; la gloire du roi y est interessée, ce motif vous paroîtra plus que suffisant pour exiger toute votre attention. Je n’ose voùs dire tous les mauvais propos qui se tiennent sur l’envois de ces malheureuses troupes; l’Anglois en fait de gorges chaudes, il n’a eu que trop d’occasions de les mepriser; les Maures et les Indiens commencent à perdre la haute idée qu’ils avoient conçue de nous, et nos officiers ne se mettent que malgré eux à leur tête; ce n’est qu’un cri à ce sujet.” Memoire pour Dupleix, Pieces Justific. Lett. de M. Dupleix, à M. de Machault, p. 50. In the same letter he says, “Pour les officiers il y en a peu, ou pour mieux dire point du tout qui soient en etat de commander; la bravoure ne leur manque point, mais les talens n’y repondent pas: dans le nombre sur-tout de ceux arrivés l’année derniere, la plupart n’etoient que des enfans, sans la moindre teinture du service; le soldat s’en moque, et souvent avec juste raison.” Ibid. p. 51. Speaking in the same letter of the services of Bussy, along with Salabut Jung, he says, “Si j’en avois un second ici, je vous proteste, monseigneur, que toutes les affaires de cette partie seroient terminées, il y a plus de deux ans.” Ibid. p. 57. Nor was this an empty boast: So near was he to the accomplishment of his object, without any such important assistance, that the talents of a man like Bussy, in the Carnatic, would soon have placed him at its head.
This fact is stated on the satisfactory authority of Col. Wilks, who had an opportunity of perusing the correspondence of Laurence with the Presidency. Historical Sketches, ut supra, p. 342.
For this war, Laurence’s Narrative, in Cambridge’s War, p. 38–95; Orme, i. 245–249, 253–322, 337–365; Mem. pour Dupleix, p. 78–111; Wilks, ut supra, p. 285–340, yield the most important materials.
Orme, i. 337; Laurence’s Narrative, p. 81; Mem. pour Dupleix, p. 83; Wilks, p. 338. The English writers, with the exception of Wilks, make no allusion to any pretence of a patent held out by the English. But it is so distinctly asserted by Dupleix, who appeals to the letters of Saunders, to which his opponents had access, that I doubt not the fact. The English writers, who are very severe upon the French forgeries, say, that the conferences were broken off when the French, who had permitted their papers to be so far copied by the English, withdrew them upon the English allegations that they were forged. Dupleix on the other hand says, that he refused to permit the French papers any longer to be copied, when the English failed to produce any on their side which might undergo the same operation.
Mem. pour Dupleix, p. 89. As this assertion (made before persons highly competent to contradict it, and for which an appeal is made to the Journal of Duvelaer) is not denied in the Answer of the Company to the Memoire of Dupleix, it is entitled to credit.
Col. Wilks (p. 345) must have read the treaty very carelessly, to imagine that “the substantial Moorish government and dignity of the extensive and valuable provinces of the Northern Circars were not noticed in the treaty,” when the very first article of the treaty says, “The two Companies, English and French, shall renounce for ever all Moorish government and dignity, and shall never interfere in any differences that arise between the princes of the country.” Mr. Orme too (so easily is the judgment warped of the best of men when their passions are engaged) imagined it would have been no infringement of the treaty, to assist the Mahrattas with English troops from Bombay, for the purpose of compelling Salabut Jung to dismiss Bussy and the French, and deprive them of the Northern Circars. Orme, i. 406.
This is the number stated by Laurence, Narrative, p. 95; Orme, i. 371, calls it 1,200; Godheu, in his letter to Dupleix, received two days before his landing, calls it 2,000 (Mem. pour Dupleix, p. 101). And Dupleix himself asserts (Ibid. p. 111), that by the troops newly arrived his force was rendered superior to that of the English.
Memoir pour Dupleix, p. 111.
Orme, i. 249.
The author of the Seer Mutakhareen, whom as better informed I follow in all affairs relating at this period to the court of Delhi, says, (iii. 19) that he died suddenly, without any mention of poison. The story of the poison is, indeed, presented in a note by the translator; who does not however impute the fact to the mother of Ghazee ad dien, but to the ladies of his harem in general.
The oriental historian describes the efficacy of the French operations in battle in such expressions as these: “At which time the French, with their quick musketry and their expeditions artillery, drew smoke from the Mahratta breasts:” “they lost a vast number of men, whom the French consumed in shoals at the fire-altars of their artillery.” Seer Mutakhareen, ii. 118.
Orme, i. 334.
Wilks, ut supra, p. 338.
Orme, i. 377. Voltaire says, (Precis du Siecle de Louis XV. ch. xxxix.) Dupleix fut reduit à disputer à Paris les tristes restes de sa fortune contre la Compagnie des Indes, et à solliciter des audiences dans I’antichambre de ses juges. Il en mourut bientôt de chagrin.
Orme, i. 380–387; Cambridge’s War in India, p. 109–113.
Orme, i. 388, 398, 419; Cambridge, p. 111, 117, 119.
Orme, i. 399, 420; Cambridge, p. 188.
Orme, i. 429–436, and ii. 89–104; Wilks, p. 380–388. It is amusing to compare the account of Bussy’s transactions on this trying occasion, in the pages of Owen Cambridge (War in India, p. 132–135,) written under halt information, and fulness of national prejudice, with the well informed and liberal narratives of Orme and of Wilks.