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lesley to Court of Directors,
CHAP. the 22d. A mutiny had broken out in the corps on the
preceding day, and the sepoys had arrested their officers. In this state of insubordination, no authority existed
capable of withstanding the British troops ; and the Lord Wel- whole French officers were, without bloodshed, delivered
up to the English authorities, on condition of private Nov. 21, property being preserved, and their being forthwith trans1798. Desp.
ported to France—conditions which were immediately and faithfully executed."
This bold and important stroke was very soon attended with the most important effects. The French influence at the native courts received a rude shock, while that of the English was proportionally augmented. The natives of the subsidiary corps almost all entered the British ranks, and formed an important addition to the sepoy force ; while the Nizam, overjoyed at his delivery from such supercilious defenders as those from whom he had now been rescued, renewed his ancient and cordial alliance with the East India Company. It soon appeared how necessary this decisive stroke had been, and what was the magnitude of the dangers which would soon have assailed the British power, if the war had not in this manner been at once carried into the enemy's territory. Secret information was received that Scindiah had entered into correspondence with Tippoo and the French ; the Peishwa was ascertained to have supported his views against the Company and the Nizam; the inveterate hostility of the Sultaun of Mysore was well known, and his preparations, though secretly conducted, were daily assuming a more formidable character. Zemaun Shah, and the terrors of an Affghaun invasion, operated as a powerful diversion, and rendered it necessary to station a large force on the northern frontiers of Hindostan. He had crossed the Indus at Attock, the
20. Its great effects in India.
is now more likely to end in discomfiture than victory. On my part, your lordship may depend on following your instructions implicitly.”—GENERAL HARRIS to LORD MORNINGTON, 23d June 1798; Pearce, i. 203.
place where Alexander passed that river, and reached CHAP.
XLIX. Lahore, where, on the first reverse to the British, the formidable force of the Sikhs would be ready to co
1799. operate with him for the expulsion of the infidels. A deep-laid plot was on foot for expelling the English · Lord Welfrom Bengal, Bahar, and all their provinces on the banks General of the Ganges, in which most of the Mohamedan chiefs 23,1799, of those countries were implicated; while the whole Desp: 1.681; Mahratta potentates were secretly intriguing against the Directors, British power, and only awaited the expected arrival of 1799,Ibid. i.
535. Pearce, the French from Egypt, to join openly in the general i. 244. confederacy against it. The indefatigable activity and commanding energy of
21. Lord Wellesley, however, enabled him to make head Wellesley
collects an against all these difficulties; and he soon made such pro- army for gress in the military preparations as enabled him, early in of Mysore.
. 1799, to anticipate the designs of his enemies, by striking a decisive blow at the heart of their power. The army collected at Madras was raised, before the close of the preceding year, to thirty thousand fighting men, with an immense battering train—a noble force, in an incomparable state of discipline and equipment ; while a cooperating body of six thousand men, in equally admirable condition, was ready to advance from Bombay under General Stuart. Explanations were demanded from Tippoo regarding his hostile measures, particularly his sending ambassadors to the Isle of France ;* but no reply was received, although the English government gave ample proof of their disposition to act with fidelity in conformity with the existing treaties, by relinquishing
* Ante, chap. XLVIII., $ 53, note.-Such was Tippoo's dissimulation and perfidy that, in his letter to Lord Wellesley of 2d August 1798, he said, “By the favour of God, bonds of friendship and union obtain between the two states ; and I am to the last degree disposed to give additional strength to the beneficial system of amity and peace.” On 4th August 1798, just two days after this letter was written, were framed the specific conditions of an offensive alliance against the British, accompanied with solicitations to the French Directory, and to the government of the Isle of France, to send an auxiliary force to aid in the conquest of India, which were found in the archives of Seringapatam.- PEARCE's Life of Wellesley, i. 211.
i. , 478.
means of defence.
CHAP. to him, at this very crisis, the territory of Wynaad, a
disputed district which, on Lord Wellesley's arrival in 1793. India, was in the possession of the British authorities
without any adequate title. A proposition on the part of the governor-general to open an amicable negotiation through Major Doveton, having been eluded with characteristic artifice* by the Sultaun, and the military preparations being complete, Marquis Wellesley, early in January, proceeded to Madras in person ; and on the
10th of February the army, under General Harris, Wel. Desp. entered the Mysore territory ; while, shortly before, Gene
ral Stuart had also advanced with his co-operating force from the side of Bombay.
Notwithstanding the depth and extent of his plans, Tippoo's Tippoo was on this occasion taken by surprise. He had
not anticipated the vigour and celerity of the new governor-general, and calculated upon being permitted to choose his own time, as on former occasions, from the supineness of government, for the commencement of hostilities. Had he been permitted to do so, he would have deferred the opening of the campaign till his preparations were complete, and the extensive confederacy in the course of formation was encouraged by the presence of a French auxiliary force. His military power, however, was already very great. Seringapatam was in a formidable state of defence, and he had above fifty thousand men in a central position, under arms. Finding, therefore, that his territories were menaced on two sides at once, he judiciously resolved to direct his efforts, in the first instance, against the least considerable of the invading armies; and with that view moved against General Stuart, even before he had crossed the Bombay frontier, and five days before
Tippoo wrote in answer to the communication announcing Major Doveton's mission,—" that being frequently disposed to make excursions and hunt, he was accordingly proceeding upon a hunting excursion; but that he would be pleased that the governor-general would be so good as to despatch Major Doveton to him unattended, or slightly attended." Tippoo to the Governorgeneral, Feb. 9, 1799.—WELLESLEY's Despatches, i. 452.
1 Wel. Desp.
General Harris entered Mysore. The Sultaun's force on CHAP. this occasion amounted to twelve thousand men, the flower
1799. of his army; but though the weight of the contest fell on two thousand European and sepoy troops, he was defeated after a violent struggle of three hours' duration, and i. 505, 508 quickly retired to the neighbourhood of Seringapatam, 21, 23. with the loss of fifteen hundred killed and wounded."
The progress of the grand army, thirty thousand strong, which advanced from the side of Madras, was at first very Progress of slow, owing to the immense battering and siege equipage Harris's which followed in its train, the enormous multitude of camp-followers which constantly encumber an Indian army, and the sickness which almost uniformly seizes the transport cattle when they leave the coast and ascend the high table-land of Mysore. They experienced, however, very little molestation from the Sultaun until the 27th March, when a general engagement took place. Tippoo’s army occupied a range of heights beyond the little town of Malavelly; and a distant exchange of cannon-shot from the batteries on either side at length led to a general action. He had above 50,000 men, and 180 guns, under his orders.* Colonel Wellesley (Wellington) commanded the division on the left, and General Floyd the cavalry in the centre. Harris himself was on the right. Owing to the exhausted state of the bullocks which drew the artillery, a delay occurred in the formation of the line, of which the Mysore infantry took advantage to make a daring charge on Colonel Wellesley's division, which moved on to the attack, and was considerably in advance, separated by a wide gap from the centre ; while a large * Tippoo's force was as follows : Regular infantry,
4,000 Regular horse,
6,000 Irregular horse,
7,000 Carnatic Peons,
Field-pieces, 144 ; heavy guns, 36. - PEARCE, i. 293, note.
CHAP. body of horse bore down on the right, under Harris him
self.* They were, however, gallantly repulsed by the bri1799. gade under Harris's orders; while the 33d, under Colonel
Wellesley in person, on the left, were ordered to reserve their fire till within pistol-shot, when they delivered it
with decisive effect, and immediately charged with the 1 Scherer, 1:23, 24 bayonet. The red-plumed dragoons of Floyd, soon after
coming up from the centre, charged them on the other Desp. April 5, 1799. flank, and completed the rout. Two thousand of the Wel. Desp.
enemy fell in the battle or the pursuit, while the loss of the victors did not exceed three hundred men.1
No further obstacle now remained to prevent the British Investment from taking up their ground before Seringapatam, which of Seringapatam.
was done on the 5th April. The assembled host, which April 5.
was soon joined by the corps under General Stuart, from Bombay, presented a formidable appearance when all united together, and exhibited a splendid proof of the magnitude and resources of the British empire in the East. Thirty-five thousand fighting men, a hundred pieces of battering cannon, and camp-followers in the usual Asiatic proportion of four to each soldier, formed a stupendous array of above a hundred and fifty thousand men, assembled on the high table-land of Mysore, three thousand feet above the level of the sea, and more than fourteen thousand miles from the parent European state.
The greatness of this effort will not be duly appreciated unless
it is recollected, that at the same moment twenty thou? Wel. Desp. sand admirable troops, under Sir James Craig, lay in the i. 517, and ii. 98.
territories of Oude, to guard the northern provinces of India from Zemaun Shah ;? that the army was collected
Colonel Wellesley, on this occasion, was not intended by General Harris to make the attack, but to wait till the onset was made by the right and centre, and orders to that effect were sent him by the commander-in-chief. When they were delivered, however, he saw, from the confusion into which the enemy in his front had fallen, that the attack could be made with more prospect of success by his division, and he said so to the officer who bore the despatches. He agreed with him, but stated that he had only to deliver his orders—but that he would report the circumstance, and Colonel Wellesley's opinion, to General Harris ; and that, if he did not hear from him to the contrary in ten minutes, he might conclude the suggestion was approved of. Nothing was