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1803. Dec. 6.
CHAP. at various points by strong iron gates. Wellington re
solved to attack it on the northern front, where the ground is comparatively level, though to reach that quarter required a circuit of thirty miles, over rugged intervening mountains.* Thither the heavy ordnance and stores were dragged, over heights hitherto deemed impassable for all but foot-soldiers, and at length a sufficient number of cannon were placed in the trenches on that side to commence battering. With such vigour was the fire sustained, that by the evening of the 14th the breach in the outer wall was declared practicable. Arrangements were immediately made for the storm, which were carried into execution on the following morning, with the most perfect success. The troops on the north side, headed by the flank companies of the 94th regiment, mounted the breach with irresistible vigour, while a false attack on the south distracted the attention of the enemy. The outer wall
was stormed through the breach, the inner surmounted by Welling- escalade ; and at the moment when the fugitive garrison
were attempting to escape by the southern ports, they i. 550, 554. were met by the victorious British, who, in that quarter
also, had made their way in, and all made prisoners.?
The capture of this stronghold, deemed over all India These dis
. impregnable, following such a train of disasters, at length pel the con- broke the proud spirit of the Mahratta princes. Nego
tiations in real earnest were now resumed, and a treaty was concluded two days afterwards between Wellington and the Rajah of Berar. By this pacification it was stipulated that the Rajah should cede to the Company all the territories which he had possessed in the Deccan, the province of Cuttack, and various districts to the south of the hills of Gawilghur. While by a subsequent treaty with Scindiah, all his territories in the Doab, between the Jumna and the Ganges; the fortresses of
ton's Desp. Dec. 15, 1803. Gurw.
sue for peace. Its
terms, Dec. 17.
* Stevenson's force was to conduct the real attack against the north frontWellesley's own division to make a false one against the southern front. The 94th British regiment was attached to Stevenson.
Baroach and Ahmednuggur, with their circumjacent terri- CHAP. tory ; the whole district below the Adjuntee hills and the Godavery river, were made over to the Company. By these glorious treaties, territories containing thirty-two thousand square miles, and yielding, even under all the disadvantages of the Mahratta rule, nearly three millions sterling a-year of revenue, including Delhi, the ancient 1 See the capital of the Mogul emperors, Agra, Gwalior, and many Grerat.i. other fortresses, were acquired by the British government, 545, 571, and their influence was rendered paramount through the i. 323, 326. whole north of Hindostan.1*
The termination of the Mahratta war, though it established the political supremacy of the British in India, Pecuniary and spread the fame of their valour over all Asia, yet ments of the left the government involved in considerable difficulties. On the com The expenses of moving such large bodies of men to such clusion of immense distances was very great ; and as the English, reversing the usual principles of Indian warfare, uniformly paid for everything which they required, their march, though hailed with blessings by the natives of the conquered provinces, proved extremely burdensome to the Company's treasury. The dangers of the war had been strongly felt in India, and seriously exaggerated in the mother country. The Company's stock had fallen in consequence, since the commencement of hostilities, from two hundred and fifteen to one hundred and sixty ; no less than £1,700,000 in specie had been remitted by the Court of Directors in the course of the year : and, large as this sum was, it was exceeded by the wants
By these treaties certain districts were to be ceded by the Mahratta chiefs to the Nizam. His minister, Mobiput Ram, was most anxious to secure information as to what particular countries or districts were likely to be ceded, and at a secret conference, offered Wellington ten lacs of rupees (£100,000) to
“ Can you keep a secret !" asked the English general.-—“Yes," replied Mohiput Ram.--"So can I,” answered the general. So universal is corruption at the native courts, that they have no conception that any functionary, how high soever, is above it. The conquests of the English were mainly ascribed by them to the incorruptible integrity of their officers, both civil and military, and the fidelity to engagements of their government.AUBEB, ii. 325.
CHAP. of the Indian treasury. Mercantile men, unacquainted
with the real state of affairs in the East, who estimated the propriety of all measures by their effect upon the value of their stock, or the amount of their dividends, and were incapable of appreciating the present sacrifices requisite to produce ultimate security to so vast a dominion, murmured loudly at these effects of Lord Wellesley's administration ; and the opinion became general in Great Britain, that his inordinate ambition had involved us in endless contests, which would ultimately prove fatal to our empire in the East. So vexatious were the restrictions with which his administration was surrounded, and so disproportioned the ideas of the Directors to the grandeur or the real nature of their situation, that he tendered his resignation to government, and
was only prevailed on to continue at the head of 1 Auber, ii. affairs in India on an assurance that, as soon as the Wel, Desp. present complicated transactions with the Mahrattas were
brought to a conclusion, he would be relieved from his duties."
Meanwhile the treaty already mentioned had been Negotia- concluded with Scindiah, by which it was stipulated that rupture with he should cede Gwalior and Gohud, and receive a subsiFeb. 27, diary force ; in other words, become entirely dependent
on the British government. These events, however, brought the English in contact with a still more formidable power, whose hostility it hitherto had been their studious care to avoid. Holkar commanded a powerful army, which was posted in a threatening position on the frontier of Scindiah's territory; and as he held several valuable possessions in the Doab, which had recently been ceded to the British government, it was indispensable to come to some terms to accommodate the conflicting interests of the parties. Though that wily chieftain, with the characteristic dissimulation of a Mahratta, professed the utmost desire to cultivate the friendship of the Company, it soon appeared that he had resolved on the
most determined hostility. Secret information reached CHAP. the governor-general, that he was underhand instigating the tributaries and dependants of the English to enter into a confederacy against them; and he even wrote to General Wellesley, threatening to overrun the British provinces with an innumerable army.* At length he openly sent an agent to Scindiah's camp to solicit that chieftain to renew hostilities with the British, and at 1 Malcolm, the same time he began plundering the territories of their 315, 316, ally, the Rajah of Jypore. Justly considering these acts 341, 345.
Wel. Desp. as equivalent to a declaration of war, the commander-in-iv. chief advanced into Holkar's territory."
General Wellesley was invested with the general direction of affairs, military as well as political, in the Deccan, Commenceand the territories of the Peishwa and Mahratta chiefs ; war with but he had no longer any active command in the war, arduous and the chief weight of the contest fell on General Lake character. in the northern provinces. Arduous as the conflict with Tippoo Sultaun and Scindiah had been, this last strife was still more formidable, from the recurrence of the Asiatic chief to that system of warfare in which the strength of the East, from the earliest ages, has consisted Without despising the aid of disciplined battalions and a powerful train of artillery, it was the policy of Holkar to trust chiefly to his cavalry ; to relieve his army of those encumbrances which retarded their march, and seldom failed to fall a prey in regular battles to the swift advance and daring courage of the British soldiers; and to trust
* “ Countries of many hundred miles in extent shall be overrun and plundered ; Lord Lake shall not have leisure to breathe for a moment; and calanities will fall on the backs of human beings in continual war by the attacks of my army, which overwhelms like the waves of the sea.”—HOLKAR to GENERAL WELLESLEY, Feb. 21, 1804; Malcolm, 315. In his letters to the Indian chiefs, tributary of England, he uniformly styled the English “ infidel Christians, the enemies of the Mussulman faith ;”—“ seditious men, whom they should be prepared to do distinguished service against;" and spoke of its being the object of the religion and the rule of Mussulmans, that the whole body of the Faithful having assembled together, they should be employed, heart and soul, in extirpating the profligate infidels. - See Intercepted Corresp. of HOLKAR—Well. Desp. iv. 48, 49.
316. Auber, ii. 345.
72. Holkar's strength and its causes.
CHAP. for success to the encompassing the European hosts, like
the Roman legions by the Parthian cavalry, with clouds of light horse, who could not be reached by the heavyarmed European squadrons. True, these irregular bodies could not withstand the charge of the English or sepoy dragoons, any more than the Saracens could the shock of the steel-clad Crusaders of Europe ; but they seldom awaited their approach, and, by hovering round their
columns, and cutting off their foraging and watering 1 Malcolm, parties, frequently reduced to extreme distress bodies of
men before whom they could not have stood a quarter of an hour in regular combat.
Holkar’s territories, though extensive, lay in different parts of the Deccan and Hindostan; they were for the
most part in a neglected state, from the devastation and Defeat and military license to which, from time immemorial, all the Mohammed Mahratta provinces had been subjected. He was a usurper
of his brother's rights ; his own family had never risen to the rank of considerable potentates ; and his present power was mainly owing to the vast concourse of predatory horsemen who, on the conclusion of peace by Scindiah and the Rajah of Berar, flocked to his standard as the only one which promised a continuance of violence and plunder. Vast bodies of these irregular but formidable freebooters swarmed in all the northern parts of the Deccan and over Hindostan; and the number of them, amounting to little short of a hundred thousand, whom this popular chieftain had collected under his banners, was so disproportioned to the resources of his dominions, that foreign conquest had become to him, as to Napoleon, a matter of necessity. Bands of these plunderers, before they were attracted by the reputation of the Mahratta chief, had already appeared in various quarters, spreading terror and devastation wherever they went; and one, ten thousand strong, which had passed the Kistna, burst into the British dependencies, and was making for the Toombudra, with the design of crossing