Immagini della pagina


[ocr errors]


11, 1801. Gurw. i, 84,

CHAP. forward with exultation to the service for which he was

. XLIX. destined; but a severe illness rendered it impossible for

him to follow out his destination. General Baird, therefore, proceeded alone ; and Colonel Wellesley, to whom the important and romantic character of the expedition had rendered it an object of the highest interest, continued, during his recovery, to write letters to his brave commanding officer, containing suggestions for the conduct of the campaign, and precautions against its dangers, highly characteristic of the sagacious foresight of his mind. General Baird conducted the expedition with

admirable skill, and contributed in no small degree, by Ante, chap. his threatening advance, to the surrender of the French Baird's Life, force at Cairo, and the triumphant issue of the Egyptian Col. Welles: campaign, which has been already recounted; while fate, ley to Gen, which here seemed to have blasted Colonel Wellesley in , April

the brightest epoch of his career, was only reserving him 97. Pearce's for higher destinies, and preparing, in the triumph of Wellesley, ii. 75, 87.' Assaye, the opening of that career which was destined to

bring the war in Europe to a triumphant conclusion.

Civil transactions, however, of the most important

nature, highly conducive to the power and stability of gerinition of the British empire in the East, ensued before the sword

was again drawn on the plains of Hindostan. The kingdom of Oude, had long been the seat of a large British force, both on account of the internal weakness of its government, and the importance of its situation on the northern frontier of India, and as the first state likely to fall a victim to foreign invasion. By existing treaties, the Company were at liberty to augment the subsidiary force serving in that province, if they deemed such increase requisite for the security of the two states ; and the mutinous, turbulent disposition both of the Vizier's soldiers and subjects, as well as his inextricable pecuniary embarrassments, had long made it too apparent that it was indispensably necessary for the very existence of society in these provinces, the security of our northern

38. Great ac

territory from the Vizier of Oude.



frontier, and as a guarantee of the pay of the troops, CHAP. that the weakness and corruption of the native govern

XLIX. ment should be exchanged for the vigour and equity of British rule. The native prince, however, though well aware of his inability either to conduct his own administration, or discharge his engagements to the British government, evinced the utmost repugnance to make the proposed grants of territory in discharge of his obligations to maintain a subsidiary force; but at length his scruples were overcome by the firmness and ability of the British diplomatic agent, Mr Henry Wellesley, and a treaty was concluded at Lucknow, by which his highness ceded to the Sept. 6. British government all the frontier provinces of Oude, particularly Goorackpoor and the lower Doab, containing thirty-two thousand square miles, or three-fourths of the area of England. The revenue of the ceded districts, at the time of the treaty, was estimated at considerably less than the subsidy which the Nawaub was bound to furnish for the pay of the subsidary force, by which alone his authority had been maintained ; but the British government was amply indemnified for this temporary loss by the rise of the revenue of the ceded districts, which, under the firm government of the Company, soon attained triple its former amount. At the same time, the native prince obtained the benefit of an alliance, offensive and defensive, with the Company, and a permanent force of thirteen thousand men to defend his remaining territories ; andSultaun's

Treaty, Wel. the inhabitants of the transferred provinces received the Despi incalculable advantage of exchanging a corrupt and colm, 322, oppressive native, for an honest and energetic European ii. 227, 231. government.1

Another transaction of a similar character, about the same period, put the British in possession of territories of Assumption equal value in the Carnatic. Among many other import- government ant papers discovered in the secret archives of Tippoo natic

. Sultaun, at Seringapatam, was a correspondence in cipher between that ambitious chief and the Nawaub of the


599. Mal

325. Auber,


of the

of the Car




CHAP. Carnatic, Omdut-ul-Omrah, which left no doubt that the

latter had been engaged in a hostile combination against the British government.* The situation of the rich and fertile district of the Carnatic, so near to the British provinces on the Madras coast, rendered it of the highest importance that no hidden enemy should exist in that quarter ; and as the authority of the Nawaub had been little more than nominal for a number of years past, Lord Clive, the governor of Madras, received orders to take military possession of the country in June 1801. The old Nawaub died about that time ; and, after a diffi

cult negotiation with his son, who had succeeded to his July 31. dominions, a treaty was at length concluded, by which

the British obtained the entire command of his dominions, under the condition only of providing an income suitable to the splendour and dignity of the deposed family. This stipulation, like all others of a similar character, was faithfully complied with ; and though, in making the cession, the young Nawaub unquestionably yielded to compulsion, yet he obtained for himself a peaceable affluence and splendid establishment ; for his country, the termination of a distracted rule and a ruinous oppression;

and for his subjects, blessings which they never could have 1 Wol. Desp. obtained under a native dynasty. The territories thus ij. 515, 531, 517,561' acquired amounted to twenty-seven thousand square miles, , 209, 211. and were of the richest description, embracing the plains

from the foot of the Mysore mountains to the coast of Coromandel.

But there never was a juster observation than the one Causes of already noticed, that conquest, to induce security, must be thie rupture universal ; for anything short of that only induces addiMahrattas. tional causes of jealousy, and a wider sphere of hostility.


. Auberii.

, Malcolm, 334, 360.


* This correspondence, the cipher to which was accidentally discovered, was very curious. It contained decisive evidence that the Nawaub had severely reprobated the Nizam's alliance with the English, as contrary to the dictates of religion; as well as the triple alliance between that potentate and the Mahrattas and the English, which had been the principal means in 1792 of reducing the power of Tippoo. The English were denominated Taza Waruds,

By destroying the power of Tippoo, and reducing the CHAP. Nizam to a mere tributary condition, the English had done what Napoleon had achieved by crushing Prussia, humbling Austria, and establishing the Confederation of the Rhine ; they had rendered inevitable a contest with a more formidable power than either, and induced a struggle for life or death with the most powerful nations in India. The formation of alliances, offensive and defensive, with the Nizam and the Rajah of Mysore, necessarily brought the British government into contact with their restless and enterprising neighbours the MahRATTAS, and made them succeed to all the complicated diplomatic relations between the courts of Hyderabad, Seringapatam, and Poonah. It is needless to examine minutely the causes of the jealousy and ultimate rupture which ensued between them. That the Mahrattasa powerful confederacy, inflamed by conquest, inured to rapine, whose hand was against every man and every man's hand against them, and who could bring two hundred thousand horsemen into the field-should view with apprehension the rapid advances of the English to supreme dominion, is not surprising ; the only thing to wonder at is, that, like the European powers in regard to Napoleon, they should so long have looked supinely on, while the redoubtable stranger beat down successively every native power within his reach. They owed, as already mentioned, a nominal allegiance to the Peishwa, who was the head of their confederacy, and held his seat of government on the musnud, or throne, at Poonah ; and it was with him that all the treaties and diplomatic intercourse, both of the Company and the native powers, had been held. But his authority, like that of the Emperor in the Germanic confederacy, was more nominal than



or the new-comers; the Nizam himself Fleech, or nothing ; and the Mahrattas Pooch, or contemptible. By the 10th article of the treaty of 1792, he was bound“ not to enter into any negotiation or political correspondence with any European or native power whatever, without the consent of the Company.”— Malcolm's India, 337, 339.



Auber, ii.


CHAP. real ; and the principal chiefs in this warlike, restless

race acted as much on their own account as the cabinets

of Vienna, Berlin, and Munich. Three of these had Lord Wel

. recently risen to eminence, and formed the chief powers Desp. iii. 26. Introd. with whom the English had to contend in the arduous 272, 273. conflict which followed—the RAJAH OF BERAR, SCINDIAH,


The Rajah of Berar had established his sway over all Character the territory from the sea, on the western shore of the tion of the Bay of Bengal, to the dominions of the Nizam on the Rajah Berar and south-west. His capital was at Nagpoor ; and he could

; of Scindiah. bring twenty thousand disciplined cavalry, and half that

number of infantry, into the field. Scindiah's power was much more considerable. Besides sixty thousand admirable horse, he had sixteen battalions of regular infantry under the command of European officers, and above two hundred pieces of cannon, ready for action. His dominions extended from the frontier of Guzerat to the banks of the Jumna. Holkar's territories were farther removed from the scene of action, being situated between the dominions of the Rajah of Scindiah and Bombay ; but his power was greater than that of either of the other chieftains. He could with ease bring eighty thousand men into the field : and though the greater part of them were cavalry, they were only on that account the more formidable to an invading enemy. The founder of the family of Scindiah, the grandfather of the present Rajah, had originally been a cultivator, and owed his rise, when a private soldier in the guard of the Peishwa, to the accidental circumstance of being discovered by his sovereign, when left at the door in charge of his slippers, asleep with the slippers clasped with fixed hands to his breast-a proof of fidelity to his humble duty which justly attracted the attention of the monarch. Both the present Rajah and his father had been the resolute opposers of the English power ; and though they wielded at will the resources of the Peishwa, they were careful to observe all the ceremonials of respect

« IndietroContinua »