Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

in his fervice fhould be difmiffed, and an addition was made to the British detachment ferving at Hyderabad ; all difputes between the Nizam and the Paifhwah were adjusted, and the treaty was figned and ratified in the month of September. In carrying the treaty into execution, the French army at Hyderabad was furrounded by the English and the other troops of the Nizam, the Sepoys were difarmed, and the French officers were fecured, and fent prifoners to Bengal.

While matters were in this ftate of preparation, the intelligence arrived of the landing of the French in Egypt, and of the fubfequent victory of lord Nelfon. The governor-general, therefore, conceived this to be a favourable opportuty for opening a negotiation with Tippoo Sultaun. On the 8th of November, therefore, he addreffed a letter to that prince, apprifed him of his knowledge of his connexion with the French republic, and propofed his receiving major Doveton, in order to adjust every fubfifting difference. On the 10th of December he addreffed another letter to the fame effect, and immediately embarked for Fort George, where he found a letter from the fultaun, which had been received there the 15th of December. In this letter the fultaun expreffes the utmoft furprise at hearing that military preparations were on foot; and the report indeed, he fays, appeared fcarcely credible, confcious as he was of having obferved the treaty with the most inviolable fidelity. On the 25th of the fame month another letter was received from him, in answer to the two let ters of the govenor of the 4th and 8th of November. In this he con

gratulates his lordship on the victory over the French, whom he defignates as "a defigning and faithlefs people." He then proceeds to explain the nature of the pretended embaffy to the Ifle of France, which he defcribes as a mere mercantile adventure; and he doubts not but the French, "who are full of vice and deceit," have taken advantage of the departure of this fhip, to fpread about reports which were calculated to disturb the union between the two fircars. With refpect to receiving major Doveton, the fultaun does not directly obječt to it, but obferves, that, at the conclufion of the peace, he confidered every thing as finally adjufted, nor could he imagine that means more effectual could be adopted for giving ftability to the foundations of friendship and harmony, promoting the fecurity of ftates, and the welfare and advantage of all parties.

To this letter the govenor-general returned an answer, dated the 9th of January 1799, in which he renewed the propofition of opening a negotiation, and urged the fultaun not to delay his reply beyond the period of one day after the letter fhould reach him. To this letter, however, no answer was received till the 13th of February. The fultann's letter is without a date, and ftates, that he is then proceeding on a hunting expedition, and therefore begs that his lordfhip will difpatch major Doveton flightly attended.

In the mean time the governorgeneral, fearing the approach of the monfoon, had ordered lieutenantgeneral Harris to enter the territory of Myfore, with the army assembled under his command; and, in his reply to the fultaun, he informed him, that general Harris was now

Si car means flate or government.

the

the only perfon authorifed by his Jordfhip to receive whatever communications he might think fit to make with a view to the restoration of peace.

For various reafons, the reduction of the fortrefs of Seringapatam was the primary object of the campaign. The first movement of the army under general Harris was made on the 11th of February. The Nizam's contingent, confifting of about 12,000, and a large body of cavalry, joined the army on the 18th; and the next day general Harris forwarded the governor's letter to Tippoo Sultaun, published his lordship's declaration in the name of the allies, and commenced hoftilities by fending a detachment against the hill forts of Neeldurgum and Anchitty, which furrendered without resistance.

The whole of the campaign, indeed, evinced the bad ftate of preparation in which the fultaun was. On the 7th of March Odeadurgum furrendered to lieutenant-colonel Oliver, and the day after Ruttingheri, another hill fort, was taken after a flight refiftance.

The army under the command of lieutenant-general Harris confifted of about 31,000 men, exclufive of 6000 cavalry of the Nizam, all most completely equipped and appointed. The army on the coaft of Malabar, under lieutenant-general Stuart, was in an equally efficient ftate. On the 9th of March the general took a strong pofition at KeJamungalum, and the fultaun's army was, at this time, encamped in the vicinity of Maddoor. On the roth, the British army moved to Calla. condapilly; on the 12th they encamped two miles fouth-eaft of Jiggeny, and moved off at day-break, leaving the village of Anicul defended by a mud fort on their right.

After leaving this village, a body of the enemy's horfe appeared, but were foon difperfed by a few difcharges from the horse-artillery. On the 14th, the army came within fight of Bangalore, when about 4000 of the enemy's horfe again appeared, but, after a few fhot from the field-pieces, they drew off towards Bangalore. On the 16th, the army marched by the left, and took the route of Cankanelli; and this movement, it appears, effectually deceived the enemy, who deftroyed the forage on the road to Bangalore, but made not the leaft effort to deftroy it on the Cankanelli route. On the 20th, the left wing and cavalry took a pofition close to a pass about feven miles north from Cankanelli, and on the following day the whole army encamped at that place. It was now afcertained that Tippoo Sultaun had approached within fifteen miles; and, on the 23d, as the British approached Sultaunpettah, a cloud of duft to the weftward denoted that the fultaun was then in motion. In fact, he had quitted his pofition on the bank of the Maddoor river, and encamped at Mallavelly. It was expected that the fultaun would have difputed the paffage of the Maddoor river, as Syed Ghoffar, an officer in whom he repofed much confidence, had been posted on the heights, a little to the eastward, with 3000 infantry, 1000 horfe, and 10 guns; but was ob ferved to fall back on the approach of the British.

Though Tippoo, however, felt himself too weak to oppose the Britifh in this quarter, he had apparently flattered himself with more fanguine hopes from an attack on the Bombay army, under general Stuart. On the 6th of March he paffed his own frontier, and attacked a detachment of the Bombay

army,

army, the total ftrength of which did not exceed 6000 men. The force of Tippoo Sultaun on this occafion is estimated at 11,800 of his best troops: but they were, not withstanding, repulted with confiderable lofs. After this repulse it appears that the fultaun made a precipitate retreat to Seringapatam, and advanced on the 14th to meet general Harris.

On the 25th of March the army under general Harris was encamped five miles eaft of Mallavelly, and, by the best information they could collect from their fpies, it feemed to be the fultaun's intention to risk a battle. On the 27th, at day-break, the British army marched from its left flank on the great road leading to Mallavelly, and foon after came in fight of the fultaun's army. A general engagement took place along the whole front, but it was of fhort duration, for the enemy retired with their guns to the next height, where their fecond line was formed; and, as no advantage was to be derived from the purfuit, general Harris returned to his encampment at Mallavelly. The lofs of the enemy is reported to have amounted to 1obo in killed and wounded, while that of the Britifh did not exceed 70.-Such is the advantage of European tactics.

On the 3d of April the army came within fight of Seringapatam, and it appeared that Tippoo Sultaun had taken poft with his infantry clofe under the caft and fouth faces of the fort. At this time, however, he felt the difficulty of his fituation. By reports from his camp, it was underflood that he was extremely dejected and undetermined, and that plans of defence had been fuddenly formed and as precipitately abandoned. On the 5th, the British army, after a fhort march, took up its ground oppofite the weft face of

the fort of Seringapatam, at the diftance of 3500 yards. On the fame evening an attack was made on the out-pofts, and on the 6th the most confiderable of them were in poffeffion of the British.

On the 9th of April general Harris received a letter from the fultaun, in which he declared "that he adhered firmly to the treaties, and demanded the reafon of the advance of the English army, and of the occurrence of hoftilities." To this the general briefly replied, by refering to the letters which had been addreffed to the fultaun by the marquis Wellesley upon the fubject. Matters from this time to the 13th continued in a ftate of mutual preparation, when, fuddenly, a heavy fire commenced from the fort and batteries. In the evening of the fame day general Floyd's fignal guns were diftinctly heard, from which it was afcertained that he was within two marches of Seringa patam ; and as he had advanced to form a junction with the Bombay army, it was reafonably conjectured it could not be far diftant. Accordingly, on the fucceeding day, generals Floyd and Stuart arrived, and took their ground in the rear of general Harris's encampment. On the 16th the Bombay army croffed the Cauvery, and took a ftrong pofition. On reconnoitring, it was found that this river, which feparated the main encampment from the fort of Seringapatam, was almoft dry, and that its bed was a bare rock.

While the Bombay army was taking up its ground on the north fide of the Cauvery, fome of the enemy were obferved advancing towards a height near the ruined village of Agrarum, fituated to the weft fide of the fort. As this post was of great importance, it was attacked and carried by general Stuart, and

and it was afterwards connected, by intermediate pofts, with the main body. On the 22d a fpirited effort was made by the befieged; the Bombay army was attacked at all its posts in front by 6000 of the enemy's infantry, and Lally's corps of Frenchmen, who behaved with their accustomed gallantry. The attack was, however, repulfed on all fides, and the enemy compelled to retire with the lofs of 6 or 700 men.

we cannot but regard them as "weighty and important;" nor, at fuch a crifis, is it easy to fay of what advantage the gaining of a little time could be to the unfortunate prince. The most reafonable fuppofition is, therefore, that he really hoped, by negotiation, to render the British general more propitious, and to obtain terms fomewhat lefs fevere than thofe which were proposed. The British general, however, apparent

confidering the matter in the former light, briefly replied by refering to the terms forwarded on the 22d, as the only conditions on which he would treat.

Previous to this attack, generally Harris had received, on the night of the 20th, an overture of peace from the fultaun, and at noon on the 22d it was answered by sending a draft of preliminaries. The terms pro. pofed were, "to cede half his territories in perpetuity to the allies; to pay two crores of rupees; to renounce the alliance of the French for ever; to difmifs every native of France from his fervice; to receive embassadors from each of the allies; and to give as hoftages four of his fons and four of his principal officers." To this propofal the fultaun for the prefent returned no anfwer. On the 24th the enemy's guns on the weft face were entirely filenced, but they ftill fired from two round towers; against them, how. ever, a battery was opened, and they alfo were effectually filenced by the 26th. On the 28th the fultaun acknowledged the receipt of general Harris's propofals, and ftated, "that the points in queftion were weighty and important, and without the intervention of emballadors could not be brought to a conclufion; and that therefore he was about to fend to the general two gentlemen, who would explain themfelves perfonally to him." It has been fuppofed that this propofition, on the part of the fuitaun, was only calculated to gain time; but if we confider the nature of the propofed preliminaries, furely 1800.

The works being all completed, on the 2d of May the British batteries began to batter in breach. In the courfe of the day a practicable breach was made in the fauffe-traye wall; the main rampart was fo much fhattered, that it was expected a little more firing would reduce it to a fimilar ftate; and, to complete the misfortune of the besieged, a fhot having ftruck their rocket magazine, it blew up with a dreadful explosion. The breach being confidered as entirely practicable, on the evening of the 4th the troops deftined to storm, confifting of about 4000 men, were ftationed in the trenches before daybreak. The affault was led on by general Baird, and commenced at one o'clock. In fix minutes the forlorn hope had reached the fummit of the breach, where the British colours were inftantly difplayed. In a few minutes after, the breach, which was a hundred feet wide, was crowded with men. After a very short conflict the panic became general within the fort; thoufands precipitately quitted it, and others laid down their arms.

A flag of truce was foon after fent to the palace of the fultaun, offering him and his friends protection, proN vided

vided he inftantly furrendered unconditionally; but major Allan, who executed this commiffion, did not meet with the fultaun, as he was not in the palace. The young princes, however, who were in the palace, furrendered to general Baird, and were received with the ftrongeft affurances of protection. After much intreaty, and enforced even by threats, the gentlemen who had entered the palace were informed by the killedar, an officer of great truft, that the fultaun was not there; that he had been wounded during the affault, and lay in the gate-way on the north face of the fort. There, among heaps of flain, the body of the unfortunate monarch was found, covered with wounds; his eyes were yet open, and the body still warm. With a Roman fpirit, he difdained to grace the triumph of his adverfaries; and he fhewed his people, that, in the receffes of his palace he did not bafely fhrink from the conteft, while they were bravely contending on the battlement for his authority.

The character of this extraordinary man is differently reprefented, as oppofite parties and interefts have touched the portrait; while the difference of manners, the diftance of the fcene, and the obfcurity which involves an oriental court, renders it almost impoffible to afcertain the truth. He was born about the year 1749, and was in ftature rather thort of the middle fize, about five feet eight inches. His perfon was corpulent, his neck fhort, and his limbs fmall, particularly his feet and hands. His complexion was brown, his eyes large and full, his eyebrows fmall and arched, his nofe aquiline; and all agree, that in his countenance there was an expreffion of dignity.

Hyder Ally, confcious of his own difadvantages from a neglected

education, had been extremely fo licitous, it is faid, for the accomplishment of his fon. We have heard that Tippoo read and spoke more than one of the European languages. He was fond both of reading and writing, and latterly, it appears, kept a journal of every Occurrence. In his youth, and during the life-time of his father, he was held in univerfal esteem; but, after his acceffion to the throne, he is charged with cruelty and caprice. Defpotifm is undoubtedly a wretched corrupter of the human heart; and perhaps we form a falfe estimate when we measure the characters of Eastern monarchs by the principles of civilifed and Chriftian ftates.

In his drefs he was plain, in his manners unaffected; he was fond of horfemanfhip, and all the manly exercifes, and defpifed those who ufed carriages and palanquins. Indeed, in most of his habits he appears to have been of a fevere caft of character; he was rigidly exact in the punishment of drunkenness, and other vices; his religion was tinged with the fame character, and approached to fuperftition. political government he is charged with caprice; and yet the circumftance which gave most disgust to. the men of rank, that of railing perfons from low ftations to offices of importance, might proceed from the laudable defire of promoting and rewarding merit. He is fuppofed latterly to have acted under the infatuated perfuafion that Seringapatam was impregnable; yet it is allowed, that, on examining the works on the morning of the afault, he was undeceived, though he still rejected every idea of furrendering his capital. May we not, therefore, account for his conduct, by fuppofing him, from the first, to have

recon

« AnteriorContinua »