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British army marched to the western frontier of that country, and drove the Mahrattas across the river. For this protection, the Rohilla chiefs had stipulated to pay Sujah Dowlah forty lacks of rupees (it must be observed that the British army moved, only as his allies): but when this essential service was performed, the payment of the money was evaded This breach of treaty led to the invasion and conquest of the Rohilla country, the following year, 1774.
A considerable tract of land in the Dooab, was also conquered from the Jats, and other adventurers; by which the boundary of Oude was advanced westward within 25 miles of Agra; north-westward, to the upper part of the navigable course of the Ganges; and south-westward, to the Jumnah river. In the following year (1775), on the death of Sujah Dowlah, and the accession of his son Azuph, a new treaty was made with the British
government, by which the quantum of the subsidy for the use of the brigade was increased; and the province of Benares, which produced a clear revenue of 240,00ol. per annum, was ceded to the Company.
The war with the Poonah, or western Mahrattas, of which we have already spoken (in page lxxxvii), occasioned the march of a brigade across the continent to the side of Bombay and Surat, in 1778-9. This is, perhaps, the most brilliant epoch of the British military history in India. The brigade, which consisted of less than 7000 men, all native troops, commanded by European officers, marched from the banks of the Jumnah to the western sea, in despite of the Mahrattas, whose empire they traversed almost the whole way. The French war breaking out at this time, and Hyder Ally expecting a communion of interests with the French, he, in the autumn of 1780, broke into the Carnatic with 100,000 troops; and those, both of foot and horse, the very best of their kind that had ever been disciplined by a native of India. His success in cutting to pieces Col. Baillie's detachment, and the consequent retreat of the Carnatic army, occasioned the British
interests in that quarter to be given up for lost, in the opinion of most people in Europe. Happily, Mr. Hastings and Sir Eyre Coote thought otherwise: and there was sent from Bengal, to the relief of the Carnatic, a brigade of about 7000 men; together with ample supplies of money and provisions. Until the arrival of these troops and supplies, the British possessed nothing more in the Carnatic, than the ground occupied by their camps and fortresses. Under Sir Eyre Coote, Hyder was successfully combated during two campaigns; at the end of which (October, 1782) he found the possession of his object, the Carnatic, at so great a distance, that he appeared to be sincerely desirous of peace. So vast an army as he brought into the field, could not long be supported in it, by the revenues of Mysore alone; and the Carnatic was quite exhausted. Anticipation of revenue in Asiatic governments, has an immediate destructive effect; and cannot often be repeated. Hyder therefore saw the necessity of quitting his ambitious projects; and probably would never have pursued them, had he not expected a more early and effectual co-operation on the side of the French; with whose assistance he hoped to effect our expulsion, in a campaign or two. But he became, perhaps, more jealous of the French than of the English; and had the peace of Paris left the Carnatic in his hands, instead of Mahomed Ally's, the French would eventually have been on a worse footing than they are now likely to be: for he certainly never intended that they should assume any character in it, beyond that of merchants; although their object was the obtaining of a territorial revenue; without which, they well know, no European power can easily effect any thing against another, already in possession of one. In this disposition of mind, Hyder died soon*
• The character of the late Hyder Ally appearing to me to be but little understood in this part of the world, I have ventured to attempt an outline of it. His military success, founded on the improvement of discipline; attention to merit of every kind; conciliation of the different tribes that served under his banners; contempt of state and ceremony, except what naturally arose from the dignity of his character; and his consequent economy in personal expences (the different habits of which, form the chief distinction of wliat is called Character
after; and was succeeded by his son Tippoo, who seemed determined to prosecute the war. It was supposed that an attack of Tippoo's provinces, on the west of India, would, by giving an immediate entry into the most valuable part of his dominions, draw him from the Carnatic: and although there could be little doubt of its producing this effect, yet that part of the plan, which regarded the retreat, or security of the troops afterwards, does not appear to have been so well concerted. The deplorable end of this detachment,* which was commanded by General Matthews, is too well known. At last, Tippoo finding that the Mahrattas, his natural enemies, were at peace with the English, and consequently at liberty to pursue their ancient enmities; and moreover that the French had left him; he condescended, though reluctantly, to make peace: and matters were restored nearly to the condition they were in, before the commencement of hostilities. This peace was signed in March, 1784, at Mangalore.
During the whole course of Sir Eyre Coote’s warfare with Hyder Ally, it appeared, that nothing decisive could be accomplished, while the latter possessed so large a body of excellent cavalry, together with draught cattle so superior to ours, that his guns were always drawn off, and their retreat covered, although his army was beaten. The inconveniences arising from the want of a sufficient body of cavalry, may, perhaps, be incurable; but with early and proper attention, we might surely have our choice of draught cattle.
among ordinary princes) together with his minute attention to matters of finance, and the regular payment of his army; all these together, raised Hyder as far above the princes of Hindoostan, as the great qualities of the late Prussian monarch raised him above the generality of European princes: and hence I have ever considered Hyder as the FREDERICK of the East. Cruelty was the vice of Hyder: but we are to consider that Hyder's ideas of mercy, were regulated by an Asiatic standard; and it is not improbable that he might rate his own character for moderation and clemency, as far above those of Tamerlane, Nadir Shah, and Abdalla, as he rated his discipline above theirs.
Sir Eyre Coote survived Hyder only about five months. It is a remarkable circumstance that the commanders in chief of two armies, opposed to each other, should both die natural deaths, within so short a space of time.
• In April, 1783.
We have slightly mentioned a general confederacy of the of Hindoostan, against the British. The Nizam or Soubah of the Deccan, having taken disgust at the conduct of the Madras
government towards him, in 1779; determined on a very deep revenge. This was no less than to engage all the principal powers of Hindoostan and the Deccan to join in a confederacy to expel the British. The Poonah Mahrattas were already engaged, and Hyder preparing; there remained the Nizam himself, and the Berar Mahratta.* Each party was to pursue a particular scheme of attack, suited to his local position and means. Hyder was of course, to attack the Carnatic: the Nizam, the circars: the Poonah Mahrattas were to keep the Guzerat army, under Goddard, employed; and the Berar Mahratta was to invade and lay waste the Bengal and Bahar provinces. It has been the fate of most of the grand confederacies that we meet with in history, that they have terminated rather in mutual blame, than mutual congratulation. The truth is, that they are seldom, if ever, pursued with the same unity of action, and energy, that are displayed by single states. Some are more deeply interested than others: one fears that another will be too much aggrandized; and a third is compelled to take part, contrary to his wishes. In the present case, the Poonah Mahratta and Hyder were each pursuing their proper, original plans, which had no reference to the particular object of the confederacy: the projector (the Nizam) had probably no intention ever to act at all: and the Berar Mahratta, appeared to act on compulsion: for although the Berar army did march, it was contrived that it should never arrive at the projected scene of action. Be it as it will, it was an awful moment for the British interests in India. The speedy pacification of the Nizam, and the money advanced to the Berar army at Cattack (call it by what denomination we may, subsidy, or
• It has been said, that Nudjuff Cawn, who in latter times erected for himself a principality in the soubah of Agra, made a fifth party in this confederacy. Of this circumstance,
am not sufficiently informed,
loan) were means very opportunely used by the Bengal government. Indeed the whole conduct of the war was such as reflected the highest honour on that government: and when we successively were made acquainted with the news of the capitulation of the whole Bombay army in 1779; of the total annihilation of the flower of the Madras army in 1780; the approach of the Berar army towards Bengal in 1781 (which seemed to preclude all possi·bility of relieving the Carnatic by a brigade from Bengal), together with the grand confederacy: I say, when the news of all these misfortunes and threatening appearances reached Europe, every one had made up his mind to the certain lofs of some capital settlement, or to the mutiny of one of the grand armies, for want of
many persons thought that they saw the total destruction of the British influence and power in India. How then were we surprised, to find, that notwithstanding all these miscarriages, we · were able, soon after, not only to face, but to seek the enemy in every quarter: and to hear of victories gained by the British armies, when we expected that even the very ground they fought on, had been abandoned to our enemies!
The establishment of the British power in the Mogul empire, has given a totally different aspect to the political face of that country, from what it would have worn, had no such power ever existed. No one can doubt that the Mahrattas, had they been left to pursue their plans of conquest, would have acquired Corah and Allahabad in 1772, as well as the Rohilla country in 1773: and afterwards they might have over-run, at their leisure, the province of Oude, and its dependencies. The British interference prevented this. On the other hand, Hyder might have kept possession of the Carnatic. Some may be tempted to ask whether Hyder might not be as good a sovereign as Mahomed Ally; or the Mahrattas, as Azuph Dowlah? Whatsoever may be the answers to these questions, they have no reference to the British politics; which require that Hyder or Tippoo, should not possess the Carnatic, in addition to