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powers from Hastings, endeavoured to arrange a peace with the Mahrattas upon equal terms. They demanded, however, conditions which he could not in honour concede, one of the preliminaries being the surrender of Ragoba, who was now residing, under English protection, at Surat. Both parties, therefore, resolved to try the fortune of war. In the early part of 1780, General Goddard overran the province of Goojerat, and stormed its former capital, Ahmedabad. A Mahratta army of 40,000 men, under Scindiah and Holkar, advanced to repel the English, but were routed with considerable loss. About the same time, the governor-general, having formed an alliance with the Ranna of Gohud against the Mahrattas, Captain Popham was detached to the aid of that prince, with a small auxiliary force.
This expedition, like all other measures emanating from Hastings, had been violently opposed by Francis; but it terminated most successfully, and acquired for the Eng lish the strong fortress of Gwalior. The factious member of council, however, was soon destined to experience some disagreeable results from his pertinacious and illjudged behaviour; for, irritated by a severe remark of Hastings, he challenged the governor-general, and received a severe wound in the combat that ensued.
The wickedness of duelling is now so generally acknowledged, that nothing need be said in direct reprobation of a practice hateful to God and indefensible by man; but we may remark with advantage the evil results of which such a practice is frequently productive. Had Hastings fallen in this rash encounter, his suicidal act might have exposed to the most eminent danger the country over which he ruled. Few persons then in India, except himself, were equal to the task of grappling with the critical situation of affairs produced by Hyder Ali's invasion of the English settlements in the south.
That chieftian had long been preparing for war. By extortion and violence he accumulated in his treasury
DEFEAT OF RAILLIE.
99 large sums of money, which, dispensed with caution and foresight, enabled him to get together a numerous and well-disciplined army, a good supply of artillery, and a large band of French and other adventurers; who were eager to meet the English once more in the field, and to contest with them the prize of European supremacy in the East. When his arrangements were complete, Hyder poured forth through the Ghaut passes a body of nearly 100,000 men, with the impetuosity of a winter torrent. Porto Novo and Conjeveram felt the first brunt of the storm, both being taken and plundered by the Mysoreans, whose camp fires might be discerned even from Madras.
The civil and military authorities of that Presidency were by no means at unison among themselves, as to the plan of defence which they should adopt. Two large detachments had taken the field under Colonel Baillie and Sir Hector Monro; but to act with any hope of success it was necessary for these commanders to effect the junction of their forces. They had been recommended to do this in the vicinity of Madras, but Sir Hector Monro preferred concentrating the army at Conjeveram. The consequences proved most fatal. Hyder's main body interposed between the two English detachments, Baillie's troops suffered an ignominious defeat, half of them were butchered after they had laid down their arms, and the remainder immured in the dungeons of Seringapatam. During the contest Sir Hector Monro remained inactive at a distance of fourteen miles, contenting himself with sending Colonel Fletcher at the head of 1,000 men to the aid of his colleague. The defeat of Baillie compelled him to throw his cannon into a tank, abandon his tents, and retreat hastily to Madras.
But for the vigorous proceedings of Hastings all would have been lost in the south. Despite the murmurs of Francis, whose restored health enabled him again to resume his former opposition, the governor-general despatched Sir Eyre Coote to act as commander-in-chief at Madras; superseded the weak and incapable authorities there, and forwarded, at the same time, a large supply of money and troops. When Sir Eyre reached his destination, he found that all the provisions needed by his forces must be carried from Madras. The country round that city had been completely desolated by the invading hosts. As the English advanced, ruined villages, with felled and half-consumed trees, exhibited on all sides mournful traces of the recent inroad. The fierce Mysorean cavalry hung upon the rear of the European host, and sought every opportunity to provoke an attack. Sometimes they rode fearlessly in small bodies up to the ranks, challenging the English officers to single combat; one of the latter distinguished himself on several occasions by his personal valour, and laid prostrate many of the bravest Indian chiefs. For the most part, however, the orientals were victorious in these encounters, where discipline availed less than courage and personal strength.
The Sultan of Mysore declined as long as he could a general action, but at length he engaged Sir Eyre Coote, near Cuddalore, and was repulsed with loss. A subsequent battle at Polilloor proved less decisive, but the English succeeded in relieving Vellore, to which a detachment of Hyder's army had been laying siege. War having broken out between Great Britain and Holland, the Dutch settlements on the Coromandel coast were added to the English possessions in Southern India. The fortifications of Pondicherry had been previously destroyed by Sir Eyre Coote, while the navy of Mysore, lying at Calicut and Mangalore, was totally annihilated by an English squadron under Sir Edward Hughes. Yet these advantages were counterbalanced by a disastrous expedition to Tanjore, during which Colonel Braithwaite, the chief commander, allowed himself to be surrounded by a large army of Mysoreans and French, under Tippoo Sahib. The gallant behaviour of the French officers on ·
DEATH OF HYDER ALI.
this occasion preserved many of the English from being inhumanly massacred in cold blood; but the survivors encountered a doom almost equally horrible, being immersed for some time in the filthy dungeons of Seringapatam.
A new ally to the Mysorean sultan arrived shortly afterwards in the person of M. Bussy, who returned once more, at the commencement of 1782, to the scene of his former triumphs. He brought with him a reinforcement of 3,000 European troops, whom he contrived to disembark near Porto Novo, notwithstanding a severe check inflicted on the French fleet by Admiral Hughes' squadron. Being joined by Tippoo, Bussy moved towards Wandewash, but the advance of Coote obliged them to retreat, while Hyder, having engaged the English in person near Amee, sustained a partial defeat. His term of existence was now drawing every day nearer to its close, and the intelligence that the governor-general had concluded a treaty with the Mahrattas, gave the last blow to a constitution enfeebled by age, and wearied out from continual anxieties. He died at Mysore on the 7th December, 1782, leaving behind him a reputation for energy, valour, and political sagacity to which Indian history offers few parallels. Unable to read or write, he founded a kingdom, which, in earlier times, might have rivalled or surpassed the dominions of Baber or Aurung.zeeb. Matched exclusively with Hindoo potentates, he would probably have ruled the entire peninsula, from the Himalaya to Cape Comorin ; opposed to the resistless discipline of English armies, he maintained for some years a position that caused him to be considered a formidable antagonist both at Madras and Calcutta.
Two ministers noted for their abilities, and belonging to adverse sections of the Brahminical caste, had managed the finances of the deceased prince. Their first care after he breathed his last, was to secure the throne for his son Tippoo, then engaged in a campaign against the English. The prince immediately suspended his warlike operations, and hastening to Mysore, took possession of his father's treasures. They amounted to at least three millions sterling, while the army of Mysore mustered not less than 80,000 men.
In spite of the precautions taken by the ministers of Hyder, the news of his decease reached Madras a short time after its actual occurrence. Had the vigour and energy of a Hastings directed the counsels of the lesser Presidency at this period, the crisis would not have been suffered to pass unimproved. A rapid march to the confines of Mysore, or even to the capital itself, during the disturbed state of affairs which always succeeded an Indian monarch's decease, might have placed serious impediments in the way of Tippoo's ambition. Unhappily, discord between the civil and military authorities prevented united and energetic action. The governor, Lord Macartney, claimed supreme authority over the two services, while General Stuart insisted upon retaining the ample powers that had been granted to his predecessor, Sir Eyre Coote. Irritated by opposition, the general indulged his spleen at the expense of the public interest. First he refused to believe the tidings of Hyder's death, then he affected compliance with the positive orders despatched from Madras; but still, under one pretence or other, delayed the march of his army until Tippoo was firmly seated upon his father's throne.
The complaints forwarded by the Madras authorities, met with recriminatory replies from the Supreme Council. They induced the latter, however, to appoint Sir Eyre Coote once more to the chief command of the army in the Carnatic; but the aged commander, broken down by infirmities and wearied with the voyage, breathed his last two days after he arrived in Madras. Stuart, therefore, continued to direct the military operations in the Carnatic, but his tardy measures provoked fresh remonstrances from the Madras Council. The siege of