Page images

sultan's proceedings with regard to Mangalore, sent orders to Fullerton to suspend the process of restoration. At length a treaty was concluded, founded on the basis that each party should retain his former possessions, and that Tippoo should release such of his prisoners as had survived the cruelties with which they had been treated.


Conquest of Mysore,

Power of Tippoo—His Persecution of the Christians, and of the People of Coorg—Confederacy against him—His Successes—Conclusion of peace__Cruel Treatment of the Natives in Calicut—Attack on Travancore—Repulse—Final Success—Arrival and Views of Marquis Cornwallis—He resolves to make War upon Tippoo—Treaty with ih* Nizam—General Medows opens ihe Campaigu—Reduction of Dindigul and Palgaut—Successful Manoeuvres of Tippoo—He lays waste the Carnatic—Cornwallis assumes the Command—Advances upon Bangalore—Reduces that Fortress—Nizam's Contingent—Advance upon Seringapatam—Engagement, Distress, and Retreat of the Eng-> lish—General Abercromby's Advanceand Retreat—Junction with the Mahraltas—Reduction of several Hi 11-forts—Second March on Seringapatam—Defeat of Tippoo—Overtures from him—Terms accepted— The young Princes received as Hostages—Difficulties—Final Conclusion—General Results of the War—Pacific Policy of Sir John Shore —Arrival of Marquis Wellesley—His System—Tippoo's Negotiation with the French—British Influence established at the Court of the Nizam—Negotiations with the Sultan—Army advances against him— He attacks the Troops from Bombay—British March on Seringa pa tarn —Action at Mallavilly—Despondence of Tippoo—Siege commenced— Its Operations—Tippoo attempts to Negotiate—His Alarm—Storming of Serjngapatam—Death of the Sultan—His Character—Anecdotes— Disposal of the Kingdom of Mysore.

Tippoo, after having concluded this treaty, became the most prominent personage in the political world of India. Equal perhaps to his father in talents and ambition, sometimes even displaying a superior military genius, he was yet, as already observed, a very different character. The former always proceeded in a direct course to realize his schemes of interest or ambition, from which no other object could turn him aside. But Tippoo was agitated by various passions and caprices, which disqualified him from pur* VIOLENT CONDUCT OF TIPPOO. 77


ruing a decided line of policy. Instead of manifesting the indifference of Hyder on the subject of religion, he was inspired with a furious zeal in the cause of lslamism, which appeared in the most odious and tyrannical measures. The issue was, that he was buried under the ruins of the empire which he inherited, and which his predecessor, by so many arts and crimes, had raised out of nothing. The first instance of religious persecution was directed against the Christians on the coast of Canara, who had been converted by the Portuguese. In this case, indeed, he seems to have had a somewhat plausible pretext. In his narrative he asserts, probably not without truth, that the Europeans had originally employed violent means to compel the natives to adopt the new creed. Having therefore collected 60,000, by his own statement, but according to Wilks only 30,000, he forcibly inflicted on them the rite of circumcision; then hurried them to the capital and distributed them in the different garrisons; a barbarous treatment, by which it is said that many perished. By a strange inconsistency he represented it as the highest honour to be thus urged to the profession of the Moslem faith, yet made it the punishment of rebellion and contumacy. The rude mountainous territory of Coorg had always formed a reluctant appendage to the kingdom of Mysore. The people had taken advantage of the war with the English to reassert their independence; holding their conquerors in equal abhorrence on account of their religion and their disregard for the rights of landed property. They now presented the aspect of a formidable resistance. Tippoo was obliged to march against them with his whole force, when they retreated into the depth of their forests, which appeared almost inaccessible. The sultan, however, divided his army into detachments, which formed a complete circle round the unhappy fugitives, and closed in upon them as huntsmen do in pursuit of game. At length the troops penetrated into their secret haunts, and carried off 70,000 victims to undergo the abhorred penalties of circumcision and captivity. Elated by these cruel triumphs, Tippoo hesitated not to assume the title of padsha, which our historians have not very accurately translated king. It was hitherto appropriated exclusively to the Great Mogul whose supremacy had, till that period, been acknowledged in Mysore; but no sooner did the conqueror invest himself with this high distinction, than public prayers were offered for him instead of Shah

• The increasing influence and lofty pretensions of this potentate raised against him, in 1786, a confederacy the most powerful that had for a long time been formed in Southern India. The Mahrattas had repeatedly shaken to its foundation the throne of Hyder; and though now much disunited, they were still the greatest among the native powers. They held possession of the person as well as the capital of the Mogul, and had no rivals for empire unless in the Afghan sovereigns. With the nizam, who ranked second in strength and dignity, they formed an alliance, which had for its object the subversion of the new kingdom in the south, and the division between them of all its possessions. So confident were the Mahrattas of a triumphant issue, that they did not even call in their own contingents, and declined courting the aid of the English, lest they should be obliged to share with them the expected spoil. The confederates advanced towards the Toombuddra, the chief barrier between their dominions and those of Tippoo; they besieged and took the strong fortress of Badamee; and their cavalry spread themselves over the country. The sultan did not attempt directly to oppose this invading force; but by a circuitous movement came rapidly upon Adonie or Adwanee, the principal fortress of the nizam south of the Toombuddra, and considered by this ruler so strong that he had formed in it a sort of royal establishment, which included the harems of his brother and nephew. The son of Hyder pushed the siege with his characteristic impetuosity; but having prematurely attempted to storm a breach, found it so bravely defended by its commander, that he sustained a complete repulse. The confederate armies were thus enabled to come to its relief, and obliged him to retire. But it was now the season of the year at which the Toombuddra undergoes its periodical inundation, when it became necessary for the allies to have the whole of their armies, their materials, and supplies either on one side or on the other of that river. To transport so many men and so much baggage to the southern bank, in the face of an active enemy, appeared too hazardous; they therefore recrossed to the northern side, leaving Tippoo's dominions secure during the TIPPOO DEFEATS THE MAHRATTAS. 79

period of the monsoon. They were even reduced to the necessity of abandoning Adonie, after hastily withdrawing its distinguished inmates; and the victor on entering found numerous apartments still fitted up with all the splendour of royal palaces. The sultan had now just ground to boast of his success; yet he aimed at extending it still farther. He caused a great quantity of timber to be felled in the forests of Bednore, and floated down the Toombuddra, where it was converted into rafts and basket-boats for conveying his forces across. All his officers dissuaded him from the daring scheme of carrying beyond this barrier offensive operations against such powerful armies. He rejected every argument, and in the course of a week had actually transported the whole of his troops to the other side. The enemy, who could not be made to believe in any such attempt, had neglected all precautions against it; and their indecisive movements soon showed how completely they were taken by surprise. After repeated marches and countermarches, Tippoo, with his whole force in four divisions, made a midnight attack upon their camp. Through a want of co-operation between these detachments, the undertaking did not completely succeed; yet the enemy were thereby compelled to quit their position, and when they afterward attempted to regain it, were repulsed with considerable loss. The general issue of the day was such as induced them to retreat, abandoning to Tippoo the important city and district of Savanoor. Soon after overtures were made for a treaty, which was concluded on the condition that the sultan should acknowledge the tribute stipulated by Hyder; amounting still, after some liberal deductions, to forty-five lacks of rupees, thirty of which were actually paid. He restored also Adonie and the other towns taken during the war, and was in return recognised as sovereign of nearly all India, south of the river Toombuddra. By this successful contest against such a powerful confederacy Tippoo had earned perhaps the greatest military name in India. He had displayed even prudence and moderation in the terms on which he concluded peace. He now considered himself, accordingly, the undisputed ruler of the south, and at liberty to propagate the Mohammedan faith by violence of every description. His first movement was to descend the Ghauts, into the territory of Calicut, or Malabar Proper, which, by a hard-won conquest, Hyder had annexed to the dominion of Mysore. Here he found a race inspired with such deadly enmity to his favourite creed, that if a Mussulman touched the outer wall of a house, they thought it necessary to reduce the whole to ashes. Their religious profession, indeed, derived little credit from their moral conduct, since custom among the nayrs, or natives of high rank, sanctioned a mode of living so extremely dissolute, that Tippoo did not exaggerate when he told them that "they were all born in adultery, and were more shameless in their connexions than the beasts of the field." But notwithstanding these habits, they possessed the utmost bravery, and were prepared to make the most determined resistance to the resolution entertained by the sultan of compelling them to undergo circumcision and eat beef. Even when vanquished they submitted to both conditions with extreme reluctance; and many sought refuge in the heart of forests, or in the surrounding mountains, till at length the whole were either circumcised or driven from their fields and homes. The victor then commenced a war against the religious edifices. He publicly boasted that he had razed to the ground eight thousand temples, with theirsures buried at the feet of the idols; but there is reason to believe that in this instance he greatly exaggerated his own enormities. At length he became so elated with these exploits, that he appears to have considered himself as really endued with supernatural powers, and little, if at all, inferior to Mohammed, the founder of his faith. Being strongly advised by his counsellors not to attempt passing the Ghauts during the height of the rainy season, he replied, that "he would order the clouds to cease discharging their waters until he should have passed." But he had soon to encounter a mortal foe, against whom neither his earthly nor his celestial powers were found to avail. The little kingdom of Travancore, forming the western part of the most southerly extremity of India, amid the revolutions which shook the greater states in its vicinity, had hitherto succeeded in maintaining independence and neutrality. It was protected, not only by a lofty chain of mountains, extending as far as Cape Comorin, but by


after digging up the trea

« PreviousContinue »