Imatges de pàgina

derer. Mahommed Ali was, with Hyder, a sort of privileged person, who said what be pleased; he was also a great favourite of Tippoo; and when Rustum Ali Beg was ordered to execution for having surrendered Mangalore by a favourable capitulation to GeDeral Maithews, interposed, with his usual freedom, to save him; on which Tippoo determined to have him also put to death, with about seventy others, who were accidentally present at what the tyrant was pleased to call an attempt to rescue Rustum Ali. The services of Mahommed Ali, however, pleaded for mercy, and all the officers interposed the most earnest entreaties for the preservation of his life, in which Tippoo publicly declared bis acquiescence. He was sent off to Seringapatam with an escort under Sheikh Hummeed, who, on the second day, had the humanity to apprize him of a written order which he had received from Tippoo to dispatch him on the road; and the victim, after a short period employed in devotion, quietly acquiesced in the arrangements for strangling him without noise, by means of the common groom's cord for leading a horse.'-vol. ii. p. 484.

The iniquitous invasion of Coorg took place in 1773. The Coorgs, apprized of the approach of the enemy, had assembled on a woody hill which Hyder completely invested with his troops. He immediately proclaimed a reward of tive rupees for every head which should be brought before him, and sat down to see the rewards distributed. When about seven hundred had been paid for, a person approached and deposited two heads, both of them of the fairest forms. Hyder, having examined the features, asked the bearer if his heart did not smite him for cutting off such comely heads: and immediately ordered the decapitation to cease. It is the only feature in his whole life,' says Colonel Wilks,' that incurs the direct suspicion of pity.'-vol. ji. p. 158.

In the year 1775, the raja of Mysore died. Hyder, who had always professed to hold it on behalf of the Hindoo house, and amused the people at the annual feast of the Dessera, by exhibiting the pageant seated on his ivory throne in the balcony of state, determined to carry on the farce by the election of a new raja. The lineal male succession being extinct, he collected all the children of the different branches of the family in the Hall of Andience, which was strewed with fruits, sweetmeats and flowers, playthings of various descriptions, arms, books, male and female ornaments, bags of money, &c. and while they were engaged in a general scramble, one child was attracted by a brilliant little dagger, which he took up in his right hand, and soon afterwards a lime in his left. “That is the raja!' exclaimed Hyder; his first care is military protection; his second to realize the produce of his dominions; bring hiin hither and let me embrace him. The deluded Hindoos murD3


mured applause; the child was carried to the palace and installed; and became the father of the present raja, who was placed by the English at the head of the Hindoo house of Mysore, on the subversion of the Mahommedan dynasty by the Marquis of Wellesley in 1799.--vol.ii. p. 163.

Hyder having succeeded in dissolving the confederacy of the Mahrattas and Nizam Ali, by purchasing the latter, laid siege to the fortress of Chittledroog, which he bad long desired to possess. Jealous of the power and the distinguished bravery of the poligar who held it, and of his formidable troops, he was determined to reject the most submissive offers of this uufortunate chief.

* The siege continued for three months, with more perseverance than military skill on the side of Hyder; and on the part of the besieged, with a mixture of enthusiastic fatalism, and heedless, headlong valour, which is strongly characteristic of the Beder tribe. A temple dedicated to the goddess (Cali) who delights in blood, was erected on the summit of the Droog, an appellative derived froin an attribute of the goddess; and so long as her rites should be duly performed, they believed that in fact, as well as in name, their fortress would be inaccessible. On every Monday, after performing their devotions to the goddess, the Beders made a religious sortie; this, after a few repetitions, was as regularly known in the camp of the besiegers, as in the fort. A particular sound of the horn always gave intimation that they had finished their preparatory devotions and were about to sally: every thing was known, except the exact point of attack, and notwithstanding all the advantages of preparation, on the side of the besiegers, the Beders never once returned without penetrating into the trenches, and - carrying off a certain number of heads, to offer at the shrine of Cáli. After the fall of the place, the heads were found ranged in rows of small pyramids, in regular order, in front of the temple of the goddess, to the amount of about two thousand.'—vol. ii. p. 181, 182.

Hyder was compelled to raise the siege by the approach of the Mahratta army, amounting to sixty thousand cavalry, and a proportionate number of infantry, under Hurry Puut. This iminense force, by a judicious combination of military skill and bribery, Hyder completely succeeded in dispersing and driving back to the northward of the Kistna. He now sat down a second time before Chittledroog, which the poligar defended with his accustomed gallantry; but the greater part of his brave followers being either killed or wounded in the determined sallies which he continued to make, and a corps of about 3000 Mahomedans in his service being corrupted by Hyder, through the medium of their spiritual instructor, the poligar, finding Cầli no longer propitious to his vows, ascended his palanquin, proceeded to Hyder's camp, and threw himself


of the victor. But Hyder was insensible ko the quality of mercy. The palace of the unfortunate poligar


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was plundered, his family secured and sent to Seringapatam. The native peasantry, chiefly Beders, who during the two sieges had adhered with unconquerable attachment to their chief, after being pillaged of all their tangible property, were swept away to people the island of Seringapatam, to the amount of 20,000 souls. The boys were made converts to Mahomedanism, and formed into a military corps, under the name of chêla battalions.—vol. ii. p. 190.

About this time, Hyder narrowly escaped assassination by a party of eighty ferocions Affghans, who had been taken prisoners and disarmed : though their swords were afterwards restored, they still felt the insult, and concerted a plan of revenge. In the dead of night they slew the guards, and rushed towards his tent. Hyder, however, on hearing the alarm, cut through it with his sword and escaped. Some of the assassins were seized and instantly put to death; the remainder had their bands and feet chopped off, and in that shocking state were thrown into the highway, to announce to his new subjects the terror of his name. Some of them were destined to a death, if possible, still more horrible; they were lied by a short cord to the feet of elephants, and dragged round the camp.vol.ii. p. 194.

The avarice of Hyder kept pace with his inhumanity; perhaps the former acted as a stimulus to the latter. His dewan, or minister of finance, a Bramin of the name of Vencatapa, a few days before his death, for the repose of his conscience and the security of his family, sent his dying declaration to Hyder, that the amount of his fortune, honourably made in bis service, was 50,000 pagodas, which he entreated his master to receive into the treasury, and leave his family in peace. According to English notions,' says Colonel Wilks, every spark of honour must be extinct in the breast of a prince, who should despoil the fanvily of a faithful servant of a sum so fairly acquired.' Hyder reasoned differently: he took the money, and considered it as an act of exemplary benevolence on his part, to excuse the innocent family from the usual process of torture. The next dewan, also a Bramin, of the name of Chinneia, was tortured, plundered and dismissed. He was succeeded by Assud Ali Khan, the first Mussulman employed by him in a civil office of trust and importance ; Ali died under the tortures wbich were inflicted to extort money which he did not possess : he was considered as an able and an honourable man. The nest was also a man of integrity, but not of talent equal to bis situation. On his removal, he declared that all he was worth in the world amounted to 10,000 rupees, or 1,2501. the exact sum with which he had entered Hyder's service. He was, notwithstanding, thrown into prison, where he soon after died; the ten thousand rupees,



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which he had mentioned, were found in his house, and his brutal master took them from his family without the smallest compunction.

In the year 1779, Hyder entertained strong hopes of forming a confederacy, of wbich the avowed object was the extermmation of the British power in India ; and when the imbecile measures, the wretched intrigues of the government of Madras are considered, during the reign of the Rumbolds, the Whitehills, and the Paul Benfields, the only matter of surprize is, that the confederacy did not succeed. I have tried them already,' said Hyder, • and I know them well; they bave no conduct; and even now, when I have assembled my whole force to enter the country, they have not shewn the least glimmering of ability. It was on this occasion that Hyder overran the Carnatic with an army of more than 80,000 men, almost realizing those treinendous scenes of desolation which Burke so forcibly, but somewhat too poetically, described, and which continued to be the topic of stupid ridicule at Madras, “ until the conflagration of the surrounding country, and the actual appearance of the bleeding fugitives, roused this most extraordinary conclave from a slumber, which has no example in the history of the world.'—vol. ii. p. 256.

This campaign, disastrous and disgraceful as it was to us, afforded many brilliant examples of genius and gallantry on the part of the subaltern officers in the command of posts; among whom Ensigns Allan and Macauley, Lieutenants Parr and Flint, are mentioned with particular distinction. We cannot resist inserting the tulogium bestowed by Colonel Wilks on the last-mentioned officer:

• Strange as in these days the proposition may sound, this lieutenant was an officer of very considerable experience; io a scientific knowledge of the theory, he added some practical acquaintance with the business of a siege ; and to military talents of no ordinary rank, a mind fertile in resources, and a mild confidence of manner, which, as his troops were wont to say, rendered it impossible to feel alarm in his presence, He found the place (Wandewash) in a ruinous state, furnished with abundance of cannon, but no carriages, and little powder; he repaired the works, constructed carriages, and manufactured powder. He had not one artilleryman; but he prevailed on the silversmiths, who, according to the routine of Hindoo warfare, are the apology for cannoneers, not only to attend regularly, to be instructed in the exercise, but, in the subsequent siege, to perform their duties in a respectable manner. From the 12th of August, 1780, until the 12th of February, 1783, an eventful period, during which the flower of Hyder's army were before the place seventy-eight days of open trenches, and, after being foiled in open force, made repeated attempts to seize it by stratagem, or starve it into surrender, this officer, never once casting off his clothes. at the uncertain periods of repose, not only provided the means of internal defence, but raised a little corps of cavalry for exterior enter

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prize; and, during a protracted period of famine and diversified misery elsewhere, not only fed his own garrison, but procured important supplies for the use of the main army, for which he was justly deemed io be the centre of all correct intelligence. The model proposed by the experienced, for the imitation of the young and aspiring; the theme of general applause; honourable in private lije, as he was distinguished in public conduct; the barren glory has remained to him of preserving the letters on service, written in Sir Eyre Coote's own hand, full of affectionate attachment and admiration. Colonel Flint is living, and in London. Fancy would associate with the retirement of such a man marks of public approbation and dignified competency; but human affairs too often reflect an inverted copy of the pictures of imagina. tion.'-vol. ii. pp. 264, 265.

The lamentable destruction of Colonel Baillie's corps, from the total incapacity, as it would now seem, of that officer, is thus summed up:

“ Colonel Baillie, after ordering his fire to cease, went forwards to ask for quarter, by waving his bandkerchief; and, supposing acquiescence to be signified, he ordered the Europeans, who to the last inoment preserved an undaunted aspect and compact order, to lay down their arms. The enemy, although they at first paused, and received him as a prisoner, after being slightly wounded, perceiving the same unauihorized straggling fire to continue, rushed forwards to an unresisted slaughter. Of eighty-six officers, thirty-six were killed, or died of their wounds, thirty-four were wounded and taken, and sixteen were taken not wounded; the carnage among the soldiers being nearly in the same proportion. Hyder's young soldiers in particular amused theinselves with fleshing their swords, and exhibiting their skill on men already most inhumanly mangled; on the sick and wounded in the doolies; and even on women and children ; and the lower order of horsemen plundered their victims of the last remnant of their clothing; none escaped this brutal treatment, excepting the few who were saved by the humane interposition of the French officers, and particularly Monsieur Pimorin, of the regular French line, who had joined with a small detachment from Mâhê, a short time previous to its capture in 1779; and Monsieur Lally, who has already been introduced to the reader's notice.* It is scarcely necessary to add, that the whole corps, with all its equipments of every description, was irretrievably and totally lost.' -vol. ii. pp. 277, 278.

The barbarism of Hyder's mind, and his strange ignorance of

Lally, who had first served with Basalat Jung. then with Nizam Ali, was disposed abuut 1778 to try his fortunes with Hyder, who stipulated, for a certain amount of force, to pay him 3,000 rupees a month. The Frenchman, not being able to bring the precise number, received only, as the first month's pay, 2,000 rupees. He demanded an audience, talked loud, and gasconaded. "Be quiet,' said Hyder, ‘aud be grateful for getting so much; you have not fulfilled your stipulation, and I have overpaid you in proportio to your numbers, I do not give an officer 5,000 rupees a month for the beauty of his single nose.'


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