Imatges de pÓgina

conquerors, were utterly unknown to the breast of Hyder. No admiration of bravery in resistance, or of fortitude in the fallen, ever excited sympathy, or softened the cold calculating decision of their fate. No contempt for unmanly submission ever aggravated the treatment of the abject and the mean. Every thing was weighed in the balance of utility, and no grain of human feeling, no breath of virtue or of vice, was permitted to incline the beam.

There was one solitary example of feelings incident to our nature; affection for an unworthy son, whom he nominated to be his successor, while uniformly, earnestly, and broadly predicting, that this son would lose the empire which he himself had gained.'—vol. iii. pp. 457, 458.

This sou, aptly named Tippoo, or the Tiger, was thirty years of age when his father died; he assumed the reins of government with an army of ninety thousand men, a treasury containing three crores of rupees, (about three millions sterling,) in hard money, and an accumulated booty of jewels and other valuables, in Poornea's language, to a countless amount. With this, and the aid of a French force, instead of offering terms to the English which, in the dissensions between the civil and military authorities of Madras, and the tardy and ungracious assistance from Bengal, would probably have been accepted, Tippoo at once began to indulge his favourite dream of driving them out of the peninsula. The fortress of Cuddalore had received such a reinforcement from Suffrein's fleet, after his action with Sir Edward Hughes, as to enable Monsieur Bussy to make a vigorous sortie with his best troops, who, however, suffered a very severe loss, 'both in officers and men. The following anecdote (which affords another extraordinary instance of the caprice of fortune) we suspect will be new to most of our readers :

Among the wounded prisoners was a young French serjeant, who so particularly attracted the notice of Colonel Wangenheim, com mandant of the Hanoverian troops in the English service, by his interesting appearance and manners, that he ordered the young man to be conveyed to his own tents, where he was treated with attention and kindness until his recovery and release. Many years afterwards, when the French army, under Bernadotte, entered Hanover, General Wangenheim, among others, attended the levee of the conqueror. "You have served a great deal," said Bernadotte, on his being presented, " and, as I understand, in India?" "I have served there." "At Cuddalore?" "I was there." "Have you any recollection of a wounded serjeant, whom you took under your protection in the course of that service?" The circumstance was not immediately present to the general's mind; but, on recollection, he resumed, "I do indeed remember the circumstance, and a very fine young man he was; I have entirely lost sight of him ever since, but it would give me pleasure to hear of his welfare." "That young serjeant," said Bernadotte, “WAS THE PERSON WHO HAS NOW THE HONOUR TO ADDRESS YOU; who is happy in


this public opportunity of acknowledging the obligation, and will omit no means within his power of testifying his gratitude to General Wangenheim,"-vol. ii. pp. 442, 443.

The capture of the almost impregnable fort of Beduore by a handful of men, under the command of General Matthews, who was puzzled to account for his own success, is thus curiously and satisfactorily explained :

Among the prisoners carried off by Hyder from Malabar was a young Nair, to whom, after his conversion to Islamism, was given the name of Sheik Ayez, the slave of the house. This youth, from his noble port, ingenuous manners, and singular beauty, attracted general attention; and in a more mature age his valour in the field and uncommon intelligence recommended him so strongly to the favour of Hyder that he would frequently speak of him as his right hand in the hour of danger;' and when angry with Tippoo would often wish that Ayez was his son instead of him. Not long before his death Hyder had appointed this favourite to the situation of governor of the fortress and province of Bednore. Tippoo had not forgotten his father's praises, and the habit of publicly contrasting the qualities of his slave with those of the heir-apparent; nor could Ayez contemplate without alarm the crisis of his fate, which the death of Hyder would certainly accelerate. Tippoo had, in fact, dispatched Lutf Ali Beg to assume the government of Bednore, but, apprehensive that Ayez might resist, had previously sent secret orders to the officer next in command to put him to death, and assume the government till the arrival of the proper successor. Ayez, suspecting that something of this kind might happen, had given positive orders that every letter received should be brought to him and examined in his presence; but being, like Hyder, entirely illiterate, no other person was allowed to be present than the reader and himself. On the day preceding that on which the English force attacked the ghauts, the fatal letter arrived; the bramin who read it, and to whom the letter was addressed, was more astonished at its contents than Ayez; who, placed in this perilous condition, without a moment's hesitation, put the unfortunate bramin to death to prevent discovery; instantly mounted his horse, and went off at full speed to the citadel to make arrangements for the surrender of the place to the English. All this was unknown at the time, and sufficiently accounts for the dispersion and dismay of the troops, and the easy possession of the whole province, which so much surprized General Matthews, that he attributed it, in the first place, to the Divine decrees,' and in the second, to the panic of the enemy.' (ii. p. 455.)

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When Tippoo was accused by General Macleod of his faithless conduct before Mangalore, he replied in English, written by a French man, 'It is a lie or mensonge. On which the general returned


for answer, Permit me to inform you, prince, that this language is not good for you to give, nor me to receive; and that if I was alone with you in the desert you would not dare to say these words to me:' and he added, if you have courage enough to meet me, take one hundred of your bravest men on foot, and meet me on the sea-shore. I will fight you, and one hundred of mine will fight with your's. Nothing further appears from General Macleod; but in the King of Histories,' written under the immediate direction of Tippoo, and found in the palace of Seringapatam, is a long and abusive reply, accusing the Nazarenes of idolatry, and every species of vice, and thus concluding: If thou hast any doubt of all this, descend, as thou hast written, from thy ships, with thy forces, and taste the flavour of the blows inflicted by the hands of the holy warriors, and behold the terror of the religion of Mahommed,' &c.-but General Macleod, according to this faithful historian, fled on the same night! (Pref. p. xxv.)

The ferocious disposition of Tippoo was frequently exhibited during the siege of Mangalore, a contemptible fortress which, however, locked up the services of his main army for nearly nine months. Reflecting that it had been surrendered to General Matthews by the Kelledar Rustum Ali Beg as an untenable post, he came to a conclusion, that Rustum must have been either a traitor or a bungler, (he stopped not to inquire which,) and the unfortunate Kelledar, with his principal officers, was therefore led out to instant execution. But it was not till after the conclusion of the peace of 1784, when the release of the prisoners offered an opportunity to all of comparing the history of their sufferings, that the extent of the atrocity of this monster was fully ascertained. Hyder, in truth, had never shewn any scruples of delicacy regarding the safe and cheap custody of European prisoners; he used severity and sometimes direct force to procure the services of gunners and artificers; but this was the amount of his barbarity; it was reserved for Tippoo Sultaun to murder his prisoners.' All who had distinguished themselves in arms were sure to be dispatched-some were poisoned, others led into the woods and hacked to pieces. Those who were spared lingered out a miserable existence; in the best of the prisons their allowance barely kept them alive; and in the worst, accelerated their death. were inflicted on the most trivial pretences; irons were put on and removed for no other apparent reason than to excite conjectures and agonize the feelings.' The sepoys were kept at hard labour, and these faithful creatures, whenever they had an opportunity, sacrificed a portion of their own scanty pittance to mend the fare of their European fellow soldiers. This is sufficiently horrible; but the expatriation


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patriation of thirty thousand Canara Christians, (by his own account sixty thousand,) who were first 'honoured with the distinction of Islamism, and then distributed among the principal garrisons,' was still more atrocious; for the consequences of thus wantonly driving off the unoffending inhabitants of his own country were, that onethird part of the number did not survive the first year. (ii. p. 530.) His conduct to the unfortunate inhabitants of Coorg was, if possible, still worse; his army laid waste with fire and sword all the open parts of the country, and the ruined inhabitants betook themselves to the woods. Here they were surrounded, and the troops, contracting the circle, beat up the country before them as if dislodging the game; and by these means closing in on the great mass of population, amounting to about seventy thousand, drove them, like a herd of cattle, to Seringapatam. On this triumphant occasion Tippoo first assumed the title of King.

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Among the numerous inventions and creations of his mind,' which Colonel Wilks calls strange aberrations of untutored intellect,' one was to level the town and fort of Mysore to the ground. He changed the performance of the noobut (the royal band) from Sunday to Friday, because' (as he says in his own Memoirs) Sunday is appropriated by the Nazarenes, Saturday by the Jews, and Friday is the festival of the Mussulmans; because the Almighty on that day created the heavens, and on that day commenced the flood of Noah'-He changed the name of every thing in science, government, jurisprudence, tactics, &c. of cycles, years, and months; weights, measures, coins, forts, towns, offices civil and military; the official designations of all persons and things, without one exception; exhibiting,' as Colonel Wilks remarks, a singular coincidence, at nearly one and the same time, and in distant and unconnected quarters of the globe, between the extremes of unbridled democracy, and uncontrolled despotism.' He boasts in his new artillery practice that he had left his masters, the Nazarenes, at an infinite distance behind him, although, like the salamander, they pass their lives in fire.' He created a fleet which never existed, and made admirals who had never seen the sea; he drew up a commercial code, and considered himself the chief merchant in his dominions; and when he was requested to alter his regulations as they had a tendency to destroy all confidence, the only answer which he condescended to give, was there is no regulation issued by us that does not cost us, in the framing of it, the deliberation of five hundred years-do as you are ordered.' His code of laws is unexampled in history, perverting,' says Colonel Wilks, 'all possible purposes of punishment as a public example, combining the terrors of death with cold-blooded irony, filthy ridi

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cule with obscene mutilation, the pranks of a monkey with the abominations of a mouster.' (iii. p. 269.)

All his regulations were to be studied night and day, and strictly observed; and on the occurrence of any case not provided for, reference was to be made to the replendent presence.' An anecdote is told on this occasion which somewhat enlivened the court even of this gloomy tyrant. A ryot came out of breath to the aumil (or collector) to tell him that a large field of sugar-cane was on fire. Fetch me the book of regulations,' said the aumil; I recollect nothing about a fire in a field of sugar-cane.' 'Sound the village drum!' exclaimed the ryot;' summon every man, woman, and child with pots of water.' 'Be quiet,' replied the aumil; the book of regulations will tell us all about it.' The book said nothing; the aumil contended that the case must be referred; and in the mean time the field was destroyed. When the report came, the sultaun put on a vacant stare; but whether it was the precursor of a laugh or a sage reflection, the courtiers were not quite agreed. At length the royal stare dropped into the philosophical preparative. The man,' said he, is a good and an obedient servant; prepare instantly an edict to be added to the regulations, prescribing what is to be done in the event of fire in sugar-fields.' (iii. p. 273.)

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These speculations of a stupid despot, however noxious to his subjects, were innocent in comparison of his unfeeling and brutal conduct towards all who were without the pale of Islamism. In 1788 he made a visit to Calicut, where he found the natives living peaceably in habitations scattered over the country: his first step was to compel them to reside in villages of forty houses each: he then informed them, by public proclamation, that they were a turbulent and refractory people-that their women were unrestrained in their obscene practices, and more shameless in their connections than the beasts of the field; and, finally, that if they did not forsake their sinful practices and live like the rest of mankind, he would march them off to the seat of empire, and honour the whole of them with the seal of the Prophet. Indeed his whole conduct proves, in the words of Colonel Wilks, that an intellect too weak for its giddy height occasionally tottered on the verge of insanity;' for the next year, having taken it into his head that the infidels of Malabar' had disregarded his admonitions, he marched his whole army to the coast, surprized two thousand Nairs with their families, and gave them the alternative of a voluntary profession of the Mahomedan faith, or a forcible conversion, with deportation from their native land. The unhappy captives chose the latter; the rite of circumcision was instantly performed on all the males, and the individuals of both sexes were compelled to close the ceremony by eating beef. His embassies to France and Constantinople covered him with

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