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To the representations of the Rajah, the Madras government made languid answers, and even seemed disposed to allow the validity of Tippoo's assertions. They declined to assist in defending any country which conduct of did not strictly belong to him; and this determination government. accelerated the conclusion of the treaty between the Rajah and the Dutch, which had been pending nearly

two years.

The Governor-general at first adopted the opinions Sept. entertained at Madras; but, when more correctly in- Conduct of formed, he saw that it was proper, and even necessary, Cornwallis. under the aspect of circumstances, and on the faith of treaties, to consider any aggression by Tippoo on Travancore as a declaration of war. Unless assisted by the French, which was hardly to be hoped for, the Sultan could not, without extreme imprudence, incur the hostility of England. He had been apprised of the certain

consequence of his incroaching on the territory of the Rajah; but as a temper so violent baffled calculations founded on the rules of prudence, his lordship, judiciously anticipating events, arranged vigorous and prudent plans, both military and financial.

Still, to avoid hostilities, he proposed a reference Proposes a to commissioners, by whose arbitrament the possession reference. of the disputed territories should be determined*.

Without noticing this proposal, Tippoo, with Oct. fifteen thousand men, attacked the city of Travancore, sieges Travanwhich was assailable only on one side.

At the head of ten thousand men, after a tedious and difficult march, he surprised Sharapootamally, a Repulsed in pass supposed to be in perfect security, and turned the an attack. lines of the Hindoos; but a few Nairs, valiantly defending a narrow defile, arrested his progress; reinforcements arrived, and the Sultan was repulsed with great loss, and imminent danger of his person.


Such was the ferocity which animated the combatants, that, while of the invaders fifteen hundred were ascertained to be slain, only forty were taken prisoners.

Tippoo was of a spirit too fierce and haughty to Refuses a


Dec. 29th.


* Mill, vol. v. p. 267, et seqq.



1790. Gains the lines. March. April 9th. 15th.

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bend under a first misfortune, or give up brilliant hopes and cherished projects without further trial. He had not yet noticed the proposal of a reference; the subject was pressed; but his answer, when given, was too presumptuous and arrogant to afford the least hope of an accommodation*.

During a short truce which followed the late encounter, the besiegers pressed their approaches with skill and diligence; the Rajah's guns were rendered unserviceable or dismounted; his troops failed in a bold, but ill-concerted, sally; a practicable breach of great extent was made, and, without much further resistance, Tippoo gained possession of the lines; the inhabitants of the city fled with precipitation, and were saved from total destruction principally by two battalions of Madras sepoys, under Captain Knox, who were stationed at Shandamungulum.

As the victor advanced to besiege Crangenore, terror precipitated the motions of his opponents. Fortunately, the small force of Captain Knox, augmented by a detachment from Bombay, led by Colonel Hartley, gave them some confidence, and prevented them from abandoning the country. The siege still advanced, and, as Colonel Hartley's force was not adequate to the protection of a place deficient in artillery, ammunition, and stores, Tippoo gained possession; the natives sought refuge in flight; Jycotta, and several other inconsiderable forts, surrendered, and, for the present, nothing appeared capable of arresting the career of the conqueror.

No act of direct hostility toward England had yet been committed by the Sultan, although many circumstances of insult and oppression shewed that opportunity, rather than inclination, was wanting; and Earl Cornwallis found that he could no longer persevere in his pacific system. Our ally, the Rajah, appealed to treaties in demanding aid; the Mahrattas and the Nizam tendered their co-operation against an enemy whose tyranny menaced the safety of all ; and a view of

May 7th.

Jycotta and other forts.

Situation of

* Mackenzie's History of the War with Tippoo Sultan, c. i.



the danger to which British interests were exposed, assisted in determining the measures of the Governorgeneral. Orders had long before been transmitted to the His plan of

operations for Madras government, to consider any attack upon the the British Rajah of Travancore as a declaration of hostility troops, against Great Britain, and to make corresponding preparations. Earl Cornwallis having concluded treaties of alliance with the Mahrattas and the Peishwa, the May. Nizam and some other native powers formed a general plan of a campaign; it was, that the grand army should reduce the Coimbatore country, and other bordering tracts below the Gauts *; and then advance by the Gujelhetty Pass, or Gaut, to the siege of Seringapatam, Tippoo's capital. It was expected that the possession of the Coimbatore country would not only ensure supplies of provisions for the campaign above the Gauts, but deprive Tippoo of one of his principal resources. At the same time, the Bombay army, under General Abercromby, was to undertake the reduction of the country lying on the west of the Gauts; and afterwards, according to circumstances, co-operate with the grand army under General Medows. The safety of the Carnatic was provided for, by a force, styled, from its position, the central army, commanded by Colonel Kelly: it was stationed in the line between Madras and the passes leading to Mysore; and was soon to be reinforced by Colonel Cockerell, with a strong detachment from Bengal.

Our allies, the Poonah Mahrattas, and the Nizam, and the allies. were respectively to attack the enemy's dominions in the quarter bordering on theirs; and to penetrate toward Seringapatam, as to a common centre. A bri. gade of British troops was attached to each of these bodies.

General Medows, having joined the grand army, March of saw the lines under arms, consisting of about fourteen General



* The word Gaut, in a limited sense, means a pass through or over mountains : but in a more extensive signification, it is applied to the mountains themselves: and when the Mysore country is known to be a kind of Table land, or tract elevated far above the rest of the Peninsula, the phrases above and below the Gauts will be readily understood.


1790. 26th.

April 6th.
Letter from



thousand effective men. They marched from Tritchinopoly Plain, toward the Coimbettore country, with forty days' provisions on bullocks, and five more in the knapsacks* The Bombay army, under General Abercromby, was a compact and a well-appointed body, and a squadron, under Commodore Cornwallis, was ready to facilitate communication and convey reinforcements and supplies to parties near the coast.

Before any military movement was made, Tippoo sent to General Medows a letter, full of friendly professions, and proposing an embassy of a dignified person, and some others, to offer explanations. In his answer, the English general professed the resolution of his nation neither to offer nor submit to an insult; he allowed to Tippoo, except for his cruelty to his prisoners, the character of a great prince; but informed him that, by making an attack on the Rajah of Travancore, the ally of Great Britain, war was considered to be declared.

On receipt of this announcement, Tippoo departed for Seringapatam, directing all his regular troops to assemble in that quarter, and leaving the adjacent countries with the stores he had collected, to the guard of looties and peonst:

The British troops immediately took possession of Carrore, a strong undefended fort, which served as a military station. Little impeded by the fierce, though desultory, attacks of the looties, the English, in rapid succession, and with inconsiderable loss, captured several forts with ample stores, and advanced to Coimbatore, which yielded without a struggle; and, as it was a post of considerable importance, they strengthened it with a garrison.

Hitherto the British troops had seen no military opponents but the looties; but they were now apprized that Sahed Sahib, a natural son of the Sultan, was approaching with three thousand regular horse,

Tippoo retires.

June 15th. Advance of the British.

July 21st.

Coimbatore taken.

July 23rd.

* From Major Rennell's Marches of the British Armies in India, p. 15,

† Looties are predatory and irregular cavalry; peons, irregular and undisci. plined infantry. See Mackenzie, vol. i. p. 67.

et seqq.



Dindi, taken.

and, in the neighbourhood of Damicotta, some unim-
portant skirmishes left the English free to establish a
line of forts from the Coromandel coast to the foot of
the Guzzlehatty pass. Intelligence was also received
that the Sultan had collected a powerful army to the
eastward of Seringapatam; and a force was prepared,
and confided to Colonel Stuart, for the capture of Pal-
ligautcherry; but his movement was prevented by an July.
inundation, proceeding from the monsoon, which set
in at a period unusually early. Erroad, however, was

August. captured by a detachment under Lieutenant Colonel Other forts Oldham, aided by Lieutenant Colonel Deare. gul was summoned by Captain Oram ; but a stern refusal, accompanied with menaces in case of any other summons, was returned by Hyder Albas, the Sultan's killedar. Works were opened, and, after a cannonade 20th. of two days, a storm was attempted under the immediate command of Colonel Stuart, but repelled. The works, although of great strength, being much injured, and the garrison, through alarm, threatening desertion, the brave killedar found it necessary to display a flag of truce; and, after a short negotiation, surrendered on moderate and honourable terms. Provisions were obtained, although not without difficulty, from the neighbouring country, and many forts of inferior importance were taken. The season now Sep. 21st. permitting, Palligautcherry was invested. In one day, a practicable breach was effected, and operations being vigorously and judiciously continued during the night, the garrison surrendered, yielding to the captors an ample and seasonable supply of necessaries. In this period, the troops under Sahed Sahib were employed in ravaging the country, to prevent the English from obtaining supplies : several gallant skirmishes took place, and Captain Stewart captured the fort of Sattemangulum by surprise.

At this period, the progress of the British troops Masterly was impeded, and their safety put into considerable movement of hazard, by a movement of the Sultan, equally brave in Tippoo. its conception and prudent in its execution. Captain Sep. 10th. Child, having been ordered to reconnoitre the country

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