« ПредишнаНапред »
Upon the news of the seizure and death of Suraja Dowla, M. Law, with the Chap. French party, hastened back, to join the Governor of Bahar, at Patna, the ^
with the prince. At the capture, though his person was liberated, his valuable effects and merchandize were plundered; no less than 400,000 rupees in cash were found in his treasury. When an order was published that such of the English as had escaped the black hole might return to their homes, they were supplied with provisions by Omichund, "whose intercession," says Orme, "had probably procured their return." Omichund, upon the ruin of Calcutta, followed the Nabob's army, and soon acquired a high degree of confidence both with the Nabob's favourite, and with himself. After the recovery of Calcutta, when the Nabob, alarmed at the attack of his camp, entered into negotiation, and concluded a treaty, Omichund was one of the principal agents employed. And when Mr. Watts was sent to Moorshedabad as agent at the durbar (court) of Suraja Dowla, "he was accompanied," says Mr. Orme, (ii. 137,) "by Omichund, whose conduct in the late negotiation had effaced the impression of former imputations, insomuch that Mr. Watts was permitted to consult and employ him without reserve on all occasions." He was employed as amain instrument in all the intrigues with Jaffier. It was never surmised that he did not second, with all his efforts, the projects of the English; it was never denied that his services were of the utmost importance. Mr. Orme says expressly (p. 182) that "his tales and artifices prevented Suraja Dowla from believing the representations of his most trusty servants, who early suspected, and at length were convinced, that the English were confederated with Jaffier." When the terms of compensation for the losses sustained by the capture of Calcutta were negotiated between Mr. Watts and Meer Jaffier, 3,000,000 of rupees were set down for Omichund, which, considering the extent of his property, and that " most of the best houses in Calcutta were his," (Orme, ii. 128,) was probably not more than his loss. Looking forward to the rewards which he doubted not that Jaffier, if successful, would bestow upon those of the English who were the chief instruments ofhis exaltation; estimating also the importance of his own services, and the risk, both of life and of fortune, which, in rendering those services, he had incurred, Omichund conceived that he too might put in his claim for reward, and, according to the example of his countrymen, resolved not to injure himself by the modesty of his demand. He asked a commission of five per cent., on the money which should be received from the Nabob's treasury, and a fourth part of the jewels; but agreed, upon hearing the objections of Mr. Watts, to refer his claims to the committee. When the accounts were sent to Calcutta, the sum to be given to Omichund, even as compensation for his losses, seemed a very heavy grievance to men who panted for more to themselves. To men whose minds were in such a state, the great demands of Omichund appeared (the reader will laugh—but they did literally appear) a crime. They were voted a crime; and so great a crime, as to deserve to be punished—to be punished, not only by depriving him of all reward, but depriving him of his compensation, that compensation which was stipulated for to every body: It was voted that Omichund should have nothing. They were in his power, however, therefore he was not to be irritated. It was necessary he should be deceived. Clive, whom deception, when it suited his purpose, never cost a pang, proposed, that two treaties with Meer Jaffier should be drawn up, and signed: One, in which satisfaction to Omichund should be provided for, which Omichund should see; another, that which should really be executed, in which he should not be named. To his honour be it spoken, Admiral Watson refused to be a party in this treachery. He would not sign the false treaty; and the committee forged
Book IV. capital of the province. Upon the assassination of the father of Suraja Dowla, Aliverdi had nominated Suraja Dowla himself to the nabobship of that important province; but appointed Ramnarain, a Hindu, in whom he reposed great confidence, to be Deputy Governor in the absence of the Prince. Ramnarain had administered the affairs of the province during the life of Aliverdi, and had continued in the government since the accession of Suraja Dowla. From him Meer Jaffier expected no co-operation, and displayed anxiety that the French party should be pursued. He suspected, however, the fidelity of any part of his own army; and a large detachment of the English were sent under Major Coote. They were detained too long in preparation; they were poorly provided with the means of expedition; and the European part of the detachment, exasperated at the fatigue they had to endure, behaved mutinously on the way. Before they reached Patna, the French had arrived; and, to obviate disputes, had been sent forward by Ramnarain into the territory of the Subahdar of Oude, with whom he had begun to negotiate an alliance. Major Coote was at first instructed to endeavour by intrigue and by force to wrest the government from Ramnarain; but while he was meditating the execution of these orders, he received further instructions which inclined him to an accommodation; and he returned to Moorshedabad on the 13th of September. The detachment which he had conducted was stationed at Cossimbuzar, near Moorshedabad; the rest of the army was sent into quarters at Chandernagor as a more healthy situation than the seat of the Presidency; and on the day after the arrival of Major Coote, Colonel Clive left Moorshedabad and returned to Calcutta.*
his name. When Omichund, upon the final adjustment, was told that he was cheated, and found that he was a ruined man, he fainted away, and lost his reason. He was from that moment insane. Not an Englishman, not even Mr. Orme, has yet expressed a word of sympathy or regret.
* The chief authorities which have been followed for this series of transactions in Bengal, have been the Seer Mutakhareen, i. 298—772; the First Report from the Committee on the Nature, State, and Condition of the East India Company, in 1772, which is full of curious information; Orme's War in India, ii. 28—196; and the tracts published by the various actors in the scene, Scrafton, Watts, &c.
Renewal of the war with the French in Carnatic.—Arrival of Lally.—
When the English detachment for the recovery of Calcutta, and the French Chap. IV.
Book IV. he was unable to leave Tinivelly before the 10th of April; when he marched to v< ;attack Madura with 180 Europeans, 2,500 Sepoys, six field-pieces, and 500 horse. Upon arriving at the town, he found it a place of much greater strength than he had been led to suppose; and, without battering cannon, not easy, if possible, to be reduced. He planned an effort to take it by surprise. The first ladders were planted; and Calliaud himself, with twenty men, had got into the fausse-bray, when the guard within received the alarm, and they were obliged to retreat. Two companies of Sepoys were soon after dispatched to bring two pieces of battering artillery from Trichinopoly; and Calliaud had commenced an intrigue with some of the jematders, or captains of the enemy's troops, when he received intelligence that the French had arrived at Trichinopoly. AlsoNelore. During these efforts to obtain possession of the revenues of Madura and Tinivelly, similar efforts had been undertaken in other parts of the province. A brother of the Nabob, by name Nezeeb Oolla, who was Governor of Nelore and its district, situated in the northern quarter of Carnatic, evaded or refused payment of the sums demanded of him; and the Nabob, who possessed not the means of coercion, was urgent with the English to perform it in his stead. The rupture between the two brothers took place towards the end of February, and it was the 1st of April before the English troops were ready to march. By the end of the month they had erected batteries against the fort; on the 2d of May a breach was effected, which they deemed practicable; and a storm was attempted the next morning. But the English were repulsed from the breach, nor was it deemed expedient to renew the attack till more battering-cannon should be received from Madras. In the mean time the detachment received orders to return to the Presidency with all expedition. Proceedings of The Government of Pondicherry, notwithstanding the pacific policy inculthe French. by j.he recan 0f Dupleix, and the commands which they had received to abstain from all operations of hazard, till the arrival of the forces which they expected from Europe, determined, when they saw the English so largely at work, and their small force separated to such a distance as Tinivelly and Nelore, to avail themselves of an opportunity which good fortune seemed to present. They took the field on the 6th of April; but, to cover their designs, with only a small number of troops, and for an object of minor importance. By forced marches they appeared before Ellavanasore on the 10th, a fort possessed by a chief, who had hitherto refused to acknowledge either the English or the French Nabob. In a sally, in which he threw the French army into great jeopardy, he received a mortal wound, of which he died in a few days, and the garrison, during the night, evacuated the fort. The French, after this acquisition, Chap. IV. marched in the direction leading to the territory of some polygars with whom "~ ^' they had disputes; and Captain Calliaud received a letter from the Madras Presidency, on the very day on which he attempted to surprise Madura, that from the late intelligence received of the motions of the French, no design on their part was apprehended against Trichinopoly.* The season for the arrival of the English troops from Bengal was elapsed; and it was impossible now that any should return before September. The French, therefore, suddenly, barring Trichinopoly their garrisons; leaving in Pondicherry itself none but invalids; and enrolling ^French3! the European inhabitants to man the walls, dispatched every soldier to the field; and the army took post before Trichinopoly on the 14th of May. The garrison, deprived of the troops which had marched to Madura, were insufficient to guard the walls; and they had 500 French prisoners in the fort. Calliaud received intelligence before Madura of the imminent danger of Trichinopoly, at three o'clock in the afternoon of the 21st; at six he was on his march; on the 25th at day-break he halted nineteen miles from Trichinopoly. An army five times as great Relieved by a as his watched his approach, and guarded every avenue by which it was sup- of Calliaud" posed he could enter the fort. On one side of the town was a large plain, about seven miles in extent, consisting of rice fields, covered with water, which the French deemed impassable. Calliaud continued his march, as if he intended to enter by one of the ordinary inlets, till night; when he suddenly took another direction; and arrived at the margin of the rice fields about ten o'clock. The fatigue of marching through the rice fields up to the knees in mud, after forced marches of several days, was excessive. At day-break, however, the main body of the detachment reached the fort, and were received with that ardent welcome by its inmates which the greatness of the danger, and the exertions which the detachment had made to save it, naturally inspired. The French commander, astonished at the news of their entrance, and now despairing of success, marched away for Pondicherry the following day.f
Intelligence of the march of the French against Trichinopoly, and of the Efforts of the repulses sustained by their own troops, in the two assaults upon Madura and d^^,1^!" Nelore, reached the Presidency of Madras at nearly the same time. Theyj^j^"^ recalled immediately the detachment from Nelore; sent as many troops as pos- get possession
of the Carnatic forts.
* Cambridge, p. 140.
f Orme, ii. 197—217; Cambridge's War in India, p. 137—153; Wilks' Historical Sketches of the South of India, p. 392, 393.