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Book IV. sible into the field; and were uncertain whether to attempt the relief of TrichiT^CT"*1 nopoly by recalling the French to the defence of their own settlements, or by marching to attack them before the place; when the welcome news arrived of the fact and consequences of Calliaud's return. To possess and garrison the forts which were scattered over the country, and which, by commanding the adjacent districts, afforded the only chance of revenue, was a principal object of desire to both contending parties. Several transactions took place about this time, relating to places of minor importance; but Wandewash was a fortress to the reduction of which peculiar value was attached. The Governor of Wandewash had paid no revenue since 1752; he had perpetually favoured the French; who from that station had been enabled to make incursions into every part of the province; it not only afforded a large revenue, it was also a barrier to the surrounding districts. In hopes that it might be taken before the French army could arrive from Trichinopoly to its relief, the English commander sent to the attack was ordered to push his operations with the greatest vigour. He got possession of the town, which was contiguous to the fort, after a slight resistance. The French, however, were now hastening to its relief; and Colonel Aldercron, whose march had not displayed any wonderful dispatch, thought it prudent to renounce the enterprise before they arrived. At his departure he set fire to the defenceless town; though no peculiar circumstance is alleged to justify an act so cruel to the innocent inhabitants.
The English Presidency, to whom the nabobship of Arcot continued as yet but little productive, were straitened in their treasury. Anxious therefore to diminish expense, they gave directions, upon hearing that the army had retired from Wandewash, for its proceeding immediately to the Presidency. Unhappily the enemy were in the field, of which they were thus left entirely the masters; and they performed a successful incursion as far as Conjeveram, where they burned the town, to revenge the outrage committed at Wandewash. The Presidency, now aware of their blunder, ordered back the army into the field. The two armies were nearly equal. The English offered battle; but the French kept within their entrenchments. The English, after remaining in their presence for some weeks, retired again at the end of July; and marched to the several stations from which they had been drawn. The French were no sooner masters of the field, than they renewed their incursions, collected the revenues, and levied contributions in several districts. The Mahrat- A pressure was now sustained of another description. The Mahratta general the chout for Balagee Row had paid a visit of exaction to the kingdom of Mysore the pre
ceding season; and, upon marching back to his own country before the period Chap. IV. of the rains, left an officer with a large detachment, who, after taking several ^757""' intervening forts, made himself master of one of the passes into Carnatic, about sixty miles north-west from the city of Arcot, and sent a peremptory demand of the chout for the whole nabobship. The city of Arcot was thrown into the utmost alarm: the Nabob dreaded the incursion of Mahratta parties into the very town; and accepted the invitation of the English to send his family to Madras. The Mahrattas pretended that the chout had been settled by Nizam al Mulk, at 600,000 rupees a year; two thirds for Carnatic, and one for Trichinopoly and the southern dependencies. Of this they asserted that six years were due; and presented their demand, in whole, at 4,000,000 of rupees. The Nabob, who knew the weakness of his physical, if not of his intellectual resources, was glad to negotiate. After much discussion, the Mahratta agent consented to accept of 200,000 rupees, in ready money, and the Nabob's draughts upon the governors of forts and the polygars, for 250,000 more. To these terms the Nabob agreed; but he required that the money should be found by the English, and should be furnished out of the revenues which he had assigned to them for the expenses of the war. At this time the English might have obtained important assistance against the Mahrattas. Morari Row, and the Patan Nabobs of Savanore, Canoul, Candanore, and Cudapa, who, since the assassination of Nazir Jung, had maintained a sort of independence, offered their alliance. But the English could spare no troops; and were as much afraid to admit such allies into the province as the Mahrattas themselves. After as much delay and evasion as possible, they were induced, notwithstanding the danger of the precedent, in fear of greater evils, to comply with the demand.
During all this period the attention of the Presidency of Madras may be Renewal of considered as chiefly divided between two objects; the French in Carnatic, and reduce°Ma-° the Polygars of Madura and Tinivelly. When Calliaud was obliged to march durafrom Madura for the defence of Trichinopoly, he left about sixty Europeans, and upwards of 1,000 Sepoys, who were not inactive; and, as soon as he was convinced that no further danger was to be apprehended from the French, he dispatched a reinforcement from Trichinopoly. In compliance with the recommendation of the Presidency, Calliaud himself, with as great a portion of the troops from Trichinopoly as it was safe to withdraw, marched on the 25th of June, and arrived at Madura on the 3d of July. Having effected a breach on the 10th, he resolved to storm. He was repulsed with great loss. For some days the operations of the besiegers were retarded by the sickness of their leader.
VOL. II. B
Book. IV. The admission of supplies into the town was now, however, cut off; and the negotiations for its surrender were renewed. After some time was spent in bargaining about the price, Calliaud, on the 8th of August, on payment of 170,000 rupees, was received into the town. The French On the 8th of September a French fleet of twelve ships anchored in Pondistrongrein- cherry road; but, after landing about a thousand men, it again set sail for fromXurope. Mauritius. This was not the grand armament which the government at Pondicherry expected; and, till the arrival of which, all operations of magnitude were to be deferred. The army, however, which had been scouring the country, was still in its camp at Wandewash. It was now strongly reinforced by the troops newly arrived; and marched against the fort of Chittapet. The Nabob, Mahomed Ali, had a personal dislike to the Governor of Chittapet, and had infused into the English suspicions of his fidelity, which imprudently diminished the efforts necessary for his support. He fell, defending his fort to the last extremity; and thus another place of considerable importance was gained by the French. From Chittapet they marched to Trinomalee, which was abandoned by the Governor and garrison, upon their approach. After this they divided themselves into several detachments; and before the 6th of November, when they were recalled, they had reduced eight forts in the neighbourhood of Chittapet, Trinomalee, and Gingee; and established collectors in the dependent districts.
On the news of the arrival of the French fleet, Captain Calliaud returned to Trichinopoly, with all the Europeans, and was soon after followed by the Sepoys, who, however, went back, as soon as it appeared that Trichinopoly was not in danger. The Mysoreans, who had been long expected to the assistance of the confederate Polygars, arrived in the month of November, took the fort of Sholavenden, and plundered to the walls of Madura, under which they remained for several days. They allowed themselves, however, to be attacked in a narrow pass, by the commander of the British Sepoys, and suffered a severe defeat. In the mean time Captain Calliaud, under the safeguard of a passport from Pondicherry, repaired in person to the Presidency, to represent the state of the southern dependencies, for the reduction of which so many useless efforts had been made; and declared his opinion that the settlement of the country could not be achieved, or a revenue drawn from it, without a greater force, or the removal of Maphuz Khan. It was agreed with the Nabob that an annual income, adequate to his maintenance, should be offered to this his elder brother, provided he would quit the province and disband his troops. Maphuz Khan, however, would listen to no terms importing less than the government Chap. IV. of the whole country; and the confederates continued in formidable force. ^ ^g
Though, after the recall of the French troops in November, no army was in the field; the garrisons left in the several forts continued to make incursions upon one another, and mutually ravaged the unhappy country. As these operations, "being always levelled at defenceless villages, carried," says Mr. Ormc, "the reproach of robbery, more than the reputation of war;" each side, too, losing by them more than it gained; the French officer at Wandewash proposed a conference, for the purpose of ending this wretched species of warfare; and an English officer was authorized to conclude an agreement. The governments of Madras and Pondicherry were both now disposed to suspend their efforts— the French, till the arrival of the forces which they boasted were to render them irresistible in Carnatic—the English, that they might husband their resources for the danger with which they were threatened. In this situation Arrival of they continued till the 28th of April, when a French squadron of twelve sail Jtrong^1rmiL arrived in the road of Fort St. David. Sw^°TM
Upon the breaking out of the war between France and England in 1756, the French ministry resolved to strike an important blow in India. The Count de Lally, a member of one of those Irish families, which had transported them.selves into France along with James II., was appointed Commander-in-Chief of all the French forces in India. He had distinguished himself in the battle of Fountenoy, where he took several English officers with his own hand, and received the rank of Colonel from the King, upon the field of battle: It was he who proposed the daring plan of landing in England with 10,000 men, while the Prince Charles Edward was trying his fortune for a crown in another part of the island: And his hatred of the English, and his reputation for courage, now pointed him out as the fittest person to crush the pretensions of that nation on the coast of Coromandel. He was accompanied with his own regiment of Irish, 1080 strong; with fifty of the royal artillery, and a great number of officers of distinction. They left the port of Brest on the 4th of May, 1757, when a malignant fever raged in the town, of which they carried the infection along with them. No fewer than 300 persons died in the fleet before they reached Rio Janeiro, where they remained for two months, and, after all, departed with a residue of the sickness on board. At Mauritius they were joined by a part of the ships which had landed the troops at Pondicherry in the preceding year; and, after a tedious voyage, made the coast of Coromandel on the 25th of April. Book IV. The court of Versailles anticipated nothing but triumphs from this splendid 1758 armament '• and the presumption of Lally well assorted with that of his governPrecipitation ment. It was even laid down in the instructions of the ministers, that he 'should commence his operations with the siege of Fort St. David. For this purpose, before communicating with the land, he made the fleet anchor at the place of attack. He proceeded with two of the vessels to Pondicherry, where he arrived at five in the afternoon ;* and before the night closed he had 1,000 Europeans, and as many Sepoys, on their march to Fort St. David. In military operations, notwithstanding the importance of dispatch, something more than dispatch is necessary. The troops marched without provisions, and with unskilful guides, who led them astray, and brought them to Fort St. David at seven o'clock in the morning, worn out with hunger and fatigue. f This gave them a motive and an apology for commencing a system of plunder and insubordination, from which they could not easily be recalled. Battle be- These troops had scarcely arrived at Fort St. David, when the ships in the French^md r08^ descried the English fleet making way from the south. Mr. Pococke, with English fleets. tjie ships of war from Bengal, had arrived at Madras on the 24th of February;on the 24th of the following month a squadron of five ships from Bombay had arrived under Admiral Stevens; and on the 17th of April, the whole sailed to the southward, looking out for the French. Having in ten days worked as high to windward as the head of Ceylon, they stood in again for the coast, which they made off Negapatnam on the 28th, and, proceeding along shore, discovered the French fleet at nine the next morning, riding off Cuddalore. The French immediately weighed, and bore down towards Pondicherry, throwing out signals to recall the two ships which had sailed with Lally; and the English
* He himself complains that little preparation was made to co-operate with him. Among the proofs of carelessness, one was that he was saluted with five discharges of cannon, loaded with ball, of which three pierced the ship through and through, and the two others damaged the rigging; Memoire pour Lally, i. 39.
+ Lally complains, and with good reason, of the deplorable ignorance of the French Governor and Council. They could not tell him the amount of the English forces on the coast; nor whether Cuddalore was surrounded with a dry wall or a rampart; nor whether there was any river to pass between Pondicherry and Fort St. David. He complains that he lost forty-eight hours at Cuddalore, because there was not a man at Pondicherry, who could tell him that it was open on the side next the sea; that he was unable to find twenty-four hours' provisions at Pondicherry; and that the Governor, who promised to forward a portion to him upon the road, broke his word; whence the troops were two days without food, and some of them died. Ibid. 40, 41.