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Admiral gave the signal for chase. The summons for the two ships not being Chap. IV. answered, the French fleet stood out to sea, and formed the line of battle. The ^ * French consisted of nine sail, the English only of seven. The battle was indecisive; the loss of a few men, with some damage to the ships, being the only result.* Both fleets fell considerably to leeward during the engagement;and the French were six days in working up to the road of Pondicherry, where the troops were landed. Lally himself had some days before proceeded to Fort St. David with the whole force of Pondicherry, and the troops from the fleet were sent after him, as fast as they came on shore.
The English were thrown into the greatest alarm. So much was the power Superior of the enemy now superior to their own, that they scarcely anticipated any FVench^and other result than their expulsion from the country; and had Dupleix been still „f^ep^I^ the guide and conductor of the enemy's affairs, it is more than probable, that their most gloomy apprehensions would have been realized. + Not only had an Exploits and
« • . • situation of
overwhelming addition been made to a force, against which they had previously Bussy. found it difficult to maintain themselves; but, in the mean time, Bussy, in the northern parts of Deccan, had obtained the most important advantages, and brought upon the English the heaviest disasters. After the brilliant exploit of 1756, when he defended himself at Hyderabad against the whole power of the Subahdar, and imposed his own terms upon his enemies, he had proceeded to the Northern Circars, where his presence was necessary, to collect the revenues, and, by an adjustment of the government, to provide for the future regularity of their payment. He began his march on the 16th of November of that year, with 500 Europeans and 4,000 Sepoys; leaving only a small detachment to attend the person of the Subahdar. \ In accomplishing his progress through the country, he encountered no considerable resistance. The Polygar of Bobilee defended his fort to the last extremity; and exhibited the
* A French ship was driven on shore, and obliged to be abandoned; but this was owing to an accident after the battle.
-|- Lord Clive himself said, in his evidence before the Committee, in 1772; "Mr. Lally arrived with such a force as threatened not only the destruction of all the settlements there, but of all the East India Company's possessions, and nothing saved Madras from sharing the fate of Fort St. David, at that time, but their want of money, which gave time for strengthening and reinforcing the place." Report, ut supra.
X Orme (ii. 104) says he left 100 Europeans and 1,000 Sepoys. Wilks (Histor. Sketches, p. 387) says he left 200 Europeans and 500 Sepoys. Orme again (Ibid. p. 264) speaks of the detachment as consisting of 200 Europeans and 500 Sepoys.
customary spectacle of Hindu desperation, the fortress in flames, and the people and garrison butchered by their own hands: But he was excited to this desperation by the command to exchange the government of his present for that of another district, on account of the annoyance he gave to a neighbouring Chief from whom Bussy had received a train of important services. When Bussy had nearly completed the arrangement which he intended to make, he received about the 1st of April letters from Suraja Dowla, inviting him by the largest offers, to assist him in expelling the English from Bengal. Bussy waited on his northern frontier, ready to march through Orissa into Bengal, as soon as he should receive satisfactory intelligence; but, learning the capture of Chandernagor, and the imbecility of the Subahdar, he changed bis purpose, and proceeded to the attack of the English establishments within the Circars. There were three factories, on three different branches of the Godavery, in a district remarkable for the excellence and cheapness of its cloths. They were places of no strength, and surrendered on the first requisition. Vizigapatam, however, was one of the places of greatest importance belonging to the English in India. It was a fort, garrisoned by 150 Europeans, and 300 Sepoys; but so injudiciously constructed, that the attempt to defend it was unanimously determined to be vain. The van of Bussy's army appeared before it on the 24th of June; and a capitulation was concluded; that all the Europeans, both military and civil, should be regarded as prisoners, and all the effects of the Company as prize of war. The Sepoys, and other natives, Bussy allowed to go where they pleased; he also promised to respect the property of individuals. "And he kept his word," says Mr. Orme, "with the utmost liberality, resigning, without discussion, whatsoever property any one claimed as his own."
During these transactions, however, a great revolution was preparing in the army of Salabut Jung. He had two younger brothers, whom Bussy, acquainted with the temper of Oriental governments, had advised the Subahdar to provide with establishments, and every indulgence suitable to their rank, but from whom he had exhorted him carefully to withhold those governments and places of power, which, in the hands of the near relations of the Prince, were the cause of so many revolutions in India. This prudent course was pursued till the period of the alienation from Bussy of the mind of the Subahdar; when that Prince was easily persuaded, by his designing courtiers, to reverse the policy which the sagacity of Bussy had established. The eldest of the two brothers, Bassalut Jung, was appointed Governor of the strong fort and country of Adoni; and Nizam Ali, the youngest and most dangerous, was made Chap. IV. Governor of Berar, the most extensive province of Deccan, of which the Mahrattas now possessed the principal part.
Towards the end of the year 1757, while a body of Mahrattas insulted Aurengabad, which was then the residence of the Subahdar, a mutiny, under the usual shape of clamour for pay, was excited in his army. The utmost alarm was affected by the Duan, or minister, who took shelter in a strong fort: The Subahdar, without resources, was driven to dismay: Nizam Ali, who had acquired some reputation, and intrigued successfully with the troops, offered to interpose and allay the tumults, provided the requisite powers, and among other things the great seal of the Subah, were committed to his hands: The requisition was obeyed: And Nizam Ali, leaving only the name of Subahdar to his brother, grasped the whole powers of the state. With an affectation of indifference he committed the seal to his brother Bassalut Jung, but under sufficient security that it would be used agreeably to his directions.
Bussy received intelligence of these events in the beginning of January; immediately began his march with the whole of his army; and, by a road never travelled before by European troops, arrived in twenty-one days at Aurengabad, a distance by the perambulator of nearly 400 miles.* Four separate armies were encamped about the city; that of Nizam Ali from Berar; that of the Subah, of which Nizam Ali had now the command; that of Bassalut Jung from Adoni; and that of the Mahrattas, commanded by Balagee Row. The presence of Bussy, with his handful of Europeans, imposed respect upon them all; and every eye was fixed upon his movements. His first care was to restore the authority of the Subahdar, whom the presence alone of the French detachment, which had vigilantly guarded his person, had probably saved from the assassination which generally forms the main ingredient of Indian revolutions.
The two brothers at first assumed a high tone; and, when obliged to part with the seal, exhibited unusual marks of rage and indignation. Bussy clearly saw that the safety of the Subahdar, and the existence of the present government, demanded the resumption of the power which had been entrusted to Nizam Ali; but when the proposition of a large pension was made to him in lieu of his government, he had the art to interest his troops in his behalf, and Bussy found it necessary to temporize. To remove still further the umbrage which he
* Mr. Orme states the days on report merely; but we may presume it was the best information which that careful historian could procure.
Book IV. found was gaining ground at the uncontrolable authority with which a stranger disposed of the powers of Deccan, and of the sons of the great Nizam al Mulk, he re-committed the seal of state to Bassalut Jung, but under securities which precluded any improper use.
To provide a permanent security for his predominating influence in the government of the Subah, there was wanting, besides the distant provinces which yielded him the necessary revenue, a place of strength, near the seat of government, to render him independent of the sudden machinations of his enemies. The celebrated fortress of Dowlatabad, both from locality and strength, was admirably adapted to his views. It was at present in possession of the prime minister, the mortal foe of Bussy, the chief actor in the late commotions, and the assured instrument of others in every hostile design. By a sum of money, Bussy gained the deputy Governor to admit him secretly with his troops into the fort; and this invaluable instrument of power was gained without the loss of a man. As the utmost efforts, however, of the resentment of the minister were now assured, Bussy secured the means of rendering him a prisoner in the midst of the camp of the Subahdar, at the very hour when he himself was received into the fort of Dowlatabad. These events alarmed Nizam Ali into submission; and an accommodation was effected, by which he agreed to divest himself of his government of Berar, and accept of Hyderabad in its stead. When holding his court, to receive the compliments of the principal persons, before his departure for his new government, he was waited upon, among others, by Hyder Jung, the Duan of Bussy. This personage was the son of a Governor of Masulipatam, who had been friendly to the French; and he had attached himself to Bussy, since his first arrival at Golconda. Bussy was soon aware of his talents, and soon discovered the great benefit he might derive from them. He became a grand and dexterous instrument for unravelling the plots and intrigues against which it was necessary for Bussy to be incessantly on his guard; and a no less consummate agent in laying the trains which led to the accomplishment of Bussy's designs. To give him the greater weight with his countrymen, and more complete access to the persons and the minds of the people of consequence, he obtained for him titles of nobility, dignities, and riches; and enabled him to hold his Durbar, like the greatest chiefs. He was known to have been actively employed in the late masterly transactions of Bussy; and an occasion was chosen on which a blow might be struck, both at his life, and that of Salabut Jung. A day was appointed by the Subahdar forpaying his devotions at the tomb of his father, distant about twenty miles from Aurengabad; and on the second day of his absence, Nizam Ali held his court. Hyder Jung was received Chap. IV. with marked respect; but, on some pretext, detained behind the rest of the v'
. 1758. assembly, and assassinated. The first care of Bussy, upon this new emergency, was to strengthen the slender escort of Salabut Jung. The next was, to secure the person of the late minister; of whose share in the present perfidy he had no doubt, and whom he had hitherto allowed to remain under a slight restraint m the camp. That veteran intriguer, concluding that his life was in danger, excited his attendants to resist, and was slain in the scuffle. Struck with dismay, upon the news of this unexpected result, Nizam Ali abandoned the camp in the night, taking with him his select cavalry alone; and pursued his flight towards Boorhanpore, about 150 miles north from Aurengabad, with all the speed which the horses could endure. Thus was Bussy delivered from his two most formidable enemies, by the very stroke which they had aimed against him; and in this state of uncontrolable power in the wide-extended government of Deccan, was he placed, when the arrival of Lally produced an extraordinary change in his views; and insured a new train of events in the Subah.
The character of that new Governor was ill adapted to the circumstances in Character of which he was appointed to act. Ardent and impetuous, by the original structure of his mind; his early success and distinction had rendered him vain and presumptuous. With natural talents of considerable force, his knowledge was scanty and superficial. Having never experienced difficulties, he never anticicipated any: For him it was enough to will the end; the means obtained an inferior portion of his regard. Acquainted thoroughly with the technical part of the military profession, but acquainted with nothing else, he was totally unable to apply its principles in a new situation of things. Unacquainted with the character and manners of the people among whom he was called upon to act; he was too ignorant of the theory of war, to know, that on the management of his intellectual and moral instruments, the success of the General mainly depends.
He began by what he conceived a very justifiable act of authority, but which The mode ot was in reality a cruel violation of the customs, the religion, and in truth, the wantf conrililegal rights of the natives. As there was not at Pondicherry, of the persons ofatl0a' the lower castes, who are employed in the servile occupations of the camp, a sufficient number to answer the impatience of M. Lally in forwarding the troops to Fort St. David, he ordered the native inhabitants of the town to be pressed, and employed without distinction of caste, in carrying burdens, and performing whatever labour might be required. The terror and consternation created by
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