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Book V. been carried on through the military officers upon the spot. The power thus con"—veyed to the military, Mr. Hastings had represented as inconvenient if not dangerous; and one object of his policy had been to render the head of the civil goHastings al- vernment the exclusive organ of communication with foreign powers. He now CoundUo" stated to the Council the concurrence in opinion of the Vizir and himself, that an agent wuhThe a£ent' permHnen^ residing with the Vizir for the communication and adjustment Nabob of of many affairs to which the intercourse of letters could not conveniently apply, would be attended with important advantages: And he urged the propriety of granting to himself the sole nomination of such an agent, the sole power of removing him, and the power of receiving and answering his letters, without communication either to the Committee or Council. To all these conditions the Council gave their assent; and Mr. Nathaniel Middleton, with an extra salary, was sent as private agent to attend the residence of the Vizir, and to communicate secretly with Mr. Hastings.*
The Vizir in the mean time had made himself master of several places in theDooab; advanced towards Delhi with a show of great friendship to the Emperor; assisted him with money; sent a force to assist his army in wresting Agra from the Jaats; and having thus laid a foundation for confidence, began to intrigue for the sanction of the Emperor to his intended attack upon Rohilcund. A treaty was negociated, and at last solemnly concluded and signed, by which it was agreed that the Emperor should assist with his forces in the reduction of the Rohillas, and in return should receive a share of the plunder, and one half of the conquered country .f Puiflment of On the 18th of November, about two months after their interview, the Vizir mise for'tnT** wrote to the President, demanding the promised assistance of the English for d^t^hUiasf tne destruction of the Rohillas. Mr. Hastings appears to have been thrown •Uimed by jn^0 some embarrassment. The suddenness and confidence of the call corre
sponded but indifferently with the terms on which he had given his colleagues to understand that the communication on this subject rested between him and the Vizir. His abilities in making out a case, though singularly great, were unable to produce unanimity; and it was not till after a long debate, that a decision in favour of the expedition was obtained. The assistance was promised, on the very terms concerted and settled between him and the Vizir; and yet this President had the art to persuade his colleagues, and joined with them in a decla
* Hastings' Report, App. No. 19, ut supra; Letter of 17th June, 1744, App. No. 25. t Francklin's Shah Aulum, p. 54. Letter of Col. Champion; Fifth Report, ut supra, App. No. 45; and the treaty itself, App. No. 27. Scott's Aurungzebe s Successors, p. 259, 260.
ration to their common masters, that these terms were so favourable to the Chap. I. English, and so burdensome to the Vizir, as to render his acceptance of them v*"~^—*~
. ". , _ 1774.
improbable, and therefore to leave but little chance of their involving the English government in a measure which the principal conductors of that government were desirous to avoid.*
In the month of January, 1774, the second of the three brigades into which Destruction the Company's army in Bengal was divided, received orders to join the Vizir; Performe<^ and Colonel Champion, now Commander-in-Chief, proceeded about the middle of February to assume the command. On the 24th of February the brigade arrived within the territory of the Vizir; and on the 17th of April the united forces entered the Rohilla dominions. On the 19th Col. Champion wrote to the Presidency, that the Rohilla leader "had by letter expressed earnest inclinations to come to an accommodation with the Vizir; but that the Nabob claimed no less than two crore of rupees." After this extravagant demand the Rohillas posted themselves on the side of Babul Nulla, with a resolution of standing their ground to the last extremity. And early on the morning of the 23d, the English advanced to the attack. "Hafez," says the English General with a generous esteem, "and his army, consisting of about 40,000 men, showed great bravery and resolution, annoying us with their artillery and rockets. They made repeated attempts to charge, but our guns, being so much better served than theirs, kept so constant and galling a fire, that they could not advance; and where they were closest, was the greatest slaughter. They gave proof of a good share of military knowledge, by showing inclinations to force both our flanks at the same time, and endeavouring to call off our attention by a brisk fire on our centre. It is impossible to describe a more obstinate firmness of resolution than the enemy displayed. Numerous were their gallant men who advanced, and often pitched their colours between both armies, in order to encourage their men to follow them; and it was not till they saw our whole army advancing briskly to charge them, after a severe cannonade of two hours and twenty minutes, and a smart fire of musketry for some minutes on both flanks, that they fairly turned their backs. Of the enemy above 2,000 fell in field, and amongst them many Sirdars. But what renders the victory most decisive is the death of Hafez Rhamet, who was killed whilst bravely rallying his people to battle. One of his sons was also killed, one taken prisoner, and a third returned from flight to day, and is in the hands of Sujah Dowla."
• Fifth Report, ut supra, App. Nos. 22, 23, 24,25.
Book V. In passing to another character, the General changes his strain. "I wish," says he, "I could pay the Vizir any compliment on this occasion, or that I were not under the indispensable necessity of expressing my highest indignation at his shameful pusillanimity; indispensably, I say, because it is necessary that administration should clearly know how little to be depended on is this their ally. The night before the battle, I applied to him for some particular pieces of cannon, which I thought might prove of great service in the action; but he declined giving the use of them. He promised solemnly to support me with all his force, and particularly engaged to be near at hand with a large body of cavalry, to be used as I should direct. But instead of being nigh me, he remained beyond the Gurrah, on the ground which I had left in the morning, surrounded by his cavalry and a large train of artillery, and did not move thence till the news of the enemy's defeat reached him." Then, however, his troops began to be active, and effectually plundered the camp; "while the Company's troops, in regular order in their ranks, most justly" (says their commander) "observed, We have the honour of the day, and these banditti the profit?*
This action, in reality, terminated the war. Though Fyzoolla Khan, with his treasures and the remains of the army, had made good his flight toward the mountains, the whole country, without opposition, lay at the mercy of the Vizir; and never probably were the rights of conquest more savagely abused. Not only was the ferocity of Indian depredation let loose upon the wretched inhabitants, but as his intention, according to what he had previously and repeatedly declared to the English government, was to exterminate the Rohillas, every one who bore the name of Rohilla was either butchered or found his safety in flight and in exile. f
* Letter of Col. Champion to the Hon. Warren Hastings, &c. 24th April, 1774; Fifth Report, ut supra, App. No. 26.
\ " The inhumanity and dishonour," says Col. Champion, in his letter of June 12, 1774, " with which the late proprietors of this country and their families have been used, is known all over these parts; a relation of them would swell this letter to an immense size. I could not help compassionating such unparalleled misery; and my requests to the Vizir to show lenity were frequent, but as fruitless as even those advices which I almost hourly gave him, regarding the destruction of the villages, with respect to which I am now constrained to declare, that though he always promised as fairly as I could wish, yet he did not observe one of his promises, nor cease to overspread the country with flames, till three days after the fate of Hafez Rhamet was decided."— In another letter he says, "Above a lack of people have deserted their abodes in consequence of the defeat of Hafez." Ibid. App. No. 27. In another, " The whole army were witnesses of scenes that cannot be described." That the President was perfectly aware of the designs of the Vizir,
Shortly after this decisive affair, the army marched to the city of Bissouly, Chap which was near the centre of the Rohilla country, with the intention of passing in quarters the season of the rains. At this place had arrived before them Nujeef Khan, with the army of the Emperor. In obedience to the treaty between the Emperor and Vizir, they had marched from Delhi to assist in the reduction of the Rohillas; but before they reached the scene of action the rapidity and vigour of the English had terminated the war. Nujeef Khan demanded partition of the country and plunder, according to the conditions on which the countenance and co-operation of the Emperor had been procured. The Vizir did not dispute the treaty, a copy of which the Emperor had sent to Col. Champion; he alleged however that the counterpart, which was in his own possession, expressed a condition that his Majesty should take the field in person; and that the breach of that article annulled the contract. "But when the counterpart," says Col. Champion, "which he put into the hands of my interpreter, came to be examined, it appeared there was no such stipulation, nor indeed did it ever exist even verbally." * The decision of the English govern
before his engagement to assist in them, sufficiently appears from his own letter to that chief, dated the 22d of April, 1773. "I have received," says he, "your Excellency's letter, mentioning
that if, should the Rohillas be guilty of a breach of their agreement [Viz. about the forty
lacs]], we will thoroughly exterminate them, and settle your Excellency in the country, you will in that case pay the Company fifty lacs of rupees, and exempt them from the King's tribute." Ibid. App. No. 21. In the Nabob's own letter to the President, of the 18th November, 1773, he says,
"During our interview at Benares, it was agreed that I should pay, &c and that I should,
with the assistance of the English forces, endeavour to punish and exterminate the Rohillas out of
Book V. ment is the next incident in the scene. Instructing on this subject the com* ^-^^ 'mander of their troops, when he had as yet only sent them a surmise, and the treaty had not been produced, "our engagements (they say) with the Vizir are to aid him in the conquest of the Rohilla country; and if he is opposed by Nujeef Khan, or the King himself, you are to pay no regard to either. We cannot" (they add) " entertain so bad an opinion of the Vizir as to suppose him capable of acting in avowed breach of a treaty; but if any plea of that kind should be made for contesting our right to occupy any part of the Rohilla Country yet unconquered, it will be proper to put to him the question, whether such treaty does exist or not? If he should acknowledge such a treaty, you must undoubtedly abstain from further hostilities in abetment of his breach of faith." Yet after they were fully satisfied of the existence of such a treaty; and not only of the capability, but the resolution of the Vizir to act in avowed breach of it, they laid their commands upon the English general, to abet and support him, because "it is our intention," say they, "to persevere in pursuit of the object which originally engaged us in the present enterprise, and to adhere strictly to our engagements with the Vizir, without suffering our attention to be diverted by foreign incidents or occurrences,"* that is, by solemn treaties, or the breach of them.
From Fyzoolla Khan an early application arrived, offering to come to the camp upon the faith of the English, and to hold the district which had belonged to his family as a dependent or renter of the Vizir. His offers variously modified were frequently repeated, with great earnestness. But the Vizir persisted in his declaration that he would allow no Rohilla chief to remain on the further side of the Ganges; and only offered him one of the districts in the Dooab, which had been recently conquered from the Mahrattas. Fyzoolla Khan, with justice, observed, that this the Mahrattas would take from him, the first time they returned to the country. Agreement Towards the end of July, the united forces of the English and Vizir marched Khwu3TM°'1* towards Fyzoolla Khan, who occupied a strong post on the skirts of the mountains, near Pattir Gur. At-the beginning of September they came near the enemy, and as the Vizir began to exhibit a strong desire of an accommodation with the Rohillas, an active intercourse of letters and messengers ensued. Whether his mind was operated upon by the approaching arrival of the new counsellors at Calcutta, or the dread which he pretended of assistance to Fyzoolla Khan
• letter of 23d May, and 14th July, App. ut supra, No. 27.