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Book V. evacuation of Mahe. Not conceiving that he could be justified in leaving Tellrcherry in its perilous situation, Colonel Brathwaite moved with his detachment to its support. In consequence of the detention of those troops, the Council at Madras resolved to send another detachment to the assistance of Goddard; which were embarked in the months of January and February, 1780.* Historyof In 1774, the divisions among the Mahratta chiefs afforded to Hyder an opportunity, which he dexterously and vigorously improved, of turning the tide in his affairs. He recovered speedily the territory which he had lost. He diligently employed the interval of repose which succeeded, in restoring order to his country, improving his revenues, augmenting the number and improving the discipline of his troops. His power soon appeared to be rapidly on the increase; and afforded alarm to the English, who, by their evasion of the treaty of 1769, were conscious of the hatred they had inspired; and were now jealous of a connexion between him and the French. He continued to extend his dominions and increase his power, with little interruption, till the latter end of the year 1777, when the Mahrattas and Nizam Ali combined to chastise him. The Mahrattas, under Hurry Pundit and Purseram penetrated into the Balagaut country, with an army of 50,000 men; but upon the approach of Hyder, who hastened to oppose them, they retreated into the district of Adoni, where they came to an engagement on the 5th of January, 1778, and sustained a defeat. Hyder renews,Though Hyder was deeply exasperated against the Presidency of Madras for their continued evasion of treaty and refusal of assistance, he was induced by ^th'lh1eEng-tne state ofam^rs to make a fresh proposal in 1778. Harassed, by the hostili,'sh'ties of the Poonah government, he had been well-pleased to support a pretender in the person of Ragoba: The English were now involved not only in disputes with the Poona ministers, but actual operations for the re-instatement of that ejected chief: And in the beginning of July, 1778, Hyder, through his resident at Madras, made a new overture towards an alliance with the English; offering his assistance to establish Ragonaut Row in the office of Peshwa; and requiring only a supply of arms and military stores for which he would pay, and a body of troops whose expenses he would defray. The opinion of the Presidency appears to have been, that such an arrangement might be useful; more particularly to prevent the formation of a connexion between Hyder and the French: They even acknowledged their belief, that had not the treaty of 1769 been evaded, Hyder never would have sought other allies than themselves. The
* First Report, ut supra, p. 56.
Supreme Council, to whom reference was made, approved in general of an Chap. V.
alliance with Hyder; but being at that time zealous to form a connexion with ^— the Rajah of Berar, they directed a modification of the terms in regard to Ragoba, whose cause, they said, was supported, not as an end, but a means, and a means now deemed subordinate to the successful issue of the negotiation with Moodajee.
A friendly intercourse subsisted between Hyder and the French. He had Hyder offendbeen supplied by them with arms and military stores. A number of adventurers ^dmon6 6* of that nation commanded and disciplined his troops. And they were united by a8ainst MBh<!a common hatred of the English power. A desire to save appearances, however, constrained Hyder to congratulate the English upon the reduction of Pondicherry. But anticipating the design of attacking Mahe-, he gave early intimation of the resentment with which he would regard any such attempt. Mahe was situated in the territory of a petty prince on the western coast, who, with the other petty princes, his neighbours, were rendered tributary to Hyder, and ranked among his dependants. The merchants of various nations, it was declared by Hyder, had settlements, and performed traffic, in his dominions; and all of them, as if they were subjects of his own, he would resolutely defend. To soften his animosity, and prevent a rupture, which the dread of his power, and above all, his apprehended union with the French, clothed in considerable terrors, there was sent to his presence, in January, 1779, a person who, though empowered to declare the resolution of attacking Mahe, should assure Hyder of the desire which the Presidency felt to study his inclinations, and to cultivate his friendship. The messenger was received with but little respect, and the invasion of Carnatic was threatened, as the retaliation for interfering with Mahe\ At that particular moment, Hyder was engaged in the conquests of Gooti, of Carnoul, and Cudapah; the former belonging to the Mahratta chieftain Morari Row; the two last to their respective Nabobs, dependants of the Subahdar; and thence was hindered from taking effectual measures to defeat the expedition against Mahe\ But the Presidency were now convinced of his decided aversion; and were informed of his intention to make peace with the Mahrattas, for enabling him the more completely to carry into execution his designs against the English. Their thoughts were called to the necessity of preparation; and they saw nothing but dangers and difficulties in their path. The Nabob, as he informed them, and as they knew well without his information, was destitute of money; and as destitute of troops, on whom, either for numbers or quality, any reliance could be placed. Their own treasury was impoverished. And if the cavalry of Hyder
Vol. II. . 3d
Book V. should enter the country, neither could the revenues be collected, nor provisions 'be procured. More alive than they to the sense of danger, the Nabob urged the necessity of making peace with Hyder, by stopping the expedition to Mahe;or, on the other hand, of making terms with the Mahrattas and the Subahdar. Hyder and the So far from attempting to conciliate either Hyder or the Subahdar, the Presi
threatening dency formed with Bazalut Jung the arrangement which has been already uniess"the"an- described, respecting the Guntoor Circar and military assistance, and which, in nulled his en- tne hig^st deffree, alarmed and exasperated both. The detachment, which
gagement with o o , r'
the English, under Colonel Harpur was sent to the assistance of Bazalut Jung, attempted to proceed to Adoni, through a part of Cudapah, which Hyder had lately subdued. His troops barricaded the passes; and the detachment, afraid of being surrounded, was obliged to march back and wait for subsequent orders. Hyder not only assured Bazalut Jung, by writing, that he would not permit the English, whom he described as the most faithless and usurping of all mankind, to establish themselves in a place so contiguous to his country, and so important as Guntoor; but in the month of November he sent a body of troops into the territory of that Prince, took possession of the open country, and joined with Nizam Ali his brother, in threatening him with instant ruin, unless he broke off all correspondence with the English. In this emergency Bazalut Jung was constrained to forbid the march of the English detachment; and to request the restoration of Guntoor, as the only means of pacifying his brother and Hyder, and averting his fate. The question respecting the circar came under deliberation of the Council on the 30th of December; when the decree was passed, that it should not be restored. Though its importance was considerable; because situated as it was between the territories of the Nabob, or, more properly speaking, of the English, in Carnatic, and the four Northern Circars, it completed the communication between their northern and southern possessions, and, by placing in their hands the port of Mootapilly, deprived Nizam Ali of all connexion with the sea, reduced him to the condition of a merely inland power, and in particular closed the channel by which French supplies could easily reach him; yet the embarrassment, created in the Council, by the bargain they had concluded with the Nabob, for a ten years' lease of that circar, contributed not less, it would appear, than all other inducements to the resolution which they formed.
Anticipating a Under the apprehensions which the resentment and preparations of Hyder Hyder, the inspired, the Presidency, at the end of October, had represented to the Supreme Madr^re- °f Council the prospect of rupture with that chieftain, the dangerous magnitude of his power, and their want of resources; had pressed upon them the necessity of Chap. V. forming a peace with the Mahrattas, as in that event Hyder would be restrained v by his fears; and had written in similar terms to General Goddard at Bombay, commend Soon after, when they were informed of the probability that hostilities would be j^ratt1as to6 renewed with the Mahrattas, they reiterated the statement of their apprehensions; ^ ^jpreme and concluded that, destitute as they were of resources for all active operations, they could only collect their troops as much as possible, and wait to see what the resolutions of the Supreme Board would enable them to undertake. Before the end of November, the Nabob, whose intelligence respecting the Make no preproceedings of the Indian powers was in general uncommonly good, informed P01*11°"8, the Governor, that a treaty had been formed between Hyder and the Mahrattas, to which Nizam Al i had acceded, for a system of combined hostilities against the English. Though in his answer to the Nabob the Governor appeared to discredit the intelligence, it was not long before he was satisfied of its truth; and in the letter which on the 31st of December the Select Committee addressed to the Supreme Board, they represent the treaty between Hyder and the Mahrattas as an undoubted fact. Still they were not so much impressed with a sense of imminent danger as to be deterred from sending a body of troops to the assistance of Goddard, in lieu of those which were detained at Tellicherry; being in daily expectation of a regiment from Europe; conceiving themselves sufficiently strong to cover the principal garrisons; and deeming it vain, without cavalry, to attempt to protect the open country against the invasion of a vast body of horse. In the month of January, 1780, the President wrote to the Court of Directors, that, notwithstanding the alarms in which they had been held by the hostile appearances of Hyder and the Nizam, and notwithstanding the provocation which the support of Ragoba had given both to the Mahrattas and the Nizam, there was still a prospect of tranquillity; and in the following month, he repeated, in still stronger terms, a similar assurance. Till the month of June, no measures were pursued which had a reference to the war; and even then, it was only commanded that Colonel Harpur's detachment, which had been transferred to the command of Colonel Baillie, should cross the Kistna, to be more in readiness, "in case of any disturbance in the Carnatic." On the 19th of June intelligence was received from the officer at Velore, that Hyder had began his march from Seringapatam, and that a great army was already collected at Bangalore. On the 28th of the same month, the Select Committee of Fort St. George declared, by letter to the Supreme Board, that Hyder had received from the French islands a great quantity of military stores; that his
Book V. army, which he had been rapidly increasing for two years past, was now equipped for immediate service; that a part of it was already advanced to the borders of Carnatic; and that intelligence had been received of his being actually employed in clearing the road to one of the principal passes.
While the affairs of the Presidency were approaching to their present situation, a division had existed not only in the Council, but in the Select Committee itself. The President however, and the General had combined; and they retained a majority in both. In contemplation of the resentment of Hyder, and the progress of his power, the party, the views of which were apt to discord with those of the leading members of the government, had strongly urged upon them, at various times, the necessity of making preparations against the invasion with which they were threatened by Hyder, and of which they had received intimation from various quarters. If the resources of the Nabob and the Presidency combined were unequal to the maintenance of an army sufficient for the protection of the open country, it behoved them at least to assemble the troops; which, scattered as they were in petty garrisons over a great extent of country, could not, in case of an emergency, be collected without a lapse of time; and of which the junction would become hazardous, and perhaps impracticable, if the country were pervaded by Hyder's horse. The majority, indeed, had expressed their opinion of the necessity of having the troops collected in a body, and ready to act, previous to invasion. But they had not yet become persuaded that the danger was sufficiently imminent to render it necessary that preparation should begin. Surprised by On the 21st of July information was brought from the commander at Am
arrival of the __ _ .
«nemy. boor, that Hyder and his two sons, with the principal part of his army, had come through the pass, and that his artillery was drawn up in the road to Changama. This intelligence, though it was confirmed from several quarters, was treated with slight regard by the party in power; and on the 23d, when Lord Macleod represented to the Governor, "That perhaps the report of Hyder's invasion might be true, and that he thought at all events they ought to take measures to oppose him; the Governor answered, What can we do? We have no money. But added, We mean, however, to assemble an army, and you are to command it."* The next day brought undoubted intelligence, that Porto
* Lord Macleod was the commanding officer of the European regiment which had lately arrived. See the extract of his Letter to the Secretary of State, quoted in the First Report of the Secret Committee, p. 44 and 51. *