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Book IV. and hurricanes were apprehended, which would drive the ships from the coast. v ft was therefore determined, by a council of war, thirty-one days after the open- Baffled, ing of the trenches, that the siege should be raised. Dupleix, as corresponded with the character of the man, made a great ostentation and parade on this unexpected event. He represented himself as having gained one of the most brilliant victories on record; he wrote letters in this strain, not only to France, but to the Indian princes, and even to the Great Mogul himself; he received in return the highest compliments on his own conduct and bravery, as well as on the prowess of his nation; and the English were regarded in India as only a secondary and inferior people.* Peace between In November news arrived that a suspension of arms had taken place between France!* a"d England and France; and this was shortly after followed by intelligence of the treaty of Aix la Chapelle, in which the French government had agreed to restore Madras. It was delivered up in August, with its fortifications much improved. At the distance of four miles south from Madras was the town of San Tome, or St. Thomas, built by the Portuguese, and, in the time of their prosperity, a place of note. It had long however been reduced to obscurity, and though inhabited mostly by Christians, had hardly been regarded as a possession by any of the European powers. It had been found that the Roman Catholic priests, from the sympathy of religion, had conveyed useful information to the French in their designs upon Madras. To prevent the like inconvenience in future, it was now taken possession of by the English, and the obnoxious part of the inhabitants ordered to withdraw, f
No events of any importance had occurred at the other presidencies, during these years of war. The Viceroy of Bengal had prohibited the French and English from prosecuting their hostilities in his dominions. This governor exacted contributions from the European colonies, for the protection which he bestowed; that however which he imposed upon the English did not exceed 100,000/. A quantity of raw silk, amounting to 300 bales, belonging to the Company, was plundered by the Mahrattas; and the distress which the incur
* Orme, i. 80, 98—106. Dupleix (Mem. p. 32) says that the trenches were open forty-two days, and that the siege altogether lasted fifty-eight. The memoir drawn up by the French East India Company, in answer to Dupleix, alleges more than once that Dupleix was defective in personal courage; and says he apologized for the care with which he kept at a distance from shot, by acknowledging que le bruit des armes suspendoit ses reflexions, et que le calme setd convenoit d son genie: p. 18.
f Orme, i. 107, 75, 131.
sions of that people produced in the province, increased the difficulties of Chap. L traffic*
The trade of the Company exhibited the following results:—
1747 .... 107,979
1748 .... 127,224
1749. State of tha Company's trade.
The bills of exchange for which the Company paid during those years were:
1744 £103,349 1747 £441,651 1745 98,213 1748 178,419 1746 417,647 The amount of sales for the same years (including thirty per cent. of duties, which remain to be deducted) was:1744 .... £1,997,506 1747 .... £1,739,159 1745 2,480,966 1748 1,768,041 f 1746 ... 1,602,388 The official value at the custom-house of the imports and exports of the Company, during that period, was as follows:Imports. Exports. 1744 £743,508 £476,274 1745 973,705 293,113 1746 646,697 893,540 1747 821,733 345,526 1748 1,098,712 306,3571 The dividend was eight per cent. per annum, during the whole of the time.§ During the same period, the trade of the nation, notwithstanding the war, had considerably increased. The imports had risen from 6,362,971/. official value, to 8,136,408/.; and the exports from 11,429,628/., to 12,351,433/.; and, in the two following years, to 14,099,366/. and 15,132,004/. ||
* Orme, ii. 45. f Third Report from the Committee of Secrecy, 1773, p. 75.
J Sir C. Whitworth's Tables, part ii. p. 9. § Report, ut supra, p. 74.
1) Whitworth's Tables, part i. p. 78. CHAP. II.
1749. The English begin to act as a power in India.
Assume the defence of a Tanjorine prince.
Origin, Progress, and Suspension, of the Contest for establishing Mahomed
Ali, Nabob of Carnatic.
A. NEW scene is now to open in the history of the East India Company. Before this period they had maintained the character of mere traders, and, by humility and submission, endeavoured to preserve a footing in that distant country, under the protection or oppression of the native powers. We shall now behold them entering the lists of war; and mixing with eagerness in the contests of the princes. Dupleix, whose views were larger than, at that time, those of any of the servants of the Company, had already planned, in his imagination, an empire for the French, and had entered pretty deeply into the intrigues of the country powers. The English were the first to draw the sword; and from no higher inducement than the promise of a trifling settlement on the Coromandel coast. A prince who, amid the revolutions of that country, had, some years before, possessed and lost the throne of Tanjore, repaired to Fort St. David, and entreated the assistance of the English. He represented his countrymen as ready to co-operate for his restoration; and promised the fort and country of DeviCotah, with the payment of all expenses, if, with their assistance, he should recover his rights. The war between the French and English had brought to the settlements of both nations in that quarter of India, a greater quantity of troops than was necessary for their defence; and with the masters of troops it seems to be a law of nature, whenever they possess them in greater abundance than is necessary for defence, to employ them for the disturbance of others. The French and English rulers in India showed themselves extremely obedient to that law. The interests of the Tanjore fugitive were embraced at Fort St. David; and, in the beginning of April, 1749, 430 Europeans, and 1,000 Sepoys, with four field-pieces and four small mortars, marched with him for Tanjore.
Tanjore was one of those rajahships, or small kingdoms, into which the Mohamedans, at their first invasion of India, found the country in general divided. It occupied little more than the space enclosed and intersected by the numerous mouths of the river Cavery. The Coleroon, or most northern branch of that Chap. II. river, bounded it on the north, and it extended about seventy miles along the coast, and nearly as much inland from the sea. Like the rest of the neighbouring country, it appears to have become dependent upon the more powerful rajahship of Beejanuggur, before the establishment of the Mohamedan kingdoms in Deccan; and afterwards upon the kingdom of Beejapore, but subject still to its own laws and its own sovereign or rajah, who held it under the title of Zemindar. In the time of Aurungzebe, it has been already seen, that a very remarkable personage, the father of Sevagee, who had obtained a footing in the Carnatic, had entered into a confederacy with the Rajah or Polygar of Mudkul or Madura, against the Rajah or Zemindar or Naig (for we find all these titles applied to him) of Tanjore, whom they defeated and slew; that afterwards quarrelling with the Rajah of Mudkul, about the division of the conquered territory, the Mahratta stripped him of his dominions, took possession both of Mudkul and Tanjore, and transmitted them to his posterity.* His grandson Shawgee was attacked and taken prisoner by Zulfeccar Khan, who, to strengthen his party, restored him to his government or zemindary, upon the death of Aurungzebe. Shawgee had two brothers, Shurfagee and Tuckogee. They succeeded one another in the government, and all died without issue, excepting the last. Tuckogee had three sons, Baba Saib, Nana, and Sahugee. Baba Saib succeeded his father, and died without issue. Nana died before him, but left an infant son, and his widow was raised to the government, by the influence of Seid, the commander of the fort. This powerful servant soon deprived the Queen of all authority, threw her into prison, and set up as rajah a pretended son of Shurfagee. It suited the views of Seid to allow a very short existence to this prince, and his power. He next placed Sahugee, the youngest of the sons of Tuckogee, in the seat of government. Sahugee also was soon driven from the throne. Seid now vested with the name of sovereign Pretaupa Sing, a son by one of the inferior wives of Tuckogee. This was in 1741. The first act of Pretaupa Sing's government was to assassinate Seid. It was Sahugee who now craved the assistance of the English, f And it was after having corresponded for years with Pretaupa Sing, as King of Tanjore; after having offered to him the friendship of the English nation; and after having courted his assistance against the French; that the English rulers now, without so much
* Vide supra. Aurungzebe's Operations in Deccan, by Scott, p. 6.
f History and Management of the East India Company, from an authentic MS. account of Tanjore. See also Orme, i. 108, who in some particulars was misinformed.
IV. as a pretence of any provocation, and without the allegation of any other motive than the advantage of possessing Devi-Cotah, dispatched an army to dethrone him.*
The troops proceeded by land, while the battering-cannon and provisions were conveyed by sea. All were on their way, when the monsoon changed, with a violent hurricane. The army, having crossed the river Coleroon, without opposition, were on the point of turning into a road among the woods which they would have found inextricable. Some of the soldiers, however, discovered a passage along the river, into which they turned by blind but lucky chance; and this led them, after a march of about ten miles, to the neighbourhood of Devi-Cotah. They had been annoyed by the Tanjorines; no partisans appeared for Sahugee; and indeed it appears not that so much as a notice had been conveyed to them of what was designed; and no intelligence could be procured of the ships, though they were at anchor only four miles off at the mouth of the river. The army threw at the fort what shells they had, and then retreated without delay.
The shame of a defeat was difficult to bear; and the rulers of Madras resolved upon a second attempt. They exaggerated the value of Devi-Cotah; situated in the most fertile spot on the coast of Coromandel; and standing on the river
* "The meaning of this letter is to let your Majesty know, I shall esteem it a great honour to be upon such terms with your Majesty, as may be convenient to both; for which reason, I hope, this will meet with a gracious acceptance, as likewise the few things I send with it." Letter from Governor Floyer to Pretaupa Sing, King of Tanjore, dated 30th Nov. 1746.—" I received your letter, and am glad to hear of the King of Tanjore's regard and civility towards the English: You may be assured, that after the arrival of our ships, which will be very soon, I will serve the King, and all the people that will do us good against the French, who are enemies to all the world." Letter from Governor Floyer to Maccajeeniko, officer of the King of Tanjore, dated 3d Jan. 1747.—" This is to acquaint your Majesty of the good news we have received from Europe two days past. The French nation (enemies both to your Majesty and the English) had fitted out a force with design to drive the English out of India; and, had they been successful, they would never have stopped there; but would have made settlements in whatever parts of your country they liked best; as they have already done at Carical. But it pleased God, that their vile designs have been prevented; for our ships met them at sea, and took and destroyed
the whole of them I do not at all doubt, but that in a short time we shall be able to
put you in possession of Carical, which I hear you so much wish for." Letter from Governor Floyer to the King of Tanjore, dated 19th Jan. 1748. See i. 25, 26, of a Collection of Papers, entitled Tanjore Papers, published by the East India Company in three 4to volumes, in 1777, as an Appendix to a Vindication of the Company, drawn up by their council Mr. Rous, in answer to two pamphlets; one entitled "State of Facts relative to Tanjore;" the other, "Original Papers relative to Tanjore." This collection of papers, I shall commonly quote, under the short title of ltous's Appendix.