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Book V. power may be gratified to their fullest possible extent; and that he may be allowed an unparticipated command over all the forces acting under British authority in the Carnatic." Though Macartney announced his determination to act under this recommendation, as if it were a legal command, he yet displayed, first in a private letter to the Governor-General, to which no answer was ever returned, and also in a public communication, in the name of the Select Committee of the Council of Madras, his opinion, that the measure, as it regarded either the antecedent conduct of the Governor and Council of Madras or the nature of the case, was destitute of all reasonable ground; calculated to involve the Madras government in difficulties; and liable to produce the most dangerous consequences. Of the rooted enmity of the Governor-General he regarded this proceeding as a decisive proof. And from this time but little between the Presidencies was preserved even of the appearance of concert.
Of the inconvenience to themselves of the transfer which the Supreme Council had ordered of the powers of the Presidency, one instance speedily occurred. Upon a requisition to send a detachment from Madras to Bombay, the President and Council were obliged to return for answer, that compliance no longer remained in their power, since all authority over the troops resided in the General. It is remarkable enough that this incident, which, with others of the like description, might have been so easily foreseen, determined the Supreme Council to revoke the orders which they had formerly given, and by explaining away the meaning of their former words, to substitute a new regulation for the degree of power with which the General was to be supplied. A great diminution, following close in succession upon a great enlargement of power, was not likely to produce a healing effect upon such a temper as that of Coote. He now insisted upon relinquishing the command of the army; and on the 28th of September, 1782, sailed for Bengal. Measures for giving him satisfaction were there concerted between him and the Supreme Council; and he departed from Bengal in the following spring to resume the command. It has been historically stated, and without contradiction, That nothing but an accident prevented the two Presidents, even at that trying moment, from plunging their countrymen in India into something of the nature of a civil war: That Coote was dispatched with powers to resume the military command, exempt from dependance upon the Madras government: And that to this illegal subversion of the authority of the subordinate Presidency Lord Macartney was determined not to submit.* The death of the General happily prevented the chance of a struggle. The ship, in which
* Memoirs of the late War in Asia, i. 429.
he was proceeding from the Ganges to the coast, was chased several days by Chap. V. some of the French cruizers, and at times in imminent danger; the extreme v'
anxiety of this situation operating upon the irritable and enfeebled frame of the General, accelerated a third fit of apoplexy, and terminated his life on the 26th of April, only three days after landing at Madras. To such an extreme the distrust of the supreme government was now carried, that a sum of ten lacs of rupees from Bengal, which arrived a few days after, could not be received, because the person who brought it had orders to deliver it not to the civil government, but into the hands of Sir Eyre Coote. From this time the GovernorGeneral and Council withheld from Macartney, not only the powers which were necessary for effecting by negotiation a division among the enemies of the English, but all instruction with respect to their views of peace and war; and, instead of those supplies which they had hitherto afforded in considerable quantity, they forbid the Carnatic Presidency to draw on the government of Bengal for a single rupee. Repeated applications were sent, before any answer was received, for instructions in regard to the treaty which Tippoo had declared his willingness to form. It was not till after the commissioners had departed that any were received; and when they came, they were so equivocally worded, that whatever course the Carnatic Presidency might pursue, their conduct would equally stand open to blame.*
The treaty of peace with Tippoo was transmitted for ratification to Bengal. In the absence of Mr. Hastings, who was then at Lucknow, it was acknowledged and signed by the Supreme Council, who were vested with all the powers of government. It was returned in due form. It was, then, with the requisite solemnity, transmitted to Tippoo. The receipt of it was acknowledged. And this great transaction was closed.
After a number of months had elapsed, a fresh copy of the treaty was received from Bengal, having the signature as before of the Members of the Council at Calcutta, and the additional signature of the Governor-General at Lucknow. To this instrument was annexed, a declaration that the Nabob Walaw Jaw had a right to be included in the treaty; and a command to the President and Council of Madras, "at their peril," to transmit the ratification of the treaty in its second form to Tippoo.
For understanding this transaction, it is necessary to recollect, that the Nabob, along with his mischievous agents, expressed their uneasiness at the
* Papers presented to the House of Commons, ut supra; Barrow's Life of the Earl of Macartney, i. 180 and 233.
Book V. unhappy state of his affairs, by imputing blame to the Governor, and obstructV~~J^~">' ing the government. The Supreme Council had taken part with the complaints, not only of the General, but also of the Nabob. To all practicable arrangements for peace, that dependant, ambitious, and insatiate chief, had shown aversion, and in particular a poignant abhorrence of Hyder Ali and his son. Important as the blessings of peace had now become to the exhausted resources of him and the Company, he treated with unreserved disapprobation the terms of any treaty which, to the Presidency, it seemed practicable to obtain; and neither gave his consent, nor appeared to desire to become a party, to the arrangement which they endeavoured to effect. The treaty of 1769, in which the Nabob was not included as a party, nor his name mentioned, appeared to furnish a precedent to justify a treaty in which, though his participation was not expressed, his interests were secured. And as it was absolutely necessary, on behalf of the Company, that the Nabob should not have the power of breaking a treaty, essential to their interests, though by him violently condemned, it was held a great advantage to place it on a foundation independent of his will. Besides, previously to the negotiation, the Supreme Council were so far from holding up the Nabob, as a necessary and a principal party, that they did not even direct the communication to him of their instructions, or hint the propriety of taking his advice. The complaint, however, which on this account the Nabob had been instigated to raise, the Supreme Council treated now as a matter of infinite importance; and to Lord Macartney they appeared to be actuated by a wish to multiply the embarrassments of his administration. Considering the jealous temper of Tippoo, his distrust of the English, and his perpetual apprehension of treachery and deceit, Lord Macartney was convinced, that to present to him a second ratification of a treaty, after the first had been received as final and complete, could only serve to persuade him that either on the first or second of these occasions imposition was practised; and that hostility should anticipate hostile designs. The danger of such a result determined the President to brave the resentment of the superior government, and exonerating his council from responsibility, he declared his readiness to submit to suspension, as the consequence of his refusal to obey the orders of the governing Board. The situation of Mr. Hastings himself became about this time too alarming, however, to leave him inclination for a stretch of his authority, and the disobedience of Lord Macartney was followed by no unpleasant result.*
* Barrow's Life of Macartney, i. 232—238; Papers presented to the House of Commons, ut supra.
Financial Difficulties—Campaign of General Goddard on the Bombay side of
We return to the events which, during these great transactions, had taken place Chap. VI. in Bengal, and other parts of the British dominions in India. v—J Before the commencement of the war with Hyder, the finances of the Company Financial diffiin every part of India had become a source of distress. The scanty resources of ^^sofAe* Bombay, which seldom equalled the expenditure of a peace establishment, had not, ^ritisn domi
i« -l'iiij „ _ , _ , liious in India.
even with the supplies which had been sent from Bengal, sufficed to save that Presidency from the necessity of draining the channels of loan, and from sinking in arrear so deeply, even with the pay of the army, that the General, in the month of August, 1780, declared it was no longer fit to be depended upon.* Even Bengal itself, though it had enjoyed entire tranquillity, and had only contributed to the maintenance of Goddard's army, and to other feeble operations against the Mahrattas, was so completely exhausted, that, in August, 1780, the Supreme Council were again reduced to the expedient of contracting debt; and before the end of the year, when exertions in favour of Carnatic were required, they were obliged to announce to the Directors the probability of a total suspension of the investment.f
* See Goddard's Letter to the Select Committee of Bombay, dated 24th August, 1780, Sixth Report of the Committee of Secrecy, ut supra, p. Ill, andll2. See also p. 89 and 90, with the Appendix, No. 256, for details of the extreme poverty and necessities of the Presidency, "necessities," they say, "now pressing to a degree never before experienced."
f Sixth Report, ut supra, p. 101, 102,103. In a letter to General Goddard, under date 20th April, 1780, the Supreme Council wrote, "Our resources are no longer equal to the payment of VOL. II. 4 B
Book V. In the important consultations of the 25th of September, 1780, upon the intel"^j^~J h'gence of the fatal irruption of Hyder, it was resolved, that terms of peace Efforts of the should be offered to the Mahrattas, through the mediation of the Rajah of Berar; rte^rrupti1on11 ana* on the 2d of October a draught of a treaty was prepared, according to which makepeace" *^ con(luests made by the English were to be surrendered, with the exception of with the the fort of Gualior, destined for the Rana of Gohud, and that part of Guzerat which
had been ceded to Futty Sing Guicowar: Should the fort of Bassein, however, be taken by the English forces, before the final agreement, it was proposed to cede, in its stead, all the territory and revenue which they had acquired by the treaty of Poorunder. Of this draught, a copy, with power of mediation, was sent to the Rajah of Berar; and at the same time letters were written to Nizam Ali, to the Peshwa, to.Scindia, and to the Poonah ministers, apprizing them of the terms on which the English government was ready and desirous to conclude a treaty of peace. General God- On the 16th of October General Goddard, reinforced by a body of Europeans
dard takes the
field, and from Madras, and relieved from apprehension of Holkar and Scindia by intellisefn!CesBaS gence that an attack would be made upon their dominions from the upper provinces of Bengal, put the army in motion from Surat. The roads were still so deep, and the rivers so full, that they were unable to reach their ground before Bassein till the 13th of November. From the strength of the place, and the number of the garrison, the General deemed it necessary to carry on his operations with regularity and caution. A battery of six guns and six mortars, within nine hundred yards of the fort, was completed on the morning of the 28th. Under cover of its fire, approaches were carried on to a spot within 500 yards of the wall, where a battery of nine heavy guns was opened on the morning of the 9th of December, while a battery of twenty mortars began to play upon one of the parapets. On the morning of the 10th, when a practicable breach was nearly effected, the fort made an offer of surrender, but in consequence of some demur the fire was renewed, and next morning the enemy yielded at discretion. Further oper- After the reduction of Bassein, the General repaired to Bombay for the purpose
your army." In another, dated 15th May, they warned the Bombay Presidency against any reliance on continued supply from Bengal, "as neither their resources, nor the currency of the provinces, would endure a continuance of the vast drains," &c. In a minute of the Gov.-Gen. on the 28th of August, he said, "Our expenses have been increasing; our means declining. And it is now a painful duty imposed upon me, to propose, that we should again have recourse to the means of supplying our growing wants, by taking up money at interest. The sum I do not propose, because I think it should not be limited." ,