Disorders increase at Poona – The Byes – Commencement of their insurrection against Sindia – they seek protection in the camp of Amrut Rao negotiation – Amrut Rao’s troops treacherously attacked – Rupture between the Peishwa and Sindia – The Peishwa negotiates with other powers – Sindia releases Nana Furnuwees – Reconciliation between Sindia and the Peishwa – Shirzee Rao Ghatgay is seized and confined by Sindia’s orders – The union of Bajee Rao and Sindia, strengthened by the course of policy adopted by the English – The British government endeavours to negotiate a new treaty with Nizam Ally and the Mahrattas – Nana Furnuwees is solicited to resume charge of the administration – Nana, deceived by Bajee Rao, assumes charge without the guarantee he had at first demanded – Treachery of Bajee Rao – Nana’s behaviour – The Peishwa’s agents seized and confined – New treaty between Nizam Ally and the English – regarded by the Mahrattas with much jealousy – Nana’s advice – Bajee Rao’s dissimulation – Plan of a confederacy against the English, disconcerted by the subversion of Tippoo’s government – Orders sejt by the Peishwa for the advance of his troops after the war had terminated – Dispersion of the followers of Dhoondia Waug – Dhoondia joins the Raja of Kolapoor – Remarks on the conquest of Tippoo’s territory – partition – discussions with the Poona court – New treaty between the English and Nizam Ally – Affairs of Sindia – the insurrection of the Byes becomes extremely formidable – by the reappointment of Balloba Tattya, it is nearly suppressed – State of the war with Kolapoor – exploits of Chitoor Sing – proposed plan of operations – Pureshram Bhow defeated and killed – Kolapoor besieged – siege raised
In the meantime disorders increased at Poona, and Sindia’s situation was rendered extremely critical. The danger proceeded from a quarter whence he least expected it.
Mahadajee Sindia, at his death, left three widows, one of whom, named Bhagirthee Bye, was young and beautiful. Doulut Rao, at the time of his being acknowledged the adopted son and heir of his uncle, promised to make an ample provision for these ladies. They accordingly continued to reside in his camp; but no steps were taken to ensure them a permanent establishment, and in a short time some of their ordinary comforts were circumscribed. No complaint appears to have escaped them; but of a sudden it was discovered, or at all events alleged by the elder widows, that Sindia carried on a criminal intercourse with the youngest, at which they openly expressed their abhorrence, and declared they could no longer consider as a son the incestuous defiler of his father’s bed. Shirzee Rao Ghatgay interposed; the ladies denied him admittance to their presence; but this miscreant, having forced the enclosure of their tents, seized, flogged, and barbarously degraded them. The Shenwee Bramins, who had held the principal offices under the government of Mahadajee Sindia, and many of whom were connected by relationship as well as by cast, being already much disgusted by the elevation of Shirzee Rao Ghatgay and the confinement of Balloba Tattya, whom they regarded as their chief, espoused the cause of the two Byes. Much dissension and discussion ensued; but it was at last settled that
the ladies should proceed to Burhanpoor, where they were to take up their abode, provided with a suitable establishment and funds for its support.
They accordingly departed from Poona, but, instead of carrying them to Burhanpoor, their escort was directed to place them in confinement at Ahmednugur. This treachery being immediately discovered by their adherents in camp, they had scarcely reached. Korygaom, on the Beema, when Muzuffir Khan, a Patan officer in the interest of the Shenwee Bramins, who commanded a choice body of Hindoostan horse in Sindia’s service, suddenly assailed the escort, rescued the ladies, and brought them back to the neighbourhood of Sindia’s camp. This daring act would have been punished immediately, but Sindia had reason to believe that many chief persons in his army were concerned, and he also hesitated in attacking a party of desperate men, lest either of the females, standing in such relationship to himself, should be killed in the tumult, – an accident which would have entailed upon him the greatest disgrace and odium throughout the Mahratta country. Ghatgay, however, strenuously urged him to crush the conspiracy in the outset, and was at last permitted to act against them; but Muzuffir Khan, who had correct intelligence of their proceedings, withdrew the ladies to the camp of the Peishwa’s brother, Amrut Rao, who happened to be near the Beema, on his route to Joonere, and who instantly afforded them protection. Ghatgay had in person pursued Muzuffir Khan, and the latter no sooner deposited his charge
than he sallied forth, attacked his pursuers, routed them, and returned in triumph to the camp of Amrut Rao.
It is alleged, that Bajee Rao was the instigator of this revolt, and it is certain, that he encouraged the partizans of the Byes to persevere. He said, with apparent sincerity, that he considered the protection which his brother had afforded, as humane and proper; but apprehensive lest it should provoke Sindia and Ghatgay to deeds of violence, he solicited the friendly interposition of Colonel Palmer, the British resident at his court, who tendered his mediation to Sindia, by whom it was declined.
On the night of the 7th June, five battalions of regular infantry were sent by Sindia, under a Frenchman, named Du Prat, to endeavour to surprise the camp of Amrut Rao, and seize the Byes; but he failed in the attempt, and being briskly attacked, was compelled to retreat with some loss. Negotiations ensued; a suitable provision, and a place of residence of their own selection, were again promised to the Byes, and Amrut Rao, not doubting Sindia’s sincerity, approached his camp, in the neighbourhood of Poona, and took up his ground at the Khirkee bridge. When Amrut Rao had been thrown entirely off his guard, Shirzee Rao Ghatgay taking advantage of the Mahomedan festival, which commemorates the death of the sons of Ali and Fatima80, came to the river side on the 11th of Mohurrum, when the bier is thrown into the water; he was attended by
M. Drugeon, a Frenchman, at the head of two brigades of infantry, on pretence of preserving order, and protecting this concluding ceremony; but they suddenly opened a fire from twenty-five guns, upon the unsuspecting troops of Amrut Rao, advanced, charged, and dispersed them with this powerful body of infantry, and afterwards totally pillaged their camp. The Byes were, at the time, residing in the hamlet of Wittulwaree, so-that this outrage was a direct attack on the Peishwa’s brother, and open war between the Peishwa and Sindia, was supposed to be declared. Khassee Rao Holkar joined Amrut Rao, the Mankurees repaired to his standard, and the Peishwa negotiated an offensive and defensive alliance with Nizam Ally, through his resident envoys, then at Poona. The articles agreed to, between Nizam Ally and Nana Furnuwees, by the treaty of Mhar, were to be confirmed by the Peishwa, the Chouth of Beder was to be remitted, and an additional tract of territory, yielding eight lacks of rupees, was to be ceded to Nizam Ally in perpetuity, as the price of his assistance against Sindia. Nizam Ally also agreed to support the Peishwa against any future encroachment of the ex-minister, Nana Furnuwees; but in case of his being liberated by Sindia, it was stipulated that Bajee Rao should allow him an annual pension of one lack of rupees. Rughoojee Bhonslay, if he chose to accede to it, was to be considered a party to this treaty, and was to receive the whole of Gurrah Mundelah from Bajee Rao.
Sindia, now alarmed, became very desirous of obtaining that mediation which he had before refused
from the British government. Colonel Palmer recommended the dismissal of his present ministers, the settlement of a Jagheer upon the Byes, and reparation to the Peishwa, by submitting to his authority. Sindia appeared much disposed to follow this advice; but the Byes became so extravagant in their demands, that it was impossible to accede to them; and although he was now really desirous of returning to Hindoostan, he had no means of discharging any part of the great arrears due to his army.
In order to intimidate Bajee Rao, and to establish an alliance as a counterpoise to that which was just formed between the Nizam and the Peishwa, Sindia sent envoys to Tippoo; but Bajee Rao, by the advice of Govind Rao Kallay, did the same. A more efficacious mode of alarming Bajee Rao, was the release of Nana Furnuwees, by which Sindia also hoped to obtain a sufficient sum to free him from the most urgent of his embarrassments.
Nana Furnuwees was accordingly brought from Ahmednugur, and two krores of rupees demanded as the price of his liberty. After some delay, during which Nana attempted to throw himself on the protection of the British government, he at last agreed to pay Sindia ten lacks of rupees, provided he were previously set at liberty; as otherwise, whilst under restraint, his agents would comply with no order, even if furnished with a private token from himself. He accordingly obtained his liberty, and the money was promptly paid.
The enlargement of Nana, though a source of great concern to Bajee Rao, was not unlooked
for; but when it was almost immediately followed by the revocation of the treaty with Nizam Ally, from causes not sufficiently explained, but chiefly owing to the unsteady and fluctuating policy of the minister Musheer Ool Moolk, the Peishwa lost no time in commencing negotiations with Nana Furnuwees and with Sindia. The latter, not yet apprized of the revocation of the treaty, apprehensive of an attack from the confederated Mahrattas and Moghuls, and alarmed by reports of disaffection among his troops in Hindoostan, received these overtures with complacency, but insisted on the reinstatement of Nana Furnuwees as preliminary to an accommodation. Ghatgay, in the meantime, assisted by an agent worthy of himself, a Mahratta named Fukeerjee Garway, continued to commit every species of extortion and excess: he even disregarded the remonstrances of Sindia, and his cruelty, increased by indulgence, was almost unparalleled. He seized four officers in Sindia’s army, on mere suspicion of their being concerned in the Byes insurrection; he blew three of them from guns, and the fourth, Yeswunt Rao Sivajee, had a tent peg driven into his brain by a mallet.
Sindia, aroused at length by the contempt shown to his authority, and the universal cry of execration excited by such conduct, listened to the representations of Ramjee Patell and Aba Chitnees, and directed two young men the sons of Filoze and Hessing81 by native mothers, to arrest Ghatgay and Garway, which they effected with great dexterity.
The confinement of these persons was a further step to a reconciliation between Sindia and Bajee Rao, and the new course of policy adopted about this period by the English, tended to a species of union between them.
The system of neutrality, followed by the British government in India, during the administration of Sir John Shore, was entirely reversed soon after the arrival of Lord Mornington, afterwards Marquis Wellesley, in India, on the 26th April 1798. The revisal of the political relations of the English with the courts of Hyderabad and Poona, was the first object to which the residents were instructed to direct their attention, for the purpose of securing the alliance of those states, so as, at all events, to prevent their resources from being employed against the British government, in the same manner as appeared to be meditated by the Sultan of Mysore, in his recent connections with the French.
The principal danger to the English, in a war with Tippoo supported by their European rival, was the fear of his being joined by the other native powers, whose governments were not only becoming gradually weaker, and therefore more likely to be guided by petty intrigue than by sound policy; but a great change bad taken place in their military strength, especially that of Sindia and Nizam Ally, which now in a great measure lay in their numerous corps of regular infantry, and these chiefly commanded by French officers.
It was, therefore, of importance to the British government to secure the alliance of Nizam Ally and the Mahrattas, and it became a primary object to induce Sindia to return to Hindoostan, both from the centrical situation his brigades occupied in the Deccan, and from his known desire to obstruct the influence of the British with the Peishwa, over whom it was his policy to perpetuate his own ascendancy.
The reported designs of Zuman Shah, King of Cabul, and grandson of Ahmed Shah Abdallee, a name terrible to Mahrattas, were strongly set forth by the British agents, in order to induce Sindia to return for the protection of his dominions in Hindoostan; whilst to the Peishwa was offered, a body of the Company’s troops, for the protection of his person and authority, and the revival of the energies of his government. Bajee Rao had, shortly before, made an application to the British of a nature similar to this arrangement, but at that period, both their policy and the operation of the act of parliament prevented their complying with his request. The sudden desire now evinced by the English, to grant him a subsidiary force, their frequent recommendations to reinstate Nana Furnuwees in the ministry, and to remove Sindia from Poona, led Bajee Rao, whose views and information were bounded by very narrow limits, to suppose that the whole was a scheme of the detested Nana, the object most dreaded, and therefore uppermost in his mind.
Accordingly, although Sindia had declared his intention of endeavouring to return to Hindoostan,
and a public visit of ceremony announced the reconciliation which had taken place between Sindia and Nana Furnuwees on the one part, and Bajee Rao on the other, the Peishwa shortly afterwards, in a secret conference with Sindia, urged his stay at Poona for the purpose of preventing the introduction of the English by Nana Furnuwees; but he was at the same moment, doing all in his power to conciliate Nana, and was pressing him to quit Sindia’s camp for the purpose of resuming the duties of administration. Nana accordingly returned once more to the city of Poona, but declined interfering with the Peishwa’s affairs, until the safety of his person and property should be guaranteed by the British government and Nizam Ally, and until he could effect a reconciliation in Sindia’s family to enable him to return to Hindoostan. To forward the latter object he laboured to bring about an accommodation, and in hopes of expediting Sindia’s march, advanced him fifteen lacks of rupees from his private treasury, in addition to the ten lacks before paid at the time of his liberation.
Perceiving that Sindia was really serious in his proposal of returning to Hindoostan, Bajee Rao intimated his intention of paying Nana Furnuwees a secret visit, and in disguise, so that it might not come to Sindia’s knowledge. In the middle of the night, attended by a single domestic, he repaired to Nana’s house, and for the time succeeded in deceiving the old minister into a belief of his being wholly unconcerned in his seizure and disgrace, and that he confined the other ministers, in
the vain hope of affording them protection, from the violence and rapacity of Sindia’s agents. – Colonel Palmer the British resident was of opinion that Nana Furnuwees was never deceived by him, but the fact is proved by the result; and, indeed, the eloquence and manner of Bajee Rao are so powerful and insinuating that he has deceived most men even when on their guard against him. On this occasion, perceiving the effect his language produced, he laid his head at the feet of Nana Furnuwees, swore by those feet82, to consider him as his father, to abide by his counsel in all his future measures, and finally, in a burst of tears, conjured and entreated that he would not abandon the Bramin sovereignty, assailed as it then was, by the factions of the Mahrattas and the ambition of the English.
In consequence of this appeal Nana Furnuwees resumed the duties of minister, without those securities for which he had at first so prudently stipulated.
But scarcely had he begun the transaction of public business, when he was informed by Jeswunt Rao Ghorepuray83 that Bajee Rao was again endeavouring to persuade Sindia to confine
him, – intelligence which was confirmed by Sindia himself. Nana instantly repaired to the palace; taxed the Peishwa with his unparalleled duplicity; begged that he would no longer plot against the life and freedom of an old man, borne down by years, infirmity and misfortune, but permit him to retire to some spot, far from courts and camps, where his being suffered to exist could never interfere with any plans his highness might form. He abjured the desire of now possessing power on his own account, and declared, that he had only accepted it, in hopes of being still useful. Bajee Rao positively denied having been accessory to a proceeding so treacherous, and begged that those who had used his name might be apprehended. Sindia immediately seized the Peishwa’s minister Govind Rao Kallay, and Sewram Narrain Thuthay, the agents employed, but as it is a point of honour amongst Mahrattas never to divulge the name of their principal on such occasions, they bore the loss of their liberty and property without impeaching the veracity of their master, and Sewram Narrain Thuthay soon after died.
Satisfaction being thus afforded, Nana Furnuwees resumed the office of prime minister; but his suspicions were not removed, and he avoided all interference in business, not absolutely necessary.
The period, however, was extremely important; Nizam Ally had concluded a new treaty with the English on the 1st September 1798, by which he-agreed to receive no Frenchman into his service, to dismiss his French officers, and disband the
whole of the infantry lately commanded by Raymond84, receiving in their stead six battalions of English Sepoys, each battalion one thousand strong, with a proportion of European artillery, for which he agreed to pay an annual subsidy of twenty-four lacks seventeen thousand and one hundred rupees. The English government also became bound, by an article cautiously expressed, to mediate between Nizam Ally and the Peishwa, and in case of differences arising between them, to use every endeavour to induce the Peishwa to accede to a friendly arbitration.
The Mahrattas naturally viewed this treaty with much jealousy, and the Peishwa, on being urged by the British agent to conclude a similar one, evaded the subject, by an assurance, that he would faithfully execute the conditions of subsisting engagements, and on the prospect of a war with Tippoo, promised to afford his aid. In these replies, Bajee Rao had followed the opinion and advice of Nana Furnuwees, but had neither sincerity nor steadiness to fulfil the engagements alluded to, though assured by Nana, that any departure from good faith must equally affect the honour and security of his government. Nana Furnuwees recommended, that Appa Sahib, the son of Pureshram Bhow, should be appointed, to command the contingent intended to co-operate with the English; and in the present exigency proposed to assemble it, by collecting the force under Dhondoo Punt Gokla, Sur-Soobehdar of the Carnatic, the troops of Rastia
and the Vinchorkur, and all the horse which the Bramin Jagheerdars could raise. The necessities of the state, and the presence of Sindia, precluded the Peishwa from recruiting his own army or detaching any part of it from Poona.
Appa Sahib refused the command, but the offer having led to a reconciliation between Pureshram Bhow and Nana, the Bhow agreed to head the contingent himself, on condition of having his fine remitted, and receiving Dharwar, with several places in the Carnatic, in Jagheer. An English detachment, similar to that formerly employed, and under the command of the same officer, was held in readiness to join Pureshram Bhow; but these endeavours, on the part of Nana Furnuwees, were frustrated by Bajee Rao, who acted under the influence of Doulut Rao Sindia. After the English had commenced hostilities against Tippoo, his envoys were publicly received at Poona, although repeated remonstrances were made on the subject by the British resident. Even after their formal dismissal was intimated to Colonel Palmer, on the 19th March, they only retired to Kikwee, a village twenty-five miles south of Poona. Colonel Palmer at first supposed, that the detention of the wukeels was a mere repetition of the former plan of obtaining a sum of money, on a false pretence of neutrality or aid. The British resident knew that Bajee Rao had received thirteen lacks of rupees from Tippoo, to which Sindia was privy, but it was not known at that time to Nana Furnuwees; and when the governor-general noticed the conduct of the court of Poona, by simply countermanding the detachment
which had been prepared to accompany Pureshram Bhow, Nana Furnuwees could not comprehend the reason.
Bajee Rao imagined, that by the concessions made to Pureshram Bhow on the one hand, and the encouragement given to Tippoo on the other, he should deceive both parties, and postpone his ultimate decision, until circumstances enabled him to judge on which side it would be most advantageous to range himself: As far, however, as he was capable of following any plan, his resolution was taken in favour of Tippoo. In concert with Sindia, a scheme was laid to attack Nizam Ally, in which they hoped to engage Rughoojee Bhonslay, and as the English would, as a matter of course, defend the Moghul territory, in consequence of their late treaty, the Peishwa was then to declare the Mahrattas the allies of Tippoo Sultan. The Marquis Wellesley, apprized of those views, was, on the other hand, endeavouring to engage Rughoojee Bhonslay as a party to the treaty concluded with Nizam Ally.
But before the Peishwa or Sindia had the slightest conception that Tippoo’s downfal was so near, they were astonished by intelligence of the capture of Seringapatam, the death of Tippoo, and the subversion of his government.
Bajee Rao affected the utmost joy, and soon after endeavoured to persuade Colonel Palmer, that the failure of his engagement was entirely attributable to Nana Furnuwees. Immediate orders were sent to Dhondoo Punt Gokla, Sur-Soobehdar of the Carnatic to advance into Tippoo’s country
with what force he could collect. The consequence was, that many villages were plundered after the country had submitted to the British government; and the only merit which Dhondoo Punt’s party could claim, was that of intercepting Dhoondia Wang, a marauding fugitive from Seringapatam, whom Dhondoo Punt attacked by surprise, and dispersed his followers; after which, Dhoondia entered the service of the Raja of Kolapoor who was actively engaged in hostilities against the Peishwa, and who readily received him into his army.
Sindia, on the news of Tippoo’s overthrow, despatched emissaries to Seringapatam for the purpose of encouraging resistance among the partizans of the late Sultan who might yet remain; but he also sent abundant congratulations to the English resident at Poona, expressive of his happiness at the glorious termination of the war.
The judgment and energy by which the power of Tippoo was so speedily reduced, may be considered one of the first examples of that energetic policy, by which Great Britain, in her subsequent mighty struggles in Europe, has been distinguished.
The resources of Nizam Ally’s government had been placed at the disposal of the Marquis Wellesley, and the services of his contingent had been directed with far greater efficiency than in the former war; an improvement justly ascribed to the ability and exertion of the governor-general’s political agent Captain Malcolm85.
The mode of dividing the conquered provinces was dictated by a wise and liberal spirit. Nizam Ally, with judicious confidence, had left the arrangements to the Marquis Wellesley who effected them in the following manner.
As it was deemed incompatible with the future tranquillity of the country, and the security of the Company’s possessions, to establish a son of Tippoo in sovereignty, the descendant of those Rajas of Mysore, from whom Hyder Ally usurped the government, was released from captivity, and raised to the musnud of his ancestors.
A partition treaty was then concluded by the British government, Nizam Ally, and the restored Raja. The whole of Tippoo’s revenue being estimated at 3,040,000 pagodas.
|To the Raja was assigned||1,360,000|
|To Nizam Ally||530,000|
|To the Company||537,000|
|For the maintenance of the families of Hyder and Tippoo, in charge of the British government||240,000|
|For the maintenance of Kummur-ud-deen Khan and his family, in charge of Nizam Ally||70,000|
Notwithstanding the Peishwa’s total failure in his engagements, the governor-general deemed it politic to allow him some share in the conquered
territory, provided he could be brought to accede to an alliance corresponding to that formed with Nizam Ally. With this view, the balance in the territory adjoining the Peishwa’s southern boundary, yielding an annual revenue of pagodas 263,000 was reserved, and was offered on the above conditions to the Peishwa.
Much discussion took place in consequence: the court of Poona was unwilling by a distinct refusal to afford the allies a pretext for at once appropriating the territory reserved; in which case, two-thirds of it were to be given to Nizam Ally, and the rest retained by the Company.
In a great part of the negotiation which took place, it is easy to perceive the ability of Nana Furnuwees. In extenuation of the circumstances which had caused the disappointment and dissatisfaction of the allies, the Peishwa represented the unfortunate distractions of the empire which had prevented him from assembling an army, and the usage of native states, in permitting wukeels to reside in their courts in time of war. To the preliminary conditions requiring the Mahrattas to abstain from all aggressions on the territory of the Raja of Mysore; the Peishwa replied, that upon obtaining the proposed cession, it should be considered an equivalent for the Chouth, to which the Mahrattas were entitled from the whole of the territories of the late Sultan. In case the French invaded India, the Peishwa engaged to unite with the English in repelling them; but he would not agree to exclude individuals of that nation from his service. He offered to subsidize two
battalions, provided they might be employed to assist in reducing refractory tributaries, and the Seedee of Jinjeera; but he absolutely refused the Company’s mediation in the existing differences between the Mahrattas and Nizam Ally respecting the Chouth. To an application for exchanging the Chouth of Surat for an equivalent revenue, a measure in itself calculated to obviate vexatious disputes and loss, a like peremptory refusal was given; and a proposal for including Rughoojee Bhonslay as a principal in the intended alliance, the Peishwa treated as absurd. Finally, after protracted discussion, the reserved territory was shared by Nizam Ally and the British government, as stipulated in the treaty; and on the 12th of October 1800, a new treaty was concluded between them, by which the British government engaged to protect the territories of Nizam Ally from unprovoked aggression; two battalions of native infantry were added to the former six battalions, together with a regiment of native cavalry; and for the payment of the whole force, the territories acquired by Nizam Ally, on the partition of the provinces of Mysore, both in 1792 and 1799, were ceded in perpetuity to the British government.
The affairs of Sindia, during this period, continued in a very distracted state. After the treacherous attack made by Shirzee Rao Ghatgay on Amrut Rao’s camp, the Byes fled to the Raja of Kolapoor, who was still at war with the Peishwa. The Byes were soon joined by Narrain Rao Bukhshee, and the principal Shenwee Bramins from Sindia’s camp. Large bodies of horse flocked
to their standard, and when sufficiently strong, they returned to the northward, plundering every village from the Kistna to the Godavery which acknowledged the authority of Doulut Rao Sindia86, and not only insulted Sindia in his lines, but stopped the roads in the vicinity of Poona.
Sindia’s horse at first attempted to oppose them, but their numbers were so inferior, that after a few skirmishes, in which they suffered severely, they would not advance unsupported by the regular battalions, before which the troops of the Byes retired, but as soon as the battalions returned towards their own camp, the insurgents also faced about, and followed them. There is, perhaps, no parallel example of such an extraordinary state of affairs, as that which the Peishwa’s territory presented at this period, where a rebellion against one prince was maintained within the territory of another, whom both parties acknowledged as their sovereign. The anarchy which it engendered may be conceived; the whole country suddenly swarmed with horsemen, and although plunder was not indiscriminate, great devastations were committed. The flame spread in Hindoostan; Lukwa Dada, a Shenwee Bramin already mentioned, second in importance to the confined minister Balloba Tattya, by whom Lukwa Dada had been first raised, having been suspected of disaffection in consequence of his attachment to Balloba, was deprived of power,
and dismissed from his employments. Being thus driven into the ranks of the insurgents, he soon raised a powerful army, repeatedly defeated the troops sent against him, and reduced the country from Oojein to Seronje.
To add to these troubles, Jeswunt Rao Holkar, who, after his brother fell at Poona, had fled to Nagpoor, and was there confined through the influence of Sindia, having effected his escape, repaired to Malwa, collected followers, and plundered the country. M. Perron had succeeded to the command of Sindia’s regular infantry on the departure of M. de Boigne, who was compelled from ill-health to return to Europe in 1796; but Perron, at the period we have arrived, was so fully occupied in the siege of Agra, held by the adherents of Lukwa Dada, and in which he was assisted by Ambajee Inglia, that he found it impossible to stop the disorders in Malwa without additional troops, for which he sent repeated and earnest applications to his master in the Deccan.
Under these circumstances, Sindia had again re course to negotiation; but the demands of the Byes extended to nothing less than complete sovereignty, which they required Sindia to hold under their authority; and before even these conditions could be admitted, they insisted on the release of Balloba Tattya.
Sindia’s new ministers, Abba Chitnees and Ryajee Paten, with a judgment and a disinterestedness which do them honour, recommended their master to reinstate Balloba as prime minister, to which Sindia agreed; and no sooner was the arrangement
accomplished, than it produced an immediate effect in detaching the principal leaders from the insurrection. The Byes agreed to an adjustment through Balloba’s mediation; and the fort of Asseergurh with the city of Burhanpoor, and a Jagheer of eleven lacks of rupees were to be assigned to them. Lukwa Dada, in consequence of the restoration of Balloba, had an interview with the brother of Ambajee Inglia, who had been opposed to him in Malwa, and agreed to a cessation of arms. Every difference was on the point of being settled; the Byes had received their clothes, jewels, and other private property from Sindia’s camp, and had come as far as Rajawaree, near Jejoory, on their way to Poona, when one of their partizans, having been attacked and cut off, they immediately returned towards Punderpoor, and recommenced their system of depredation.
The whole of the southern Mahratta country was in great disorder. The Raja of Kolapoor still waged war with the Peishwa, and the reinforcement brought by Chitoor Sing, after the defeat of the Raja of Satara, gave a new spirit to his efforts. Chitoor Sing had been closely pursued into the territory of the Raja Kolapoor, by a body of Rastia’s troops, joined by some others on the part of the Pritee Needhee, the whole of whom encamped near the Warna river. Five hundred horse of the troops who had been dispersed at Satara, having got together, apprized Chitoor Sing of their situation, and by his direction concealed themselves for some days in the hills, until he had got a reinforcement from Kolapoor, when by a well concerted attack
upon the troops who had pursued him, he cut them off almost to a man.. A body of Pureshram Bhow’s troops were shortly afterwards in a like manner surprised and routed; and Chitoor Sing having learnt, that after Pureshram Bhow’s departure from Satara, two or three thousand of Rastia’s troops with some guns were encamped in the neighbourhood of the fort, he vowed to avenge the disgrace sustained by the first defeat. Accordingly he led six hundred infantry through the hills and valleys, until opposite to the village of Pal, where he remained concealed until night, when, repairing to a celebrated temple in the village, he performed the usual worship, and the whole party having solemnly invoked the deity, stained their clothes with yellow dye, rubbed their hands and faces with turmeric, and issued forth, thus fortified with the implied vow of conquest or death, to attack their enemy. They did not find Rastia’s troops unprepared; but the latter had only time to fire a few rounds, when they were furiously charged sword in hand, their guns taken and destroyed, and the whole body dispersed in a few minutes. A rapid march to the banks of the Warna, before his retreat could be intercepted, marked a prudence, as well as enterprise, which gained Chitoor Sing considerable credit with the Mahratta soldiery, and his numbers were in a few months considerably increased.. At the head of a very inferior, force, and with no funds to support it, he kept seven thousand of Rastia’s troops, in perpetual motion between the Neera and Warna. He was, however, frequently defeated; and on one occasion,
when accompanied by only five hundred men87, he was surrounded by five thousand of Rastia’s troops, but cut his way through them, although with the loss of more than half his party. His enterprise, his remarkable escapes, his conciliatory manners, the popularity of his cause amongst Mahrattas, and his confidence in the peasantry, rendered him everywhere a favourite, notwithstanding his having repeatedly laid the whole of the villages under contribution.
Chitoor Sing’s insurrection was considered at Poona as a part of the Kolapoor war, and both the Peishwa and Nana Furnuwees had their share of blame in exciting it.
During the insurrection of Satara, and afterwards, whilst Chitoor Sing kept Rastia in check to the north of the Warna, the Raja of Kolapoor was actively employed against the Putwurdhuns and Dhondoo Punt Gokla. Tasgaom, the capital of Pureshram Bhow’s Jagheer, was pillaged, and his palace, which had been erected at great expence, was burnt to the ground. The Carnatic was laid under contribution, and Dhondoo Punt Gokla, though a brave and active officer, was repeatedly defeated. Such was the state of the Kolapoor warfare up to the period at which we have arrived.
In the month of August after Balloba Tattya’s release, a reconciliation having taken place between him and Nana Furnuwees, they deliberated, with the knowledge and approbation of their superiors,
on the course of policy necessary to be pursued with regard to Nizam Ally and the English; but both concurred in the necessity of suppressing the formidable disturbance to the southward, as a preliminary to any other arrangement. It was accordingly resolved that the force, previously intended by Nana Furnuwees to have co-operated with the allies against Tippoo, should be sent, under Pureshram Bhow, considerably reinforced, for the present service. The whole, to be furnished in proportions by the Peishwa, and by Sindia and other Jagheerdars, was to consist of thirty thousand horse, and six thousand infantry; but, as it was impracticable to prepare this force, until the Dussera, Pureshram Bhow was directed to watch the Raja of Kolapoor, and restrain him as much as possible. Pureshram Bhow, whose military spirit was on this occasion excited by personal injury and personal pique, although his health was in a declining state, kept the field all the rains, and recovered the garrisons between the rivers Gutpurba and Malpurba. In the month of September he advanced from Gokauk towards Kolapoor, not without hopes of finishing the war himself, but near the village of Putunkoondee he encountered the Raja of Kolapoor, and Chitoor Sing, when he experienced a total defeat, and was himself mortally wounded, and made prisoner88. Nana
Furnuwees and Balloba sent the troops of the Vinchorkur, the Pritee Needhee, and five of Sindia’s regular battalions, under Major Brownrigg, to support Appa Sahib, Pureshram Bhow’s son, and reduce the Raja to submission.
This accession of force was too great for the Raja of Kolapoor to withstand, and he therefore retired under protection of the fort of Panalla. But, in that situation, his troops were surprised by Appa Sahib, who drove some of them into the fort whilst the greater part sought refuge in Kolapoor, which the Peishwa’s troops invested, and after a siege of considerable duration had nearly reduced it, when events and revolutions at Poona interfered to save the Kolapoor state, which would otherwise, in all probability, have been subverted, or at least held in future as a dependancy on the Peishwa’s government.
80. This festival, termed the Hoossein Hosyn, should only commemorate the death of Hosyn, whose fall is nowhere so well related as by Gibbon, volume 9th.
81. Hessing, the father, was an Englishman, and held the rank of Colonel in Sindia’s service. He bore an excellent character.
82. To swear by the feet of a Bramin, is one of the most sacred and solemn of Hindoo oaths.
83. This person, who came into Sindia’s confidence, whose name has already appeared, and whom we shall have occasion to notice repeatedly, was of the family of the great Suntajee Ghorepuray, so conspicuous in the days of Aurungzebe, and a descendant of Moorar Rao Ghorepuray of Gootee, so often mentioned by Orme.
84. Raymond died March 25th, 1798.
85. Now Sir John Malcolm.
86. Numerous villages belonging to one chief, are frequently found intermixed with those of another in the Mahratta country, the reason of which has been already explained and accounted for.
87. It is not mentioned whether horse or foot.
88. Wiswas Rao, the brother of Shirzee Rao Ghatgay, took up the dying man, and laying him across his horse, threw him down before the Raja of Kolapoor, who ordered him, it is said, when in this state, to be cut in pieces. Dajeeba Limmay, who was in the action, states this circumstance; and Bajee Rao in a particular conversation with Mr. Elphinstone, at Punderpoor, in 1812, mentioned it as a well known fact, but it is not generally believed at Kolapoor; nor at Seam, where the Raja of Kola-poor had many enemies. Dajeeba Limmay, whose name I have mentioned above, was a confidential agent of Pureshram Bhow; he was employed in several high situations, during the administration of Nana Furnuwees, and was a sharer in many of the revolutions and events which I am now recording. At my request, he had the goodness to write the history of his own times, and I take this opportunity of expressing my acknowledgments.,
This collection transcribed by Chris Gage