Events at Poona – Winaek Rao, the son of Amrut Rao, is placed on and musnud by Holkar – Treaty of Bassein – Sindia and Rughoojee Bhonslay unite to obstruct the objects of the treaty – Advance of the British troops – return of the Peishwa to Poona – Negotiation with the confederates – preparations for war – war declared – capture of Ahmednugur – battle of Assaye Burhanpoor – Asseergurh – Baroach, and Pawungurh taken – Of the war in Hindoostan – Revert to General de Boigne – his opinions and those of his successor – advance of the Bengal army – affair of Coel – storm of Aligurh – successful attack on Shekoabad by M Fleury – battle of Delhi – battle of Agra – battle of Laswaree – conquest of Kuttack, and of Bundelcund – supplemental articles to the treaty of Bassein prosecution of the war in the Deccan – Captain Baynes’ defence negotiations – battle of Argaom – siege and storm of Gawelgurh – negotiations – treaty of Deogaom – treaty of Surjee Anjengaom, and of Burhanpoor – partition treaties – treaties with the Rajpoots, Jhats, and Ambajee Inglia
The natural order of events now carries us back to affairs at Poona, before entering on the history of the important transactions which succeeded the Peishwa’s arrival at Bassein. The moderation at first shown by Holkar after his victory, was a mere cloak to allure Bajee Rao to return to his capital. Being in distress for funds to pay his troops, Holkar, in order to satisfy the most urgent of their demands, was obliged to levy
a contribution from the city of Poona, but for that purpose he employed two of Bajee Rao’s ministers, Chintoo Punt Deshmookh and Wyjunath Punt Mama, who, without being apprized of their master’s intention, had been sent by him to negociate with Holkar, a few hours previous to his retreat from Singurh to the Concan. Such was their influence with the inhabitants, that a very considerable cess was promptly raised, in the vain hope of buying exemption f’rom future pillage, by their readiness to comply with a measure, which, sanctioned by these men, had something of the character of regular authority.
When Holkar found that the Peishwa had no intention of returning, he sent a body of his troops to Amrut Rao at Joonere, inviting him to take charge of the government at Poona; but Amrut Rao, on various pretences, declined the invitation for several days.
At last he arrived on the 12th November, and was prevailed upon to assume the government, in which he was assisted by Moraba Furnuwees, Baba Rao Phurkay, and several others of the adherents of Nana Furnuwees. He held his court in tents pitched at the village of Bambooree on the outskirts of the city. He refused to ascend the musnud himself, and for some time opposed a plan of elevating his son, Winaek Rao, to that dignity, as desired by Holkar; but when Bajee Rao quitted Mhar, and threw himself entirely on the protection of the English, Amrut Rao pretended to consider it an abdication of the Peishwa-ship, and assented to the proposal of Holkar. The Raja of Satara
at first obstinately refused to grant the usual form of investiture till prevailed upon by his brother Chitoor Sing, who had been for some time of Holkar’s party, serving with the division of Futih Sing Manay.
Holkar now laid aside the mask of moderation, and began to extort and to plunder with all the violence of his habits and character. Chintoo Punt, and Wyjunath Punt, who by their exertions in levying the contribution might have been at least entitled to his forbearance, were delivered over as prisoners to Huree Punt Bhawey, and Hureenath, two Bramins, equally cruel, and more systematically wicked, than Shirzee Rao Ghatgay. They tortured both the persons thus made over to them, in order to extort money; and every respectable householder of Poona, possessed of property, was seized and forced, by any means, to give up his wealth. Several men died under the tortures they underwent. Amrut Rao was not less blameable than Holkar in the enormities thus inflicted on the unhappy Inhabitants of Poona, whose sufferings at this time were particularly severe, owing to Bajee Rao’s having stationed guards to prevent their flight previous to the battle of the 2.5th October; and Holkar, though with a different motive, took care to observe a similar precaution, as soon as the issue of the contest had established his control.
These excesses were begun even before Colonel Close quitted Poona. Both Amrut Rao and Holkar were very desirous of prolonging his stay, in hopes of his being prevailed upon to mediate in
their differences with Sindia and the Peishwa, and of gaining by his presence the apparent sanction of the British government to their usurpation; but finding that no persuasion could alter his purpose, he was at last permitted to depart on the 20th November, and he arrived at Bombay on the 3d of the following month. Colonel Close met Bajee Rao on the evening of the day on which the latter landed at Bassein; and the preliminary of the proposed treaty, already tendered by an agent on the day of his flight from his capital, was immediately alluded to and acknowledged by the Peishwa himself. The 18th December was the day appointed for the discussion of the various articles of this treaty, and on the Slit it was finally completed. It was declaredly, for the purpose of general defensive alliance, and the reciprocal protection of the territories of the Peishwa and the English East India Company, and their allies respectively. For this purpose a subsidiary force, of not less than six thousand regular infantry, with the usual proportion of field-artillery and European artillery-men, were to be permanently stationed in the Peishwa’s dominions. In the event of war, two battalions of the infantry, not less than one thousand each, were to remain near the Peishwa’s person: the rest, joined by six thousand infantry and ten thousand horse of the Peishwa’s own troops, were to act as circumstances might require. No European, of a nation hostile to the English, was to be entertained by the Peishwa. Districts yielding twenty-six lacks of rupees were assigned for the payment of the subsidiary
force; and all articles, intended for the consumption of these troops, were to be allowed to pass duty free. The Peishwa relinquished his claims on Surat, and submitted to the British arbitration in the adjustment of his differences and claims on the Nizam and the Gaekwar: with respect to the former, he bound himself to conform to the treaty of Mhar; and in regard to the latter, he recognised the engagement lately concluded between Anund Rao Gaekwar and the British, The Peishwa likewise bound himself to engage in no hostilities with other states, neither to commence nor pursue, in future, any negotiations with any power whatever, without previous consultation with the British government.
Such was the substance of the important treaty of Bassein, by which the Peishwa sacrificed his independence as the price of protection, but it was the only course he could pursue to save himself from becoming, more than ever, a pageant in the hands of one or other of the contending chiefs. He had scarcely ratified the treaty when he began to waver in his plans, and to regret the decided line of policy, so contrary to his disposition, into which he had been hurried by the exigency of his circumstances. Motives of policy probably dictated the expression of his regret that Sindia had not been consulted, but there was no insincerity in his strenuous objections to those articles which tended to control his political freedom and influence, nor to the arbitration of his claims on the Gaekwar and the Nizam: a sacrifice on his part greater than the English authorities seem ever to have fully understood; or at all events appreciated.
He despatched Ballajee Koonjur to Sindia, and Narrain Rao Wydh to Rughoojee Bhonslay, ostensibly with the view of explaining the nature of the alliance into which he had entered, but in fact, as he knew they were both-averse to it, rather to excuse his conduct, in having been obliged, owing to their absence, to flee from Holkar and seek safety with Europeans. He sent no copy of the treaty, and in his letter, invites Sindia and Rughoojee Bhonslay to march to Poona with all speed; not expressly to act against the English, of whom he takes no notice, but to punish the rebel Holkar101. He seems to have expected, that Sindia and Rughoojee Bhonslay would unite to oppose the objects of the treaty; to have been doubtful of the issue of the contest that might ensue between them and the English; and to have been anxious, as usual, to deceive all parties, whilst he at the same time endeavoured to keep on terms with them.
The governor-general hoped that Sindia might be deterred from any hostile attempts to obstruct the operation of the treaty. After the battle of Poona, an effort was made to induce him to enter upon the defensive alliance, and upon the conclusion of the treaty of Bassein, he was again invited, in the manner hereafter detailed, to enter on similar engagements; but Sindia, though he would have been pleased in the first moment of alarm, after the defeat of his army by Holkar, to have seen a
British force co-operating with his own for the temporary purpose of re-establishing the Peishwa in his capital, and suppressing the power of his rival, was mortified and incensed on finding that his own and his uncle’s plans for controlling the Peishwa’s government were at once frustrated and overturned. Nor were these the only evils resulting from the Peishwa’s engagements. He saw his own independence might be soon affected by the support which the Peishwa derived from a foreign nation, whose power, by a novel system of encroachment, threatened the subversion of the Mahrattas; as effectually, as their establishment of Chouth and Surdeshmookhee had overwhelmed the empire of the Moghuls.
The aversion with which Rughoojee Bhonslay had always regarded the Peishwa’s connecting himself with the English was well known, and his sentiments on the present occasion were in entire unison with those of Sindia. Yadow Rao Bhaskur, Sindia’s prime minister, was deputed by his master to consult with Rughoojee on the best means of cementing a general confederacy of the Mahrattas against the common enemy; and Sindia, who had been preparing troops to oppose Holkar, crossed the Nerbuddah on the 4th February with a large army, with which he encamped at Burhanpoor on the 23d of that month. It was a few days after this period when Colonel Collins, an envoy on the part of the governor-general, arrived for the purpose of again inviting him to enter upon the alliance, and engaging his co-operation in the arrangements required by the treaty with the Peishwa. To gain
time, Sindia at first evaded discussion; but when pressed by Colonel Collins, he declined becoming a party to the defensive alliance, declaring, that he had no intention of obstructing the treaty; he added, that as guarantee to the treaty of Salbye he expected to have been consulted before these new engagements were made, but that his intentions were, in every respect, friendly to the British government. These professions were from the first deceitful; both Rughoojee Bhonslay and himself were actively preparing for war, and Bajee Rao continued in constant correspondence with them, secretly encouraging their views102.
The governor-general, in the mean time, had taken his measures fbr the re-establishment of Bajee Rao on his musnud at Poona.
For this purpose the subsidiary force at Hyderabad, consisting of six battalions of infantry, each upwards of one thousand strong, with two regiments of native cavalry under Colonel Stevenson, took up a position at Purinda near the Peishwa’s eastern frontier, accompanied by fifteen thousand of the Nizam’s troops. The Honourable Major-General Wellesley was detached from the main army of Madras, assembled on the northern frontier of Mysore, with eight thousand infantry, and one thousand seven hundred cavalry; being directed to march towards Poona for the purpose of co-operating with Colonel Stevenson iu the Peishwa’s restoration. General Wellesley was
joined on the banks of the Kistna by the Southern Mahratta Jagheerdars: Appa Sahib and Chintamun Rao Putwurdhun, Bappoo Gunnesh Gokla, Appa Dessaye Nepankur, and the family of the Patunkurs. The Jagheerdar of Vinchoor, grandson of Wittul Sewdeo, likewise attended the British army. The southern Jagheerdars had orders from the Peishwa to co-operate with the English; and all of them, on this occasion, especially the family of Putwurdhun, evinced a very friendly disposition to the British government. Straggling bodies of Holkar’s horse, belonging to the division of Umeer Khan, and Futih Sing Manay, were plundering the country between the Beema and Kistna; but on being called upon to desist they retired. They had scarcely crossed the Beema, when Umeer Khan suspecting that Manay intended to join the Peishwa, contrived to seize him, and disperse his troops.
General Wellesley, on approaching Poona, made a march of sixty miles in thirty-two hours, and reached that city with his cavalry on the 20th April. Colonel Stevenson in the meantime arrived from Purinda at Gardoon on the Beema. General Wellesley’s object in advancing so rapidly was to save the city of Poona, which it was supposed Amrut Rao intended to burn; but he had retired many hours before the arrival of the British troops. Holkar was already on his retreat towards Malwa; but intelligence having reached Colonel Stevenson that he had levied a contribution on Aurungabad, and plundered some of the
Nizam’s villages, that officer advanced towards the Godavery for the protection of the country.
Amrut Rao, accompanied by Huree Punt Bhawee, after leaving Poona, marched to Sungumnere, plundering the towns and villages on his route; then turning on Nassuck, he attacked and defeated a body of troops in the interests of Bajee Rao, commanded by Raja Buhadur, and pillaged the town in the same barbarous manner as had been already done at Poona. Amrut Rao remained in the neighbourhood of Nassuck for some time; and, as we shall have little occasion to introduce his name in the subsequent pages of this history, we may here briefly mention, that all overtures of reconciliation between him and Bajee Rao having been obstinately rejected by the latter, he entered into an engagement with General Wellesley, and, during the progress of the war which followed, joined the British troops with a body of horse. His services were on no occasion conspicuous, but a most liberal pension of eight lacks of rupees was assigned to him by the British government, on which he retired to Benares, where he still resides.
The Peishwa, escorted by a body of 2300 infantry, of whom 1200 were Europeans; arrived from Bassein, and resumed his seat on the musnud the 13th May. Sindia still occupied his position at Burhanpoor, and Rughoojee Bhonslay was preparing to join him. Every endeavour was used to induce Holkar to take a part in the confederacy; Rughoojee Bhonslay was employed as mediator between him and Sindia; and Holkar, who was at the same time carrying on a negotiation with the
Peishwa; through Colonel Close, listened and appeared to favour the overtures of the confederates, from whom he obtained the release of his nephew, Khundee Rao, the restoration of his family territory in Malwa, and a promise that all his rights in Hindoostan should be recognised.
It was the interest of the British government to conciliate Holkar; and, in order to prevent his joining the confederacy, they wished to overlook any cause of complaint they had against him; but the Peishwa could not be prevailed upon to listen to any mediation in his favour. The confederates wished Holkar to unite his army with theirs in the Deccan, but he excused himself by asking who was to take care of Hindoostan; and immediately retired to Malwa, with the real design of being guided by the issue of events.
Although the plans of the confederates were conducted With considerable secrecy, rumours of their hostile designs were universally prevalent. The governor-general deemed it expedient to call upon Sindia for an explicit declaration of his intentions, and to make efficient preparations in every part of British India to repel the hostilities apparently meditated. In reply to the demands for explanation, sent by the resident, Sindia declared that it was impossible to afford any satisfaction until he had met the Raja of Berar, after which the resident should be informed whether it would be peace or war.
Their armies advanced to the frontier of the Nizam’s boundary, and encamped in the neighbourhood of each other. The force under Colonel
Stevenson, crossed to the northward of the Godavery, and General Wellesley occupied a position in the neighbourhood of Ahmednugur. A long train of evasion and delay followed the meeting between the chieftains. They declared they had no designs hostile to the British government, nor any intention of obstructing the articles of the treaty of Bassein; but they alluded to their having received no official copy of it from the Peishwa, and mentioned that there were many points of it to be discussed, which the Peishwa was bound to have consulted them upon, before he signed its stipulations. Their professions of friendly intentions were only made with the view of gaining time, in the hope of Holkar’s being induced to embrace their cause. Their whole conduct, in other respects, indicated their hostile determination; and the menacing position which they occupied, justified the warlike preparations of the British government. General Wellesley having been vested with full powers, as political agent of the governor-general, as well as military commander of the British troops in the Deccan, proposed, as the test of the friendly declarations of the chiefs, that they should withdraw their armies, Sindia to Hindoostan, and Rughoojee Bhonslay to Berar, whilst he should also direct the British troops to retire within their own territories. This plain and distinct proposal; so characteristic of its author, perplexed the Mahratta chiefs, as there was no evading compliance, except by a subterfuge too palpable to be overlooked or justified; after much discussion, it was finally rejected; the resident
withdrew from their camp on the 3d August; which was considered a declaration of war.
The governor-general, when he saw that war was inevitable, had resolved to strike a decisive blow, and, by a, grand effort, to attack the territories of the confederates in every quarter at once. For this purpose, the preparations of the British government were necessarily very extensive. Its resources were called forth on a scale of magnitude and efficiency before unknown, and the governor-general, by his liberality, his judicious selection of agents and commanders, and his confidence in the whole service, roused that ardour and spirit of enterprise which have been handed down in the Indian army, from the first struggles of the British nation in the East.
The British forces assembled in different quarters of India, amounted to nearly fifty thousand men.
The army in the Deccan and Guzerat amounted to 35,596 men, of whom 3,595 were left for the protection of Hyderabad and Poona, and 7,826 formed the covering army under General Stuart, between the Kistna and Toongbuddra103. The advanced force with General Wellesley, consisted of 8,930 men under his personal command, and 7,920 under Colonel Stevenson. There were 7,352 men in Guzerat, of whom, after providing for the garrisons, 4,281 were available for field service, and placed under the orders of Colonel Murray, subject to the control of General Wellesley.
In Hindoostan 10,500 men were collecting under General Lake. Three thousand five hundred men were assembled at Allahabad, to act on the side of Bundelcund, and 5216 men were destined for the invasion of Rughoojee Bhonslay’s districts in Kuttack.
The armies of Doulut Rao Sindia and Rughoojee Bhonslay were estimated at about one hundred thousand men, of whom, about 50,000 were horse, and upwards of 30,000 were regular infantry and artillery, commanded by Europeans; of the rest, some were half disciplined corps under the command of natives belonging to Rughoojee Bhonslay, some were matchlockmen and rocketmen; they had many hundred pieces of cannon, and Sindia’s train of field artillery was excellent. Of the regular infantry, ten or twelve thousand were with Sindia in the Deccan, and four or five thousand were on their march from the Deccan, conducted by the Chevalier Dudrenec, for the purpose of reinforcing the army in Hindoostan. Sindia’s army in the latter quarter was commanded by Monsieur Perron, the successor of De Boigne. His whole force, including those not yet joined, under Dudrenec, amounted to sixteen or seventeen thousand regular infantry, and from fifteen to twenty thousand horse, of which four or five thousand were regular cavalry. This estimate does not include the forces of Shumsher Buhadur in Bundelcund, who was a party in the confederacy. Shumsher Buhadur was the son of Ali Buhadur, who, as the reader may remember, attempted, in Conjunction with the Gosaeen Himmut Buhadur, to conquer Bundlecund. They so
far succeeded, as to possess themselves of several districts, all of which they held in the Peishwa’s name; partly as belonging to him from a remote period, and the rest as their own Jagheer. But being constantly engaged in warfare with the petty chiefs of the country, it furnished an excuse for remitting no part of the revenue to the Peishwa, although they acknowledged his authority. All Buhadur died in 1809, and his Jagheer was formally resumed by the Peishwa; but, as the latter had no means of enforcing the resumption, Shumsher, the son of the deceased, retained charge of the territory, took part against the English on the present occasion, and mustered, of all descriptions, about ten or twelve thousand men.
General Wellesley received accounts of the unsuccessful termination of the resident’s negotiation with the confederates on the 6th August, the same day on which Nizam Ally died at Hyderabad, an event long expected, and which was attended by no commotion or change, except the accession of his son Mirza Secundur Jah, to the Soobehship of the Deccan.
General Wellesley, who was encamped at the village of Walkee, eight miles south of Ahmednugur, was prevented by heavy rain from marching against that fortress until the 8th, when he commenced hostilities by detaching three divisions from his line of march to attack the Pettah by escalade. The Pettah is surrounded by a mud wall, and was obstinately defended by a body of Arabs and one of Sindia’s regular battalions, supported by a party of horse stationed
between the Pettah and the fort; but the perseverance and spirit of the assailants surmounted every obstacle; and this prompt manner of proceeding gave a character to the commander and troops, in the opinion of the enemy, which made amends for the loss sustained in the attack. Of the British detachments, twenty-eight were killed, and twenty-two wounded; of which number six were European officers.
A battery was opened upon the fortress on the 10th, and on the 12th this important garrison, once the capital of the Nizam Shahee kingdom, which, ever since the days of Chaund Beebee, had the reputation in the Deccan of being almost impregnable, was surrendered by its Killidar, who marched out with private property and arms, at the head of his garrison fifteen hundred strong; a conduct for which he was much censured by the confederates.
The acquisition of Ahmednugur, as a point of support to all future operations to the northward,, was of great consequence to the British army. A respectable garrison was left in the fort, and the revenues of the district were temporarily collected by an agent of the British government, and appropriated to assist in the expenses of the war. General Wellesley moved forward, crossed the Godavery, and arrived at Aurungabad on the 29th, August.
The Mahrattas had ascended the Ajunta Ghaut on the 24th, with a large body of horse, and, avoiding Colonel Stevenson, who was some miles to the eastward, they encamped at Jaulna. On hearing of General Wellesley’s arrival at Aurungabad, they moved off in a south-easterly direction, intending,
it was said, to proceed to Hyderabad. General Wellesley immediately moved down to the left bank of the Godavery, to check their probable design of plundering the country, and to protect his own convoys of grain, which were forwarded by General Stuart, from the covering army, south of the Kistna. Neither Rughoojee Bhonslay nor Sindia were possessed of military enterprise or experience, and they were quite undecided as to their plan of operations; sometimes Sindia proposed to depend on his battalions and artillery, at other times, Rughoojee persuaded him to act on the predatory plan; their operations were of course feeble in the extreme. When General Wellesley moved down the Godavery, they counter-marched in a northerly direction.
Whilst the General awaited the junction of his convoys, Colonel Stevenson made several unavailing attempts to bring them to action, but only succeeded in partially surprising their camp, on the night of the 9th September. He had also made himself master of the fort of Jaulna.
On the 21st September, the whole of the Mahratta army, joined by their infantry, of which there were sixteen battalions of regulars, was encamped about the village of Bokerdun, and between that place and Jaffeirabad. On the same day, General Wellesley and Colonel Stevenson met at Budnapoor, when it was agreed that the two divisions, then in the neighbourhood of each other, should move separately, and attack the enemy on the morning of the 24th. They accordingly marched on the 22d; Colonel Stevenson by the western, and
General Wellesley by the eastern route. On the 23d, on reaching the village of Naulnye, where he was about to encamp, General Wellesley learnt from his spies that the confederate armies were encamped on the Kailna river, within six miles of him. With great prudence and decision, founded on a remarkable discernment of the character of his enemy104, he instantly resolved on attacking them without waiting for Colonel Stevenson. Had General Wellesley hesitated, the enemy’s infantry would have moved off; their horse would probably have been encouraged to attack his baggage and annoy his camp, the service must have been prolonged, and by one day’s delay, or hesitation, a new character might have been given to the war.
Having directed his deputy adjutant-general Captain Barclay, to place the baggage in the village of Naulnye under the protection of a battalion and some details from the native corps, and to bring on the rest of the line with all convenient despatch, General Wellesley moved out in person at the head of the picquets to reconnoitre, and in a short time,
on ascending a rising ground, the host of the confederates was seen extending in a vast line along the opposite bank of the Kailna river, near its junction with the Juah. Their army amounted to upwards of 50,000 men, of Whom more than 30,000 were horse, and 10,500 were regular infantry supported by upwards of one hundred guns. The handful of British troops, which now moved straight down upon this formidable array, did not exceed four thousand five hundred men105, but the general sentiment was that of their commander, “they cannot escape us.” As General Wellesley drew nearer the enemy’s line, he found their right composed entirely of cavalry, and that their cannon and infantry, which it was his object to take and destroy, were on their left, near the village of Assaye. He, therefore, moved round and passed the Kailna river at a ford beyond the enemy’s left flank, forming his infantry into two lines, and his cavalry as a reserve in a third, with his right towards the Juah, and his left on the Kailna. The horse belonging to the Peishwa and Raja of Mysore, accompanying General Wellesley, formed at a distance across the Kailna but had little or no share in the conflict106107. The position
thus occupied by the British, between the two rivers and near their junction, not only brought them upon their object, but was of importance in diminishing the front of the enemy, who changed their position as the British turned the flank of their old ground, and were now drawn up in two lines, one of them fronting the British troops, the other running at a right angle to their first line, with the left of both resting on the fortified village of Assaye. In this situation as the British lines were forming, the Mahrattas opened a heavy cannonade, the execution of which is described as terrible. The picquets of the infantry and the 74th regiment which were on the right suffered particularly; the picquets were for a time halted, and the officer in command of them when urged to advance, sent word, that the guns were disabled, and the bullocks killed. General Wellesley received the message with the utmost composure, and coolly replied, “well, tell him to get on without them.” The whole line without artillery was exposed to a dreadful fire of round and grape; the ranks of the 74th were completely thinned, and a large body of the Mahratta horse charged them: the order was given for the advance of the British cavalry: – the 19th light dragoons, who only drew 360 swords, received the intimation with one loud huzza! Accompanied by the 4th native cavalry who emulated their conduct throughout this arduous
day, the 19th passed through the broken but invincible 74th, whose very wounded joined in cheering them as they went on, cut in and routed the horse, and dashed on at the infantry and guns. Never did cavalry perform better service or contribute more to the success of a battle. The British infantry likewise pressed forward, the enemy’s first line gave way, fell back on their second, and the whole were forced into the Juah at the point of the bayonet; the fugitives on gaining the opposite bank were followed, charged and broken by the
cavalry; but some of their corps formed again and went off in good order. One large body of this description was pursued and routed by the British cavalry, on which occasion Colonel Maxwell who commanded them was killed. As the British line advanced they passed many individuals of the enemy who either appeared to have submitted, or lay apparently dead. These persons rising up turned their guns on the rear of the British line, and after the more important points of the victory were secured, it was some time before the firing thus occasioned could be silenced. The enemy’s horse hovered round for some time, but when the last body of infantry was broken, the battle was completely decided, and ninety-eight pieces of cannon remained in the hands of the victors. The loss was severe; upwards of one-third of the British troops lay dead or wounded, but they had, considering the circumstances, achieved a triumph more splendid than any recorded in Deccan history.
Of the enemy, twelve hundred were killed, and the whole neighbourhood was covered with their wounded. Yadow Rao Bhaskur, Sindia’s minister, was amongst the slain. Rughoojee Bhonslay fled from the field in the commencement of the action, and Sindia soon followed his example. The whole of the horse behaved in the most dastardly manner; Sindia’s infantry, although defeated by such a disparity of troops, did not altogether sully their high reputation. The artillery men stood to the last, and eight of the old battalions of De Boigne fought with ardour and firmness. Most of Sindia’s battalions laboured under disadvantages by the secession
of the British part of their European officers, who, in consequence of a proclamation by the British government, quitted the Mahrattas at the breaking out of the war. This proclamation was addressed to all British subjects, native as well as European, offering them the same pay which they enjoyed with Sindia. It was judiciously extended to all Europeans, and in regard to the British officers was equally humane and politic.
Colonel Stevenson, owing to various impediments, did not join General Wellesley until the evening of the 24th, when he was immediately detached in pursuit of the enemy, whose regular infantry retired before him and crossed the Nerbuddah, towards which Colonel Stevenson followed them. But the main army of the confederates moved to the westward, with an intention, as was supposed, of marching by the Kassarbharee Ghaut towards Poona. Under this supposition General Wellesley remained on the south-side of the Ajunta Ghaut, and directed Colonel Stevenson to take possession of the city of Burhanpoor, and to reduce the strong fort of Asseergurh, both of which objects he had accomplished by the 21st of October, with inconsiderable loss. The dependant districts in Candeish, which fell in consequence to the British disposal, were placed under the temporary management of revenue officers of the Hyderabad state.
In regard to the operations of the Guzerat troops under the orders of General Wellesley, a detachment of the field force was sent by Colonel Murray, under Lieutenant-Colonel Woodington for the purpose of reducing Sindia’s possessions in that quarter.
The fortified town of Baroach was stormed and taken on the 29th August.
Colonel Woodington next marched against the strong hill fort of Pawungurh, took by assault the town of Champaneer which is attached to it, and the fort surrendered on the 17th September108.
Whilst those successes attended the British arms on the west, affairs of not less consequence were passing in the north and east of India. The important possessions which had been acquired by Mahadajee Sindia in Hindoostan, were a primary object of attention with the British government. These provinces, independent of their value and their situation, were the nursery of the regular infantry of Sindia, which, although in itself less formidable to the British power than other descriptions of the Mahratta force, was in one respect dangerous, from its introduction of French officers, whose patriotism might induce them to encourage and support their countrymen in a favourite scheme of conquest in the East.
General De Boigne having been compelled, as already mentioned, to return to Europe in 1796 from bad health, was succeeded by M. Perron, who had particularly recommended himself to Sindia by his conduct at the battle of Kurdla, and who had been sent from the Deccan to Hindoostan to assume the command of the army, the charge of the
emperor’s person, and the management of the Jagheer from whence his brigades were paid.. De Boigne with much of military enterprize and enthusiasm, was, at the same time, a man of sense and prudence; a decided enemy to French revolutionary principles, and though friendly and kind to Frenchmen who sought his service, the ideas of conquest in India, entertained by many of his nation, he regarded, even at that period, as chimerical. He knew the power and the watchful jealousy of the English, and he foresaw, that any object which might be attempted by the states of India, through a connection with France, would certainly be anticipated by their subjugation. His last counsel to Sindia, “never to excite the jealousy of the British government by increasing his battalions, and rather to discharge them than risk a war,” was a sound advice; but his supposed partiality for the English, and the sentiments of his successor, Perron109, which were precisely the reverse, was one cause which drove Sindia, more confident and ignorant than Perron himself, to attempt projects, which brought on ruin and disaster, before he and his coadjutors had fixed the mode of warfare they intended to pursue. Perron is said to have laid down a scheme of operations110, but jealousy and distrust on the part of Sindia, the neutrality of Holkar, and the intrigues of Sindia’s officers, for the purpose of superseding Perron in the government in Hindoostan, seem to have combined in preventing its adoption.
The main body of the British force in Hindoostan, already mentioned in the general preparations of the governor-general, was assembled at Cawnpore; and General Lake, the commander-in-chief; was vested with the same powers, civil and military, which had been delegated by the supreme government to General Wellesley in the Deccan. As soon as General Lake understood that the confederates had refused to withdraw their armies on the terms proposed by General Wellesley, he considered them in a state of war with the British government, and immediately put his troops in motion.
On the 29th August General Lake’s army first came in sight of Perron’s cavalry, fifteen thousand of whom were encamped at Coel, near the fort of Aligurh. After a trifling skirmish they retired, as the British troops advanced; the town of Coel was taken possession of, and Aligurh was summoned; but every endeavour, on the part of General Lake, failed in inducing M. Pedron, its governor, to surrender. Much dependance was placed on this fortress. It is very strong, situated on a plain, surrounded by swamps, having a good glacis, with a ditch thirty-two feet deep, and two hundred feet wide. It was well garrisoned, fully provided with cannon, ammunition, and provisions; and the Mahrattas expected, as they had a right to expect, that it would sustain a long siege. The only passage into the fort was by a narrow causeway across-the ditch, for which the French commandant, by gross neglect, had omitted to substitute a draw-bridge.
General Lake, apprized of this circumstance, determined to hazard an attack by the gateway; and Mr. Lucan, a British subject, one of the officers who had come over from Sindia’s service, offered to conduct the storming party. Break of day, on the morning of the 4th September, was the time appointed for the enterprise. On the firing of the morning gun, the party, who had been lying for some time within four hundred yards of the gate, waiting for this signal, immediately advanced; and Colonel Monson pushed forward at the head of the flank companies of the 76th, in hopes of being able to enter the fort with a party of the enemy, supposed to have been stationed outside, behind a breast-work. The work in question, however, was found abandoned, and the gate closed. Scaling-ladders were applied, but such a formidable row of pikemen presented themselves above, that it was impossible to mount. A six-pounder was brought up to blow open the gate, but it had no effect. Much time and many lives were lost before a twelve-pounder could be substituted; and when it did come, four or five discharges were necessary to force an entrance. Advancing round a bastion, the party came upon the second gate, which was easily forced, and the third was taken by entering it with the fugitives: but the fourth and last gate, which led to the body of the place, could not be blown open, even by the application of the twelve-pounder, though great delay was experienced before the gun could be brought in. Thus disappointed, in a most trying situation, Major McLeod, of the 76th regiment,
attempted the wicket, and most fortunately gained an entrance. He was followed by the grenadiers; the rampart was mounted, opposition soon ceased, and the British troops, by extraordinary bravery and good fortune, found themselves masters of the fortress of Aligurh with the loss of two hundred and seventy-eight men in killed and wounded, of whom seventeen were European officers, M. Pedron the commandant was taken prisoner, and two thousand of his garrison are said to have perished, including those who were drowned in the ditch.
In the meantime five thousand of the Mahratta cavalry, which retired from Coel, prosecuted a successful enterprise under the direction of a Frenchman named Fleury, by attacking the cantonment of Shekoabad, where there was a detachment of five companies of Sepoys and one gun.
The assailants were repulsed on the first attempt, but having renewed the attack after the intervention of a day, the detachment, when nearly destitute of ammunition, capitulated, and were permitted to retire with their arms, on a promise of not serving against Sindia during the war. This attack obliged General Lake to send off a strong detachment, which arrived too late to save the cantonment, but was of importance to the security of an expected convoy.
Perron, who had for some time been conscious of a decline in Sindia’s favour, and had even made some overtures to General Lake before the commencement of the war, proceeded, after the affair at Coel, to Muttra, where he received certain accounts of his being superseded in the government
of Sindia’s districts, and that his successor and personal enemy Ambajee Inglia was intriguing with the French officers under him, to deprive him of his Jagheer, and of course of his command. Under these circumstances, to secure his private fortune, and avoid a crisis in which he had nothing to gain, he addressed a letter to General Lake on the 5th September, requesting permission to pass with his effects, his family, and the officers of his suite, through the Company’s territories, to Luck-now; with which General Lake, under instructions from the governor-general, yielded a ready compliance.
On the 7th September General Lake’s army marched from Aligurh towards Delhi, and on the 11th, encamped within six miles of that city; but scarcely were the tents pitched, when the enemy unexpectedly appeared in front. The picquets immediately turned out, and General Lake with the cavalry proceeded to reconnoitre.
M. Louis Bourquin, the officer next in rank to Perron, hearing of the advance of the British force towards Delhi, and that a part of the army; was detached in pursuit of Fleury, crossed the Jumna with twelve battalions of regular infantry, amounting to eight or nine thousand men, besides five thousand cavalry and seventy pieces of cannon, for the purpose of attacking General Lake; whose force, after providing for the safety of his baggage, amounted to about four thousand five hundred men. Bourquin took up a strong position with his guns concealed by high grass, and General
Lake, in advancing to reconnoitre, became exposed to a very heavy and destructive fire. The line of British infantry were ordered on, but it was a considerable time before they came up, and General Lake in the interim practised a successful feint, by retiring with the cavalry, which the enemy mistaking for a retreat, followed them shouting as if secure of victory. The cavalry, however, opening from the centre, permitted the British infantry, advancing in perfect order, to pass to the front. 7 The fire of grape, round, and cannister from the Mahratta guns, was for some minutes tremendous, but the British troops moved on steadily, without returning a shot, until they were within one hundred yards. They were then ordered to fire a volley and charge bayonets. Sindia’s infantry could not withstand the fury of their onset, but abandoning their guns, fled with precipitation. The line of infantry then broke into open columns of companies, and the cavalry which formed the second line, charging through the intervals, committed great slaughter among the fugitives, many of whom escaped from the sabre but to perish in the Juana. The total loss of the Mahrattas was estimated at three thousand, that of the British army was five hundred and eighty five, of whom fifteen were European officers. Louis Bourquin the commander of the Mahratta infantry, and five other French officers surrendered themselves prisoners three days afterwards. The other results of the victory were the possession of the capital of the Moghul empire, and of the family and person of the descendant of, Timour. Though the change was but change of
masters, it was a happy event for the aged and unfortunate Shah Alum, to find himself once more under the protection of the British nation, of whose honour and liberality he had experienced many proofs.
General Lake next marched against Agra, which he summoned, but no answer was returned. This garrison had been under the command of English officers, who, on the breaking out of the war, were confined by their own troops; this circumstance, combined with other causes, occasioned the greatest anarchy and confusion in the fort. Seven battalions of Sindia’s regular infantry were encamped on the glacis; but the garrison were afraid to admit them, lest they should plunder a rich treasury which they wished to reserve for themselves.
General Lake resolved to beat up the quarters of the seven battalions outside, in the first in-stance, in which he completely succeeded taking twenty-six of their guns. Three days afterwards, two thousand five hundred of those who remained, came over in a body, and were admitted into the British service. A few days after this event, the progress of the siege being considerable, the garrison applied to their European officers, whom they had kept prisoners to make terms for them.
On the 18th October they evacuated the fort with their private property; but the treasury and arsenal, with one hundred and sixty-two pieces of cannon, fell into the hands of the victors.
General Lake’s next object was the infantry which had been sent under Dudrenec, by Sindia,
to reinforce his army in Hindoostan. It consisted of seven battalions, and arrived from the Deccan about the beginning of October. This body had been joined by three of Bourquin’s battalions, not engaged at the battle of Delhi, and by some of the fugitives from Delhi and Agra, who were formed into two battalions; the whole consisting of twelve strong battalions, and amounting to about nine thousand men. They had a very superior equipment of artillery; were accompanied by twelve or fifteen hundred good horse, and during the siege of Agra, had occupied a position about thirty, miles distant from the British army. The commander was a Mahratta officer111, Dudrenec having surrendered to the English, on the 30th October.
It was understood that they intended to march on Delhi, for the recovery of the capital. General Lake with a strong force proceeded in quest of them on the 27th of October, but as he advanced, they retired towards the hills of Mewat.
On the 31st of October General Lake, on arriving at the ground which they had occupied the preceding day, determined, in order to prevent their escape, to pursue them with his cavalry, now consisting of eight regiments, three of which were European dragoons. He accordingly moved off at eleven o’clock that night, directing the infantry to follow at three o’clock next morning.
After a march of twenty-five miles he came up with them at sunrise of the 1st Nov. On descrying the Mahratta infantry, they appeared in motion, and supposing them to be on full retreat, Lake ordered on the cavalry to impede them by an immediate attack. The Mahrattas however had time to form, and instead of being found on the retreat, they had taken up a strong position, their right on the village of Laswaree, partially protected by a deep ravine, and their left, resting on the village of Mohaulpore. To their rear was a deep rivulet, and their front was lined with seventy-five pieces of cannon, chained together, the more effectually to resist the charge of horse. The whole were concealed by very high grass. The different brigades of cavalry, particularly that under Colonel Macan, executed the orders they had received in the most spirited manner; but the opposition with which they had to contend was formidable in the extreme, and their loss was very great; in so much, that General Lake was compelled to desist from this hazardous attack, and await the arrival of the infantry. The Mahratta troops, in the meantime, changed their position, and drew up in two lines, the one in front, the other in rear of the village of Mohaulpore. Their commander, on seeing the approach of the British infantry, offered to surrender his guns on certain conditions, which were accepted, and one hour was allowed to fulfil the terms; but, at the end of that time, General Lake prepared to
renew the attack. The British infantry consisted of the seventy-sixth regiment and six battalions of Bengal Sepoys. Of three brigades of cavalry, one was directed to support the infantry; another was detached to the right to watch the enemy, and take advantage of any confusion that might appear among them; and a third brigade formed the reserve. The whole of the artillery was thrown into four batteries to support the attack of the infantry. General Lake’s object was to turn the right of the enemy’s position, for which purpose he moved off with the infantry in open column of companies, along the bank of the rivulet which was nearly at right angles to the enemy’s new position. For a time the march of the British troops was concealed by the high grass, but the Mahrattas no sooner discerned them, than they perceived the general’s intention, which they immediately frustrated by throwing back their left wing, covering the movement with a heavy cannonade, which did severe execution on the front of the British column. The British artillery returned the fire with good effect; but the enemy’s cannon were far superior in number and weight of metal, and equally well served. The ground was much broken, the advance greatly impeded by that circumstance, and the ranks of the seventy-sixth were so much thinned, that General Lake, who now, as on every occasion, was foremost in the battle, deemed it advisable to hasten on the attack with that regiment, and one battalion and five companies of Sepoys who had closed to the
front. When they arrived within reach of the cannister shot, the fire and the execution-became so extremely severe, that it prevented a regular advance, and the Mahratta horse were encouraged to charge. They came on, but were repulsed most heroically; again they rallied, and assumed so menacing a position, that General Lake ordered the British cavalry to charge in turn. This service was gallantly performed by the 29th dragoons112 who dashed through both lines of the enemy’s infantry, wheeled round upon their cavalry, killed many of the latter, drove them from the field, and turning round, fell upon the rear of their second line. That line was by this time hotly engaged with the British infantry, which having taken advantage of the gallant charge of their cavalry had rushed forward on the guns, taken possession of them, and driven the first line back on the second. The whole of the British troops had now come up and joined in the attack; but the hardy veterans of De Boigne, determined to die where they could not conquer, fought on with brave though unavailing obstinacy; and excepting about two thousand who were broken, surrounded and made prisoners, they fell with their arms in their hands! Few if any of those men were natives of Maharashtra, they were chiefly from Oude, Rohilcund and the Dooab, for except Sivajee’s Mawulees, and men trained in the ranks of the Bombay
Sepoys113, the native Mahrattas have never made good infantry.
The victory of Laswaree cost the English army 824 men in killed and wounded, but it completed the overthrow of the brigades of De Boigne and Perron, and placed Agra and Delhi, with all Sindia’s districts north of the Chumbul, in the power of the British government.
While success thus attended the British arms in Maharashtra and in Hindoostan, a force commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Harcourt invaded I Kuttack. Manikpatam was taken possession of without resistance on the 14th September. The Bramins of the temple of Jaggernaut placed it under the protection of the British government, and the town of Kuttack was surrendered on the 10th October. A detachment under Captain Morgan occupied Ballasore on the 21st September, and took Soorrung on the 3d October. The storm of the fort of Barabuttee on the 14th October, by the troops under Colonel Harcourt, completed the conquest of the province of Kuttack.
The conquest of Bundelcund was effected with equal celerity. In regard to this province, a new arrangement had been made with the Peishwa in the month of August, by which the greater part of his rights in it, was ceded to the English Company in lieu of Savanoor and Benkapoor, in the southern
Mahratta country, and Oolpar in the neighbourhood of Surat; all of which were included in the cessions made by the treaty of Bassein, and yielded an annual revenue of rupees 19 lacks and 16 thousand. The nominal revenue of Bundelcund was 3,616,000 rupees, but the state of the country rendered the first-mentioned cessions of much greater value to the Peishwa; whilst to the British, Bundelcund from its situation in the neighbourhood of their position on the Jumna, and their means of rendering its revenues available, was extremely important. The British government, in consideration of the advantages thus derived, agreed to maintain a body of 5,000 Mahratta horse during the continuance of the war, and to keep a regiment of cavalry in addition to the 6,000 infantry, on the permanent establishment of the Poona subsidiary force; whilst from the Peishwa, instead of 6,000 infantry and 10,000 horse, only half of that number was to be required. This arrangement was afterwards regularly recognised, and the treaty drawn up in consequence of it, under date 16th December 1803, was termed, supplemental articles to the treaty of Bassein.
The Gosaeen Himmut Buhadur had tendered his services to the British government, to assist them in the conquest of Bundelcund; and his offer being now accepted, he joined the British detachment under Lieutenant-Colonel Powell, on the 16th September, with a large body of troops. Colonel Powell had crossed the Jumna ten days before. The united forces, after reducing various forts, crossed the river Cane on the 10th October. On the 13th
they found the army of Shumsher Buhadur drawn up to oppose them; but after a feeble resistance they gave way, fled across the river Betwah, and evacuated the province.
We now return to the contending armies in the Deccan.
As soon as the confederates found that General Wellesley had not passed the Ghaut, but was moving south towards Aurungabad, and that Colonel Stephenson had marched against Burhanpoor, they made preparations for following and interrupting him in that object.
General Wellesley learning their design immediately returned north, and descended the Ajunta Ghaut. Sindia, on finding that General Wellesley had returned, halted, but Rughoojee Bhonslay, who had separated from his confederate, marched to the southward by the Unkye Tunkye pass. General Wellesley, therefore, in order to protect the territory of the Nizam, re-ascended the Ajunta, and continued his route beyond Aurungabad, until he arrived in the neighbourhood of the camp of Rughoojee, who was so apprehensive of a night attack, that he moved his camp five times in less than forty-eight hours.
On the 31st, Rughoojee detached 5,000 horse to cut off a convoy of 14,000 bullock loads of grain, escorted by three companies of Sepoys and a party of Mysore horse, under Captain Baynes, who made a judicious and spirited defence at the village of Amber, and brought in the whole of his convoy safe, with the exception of about two hundred bullocks. After this event, General Wellesley finding
that Rughoojee was moving towards his own territories, once more returned to the northward, and descended the Ghauts at Rajoora, for the purpose of supporting and covering Colonel Stevenson, whom he had ordered to form the siege of Gawelgurh.
Previously to this period, several propositions for peace had been made to General Wellesley in Sindia’s name. Ballajee Koonjur, the Peishwa’s most confidential agent, who, notwithstanding the war, continued in Sindia’s camp, sent a letter fifteen days after the battle of Assaye, requesting that one of the British, and one of the Nizam’s officers should be sent to Sindia’s camp to settle terms of pacification; but as he was not an accredited agent, and as the appearance of a British officer in Sindia’s camp would have enabled the Mahrattas to represent the British nation as supplicants for peace, General Wellesley refused compliance, but expressed his readiness to receive any envoy the confederates might depute. Another communication was opened through Appa Dessaye Nepankur, who was serving with the Peishwa’s contingent, and the result was, that Jeswunt Rao Ghorepuray, accompanied by a Bramin, named Naroo Punt, arrived in General Wellesley’s camp, on the part of Sindia, for the purpose of negociating, but as they also were unprovided with credentials, General Wellesley refused to treat until they should obtain them from Sindia. That chief; in the meantime, sent a letter, disavowing Jeswunt Rao Ghorepuray’s mission; but, notwithstanding this disavowal, General Wellesley was convinced, from a letter addressed
by Sindia to Appa Dessaye, that Ghorepuray had been deputed, and therefore permitted him to remain in his camp until a reply to his first reference should be received. A few hours after the interview in question, powers arrived for constituting Ghorepuray and his companion the envoys of Sindia, but they were essentially defective, as they did not enable the envoys to cede any portion of territory as compensation to the British government and its allies, which was required as the basis of the pacification. Until this authority could be obtained, Ghorepuray solicited a cessation of arms for both the confederates. It was granted to Sindia on the 23d November, on condition that he should occupy a position twenty kos east of Elichpoor, and forage still further to the eastward; but it was I refused to Rughoojee Bhonslay, because he had sent no envoy, nor expressed any desire for peace.
The conditions, however, on which General Wellesley agreed to a suspension of hostilities, were not observed by Sindia; Rughoojee Mons-lay’s army was encamped at Argaom, near Gawelgurh, under his brother Venkajee Munya Bappoo, and Sindia’s cavalry were at Sersowly, within about five miles of him. Venkajee, besides cavalry, had the whole of his brother’s infantry, and a considerable number of guns. The wukeels of Sindia urgently dissuaded the British commander from attacking Venkajee. General Wellesley told them repeatedly that there was no armistice with Rughoojee Bhonslay, and none with Sindia, until he complied with the terms of the agreement. Colonel Stevenson was by this time within a short distance of the confederates,
and on the 28th November halted, to enable General Wellesley to co-operate in the expected battle. The confederates decamped from the position they had occupied, when the united British divisions moved towards them, on the ensuing day.
As General Wellesley approached his intended ground of encampment, a few of the enemy’s skirmishers appeared in front, and were opposed by the Mysore horse. General Wellesley, not intending to pursue them, was, after a long march, about to pitch his tents, when the Mahratta cavalry appeared in greater force, and it became necessary to support the Mysore horse with the picquets. General Wellesley moving out at the head of the latter, descried the army of the confederates drawn up in line, on an extensive plain, in front of the village of Argaom. Though late in the day, he immediately advanced to the attack, and marched on in column until near the enemy, when he formed his army into two lines, the infantry in the first, and the cavalry in the second. Some confusion ensued in forming the lines, when the Mahratta guns first opened upon them, but when formed, the whole moved on with steadiness and order. A body of about five hundred infantry, supposed to have been Persians, in the service of the confederates, rushed upon the 74th and 78th with desperation, and were destroyed to a man. Sindia’s cavalry under Gopaul Rao Bhow, charged the 1st battalion, 6th regiment of Madras Sepoys; but they were repulsed, and their commander was wounded; on which the whole army retired in confusion, pursued by the British cavalry, and by the
Mysore and Moghul horse. In this action, the loss of the British was 346 men in killed, wounded, and missing; that of the Mahrattas is no where stated, but was very considerable.
The British army next invested Gawelgurh. The principal operations were carried on by Colonel Stevenson’s division on the north face, where the troops went through uncommon labour and fatigue in carrying the guns and stores to the point of attack.
The outer fort having been breached by the 14th, was stormed on the ensuing morning; the inner fort was escaladed by the light company of the 94th headed by Captain Campbell, who immediately opened the gate and admitted the rest of the troops.
In the meanwhile, negotiations had been going forward at intervals for upwards of a fortnight. Yeswunt Rao Ramchundur the wukeel of Rughoojee Bhonslay, endeavoured to prove, that his master was not the aggressor in the war; that the Peishwa had concluded a treaty contrary to the usage of the Mahratta state, without consulting the chiefs of the empire; that his master had not quitted his own territory, nor moved towards Sindia’s with any hostile design against the British government, but had gone with his army to mediate between Sindia and Holkar; that Holkar was strong and Sindia was weak, and that the latter would have been overpowered without his master’s assistance. General Wellesley represented the fact of his having assembled an army on the frontier of an ally of Britain, and having, in conjunction with Sindia,
refused to withdraw; he deified the right of the Mahratta chiefs to be consulted by the Peishwa before he could make a treaty; and in regard to interfering between Sindia and Holkar on account of the weakness of the firmer, admitting the fact to have been so, it was, General Wellesley observed, an extraordinary mode of strengthening Sindia and weakening Holkar, to transfer to the latter all the territories of the Holkar family.
In short, after a long argument as to the merits of the war, and a still longer discussion respecting the terms of the pacification, it was finally agreed on the 17th December that Rughoojee Bhonslay, Sena Sahib Soobeh, should cede to the British government and its allies, the province of Kuttack, including Ballasore; and the whole of his territory and shares of revenue to the westward of the river Wurda, and south of the hills on which stand Nurnalla and Gawelgurh. The forts of Nurnalla and Gawelgurh remained in Rughoojee Bhonslay’s possession, together with districts lying south of those forts, valued at four lacks of rupees. All claims on the Nizam, including of course Chouth, Ghasdana, &c. were renounced; all differences between the Nizam, the Peishwa, and the Sena Sahib Soobeh were to be arbitrated by the British government; and no European or American of a nation at war with the English, or any British subject, was to be entertained, without the consent of the British government. Such was the substance of the principal articles of the treaty of Deogaom. Accredited ministers, from each of the contracting parties,
were to reside at the court of the other; and the Honourable M. Elphinstone, at that time Persian interpreter on the staff of General Wellesley’s army, was appointed to act as resident at Nagpoor.
The negotiations with Sindia were not so promptly terminated. Doulut Rao endeavoured by every means to avoid making the cessions, which the British government demanded as the basis of a pacification; and it was not until assured that his compliance was the only means of averting the entire conquest of his territories, that he at length assented.
The treaty was concluded at Surjee Anjengaom, on the 30th December, and Sindia ceded to the British government and its allies, his territory between the Jumna and Ganges, and all situated to the northward of the Rajpoot principalities of Jeypoor, Joudpoor, and Gohud; but the territory lying between Jey poor and Joudpoor, and to the southward of the former place was reserved. The forts of Ahmednugur and Baroach, with their districts; his possessions between the Ajunta Ghaut and the Godavery, and all claims on the emperor of the Moghuls, the British government, or its allies, the Peishwa, the Nizam, and the Gaekwar, were renounced by Sindia: he also gave up all claims upon such Rajas or Jagheerdars as might have become allies of the British government during the war, and declared them independent of his authority. Sindia entered into the same agreement in regard to Europeans and Americans, and to residents at the courts, as had been admitted by
Rughoojee Bhonslay: Major Malcolm was appointed to act as resident in his camp. The city of Burhanpoor, the forts of Asseerghur, Pawungurh, and Dohud, with their dependant districts, conquered by the British government during the war, were restored to Sindia. The enams granted to Mahadajee Sindia by the emperor, namely, the districts of Dholpoor-Baree and Raj-kerrah, situated to the northward of the prescribed limits, and certain Jagheers belonging to the family, or to immediate dependants of Sindia, were restored; and the British government likewise promised Jagheers, or pensions in lieu of them, amounting to fifteen lacks of rupees annually, to some other persons in Sindia’s service. All enam villages, lands, or Wutun, obtained by Sindia and his predecessors, within the territories ceded, were to be restored to him and to the respective owners; but no troops were permitted to be kept in such places, either to the north or south of Sindia’s own territory. Finally, the British government left it in the option of Sindia to become a party to the defensive alliance, offering him a subsidiary force, payable from the revenues of the territories already ceded, whether furnished or not. In conformity with this article in the treaty of Surjee Anjengaom, a new treaty was afterwards concluded with Sindia at Burhanpoor, on the 27th February 1804, by Major Malcolm, empowered for that purpose by General Wellesley. Sindia then agreed to become a party to the defensive alliance, and a subsidiary force of six thousand infantry, with their artillery, was to be stationed near his boundary, but within the British territory.
Of the conquests thus gained from the confederates, by subsequent partition treaties between the British government, and its allies the Nizam and the Peishwa, the province of Kuttack including Balasore, the pergunna and fort of Baroach, the districts conquered from Sindia, north of the Rajpoot states, the territory along the bank of the Jumna, and between that river and the Ganges, were assigned to the British government. The whole tract west of the Wurda, eastward of the Peishwa’s frontier, and southward of the range of hills on which stand Nurnalla and Gawelgurh, down as far the Godavery, was made over to the Nizam. The Peishwa having failed to afford the aid which was in his power, and having in other respects profited largely by the war, the fort and district of Ahmednugur was the only portion reserved as his share of the conquests.
The princes and chiefs who, by treaties with General Lake, bad become the allies of the British government, were the. Rajas of Jeypoor, Joudpoor, Boondee, and Macherry; the Jhat Raja of Bhurtpoor, the Rana of Gohud, and the Mahratta officer Ambajee Inglia. The agreements with the Rajpoots and the Raja of Bhurtpoor specify the guarantee of their territory against external enemies, an exemption from tribute, and the aid of their forces in the event of any invasion of the country lately conquered by the British; Europeans not to be received into their service without the consent of the British government. With respect to the Rana
of Gohud and Ambajee Inglia, with whom treaties were also made, it will be recollected, that Mahadajee Sindia conquered the Gohud territory in 1781, and since that period it had been held by that chieftain and his successor. Ambajee Inglia, whom we have seen appointed successor to Perron, was Mamlitdar of the province of Gohud, and after geeing the rapid conquest of Hindoostan, revolted, or pretended to revolt, against his master, and joined the English, from whom he obtained by treaty a share of the province of Gohud, which was divided between him and the Rana, with the exception of the folk of Gwalior, ceded by the Rana to the English. The treaties with the Rana of Gohud and Ambajee Inglia were similar to those concluded with the Rajpoots; excepting that the Rana of Gohud agreed to subsidize three battalions of Sepoys, paying for them at the rate of 75,000 rupees a month. But these two treaties last mentioned, afterwards became null and void, for reasons which the progress of our narrative will explain114.
101. Copies of his secret letters found in his palace at Poona,
102. Copies of secret letters found in the palace at Poona.
103. In this part of the force there was subsequently some alteration made, of no importance to the Mahratta history.
104. I have had occasion to observe how well the Duke of Wellington must have known the Mahrattas, from having read his private letters to Sir Barry Close, during the war of 1803. Without being acquainted with their language, and one would have supposed, with little opportunity of knowing the people or their history, his correct views of the Mahratta character and policy are very remarkable. As the letters in question were shown to me confidentially in 1817, in the course of my official duties, I may be only authorized to mention, that in some instances, his opinion of individuals, particularly of Bajee Rao, was correctly prophetic.
105. The corps which had the honour to serve on this occasion, were, the 19th light dragoons, the 4th, 5th, and 7th Madras Native cavalry, a detachment of Madras, and a small detail of Bombay artillery, the 74th, and 78th highlanders, 1 batt. 2d, 1 batt. 4th, 1 batt. 8th, 1 batt. 10th, and 2 batt. 12th regiments of Madras Sepoys.
106. Nothing could exceed the zeal of some of the cavalry, particularly the 19th dragoons; every officer and man fought as Won his arm depended the victory. As instances may be mentioned, Lieut. Nathan Wilson, who, with his arm shattered by; grape shot, and dangling by his side, charged on at the head of his troop. Lieut. Alex. Grant of the Madras Native infantry, major of brigade to Colonel Maxwell, observing a gun pointed ready to discharge on the flank of the 19th dragoons, the match suspended on the touch-hole, with a noble impulse, in hopes of preventing it, darted forward almost on its muzzle, and with such force, that his horse stuck between the cannon and its wheel; in this situation the gun went off, as he was in the act of endeavouring to prevent it, by cutting down the artillery man. Captain George Sale was attacking a man who defended himself with a pike or short spear, a weapon with which all Sindia’s artillery-men were armed; the man’s comrade standing on a gun, made a thrust from above at Captain Sale, but it was turned by the breast bone, and glanced off diagonally across his chest; his covering serjeant, named Strange, laid the man dead who wounded his officer, but in the act, was himself speared through the lungs, by another man from below the gun. Captain Sale went on, but begged the serjeant to fall in the rear, this, however, he gallantly refused, and rode out the day. – Captain Sale and others, afterwards saw him when in hospital, blow out a candle from his lungs: – the reader will be pleased to learn that the gallant serjeant recovered.
107. Just before the battle of Assaye commenced, intelligence was brought to General Wellesley, that the Peishwa’s troops intended to join Sindia in attacking him. That they would have done so, in the event of a reverse, is not improbable, but I have not met with any confirmation of the circumstance.
108. Public Records. Mahratta MSS. Ferdinand Lewis Smith and Oral information.
109. He appears to have imbibed some of his opinions, after the departure of De Boigne, who represented him to me as a man of plain sense, of no talent, but a brave soldier.
110. Ferdinand Lewis Smith.
111. I have not ascertained who this officer was, he is called Abajee by Major Thorn, but I regret not having obtained more satisfactory information respecting him. It was perhaps one of Ambajee Inglia’s Carcoons,
112. When forming for the charge on the flank of the infantry, the 76th with the same spirit which distinguished the 74th at the battle of Assaye, gave them three cheers.
113. The men of this description are remarkably quiet and sober, patient under privation, and good soldiers; they used to be more apt to desert than any other men, but that was probably owing to circumstances no longer in existence.
114. The above chapter is on the authority of English Records. The Marquis Wellesley’s Narrative. Oral information. Mahratta Letters and MSS.; and Major Thorn’s Memoir.
This collection transcribed by Chris Gage