Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

influence over the policy of all the Mahratta most favourable opportunity for the comcourts; and at the moment when an ener-plete establishment of the interests of the getic unison of nationality was most needed, British power in the Mahratta empire. The their distractions invited the ever-ready inter- continuance of the contest between Holkar ference of the stranger.

and Scindiah will probably weaken the In accordance with the policy they had power and impair the resources of both, and for some time pursued, the English sought afford the British government an opportuin the progress of their aggressions, to enlist nity of interposing its influence and mediathe cupidity or gratify the resentment of tion.” neighbouring princes in the destruction of Influence and mediation—what are they ? each appointed victim. This had been the Patience, friend, and you will hear, and case in both the combinations against Tip- from the very best authority. Meanpoo Saib; the Nizam had played jackal while the Marquis adds to the foregoing, throughout, and fared as jackals usually do, “No reasonable apprehension exists that what had been given him in the first Polan- the progress of this system of policy will be dition of Mysore being taken from him in obstructed, either by the union of the conthe second. * The Paishwah was reluctantly tending parties, or the decisive success of dragged into the war against Tippoo; and either chieftain.” Oh, when will nations so little did his interests or wishes coincide read with learning eyes, the warning such with the rapacious views of the Company, avowals give of the secret of the conqueror's that after the fall of Seringapatam, Lord power—the mystery of their own undoing. Wellesley deemed it prudent to offer a large Self-undone ! self-undone! it is the same share of the spoil to him and Scindiah, boih wail that the night wind hears round the of whom "explicitly rejected it. The un- crumbling tombs of Greece and Carthage, friendly, if not hostile, disposition thus ma- and the still green graves of Italy and Ponifested towards the British Government," + land. When will the fury of party and the served as a pretext" for active measures of storm of selfishness listen to the chuckle of self-protection and defence," a phrase which cold calculating despotism, as it broods over in the glossary of conquest, may be taken as its purpose, and bides its time, and waits till the ordinary synonym of-crouching for the mutual injury and exhaustion have placed spring.

both and all within its grasp ? They will Towards the end of 1802, the animosities never hear the warning. Ye, who tolerate of Holkar and Scindiah had reached their their struggle, and suffer them to betray you height. Each had a powerful army in the by their infatuation-ye, the many, the mulfield ; and the dominions of the Paishwah titude, the people-ye have no interest in were the threatened scene of their ill-fated the fatal squabble of factions that trample contention, as the object of it was the attain- on you, that riot on your patience; but ye ment of a predominant influence over the have an interest, vital as the breath that is in imbecile durbar of Poonah. I In Decem- you—anxious as the dying prayer that

your ber the Governor-General wrote to the secret children may live free-abiding as the root committee of the Company, that "the in- of the hills that shelter you—in disbelieving creased distractions in the Mahratta states that party will ever hear, in time for your constituted a crisis of affairs favourable to salvation, the whispering menace of the foe! the success of their negociations." He

The resident at Poonah was desired to inproceeds to detail the instructions given by form the Paishwah that the British governhim to the British resident at Poonah, the ment were exceedingly desirous of interposhelplessness of their worthy friend and much ing in his behalf, upon certain stipulations. to be compassionated ally the Paishwah, The principal of these were, the admission of hemmed in on all sides by violent and selfish a permanent subsidiary force into his domirivals, who forgot all notions of justice and nions, and the assignment of a certain extent generosity in the pursuit of their own views; of territory for their support. In other which “ crisis of affairs," adds the Most No- words, they offered to secure him against ble Governor-General, “ appears to me the the intrigues of his native rivals, if he would

confide his kingdom to their custody.

Helpless as his position was, the unfortunate Secretary Edmonstone's secret instructions to chief revolted at this degrading offer, and Colonel Close.—Marquis Wellesley's Despatches, vainly endeavoured to avoid, by negotiation, vol. 3, No. 2. † Gurwood, vol. 1, p. 88.

the miserable alternative of choosing beThe capital of the Paishwah.

tween masters. But Lord Wellesley was Marquis Wellesley's Despatches, vol. 3, No.2. not a man to be turned from his purpose by the finesse of a weak and wavering court; any degree upon the power of another, nastill less were his generous efforts for turally tends to increase; as a sense of secuthe rescue of an ally, to be frustrated by rity derived from the support of a foreign the unwillingness of the party whose power, produces a relaxation of vigilance and protection was professedly sought. Large caution. He concludes by saying,—“rebodies of troops were put in motion, quire from the Paishwah an obligation to and in a few months a powerful army of expel from his dominions, the subjects of any observation was collected on the northern European state with which we may herefrontier. The terms above-mentioned were after be at war."* eagerly pressed upon the Paishwah; he was Such were the confidential instructions of even recommended to provide for his per- the government at Calcutta to their envoy sonal safety by flight from his capital, and at the court of Poonah. In the month of strongly urged to select Bombay as his October following, Colonel Close informed place of refuge. * The despatch which con- the Governor-General that the weakness of tains these interesting statements was ac- the Paishwah had at length induced him to companied by a paper, to which it refers, accept the terms proposed; and the subwherein the conduct of the Paishwah, for sidiary treaty was thereupon concluded, some years, is recounted ;-how,“ in 1798, whereby it was solemnly declared that the alhe preferred danger and independence to a liance and engagement so entered into, was more intimate connexion with the British “meant for the preservation, permanent prospower, which could not be formed on princi- perity, and honour of the Paishwah's

governples calculated to secure to him the constant ment!” A large portion of the valuable proprotection of their arms, without at the same vince of Guzerat was ceded absolutely to the time establishing their ascendency in the Company, for the pay of the six battalions Mahratta empire ;"—how the Paishwah had who were to form this guard of honour; and refused to enter into subsidiary engagements Lord Wellesley, in a letter to Lord Castleon former occasions, and what a hostile dis- reagh in the following year, boasts that the position this manifested ;-how the “infer- revenue of the province thus assigned, after ence to be deduced from these considera- paying the troops,“ would leave a considetions was, that, until irresistibly compelled rable balance to the account of the Comby the exigency of his affairs, to have pany.”+ All which, when duly remitted to recourse to the assistance of the Company, England, was obviously for the “permanent the Paishwah would never be induced to en- prosperity and honour of the Paishwah's goter into any engagements, which, in his ap-vernment." prehension, would afford to the British go- On the success of Holkar's army, over vernment, the means of acquiring an ascen- the combined forces of the Paishwah and dency in the Mahratta empire ;"—how it was Scindiah, on 25th October, 1802, the Paish“his object to avoid that controul and ascen-wah had fled to Bassein, where the abovedancy which it was their interest to estab- mentioned subsidiary treaty was signed. lish;—how the Paishwah was aware that the British honour now required the peremptory permanent establishment of a British force in restoration of his Highness—their new vasthe vicinity of Poonah, would immediately sal. A case for armed intervention had arplace him in some degree of dependence; rived; and General Wellesley was directed and how he, therefore, had proposed that to demand, and, if necessary, to enforce the the subsidiary force should be retained immediate retreat of both the rival armies. within the province ceded to the company That of Scindiah had been powerfully infor their support." This stipulation was ac- creased by the junction of the Rajah of Beceded to; but Secretary Edmonstone pro- rar, an indolent and usually pacific chief, ceeds confidentially to detail how such an ar- whose indignation and apprehensions had rangement, inasmuch as it gave their ally been roused into activity by the treaty of Bas“the benefit of their support, without his sein. The pro-consular style in which this was becoming subject to them,” could never be commanded appears to have been deliberately thought of as a final measure. But, he adds, chosen. A high and imperious tone of dicthat “subsidizing a British force, even un- tation, could they once browbeat the Mahder the limitations which the Paishwah an- ratta chiestains into bearing it, would soon nexed, must immediately place him in some degree of dependence upon the British

* Marquis Wellesley's Despatches, vol. 2, No. 3. power; that the dependence of a state in

† Marquis Wellesley's Despatches, vol. 3, No.

23, 20th April, 1803. * Marquis Wellesley's Despatches, vol. 3, No. 2.- [ Mill, book 6, chap. xi.

"*

work their ends. Hence no parley would | able to break, or rather to prevent the conbe listened to; no concessions proffered to federacy against the Paishwah; but Scinavert hostilities, would be received. The diah's conduct requires punishment ; and I object was publicly to degrade the Mahratta therefore wish you to use every effort to presovereigns in the eyes of their subjects, or pare your army to strike an effectual blow, to force them into war. The chiefs desired in the course of next month. I wish you neither, and repeatedly offered to leave the to understand, that I consider the reduction naming of the day to the English general, of Scindiah's power to be an important obon which if he undertook to withdraw his ject. Again, on the 18th July, he urges troops from the frontier, they would engage the expediency of making an active effort to do likewise. On the 1st of August they against Scindiah, and Berar; for the Paishwrote to the English commander—" by the wah is ours ;” and in an approving note on blessing of God, both armies are to this mo- Lake's plan of operations, he says,-“ If ment on their own territory, and no aggres- these objects be obtained previously to the sion or excesses have been committed. To month of October, the Mahratta power will satisfy your mind and to dispel your alarms, be extinct.”+ it has been resolved that the armies now en- Concessions of territory were now decamped here shall retire towards Burham- manded of Scindiah and the Rajah of Berar, pore, on condition that the armies of the as the only price of peace with the offended English and the Nizam shall commence majesty of Calcutta ; and upon refusal, in their retreat on the same date.”* On the the month of August, General Wellesley in6th of August, General Wellesley replied vaded the dominions of Dowlut Rao, and that “this proposition was unreasonable quickly overran the fertile province of and inadmissible, and that they must stand Ahmednegur. It was forthwith treated as the consequences of the measures which he a conquered country, and its revenues apfound himself obliged to adopt.”+

propriated by the victors. At the same time Colonel Collins was di- We had almost forgotten to observe, that rected to inform Scindiah, that unless he the entire of the previous transactions, both gave satisfactory pledges of remaining neu- diplomatic and military, had been taken on tral in the struggle, war would be declared account of the Nizam. The Paishwah’s teragainst him. He replied, that he had re- ritory adjoined his; they had long been alceived numerous solicitations from the lies and friends; and the English had taken Paishwah to advance to his support; and all this trouble merely to oblige the court of while disclaiming any hostile intentions to- Hyderabad. S Whether they ever went wards the Company, he declared that he through the formality of consulting him at could not recognise the treaty of Bassein- any stage of the proceedings, does not in(whereby the Paishwah had become the vas- deed very distinctly appear ; but they took sal of England)—until the other chiefs of care to give his troops ample employment the empire had been consulted thereon. I during the struggle that ensued. His Meanwhile the Paishwah had been been re- Highness's name, however, was not included stored to his capital, on the 13th May, with in the proclamation issued by General Welout bloodshed; his dominions were free of lesley, on taking possession of Ahmedneall invaders; and thus the only excuse for gur ;ll though the expediency of making war on the part of the British was taken him compensation out of some other slice of away.

the Mahratta spoil was suggested for consiThe excuse was gone, but the motive still deration. remained. On 8th July, Lord Wellesley Amongst the numerous pretences which wrote to General Lake, ihe commander-in- were set up in justification of the war, none chief of the “ army of observation,” that al-was dilated on with more eloquence, than the though the pretences had vanished, on which policy of breaking up the French corps in it had been originally collected upon the Scindiah's service. M. Perron was desMahratta frontier, the opportunity was too cribed as being at the head of a highly disgood to be lost. “The despatches from ciplined force, officered by Europeans, and Colonel Collins satisfy me that we shall be capable, as it was dimly intimated, of infi

nite and overwhelming expansion.

The Gurwood, vol. 1, p. 276. | Idem.

Despatches, vol. 3, No. 44.
| Letter of Colonel Collins to the Governor † Idem, No. 47.
General, 29th May, 1803.–Marquis Wellesley's I Gurwood, vol. 1
Despatches, vol. 3, No. 37.

$ The capital of the Nizam. $ Mill, book 6, cap. xi.

i Gurwood, vol. I, p. 329.

p.

320.

apologists of the war well knew, that so long soner of different Mahratta powers, was now as they could make this string of enmity to thought worth purchasing by the British; France vibrate in the public ear of England, and they were ready to get possession of his all enquiry or examination into the real state person by bribery or force, or through the of the case would be unheard. But the happy combination of both. truth cannot be intercepted in its appeal to To his honour it must, however, be rethe judgment seat of history; and, in the corded, that Perron resisted the temptation. present instance, the facts come with more He bravely defended Alighur, his principal than ordinary clearness and certainty. Sir place of strength, to the last, and till its Philip Francis, the able and fearless im- capture had cost the assailants many hunpugner of Warren Hastings, stated in the dred lives. But finding, after some time, House of Commons, during the debate upon that his resources were unequal to the conLord Wellesley's administration, 5th April, flict, and that Scindiah had already named 1805, that there were altogether but twelve his successor, he agreed to lay down his French officers in the Mahratta service at arms, receiving no consideration whatsoever the period in question ; that the troops un- from the victors, stipulating for personal der their command were hardly distinguish- safety alone, and without transferring to the able from other native corps ; that Scindiah enemies of his ungrateful master“ the smallwas jealous to the last degree of Perron's ta- est portion of the resources with which he lents and authority, and had not concealed was entrusted."* his aversion for a considerable time previous After the battle of Delhi, on the 11th to the war ; that, in consequence of this feel. September, 1803, the British General ening, Perron had long felt his position inse- tered the once haughty city of Tamerlane. cure, though entrusted with the government When ushered into the presence of Shah of Delhi, and that he was anxiously awaiting Alum," he found the unfortunate emperor, a fair occasion of abandoning the service of oppressed by the accumulated calamities of Dowlut Rao : finally, that the English ru- old age, degraded authority, extreme polers in India were well aware of all these verty, and loss of sight, seated under a small circumstances. The anti-Gallican frenzy tattered canopy,—the remnant of his royal would of course believe no word of this when state ,—with every external appearance of uttered; the farce was played out with ap- the misery of his condition.'

Such are plause, and the tragedy too. But after thirty Lord Wellesley's own graphic words, 10 years have sped their flight, forth comes which he subsequently adds a description of the authentic version of the Marquis Wel- the popularity the English had acquired lesley's Despatches, during his Pachalic of " by delivering the unfortunate and aged emHindustan ; and there we find, that before a peror, and the royal house of Timour, from sword was drawn, his Excellency instructed misery, degradation, and bondage."

“ Who General Lake to bribe Perron, if possible, would not imagine,” says Mill,“ upon hearinto deserting his employer, for that he was ing this language of the English ruler, that aware of his desire to quit Scindiah's service. he was about to restore His Imperial MaAnd inasmuch as it was probable that Per- jesty, whom his subjects were anxious to see ron might prefer “to dispose of his power delivered from a state of bondage, to his lost to a French purchaser, Lake was em- authority and territories ? Not an atom of powered to conclude any agreement for the this. The English were to restore no tersecurity of M. Perron's personal interests, ritory. Even that which they were now accompanied by any reasonable remunera- taking from Scindiah, and of which, by tion from the British government, which Scindiah, the emperor had but lately been should induce him to deliver up the whole robbed, the English were to keep to themof his military resources, together with his selves. They were to keep ‘His Imperial territorial possessions, and the person of the Majesty,' still degraded from all sovereign Moghul, and of the heir apparent, into power,--still in bondage as much as ever. Lake's hands.”* For, by a singular succes. The very words of the Governor-General sion of incidents, the unfortunate emperor are, that only so much regard should be paid Shah Alum had been committed to the to the comfort of His Majesty and family, guardianship—in other words, to the cus- as was consistent with the due security of tody—of this soldier of fortune. The fallen their persons,'—in other words,—their imprince, after having been by turns the pri- prisonment." +

Letter from the Governor Gencral to General Lake, April, 1803.

* Mill, Book 6, chap. 12, † Idem,

*

*

The memorable battes of Assye, on the miserable Paishwah, in December, 1803, by 23rd September, and of Argaum, on the which the province he had recently ceded 29th November following, virtually put an was exchanged for another worth £170,000 end to the struggle.

more per annum.* Scindiah was now fain to sue for peace,

Thus ended the first Mahratta war, in and he agreed to cede Baroach, Ahmed- which the East India Company acquired a negur, Delhi, and Agra, territories embrac- greater augmentation of territory than their ing 22,000 square miles, and yielding an ambition had ever before ventured to grasp. annual income of upwards of a million and “We are now,” says Munro, “complete a half sterling.* The other chieftains followed masters of India, and nothing can shake our his example, and purchased a cessation of power, if we take proper measures to conhostilities, by alienating portions of their firm it. The most essential is a military arrespective territories. From the Rajah of rangement for the whole of our possessions. Berar, Cuttack, and Balasore, 10,000 square Our armies ought to be increased. * miles in extent, were accepted. These The revenues of our new acquisitions, and treaties were concluded in December, 1803, the increase of revenue in our old domi“ the terms being dictated by General Wel- nions, would more than counterbalance the lesley."| Writing to his brother the Go- additional expense.”+ This at least is hovernor-General, on the subject of that with nest; there is is no silly affectation of beBerar, he says,—" The cessions are made to lieving that the people were, or could bethe British government and its allies; and come acquiescent or indifferent under the I have drawn it in this manner in order that yoke. What has been won by violence your Excellency may have an opportunity must be kept by force, or it cannot be kept of disposing of them hereafter, in such man- at all. And that public order, founded upon ner as you may think proper. * violence and maintained by violence, should The ceded portions are the finest and most be consistent with itself, let us tax the peovaluable parts of the Rajah's territory. The ple for their degradation; and that we may revenues are computed at one crore of ru- make by the transaction money as well pees—(about a million sterling.) I should as fame, let us turn the screw of exaction have demanded a sum of money, but I be tighter than it was before. lieve the Rajah is as poor as the other " Several of the principal powers have alMahratta chieftains.”S The treaty with ready received a subsidiary force ; there is Scindiah was framed in a similar way, he little doubt that most of the others will foltells the Governor-General, for similar rea- low their example; and whenever they sub

He declares that Scindiah is so re- mit to receive a subsidiary force to be conduced as to be hardly able to maintain him- stantly stationed in their dominions, they self; and that therefore the exactions from have in fact lost their independence. They him are less in proportion, than those from are influenced by the British government in Bhoonslah. But he is bound to receive a India; they become accustomed to its susubsidiary force from the Company, and per- periority; they sink into the rank of tribumanently to maintain them.Il Finally, a taries; and their territories, on the failure supplemental treaty was executed with the of heirs, or perhaps sooner, will form pro

vinces of the British Empire." Munro, vol. 1, p. 368. † Marquis Wellesley's Despatches, vol. 1, note See Treaty in Appendix A to Marquis Welto Map.

lesley's Despatches, vol. 3. | Munro, vol. 1. p. 368. Š Gurwood, vol. 1, 558-561.

i , .

Idem, vol. 1, p. 368. || Idem, 566.

sons.

« ZurückWeiter »