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Yet, in spite of his well-known inhumanity, and the notorious system of exaction and torture, men of almost every country were attracted to his court by brilliant prospects of advancement and wealth; but a person found to be worth keeping was a prisoner for life; Hyder's was literally the lion's den-no footsteps led from it-he would hear of no standard but his own, and suffered no return. It is the less surprizing therefore that in council he had no adviser, and no contidant. In our examination of the first part of this work, we hazarded a few observations on the striking similarity between the character of Hyder Ali and that of Ali Buonaparte. Every step which we have since advanced has tended to confirm our strictures, and justify the parallel. If there be a shade of difference, the concluding remarks of Colonel Wilks will determine it in favour of the Asiatic barbarian :
• In common with all sovereigns who have risen from obscurity to a throne, Hyder waded through crimes to his object; but they never exceeded the removal of real impediments, and he never achieved through blood what fraud was capable of effecting. He fixed his stedfast view upon the end, and considered simply the efficiency, and never the moral tendency of the means. If he was cruel and unfeeling, it was for the promotion of his objects, and never for the gratification of anger or revenge. If he was ever liberal, it was because liberality exalted his character and augmented his power; if he was ever mercitul, it was in those cases where the reputation of mercy promoted future submission. His European prisoners were in irons, because they were otherwise deemed unmanageable; they were scantily fed, because that was economical; there was little distinction of rank, because that would have been expensive : but, beyond these simply interested views, there was, by his authority, no wanton severity ; there was no compassion, but there was no resentment; it was a political expenditure for a political purpose, and there was no passion, good or bad, to disturb the balance of the account. He carried merciless devastation into an enemy's country, and even to bis own, but never beyond the reputed utility of the case: he sent the inhabitants into captivity, because it injured the enemy's country and benefited his own. The misery of the individuals was no part of the consideration, and the death of the greater portion still left a residue, to swell a scanty population. With an equal absence of feeling he caused forcible emigrations from one province to another, because he deemed it the best cure for rebellion; and he converted the male children into military slaves, because he expected them to improve the quality of his army. He gave fair, and occasionally brilliant encouragement, to the active and aspiring among his vants, so long as liberality proved an incitement to exertion, and he robbed and tortured them without gratitude or compunction, when no further services were expected : it was an account of profit and loss, and a calculation, whether it were most beneficial to employ or to plunder them. • Those brilliant and equivocal virtues, which gild the crimes of other
conquerors, were utterly unknown to the breast of Hyder. No admia ration of bravery in resistance, or of fortitude in the fallen, ever exa cited sympathy, or softened the cold calculating decision of their fate. No contempt for unmanly submission ever aggravated the treatment of the abject and the mean. Every thing was weighed in the balance of utility, and no grain of human feeling, no breath of virtue or of vice, was permitted to incline the beam.
• There was one solitary example of feelings incident to our nature; affection for an unworthy son, whom he nominated to be his successor, while uniformly, earnestly, and broadly predicting, that this son would lose the empire which he himself had gained.'-vol. iii. pp. 457, 458.
This son, aptly named Tippoo, or the Tiger, was thirty years of age when his father died; he assumed the reins of government with an army of ninety thousand men, a treasury containing three crores of rupees, (about three millions sterling,) in hard money, and an accumulated booty of jewels and other valuables, in Poornea's language, to a countless amount. With this, and the aid of a French force, instead of offering terms to the English which, in the dissensions between the civil and military authorities of Madras, and the tardy and ungracious assistance from Bengal, would probably have been accepted, Tippoo at once began to indulge his favourite dream of driving them out of the peninsula.
The fortress of Cuddalore had received such a reinforcement from Suffrein's fleet, after his action with Sir Edward Hughes, as to enable Monsieur Bussy to make a vigorous sortie with his best troops, who, however, suffered a very severe loss, both in officers and men. The following anecdote (which affords another extraordinary instance of the caprice of fortune) we suspect will be new to most of our readers :
Among the wounded prisoners was a young French serjeant, who 80 particularly attracted the notice of Colonel Wangenheim, commandant of the Hanoverian troops in the English service, by his interesting appearance and manners, that he ordered the young man to be conveyed to his own tents, where he was treated with attention and kindness until his recovery and release. Many years afterwards, when the French army, under Bernadotte, entered Hanover, General Wangenheim, among others, attended the levee of the conqueror. “You have served a great deal,” said Bernadotte, on his being presented,
and, as I understand, in India ?” “ I have served there." 6 At Cuddalore?"
“ I was there." “ Have you any recollection of a wounded serjeant, whom you took under your protection in the course of that service?” The circumstance was not immediately present to the general's mind; but, on recollection, he resumed, “ I do indeed remember the circumstance, and a very fine young man he was ; I have entirely Lost sight of him ever since, but it would give me pleasure to hear of his welfare." “ That young serjeant,” said Bernadotte, SON WHO HAS NOW THE HONOUR TO ADDRESS YOU; who is happy in
WAS TIIE PER
this public opportunity of acknowledging the obligation, and will omit no means within his power of testifying his gratitude to General Wangenheim.” ?-vol. ii. pp. 442, 443.
The capture of the almost impregnable fort of Bednore by a handful of men, under the command of General Matthews, who was puzzled to account for his own success, is thus curiously and satisfactorily explained:
Among the prisoners carried off by Hyder from Malabar was a young Nair, to whom, after his conversion to Islamism, was given the name of Sheik Ayez, the slave of the house. This youth, from his noble port, ingenuous manners, and singular beauty, attracted general attention; and in a more mature age bis valour in the field and uncommon intelligence recommended him so strongly to the favour of Hyder that he would frequently speak of him as his right hand in the hour of danger;' and wben angry with Tippoo would often wish that Ayez was his son instead of him. Not long before his death Hyder had appointed this favourite to the situation of governor of the fortress and province of Bednore. Tippoo had not forgotten his father's praises, and the habit of publicly contrasting the qualities of his slave with those of the heir-apparent; nor could Ayez contemplate without alarm the crisis of bis fate, which the death of Hyder would certainly accelerate. Tippoo had, in fact, dispatched Lutf Ali Beg to assume the government of Bednore, but, apprehensive that Ayez might resist, had previously sent secret orders to the officer next in command to put him to death, and assume the government till the arrival of the proper successor. Ayez, suspecting that something of this kind might happen, had given positive orders that every letter received should be brought to him and examined in bis presence; but being, like Hyder, entirely illiterate, no other person was allowed to be present than the reader and himself. On the day preceding that on which the English force attacked the ghauts, the fatal letter arrived; the bramin who read it, and to whom the letter was addressed, was more astonished at its contents than Ayez; who, placed in this perilous condition, without a moment's hesitation, put the unfortunate bramin to death to prevent discovery; instantly mounted his horse, and went off at full speed to the citadel to make arrangements for the surrender of the place to the English. All this was unknown at the time, and sufficiently accounts for the dispersion and dismay of the troops, and the easy possession of the whole province, which so much surprized General Matthews, that he attributed it, in the first place, to the Divine decrees,' and in the second, to the panic of the enemy.' (ii. p. 455.)
When Tippoo was accused by General Macleod of his faithless conduct before Mangalore, he replied in English, written by a French man, • It is a lie or mensonge. On which the general returned
for answer, · Permit me to inform you, prince, that this language is not good for you to give, nor me to receive; and that if I was alone with
in the desert you would not dare to say these words to me: and he added, if you have courage enough to meet me, take one hundred of your bravest men on foot, and meet me on the sea-shore. I will fight you, and one hundred of mine will fight with your's. Nothing further appears from General Macleod; but in the King of Histories,' written under the immediate direction of Tippoo, and found in the palace of Seringapatam, is a long and abusive reply, accusing the Nazarenes of idolatry, and every species of vice, and thus concluding : If thou hast any doubt of all this, descend, as thou hast written, from thy ships, with thy forces, and taste the favour of the blows inflicted by the hands of the holy warriors, and behold the terror of the religion of Mahommed,' &c.—but General Macleod, according to this faithful bistorian, fled on the same night! (Pref. p. xxv.)
The ferocious disposition of Tippoo was frequently exhibited during the siege of Mangalore, a contemptible fortress which, however, Jocked up the services of his main army for nearly nine months. Reflecting that it had been surrendered to General Matthews by the Kelledar Rustum Ali Beg as an untenable post, he came to a conclusion, that Rustum must have been either a traitor or a bungler, (he stopped not to inquire which,) and the unfortunate Kelledar, with his principal officers, was therefore led out to instant execution. But it was not till after the conclusion of the peace of 1784, when the release of the prisoners offered an opportunity to all of comparing the history of their sufferings, that the extent of the atrocity of this monster was fully ascertained. Hyder, in truth, had never shewn any scruples of delicacy regarding the safe and cheap custody of European prisoners; he used severity and sometimes direct force to procure the services of gunners and artificers; but this was the amount of his barbarity; it was reserved for Tippoo Sultaun to murder his prisoners. All who had distinguished themselves in arms were sure to be dispatched--some were poisoned, others led into the woods and hacked to pieces. Those who were spared lingered out a miserable existence; in the best of the prisons their allowance barely kept them alive; and in the worst, accelerated their death. • Blows were inflicted on the most trivial pretences; irons were put on and removed for no other apparent reason than to excite conjectures and agonize the feelings. The sepoys were kept at hard labour, and these faithful creatures, whenever they had an opportunity, sacrificed a portion of their own scanty pittance to mend the fare of their European fellow soldiers. This is sufficiently horrible; but the exVOL. XVIII. NO. XXXV.
patriation of thirty thousand Canara Christians, (by his own account sixty thousand,) who were first 'honoured with the distinction of Islamism, and then distributed among the principal garrisons,' was still more atrocious; for the consequences of thus wantonly driving off the unoffending inhabitants of his owu country were, that onethird part of the number did not survive the first year. (ii. p. 530.) His conduct to the unfortunate inhabitants of Coorg was, if possible, still worse; his army laid waste with fire and sword all the open parts of the country, and the ruined inhabitants betook themselves to the woods. Here they were surrounded, and the troops, contracting the circle, beat up the country before them as if disa lodging the game; and by these means closing in on the great mass of population, amounting to about seventy thousand, drove them, like a herd of cattle, to Seringapatam. On this triumphant occasion Tippoo first assumed the title of King.
Among the numerous inventions and creations of his mind, which Colonel Wilks calls strange aberrations of untutored intellect, one was to level the town and fort of Mysore to the ground. He changed the performance of the noobut (the royal band) from Sunday to Friday, ' because' (as he says in bis own Memoirs) Sunday is appropriated by the Nazarenes, Saturday by the Jews, and Friday is the festival of the Mussulmans; because the Almighty on that day created the heavens, and on that day commenced the flood of Noah'—He changed the name of every thing in science, government, jurisprudence, tactics, &c. of cycles, years, and months; weights, measures, coins, forts, towns, offices civil and military; the official designations of all persons and things, without one exception;' exhibiting,'as Colonel Wilks remarks, ' a singular coincidence, at nearly one and the same time, and in distant and unconnected quarters of the globe, between the extremes of unbridled democracy, and uncontrolled despotism.' He boasts in his new artillery practice that he had left his masters, the Nazarenes, at an infinite distance behind him, although, like the salamander, they pass their lives in fire. He created a fleet which never existed, and made admirals who had never seen the sea; he drew up a commercial code, and considered himself the chief merchant in his dominions; and when he was requested to alter his regulations as they had a tendency to destroy all confidence, the only answer which he condescended to give, was—there is no regulation issued by us that does not cost us, in the framing of it, the deliberation of five hundred years~do as you are ordered.' His code of laws is unexampled in history, perverting,' says Colonel Wilks, * all possible purposes of punishment as a public example, combining the terrors of death with cold-blooded irony, filthy ridi