페이지 이미지

sernible in its opening, from the ordinary wainscoat. Into this colonel Macauley was reluctantly induced to enter, just as the armed men from without were forcing their way into the dwelling; they ran with haste through the different rooms and chambers, in the hope of seizing their expected prey. Every corner discoverable by the eye, is penetrated and examined; nor is their search abandoned, until it appears to be completely mocked by a cause, for which they know not how to account, and then they betake themselves to plunder end to destroy the property and papers of the residency. During the activity of the pursuit, which lasted for some hours, the anxiety of the resident may be imagined, better than described: he had, however, the good fortune at length to be relieved from his yet perious situation, by an event almost as miraculous as that which had led to his original security. The day began to appear, as these banditti had concluded their quest,-and discovered a vessel, under British colours, entering a port at a very short distance from the resident's

house. It was ordained by providence,

that just at this juncture, a number of soldiers, in the British uniform, were seen traversing the deck; and other vessels, supposed to be full also of troops, were seen at the same time in the offing -a circumstance which induced these anned ruffians to seek a precipitate It treat. The resident lost not any time, so soon as the way was open to him, in hurrying to the port, and embarking on the first ship that presented itself— thus making sure, by his own prudence, of the full effect of the providential interposition in his favour. Hence colonel Macauley may be supposed to have communicated to his government the interruptions of his functions, in a manner so unexpected and so unprecedented The teacherous contrivance, just noticed, and which was well calculated to surprize its intended victim, was hatched, and carried into effect, so

to as practicable, some time towards.

the end of December. Wor. 1

with this act, or in anticipation of the consequences expected to flow from it, the Dewan does not appear to have neglected the arrangements necessary for his purpose. It was now known, that at the moment, in which he had lulled the suspicions of the resident, he had not only collected together the armed force, employed in besetting the residency, but had assembled at his own house, in the neighbourhood of Quilon, where the subsidiary force was stationed, a more numerous body of men, adequate, in his opinion, to keep that corps in check ; so as to leave him a fit season for the device of other military dispositions. It would appear, fom these arrangements, that the treason of the Dewan was neither hastily conceived, nor attempted to be executed without thoroughly considering the possible or probable contingencies to which it might icad. Still there i, no reason to in agine, that this abominable plan originated in any other source than the head of the Dewan. It has never been insinuated, nor believed, that the king of Travancore gave any countenance to, or had any previous knowledge of, the treachery of his faithless minister; as far, indeed, as respected the public interests,and the demeanour of the rajah, it was not known, except from the military preparations in the southward of the Carnatic, and some other movements, immediately about to be noticed, that any serious misunderstanding existed between him and the representatives of the East India company. These, however, manifested a temporary design, not very favourable to the king, and which had been delayed only in its progress, by some secret reasons operating on the iniud of his ally. A cause, however, is now offered, in the wicked counsels, and acts of his minister, unless disowned and punished. for justifying the intended, and half prosecuted hostility of the company's govers, ment. It will be in this place necessary to state, that the vessel, which so seasonably appeared off the port of Cochin, so as to work the final delivery of the resident, was only the forerunuer of


* F.

several others, which had been taken up by colonel Cuppage, in command of the Malabar provinces, for the conveyance of his majesty's 12th regiment, and a battalion of sepoys, to the reinforcement of the subsidiary force. That prudent and gallant officer havingreceived information, it seems, from his private sources, that the Travancore government had lately set on foot an extensive armament in the southern extremity of that country, had taken upon himself the responsibility of detaching, to the support of colonel Chalmers, in command of the subsidiary force, this large proportion of the troops subject to his immediate command; a promptitude, not less declaratory of his prudence and foresight, than of his zeal and attachment to the service. These arrived, but with one exception, in good time, and were esteemed by colonel Chalmers as a most seasonable, as well as indispensable relief; and enabled him, as he amply and gratefully acknowledged, to withstand the no longer concealed approaches of the Travancore troops, that threatened otherwise to overwhelm him. The missing vessel, which had on board a surgeon, and about thirty-three privates, belonging to his majesty's 12th regiment, had been defayed in its course by contrary winds or currents, and had, on that account, been obliged to put in at the port of Alippee, on the coast of Travancore, for a supply of water and other necessaries. Two or three of the soldiers landed immediately on the vessel's arriving at her anchorage, and being told by certain officers, in the service of the rajah, that a large body of British troops were in the neighbourhood, they were induced to go back to their comrades with the intelligence, and with an assurance that they world be provided with every requisite on landing, to enable them to proceed to the detachment near at hand. Knowing nothing of any existing hostility, nor suspecting any deceit, the whole of the party disembarked, and were conducted, in seeming friendship, some miles inland, where they were treacherously surrounded, and overpowered by num

together, and in that way thrown, with
a heavy stone appended to their necks,
and with an inhumanity hardly equal-
ed on record, into the back water off
the port. At the time that this atro.
cious act was committed, no public
ground had been assigned for the hos.
tilities, newly commenced, nor can
any be fancied, that could palliate so
base and so worthless a proceeding.
But the ferocity of the deed marks the
spirit of the times, and may be sup-
posed to bespeak the confidence of the
Travancore government, in its resour.
ces and arrangements, and a freedom of
apprehension from any retaliatory prac.
tice, if the idea of such a retaliation
could ever be supposed to enter into
any civilised mind.
The principal military preparations
of the Travancore government, were
made, and directed in the first instance,
against the subsidiary force at Quilon.
The vigilance of colonel Chalmers
seems to have anticipated the attack
meditated against him.
On the 30th of December, the
commandant of the subsidiary force
received intelligence,on which he could
rely, that a large body of armed men
had been assembled on that morning,
at the house of the dewan, and in the
inclosed ground about it: that am.
inunition had been delivered out to
them, with an intimation that they
should hold themselves in immediate
readiness for service. As such an
assemblage had not previously taken
place, without communication with co-
lonel Chalmers, and as it was attended
with circumstances so suspicious, he
naturally expected and prepared him.
self for an attack. He ordered, in
consequence, the whole force under his
command, to sleep that night on their
a lon).s. [He had scarcely issued his
orders to this effect, when fresh intel-
ligence reached him, that another mil-
tary force, consisting of numerous
armed Nairs, had been collected at
Paroor, about ten miles to the south-
ward of colonel Chalmers's cantonment,
for the purpose of advancing in the
direction of the subsidiary force. This
information induced the commandant
of that force to give specific instruc-

* - - - - - - -1 1----1

-: ----4------------ — – 1 1---


panies of the 1st battalion of the 4th Native regiment, with a gun, to *. vance, under the command of captain Clapham, to take post on a height, commanding the position of the dewan's house, so as to keep the body collected there in check, and to prevent the possibility of his being exposed to the fire of the two different bodies of troops at the same instant. This detachment had scarcely arrived at the point assigned for it, when it was observed that a small hill, immediately on the right flank of the post, had been already possessed by a body of Travancore troops, who were increasing momentarily in their numbers. It now appeared, that this commanding emihence was as much a military object to the Travancorean, as to the British commandant ; and captain Clapham lost not any time in making the necessary dispositions for the defence of the height. These were scarcely effected when a considerable column of Nairs, armed with musquets, pikes, and other missiles, was seen rapidly advancing on his front; it was challenged, on its approach, more than once, and requested to halt; but heedless of the challenge and request, it proceeded steadily towards the British detachment, then drawn up in line, and evidently with a design to charge it. The Travancorean force had now arrived within ten paces of captain Clapham, when that officer, unawed by their numbers and resolute appearance, gave immediate orders for his detachment to fire, which was instantly returned by the force opposed to it, by which one sepoy was killed, and one subadar, of captain Clapham's | small party, wounded. The British troops loaded and fired again with so much quickness and precision, that the enemy was obliged, after making | overal ineffectual attempts to gain the light, and after rallying on frequent *pulses, to abandon his design, with the loss of many men killed and "ounded. After this spirited and occessful resistance, the British deonment was permitted to keep its * Poition without any further molesta4 'ou, during the night.


On the next morning, the 31st of December, major Hamilton, of the 2d battalion of the 13th Native infantry, with five companies of the 4th regiment, reinforced by two flank companies of his own battalion, was ordered by colonel Chalmers to advance and take possession of the battery at the Dewan's house ; which he effected with much spirit, and without any loss. The capture of two brass four pounders, and four iron guns of the same calibre, was the fruit of this service, which was safely conveyed within the British lines. These guns were placed here originally for the purpose of firing salutes; but, on examination, after they had come into the possession of colonel Chalmers, they were all found to be loaded and doubly shotted. They were captured also in a situation, in which they were not usually placed, a spot having the command of the only road leading to the dewan's house. This circumstance would sufficiently indicate the hostile design of the dewan at this juncture, if it had not been discovered in more direct and unequivocal acts. This enterprize was succeeded by another of equal good fortune. Before major Hamilton could return to the position whence he had been detached early in the morning, he was required to push forward with his party to the bar at Anju vicha, about five miles to the north of the encampment of Colonel Chalmers, in consequence of intelligence having been 1eceived by the latter officer, that the enemy, in great numbers, were crossing the river in that direction. This movement of . major Hamilton was directed with a view to prevent the further passage of the Travancore troops, and to keep . those already landed in check. Several small parties of troops were encountered on the way, who fled on the approach of the British detachment : one of these, however, was luckily from the commandant of which, major Hamilton derived intell gence of the strength and situation of the enemy in that quarter. It appeared that the force on both banks of the river amounted to 4,000 irregu

lar troops, with a regular body, as well disciplined as a y in the rajah's service, called the Carnatic brigade. This latter force had arrived but a few hours, previously, from Alippee. This intelligence induced major Hamilton to proceed with expedition to Anjuvicha, where he arrived just as a numerous body of the enemy was crossing the water in their boats ; while another was drawn up on shore to protect their landing. Perceiving that a moment was not to be lost, the British commandant ordered an immediate attack on the party on shore, which was commenced by a heavy a defective fire of grape and musketry; which made so severe an impression on the opposed forces, that they were dispersed in an instant, pursued to the bar, and driven headlong into the water. Four hundred of the enemy were left dead on the banks, and numbers drowned in the attempt to cross the ford. The prisoners takenon this oc casion amounted to nearly a hundred. A battalion of the Carnatic brigade was drawn up on the opposite side of the bar, and witnessed the slaughter of their countrymen and fellow soldiers, without a tempting any thing further to their assistance, than a few discharges of their small arms, and from a distance at which they could do no execution. On the dispersion and discomfiture of the enemy on the nearer side of the river, major Hamilton directed his artillery to be opened on the Carnatic battalion on the opposite shore, which precipitately retired almost at the first shot. In about two hours afterwards, the Carnatic battalion, being reinforced, and accompanied by heavy artillery, resumed its original station, and opened a brisk cannonade of round and grape on the British forces, which was returned with equal spirit. While this firing was maintained on the opposite shore, with a view chiefly to occupy the attention of major Hamilton, the enemy, by means of his boats, transported great numbers of his troops across the river, at a different place, in the expectation of attacking the British party in the rear. But this design was seen and frustrated by the activity

[ocr errors]

ture, issued ris orders for the recall of major Hamii.on's detachment within the lines on the cantonnect. At an early hoor in the evening, information reached colonel Chalmers, that a body of N is, to the number of 10 000, were advorcing very rapidly on the side of Paroor. Froin the enemy, thus pouring in from every quarter, in numbers sufficiently powerful, and with regular means of anDoyance and of attack, colonel Chalmers thought it prudent to shift his position, and take post in the ruined fort of Quilon, which otherwise, he apprehended, might have faiien into the possession of the enemy. In this position colonel Chalmers remained unmolested throughout the night, which was stormy and tempestuous; and, therefore, probably not employed by the enemy in hostile operations. Colonel Chalmers, on the following morning, not observing any arrangements on the part of the enemy for an immediate attack, moved out from the fort to his former ground, covering the cantonment ; determined to await, in that station, the combined attack of the enemy. From the 1st of January to the 15th of the same month, colonel Chalmers : remained in the position last taken up by him, fortifying it by all the pool cable means of military defence. The enemy, in the interval, drew all his available force to this point, and maintained himself in a formidable position in front. The state of the strength of the Travancore troops at this date, is not exactly ascertained; but it is understood to have amounted to more! than ten times the number of the subsidiary force; but the latter had received, in the interim, a very valuable and important reinforcement, in his majesty's 12th regiment of foot, under the command of colonel Picton. This regiment, with the 1st battalion of the 17th Native infantry, under najor Hewitt, bad been providently dispatched to the relief of the subsidiary force, without individual application, or communication with the government, but on time mere motive of colonel Cuppage, in command of the Ma

[blocks in formation]

dered to take post at Cochin, au unfortified place, lying immediately on the coast, and keeping the line of communication open with the subsidiary force. On the 15th of January, the enemy confidently relying on his numbers, made a desperate assault on the British lines, co, sisting only of one European regiment, and three battalions of sepoys, with a small body of artillery. A most severe and sanguinary contest ensued, which terminated in the entire repulse and defeat of the Travancore troops, with a most heavy loss. On the part of the British, the loss was comparatively small in the aggregate, falling principally on the European regiment, which lost in killed eight men, and in wounded forty-five;—the sepoy battalions suffered in killed and wounded, a loss of about 70 men. The enemy left 700 men dead on the field of battle, and ten pieces of ordnance. This brilliant action called for, and received, the poblic thanks of the governor in council of Fort St. George; who requested colonel Chalmers to accept and to convey the lively acknowledgments of the government to the whole of the troops under his command, but more particularly to colonel Picton, of his majesty's 12th regiment, major Muirhead, major Hamilton, captain Newall, captain Pepper, Captain Macintosh, lieutenant Lindsay, lieutenant Arthur of the engineers, and captains Cranston and Ahmuty, of colonel Chalmers's personal staff; who had an opportunity of distinguishing thmselves individually in this most gallant affair. Though the design of the enemy had been completely defeated, and his troops repulsed with great slaughter in the rencontre just described, they do not appear to have been dispersed, but to have taken up ground, at no great distance from that from which they had been recently driven. The nature of colonel Chalmers's force, and the very limited extent of it, would not Permit him to take the full advantage

of this victory, by the pursuit of the fugitives. The enemy was so dispirited, and so much worsted in this engagement, as to seem incapable of recovering himself for fresh rencontres, without some season for recruit, both of actual strength and of spirit. Still, however, he did not remain wholly inactive, though incompetent for any great exploit. On the unsuccessful determination of the affair on the British lines, he detached an apparently overwhelming force against Cochin, then defended by major Hewitt, with the 1st bat. of the 17th Native infantry, and a mere handful of Europeans, with the hope of retrieving and re-establishing, if it could be effected by the expected result of so unequal a contest, the character and confidence of his troops. Major Hewitt, on the 19th of January, found himself attacked on every approachable side, by strong bodies of the enemy; and in a situation almost devoid of defence; having neither the cover of walls nor of batteries: yet in these circumstances he exhibited so determined a resistance, aided by so much skill and bravery, that he repulsed the enemy in every quarter, after repeated and ineffectual struggles to establish himself within the town. This severe and new loss, experienced by the assailants, compeiied them to retreat to their main body, leaving many of their numbers behind them, on the field of their unsuccessful enterprise. The brilliant efforts of a small detachment of the 12th European regt. inspired by the gallantry of their leader, major Flewitt, gave life and animation to the native troops, converting every ordinary individual into an hero, and empowering to on to fe ts of generous and entious courage, that. would appear ronautic rather than real. The exploit of this little detachment was not thought unworthy of the particular notice and distinction of the government, which it honoured and served. With these successive examples and impressions of the spirit and energy of our troops, taken, as it were, by surprise, the ardour of the enemy may

« 이전계속 »