페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

made their escape and returned to their native country. Seringapatam was now closely invested. Major General Abercromby desired the Rajah of Coorg, to repair to his principality, to collect supplies and to intercept a convoy of grain, belonging to Tippu, now on its way to Seringapatam by the Astàreghatt. He would shortly send about 30,000 bullocks to carry the provisions, stored up in Coorg, to Seringapatam. Vírarája returned home and Major General Abercromby proceeded to Sultanpett, where the Bombay troops had encamped. The Rajah's first care was to provide for the returned captives. The Subhedars were ordered to supply them with food for two months, to reinstate them into their hereditary possessions and to re-build their houses. Then he marched with a considerable force to intercept the convoy at the Astáreghatt, and to collect from the Mysore country as much cattle, as he could, for the use of the Coorgs lately escaped from captivity. He fixed his head quarters at Arrekere. Thence he ordered 5000 Coorgs to proceed to the Astàreghatt and to intercept the convoy of Tippu. His orders were promptly executed. The grain was delivered to Colonel Finch, the rest of the booty distributed among the returned exiles.

Tippu despatched part of his forces to drive Major General Abercromby from his position at Sultanpett. They were repulsed by the Bombay army with great slaughter. Tippu now despaired of his fortunes and sent Gulam Ali to Lord Cornwallis to sue for peace. The conditions granted to the Sultan were, I, the payment of three crores of rupees, 2, part of his territory to be ceded to the Allies, viz., the Nizam, the Peishva, and the East India Company. Two of his sons were to be delivered as hostages for the fulfilment of the stipulations of peace. Tippu agreed. The besiegers drew off their artillery and prepared for departure to

PEACE CONCLUDED.

119

their respective countries. At this juncture Sir R. Abereromby and Colonel James Hartley went to the Governor General and, during a visit of three days, interposed their good offices in behalf of Viraraja. Sir Ro. bert represented, that Lord Cornwallis after having laid a fine upon Tippu to the amount of three crores of rupees (£3,000,000), deprived him of some provinces, and taken two of his sons as hostages for the faithful execution of the articles of the peace just concluded, was now about to return to Bengal. “We,” he said, “ are retiring to Bombay with our army. The Rajah of Coorg, our faithful Ally from the commencement of the war, who was served us at all times to the utmost of his power, opened his country to our troops, supplied us with provisions during the whole course of hostilities, and risked his life in many a fight against Tippu, and to whom we have given the most solemn assurances of friendship and protection, will now left at the mercy of his, still too powerful, neighbour and deadly enemy.” Lord Cornwallis saw the justice of the Rajah's claims and addressed a letter to Tippu, in which he demanded of him to treat the Rajah of Coorg as an ally and friend of the English Government, and to promise to leave him unmolested in future. Tippu replied ; “you first formed an alliance with Coorg ; now you have concluded a treaty of peace with me. Having become friends of us both, you ought to abstain from interference, when we have a quarrel among ourselves. I desire no peace with Coorg. Let us alone.” On the receipt of this letter the Governor General immediately ordered the recommencement of hostilities. For, “if Tippu," he said, “will not be at peace with the Rajah of Coorg, the Company will not be at peace with the Sultan.” The severe measures of Lord Cornwallis frightened Tippu into submission. He agreed to keep peace with Coorg and transferred the yearly tribute from Coorg, amounting to Rs. 24,000, to the Government of the East India Company. Sir Robert Abercromby and Col. Hartley intended to return to the western coast by way of Coorg. They informed Viraraja, who was then with his troops in the Aigúr country, of the articles of peace, stipulated between Lord Cornwallis and Tippu Sultan, especially of the clause inserted in favour of Coorg, and begged him to stop hostilities and to return to his own principality where they desired to meet him on their march to the coast, Upon the receipt of this communication Viraraja left a garrison under Nágarahalli Puttegauda and Mandyappana Appanna in the Aigúr country and retired with his army to Nalkanadu. General Meadows was dissatisfied with the conditions of peace granted to Tippu Sultan by Lord Cornwallis and protested against the terms of the treaty. His protest being disregarded, he shot himself with a pistol. He was carried to Madras. Parashuram Bhow, one of the Peishva's Generals, likewise dissatisfied with the easy terms granted to Tippu, plnndered the country on his march to the Northward. Haripant Pattkya, his colleague, however, kept his army in good order and under strict discipline. Nizam Ali returned to his own dominions satisfied with the arrangements made by Lord Cornwallis. The latter hastened to Bengal by way of Madras.

This part of the narrative of the Rajendranama requires a few remarks. The Rajah, himself an actor in the great drama, had of course the best opportunity of knowing every thing that was done before Seringapatam. The slight discrepancy between his statement of the contribution of war levied upon Tippu and that given by English historians, who give the sum as three crores and thirty lacs, may be a clerical error. The Rajah is strictly true in his account of the manner in which he was resc ued at the eleventh hour from the

CLAUSE IN FAVOR OF THE RAJAH OF COORG. 121

grasp of Tippu. This will appear from a passage which I transcribe from Thornton's History of the British Empire in India II., 498. “But a new difficulty arose. Among the cessions demanded on behalf of the Allies was Coorg, a mountainous country of considerable extent, but yielding only a very moderate tribute.” (It is evident that no “cession of Coorg" was contemplated. It had never belonged to Mysore, and the Company did not want to have possession of Coorg, but to protect the Rajah. The Rajendranama's version is the more correct one.) “The people of Coorg were Hindus, and in their habits not very dissimilar from the Nairs of Malabar.” (Singular statement! Thornton alludes to the marriage laws of the Nairs and the Coorgs, which are exceedingly different. Among the Nairs the mistress and mother of the house is a woman, married to all the brothers of a family. These husbands have private wives, families, and establishments of their own. But the family property belongs to the lady of the house and her children. Among the Coorgs, every son of the family marries his own wife; but such is their communism, that property, wifes and children are not considered as belonging to different individuals but to the house. They all live together ; the senior member of the senior generation being the the head. Thornton abounds in inaccuracies.) They were warlike and averse to foreign dominion. On the commencement of hostilities between the English aud Tippu, he gave passage to the army of General Abercromby through his dominions, and greatly facilitated their operations by the supply of provisions, the communication of intelligence, and the extension of every species of aid which he could command. He had therefore a strong claim to the protection of the British government, which could only effectively be exerted by the transfer of his tributary dependence

L

from Tippu to the power, whose interests the Coorg Rajah had so zealously promoted. Were he given up to the discretion of the Sultan of Mysore, no question could exist as to the use which would be made of the liberty. The honor of the British government seemed, therefore, involved in the assertion of the demand for the transfer of Coorg ; but on the other hand, as that country was not properly adjacent to the territories of any of the allied powers, the demand was not in strict accordance with the terms of the preliminaries. The article relating to the cession of territory ran thus : One half of the dominions of which Tippu Sultan was in possession before the war, to be ceded to the allies, from the countries adjacent, according to their situation. The rage of Tippu, on learning the demand made on behalf of the English, was unbounded. “To which of the English possessions” he asked, ''is Coorg adjacent? Why do they not ask for the key of Seringapatam ?”The importance of Coorg, and the service of the Rajah, could scarcely have been overlooked, when the preliminaries were drawn up. If such were the fact, the case was one of the most reprehensible negligence. But the more probable opinion seems to be, that from the weak anxiety of the Governor Genesal for peace, it was judged expedient to frame the preliminaries in such a manner as to keep out of sight any point likely to be peculiarly startling or disagreeable to the Sultan's feelings. The result was, that the English were ultimately compelled either to assert a claim in which their right was, to say the least, suspicious, or to abandon a meritorious supporter to the mercy of the tyrant of Mysore. In this choice of evils, the Governor General made his election in favor of that, which perhaps was, on the whole, the less. He refused to recede from the demand, ordered some guns, which had been sent away, to be brought back to the island and redoubts, and

« 이전계속 »