John William Fortescue.

Military history; lectures delivered at Trinity college, Cambridge online

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at Miani, in a strong position above the bed of a
dry river. There followed one of the greatest and


most marvellous battles ever fought by the British ;
and at the close of three hours the enemy was hope-
lessly routed with a loss of five thousand men.
Again the Baluchis managed to coUect twenty
thousand men ; and Napier, having been reinforced
to a strength of five thousand men, defeated them
in a second action of much the same kind at Dubba ;
after which he with little more trouble completed
the subjection of the Amirs. Scinde was then
annexed ; and Napier as its first Governor showed
himself not less capable as an administrator than as
a general.

By this time trouble had arisen in the dominions
of Scindia owing to the death of the Maharaja
without issue ; and an armed insurrection broke out
against the authority of the Regent accepted by the
British Government. The matter was one which
at ordinary times might have been adjusted by
patience ; but the attitude of the Sikhs, which I
shall describe immediately, was such that there
could be no trifling. The Maratha armies had been
assembled, some thirty thousand strong, including
between them twenty-two thousand men trained
by European officers ; and, with a disputed suc-
cession in train, it was impossible to say what
mischief their leaders might work. Ellenborough
therefore ordered a strong force to enter Scindia' s
dominions in two columns, and the war was ended


in one day — 29th of Dec. 1843 — by the simultaneous
victories of Sir Hugh Gough at Maharajpore, and
of General Grey at Punniar. These were the last of
our battles with the Marathas. They have never
to this day forgiven us for depriving them of the
mastery of India ; and in 1843, in consequence of
our defeats in Afghanistan, they had been stirring
up hostility against us in every court of the East.
The double defeat therefore gave them a salutary

Lord Ellenborough was now recalled ; and
Sir Henry Hardinge, one of Wellington's veterans
and a highly accompUshed soldier, came out as
Governor-General in his stead. The condition of
the Punjab was most critical. Ranjit Singh, the
great leader and ruler of the Sikhs, had died in 1839,
leaving no strong man to succeed him. The suc-
cession was of course disputed ; and a course of
risings, mutinies and assassinations showed that the
great Sikh state was sinking into anarchy. All
power had passed into the hands of committees of
regimental officers, who were in turn partly controlled
by the passions of their men. The nominal ruler
could think of no better resource than to turn the
unruly host across the Sutlej to fight the Enghsh,
for which some recent frontier disputes furnished
sufficient pretext. Lord Hardinge, who had seen
what was coming, was ready for them, and some


twelve thousand men under Sir Hugh Gough ad-
vanced to meet them. Sir Hugh was a very brave
man but a very bad commander, who could not see
a wall without dashing his head against it. In the
first action, Moodkee, he hurried his troops into the
fight with every disadvantage, and though victorious
lost nine hundred men. In the second action three
days later at Ferozeshah, he launched about sixteen
thousand British and Sepoys against fifty thousand
Sikhs in a very strong position, and was practically
beaten at the close of the first day's fighting, though
he recovered himself on the second. In this affair
he threw away twenty-five hundred men ; and on
the night after the first engagement the British
Empire in India rocked for some hours on the verge
of ruin. A month later a far more telHng and
scientific victory was won by Sir Harry Smith with
a detachment of the army at Aliwal ; and then
Gough made a final blundering attack upon the
Sikhs in a strongly entrenched position at Sobraon,
where, though the valour of his troops and the
devotion of his divisional generals won a decisive
victory, it was at a cost once more of nearly twenty-
five hundred men.

Sobraon brought the war for the moment to a
close ; but the government temporarily established
by us in the Punjab was weak and inefficient ; and
early in 1848 a general insurrection brought about

F. M. H. 13


a reassembling of the Sikh army to try conclusions
with the British once more. Lord Dalhousie, the
new Governor-General, at once took up the challenge ;
and Gough again was in command of the army. He
began as usual by knocking his head against a very
strong position of the Sikhs at Ramnuggar, and was
repulsed. He did precisely the same thing a few
weeks later at Chillian walla, once more lost nearly
twenty-five hundred men, and fought at best a
drawn battle. Finally a month later he fought a
third action at Gujerat on the 21st of February, 1849,
showed for once (he or his officers for him) some
tactical skill, and won a great and decisive victory
with comparatively small loss. The Punjab was
then annexed to the British dominions by Dalhousie,
and the frontier thus carried to the foot of the moun-
tains of Afghanistan. But the struggle had been
very severe, for the Sikhs were most valiant men,
very skilful gunners, and masters of the art of
choosing strong positions, whereas Gough was a hot-
headed Irishman, of splendid bravery, but wholly
unfit to command anything larger than a battalion
in action.

But still there was no rest for the British Army.
Doubtless under the speU of our disasters in Afghan-
istan, the Burmese Government had been buUying
and maltreating British merchants at Rangoon in
violation of the treaty of 1826 ; and its only response


to Dalhousie's protests was contemptuous insult
to his envoys. An expedition was therefore des-
patched to Rangoon in 1852, which first and last
numbered some twenty thousand men ; but on
this occasion the campaign was properly thought
out. A few towns only, which commanded the
mouth of the Irrawadi, were captured so as to cut
off all external trade, and within eighteen months
the Court of Ava was obliged to sue for peace.
The fighting was of slight importance, indeed the
sharpest was against dacoits or patriot banditti,
some of whom were very formidable. However,
the Government at Calcutta took care to provide
land-transport, in case an inland advance should be
necessary, elephants in particular being employed
in very large numbers. The province of Pegu
was annexed to the British dominions, and there-
upon followed a brief period of peace, during which
Dalhousie annexed also three Maratha states, in
default of direct heirs, and the Kingdom of Oudh.

It was this period of peace, signifying practically
the pacification of all India, that brought about
the mutiny of the Sepoys of the Bengal Army.
There were various contributory causes, most notably
the steady decay of its discipline, partly through
the employment of the best officers in political
work, and the making of political services the best
channel to advancement, partly owing to the steady



discouragement of the officers in favour of the men
which had marked the mistaken poUcy of Bentinck.
The Sepoys were so continually flattered that they
imagined themselves to have conquered India,
whereas without European battahons an Indian
army is like a spear without a point. They there-
fore broke out into mutiny, and for a time extin-
guished British rule in certain districts. Thereupon
reappeared all the old animosities of past centuries,
Mohammedan and Hindu fighting each other more
fiercely than the English ; while adventurers joy-
fully gathered bands of their own kind around them
for the gay business of free-booting. Great part of
the country settled down to a hearty enjoyment
of anarchy ; and nearly two years were needed
to restore order. Two regiments indeed, the
Central India Horse, were raised on purpose to hunt
down banditti in Central India, and are still always
the first troops to be sent into the field wherever
there is serious police-duty to be done.

In 1858 the East India Company was swept out
of existence, and the Crown took over all its forces
and the entire business of administration in India.
With a frontier conterminous with the highlands
from which warlike tribes have from time immemorial
descended to raid the plains, we have since been
obliged to make endless expeditions to punish the
raiders, all very difficult operations and some of


them very costly. Umbeyla, Bhotan, Beluchistan,
Tirah, Chitral, Tibet are names which recall some of
these campaigns; and in 1878 the exclusion of a
British mission from Afghanistan while a Russian
mission was received at Kabul brought on a second
and serious Afghan War. As in 1838, Kabul was
reached with little difficulty ; and the battle only
began, after peace had been made, with an insurrec-
tion in the capital. There was no such disaster as
in 1841, for we captured Kabul and Kandahar at
once ; yet we were absolutely powerless to subdue
and pacify the whole country. We suffered one
serious reverse ; and our difficulties would have
been endless had there not been at hand a strong
man whom we installed as ruler of the country,
and under whose iron hand the most refractory
tribesmen trembled and were still. Lastly in 1885
the Burmese having again insulted us, an expedition
was sent which made its way without difficulty to
Mandalay. Upper Burma was annexed to the
British dominions, and there followed two weary
years spent in suppressing marauding bands and
free-booters. The operations of these two years
have been called the subalterns' war, for they were
conducted mainly by very small parties under the
leadership of subalterns, who made their way with
indomitable perseverance through the jungle by
native paths, and, being generally at the head of


the column, were lamentably often picked off by
the shot of an unseen enemy.

Altogether the exploits of the British in the
conquest of India form a very remarkable story,
though it is by no means unchequered by follies,
failures and misconduct. We very early learned
that we must never retreat before Orientals, but
must always attack, no matter what the odds against
us ; and by following this rule we have under able
commanders achieved most astonishing feats of
war. In particular is the record of the British regi-
ments remarkable. The East Indian European Arm}^
was enlisted for short service, though it contained
many old soldiers in its ranks ; but the British
soldier of the King's regiments was enlisted for at
least twenty-one years, if not for life, and his prowess
is amazing. You know of course that it is rare for
a battalion of any army to be fit for much, after
suffering severe loss in action, until its ranks
have been refilled. But the British battalions, led
by Lake, Wellesley and Gough, though they rarely
took the field more than six hundred strong, would
lose one hundred and fifty men in a fight on Monday,
two hundred more in another fight on Thursday,
and over one hundred more in a third fight on
Thursday fortnight. Nothing seemed to have power
to stop them, at any rate in India. Time after time
in the assault of hill-fortresses in the south the


Sepoys failed, and a few companies of British were
brought forward to show them how to do the work.
No losses seemed to daunt them. Individual men
served in storming party after storming party, and
would not wait to be healed of wounds received in
a first assault before they volunteered to risk almost
certain death in a second.

Still, as I have said, there are records of many
failures and we are too fond of passing over our
weak points and dwelling on the strong. In the
case of the Mutiny we recall with pride the deeds of
Nicholson and Havelock, and are never weary of
the old stories of the siege of Delhi and the relief
of Lucknow. All honour to those who quitted
themselves like men ; but I am afraid there are
many episodes of the Mutiny which are little credit-
able to the British, whether civilians or soldiers. A
great many individuals were found unequal to the
occasion ; and this is true of every war and probably
of the majority of actions. There was certainly
one instance of misbehaviour at Trafalgar, one ship
did not respond to Nelson's famous signal ; and
Colling wood spoke his mind about it at the time,
though few people know it. We must therefore
never be satisfied with the fame of our fore-runners,
and suppose that it suffices for us. Let us by all
means be kindled by their example to the utmost
fulfilment of our duty ; but let us know also when

200 MILITARY HISTORY [lect. iv

and where and why they failed. Let us study
their defeats as weU as their victories ; let us ask
ourselves whether some of the failings which brought
about those defeats may not still be present among
us. If we can truly and conscientiously say that
they are not, then we may — but always with
caution — presume to criticise and even to censure ;
always remembering that it is not enough for us
to emulate the deeds of our ancestors. If we are
not to fall below them, we must endeavour to
surpass them, for there is no such thing as a
stationary Empire.


Abercromby, Sir Ralph, in the

W. Indies, 126-7
Acre, mentioned, 43
Adams, Major Thos., in India, 164
Addington, Henry, mentioned,

86-8, 127
Afghanistan, mentioned, 163 ;

campaigns in, 187-90, 197
Africa, South, early wars in, 131-

5 ; Zulus in, 41 ; last war, 27,

45, 98, 112
Africa, West, fighting in, 143-4
Agra, capture of, 175
Aix-la-Chapelle, Peace of, 76, 155
Akbar, the Emperor, 152
Albemarle, Lord, in the W Indies,

Albuera, battle of, 39
Alexander the Great, mentioned,

Aligarh, capture of, 175
Aliwal, battle of, 193
Allahabad, capture of, 164
Alsace, mentioned, 43
America, War of Independence,

28, 80-2, 110-12, 135: the

British in N., 55, 59, 76, 80,

102-5 ; character of settlers,

104-5, 107, 109-12; war of

1812, 113 ; and see under

Amherst, Gen. Jeffery, in Canada,


Amherst, Lord, in India, 183^

Amir Khan, mentioned, 179

Anne, Queen, mentioned, 109

AracaUj capture of, 184

Arcot, 156

Argaum, battle of, 175

Army, the British, foreign nomen-
clature in, 52 ; reductions in,
58. 61-2, 72, 96, 134 ; under
Ch. II, 56-7 ; under Will.^III,
59-63 ; under Anne, 65 ; under
Geo. I, 72 ; under Geo. II, 74-
9 ; under Geo. Ill, 80. 82-3 ; in
the 19tli cent., 97-8 ; confused
organisation of, 61 ; ill-treat-
ment of, 73, 83 ; introduction
of short service, 134-5 ; wea-
pons of, 48-50, 60; apprecia-
tion of officers, 144-9 ; early
organisation of, 47-9, 54 ; the
New Model, 54

Assam, capture of, 184

Assay e, battle of, 175

Assiento, Treaty, 117

Auckland, Lord, in India, 187

Aurungzib, the Emperor, 153-4

Austrian Succession, War of, 74,
106, 155

Ava, British at, 183-4

Badajoz, capture of, 25
Bahama Is., 80



Barbados, 116, 124

Barlow, Sir George, in India. 176

Barrington, General, in W. Indies,

Bentinck, Lord Wm., in India,

Bermuda, 80, 130
Bhurtpore, assaults on, 175, 185
Birkenhead, the, mentioned, 36,

Bismarck, 43
Blenheim, battle of, 68
Blues, Regt. of, their origin, 56
Bombay, mentioned, 56, 153,

166, 168
Bonsla, mentioned, 181
Braddock, General, inN. America,

Burgoyne, General, in N. Ameri-
ca, 110-11
Burke, Edmund, 80
Burma, campaigns in, 182-5,

194-5, 197 ; annexed, 197
Bussy, de, in India, 161
Buxar, battle of, 164

Caesar, Julius, 40

Calais, 47

Calcutta, 154, 160

Canada, French in, 102 ; fighting
in, 104-5, 109 ; American in-
vasion of, 110, 113, 137 ; and
see America

Capetown, capture of, 131

Caribs, the, fighting with, 117-8

Carnot, mentioned, 40

Carthagena, expedition to, 121-2

Castlereagh, Lord, at the War
Office, 88

Chaka, king of Zulus, 41

Chandernagore, 154

Charles 11^ mentioned, 56, 117

Charles of Bourbon, 24

Charles Ed, Stuart, in Scotland,

Chillian walla, action at, 194

Chitu, 182

Clive, Robert, in India, 156 159,

Coldstream Guards, origin of, 56

Colonies, character of campaigns
in, 99-102

Commerce, in war, 1-3 ; its
cruelty, 16-18

Conde, Prince of, 65

Continental System, the, 2

Coomassie, British at, 143

Coote, Sir Eyre, in India, 159,
162, 167-8

Cornwallis, Lord, in India. 169-
172, 176

Cotton, Sir Stapleton. in India,

Crimea, war of, 97

Cromwell, O., mentioned, 3, 22,
58 ; reforms of, 53-4 ; expedi-
tion to the W. Indies, 119-20

Cuba, mentioned, 115-6, 123, 130

Cuddalore, action at, 168

Culloden, battle of, 75

Dalhousie, Lord, in India, 194-5
Danube R., campaign on, 67
David, king of Israel. 44
Deig, battle of, 175
Delhi, mentioned, 43, 151-2, 171,

175, 199
Dettingen, battle of, 74
Dost Mohammed, 187-8
Dubba, action at, 191
Dupleix, Joseph, in India, 155-7

East India Co., its troops, 57, 83,
154, 178, 186, 198 ; mentioned,
153, 171, 176. 196



Edward III, 48

Egypt, mentioned, 51, 86

Elizabeth, Queen, mentioned, 47,

Ellenborough, Lord, in India,

England, military backwardness,

48 ; growth of empire, 55-6,

58, 77 ; position in 1660, 55 ;

projected invasion of, 86

Ferdinand of Brunswick, 77
Ferozeshah, battle of, 193
Flanders, wars in, 60, 63, 65, 75 ;

and see Netherlands
Fontenoy, battle of, 74
Forde, Col., 162
France, the Revolutionary War.
23-4, 27, 38, 41-2, 83-4 ; her
colonies, 56, 58, 76-7, 102-4,
107, 123-4, 128; French in
India, 154-62 ; our connection
with, 47, 55 ; as ally of Ameri-
ca, 112-3 ; aids the Stuarts, 75
Franklin, Benjamin, 109
Frederick the Great, mentioned,

41-2, 77
Frederick, Duke of York, 85

Gawilghur, capture of, 175

Geete R., 68

George I, 72

Germany, mercenaries in British

pay, 75-7, 81-2 ; mentioned,

25, 32, 74, 77
Ghurkha war, 180
Ghazni, 188-9
Gibraltar, mentioned, 65, 72-3,

Gideon, his tactics, 44-5
Gillespie, Col. RoUo, in India,

177, 180
Goliath, 44

Goree, 82

Gough, Sir Hugh, in India 192-4,

Grenada, 126
Grey, General W., in the W.

Indies, 125-6 ; General H., in

India, 192
Guadeloupe, mentioned, 123, 126.

Guiana, Dutch, capture of, 127
Gujerat, action at, 194
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden,

his military reforms, 53

Haiti, mentioned. 120, 124, 126
Halifax, British at, 107
Hannibal, 38
Hardinge, Sir Henry, in India,

Harris, General, in India, 173
Hastings, Warren, in India. 161,

Hastings, Marquis of, in India,

Havana; siege of, 123 ; men-
tioned, 77
Henry V, mentioned, 48, 54
History. Military, definition of,

1-14, 45 ; use of, 19-22, 29,

39, 43
Holkar, mentioned, 174-5, 181
Holland, soldiers of, 52, 60 ;

commerce of, 18, 55 ; wars in,

64, 67, 84, 86; colonies of,

102-3, 162
Howe, General, 111
Hyder Ali. mentioned, 164-5,


India, mentioned, 43, 57, 77 ;
military history of, 150-200 ;
adventurers in, 154, 171, 179,
196 ; campaigning in, 157-8 ;



the presidencies, 160 ; ad-
ministrative reforms in, 165,
169, 176, 196 ; the Mutiny,
195-6, 199

Indies, the West, British in, 55,
72, 77, 80, 84-5 ; character
of country, 114-6, 118; ruin
of, 128-9 ; Cromwell's expedi-
tion to, 119-20 ; later expedi-
tions, 120-2, 124-8; the
French in, 116, 123, 128

Inkermann, 51

Ireland, mentioned. 54, 59. 61,
64-5, 72

Italy, the French in, 86

Jamaica, mentioned, 115-6 ; cap-
ture of, 120
James II, mentioned, 57-59,

Japan, mentioned, 28, 52
Jelalabad, mentioned, 189
Jesuits, the, as colonists, 35, 103

Kabul, British at, 188-9, 197
Kaffir wars, 133-4
Kandahar, British at, 188-9, 197
Karachi, 190

Katharine of Bragan9a, men-
tioned, 56, 154
Katwa, battle of, 164
Kirkee, battle of, 181
Korigaon, battle of, 182

La Bassee, 68

Lake, General Gerard, in India,

174r-5, 185, 198
LaUy Tollendal, count, in India,

Laswari, battle of, 175
Latimer, Hugh, 48
Lawrence, Major Stringer, in

India, 155-6, 162

Lee, Robert, 4

Lisbon, Wellesley at, 90-1

Lorraine, mentioned, 43

Louis XIV, mentioned, 63-5, 71.

Louisburg, French at, 106-7 ;

capture of, 109, 155
Lucknow, 164, 199
Luther, Martin, 40
Luxemburg, Francis Henry,

Duke of, 65
Lycurgus, 41

Madras, French at, 155 ; mutiny
in, 176-8 ; bad administration^
164-5, 167-8 ; mentioned.
107, 130, 153

Maharajpore, battle of, 192

Mahidpur, battle of, 181

Mandalay, British at, 197

Manila, 77

Maoris, the, wars with, 101, 138-43

Marathas, the, their origin, 153 ;
their growth, 163, 171 ; British
wars with, 166, 174-5, 181,
191-2 ; mentioned, 195

Marengo, battle of, 86

Maria Theresa, the Empress, 74

MarlboTough, John, Duke of,
appreciation of, 65-71 ; men-
tioned, 94-5

Martinique, mentioned. 116, 123-
5, 128

Miani, battle of, 190-1

Militia, the, Pitt's Bill, 78 ; as
recruiting-ground, 85, 88 ;
under Addington, 87 ; the
Local, 89 ; mentioned, 72, 83.
85, 89

Minden, battle of, 77

Minorca, mentioned, 72, 76, 80-2

Minto, Gilbert, 1st Earl of, in
India, 178-81



Mir Jaffier, 160-1
Mogul Empire, 152-4
Moltke, General, 43
Monk. George, 56, 100
Monmouth James, Duke of, 57
Monson, Colonel, in India, 175
Montecuculi. Raimondo, Conte

de, 65
Moodkee. battle of, 193
Mornington, Lord, see under

Wellesley, Marquis of
Moses, mentioned, 40
Munro, Major Hector, in India,

164, 167
Mutiny Act, 60
Mysore, fighting in, 165, 167,

169, 173

Napier, Sir Charles, in Scinde,

Napoleon mentioned. 1, 12, 24,

41-2, 86, 89, 94, 187
Navy, the British, mutiny in,

85; inwarof 1812, 113-4
Nepal, fighting in, 180-1
Netherlands, the Austrian, fight-
ing in, 66, 74
Newfoundland, 72-3
New York, settlers of, 104-5 ;

mentioned, 57, 102-3, 110
New Zealand, war in, 137-43
Nizam, the, mentioned, 165, 167,

Nova Scotia, mentioned, 72-3,


Oohterlony, Sir David, in India,

180-1, 185
Omdurman, battle of, 22
Oudenarde, battle of, 68
Oudh, annexation of, 195

Panipat, battle of, 163

Pegu, annexation of, 195
Peninsular War, the, mentioned,

42 ; summary of, 89-95
Peimsylvania, Quakers in, 11-12
Persia, 187
Peshwa, 181-2
Philadelphia, capture of, 111
Pindaris, the, fighting with, 179-

Pitt, Earl of Chatham, William,

war policy, 76-80 ; mentioned,

108, 122
Pitt, William, military policy,

83-8 ; W. Indian policy,

Plassey, battle of, 160
Police, the, connection with

Army, 9, 54, 56, 72
Pompadour, Mme de, 4
Pondicherry, French at, 154-5,

Porto Novo, battle of, 167
Porto Rico, mentioned, 115-6,

Portugal, British in, 90-1 ; men-
tioned, 42
Prome, capture of, 184
Punjab, the, annexation of, 194
Punniar, battle of, 192

Quebec, mentioned, 102, 105, 109

Ramillies, battle of, 68
Ramnuggar, action at, 194
Rangoon, British at, 183, 195
Ranjit Singh, mentioned, 182,

Reunion, Is. of, 36
Roberts, F.M., Earl, mentioned,

Rohilla War, 166
Rome, sack of, 24—5
Russia, mentioned, 28, 51-2, 187



St Domingo, mentioned, 115-6 ;

expedition to, 119-20
StKitts, 57
St Lawrence R., French colonies

on, 102-3 ; expedition to, 106
St Lucia, mentioned, 82, 123,

St Thomas, 115

St Vincent, fighting in, 117, 126
St Vincent, John Jervis, Earl,

in the W. Indies, 125
Saratoga, defeat at, 112
Saul, King of Israel, 25
Schellenberg, battle of the, 68
Scinde, operations in, 188, 190-1
Scindia, mentioned, 171. 174-5,

Scotland, rebellion in, 72, 74-6
Senegal, 82
Seringapatam, sieges of, 26, 169-

71, 173
Shah Shuja, 187-8
Shakespeare, William, 52
Shelley, P. B., mentioned, 33
Shore, Sir John, in India, 172
Sikhs, the, their growth, 171,

182, 188 ; war with, 191-4
Simonstown, 131
Siraj-ud-Daula, 160
Sitabaldi, battle of, 181
Sivaji Bonsla, mentioned; 153-4
Smith, Sir Harrv, in S. Africa,

133 ; in India^ 193
Smith, Col. Joseph, in India,

Smollett, Tobias, 122
Sobraon, battle of, 193
Spain, her wars, 8, 23, 25, 52, 82 ;

colonies, 116, 120 ; mentioned,

63, 73, 89, 102
Spanish Succession, War of the,

Sparta, 41

Stirling, mentioned, 43, 75
Strategy, definition of, 42-3
Stuart, General James, 168
Suffren, Admiral, 168
Suti, battle of, 164
Swiss, the, as soldiers, 50

Tactics, definition of, 43-4 ;

changes in, 47-50, 60
Talents, Ministry of All the,

Tangier, mentioned, 56-7; 65
Tennasserim, capture of, 184
Tippoo Sahib, mentioned, 168-

Tobago, mentioned, 82, 127
Tournay, fighting at, 68

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