Mountstuart Elphinstone.

Selections from the minutes and other official writings of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, governor of Bombay. With an introductory memoir online

. (page 17 of 41)
Online LibraryMountstuart ElphinstoneSelections from the minutes and other official writings of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, governor of Bombay. With an introductory memoir → online text (page 17 of 41)
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acquired consequence by his Higlmess's countenance ;
that generally speaking he was detested throughout his
Highness's dominions, and that it was idle to talk of
anyone assuming so popular a name as the means of
raising an insurrection.

Mr. Elphinstone, in conclusion, conjured his High-
ness, as he valued the friendship of the British Govern-
ment and the welfare of his own state, to think
seriously of what had been said, and to be prepared
with such a resolution as might avert a rupture.

The Peshwa replied by the most cordial professions
of his devotion to the British Government, and said
that so seriously did he reflect on the present state of
affairs, that he loathed his meals, and could not sleep
from extreme anxiety. The Bhaii asked how the
answer to Mr. Elphinstone's demands was to be trans-
mitted. Mr. Elphinstone replied that it did not signify.
If it was in acquiescence a common jasuds might
bring it ; and if not, no messenger could effect a change.
While the preparations for the ceremony of taking leave
were making, his Highness paid numerous personal
compliments in his manner to Mr. Elphinstone, making
tlic warmest prof(>ssions towards him, and declaring that
lie knew him to be liisbcst and most valuable friend, and
looked to him alone for advice in these times of difficulty.

(Signed) M. ELrniNSTONE.



DESPATCHES OF HON. M. EL PH IN STONE. 229

Notes addressed to his Highness the Peshwa,
DATED 7 Til May.

' I need not repeat what has so often been said on the
subject of the pretended insurrection so long connived
at by his Highness, or of the preparations
made by his Highness, apparently to support st.me-s'xoteto
that rebellion. The proceedings amounted to
a commencement of war on the part of the Peshwa,
but I proposed a truce on certain terms, all of which
had been broken by his Highness ; I proposed to his
Highness upwards of a mouth ago to discontinue his
hostile proceedings and wait the answer of the Governor-
General to my report of his Highness's transactions. At
that time his Highness agreed to forbear from any
further preparations, and even promised of his own
accord to reduce those which had ])een already made.
His Highness, however, not only failed in the last
promise, but systematically departed from other articles
of my demand. He continued to recruit his troops,
and to prepare his forts, until it became necessary to
fulfil the declaration contained in my first note, by
similar proceedings on the part of the British Govern-
ment ; since which his Highness has continued his secret
preparations, the insurgents have taken the fort of Prasit
Gar, and his Highness has formall}^ announced to
me his intention of strengthening the garrisons of all
his forts, and in particular of sending ordnance to the
fort of Wassota, which it is well known has been
diligently provided for a siege for many months. Thus
it appears that his Highness, instead of waiting the
answer of the Governor-General, has carried on all his
operations without the least restraint, so that every day
improves his situation, while it renders worse that of the
British Government, by bringing nearer the setting-iu



230 DESPATCHES OF HON. M. ELPHINSTONE.

of the rainy season. These considerations render it
impossible for me, consistently with prudence, to wait
anj longer ; and in order to prevent the necessity of a
rupture, I must insist on the immediate surrender of
Trimbakji Dengle within the period of one month.
A month is allowed to give time to send orders for
seizing Trimbakji and bring him to Puna, but it is
impossible for me to allow the season to pass away
without some solid proof of the Peshwa's sincerity.
I must therefore insist on being put in possession of
three of his Highness's principal forts as security for his
fulfilling the agreement. These forts are Sinhagar,
Purandhar, and Piayagar ; of which I expect Sinhagar to
be delivered up in the course of to-morrow, Purandhar in
the course of the next daj^ and the other fort imme-
diately on the arrival of the troops before it. If any
delay whatever takes place in making over these forts,
hostilities shall commence without delay. In the event
of his Highness making over the forts in question, he
shall be at liberty to put his seal on any treasure or
valuables that may be deposited in them, and the whole
shall be restored to him in the same state in which it is
given over, without hesitation or demur, immediately on
the fulfilment of the preliminary article above mentioned.
This done, we shall proceed to negotiate respecting the
satisfaction to be afforded to the Governor-Cicneral for
the Peshwa's recent breach of treaty, as well as the
security to be given for his future good conduct. It
was my wish to have waited for the Governor-denerars
instructions, and to have made his Highness acquainted
with the full extent of his Excellency's demands at
first; but as his Highness would not suspend his pro-
ceedings, it was impossible for me to suspend mine.

'I must request that his Highness will give me a
definite answer to tlic demand made in this paper before



DESPATCHES OE HON. M. ELPH IN STONE. 231

diiyliglit to-morrow morning, until wliicli time no
measures of hostility will be adopted by me, unless,
indeed, any hostile intentions are displayed by his High-
ness, or his Highness should attempt to quih the city.
'(Signed) M. Elphinstone,

' Eesident.'

Note sent to the Minister on the Morning of May
8th, enclosing the Note of May 7th.

' I have now the honour to forward the paper I
yesterday alluded to. It was drawn up on the day
before yesterday, but nothing has happened to
require any alteration in it. I again beg the stone -.sNotrto
Pesliwa to consider and to prevent the
necessity of a rupture, which, if it once takes place,
will be difficult to accommodate ; the present demands
are, with the exception of the security now required,
the same as those agreed to by the Peshwa on
the last discussions to surrender Trimbakji, and to
acquiesce in the Governor-General's further demands.
I cannot promise that those demands shall now be as
lenient as before, but I will undertake that they shall not
affect his Higlmess's continuance to enjoy theMusnud.
'(Signed) M. Elphinstone,

' Piesident at Puna.'

Note op a Conversation between Mr. Elphinstone,
Prabhakar Pandit, and Bapu Konrikar, on the
Night of the 7th May, 1817.

' Prabhakar Pandit came at night and said that
Bapu Konrikar was with him; but on Mr. Elpliin-
stone's proposing to call that person in, he Mr. Eiphm-
said he wished first to discuss the subject ^^convekition.
he was sent on himself. He then begged four



232 DESPATCHES OF HON. M. ELPHIN STONE.

clays' delay on the Peshwa's part, saying that he
would give up the forts at the end of that time,
but that he required the interval to consult his own
people. Mr. Elphinstone said there was no need of
consideration on a subject that had so often been
discussed ; that he could not accuse himself of omitting
to warn the Peshwa, step by step, of the consequences
of his conduct; that he only asked the Peshwa to
give security for performing Avhat he had often promised ;
and that if his Highness meant to comply he could do
it then as well as four daj^s hence, whereas if he meant
not to do so, the gain of time was an object. Prabhakar
Pandit continued to urge his request, and saying that
four days were nothing in addition to so many days that
were past, Mr. Elphinstone said that he had made up
his mind after full deliberation, and that no reason had
been brought forward why he should alter it ; he added
that he was unwilling to speak ill of the Peshwa at all
times, and especially on an occasion that might be the
last on which he would communicate with his Highness,
but he could not but remind Prabhakar Ballal of the
repeated promises made by the Peshwa, through him,
and of the uniform breach of every one of them by his
Highness. After so manj^ disappointments Mr. Elphin-
stone said he could not trust to his Highness's promises
again. There were several pauses in the conversation,
after one of them Mr. Elphinstone said that he heard
the Peshwa was on the point of flying ; that his doing
so would bring on hostility, even before the appointed
hour ; that Mr. Elphinstone could not but be reluctant
to destroy an alliance of so many years' standing, but
still it was his dutj^ to refuse the delay solicited.

' Towards the end of the conversation Prabhakar
Pandit altered his language, which had from the first been
ambiguous. He formerly let it be understood that the



DESPATCHES OF HON. M. ELPHINSTONE. 233

forts would be given up at the end of four days, and
now said that an answer should be returned after that
period.

Bapu Konrikar was afterwards called, and the same
observations were repeated to him that had been
made to Prabhakar Ballal ; in addition to what passed
before, one of the Brahmins said that the Peshwa
requested this delay of Mr. Elphinstone as a mark of
his private friendship. Mr. Elphinstone said he was at
a loss what to answer to such a request, as the thing-
was impossible. When the party had risen to break
up Bapu Konrikar repeated several of the arguments
for delay, and Mr. Elphinstone repeated his answer,
and took a solemn leave of them, saying the time for
negotiation was now fast expiring, and that he trusted his
Highness would yet consider and preserve the alliance.
' (Signed) M. Elphinstone,

' Kesident.'

' To the Most Noble the Marquis of Hastings, K.G.,
etc., etc., etc.

' My Lord,

' I have not addressed your Excellency since
the 9tli instant, because I had no change to report in
the Peshwa's conduct or measures. I am
happy to have it in my power at length to fiomjir.
state that he appears to be smcerely desn-ous
to apprehend Trimbakji, and to recover the favour of
the British Government. Up to the middle of the
month his Highness continued to use everj^ exertion to
put things in train for a flight from Puna. He issued
three months' pay to the troops in his service, and con-
tinued to add to their numbers. His forces out of
Puna continued to assemble near Satara, in conse-



234 DESPATCHES OF HON. M. ELPHINSTONE.

queuce of the orders they had formerly received. His
principal adherents sent their families away from Puna,
and their example was followed by most people in the
town whose circumstances admitted of it. His High-
ness also brouo-ht about an entire reconciliation with his
brother, vvitli whom he is said to have interchanged the
most solemn oaths. His Highness's plan at that time
was thought to be to retire with his brother to Satara,
and after arranging for the security of the Eajah, to
proceed with the force under Naro Pant Apte (10,000
horse and foot) either to Wassota or Dharwar. On the
night of the 13th it was the universal belief that his
Highness was on the point of quitting Poona, in company
with Gokhle : all his horse was ready, and by every
account I have received he was nearer setting out
than at any other period, excepting, perhaps, the night
of the 8th. He was, however, prevailed on to stay,
and although he has shown several signs of adhering to
his former sj^stem, since then I think he has been
becoming gradually less inclined to any desperate
course. One proof of the continuance of his indiscreet
conduct was his issuing four or six lacs of rupees to his
principal Sardars for their troops, so late as the 17th
instant.

' During all this time the Peshwa sent frequent
messages to me through Sadashiv Mankeshwar, re-
quiring a prolongation of the period assigned for the
apprehension of Trimbakji, and requesting my consent
to his going away from Puna, on account of an
eclipse ; he first mentioned Nasik as the place he was
going to, and afterwards Phulsheher. His Highness
also attemi)ted, through the same channel, to draw from
me a disclosure of tlie terms which were to be imposed
on him if Triml)akji were seized. I declined com-
plying with any of these applications, observing that



DESPATCHES OF J ION. M. ELTIl IN STONE. 235

his Higlmess's beginning- by soliciting a prolonga-
tion of the truce before he had made any exertions to
fulfil your Excellency's demands, looked as if he
anticipated and intended a failure ; that his (putting
Puna at such a time was altogether un advisable, and
that my orders were on no account to negotiate until
Trimbakji was given up. At these interviews with
the Peshwa's Ministers I took constant occasion to
impress on his Highness the value of the time he was
allowing to elapse, and the impossibility of his persuad-
ing the British Government to accept of his exertions
as satisfactory if they happened to be successful, when
his own procrastination had so obviously contributed to
their ill success. I likewise took pains during this
period to guard against mistakes and misrepresentations
by reminding the Ministers of the serious demands that
were jet to come, even if Trimbakji were surrendered,
and by making as public as I could the real footing on
which things stood between the British Government
and the Pesliwa.

'I had the honour on the lOtli instant to receive
your Lordship's instructions, conveyed in Mr. Adams's
despatch of the 7th April, but considering the state of
agitation in which the Pesliwa then was, I thought
the immediate communication of your Excellency's
sentiments might have too violent an effect on him.
On the 4th, when Colonel Smith had returned to
his old ground north of the town, and when the
Peshwa's mind had become more tranquil, I presented
a note, of which the enclosed is a translation, and
accompanied it by repeated and earnest recommendations
to his Highness to delay no longer the adoption of
measures which were necessary for the preservation
of his Government. After this the Peshwa's personal
alarm appears to have been removed ; but he began to



236 DESPATCHES OF HON. M. ELPHINSTONE.

see more distinctly than ever the dangers with which
his state was surrounded. He began to express great
anxiety about the conduct of the British Govern-
ment at the expiration of the month and respect-
ing the terms to be imposed if Trimbakji were
surrendered. He wavered for some days between the
different courses that were before him, sometimes con-
sulting Sadashiv Mankeshwar, and sometimes his rival
Moro Dixit, on the best means of obtaining good terms
from the British Government, but oftener concert-
ing with his old advisers the measures to be adopted in
case of hostilities.

' At length, about the 20tli instant, he appears to have
determined on yielding to the counsels of Moro
Dixit. He then issued proclamations offering a reward
of two lacs of rupees and a village worth 1,000 rupees
a year to anyone who would bring in Trimbakji, dead
or alive, promising rewards for ever}^ information
regarding him, and for the apprehension of his ad-
herents, and granting a pardon to all his followers who
should desert him, except twelve ringleaders, against
whom, as well as those who should refuse to come in
on this proclamation, the severest penalties were
announced. Many hundred copies of this proclamation
have been issued bj^ his Highness, one hundred were
sent to me, and have been distributed through our
numerous detachments, and sent to all our news-writers
and other agents, as well as to the Government of
Bombay and Madras, and to all the Bcsidencies.

'Besides issuing this proclamation, his Highness threw
all Trimbakji's adherents who were confined in Puna
into chains, and sent them to different hill-forts. He
also sent orders to seize the families and destroy the
houses of tlie twelve excepted from tlio amnesty, and
apprehended some others, of whose offences I am not



DESPATCHES OF HON. M. ELPHINSTONE. 237

informed, and gave the most public indications of a
desire to proceed with vigour against Trimbakji. His
Highness had before gone through the ceremony of
issuing orders to his officers to seize Trimbakji, and
had desired Sadashiv Mankeshwar to employ a number
of Harkiiras in searching for him ; but those steps
made no impression upon anyone, especially as the
undertaking was committed to the Bhau, whom his
Highness is known to regard with distrust and dislike.
His present activit}^ is a contrast to his former in-
difference. He personally takes a great share in all the
proceedings of his Ministers ; and although he suffers
the punishment of his habitual insincerity, in the distrust
with which all his professions are received, yet most
people are now convinced that he is sincerely desirous
of recovering the ground he has lost, and of purchasing
the security of his own person and Government by the
sacrifice of the favourite for whom he has exposed
himself to so many risks.

' It is not certainly known where Trimbakji is at
present, but it is thought he is in the hills to the south
of the river Perana. He was reported to be expected at
Alandi on the 12th, with strong circumstance of pro-
bability. I sent a detachment of cavalry and infantry to
apprehend him, which failed from various causes. On the
next night Colonel Fitzsimon, who commands the reserve
at Koregaum, received similar intelligence, and sent a
strong detachment to Alandi ; this also failed, and
though there are some strong circumstances in favour
of Trimbakji's having narrowly escaped both times, it
is still doubtful whether he ever was at Alandi.

'The insurgents in Khandcsh are reported to have
assembled near Durab, to the estimated number of
8,000. Colonel Dovetou has detached Colonel Walker
with a light force against this body. Colonel Doveton



2 38 DESPATCHES OF HON. M. ELPHINSTONE.

himself remains at Borenair "with the main body of the
Hyderabad subsidiary force.

'Colonel Thompson's detachment is nownear Pandhar-
pm* ; its presence has effectually checked all attempts at
insurrection in that part of the country, which Colonel
Smith justlj' considered as the most disposed to rise.
Colonel Milne's detachment is at Ahmednagar. The
Vinchur Jahagirdar has again had an action with a
party of insurgents near Sangamner, and has killed
several. The Patwardhans, except Chintaman Rav,
remain at Lassore, where they were posted by Colonel
Smith. Chintaman Rav is at Puna; 1,000 of his
horse have joined Naro Pant Apte. Appa Desai has
taken no part in these disturbances.

' The Piani of Sawant Wari has succeeded in recon-
ciling her chiefs, and has shown every intention of
carrying into effect the plan alluded to in the letter
intercepted by Mr. Hall ; but it is to be hoped the
change in his Highness the Peshwa's conduct will have
{I great effect on hers.

' Ballaji Koonjar died at Pandharpur on the 17th
instant.

' I have, etc.,

' (Signed) M. Elphinstone,

' Ilesident at Puna.'



Translation of a Memorandum sent to his Highness
THE Peshwa, on the 14th May, 1817.

' I formerly explained to your Highness that the

dawk from Calcutta was stopped, and that therefore a

delay had arisen in the receipt of tlio Governor-

General s answer to my letters ; but i was

already aware that no discussions would take place

with your Highness's Government until the surrender



DESPATCHES OF HON. M. ELPHINSTONE. 239

of Trimbakji Dengle. I have since received liis
Excellency's instructions, and shall communicate all
that I am authorized to do to your Highness. His
Lordship observes : "I have been made fully acquainted
with the late proceedings of his Highness the Pesliwa,
and I am satisfied that his Highness has entered into a
plot to injure the interests of the British Government,
and that he is still engaged in it.

* " It became necessary for the British Government to
insist on the punishment of Trimbakji for the crime
he had committed. But, in consideration of the sur-
render of that person, it is hardly necessary to remind
his Highness of the great moderation and forbearance
evinced by me, both towards that person, and also in
my communications wdth his Highness's Government.

' " At the very moment when his Highness was in the
full enjoyment of the confidence and protection of the
British Government, and was in the habit of expressing
his cordial reliance on and friendship for that Govern-
ment ; at a time, too, wdien no unpleasant discussions
had arisen on my part at his Court, and his Highness
had not the slightest cause for apprehension or alarm вАФ
at such a time his Highness entered into a plot to
injure the interests of the British Government, which
has lost him the confidence of that state, and it there-
fore becomes necessary to adopt measures for the
securit}' of the British interests and those of their
allies." No negotiation, however, can be opened on
this subject till the delivery of Trimbakji. Therefore,
if Trimbakji is not surrendered within the date of one
month from the time he was demanded, war will be
declared with his Highness's Government, and the
British troops will be directed to attack his Highness's
forces in all quarters, and to reduce his territories.
Such are the commands of his Lordship. After the



240 DESPATCHES OF HON. M. ELPHINSTONE.

delivery of Trimhakji to au English detachment, I
shall be prepared to communicate his Lordship's
demands, which if not complied with, will prevent the
continuation of peace. In the meantime, if his Highness
should quit Puna during the present discussion, or if
his Highness 's troops should move from their present
position, it will be considered as a declaration of war,
and the British troops will immediately act. I have
been directed by his Lordship to communicate this for
your Highness's consideration, and I have therefore
written the above memorandum.'

' To Sir Evan Nepean, etc., etc., etc.

' Camp at Kirkee,

' 6fh November, 1817.'

' Sir,

' The increase of the Peshwa's preparations

having led me to call in the light battalion, and the

reports from Puna having induced General

from Mr. Suiitli to conccntrato his force at Pultamba,

Kllihinstoiic.

the Peshwa resolved to take the opportunity
of attacking us before our reinforcements arrived.
Accordingly, he sent me a message, requiring me to
send away the European regiment and to make various
other arrangements, as the price of his friendship. On
my refusing, he withdrew to a hill on the south of the
town, and sent out his troops against our force. The
party from the Piesidency was Avithdrawn into camp,
and the lino moved out to meet the enemy at four
yesterday afternoon. Their very numerous cavalry did
little or no mischief; they had not many guns, and their
infantry were not engaged. After a fcc;ble stand they
drew off their guns, and, it being now dark, our line
returned to camp. The Peshwa is still at the hill of
Parbatti, and the Gokhle, with his Highness's troops.



DESPATCHES OF HON, M. ELPHINSTONE. 241

is ill the rear of their yesterday's ground, where they
will perhaps stand an action. Their loss is consider-
able in the affair of yesterday ; ours I thought yesterday
not above 30 killed and wounded, but I am afraid it
will prove 100. The light battalion, and 1,000 auxihary
horse, joined us this morning. I beg you will excuse
this scrawl, but all my writing implements, with every-
thing I have, except the clothes on my back, form part
of the blaze of the Residency, which is now smoking
in sight.

' I am, etc.,

' (Signed) M. Elphinstone.'

' To his Excellency the Marquis of Hastings, etc., etc.

' My Lord,

' The pressure of business for these several
days, and the uncertainty of the result, have prevented
my hitherto reporting to your Excellency ;

11 ' L L e Letter

but as we are now m a state 01 open war from Mr.
with the Peshwa, it is necessary to acquaint
you with the manner in which the rupture was brought
on, leaving all details for a subsequent despatch.

' The great military preparations of his Highness the
Peshwa, his distinct refusal to send any part of the
force he had collected away from Puna, the threatening
position he had occupied in the neighbourhood of our
camp, and above all, his unremitting endeavours to
corrupt the fidelity of our native troops, rendered it
absolutely necessary, in my judgment, to remove the
brigade from the very bad position it occupied at the
town, to that selected for it by General Smith.

' This circumstance, and that of our cantonment being
on the alert on the 29tli ultimo, the night before the
arrival of the European regiment, removed the appear-

IG



242 DESPATCHES OF HON. M. ELPHINSTONE.

ance of confidence which had been hi some measure
kept np bet^Yeen us and the Peshwa. This appearance
had afforded no advantage, except that of protracting



Online LibraryMountstuart ElphinstoneSelections from the minutes and other official writings of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, governor of Bombay. With an introductory memoir → online text (page 17 of 41)