Vincent Arthur Smith.

The Oxford student's history of India online

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had planned to bridle the power of Mysore, and found that he
had utterly destroyed it. The sultan's territory was divided.
The Company took Kanara, the entire sea-coast, and other
districts which gave them an uninterrupted dominion from sea
to sea. The Nizam received a considerable amount of lands
to the north, while the Marathas were offered, on conditions
which they declined, certain smaller areas adjoining their
territories. On their refusal, those lands were divided between
the Nizam and the British. 1 The rest of the kingdom was
assigned to a youthful representative of the old dynasty of
Hindu Rajas, dispossessed by Haidar Ali. The new State
thus constituted was placed under the control of a Resident.
The young chief, Krishna Raja Wodeyar, did well at first, but
lapsed into evil ways, and in 1831 the Government of India
was obliged to deprive him of all authority, and to confide the
administration directly to British officers.

Rendition of Mysore, 1881. That arrangement, with various
changes of form, lasted until 1881, when Lord Ripon felt
justified in again making over the State to a native govern-
ment. This event, known as the Rendition of Mysore, took
place on the 25th of March, 1881, when Maharaja Cham a
Rajendra Wodeyar, adopted son of Krishna Raja, was installed
with befitting ceremony, and the disinterested good faith of
the British Government was triumphantly vindicated. The

1 The territories acquired by the Nizam in 1792 and 1799 were given up
to the Company in 1800 to pay for the support of a subsidiary force.

s " < Panipit jRamnagar .

SO 100 200 300 400


subsequent excellent administration of the state has justified
the confidence and generosity exhibited by Lord Ripon and
the Home Government.

Significance of the destruction of Tippoo's power. The
splendid success of the Mysore war roused enthusiasm in all
parts of British India, and the news was received in England
with universal applause. The Governor-General was pro-
moted to the rank of marquess in the peerage of Ireland, and
endowed by the Directors of the Company with an annuity of
5,000 for twenty years. The destruction of Tippoo's power
was rightly recognized as being a serious blow to the schemes
of Napoleon Bonaparte, whoso dream of an Eastern empire
was finally dissipated in August of the same year (1799) by
Nelson's naval victory at the battle of the Nile.

Wellesley's policy ; subsidiary alliances. The Mysore war
finally pacified the south. The north and west continued
to be unquiet in consequence of the domination of the restless
Maratha chiefs. Lord Wellesley aimed avowedly at the estab-
lishment of British supremacy in the whole of India, and so
necessarily came into conflict with the Maratha power. He
sought to gain his end by a system of subsidiary alliances,
involving the subordination of the Indian princes to the British
Government in all matters of external policy, the dismissal of
officers belonging to other European nations, and the accep-
tance of the services of a contingent of troops under the orders
of the Government of India, and usually paid by an assign-
ment of territory.

Annexation of the Carnatic. Muhammad AH, the old Nawab
of the Carnatic, died in 1795. Six years later the Governor-
General very properly annexed his territory and so got rid of
the ' double government ' which had lasted so long in Southern
India and had caused untold misery to the people, as well
as grave corruption in high places. Muhammad AH was a
thoroughly worthless person throughout his long life.

Treaty of Bassein, 1802. The wars between the rival
Maratha chiefs gave the opportunity and created the necessity

FROM 1761 TO 1853 287

for British intervention. In 1795 Ahalya Bai, the saintly
Maratha lady who had guided the affairs of Holkar's dominions
with wisdom and justice for nearly thirty years, died, and in
the scramble for the succession which followed, Jaswant Rao
Holkar, a wild and unscrupulous leader of banditti, made
himself master of the state. His defeat of the Peshwa, Bajl
Rao, at Poona in 1802 constrained that prince to seek British
protection, and to accept from Lord Wellesley a treaty of
subsidiary alliance in the usual form. The document record-
ing the agreement is known as the Treaty of Bassein, and
marks the extinction of the independent power of the Peshwas.
Daulat Rao Sindia, who had succeeded the great Mahadaji in
1794, and the Bhonsla of Nagpur, also known as the Raja of
Berar, at once prepared for war with the Company.

Second Maratha war ; Assaye, Laswari, &c. General Arthur
Wellesley defeated the army of Sindia, at least seven times
more numerous than his own, at Assaye near Aurangabad, on
September 23, 103. A little later the Bhonsla was defeated
even more decisively at Argaon in Berar. The capture of the
ancient Bahmani fortress of Gawilgarh, also in Berar, followed,
and the Bhonsla was brought to his knees. By the Treaty of
Deogaon he accepted a subsidiary alliance, and gave up the
province of Cuttack (Katak) in Orissa. The war in Hindustan
was in the competent hands of General Lake, who captured
Aligarh, defeated the army under the command of Monsieur
Perron, the successor of do Boigne (ante, p. 281), and entered
Delhi in September, 1S03. In the following month the re-
maining troops of Sindia were defeated at Laswari in the Alwar
state with great slaughter. By the Treaty of Surji Arjangaon,
concluded at the end of the year, that prince surrendered all
the territory hi the Doab between the Ganges and Jumna,
recognized the rights of several Rajput chiefs, and submitted
to a subsidiary alliance. Holkar remained to be subdued, and
an expedition was sent against him, but he gained an unex-
pected advantage by the folly of Colonel Monson, a relative
of his namesake, Hastings's opponent, who ' advanced without




Statute Miles

FROM 1761 TO 1858 289

reason, and retreated in the same manner ', in south-eastern
Rajputana (1804), losing thereby nearly the whole of his
force. Holkar next suffered a severe defeat at Dig (Deeg),
but was not yet wholly subjugated. General Lake, who did
not well understand siege operations, was repulsed in repeated
attempts to storm the Jat fort of Bhurtpore (Bharathpur) in
18051 The Raja, although he succeeded in holding the fort,
submitted to a treaty. The titular emperor, poor old blind Shah
Alam, was handsomely pensioned, and all pretence of regarding
him as a power in the land was avowedly dropped.

Recall of Lord Wellesley. The authorities at home had
long been restive at Lord Wellesley's bold policy, which
seemed to them needlessly expensive, while the tone of his
dispatches was not calculated to soothe their feelings. The
disaster suffered by Colonel Monson's force filled the cup. On
receipt of the news, the Directors and the Board of Control
resolved to recall the Governor-General, and reverse his policy
through the agency of Lord Cornwallis, who was persuaded to
accept office at Calcutta for the second time. As has happened
so often to timid Governments, the event proved that the home
authorities in seeking peace had been preparing war. Their
shortsighted, although natural, caution plunged a large area of
India into acute misery for many years, and resulted in a for-
midable war in the time of the Marquess of Hastings. Great
Britain, having become the paramount power, could not enjoy
the gains without assuming the duties of the position. The
recall of Wellesley left the Maratha power still face to face
with the English. The struggle for mastery was bound to

Lord Wellesley's internal reforms and character. The
primary importance of Lord Wellesley's wars in settling to a
large extent the fate of India must not make us forget that the
Governor-General was a scholarly man of many interests, as
keen to devise internal reforms as he was determined to assert
the inevitable British supremacy. The college founded by
him at Fort William for the training of young civil servants

1776 K


was reduced by the Directors to the rank of a school of Oriental
languages, but even as such it was a valuable institution.
Calcutta is indebted to him for Government House, modelled
on the lines of Lord Scarsdale's mansion at Kedleston, and for
sundry civic improvements. In spite of his costly wars, he
improved the public credit, and brought the finances into order
with the aid of Mr. Tucker. Lord Wellesley's solid merits
were to some extent obscured by his imperious temper, a
tendency to inflated language in speech and writing, and an
excessive fondness for ceremonial display. He lived until
1842, when he died at the age of eighty-two, having filled many
important positions after his retirement from India.

Wars with Mysore.

First, 1767-9, ended by treaty dictated by Haidar Ali under the walls of

Second, 1780-4, ended by Treaty of Mangalore, based on mutual cession of

Third, 1790-2, ended by peace dictated by Lord Cornwallis under the walls

of Seringapatam, which deprived Tippoo of half his kingdom.
Fourth, March to May, 1799, ending in the death of Tippoo, the capture of

Seringapatam, and the partition of his kingdom, part of which

was formed into a protected Hindu state.


Lord Cornwallis again ; Sir George Barlow ; Lord Minto ; abolition of
trade monopoly.

Lord Cornwallis ; Sir George Barlow ; and Lord Minto.
Lord Cornwallis, when summoned to resume charge of the
Indian Government in order to carry out the policy of non-
intervention, was in the sixty-seventh year of his age and
feeble health, and consequently unfitted for the task imposed
upon him. He reached Calcutta on July 30, 1805, and having
proceeded up country, died at Ghazipur on October 5. In the
short interval he found time to address letters to the Directors

FROM 1761 TO 1858 291

and Lord Lake expressing in distinct terms his resolve to
reverse the policy of Lord Wellesley. He found a willing
disciple in Sir George Barlow, the senior member of Council,
who succeeded him as Governor-General, pending an appoint-
ment from home. Ultimately Lord Minto, President of the
Board of Control, and great-grandfather of the Viceroy who
succeeded Lord Curzon in 1905, was appointed Governor-

Mutiny of Vellore, 1806. Even Sir George Barlow could
not bring himself to carry out the desire of the Directors to
withdraw from the Treaty of Bassein (ante, p. 287), and to
permit the resumption by the Peshwa of his old position as
head of the Maratha states. He also insisted on maintaining
the control of the Pvesident over the policy of the Nizam.
His period of rule was marked by the mutiny of the sepoys at
Vellore, where the sons of Tippoo had been assigned a residence.
Those princes had been rashly allowed to assemble a following
of eighteen hundred men, besides some three thousand other
immigrants from Mysore. Such a gathering of refugees from
a recently conquered kingdom, and close to its frontier, neces-
sarily became a centre of disaffection, and encouraged the
mutiny of the troops, which was provoked directly by inju-
dicious orders prescribing a new form of turban and other
matters of the kind. During the disturbances 113 Europeans,
including fourteen officers, were massacred. The Directors
blamed Lord William Bentinck, the Governor of Madras, for
his policy, and recalled him, a decision which he always
resented as unjust.

Travancore rebellion ; mutiny of officers. The new
Governor-General soon discovered that, whatever his prejudices
and instructions might be, he could not avoid interference with
the native states. In 1808 the minister of the Raja of Travan-
core in the extreme south engaged in a mad rebellion, attacking
the British Resident and murdering a surgeon and thirty-three
privates of the 12th Regiment. The rising was put down
early in the following year. During the same year (1809)


much anxiety was caused by the mutinous conduct of the
officers of the army of Madras, where Sir George Barlow had
been appointed Governor. Lord. Minto went down to the
south, but the trouble had passed before his arrival.

Bundelkhand. In Bundelkhand, as in Travancore, the
Governor-General found the policy of non-intervention to be
impracticable. The anarchy in that province, which had been
ceded by the Marathas, forced him to declare that ' it was
essential, not only to the preservation of political influence over
the chiefs of Bundelkhand, but to the dignity and reputation
of the British Government, to interfere for the suppression of
intestine disorder '. The ensuing military operations resulted
in the surrender of the fort of Ajaygarh and the capture of the
famous fortress of Kalanjar after a difficult siege. The sup-
pression of the growing Pindari outrages in Central India, and
the checking of Gurkha and Burmese encroachments on the
northern and north-eastern frontiers, were recognized by Lord
Minto as necessary measures, but he was obliged to leave their
execution to his successor, his own action in these matters
being hindered by the disposition of the Home Government.

Lord Minto and the Sikhs. On the north-western frontier
he acted with uncompromising firmness, and did not allow
himself to be deterred by the non-intervention bogy from
defining the line of the Sutlaj as the frontier separating the
British dominions from those of Ranjit Singh, the lord of the
Panjab. We have already noticed the early history of the
Sikh sect (ante, p. 226), which was gradually hammered into
the shape of an organized military power by its conflicts with
the Afghans during the eighteenth century. After the last
invasion and withdrawal of Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1767 the
Sikhs occupied the country between the Jumna and Rawal-
pindi. Their progress was then checked by the Marathas, but
when the Maratha power in Hindustan was broken by Lord
Lake in 1803 (ante, p. 287), some of the Sikh chiefs between the
Sutlaj and the Jumna tendered their allegiance to the victor,
and all looked to the British Government as their protector.

FROM 1761 TO 1858 293

Rise of Ranjit Singh. At that time the Sikh community
was organized into twelve sections or fraternities called misls.
One of these came under the rule of Ranjit Singh, who, in
1799, when nineteen years of age, had helped Zaman Shah of
Kabul in his invasion of the Panjab. The Afghan ruler, who
claimed the sovereignty of the country, appointed Ranjit
Singh governor of Lahore. From that vantage ground the
young chief gradually made himself master of the Panjab
and Kashmir, retaining his power until his death in 1839. He
followed the example of the more southern princes by engaging
European adventurers to train his troops, and thus organized
the fine army which fought the British so stoutly in 1846 and

Treaty of Amritsar, 1809. In 1809, encouraged by Sir
George Barlow's non-intervention policy, Ranjit Singh claimed
control of all the Sikh principalities between the Sutlaj and
Jumna. Lord Minto, without waiting to refer home for orders,
made up his mind that Ranjit Singh's pretensions could not be
admitted without breach of faith to allies and imminent danger
to the British possessions. The Sikh ruler naturally was un-
willing to submit to dictation, but the arrival of a British army
on the Sutlaj put an end to his hesitation, and on April 25,
1809, at Amritsar, he signed a brief treaty of fifteen lines
establishing ' perpetual amity between the British Government
and the state of Lahore '. During the remaining thirty years
of his life Ranjit Singh observed this engagement with honour-
able fidelity. A British garrison was posted at Ludiana, which
now became the frontier station, and so it happened that a
Governor-General, appointed to carry out the non-intervention
policy, practically advanced the British boundary from the
Jumna to the Sutlaj.

Foreign embassies outside India. During the whole of Lord
Minto 's term of office Great Britain was engaged in the deadly,
world-wide struggle with Napoleon, in which the ruler of India
had to take his share. His predecessors had extinguished the
French power in India ; Lord Minto made it his business to


curb it in the adjoining countries and surrounding seas. His
Pan jab policy was partly based on the fear of French inter-
ference, and the embassies sent by him under Malcolm to Persia
and Mountstuart Elphinstone to Kabul were decided on solely
with the object of checkmating Napoleon's plans. A treaty
with Persia was arranged, but the results hardly justified the
heavy cost of the mission. The embassy intended for Kabul
never arrived there in consequence of the deposition of Shah
Shuja (Soojah), the Afghan ruler to whom it had been dis-
patched. We shall meet Shah Shuja again.

Expeditions by sea. Lord Minto's expeditions by sea were
more fruitful, and testify to his broad grasp of political
problems. In those days Mauritius and the neighbouring
islands in the Indian Ocean to the east of Madagascar formed
a French colony, which was used as the base of a privateer
fleet to prey on Indian commerce. In the course of fifteen
years the Mauritius privateers had plundered property of
Calcutta merchants worth three millions sterling. The
Governor-General determined to stop this, and in 1810 a fleet
acting under his orders captured Mauritius and its depen-
dencies. Mauritius still is a British Crown Colony, but the
neighbouring island of Bourbon or Reunion was restored to
France at the peace of 1815. Lord Minto's expedition to Java
and the Spice Islands, Dutch colonies then under French
control, was even more daring and brilliantly successful. The
Governor-General, who accompanied the force intended for the
reduction of Java, which was under the command of Sir Samuel
Auchmuty, made suitable arrangements for the civil govern-
ment of the island. Batavia, the capital of Java, was taken
after a hard fight at the end of August 1811, and the opera-
tions, naval and military, being admirably arranged, were
successful at all points. The valuable conquests so gallantly
won were unfortunately surrendered at the general peace.

Abolition of the Company's monopoly of the Indian trade.
The renewal of the East India Company's charter, granted in
1793 (ante, p. 280), was to hold good for only twenty years. As

FROM 1761 TO 1858 295

the end of the term fixed drew near, a lively discussion took
place, the Directors fighting to keep their monopoly, while the
general public in Great Britain demanded liberty for all to take
part in Eastern commerce. In the end Parliament decided to
throw open the Indian trade to all comers, while maintaining
the Company's exclusive rights in the China seas. On these
terms the charter was renewed in 1813 for twenty years
longer. At the same time permission was given for missionaries
to enter India as freely as merchants, a reform also resisted
strenuously by the Directors.


Lord Hastings : Nepalese, Pindari, and Maratha wars ; Lord Amherst ;
first Burmese war.

The Earl of Moira, Marquess of Hastings. Lord Minto was
succeeded by the Earl of Moira, better known by his later
title as the Marquess of Hastings, who was fifty -nine years of
age and had seen much service in high military and political
employ. He came out full of the doctrines of the non-inter-
vention school then in fashion, but soon found himself con-
strained to act as a disciple of Lord Wellesley. He assumed
charge on October 4, 1813, and ruled India until January,
1823, for nine years and a quarter, without rest or holiday.
After his retirement he became Governor of Malta, where he
died in November, 1826.

Result of non-intervention. Lord Minto, as we have seen,
had done brilliant service for his country by defeating French
hostility in foreign lands and beyond the seas, where he was
able to act with a free hand. But within the limits of India
his action had been hampered by instructions which he could
not venture to disregard altogether. The result was the accu-
mulation of internal difficulties and the tying of knots which
must be cut by the sword. Lord Hastings, consequently, when
he took over the reins of government, found ' seven different
quarrels likely to demand the decision of arms ' thrust upon


him, and six years of his term of office were spent in constant
and unavoidable war.

Nepalese encroachments. The most pressing of the pending
quarrels was that with the Gurkhas of Nepal, whose encroach-
ments on British territory could not be longer endured. A
Gurkha chief having overcome the ancient principalities of
the valley of Nepal in 1768, he and his successors subsequently
extended their power over the whole hill region from the
frontier of Bhutan on the east to the Sutlaj on the west, and
constantly Sought expansion of their dominion in the richer
regions of the plains. The cession of the Gorakhpur territory
by the Nawab-Vazir of Oudh in Lord Wellesley's time had
brought the British boundary to the frontier of Nepal, and
unceasing difficulties arose on the border. Before 1813 the
Nepalese had seized more than two hundred villages on the
British side of the ill-defined frontier. Their annexation of
the districts of Butwal and Sheoraj brought the quarrel to a
head, and their refusal of restitution made war inevitable.
Hostilities began in October 1814.

War with Nepal, 1814-16. Lord Hastings, who was his
own commander-in-chief, worked out an excellent plan of
operations, providing for the attack on the Gurkha positions
at four widely separated points. The British force was supe-
rior to the enemy in numbers, and, in spite of the difficult
nature of the country, speedy success should have been secured
but for the incapacity of most of the generals employed. One
of them, General Gillespie, a brilliant officer, who had distin-
guished himself in Java, lost his life in making a rash frontal
attack on a stockade contrary to orders, and three others
muddled away their opportunities through sheer imbecility.
Many lives were needlessly thrown away and little progress
was made, except in Kumaon, where Colonels Nicholls and
Gardner occupied Almora by a force of irregulars, and in the
territories along the Upper Sutlaj, which had been invaded by
a force from Ludiana, under the command of General (after-
wards Sir David) Ochterlony, a highly capable leader. In

FROM 1761 TO 1858 297

May, 1815, Ochterlony compelled the brave Gurkha com-
mander, Amar Singh, to surrender the fort of Malaon. The
success of these operations inclined the Nepalese Government
to peace, and a treaty was signed. But on second thoughts
the Darbar refused to ratify it and the war began again.

Treaty of Sagauli, 1816. In February, 1816, Ochterlony
penetrated the hills by a daring night march and attained
a position threatening Kathmandu, the capital. The Gurkhas
then gave in and the Treaty of Sagauli was signed in March.
It provided for the cession by the Nepalese of Kumaon to the
west of the Kali river, their withdrawal from Sikkim, the
surrender of most of the Tarai, or lowlands below the hills, and
the acceptance of a British Resident at the court of Kath-
mandu. The treaty has been observed faithfully ever since,
and friendship, although with considerable reserve, has been
maintained unbroken between the contracting Governments.
The Gurkha regiments recruited in Nepal are a most valuable
element in the Indian Army, and during the troubled times of
the Mutiny a Nepalese force gave welcome aid to the British
authorities. In the great war of 1914 they have again freely
shed their blood in the cause of the British Raj . The sites of
the hill stations of Almora, Naini Tal, Mussoorie, Simla, &c.,
were acquired by the cession of Kumaon.

General unrest. The news of the British failures during the
earlier stages of the Nepalese war excited every court in India
and raised' hopes of the expulsion of the foreigner. Ranjit
Singh moved troops towards the Sutlaj ; Amir Khan, the
leader of the roving Pathan bands in Rajputana, watched
events with a force of 30,000 men and 125 guns, while the
Maratha chiefs, the Peshwa, the Bhonsla of Nagpur, Sindia,
and Holkar, all began to arm. If the jealousies of these
powers had permitted their effective combination at the right
moment, the Governor-General had not the force to withstand
them. But the ' Company's ikbdl ', or good luck, prevailed ;

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Online LibraryVincent Arthur SmithThe Oxford student's history of India → online text (page 22 of 27)