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Unequal as we were to the task, and under all the obvious difficulties and disadvantages attending the writing and publication of history immediately on the heel of action, we have fortunately had no occafion to regret our temerity. The increasing favour we experience from the public at home, and the diftinguished reception which our work meets with abroad, not only in those extenfive parts of the world where the English language is vernacular, but wherever the general affairs of mankind are fo far known as to be interesting, and are admitted to become fubjects of free difcuffion, have fully qualified all our apprehenfions, and amply repaid our labours. In thefe circumftances, inftead of repining at any expence of labour or time, it will ever be our pride that we happened to be the early and faithful recorders of events of fuch magnitude and celebrity, and that we have been at any period capable of producing a work which has met with fuch general approbation.

The repeated complaints which have been made, relative to the delay of the prefent publication, has compelled us to the painful neceflity of running more into egotifin, and bringing ourfelves more forward upon this occafion than ufual. As it may

now be hoped that the return of the public tranquillity will afford fome confiderable relaxation of our labour (for we fhall claim none with refpect to care and affiduity) fo, by degrees, a due punctuality as to the feafon of publication, will be a neceffary conSequence.


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Retrospective view of affairs in the Eaft, which led to the late alarming and dangerous fituation of the British empire in India. State of the native powers, with refpect to each other, and to the Eaft India Company. Greatness of the Maratta empire; and nature of its power, refources, and government. Infant Ram-Rajah depofed, and a government of minifters, called the Paishwaship, fubfiituted in has place. Ragonaut Row being obliged to abandon Poonah and his country, for the affaffination of his nephew, the young Paishwa, flies for refuge to Bombay. Protection afforded to Ragonaut; lays the foundation of all the fubfequent wars with the Marattas. Treaty of friendship and alliance between the Eaft India Company and Hyder Ally, concluded at Madras in the year 1769. Refufal to furnish Hyder with the fuccours ftipulated by treaty in his fubfequent ruinous war with the Marattas, eftranges that prince from the Company, and occafions his embracing French connections. Treaty concluded at Bombay with Ragonaut Row. War entered into with the Marattas for his refloration to power. Ifland of Salfette, Baroach, and other places conquered. Treaty of Poonah, by VOL. XXV. [4]


which Ragonaut is to be given up, and the new conquefts are confirmed to the Company. New fyftems of policy adopted. Ragonaut Row is still protected, and various intrigues entered into for a revolution in the Maratta government in his favour. New demands to be made upon the court of Poonah, the rejection of which are to be deemed violations of the late treaty. Strong military force, under Colonel Leflie, fent across the continent from Bengal. Proceedings of that detachment; Leftie dies, and is fucceeded by Colonel Goddard. Proposals for a treaty with Moodajee Boola, the Rajah of Beray, for placing him at the head of the Maratta empire. The court of Poonah refusing to comply with the new demands, the British refident is withdrawn, and the Bombay army landed on the continent, in order to accompany Ragonaut Row to that capital. The army being furrounded, and all means of retreat cut off, a capitulation takes place. Moderate terms imposed by the Marattas in the treaty of Worgaum. Ragonaut Row is given up, and the army conducted by a body of Maratta horfe to the fea-coaft, where it embarks for Bombay.


HE fuccefs which attended the British arms in the year 1778, by the taking of Pondicherry, and the entire reduction of all the French fettlements in that part of the world, feemed, along with the powerful armies in the hands of the Eaft India Company, and the naval force deftined to their fupport under Sir Edward Hughes, fully fufficient, not only to fecure their prefent tranquillity, but to lay fuch a foundation of ftrength and profperity as could not cafily be fhaken. They were now freed from their only European competitor, and from a moft active and enterprizing neighbour, whofe fpirit of intrigue, as well as power, whether in war or in peace, would conftantly afford matter of jealoufy, if not of apprehenfion; and as wars and conquefts had not originally been propofed as the end of that inftitution, and were rendered still lefs fo by the ftate of affairs in Europe, it was fuppofed that it would require no great refinement in policy or in conduct to preferve fuch a balance between the native powers, as, without en

gaging much in their particular quarrels, would enable the Company to become the arbiter of India, and tend equally to the general tranquillity, and to the maintenance of their own fuperiority.

It was accordingly hoped at home, and afforded no small confolation in the most alarming fituation which we had ever yet experienced, that, however Great Britain might have been overborne in that very unequal conteft which fhe was doomed to sustain in every other quarter of the globe, yet, that her dominion and commerce in the Eaft being happily free from the contingencies of war, ftill remained whole and unimpaired; and might prove an unfailing refource of wealth and of ftrength in the work event.

Such were the hopes of the public, and fuch perhaps the fpeculations of ftatefmen. But the affairs of nations, their adverfity and fuccefs, often depend upon unforeseen circumftances, which political fagacity cannot always provide againft. The experience of ages has thewn that it is exceedingly


difficult to keep arms long unemployed in the hands of thofe who have been accustomed to use them with great effect and advantage. Such a restraint requires a ftrong and immediate controul; and is not eafily practicable under a remote government. The abundant means of war in the hands of the Company's fervants, naturally tended to its production; and it will not be doubted that conqueft and the overthrow of states are attended with circumstances, which promife a full gratification to fome of the ftrongest paffions of the human


The wantonnefs and injuftice attributed to fome wars undertaken in India, had (to the honour of the public feelings, whether the charges were ill or well founded) been for fome time a matter of general execration in England. The cenfures paffed in fome inftances by the Company, if they did not fully confirm, at least afforded a general fanction to the charges. We have heretofore had occafion more than once to take notice of the caufes which tended to leffen the authority of the Company over its fervants in India, and neceffarily their reverence for their employers, and obedience to their commands. But the company itself, in its ruling and governing powers at home, did not efcape a large portion of public centure, derived from the imputed exorbitances of their fervants abroad.

They were charged with a general indecifion, a deficiency of fpirit and vigour, and even fome apparent contradictions in their conduct and measures; that they did not fufficiently exercise the authority which they poffeffed; that

they were content to reprove where they fhould punish; and that they trufted to the future obedience of thofe who had already been guilty of the moft glaring, pernicious, and even contemptuous acts of disobedience.

In full proportion to the fanguine hopes entertained upon the profperous appearance of things at the time that the French power was annihilated in India, was the confternation and aftonishment which ftruck 'the nation at that unexpected and unaccountable revolution which fo foon after took place in the affairs of the Company; and which, fhaking the British empire in the Eaft to its center, threatened no less than the extinction of the English name in that quarter of the globe. The conduct of the Company and of its fervants, became naturally fubjects of public and private difcuffion. Parliamentary enquiries were inftituted, and have been long continued. Various reports from the committees have been laid before the House of Commons; but fuch is the complex nature and immenfity of the matter, the endless variety of the evidence, with the difficulties arifing from the remotenefs of the scene of action, and the delays incident to parliamentary proceedings, that the enquiries have not yet drawn to a conclufion. The fubject therefore ftill remains in obfcurity.

In tracing thofe tranfactions and events upon the fpot, which led to fo unexpected and alarming a change in the British affairs, it will be neceflary to take a retrofpective as well as immediate view of affairs in India.

The Marattas and Hyder Allv [A] 2


were the only native powers in culture, have been unequal to

India which could afford any caufe of alarm to the British interefts. The one was the more powerful, and the other, from his great perfonal abilities and qualities, capable of being the more dangerous an enemy. It feemed to be the political intereft of the Eaft India Company to foment the natural enmity which fubfifted, and the accidental feuds which were continually arifing, between thofe two neighbouring and rival states; obferving not to become any farther a party in their difputes than might occafionally be neceffary for the prefervation of fuch a balance between them, as would prevent either from growing too great by the ruin of the other. It would feem that by fuch a policy the animofity of thefe two formidable powers would in the end, by the exhaufture of their ftrength and activity, prove the means of eftablishing the general tranquillity

of India.

The warlike nation of the Marattas are the only people in India who at all times refufed the Mahomedan yoke. The immenfe power and fuperiority of their enemy, laid them under a neceffity of feeking refuge in the inacceffible faftneffes of that vaft range of mountains which cover fo great a part of Hindoftan. The long war which, under the conduct of their illuftrious leader Sevagi, they fuftained against the immenfe power and great abilities as well as treachery of Aurengezebe, would, in other parts of the world, have afforded a fplendid portion of history. The mountainous countries which they occupied for defence, would, in any ftate of

their maintenance, and were totally incapable of affording the fupplies neceffary for the profecution of the war; but the length, obftinacy, and various fortune of the conteft, ferved to infpire the contempt as well as neglect of agriculture. The rich furrounding lower regions, which had all fubmitted to the Mogul power, were of courfe compelled in their turn, as they happened to be more or lefs effectually guarded, to fupply all the neceffities of the Marattas, and to provide the means of war as well as of fuftenance. From thefe caufes, and the inveterate habits incident to them, arofe that marauding and predatory difpofition which, in the ufual and natural course of things, ftill prevails, although the caufes have ceafed. The Marattas boast a high antiquity; and their language, which is a peculiar dialect of the Hindóo, and acknowledged to be among the moft ancient in India, fufficiently juftifies that claim. Thus appears the error of confidering them as a lawlefs banditti, or a fortuitous affemblage of freebooters, united merely for the purpofes of rapine.

The Maratta empire grew to be the greatest in India, through the decline and upon the fall of that of the Grand Mogul. Their dominions were vast, their resources great, and their armies brave and numerous. Their conjunctive revenues were estimated at no less than feventeen millions fterling, and their immenfe cavalry at three or four hundred thoufand. But this great power was weakened and rendered inert by being portioned out among a number of princes. They


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