Extra AHMEDY, Year JULLO. (18th March.)

IN consequence of the chiefs of that place [Poonah] forgetting their obligations to us, we have come to the positive determination of taking possession of the territory situated on the banks of the Kishna.* It is therefore written, that if your negociation proceeds according to our heart’s desire, it is well: if not, you and Noor Mahommed Khân, taking leave of Râo Râsta, must repair to the Presence.

The 14th of Ahmedy* is fixed on for our marching; in case, therefore, of ungraciousness* [on their part], you will proceed with all haste to our Presence.

You write, that Peer Mahommed Mûnshy (who, when he accompanied the Mahrattah minister in the field received sixty rupees) being now reduced to forty rupees a month, and having the incumbrance of a large family, finds his salary inadequate to their support. It is known. If the aforesaid should intend to accompany you to the Presence, let him be paid sixty rupees a month; but, otherwise, forty rupees is sufficient.*


The Sultan’s instructions to his envoys at Poonah will be found to be marked throughout with considerable indecision. In speaking of the Mahrattah Govern­ment, he assumes, in general, a very lofty and menacing tone; it is, notwith­standing, pretty evident, that he is not averse to reconciliation. He frequently betrays the irritation of his mind, and, in these moods, issues the most peremptory orders to his agents to quit Poonah. They, nevertheless, remain at their post, where they appear to have continued till the month of May of the following year (1786), or during the greatest part of the war. The reason of this fluctuation in the conduct of the Sultan, would, no doubt, be more intelligible than it is, if we were in possession of the dispatches of the envoys, as well as those of their master. It is true, that the substance, and perhaps the entire contents of many of the former, is (agreeably to the common practice in the epistolary correspondence of India) recited in the answers to them; but still it is reasonable to suppose, that many particulars are unnoticed in these brief capitulations, or summaries, the knowledge of which would materially elucidate the transactions in question.

The Râstas are a family of considerable eminence and weight in the Mahrattah empire, being nearly allied to the Paishwa. They have, generally, been distin­guished for their favourable disposition towards the Mysore ruler, in consequence of which, it was usual for most negociations between the latter and the government of Poonah to be conducted through them.

The obligations of the Mahrattah state to Hyder Ali Khân and his successor, are often alluded to in the course of the following letters. They are more particu­larly stated in his letter to the King of France;* and he thus expresses himself, on the subject, in his Memoirs.

“Previously to the resolution of making war against the Nazarenes (i. e. before “the commencement of hostilities against the English by Hyder Ali Khân) the “Mahrattahs being reduced to great straits, and defeated by the English, had “[actually] filled their houses with straw, and prepared to burn the city of Poonah. “In this situation they dispatched four of their principal and confidential people “to our late father, with letters, accompanied by oaths and deceitful engagements, “soliciting the grant of a fort within our dominions, wherein they might lodge “their chief (more worthless, in truth, than a horse keeper).* Accordingly these “trusty persons (who, in fact, were not to be trusted) arriving in the presence of “our deceased father (whose place is in Paradise) represented, that being broken “down [or discomfited] by the English, they were on the point of abandoning their “country, within eight coss of [the capital of] which the Nazarenes were arrived: “that, in these circumstances, they could look for help to no one but his High­ness; that their master was a child, the preservation of whose life, honor, “country, and wealth, by the Ussud Ilhye* state, would confer an obligation, “which would continue to be acknowledged, as long as any of the Mâdho Râos “existed; and, finally, imploring his Highness to consider their chief in the light “of a son. These representations were seconded, on the part of Nizâm Ali “Khân,* whose country had also been threatened by the English, and whom “the Mahrattahs had prevailed on, by promises and engagements, to espouse “their cause, and to interest himself in their favour (with our late father); in “consequence of which he, accordingly (through the Mahrattah Vakeels), made “certain proposals, ratified on the Koran, to his Highness, our father. Hereupon “our father (who reposes in Paradise) agreed to their propositions, and resolved “on war with the English, notwithstanding the opposition made to the measure “by the chiefs of the state, who represented that the war would prove arduous “and tedious; that there was no necessity for his drawing the misfortunes of “another’s house upon himself; that these two impure ones (namely Mâdho Râo “and Nizâm Ali) were both of spurious origin, and neither their words nor actions “entitled to the least credit or faith. Our illustrious father replied, ‘that it was “a traditionary saying of the Prophet:—“Verily only by deeds, and not by “thoughts, [shall ye judge].” We lay them under this obligation: if they “have any evil designs in their hearts, the Almighty will requite them with evil:’ “and, so saying, he prepared for war.

“It was further stipulated by the treaty concluded [on this occasion] between “these two bastards and the Hydery state, that no peace should be entered into “with the English, except with the knowledge of all three. Accordingly, while “Sadlier was still on his way, we wrote to the chiefs who accompanied him, “desiring that his progress might be retarded, by amusements and entertainments “at every stage. In the interim, we wrote ten or twelve letters to Mâdho Râo, “the chief of the Mahrattahs, stating, that though he had, upwards of a year “ago, and during the life-time of our illustrious father (who reposes in Paradise) “secretly, and without our knowledge, concluded a separate peace with the English, yet he had not, to that moment, made any communication on the subject “to us. ‘It is well [we proceeded]: our pleasure is yours. The confidential “agents of the English are on the way from their own country to our Presence, “to solicit peace: if such be your pleasure, signify your demands to us by “letter, that we may treat for you at the same time that we treat for ourselves. “If, on the other hand, you should have actually concluded a separate peace “without our knowledge, let us be informed thereof, in order that we may set “about a peace for the Hydery Sircar.’ To no one of our letters was any answer “sent: neither did they write a word to their own Vakeel, residing with us, “though he was a kinsman of theirs [i. e. of the Paishwas].*

“In this manner did we, for six months, contrive to put off the arrival “of the English ambassador; at the end of which we wrote to the Mahrattah “Vakeel at our court to this effect: ‘We have, by different means, managed “to detain the English ambassador six months on the road; in which period “we have written about fifteen letters, on the subject of peace, to your “master. You, also, have repeatedly written; but to neither has any answer been “given. Now that the English ambassador is at hand, what would you advise “to be done? Let us know your opinion.’ To this the Mahrattah Vakeel, who “was among the nearest of [the] relatives [of the Paishwa], replied by letter: “‘that his master was an infant; that his ministers, &c. were whoresons,* on “whose words and actions no reliance was to be placed; and that six months “had already passed, in expectation [of hearing from thence]. ‘How much “longer [continued he] are you to wait? Conclude your peace with the “English; and, dismissing me, let me proceed to those good-for-nothing “fellows,* in order that I may be enabled to deal with them personally, either “by reproaches or a sound bastinade;* and, by this means, bring forward “some person, who shall prevent, for the future, the recurrence of such “shameful conduct.’”

“After this, we protracted the negociations for peace with the English for two “months longer, during which time we again wrote [to Poonah], but without any “better success than before: whereupon we proceeded to conclude the treaty with “the English, &c.”

Such, according to his own account, were the grounds of Tippoo Sultan’s complaints against the Mahrattah Government, at the period of the treaty of Mangalore, and it would not appear that any attempts were subsequently made, either by the court of Poonah, or by that of Hyderabad, to appease him. At this rate, it would be difficult to acquit these courts, and especially the former, of the charge of bad faith towards their ally: but we must not, too hastily, give credit to the Sultan’s statement of facts. Some of these are manifestly exaggerated, and others may be misrepresented: but however this may be, it is pretty clear, that the Sultan really thought himself the aggrieved party; and this being the case, it is not, perhaps, so much to be wondered at, that he should have taken up the question concerning the Zemindâr of Nergûnd in the manner he did, as that he should have so long repressed the resentment he appears to have felt at the conduct of his late allies.

I abstain from many other reflections, naturally suggested by the curious extract just given from the Sultan’s own Memoirs; both because a fitter opportunity than the present may hereafter offer for them, and because it is time to proceed with the correspondence.