To BÛRHÂNÛDDEEN; dated 6th DÂRÂEY. (19th July.)

YOU write, “that your approaches are carried to the foot of the wall, “and that it is determined to storm the place in two or three days; that “Dileer Dil Khân says, he must go and forage with his people; that a “numerous force is required for the approaching assault; and that, “with our permission, you will detain the said Khân, together with the “dismounted men of the cavalry Kuchurry, until the conclusion of the “business.” It is known: and we, in consequence, direct that you detain the aforesaid Khân, as well as the men you have mentioned, till the period you propose; when you will allow them to go and forage.


The two preceding letters satisfactorily prove, how independently the superior officers of the army sometimes acted, and how feeble Bûrhânûddeen’s authority over them was. But this is an evil inherent in the constitution of all Indian armies: and, perhaps, it was less prevalent in that of Mysore, than in any other native army of Hindostan.

It might at first view, and on general principles, be supposed, that it was much easier to introduce strict military discipline into the armies of arbitrary states, like those of the East, than into any other: and so, no doubt, it would be, if it were not for the distrust and jealousy natural to the rulers of such states, who fear to invest their commanders with the powers necessary to the due maintenance of subordination, lest the latter should, on any occasion, be tempted to employ them for traiterous purposes. Instead, therefore, of strengthening the hands of their generals, by concentrating in them the powers which they are compelled to dele­gate (but which they circumscribe as much as possible), they judge it expedient, with a view to their own security, to divide and parcel them out among the different commanders; and, in fine, to establish in their armies such a system of checks, as leaves but little efficient or useful authority any where. To this more general and remote cause of the great insubordination observable in the armies of the East, may be added another, more particular and immediate (arising, as it were, necessarily out of the former); and that is, the total want of fixed or written rules for their government: the consequence of which, of course, is, that disorder and confusion pervade the whole body, almost every thing relating to which, is made to depend on the caprice and partial views of indi­viduals.

Tippoo Sultan, as if sensible of this last defect in the constitution of his army, in common with those of his neighbours, would appear to have aimed at correcting it in some measure; and for this purpose (though, probably, not with any very deep or accurate views of the subject) caused to be compiled and disseminated a military code, or treatise, which he entitled Futhûl’ Mûjâhideen, or, “the “Triumph of the holy Warriors.” I have not, hitherto, had an opportunity of examining this work, with attention; but the impression made on me by a cursory inspection of it, some years ago, inclines me to think, that it treated chiefly of the manual exercise, evolutions, and similar details, and contained but few regu­lations, calculated to ascertain and uphold the authority of the superior, or to inculcate and enforce the obedience of the inferior ranks of the army.*