Page images

OF [A. D. 180. cessary arrangements for the payment of my troops can be completed."

In reply to this representation, Scindiah, who had been tutored for the occasion by Mr. Perron, urged in the strongest manner the im. possibility of consenting to Mr. Thomas's request, as it would serve as an unfavourable precedent; he recommended moreover, that in the prefent instance the national enmity of these commanders should be laid aside ; and their mutual exertions made for the general benefit of the service, but at all events desired Mr. Thomas to fuspend his resolution until his own arrival in Hindooftan.

Some time after the above correspondence, Mr. Perron wrote to Mr. Thomas, requesting him to fend a vakeel to confer upon the subject, for the mutual benefit of either party.


This request was instantly complied with; and Mr. Thomas's vakeel, having received the necessary instructions, was dispatched to Delhi. Arriving at Mr. Perron's camp, which was

pitched in the neighbourhood of that city, he was received in a manner the most cordial and flattering.

The affairs of Scindiah were at this time in a situation that by no means justified a protracted war in his possessions in Hindoostan, being himself engaged in an eventful and difficult contest with his ancient enemy Jesswunt Row Holkar.

The cautious chief therefore thought that to temporise with Mr. Thomas would be the most eligible method ; as he might, in the course of his present warfare, have occasion for the services of Mr. Perron's troops.

In his master's name, therefore, Mr. Perron requested an interview. The fort of Behadur Ghur was the place named for the meeting. On his approach to that place, Mr. Thomas was informed that Perron had put to death a Seik chief, who had lately revolted from Scindiah, and of whose person he had got posseflion by treacherous means.

This intelligence induced Mr. Thomas to observe the greatest circumspection in the approaching interview. Captain Smith, the son of an officer in the honourable East India Company's serviee, was dispatched by Mr. Perron to meet and conduct him to the Mahratta camp. Mr. Thomas took along with him on this occasion 300 cavalry, and two of his most approved battalions ; being determined to afford no opportunity to his enemies to effect his ruin by treacherous means.


[ocr errors]

In the month of September, after some previous negociation between the parties, Mr. Perron and Mr. Thomas met for the first time at the town of Behadur Ghur. Mr. Thomas having received recent information that the affairs of Scindiah presented an unfavourable aspect, and that that chief was unequal to the contest with Jeffwunt Row Holkar, hoped the present interview would be productive of an amicable adjustment of all former differences, and establish the future tranquillity and good understanding of both parties.

In this, however, he was deceived; for at the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

second day's meeting he was much surprised by a demand, equally sudden as unsuspected, from Mr. Perron, requesting him to give up the district of Jyjur entirely to the Mahrattas; in lieu of this he was to receive for the support of his battalions the monthly sum of 50,000 rupees, and henceforth to be considered as the immediate servant of Dowlut Row Scindiah.

Although this proposal might have been foreseen, Mr. Thomas gave it a positive denial; and perceiving the nature of the design formed against him, was aware that he should be required to act against Holkar in the present war; and if it proved unfavourable to the interests of that chief, and his authority was subverted, Scindiah would not only discontinue the payment of the monthly sum now offered to Mr. Thomas, but compel him to accept of any terms the Mahratta Government might think proper to impose. ,

For thefe reasons Mr. Thomas, without further discussion on the subject, abruptly broke up the conference, and marched away in difPacific measures being now at an end, Mr. Perron, to begin the war with advantage, repaired directly to Jyjur, of which, being unfortified, he immediately took possession. Mr. Thomas had still left the fort of George Ghur, in which having stationed 800 men, he expected it would hold out a considerable time, nor was he deceived. La Fontaine, a commander in Mr, Perron's service, having approached that place in the hope of taking it by assault, was so warmly received by the garrison as to be compelled to retreat with considerable loss.


The period, however, of Mr. Thomas's final discomfiture was not far off. His enemies pressed on him on all sides with accumulated vigour; and private treachery coming in aid of public misfortune, he was soon reduced to a situation the most painfully distressing. .

The force of Mr. Perron at this time consisted of ten battalions of infantry, fix thousand horse, a body of Rohillas, and fixty pieces of heavy artillery. The Seiks were likewise preparing to send against him a considerable force; and in addition to these threatened

« PreviousContinue »