« PreviousContinue »
“ complaint when my principal was ruined.” After these transactions Mr. Thomas was directed to assist the deputy appointed by Appa to collect the revenues of the remaining part of his country: a task of considerable difficulty; since the Zemindars, hearing of Appa's detention in the camp of the Mahrattas, had broken out into open rebellion against his authority. To reduce them to obedience, Mr. Thomas marched with about eight hundred men that remained after the heavy service he had lately experienced; promptitude in planning, and vigour in execution, being absolutely necessary, Mr. Thomas, by his animated exertions, in a very short time captured several of the principal places, some by day assaults, and others by night.
Among others, the capture of Byree appears interesting in the narration. - In the fort, says Mr. Thomas, “ exclusive of the garrison, “ were three hundred rajepoots and jauts. “ These had been hired for the express pur“ pose of defending the place, and it was here “ I was in the most imminent danger of losing «s the whole of my party. We had stormed
“ the fort, and were beat back with loss; s one of my firdars was wounded, and, from “ the confusion that occurred, left behind in “ the hands of the enemy; the danger was, “ every moment increasing, the town was on “ fire in several parts, and our retreat nearly 6 cut off by the flames that surrounded us.
“In this situation, we had the additionaf 6 mortification to perceive the merciless enemy “ seize on the wounded officer, and, with fa“ vage barbarity, precipitate him into the fire. “ Equally animated, as enraged, by this spec“tacle, my troops now rushed forward to the w attack, with an ardour that was irresistible. “ Having gained entire poffeffion of the fort, or the soldiers, with clamorous expressions of re“ venge, insisted on the death of every one of " the garrison that remained, and I was not in66 clined to refuse; but it cost us' dear, the “ enemy to a man made a brave resistance. “ This contest was continued so long, as to « afford time to those who had retreated, to - return: by this means, we were again en“ gaged, and at one time almost overpowered ; " but, receiving a reinforcement of our own
“ party, the enemy, by flow degrees, began “ again to retreat which they effected. I “ pursued with the cavalry: the enemy once “ more made a stand in the jungles adjoining “ to the town; when, after a second desperate " conflict, they gave way on all sides, and “ most of them were cut to pieces.”
Scarcely however had Mr. Thomas completed the objects of his march, when he received letters from Appa, of a tendency most unpromising: in these, Appa, after descanting on his finances, the low state of which did not permit him to retain longer, either Mr. Thomas or his troops, recommended him to dismiss his battalions, and repair to the head quarters, which were now in the country of the Row Rajah.
In answer, Mr. Thomas stated his utter impoffibility to discharge the men, without previous payment of their arrears. He then marched to join Appa, and found that chief in the vicinity of Alwar. Appa, after expatiating on the ungrateful conduct of those persons who had enjoyed his confidence, informed Mr. Thomas, in terms of apparent uneasiness, that the Mahratta commanders, who had become acquainted with his influence, and the part he had taken in the business against the mutineers, considered him as a dangerous person; as one who would, if occasion occurred, act against the interests of Scindia himself: they had therefore requested of him to discharge Mr. Thomas from the service.
This information, however, Mr. Thomas found to be incorrect; for in a conference he had with Luckwa on the following day, that chief not only disclaimed all idea of disapproving Mr. Thomas's conduct, but even offered him the command of two thousand men in the service of Scindia.
Mr. Thomas, for several reasons, declined closing with this proposal. The districts of Appa's country were now in open rebellion; and, notwithstanding the present deceit on his part, Mr. Thomas considered himself under obligations which could not be passed over; that if he now quitted him, it would in all probability prove his utter ruin; he therefore resolved to
adhere to Appakandarow, and endeavour to retrieve his affairs.
Appa excused himself for his late conduct, and Mr. Thomas now prepared for his march. For the present he was interrupted by a request from Luckwa to afford his assistance in the reduction of a fort which had refused to pay the usual tribute. Mr. Thomas, with the consent of Appa, joined the forces of Luckwa, and commenced their march.
On their arrival before the place Mr. Thomas's post was assigned him; but his foldiers being now six months in arrears, refused, without payment, to proceed: in this exigency, Mr. Thomas, to satisfy their demands, was once more compelled to part with his property; having done this, the soldiers returned to their duty.
The enemy, in the hope of compelling the Mahrattas to raise the fiege, had taken poffeffion of the ravines in the neighbourhood: several skirmishes took place, with loss on both fides.