« PreviousContinue »
OF [A. D: 1794. A proposal was made by Mr. Gardiner, the commandant of a brigade of Scindia's troops, to advance the second parallel: a council afsembled to consult' on the most eligible mode, but finding this could not be effected without first taking a redoubt which lay in their front, no person appearing inclined to risk the enterprise, the council broke up.
On the ensuing day Mr. Thomas, of his own accord, took an opportunity, when the enemy were off their guard, to storm the redoubt. Repeated attempts were made by the enemy to regain poffeffion, but he bravely maintained himself in it, till a reinforcement arriving they gave up the contest. Mr. Thomas immediately fortified the post.
· The parallel was advanced, and the garrison perceiving no chance of succour from without, the commandant negotiated, and as a ransom for the fort agreed to pay the sum of two lacs of rupees. Mr. Thomas received a sum fufficient to reimburse him for the expences he had incurred, and was then directed to return to his own districts. Soon after his arrival he restored them to order.
Mr. Thomas had by this time formed his men into a regiment consisting of two battalions; of these, one he detached to collect the revenues of the country, and with the other remained at Jyjur.
During these transactions begum Sumroo, in whose service Mr. Thomas had formerly been employed, was now trying every means in her power to effect his ruin. She had even gone so far as to bribe the Mahratta officers to advise his dismission; and a body of Mahrattas having joined her army, she marched from Sirdhanna, her capital, and encamped about seventeen coss south-east of Jyjur.
This conduct in the begum Mr. Thomas attributed to the influence of the officers in her service; and more particularly to that of Levasso, who not only commanded her troops, but had lately received her hand in marriage.
On every occasion, he was the declared and inveterate enemy of Mr. Thomas; and had by his influence wrought in the begum her present determination.
In the begum's army it was publicly afserted, that their present destination was against Mr. Thomas. Her force, consisting of four battalions of infantry, twenty pieces of artillery, and about four hundred cavalry, was commanded by officers of tried and acknowledged abilities. Mr. Thomas, having recalled the battalion that had been detached, had now a regiment consisting of two thousand men, ten pieces of artillery, five hundred irregulars, and two hundred cavalry.
The diffenfions, however, that arose among the begum's officers, not only induced her to relinquish her intention of attacking Mr. Thomas, but ended in her imprisonment, and the total subversion of her authority. The. cause of these dissensions must now be traced to its source.
Levasso, who had the chief command of the
begum's army, was jealous of the authority of Legois. This man is a German; and so named from Liege, the place of his nativity. He had been many years in habits of intimacy and friendship with Mr. Thomas ; and, on the present occasion, had strenuously dissuaded the begum from the proposed hostilities. This conduct having given umbrage to Levasso, he by his influence with the begum, procured Legois's degradation; and to render his disgrace the more mortifying, his place was given to a junior officer.
A conduct fo inconsistent and unjust dirgusted the soldiers, who for many years had been commanded by Legois, with whom also they had often fought and conquered. They remonstrated, but in vain, against the measure; finding there was no hope of altering the begum's resolution, they suddenly broke out into open mutiny. They invited Zuffur Yab. Khawn, the son of the late Sumroo by a former wife, who then resided at Delhi, to become their commander. In return, they promised to seat him on the musnud. For this purpose, a deputation of the army, in spite of
all the exertions of the begum, repaired to Delhi, and folemnly tendered him the command. Zuffur Yab Khawn, fearful of the intrigues of his mother-in-law, at last consented. To relieve his apprehension, the deputation, in the name of the army, took an oath of fidelity to him on the spot.
On the first intelligence of the conspiracy the begum and Levasso, with a few of their old servants, prepared for flight. It was their intention to have proceeded directly to the Ganges, and to seek refuge in the country of the vizier Asuph ool Dowla.
In this resolution, however, they were unfortunately intercepted. A party of cavalry which had been detached by Zuffur Yub Khawn on the first intimation of their flight, overtook and surrounded them at the village of Kerwah, in the begum's jaghire, four miles distant from her capital. Previous to the commencement of hostilities the commandant of cavalry proclaimed a free pardon, and promise of their arrcars, to the soldiers who still adhered