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The Pirates of Malabar, and An Englishwoman in India Two Hundred Years Ago
by John Biddulph
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On the 18th December, 1699, the Loyal Merchant, Captain Lowth, East Indiaman, lying in Table Bay, saw a small vessel of sixty tons enter the harbour under English colours. This proved to be the Margaret of New York. Lowth's suspicions being awakened, he sent for the captain and some of the crew, who 'confessed the whole matter,' and were promptly put in irons. The Margaret was seized, in spite of Dutch protests. Two days later came in the Vine, pink, from St. Mary's, with a number of 'passengers' on board. These were pirates on their way to New England, to make their submission, among them Chivers and Culliford. Lowth would have seized them also, but the Dutch interfered, and the behaviour of the Dutch admiral became so threatening that Lowth cut short his stay and made sail for Bombay, which he reached safely, taking with him the Margaret and eighteen prisoners. On reaching England, Culliford was tried and condemned, but respited, as has already been mentioned.

While Kidd lay in Newgate awaiting trial, an Act was passed for the more effectual suppression of piracy. Experience had shown that it was useless to issue proclamations against individuals, but that some new machinery must be created to deal with the gigantic evil that threatened to become chronic. Under a former Act, passed in the reign of Henry VIII., the Lord High Admiral, or his Lieutenant, or his Commissary, had been empowered to try pirates; but the procedure had long fallen into abeyance. It had been found almost impossible to bring offenders in distant seas to justice, to say nothing of the cost and trouble of bringing them to England for trial. Now it was enacted that courts of seven persons might be formed for the trial of pirates at any place at sea or upon land, in any of his Majesty's islands, plantations, colonies, dominions, forts, or factories. It was necessary that at least one of the seven should be the chief of an English factory, the governor or a member of council in a plantation or colony, or the commander of a King's ship. These courts had powers of capital punishment, and also had power to treat all persons who gave assistance or countenance to pirates as accessories, and liable to the same punishments as pirates. The Act was to be in force for seven years only. In 1706 it was renewed for seven years, and in 1714 again for five years.

The amnesty granted to some pirates, the hanging of others,[5] and the new Act of Parliament, caused a great abatement of the evil. The Madagascar settlements still flourished, but for a time European trade was free from attack. Littleton's squadron had gone home, and was replaced by two royal ships, the Severn and the Scarborough, which effected nothing against the pirates, but served by their presence to keep them quiet.

The Severn and Scarborough sailed from England in May, 1703, under Commodore Richards, who died at Johanna in the following March. The command was then taken by Captain Harland, who visited Madagascar and Mauritius, where two men were arrested, who afterwards made their escape at Mohilla. The two ships returned to England in October, 1705.

Hamilton tells us how a

"Scots ship commanded by one Millar did the public more service in destroying them, than all the chargeable squadrons that have been sent in quest of them; for, with a cargo of strong ale and brandy, which he carried to sell them, in anno 1704, he killed above 500 of them by carousing, although they took his ship and cargo as a present from him, and his men entered, most of them into the society of the pirates."

[1] This was probably a village near Ras Mabber, about one hundred and sixty-five miles south of Cape Guardafui.

[2] In ships of this class the quartermaster was next in importance to the captain or master. The incident refers to the death of Moore, the gunner of the Adventure, who was killed by Kidd in a fit of anger for saying that Kidd had ruined them all. The killing of Moore was one of the indictments against Kidd at his trial.

[3] Warren had returned from his first cruise in the autumn of 1697.

[4] One small Arab vessel that rashly attacked the Harwich, mistaking it for a merchant vessel, was disposed of with a broadside.

[5] Twenty were condemned and hung in one batch, in June, 1700; one of the Mocha mutineers among them. This was probably Guillam, to whom Kidd had given a passage to America from Madagascar, and was supposed to have been the man who stabbed Captain Edgecombe.



CHAPTER III

THE RISE OF CONAJEE ANGRIA

Native piracy hereditary on the Malabar coast—Marco Polo's account—Fryer's narrative—The Kempsant—Arab and Sanganian pirates—Attack on the President—Loss of the Josiah—Attack on the Phoenix—The Thomas captured—Depredations of the Gulf pirates—Directors' views—Conajee Angria—Attacks English ships—Destroys the Bombay—Fortifies Kennery—Becomes independent—Captures the Governor's yacht—Attacks the Somers and Grantham—Makes peace with Bombay—His navy—Great increase of European and native piracy.

Europeans were not the only offenders. The Delhi Emperor, who claimed universal dominion on land, made no pretension to authority at sea. So long as the Mocha fleet did not suffer, merchants were left to take care of themselves. There was no policing of the sea, and every trader had to rely on his own efforts for protection. The people of the Malabar coast were left to pursue their hereditary vocation of piracy unmolested. The Greek author of the "Periplus of the Erythraean Sea," who wrote in the first century of our era, mentions the pirates infesting the coast between Bombay and Goa. Two hundred years before Vasco da Gama had shown the way to India by sea, Marco Polo had told Europe of the Malabar pirates.

"And you must know that from this Kingdom of Melibar, and from, another near it called Gozurat, there go forth every year more than a hundred corsair vessels on cruize. These pirates take with them their wives and children, and stay out the whole summer. Their method is to join in fleets of 20 or 30 of these pirate vessels together, and then they form what they call a sea cordon, that is, they drop off till there is an interval of 5 or 6 miles between ship and ship, so that they cover something like a hundred miles of sea, and no merchant ship can escape them. For when any one corsair sights a vessel a signal is made by fire or smoke, and then the whole of them make for this, and seize the merchants and plunder them. After they have plundered they let them go, saying, 'Go along with you and get more gain, and that mayhap will fall to us also!' But now the merchants are aware of this, and go so well manned and armed, and with such great ships, that they don't fear the corsairs. Still mishaps do befal them at times."[1]

From the Persian Gulf to Cape Comorin the whole coast was beset by native pirates, and, with the rise of the Mahratta power, the evil increased. Petty chiefs sometimes levied blackmail by giving passports to those who would pay for them, claiming the right to plunder all ships that did not carry their passes; but often the formality was dispensed with. Owing to the paucity of records of the early days, and the more serious hostility of the Portuguese and Dutch, we hear little of the losses sustained from native pirates, except when some ship with a more valuable cargo than usual was captured. Fryer tells us how, in his day, a rock off Mangalore was known as Sacrifice Island, "in remembrance of a bloody butchery on some English by the pirate Malabars." He further tells us how, in 1674, between Goa and Vingorla, he took part in an attack on a pirate ship that they came on as it was plundering a prize it had just taken, while the Dutch watched the engagement from the shore.

"We soon made him yield his prize to engage with us, which they did briskly for two hours, striving to board us, casting stink-pots among us, which broke without any execution, but so frightened our rowers, that we were forced to be severe to restrain them. They plied their chambers and small shot, and slung stones, flourishing their targets and darting long lances. They were well manned in a boat ten times as big as our barge, and at least sixty fighting men besides rowers. We had none to manage our small gun," the gunner having deserted at Goa.

However, the pirates were beaten off, and Fryer and his companions were mightily praised by the Dutch. These pirates hailed probably from Vingorla, where the Sawunt Waree chief, known in those days as the 'Kempsant,'[2] carried on a brisk piratical trade. The name was a corruption of Khem Sawunt, a common name of the Vingorla chiefs; the Portuguese changed it into Quemar Santo, 'the saint burner,' on account of his sacrilegious treatment of their churches.

There were no more determined pirates than the Arabs of Muscat and the Sanganians of Beyt and Dwarka, who, between them, intercepted the trade of the Persian Gulf, while the Coolee rovers of Guzarat took their toll of the plunder. In 1683 the Company's ship President was attacked by the Muscat Arabs with two ships and four grabs, and fought a gallant action. The grabs[3] were generally two-masted ships, from one hundred and fifty to three hundred tons burden, built to draw very little water, and excellent sailers, especially in the light winds prevalent on the Western coast. They had no bowsprit, but the main-deck was continued into a long overhanging prow. The favourite mode of using them was for two or three of them to run aboard their victim at the same time, and attack, sword in hand, along the prow. Being built for fighting, and not for trade, they could sail round the clumsy merchantmen that hailed from the Thames, and, if pressed, could find safety in the shallow bays and mouths of rivers along the coast. Three grabs grappled the President at once, but the boarders were beaten back, and all three were blown up and sunk, on which the rest of the squadron made off. The President was set on fire in sixteen places, and lost eleven men killed and thirty-three wounded.

In the following year the Josiah ketch was attacked by the Sanganians while at anchor, and in the heat of the engagement blew up. A few of the crew saved themselves in a skiff, but the greater number perished, among them the commander, Lieutenant Pitts, whose father was known in Bombay as 'the drunken lieutenant.'

In September, 1685, the Phoenix, a British man-of-war that had been sent for a two-years' cruise in Indian waters, was attacked by a Sanganian vessel that mistook her for a merchantman. It was almost a calm, and Captain Tyrrell hoisted out his boats to capture the Sanganian ship, but they were beaten off, so he sunk her with a couple of broadsides. Forty-one of the pirates were picked up, but many of them refused quarter, and one hundred and seven were killed or drowned. The Phoenix had three men killed, one wounded, and two drowned. According to Hamilton, Sir George Byng, the first lieutenant, was dangerously wounded; but the log of the Phoenix is silent on that point, though it gives the names of the casualties.

Three years later, the Thomas, Captain Lavender, was less fortunate. Attacked by four Beyt ships, after a brave resistance, the Thomas took fire, and all on board perished.

Their depredations were not confined to the sea. In 1697 some Beyt pirates landed and plundered a village within sight of Broach.

But the losses occasioned by native pirates were at first nearly lost sight of in the more serious losses occasioned by European corsairs.

"As for those Sanganians and those Mallabars and professed pirates," wrote the Directors in 1699, "we see no cause why you should not wage an offensive as well as a defensive war against them when they fall in your way: but it is hardly worth the while to keep small vessels to look after them, for they are poor rogues and nothing to be got of them to answer any charge."

In 1707, the year of Aurungzeeb's death, the pirates of the Persian Gulf made a great haul of plunder. A squadron of them made their way to the Red Sea, waylaid the Mocha fleet, and returned home laden with booty. In the following year, a squadron of fourteen Arab ships from the Gulf, carrying from thirty to fifty guns, and with seven thousand men on board, appeared on the Malabar coast and surprised Honore, Mangalore, and Balasore(?); but the people, having lately been plundered by the Seedee, were ready with their arms, and beat them off with the loss of four or five hundred men.

"The Arab insolencies are often in the thoughts of the Court," wrote the London directors, "but the Court fears they shall not be able to do anything effectually to check their growing strength during the present war, which finds employment for all our naval force. Further, the Court sympathizes with Madras on their severe losses by the pirates, which puts a damp on the Company's trade, and affects their revenues."

Annoying as were the losses that were suffered from the chronic depredations of the Arabs and Sanganians, they sank into insignificance when compared with the troubles experienced on the rise to power of Conajee (Kanhojee) Angria. The growth of the Mahratta power under Sivajee had been accompanied by the formation of a formidable fleet which harried the coast of the Concan, and against which the Seedee chief, the Emperor's representative afloat, could hardly maintain himself. In 1698 Conajee Angria succeeded to the command of the Mahratta navy, with the title of Darya-Saranga. In the name of the Satara chief he was master of the whole coast from Bombay to Vingorla, with the exception of the Seedee's territory. Defenceless towns as far south as Travancore were attacked and plundered, while, at sea, vessels of native merchants were preyed upon. For a time he seems not to have meddled with the Company's vessels; as the size of his ships increased, he grew bolder, and, in 1702, his doings began to excite apprehension. In that year he was addressed to release a small trading vessel from Calicut with six Englishmen on board that had been seized and carried into one of his harbours. What had roused his anger against the English does not appear, but a month later we find him sending word to Bombay that he would give the English cause to remember the name of Conajee Angria, a threat that he carried out only too well. Two years later we find him described as a 'Rebel Independent of the Rajah Sivajee,' and Mr. Reynolds was deputed to find him and tell him that he could not be permitted searching, molesting, or seizing vessels in Bombay waters: to which he returned a defiant answer, that he had done many benefits to the English, who had broken faith with him, and henceforth he would seize their vessels wherever he could find them. In 1707 his ships attacked the Bombay frigate, which was blown up after a brief engagement, and for the next half-century Angrian piracy was a scourge to the European trade of the West coast. In 1710 Conajee Angria seized and fortified Kennery, and his ships fought the Godolphin for two days, within sight of Bombay, but were finally beaten off. He had now grown so powerful that, in 1711, the Directors were told he could take any ship except the largest Europe ones; "along the coast from Surat to Dabul he takes all private merchant vessels he meets."

Owing to the minority and imprisonment of Sivajee's grandson, Sahoojee,[4] the Mahrattas were torn by internal divisions, in which Conajee Angria played his part. On the death of Aurungzeeb, Sahoojee regained his liberty, and was seated on the guddee of Satara. Owing to his want of hardihood, and weakness of character, the dissensions continued, and Sivajee's kingdom seemed to be on the point of breaking up into a number of independent chiefships. Among those aiming at independence was Conajee Angria. In 1713, an army sent against him under the Peishwa, Bhyroo Punt, was defeated, and Bhyroo Punt taken prisoner. It was reported that Conajee was preparing to march on Satara. Ballajee Rao, who afterwards became Peishwa, was placed at the head of such troops as could hastily be collected together, and opened negotiations with Conajee. An accommodation was arrived at, by which Conajee agreed to acknowledge allegiance to Satara, in return for which he was confirmed in command of the fleet, with the title of Surkheil, and granted twenty-six forts and fortified places with their dependent villages.[5] The first result of this treaty was a war with the Seedee, who had enjoyed some of the places in question for a number of years. Conajee was supported by the Satara arms, and the Seedee was forced to submit to the loss. To all intents and purposes, Conajee was now an independent chief. He was the recognized master of a strip of territory between the sea and the western ghauts, extending from Bombay harbour to Vingorla, excluding the Seedee's territories, a tract, roughly speaking, about two hundred and forty miles in length by forty miles in breadth. With his harbours strongly fortified, while the western ghauts made his territories difficult of access by land, he was in a position to bid defiance to all enemies. Moreover, he was the recognized chief of the hardy coast population of hereditary seamen, who to this day furnish the best lascars to our Indian marine.

Angria's exploits on land had not interfered with his interests at sea. In November, 1712, he captured the Governor of Bombay's armed yacht, together with the Anne ketch from Carwar.[6] In the engagement, Mr. Chown, chief of the Carwar factory, was killed, and his young wife, a widow for the second time at the age of eighteen, became Angria's prisoner. A month later, the Somers and Grantham, East Indiamen, on their voyage from England to Bombay, were attacked by a grab and a gallivat belonging to Angria, off the coast north of Goa. Owing to there being a calm at the time, the East Indiamen were unable to bring their guns to bear: "for which reason and by y'e earnest intercession of y'e whole ship's company to y'e captain" the boats of the Somers and Grantham were hoisted out, and an attempt was made to board the pirates. The attack was beaten off with the loss of four men killed and seventeen wounded; but the pirates found the entertainment so little to their liking that they made off.

On hearing of the capture of the Governor's yacht, the Portuguese wrote to propose a joint attack on Angria. A few months before, he had captured the greater part of a Portuguese 'armado,' and disabled a thirty-gun man-of-war that was convoying it. Governor Aislabie declined the Portuguese offer, but it had the effect of bringing Angria to terms. Thinking it politic to make peace with the English, while his affairs with the Rajah of Satara were still unsettled, he sent a messenger to Bombay, offering to deliver up all vessels, goods, and captives taken from the Company, if an Englishman of credit was sent to him to settle on terms of peace for the future. Aislabie demanded that in future English ships should be free from molestation; that no ships of any nation coming into Bombay should be interfered with between Mahim and Kennery; that English merchants should have liberty of trade in Angria's ports, on payment of the usual dues; and that Angria should be responsible for any damage done in future by the ships belonging to his Mahratta superiors. In return, the Governor engaged to give passes only to ships belonging to merchants recognized by the Company, and to allow Angria's people full trading facilities in Bombay, on the usual dues being paid. To these terms Angria agreed, but failed to get the Governor's consent to additional terms of an egregious nature; that he should be supplied by the Company with powder and shot on payment; that a place should be assigned to him to make powder in; that if pressed by his enemies, he should be assisted by the Company; that merchant ships should not be convoyed in or out of Bombay harbour.

There remained the duty of sending him 'an Englishman of credit' to 'deliver him the articles.' The Council, 'knowing him to be a man of ill principles,' thought it improper to order any man on such a risky service, but Lieutenant Mackintosh, in consideration of a gratuity of one thousand rupees, undertook to go, and departed for Colaba, with Rs.30,000 as ransom for the European prisoners, the convention sealed with the Council's seal, and ships to bring back the restored goods.

And so for a time there was security from Angria's attacks, but, with his hands free on the Satara side, and in a more secure position than ever, it was not likely that the peace would be of long continuance. With a fleet of armed vessels carrying thirty and forty guns apiece, with Kennery island in his possession within sight of Bombay harbour, Angria and his successors continued to be a menace to the existence of Bombay, while the Angrian territory became the Alsatia of the Indian seas, where desperadoes of all nationalities were made welcome.

The next few years saw an enormous increase of piracy in the Indian seas. Angria was practically secure in his fastnesses along the coast, and plundered every ship not strong enough to defend itself. His finest vessels were commanded by Europeans, generally Dutch. The signing of the Peace of Utrecht brought a fresh swarm of European adventurers to reap the harvest of the seas. The privateersmen, disregarding the peace, under pretence of making war on France and Spain, plundered ships of all nations. Conden,[7] White, England, Taylor, and many others, made Madagascar their headquarters, and emulated the feats of Every and Kidd. The Beyt pirates were as mischievous as ever, while the Muscat Arabs could muster, in 1715, a ship of seventy-four guns, two of sixty, one of fifty, eighteen carrying thirty-two to twelve guns each, and a host of smaller vessels carrying never less than four guns. The Company was forced to rely on its own exertions, as there was not a single King's ship in Indian waters. The few armed vessels belonging to Bombay convoyed the more valuable vessels along the coast. The larger ships, that made the ocean voyage between India and Europe, sailed in company for mutual protection.

[1] Yule's "Marco Polo."

[2] The 'Kempason' and 'King Kemshew' of Downing.

[3] From the Arabic ghorab, 'a raven.'

[4] Known in the English annals of the time as the Sow Rajah, and the South Rajah.

[5] The principal forts were Kennery, Colaba, Severndroog, Viziadroog or Gheriah, Jyeghur, Deoghur, Manikdroog, Futtehghur, Oochitghur; and Yeswuntdroog.

[6] See page 264.

[7] The name of this pirate is also given as Congdon and Condent.



CHAPTER IV

AN ACTIVE GOVERNOR

Arrival of Mr. Boone as Governor—He builds ships and improves defences of Bombay—Desperate engagement of Morning Star with Sanganians—Alexander Hamilton—Expedition against Vingorla—Its failure—Hamilton made Commodore—Expedition against Carwar—Landing force defeated—Successful skirmish—Desertion of Goa recruits—Reinforcements—Landing force again defeated—The Rajah makes peace—Hamilton resigns Commodoreship—A noseless company—Angria recommences attacks—Abortive expedition against Gheriah—Downing's account of it—Preparations to attack Kennery.

On the 26th December, 1715, Bombay was en fete. The East Indiamen Stanhope and Queen had arrived from England, bringing the new Governor, Mr. Charles Boone, and three new councillors. His predecessor, Mr. Aislabie, had sailed for England in October. At the landing-place the new-comers were met by the late council and the principal inhabitants and merchants of Bombay. Thirty-one pieces of ordnance greeted them with a salvo, and, as they put foot on shore, three companies of soldiers saluted them with three volleys of small arms.

Boone was a man of very different stamp from his predecessors. The quarrels, intrigues, and self-seeking that had been so disastrous a feature during the tenure of office of Child, Waite, and Gayer were abhorrent to him. He was a zealous servant of the Company, whose interests he did his best to promote with the inadequate means at his disposal. In coming up the coast he had touched at the places where the Company had factories, and by the time of his arrival in Bombay he had fully realized that the pirate question demanded serious treatment.

Bombay was then an open town, only the factory being fortified. Soon after receiving Bombay from the Crown, the Directors had ordered it to be fortified, but had refused to employ skilled officers, because "we know that it is natural to engineers to contrive curiosities that are very expensive." The only protection to the town was such as was afforded by a number of martello towers along the shore. Nineteen years before Boone's time the Muscat Arabs had made a descent on Salsette, ravaging, burning, and plundering as they pleased, killing the Portuguese priests and carrying off fourteen hundred captives into slavery. Since then the formidable power of Angria had arisen, but nothing had been done to improve the defences of the settlement. Boone's first care was to trace out an enclosing wall, the building of which was to be paid for by contributions from the native merchants.

At the same time he set to work to build fighting ships. Within a few months of his arrival, the Britannia, eighteen guns, built at Carwar, the Fame, sixteen guns, built at Surat, and the Revenge, sixteen guns, built at Bombay, were flying the Company's flag. It was easier to build ships than to get sailors to man them, in view of the miserable pay given by the Company, and the attractions of service under native chiefs. Many of the crews were foreigners, who were ready enough to take service with Angria, if the inclination took them, and the bulk of the crews were Indian lascars. A few months later, the Victory, twenty-four guns, was launched, and two years after his arrival, Boone had at his disposal a fine fleet consisting of nineteen frigates, grabs, ketches, gallivats, and rowing galleys, carrying two hundred and twenty guns, besides a bomb vessel and a fireship. With such a force much ought to have been accomplished, but throughout his tenure of office Boone's efforts were crippled by the incompetency and indiscipline of those on whom he depended to carry out his designs: while the efficiency of the ships was diminished by their employment to carry cargoes along the coast.

In March, 1717, Bombay was stirred by the arrival of a private ship, the Morning Star, which had escaped the Beyt pirates after a long and severe encounter. The affair is described by Hamilton; but he modestly conceals the fact that he was himself in command of the Morning Star, of which he was chief owner. The ship was on its way from Gombroon to Surat, with a valuable cargo, of which the pirates had intelligence; and two squadrons were fitted out to waylay her. On the 20th March she was assailed by eight pirate ships, the largest of which was of five hundred tons, three others being of nearly three hundred tons each, and the rest galleys and shybars, or half-galleys. Between them they carried about two thousand men. On board the Morning Star there were only six Europeans, a number of native merchants, and about thirty-five or forty lascars, about half of whom were trustworthy. The first attack was made by the largest of the pirate ships alone, and was beaten off with loss to the assailants. In the fight, Hamilton had his thigh pierced through with a lance. For the rest of that day and the whole of the following no further attack was made; but the pirates hung around planning another assault. On the 22nd it was delivered. The two largest pirates ran the Morning Star aboard, one on her bow and one on her quarter, while three others poured their crews across the decks of their comrades. For four hours a desperate combat ensued, the six vessels being locked together. In the heat of the fight the native merchants went on board the pirates to try and ransom themselves, and were accompanied by half the lascars who deserted their commander; only the Europeans and seventeen lascars remained to fight the ship. She caught fire in three places, the poop and half-deck being burned through. The two pirate ships likewise caught fire, which caused them to slacken their efforts. In the confusion Hamilton managed to disengage his ship, and made sail; the five pirate ships being so entangled together that they were unable to pursue, and two of them so injured as to be in a sinking condition. So Hamilton brought off his ship in safety, after as gallant a feat of arms as was ever performed. Seven of his men were killed, and about the same number wounded, and finding no surgeon in Surat, he came on to Bombay. The native merchants who were carried off by the pirates were made to pay a ransom of L6000, and brought back word that great slaughter had been done on the pirates, while their Commodore lost his head, on returning to Beyt, for allowing so rich a prize to escape.

In April, Boone sent down the Fame and the Britannia, under Commodore Weekes, to attack Vingorla. They carried a company of sepoys under Stanton, one of the Company's military officers. On the way they were joined by the Revenge, and they also had with them ten or twelve gallivats. Weekes appears to have been timid and incompetent, while the force was altogether insufficient for the purpose. Several days were spent in trying to find a landing-place, without success, on the rocky, surf-beaten shore, while the fortress was bombarded from different points. A violent quarrel occurred between Weekes and Stanton, and the expedition returned to Bombay. This was the first, but not the most serious, of Boone's failures. It was characteristic of all the warlike expeditions he sent out, that while he was indefatigable in preparing armaments, all other details requisite to success were left to chance. The Council resolved that Weekes was unfit to be Commodore, and deposed him. To fill his place the veteran Alexander Hamilton, whose recent defence of the Morning Star had shown his fighting capacity, was induced to relinquish his private trade, and made Commander-in-Chief of all the Company's frigates on a salary of Rs.80 a month. His ship, the Morning Star, was also hired by the Council.

As soon as the monsoon was over, he was required to conduct an expedition to relieve the Carwar factory, which was beleaguered by the Sunda Rajah. The chief of the factory at this time was Mr. George Taylor. In the spring of 1717, a Bombay merchant's ship carrying an English pass and flying English colours had been seized by the Rajah, who imprisoned the crew. Demands for their surrender were being made, when, in May, the Elizabeth, belonging to Mr. Strutt, a private merchant at Surat, with L15,000 worth of treasure on board, went ashore near Carwar. Before more than half the treasure could be removed in safety to the factory, the Rajah sent down an armed force to seize the ship as jetsam, imprisoned the captain and crew, and laid siege to the factory. So Hamilton was sent down with a small squadron and some troops. Fortunately the factory was exceptionally well provisioned. On the 30th August, the Morning Star, with five gallivats and a sloop, arrived off Carwar, and blockaded the harbour till the arrival of Hamilton and the rest of the force on the 12th September. In command of the land force was Midford, one of the Company's factors. On the 13th, the troops were landed, under Midford and Stanton, in a heavy surf which drove the gallivats[1] on shore and upset them, throwing the whole party into the water. Midford, with some of his men, struggled on shore, but Stanton was taken out of the water senseless.[2] In the midst of this scene of confusion they were suddenly charged by the Rajah's horsemen. Half drowned, undisciplined, and with their ammunition spoiled by water, they could make only a feeble resistance. Midford and his English Serjeant, Hill, were desperately wounded and made prisoners, together with five Europeans and forty-seven topasses, while sixty men were killed and two gallivats lost. The wretched topasses had their noses cut off, five European heads were stuck up in derision before the factory, while Midford and Hill were alternately cajoled and threatened to induce them to take service with the Rajah.

In consequence of this disaster, the factory sued for peace, but the Rajah's terms were so humiliating that they were rejected, and it was decided to await further reinforcements from Bombay; but two months elapsed before their arrival. Meanwhile, a post of four hundred men was established on shore to guard the water-supply required for daily use. This gave rise to a skirmish, which put some heart into the invaders. Early one morning the post was attacked by the enemy, who found, to their surprise, that they had come under fire of the guns of some small vessels Hamilton had anchored close inshore. After an hour's cannonade, they broke and fled, pursued by the party on shore, who accounted for some two hundred of them. Encouraged by this success, Stanton continued to harass the Rajah by small night attacks, and by burning some of his villages, while at sea they did him more damage by intercepting his ships laden with salt and other necessaries, and especially three, bringing Arab horses from Muscat; though the captors were much troubled in providing water and provender for them. Meanwhile, the factory, which was five or six miles up the river, on the north bank, continued to be invested, and in order to prevent any communication with the squadron, a boom was laid across the river, commanded by a battery on the south side. In spite of this, communication was kept up through the Portuguese factory, and, more than once, Lieutenant Forbes contrived to pass in and out in a rowing-boat, but it was impossible to send in provisions.

About this time we find Hamilton reporting to Bombay—

"The recruits from Goa had a skirmish at break of day, on 28[th] September, with the enemy, wherein they behaved themselves bravely, but that on an attempt to burn some villages afterwards, they advised the enemy of it, and deserted with some arms and granadoes."

At last the looked-for reinforcements arrived from Bombay, under Captain Gordon, raising the whole strength of the expedition to 2250 men, including seamen, and a landing in force was determined on. Two of the prizes had been equipped as floating batteries, with shot-proof bulwarks, and were laid ashore to engage the Rajah's batteries. At four o'clock in the morning of the 16th November, 1250 men were put ashore, under Gordon, without hindrance from the enemy, who were ready to take to flight before such a force. Gordon's idea was to advance in a hollow square, which, in spite of Hamilton's sneer at him as a 'freshwater land officer,' was a good enough formation in the circumstances; but so much time was consumed in getting the men into the required formation, owing to the inexperience and want of discipline among both officers and men, that the enemy took heart again and advanced to meet them. When the square at last moved forward, with Gordon at their head, they were met with a hot fire, and Gordon was a mark for every aim. Before long he fell, shot in the breast, and Captain Smith, 'commonly called Old Woman,' on whom the command devolved, at once gave the word to retreat. According to Hamilton, 'he pulled off his red coat and vanished.' The Rajah's horsemen charged down, sword in hand, on the disordered ranks; the men threw down their arms and fled to the boats, leaving some two hundred and fifty of their number dead on the field. Fortunately, the floating batteries covered the embarkation, and prevented the enemy, who had suffered some loss, from gathering the spoils of the fallen. Eighty seamen were sent on shore, and brought back about two hundred muskets that had been thrown away in flight, most of them loaded. Thus ingloriously ended the attempts at landing.

The factory was by this time reduced to great straits for food, and this fresh disaster made peace imperative; the Rajah, in spite of his success so far, was anxious to come to an accommodation. The expense of maintaining so many armed men threatened to ruin him; the sea blockade and the detention of the horses were events on which he had not reckoned: and, worse still, his northern borders were harried by the Sow Bajah, 'which made him incline very much towards a peace:' so an agreement was quickly arrived at, and, on the 29th November, peace was proclaimed on easy terms for both parties. The expedition had cost the Company Rs.68,372 in hard cash. The inability of the landing force to advance beyond range of the ships' guns bears witness to their military incapacity.

His short experience of six months under the Company had completely disgusted Alexander Hamilton. Immediately on his return to Bombay he resigned his post as Commander-in-Chief of their ships-of-war, and resumed business as a private trader. His relations with the military officers during the expedition appear to have been satisfactory, but against Taylor, the head of the Carwar factory, he formulated a series of charges, accusing him of having been the cause of the trouble with the Rajah, through his indiscretion and bad faith. Taylor retaliated by accusing Hamilton of not having taken proper measures to relieve the factory. The Council investigated the charges, and contented themselves with cautioning Taylor to behave better in future.

The unfortunate topasses, who had had their noses cut off, were formed into a company of marines, and had their pay augmented to Rs.5 a month.[3] In this odd way the Bombay Marine Battalion appears to have had its origin.

We get some idea of the Sunda Rajahs of the period in a letter from Carwar, dated the 20th January, 1698.

"He" (the Sunda Rajah) "is so excessive craving after money, that he is about sacrificing twelve men and twelve women with child, to get two pots of treasure which one of his magicians tells him lies buried near his palace."

While these events were taking place at Carwar, Boone found himself involved in trouble with Angria. For some time after the treaty made by Aislabie, Angria had respected Bombay trading ships, but of late he had begun to show his teeth again. In the beginning of 1716 he had made prize of a Company's boat in sight of the harbour, and of another belonging to a private merchant. Four private ships from Mahim, valued at 30,000 xeraphims, were also captured by him, and his ships trading to Bombay refused to pay harbour dues. While Hamilton was engaged at Carwar, Angria's fleet attacked and took the Success, East Indiaman, on its way from Surat. With an impoverished exchequer, a force weakened and disorganized by the Carwar adventure, and no ammunition in his magazine, Boone found himself in no condition to take active measures for the present.

In the vain hope of bringing Angria to reason, a letter of expostulation was written, which met with a hostile response, quickly followed by the capture of the Otter, a Bengal ship. A second letter of defiance was received, so, on the 7th May, in spite of inadequate resources, the Council resolved on striking a blow. An expedition against Gheriah was determined on, and twenty gallivats were sent down, manned with sepoys, to retake, if possible, the captured vessels, "if they were attacked, to repel force by force, and if possible plunder his country." The official record of the expedition is as follows:—

4th June.—Two gallivats returned having plundered a town in Angria's country, and brought away sixteen prisoners.

9th June.—Returned our gallivats, having by mismanagement of the chief officer lost about fifty men and destroyed one town of Angria's.

Downing, who was present, gives an account of the attack on Gheriah, though he makes a mistake as to the date. As it is the only account we have of what took place, it will be better to give it in his own words.

"On the 10th of the same instant the President reviewed the land forces on shore, and saw all things put in good and sufficient order. Major Vane, chief engineer for the Company, had tried all the mortars and coehorns, then fitted and stocked for the expedition. Mr. John Minims was appointed chief engineer for the direction of these mortars and coehorns, which did great service. We proceeded down the coast for Gerey, which is not above twelve hours' sail from Bombay, where we with all our navy soon arrived, and run boldly into the harbour. Captain Berlew (Bellew?) Commodore, and ranged a line from the eastermost part of the fortifications to the outer part of the harbour. Keeping all our small galleys and galleywats on the off-side under shelter. But they had strong fortifications on both sides; so that we left our strongest ships in the harbour, to make a breach in the walls, in order to storm the castle. The rocks were very high, and so slippery that one could hardly stand without a staff, and consequently not a place convenient to draw men up in any posture of defence. We endeavoured to get the fireship in, but could not; for on the east part of the fort they had a cove or creek, where they had laid up a great part of their fleet, and had got a strong boom across the same; so that we could not annoy them any otherwise than by throwing our bombs and coehorns very thick into the garrison, which we did for a considerable time, and were in hopes after the first and second day's siege, that we should have drove them out of that strong castle, but we soon found that the place was impregnable. For as we kept throwing our shells as fast as we could in regular time, cooling our chambers before we loaded again; after we had beat over two or three houses in the castle, the shells fell on the rocks in the inside the castle, and their weight and force of falling would break them without so much as their blowing up.... As to storming the walls, they were so high that our scaling ladders would not near reach the top of them...."

"After the second day we landed all our forces, taking the opportunity of the tide.... We got them all on shore, and marched up the country, without molestation; only now and then the castle would let fly a shot or two, which did us small damage. We attempted to march the army down to their shipping, and to set them on fire; but when we came within a mile of the place the land was all swampy, and so very muddy by the spring tides flowing over that we could not proceed. On our retreat they galled us very much by firing from the castle, we being obliged to come near the castle walls to take our forces off again. Here the gallant Captain Gordon was slightly wounded again.... I question whether there were a hundred men in the castle during the time of the siege...."

"We drew off our forces on the 18th April, and went up to Bombay to repair our frigates and take care of our wounded men, of whom we had a considerable number."

In no way discouraged by the failure, Boone at once set to work to prepare for a fresh attack on Angria. This time it was determined that Kennery, within sight of Bombay harbour, should be the object of attack, and all through the monsoon preparations were made.

[1] Galleywats, or gallivats, were large rowing-boats with two masts, of forty to seventy tons, and carrying four to eight guns.

[2] In a letter, three years later, on the conduct of military officers, it is stated that "Stanton was drunk the time he should have gone upon action at Carwar."

[3] Bombay Consultations, 22nd January, 1718.



CHAPTER V

THE COMPANY'S SERVANTS

The Company's civil servants—Their comparison with English who went to America—Their miserable salaries—The Company's military servants— Regarded with distrust—Shaxton's mutiny—Captain Keigwin—Broken pledges and ill-treatment—Directors' vacillating policy—Military grievances— Keigwin seizes the administration of Bombay—His wise rule—Makes his submission to the Crown—Low status of Company's military officers—Lord Egmont's speech—Factors and writers as generals and colonels—Bad quality of the common soldiers—Their bad treatment—Complaint against Midford— Directors' parsimony.

It may be useful here to consider the difference in the men sent out, by England, to the East and West Indies during the seventeenth and part of the eighteenth centuries. To the West Indies went out representatives of the landed gentry from every county in England. Charters were obtained from the Crown, conferring estates, and sometimes whole islands, on men of ancient families. Slaves were cheap, and sugar cultivation brought in great wealth; the whole machinery of English life was reproduced in the tropics—counties, parishes; sheriffs, rectories, tithes, an established church, etc. The same causes that sent the Cavaliers to Virginia, sent a smaller migration to the West Indies. At the Restoration, the men who had conquered Jamaica for Cromwell were unwilling to return to England. Monmouth's rebellion and the expulsion of the Stuarts produced a fresh influx. But, whether Cavaliers or Roundheads or Jacobites, they came from the landholding class in England. The evidence may still be read in old West Indian graveyards, where the crumbling monuments show the carefully engraved armorial bearings, and the inscriptions record the families and homes in England from which those whom they commemorate had sprung.

In the East Indies nothing of the kind was possible. The acquisition of land for agriculture was out of the question. Trade was the only opening, and that was monopolized by the Company. Except as a servant of the Company, an Englishman had no legal status in the East. The chief profits went to the shareholders in London. If at the end of twenty-five years or so a Company's servant could return to England with a few thousands made by private trade, he was a fortunate man. Private traders and a few of the governors were alone able to make fortunes. The shaking of the pagoda tree did not begin till after Plassey. The result was that the men who went to India were of a totally different class from those who went to America and the West Indies; they were young men from small trading families in London, Greenwich, and Deptford, or from seaport towns like Bristol and Plymouth. Among them were some restless and adventurous spirits who found life in England too tame or too burdensome. For such men India was long regarded as a useful outlet. "If you cannot devise expedients to send contributions, or procure credit, all is lost, and I must go to the Indies," wrote William the Third, in bitter humour, at a desperate crisis in his affairs. Fryer tells us (1698) how the Company had entertained Bluecoat boys as apprentices for seven years, after which time they were to be made writers, if able to furnish the required security. The salaries they received from the Company were only nominal. A Bombay pay-list of January, 1716, shows us the official salaries at that time. The Governor received L300 per annum. Next to him came eight merchants, who with him constituted the Council, and received respectively, one L100, one L70, two L50, and four L40 each. Below them came three senior factors at L30 each, three junior factors at L15, and seven writers at L5.[1] The tale is completed by the accountant and the chaplain, who received L100 each. A writer on entering the service had to find security for L500, which was increased to L1000 when he rose to be a factor. The unmarried servants of the Company were lodged at the Company's expense; the married ones received a lodging allowance, and a public table was maintained. In fact, the Company treated them as if they were apprentices in a warehouse in St. Paul's Churchyard, and, when the conditions of their service are taken into account, it is not surprising that there was a considerable amount of dishonesty among them. These conditions apart, they were neither worse nor better than the men of their time. As the original Company gained stability by the incorporation of its upstart rival established in 1698,[2] which put an end to a condition of affairs that promised to be ruinous to both, and by the grant of perpetuity issued in the year following incorporation, there was a gradual improvement in the quality of their civil servants. Though no increase in the salaries of junior officers took place for many years afterwards, the greater facilities opened to them, for trade, attracted better men into the service, among them some cadets of good family.

Miserable as was the display of military incompetency at Carwar and on subsequent occasions, it is hardly surprising when the condition of the Company's soldiers is considered. The Company's policy was to keep officers and men in a state of degrading subjection; to prevent the officers from having any authority over their men, while pledges as to pay were often broken.

When the Company first received Bombay from the Crown, the royal troops in the island were invited to remain in the Company's service on the same rank and pay, on the condition that they might resign when they pleased—a condition that made discipline impossible. The greater number of them accepted the terms. Two years later, a company was sent out under Captain Shaxton to fill vacancies. Shaxton was evidently a man of good abilities and position; one who had been trained in the stern military school of the civil wars. He was to be a factor in addition to his military command, and if, after trial, his qualifications would admit of it, he was to hold the office of Deputy Governor. The men were engaged for three years.

By the time he had been two years in Bombay, Shaxton found that, under the penurious rule of the Company, efficiency was impossible, while the two European companies maintained for the defence of the island could only be kept up to strength by filling the vacancies with natives. Four years later,[3] a mutiny broke out, in which Shaxton supported the demands of his men. They complained that a month's pay, promised to them on engagement, was due to them, and claimed their discharge, as their time of service had expired. President Aungier behaved with prudence and firmness. He pacified the men by granting their demands, and brought the ringleaders to trial by court-martial. Three of them were condemned to death, of whom one, Corporal Fake, was shot, and the other two pardoned. Shaxton was then brought to trial, found guilty of some of the charges, and sent to England for punishment according to the King's pleasure.

Two years later a troop of horse was formed, and sent out under Captain Richard Keigwin, who was to command the garrison on a salary of L120 a year. Keigwin was a man of good Cornish family, who had entered the King's navy in 1665, and taken part in Monk's memorable four days' battle against the Dutch in the following year. When St. Helena was recaptured from the Dutch (1673), he had distinguished himself in command of the boats that made the attack, and was left as Governor of the island till it was taken over by the East India Company. As a reward for his services, the Company made him their military commandant at Bombay. Two years later again, the Company, in a fit of economy, reduced their military establishment to two lieutenants, two ensigns, and one hundred and eighty-eight rank and file. The troop of horse was disbanded, Keigwin was discharged from the service, and thirty soldiers, who had been detached to Surat to defend the factory against Sivajee, were refused any extra allowance, which caused much discontent. Before long the Directors became alarmed at the defenceless state of Bombay, and sent out Keigwin again with troops and artillery, to have the chief military command and the third seat in Council. To meet the expense, the other officers were made to suffer in rank and pay, and the whole of the small force fell into a dangerous state of discontent. Among other reductions in the pay of their military force, the Directors reduced the rate of exchange, a measure that affected the men as well as the officers; and, not content with making these changes prospective, insisted that the officers should refund the surplus of what they had received. Keigwin also had his personal grievance. He claimed subsistence money, like the rest of the merchants and factors, the Company's table having been abolished.[4] After much altercation, a grant was made to him, on the condition that it would have to be refunded if disallowed by the Directors. He was sick of the Company, with their greed and their selfish economies at the expense of their servants, their broken pledges and stupid changes of policy in military affairs, the intrigues of Sir John Child at Surat, and the schemes of his brother, Sir Josiah Child, in England. Like many other Englishmen, he considered the Company was an anomaly, dangerous to the authority of the Crown, and his distrust was increased by the mismanagement and corruption that existed among their servants in the East.

On the 27th December, 1683, he seized Mr. Ward, the Deputy Governor, and such of the Council as sided with him, assembled the troops, and issued a proclamation declaring the Company's authority at an end, and that the island was henceforth under the King's protection. By general consent he was elected Governor, and at once proceeded to restore order. The troops and inhabitants were called on to take an oath of allegiance to the King, and to renounce their obedience to the Company, a demand that was universally complied with. Officials were appointed, grievances were redressed, and trade was encouraged, to be carried on without molestation so long as Keigwin's authority was not challenged. Money arriving from England was lodged in the fort, with a declaration that it would be employed only in defence of the island, and letters were addressed by Keigwin to the King and the Duke of York, stating his determination to hold the island for the King till his Majesty's pleasure should be known, together with the causes that had led to the revolt; one of them being the necessity of preserving it from becoming a conquest to the native powers.

Never had Bombay been so well governed as it was during the eleven months of Keigwin's rule. The Seedee sent a friendly deputation to him. From the Rajah of Satara he obtained confirmation of the articles agreed on by Sivajee, a grant for the establishment of factories at Cuddalore and Thevenapatam, an exemption from duties in the Carnatic, and the payment of twelve thousand pagodas in compensation for losses sustained at different places formerly plundered by the Mahrattas. There was no disorder or bloodshed; the only thing of the kind that has been recorded being a wound received by Keigwin himself in a quarrel at table. So great was the enthusiasm for Keigwin, that when, first commissioners, and then Sir John Child himself, came from Surat to try and re-establish the Company's authority, it was with difficulty that the crews of their vessels could be prevented from joining Keigwin and his adherents.[5] It was well for the Company that he was a man of solid character and not an adventurer. On the arrival of Sir Thomas Grantham from England in November, 1684, Keigwin surrendered the island to him, as a King's officer, on condition of a free pardon for himself and his associates, and proceeded to England.[6] The Company's treasure was intact, and, except for the dangerous spirit against the Company that had been aroused, Bombay was in a better state than it had been at the time of the revolt.

After this the Company decided to have nothing more to do with professional soldiers. It was the time when the great feeling of hostility to a standing army was growing up in England, under the mischievous preaching of agitators, which reached its height thirteen years later. They took into their service men of low origin, devoid of military training, who would have no influence over their men, and who would submit to any treatment. Boone, writing to the Directors in 1720, says—

"It is well known the Company's servants, in all the settlements I have been in, seldom keep company with the military, especially the Council. Now and then they may invite one to take a dinner, which is a favour; but the men which he distinguishes are not company for your second."

The social status of the Company's officers appears later, when an Act was passed to extend the Mutiny Act to the East Indies and St. Helena, in consequence of the Company's right to exercise martial law having been questioned. In opposing the bill, the Earl of Egmont said—

"If I am rightly informed, there are some of the Company's officers of a very low character. One of them was formerly a trumpeter at a raree show in this country, and when he was discharged that honourable service he listed himself in the Company's service as a common soldier, and I suppose was made an officer by one of those governors for trumpeting to him better than any other man could do it in the country. Another, I am told, was a low sort of barber—one of our shave-for-a-penny barbers—here in London. And another of them was a butcher here, and when he is not upon duty I am told he still exercises his trade there. Can we think that such officers will not be despised by gentlemen who have the honour to bear his Majesty's commission?"

He based his opposition to the bill on the unfitness of the Company's officers to exercise authority, and to the bad relations sure to arise between them and the King's officers.[7]

In quarters they were not allowed to give any orders to their men, or to have any control over them, the most trivial matters being kept in the hands of the merchants and factors. To such an extent was this carried, that for fifty years afterwards no military officer was allowed to give out the parole and countersign.[8] Their only duties were to command the men when under arms. Commissions were granted and taken away by the Council without reference to the Directors.

Under such treatment there could be neither self-respect nor pride in their profession. Of their general behaviour, we may gather some idea from an entry concerning Lieutenant Parker at this time. He was arraigned before the Council for drinking, brawling with his men, and frequenting base houses, for which the Council deprived him of his commission; but as he was 'an extraordinary person in disciplining (drilling) soldiers,' he was appointed adjutant of the regiment till he should give a specimen of improved behaviour. When there was fighting to be done, the command was taken by factors and writers, who were given temporary commissions as captains, colonels, etc. Midford, Brown, Cowan, and others we hear of in command of troops, were only soldiers for the occasion. So far back as 1676 the Directors had enjoined on their civil servants to acquire a knowledge of military discipline, that in the event of any sudden attack they might bear arms. Clive was far from being the first of the Company's servants to lay down the pen for the sword, but he was the first to do so permanently.

The inferior quality of the Company's officers through the first half of the century is reflected in the fact that among the many who distinguished themselves in the hard fighting that went on from 1751 to 1764, we find only two who had not graduated in the King's service. These were Clive, who entered the Company's service as a writer, and Preston, who was sent to India as a civil engineer. Of the Company's purely military officers we hear little or nothing.

The men were worse than the officers. Instead of the sturdy agricultural labourers and farmers' sons that filled the ranks of the King's regiments, they were 'the refuse of the vilest employments in London,' as Orme described them fifty years later; 'the worst of their kind,' according to Clive. Of all nationalities, ages, and colours, badly armed, badly fed, and badly paid, they were almost without discipline. The native chiefs vied with each other in getting Europeans into their service, so that none but the most wretched would stay to serve the Company. At the best they were only factory guards, and maintained for purposes of escort and display; and it was always the Company's practice to retain officers and men in their service up to any age. On one occasion we find Boone writing to the Directors that 'it would not do to disgust the men too much.' Miserable as was their pay of sixteen laris[9] a month, we find them complaining to the Council that Midford had kept back two laris a month from each man. To which Midford replied that he never received nor took any more profit from the soldiers than what other officers did, all through the island of Bombay; with which answer the Council was apparently satisfied. The real grievance of the men appears to have been that Midford, not being a military officer, was not entitled to make the deduction. The Directors were careful in enjoining that powder was not to be wasted at exercise; "but sometimes the men must be used to firing, lest in time of action they should start at the noise or the recoil of their arms." To bring such officers and men into the field was to invite disaster. Soldiers are not made by dressing men in uniform and putting muskets into their hands.



[1] According to the Company's instructions in 1675, writers were to receive no salary at all for the first five years, and after that L10 a year. In 1699 the Court of Directors settled the salaries of merchants at L60, factors at L40, and writers at L20 per annum (Bruce); but in 1716 the salaries were as above stated.

[2] The London Company and the English East India Company were amalgamated in 1708.

[3] 1674.

[4] It was afterwards re-established, and again abolished in Boone's time.

[5] Bombay was subordinate to the Surat factory till 1685.

[6] Four years after returning to England, Keigwin was given the command of a frigate. In 1690 he accompanied the expedition against the French in the West Indies, and fell at the head of his men in the assault of Basseterre, St. Christopher's.—Dic. Nat. Bio.

[7] Hansard, 1754.

[8] The first General Order issued by the Commander-in-Chief in Madras was dated the 22nd November, 1772.

[9] The lari was the well-known hook money of the Persian Gulf. It was worth about sixpence.



CHAPTER VI

EXPEDITION AGAINST KENNERY

Sivajee's occupation of Kennery—A naval action—Minchin and Keigwin—Bombay threatened—The Seedee intervenes—Conajee Angria occupies Kennery—Boone sails with the expedition—Manuel de Castro—Futile proceedings—Force landed and repulsed—Second landing—Manuel de Castro's treachery—Gideon Russell—Bad behaviour of two captains—Defeat—Attack abandoned—The St. George—The Phram—Manuel de Castro punished—Bombay wall completed—Angria makes overtures for peace—Boone outwitted.

The islet of Kennery, about ten miles from the mouth of the harbour, and three from the mainland, had long been a thorn in the side of Bombay trade. At the time of the first occupation of Bombay it was uninhabited. In 1679 it was suddenly occupied by Sivajee, who began to fortify it. The danger of this to Bombay was at once seen, and part of the garrison was sent in small vessels, afterwards reinforced by the Revenge, frigate, to intercept the communication between Kennery and the mainland. On the 18th October, the Mahratta fleet bore down and engaged. In half an hour the Dove, grab, hauled down its colours and was captured, and all the smaller vessels made sail for Bombay, leaving the Revenge, like its more famous namesake, alone amidst its foes. Fortunately, there were on board two sturdy Englishmen, Minchin, the Company's commodore, and Keigwin, the commander of the garrison. Undismayed by the odds against them, Minchin and Keigwin gallantly fought their ship; all attempts at boarding were repelled with loss, five of the Mahratta gallivats were sunk, and, at last, the whole Mahratta fleet took to flight, pursued by the Revenge, and sought refuge in the shallow waters at the mouth of the Negotna river. Two days later, they came out again, but found Keigwin and Minchin so ready to engage, that they desisted from the attempt to reach Kennery. In this way, for some time, a partial blockade of the Negotna river was maintained by the Revenge, which had been reinforced by the Hunter frigate, and a number of small vessels from Bombay. In spite of all efforts, a few Mahratta vessels from time to time evaded the blockade, and kept Kennery supplied with provisions and arms. This unexpected opposition from a company of traders stirred Sivajee to settle the matter by an attack on Bombay, which was in no condition to make any resistance. He marched five thousand men to Kalyan, and demanded permission, of the Portuguese, to land at Thana and march on Bombay. The permission was refused, but the Bombay Council were so alarmed lest the Portuguese should ultimately give way, that they opened negotiations with Sivajee. Meanwhile, his seizure of Kennery had alarmed the Seedee, who sent his fleet into Bombay harbour, and offered his co-operation to the President, who accepted it with some misgivings. Before long, it was discovered that the Seedee intended to keep Kennery for himself, if he could capture it, which seemed to the Council as bad as if it were in Sivajee's hands, so the English squadron held aloof, while the struggle for Kennery continued between the Seedee and the Mahrattas. Sivajee was too much occupied with other matters to trouble about Bombay, and in March, 1680, a treaty of peace was made. His struggle with the Seedee for the possession of Kennery went on, with results that are not recorded; but eventually both parties appear to have left the place to itself. In 1710, Conajee Angria seized the islet and fortified it.

By the end of October all was ready. The ships from England, with the merchandise and money for the yearly investment, had arrived, and joined in the expedition. In order to put an end to the quarrels among commanders that had marked the failure of former expeditions, Boone resolved to take the command himself; so, on the 1st November, he hoisted his flag on board the Addison, East Indiaman, having with him Mr. Walter Brown and other factors and writers. There was at this time in the service a renegade Portuguese, one Manuel de Castro, who had been in Angria's service before Boone had given him employment. He had been present at Hamilton's attack on Carwar, when his misbehaviour had been such as to make all present distrust him. By his boasts of his knowledge of Angria's harbours he had gained the confidence of the Council, and had been appointed Commodore of the Company's gallivats. But several of the English captains refused to serve under him, protesting that they knew his character better than the Governor did; so Boone contented himself by giving him command of only five gallivats. On the 2nd, the squadron weighed anchor, and, on the following day anchored off Kennery. It consisted of the Addison and Dartmouth, East Indiamen, the Victoria frigate, the Revenge and Defiance grabs, the Fame galley, the Hunter ketch, two bombketches, and forty-eight gallivats. On the 6th they were joined by the Morrice, and on the 12th by the Stanhope, East Indiamen. Directly after anchoring, a futile bombardment was opened on the Kennery fort, but the distance was so great that nothing was effected but waste of ammunition. The ships then stood in closer, and opened fire again, while the Dartmouth ran in and fired several broadsides. While this was going on, the Victory and Revenge were signalled to attack two grabs that were seen coming out of the harbour; but, on fourteen gallivats coming out to assist the grabs, they were recalled. The 4th was spent in preparations for a landing, and the gallivats rowed round the island to choose a landing-place. It was finally arranged that the soldiers and marines should land to windward, while the sepoys, covered by the fire of grabs and gallivats, should land at the opposite side of the Island, to leeward. But when the moment arrived, next morning, the sepoys absolutely refused to land, in spite of the severest measures.[1] The soldiers and marines, three hundred in number, landed, but were beaten back with a loss of eighteen killed and fifty wounded, "more by ye force of stones hoven from ye rocks than fier arms." Some loss was occasioned by the bursting of a gun on board one of the gallivats. Manuel de Castro, with his squadron of gallivats, had been ordered to lie off the mouth of the harbour and prevent reinforcements reaching Kennery. Notwithstanding, he allowed five of Angria's gallivats to slip in with ammunition and provisions for the besieged, of which they were believed to stand much in need.

The 6th was occupied in making preparations for another attack, and volunteers were called for from among the sailors, for which service they were to receive forty rupees each, which, at the existing rate of exchange, was reckoned equal to five pounds sterling. The loss of a leg or arm was to be recompensed by a sum of L30 on return to England, and employment for life under the Company. The married men were promised, if killed, that their widows should receive L30, with L10 for each child. These offers procured some forty volunteers, who were to be led by Gideon Russell, mate of the Morrice.

Early next morning the attacking party were put into the boats, to land under cover of the fire of the Britannia, Fame and Revenge; when it was found that a strong current prevented disembarkation, and the boats were forced to lie off under a heavy fire, until the tide changed. To make matters worse, Manuel de Castro ran two of his gallivats ashore under the guns of the castle, so that fifty or sixty men were killed or wounded before a landing was effected. At ten o'clock the boats pulled for the landing-place; but the tide was still running so strongly that they were thrown into confusion, and many of the attacking party never landed at all. The sepoys again refused to land. A small party of seamen, headed by Gideon Russell, attacked the gateway under a shower of shot and stones, and, before long, Russell fell, grievously wounded. He was carried back to the Morrice, where he died next day. The seamen continued their attack under Clement Downing, backed by Major Stanton, Captain Coxsidge, and the soldiers. John Steele, the carpenter's mate of the Morrice, with his broad axe hewed at the gate and nearly effected an entrance, when the cowardice of two of Stanton's captains caused the attack to miscarry. One of them threw down his sword, which was carried to Boone, who, on return to Bombay, ordered him to be broke at the head of the garrison. The other, somewhat more courageous, came boldly up to the gate and fired his pistol; but the bullet rebounded and struck him on the nose; upon which he ordered the drums to beat a retreat, and the soldiers got back to the boats, leaving a small handful of seamen to prosecute the attack. These, in turn, seeing the hopelessness of any further attempts, retreated to their boats, and rowed off under a heavy fire, leaving many wounded to be massacred by the enemy. It was the old story, repeated so often on these occasions; a badly planned attack carried out half-heartedly by undisciplined men, under one or two resolute leaders; as soon as the leaders were disabled, the rest retreated with more or less loss.

A desultory bombardment was continued for some days, and some shots were fired against Colaba; but Kennery was now well provided with ammunition, and could return two shots for every one fired by the Bombay squadron. On the 11th, Angria sent a flag of truce to offer terms, which were rejected. On the 14th, Boone returned to Bombay in the Dartmouth, seeing that nothing more could be effected, and, on the 24th, the whole squadron made sail for Bombay, after exhausting all their ammunition. Their return seems to have been hastened by the appearance of Angria's fleet from Gheriah, which had Bombay for a time at its mercy.

The failure of the attack on Kennery, under his own eyes, taught Boone that, without some assistance from England, he could hope to accomplish little against Angria, whose ships now lay off the harbour, making it difficult for trading vessels to go in or out. Three times the Morrice got under way, and three times had to return, before she could start on her return voyage to Europe. In consequence of Boone's representations, the Directors sent out the St. George, a sixty-gun ship, to act as a guardship for the harbour. Her arrival only served to show the incompetency of many of the Company's naval officers at that time. In laying the ship on shore to scour its bottom after the voyage from England, its back was broken, and the St. George became a total wreck.

Meanwhile, with an eye to a future campaign against Angria's strongholds, Boone set to work to build a floating battery. The Phram, as it was called, was designed with shot-proof sides to carry twelve 48-pdrs.; but, as will appear before long, its fate was as ignominious as that of the St. George.

His own observation had convinced Boone of the treachery of Manuel de Castro. On his return to Bombay, the renegade was put in irons, and shipped off to St. Helena. There he was detected in fomenting a mutiny among the convicts and slaves. He was deported, and before long made his way back into Angria's service.

Meanwhile, the wall round the town, the building of which had been one of Boone's earliest projects, was nearing completion. It was built entirely, or almost entirely, by contributions from the native merchants, and Boone reported to the Directors that, when the whole space was built over, the ground-rents would realize Rs.8890 a year for the Company's treasury. The church also, the building of which had been started by Aislabie, was finished about this time. The original chapel inside the factory was no longer able to accommodate the increasing English population, besides being in a ruinous condition.

Like other chiefs along the coast, the Bombay authorities gave passes to traders living under their protection, and in their warfare with Angria they had adopted the practice of other chiefs, of not recognizing the immunity of vessels that did not carry passes from themselves. We find at this time the Kattiawar traders complaining of two ships having been seized that held protective passes from Angria. In reply they were told that they must have English passes. The Company was at war with Angria, and his power was increased by those who paid him for protection. So, like all neutrals, they had to suffer in a war with which they had no concern.

Apprehensive of a fresh attack after the monsoon, Angria opened delusive negotiations for a treaty of peace, through his feudal lord, Sahoojee. Boone was regularly taken in, and announced with satisfaction, to the Directors, that a treaty had been made, under which Angria contracted to restore all ships and vessels he had taken, except the Success, which was hopelessly decayed, for which he was to pay Rs.10,000, or to restore goods to that amount. In lieu of captured cargoes he was to pay Rs.50,000, or to give goods of equal value, and within two years he was to pay Rs.10,000 more, for which payment Sahoojee undertook to be surety. Boone reported that he had captured from Angria prizes to the value of Rs.9785, which, together with the above payment, and a two-per-cent. war-tax on the people of Bombay, would go some way to recoup the Company for their losses and the cost of the expeditions. Altogether, the prospects of increased trade were brighter, but, so long as Angria held Colaba, he considered there could be no permanent peace. He was soon undeceived. As soon as Angria saw that he was safe from attack for another season, he repudiated the treaty, and by the beginning of the new year his piratical doings were renewed.

[1] "Killed and wounded several of them, but all to no purpose."—Log of the Addison.



CHAPTER VII

EXPEDITION AGAINST GHERIAH

Trouble with the Portuguese—Madagascar pirates again—Loss of the Cassandra—Captain Macrae's brave defence—The one-legged pirate—Richard Lazenby—Expedition against Gheriah—Mr. Walter Brown—His incompetency—Gordon's landing—Insubordination and drunkenness—Arrival of the Phram—General attack—Failure—The Kempsant's alliance—Attack on Deoghur—The Madagascar pirates, England and Taylor—Ignominious flight—Fate of the Phram—Brown despatched south again—The pirates at Cochin—They take flight to Madagascar—Their rage against Macrae and England—England marooned—Taylor takes Goa ship—Rich prize—Governor Macrae.

In addition to other embarrassments, Boone became involved, at this time, in a quarrel with the Portuguese. The surrender of Bombay to the English had, from the first, been extremely distasteful to the Goa authorities, who understood the value of the place better than did the authorities in Lisbon; and they had so interpreted the treaty that gave Bombay to the English that, at the time of transfer, they had managed to retain everything except the island of Bombay. The English had been obliged to renounce all claim to Salsette and other dependencies of Bombay, or to exclusive possession of the harbour, and to agree that the Portuguese residents should be exempted from the payment of customs, and have full liberty of trade with the Portuguese establishments in Salsette. This last condition had been repudiated in England, but continued to be claimed by the Portuguese, who harassed the position of the English by levying duties, and impeding the passage of supplies, while they gave asylum to deserters and runaways of all kinds. By the treaty, toleration for the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion had been secured; and there had remained in Bombay a large establishment of Franciscan friars, who made no efforts to conceal their hostility to the Company's government. In addition to other treacherous acts, Boone had to complain of the friars tampering with his soldiers and slaves, and encouraging them to desert. In order to put an end to the evil, he banished all the Portuguese friars, and installed in their place an Italian bishop and some Italian Carmelite friars. This was held by the Goa authorities to be an infringement of the rights of the King of Portugal. In retaliation, all Roman Catholics in Bombay were forbidden to recognize the authority of the Italian bishop and friars, and the Portuguese General of the North was ordered to prohibit all intercourse with Bombay, and to inflict the severest penalties on all persons attempting to go there or to leave it.

"Those who are captured shall be whipped and put in the galleys for five years, and, if of noble birth, they shall pay the sum of one thousand xeraphims in lieu of working in the galleys, and shall be transported for five years to the fortress of Diu."[1]

It seemed as if Boone was to have a Portuguese war added to his other troubles. Fortunately, more moderate counsels prevailed, and, in September, a conciliatory letter was written to Boone by the Viceroy, announcing his approaching departure. A few days later, the new Viceroy, Francisco Jose de Sampaio e Castro, arrived in Goa. While the quarrel was in progress, a native ship from Surat, bound for Jeddah, was captured off Bassein by a European pirate ship. This was probably England's ship, Victory, of which we shall hear more directly. The ship and cargo, valued at twelve lakhs, were carried off, and the passengers and crew put ashore at Malabar Hill.

A month later, Boone received intelligence of a serious loss to the Company's trade from the Madagascar pirates. On the 7th August, the Greenwich, Captain Kirby, and the Cassandra, Captain James Macrae, bringing the usual yearly investment for Bombay and Surat, were in Johanna roads, engaged in watering. At anchor, near them, was an Ostend ship that had called for the same purpose. A few days before, they had received intelligence that a French pirate, Oliver la Bouche,[2] had run on a reef off Mayotta, and lost his ship, and was engaged in building a new one. Thinking that the opportunity of catching the pirates at a disadvantage should not be lost, Macrae and Kirby agreed to go in search of them and attack them. They had just completed their arrangements when two strange sails hove in sight. They proved to be the Victory, a French-built ship of forty-six guns, commanded by the well-known pirate, Edward England, and the Fancy, a Dutch-built ship of twenty-four guns, commanded by Taylor. Macrae and Kirby prepared to give them a hot reception, the Ostend ship promising to stand by them. So far were they from simply trying to make their escape, that they looked forward to the handsome reward the Company would give them for the capture of the pirates. From what followed it is easy to see that Macrae's was the guiding spirit in this. Cables were cut, and they stood out to sea, but, owing to the light baffling winds, made little way. By next morning the pirates had closed, and bore down with a black flag (skull and crossbones) at the main, a red flag at the fore, and the cross of St. George at the ensign staff. The Greenwich and the Ostender, having a better wind than the Cassandra, had got some distance away. In vain Macrae fired gun after gun at the Greenwich to make Kirby heave to. In a most dastardly way the captain of the Greenwich pursued his course, taking the Ostender with him, till he had got well to windward; when, at a distance of two or three miles, he hove to and watched the fate of the Cassandra.

The Cassandra was a new ship of 380 tons, on her first voyage. Macrae was a thoroughly good seaman, with a fine crew that were attached to him, and was resolved to fight his ship to the last. Early in the engagement he gave the Victory some shots between wind and water, which made England keep off till he had stopped the leaks. Taylor got out the boats of the Fancy and tried to tow her alongside, to carry the Cassandra by boarding, but such good practice was made by the Cassandra's marksmen that the design was given up. At the end of three hours the Victory had repaired damages, and was closing again. Macrae had lost so many of his crew, that, giving up all hope of assistance from Kirby, he determined to run his ship ashore. The Fancy, which drew less water, followed with the intention of boarding, but got aground within pistol-shot, with her bows towards the Cassandra's broadside, and the action recommenced hotter than ever. There the two ships lay, both fast aground, pelting each other furiously, till the crew of the Fancy, finding the Cassandra's fire too hot for them, left their guns and ran below. Had Kirby come to his assistance at this moment, Macrae's triumph would have been assured; but this was the moment chosen by Kirby to bear up and shape his course for Bombay. England in the Victory, seeing that the Greenwich might be disregarded, sent three boats full of men to reinforce the Fancy; by which time there had been so many killed and wounded on board the Cassandra, that the crew, losing heart, refused to fight the ship any longer. Thirteen had been killed and twenty-four wounded, among the latter Macrae himself, who had been struck by a musket ball on the head; so, some in the long boat and some by swimming reached the shore, leaving on board three wounded men who could not be moved, and who were butchered by the pirates.

Not deeming it safe to linger on the coast, Macrae and his crew hastened inland, reaching the town of the local chief, twenty-five miles off, the following morning. Exhausted with fatigue and wounds, almost naked, they were in a pitiable condition. The natives received them hospitably, supplied their wants to the best of their ability, and refused to surrender them to the pirates, who offered a reward for them.

After the first rage of the pirates, at the heavy losses they had sustained, had abated, and soothed, no doubt, by the capture of a fine new ship with L75,000 on board in hard cash, Macrae ventured to open communications with them. Several among them had sailed with him, and his reputation for considerate treatment of his men was well known. With all their faults, they were not all of them men to resent greatly, after their first fury had cooled, the loss that had been suffered in fair fight; so England gave him a promise of safety, and he ventured himself among them. The Cassandra and the Fancy had been floated, and Macrae was entertained on board his own ship with his own liquors and provisions. His position was not without danger, as there were many brutal fellows among the pirates. England, who had a reputation for good treatment of prisoners, befriended him; but Taylor, whose influence was greatest among the most brutal of the rovers, insisted he should be made an end of. In the midst of the quarrel, a fierce-looking fellow with a wooden leg and his belt full of pistols, intervened, asking with many oaths for Macrae, who thought his last moment had come.[3] He was pleasantly surprised when the ruffian took him by the hand, and swore with many oaths that he would make mince-meat of the first man that hurt him; and protested, with more oaths, that Macrae was an honest fellow, and he had formerly sailed with him. So the dispute ended. Taylor was plied with punch till he was prevailed on to consent that the Fancy, together with some of the Cassandra's cargo, should be given to Macrae, and before he could recover from his carouse, Macrae had got safe to shore again.

As soon as the pirates had left the coast, in the Victory and the Cassandra, Macrae set to work to patch up the much-battered Fancy, and in a few days sailed for Bombay, with forty-one of his ship's company, among whom were two passengers and twelve soldiers. After forty-eight days of terrible sufferings almost naked, half starved, and reduced to a daily pint of water each, they reached Bombay on the 26th October. It would have been well for the Company if they had had more captains like Macrae. His arrival brought much obloquy on Kirby, whose shameful desertion was now made known.

The pirates only detained one of the Cassandra's crew—Richard Lazenby, the carpenter's mate, whom they forced unwillingly to go with them. There is still extant a curious account by Lazenby of his cruise with the pirates. He tells of the cruel tortures inflicted on all captured natives; how on the Malabar coast they had friends, especially among the Dutch at Cochin, who bought their plunder, supplied them with provisions, and gave them information of armed ships to be avoided, and rich prizes to be intercepted. Those who wished to retire from the trade were given passages to Europe with their ill-gotten gains, in French ships; and finally, after witnessing the capture of the Portuguese Viceroy, to be related presently, he was put ashore at Bourbon, whence, in time, he made his way to England.

Since the renewal of war by Angria, at the beginning of the year, Boone had resolved to strike another blow against Gheriah, and all through the monsoon preparations had been made for action in September. Great things were expected of the Phram, which was, however, not ready when the expedition sailed. The direction of affairs was, on this occasion, entrusted to Mr. Walter Brown, who was styled for the occasion "Admiral of the Fleet, and Commander-in-Chief of all the forces." On the 13th September anchor was weighed, and on the morning of the 19th they arrived off Gheriah. At Dabul, where they had called in for news, they learned that the Phram and the Chandos might soon be expected, but that there was no prospect of Captain Johnson's machine being ready to take part in the expedition. What Captain Johnson's machine was we do not learn, but the intelligence 'mightily disconcerted the soldiery.' The squadron consisted of the London, which acted as flagship, the Victory frigate, the Revenge and Defiance grabs, the Hunter galley, two gallivats, a bombketch, a fireship, and a number of fishing-boats for landing troops. The troops for the expedition consisted of 350 soldiers and topasses and 80 chosen sepoys. Brown appears to have been thoroughly incompetent for such a command, and the undertaking was destined to add one more to the dismal list of failures. His first act was to make the London exchange useless shots with the fort at a mile distance. The following day, the bombketch was ordered to run close in within pistol-shot, and bombard the place at night. One shell and one carcass were fired, neither of which went halfway, by reason of the mortars being so faultily constructed that the chambers could not contain a sufficient charge of powder. 'This misfortune set the people a-grumbling.'

On the 21st, Brown held a consultation of his officers, and proposed to land three hundred men, at night, a mile from the town, so as to surprise it at daylight. The officers protested against the scheme; they justly remarked that it would be folly to make such an attack before the arrival of the whole force. The Phram and the Chandos, with the platoons of Europeans, were still to come. They represented that the garrison of the fort alone was a thousand strong, to say nothing of the small walled town which must be taken before the fort could be attacked. Such a proposal was not likely to increase their confidence in Brown. Sickness had already set in among the troops, and that evening Captain Jeremiah Easthope died of fever. Brown was all for immediate action, without having any definite plan.

On the 22nd, Gordon was ordered to land with fifty men, and occupy a small building on the top of a hill on the north side of the river. What he was expected to do there does not appear. Soon, a number of boats full of men were observed crossing from the fort to engage Gordon, so a reinforcement of fifty men was sent to him. On reaching the hill, Gordon found that what had been taken for a building consisted only of a natural pile of loose stones, such as are to be frequently seen on the Deccan hills, and there was nothing for it but to re-embark. He managed his retreat to the landing-place in good order, followed by the enemy at musket-shot distance. Several times he faced about, but the enemy always shrank from close quarters. Nothing had been done to cover the place of embarkation, and it was only after the strongest remonstrances from those on board that Brown was prevailed on to order the Revenge and the Hunter to stand in and cover the re-embarkation of Gordon's party. In spite of this precaution, a lieutenant, a sergeant, a quartermaster of the London and six men were killed, and about twenty men wounded. It is difficult to imagine anything feebler and more aimless than the whole proceeding.

The next day the bombketch was again sent in to bombard the fort, with the same result as before. The proceedings were enlivened by the punishment of Sergeant Passmore, who was reported by Gordon for cowardly behaviour. He was sent round the fleet to receive ten lashes alongside each ship. The next three days were spent in idleness, awaiting the Phram, from which so much was expected. On board ship there was no discipline, but plenty of hard drinking. In order to make the men fight well, Brown's idea was to supply them with unlimited rum: the officers kept pace with the men in their libations, and what little discipline existed soon disappeared. Orders were disobeyed, while drunkenness, violence, and insubordination reigned unchecked. When remonstrances were addressed to Brown, he refused to stop the supply of liquor, saying that the people must not be put out of humour at this juncture, and they must drink as they pleased: all which is duly recorded by Captain Upton of the London. The enemy meanwhile was observed busily constructing new batteries, and boats full of armed men were constantly crossing the river, but nothing was done to intercept them.

At last, the Chandos, Pelham, and Phram arrived, having spent ten days in their voyage from Bombay. Nothing better occurred to Brown than to send the Phram at once to engage the fort. On opening fire, it was found that her ports were so low and the gun-carriages so high, that her guns could only be fired when depressed so as to strike the water twenty yards off. So she was brought out again with one man mortally wounded, and the officers and soldiers so mightily discouraged that they declared, unless she could be made serviceable, it was useless to attempt anything further. The ships' carpenters were set to work on the Phram, while the dejection and drinking increased. Fifty men of the Chandos who had not yet had an opportunity of gauging Brown's incapacity, volunteered, for forty rupees a head, to join a landing party; but not a single seaman in the squadron would consent, 'upon any consideration whatsoever,' to go on board the Phram, till an increased bounty secured the services of the Chandos' sailors.

By the 29th all was ready for the grand attack. Two landing parties, one of three hundred and forty soldiers under Captain Stanton, and the other of two hundred and thirty-seven seamen under Captain Woodward, were held in readiness, and soon after midday the fleet stood into the inner harbour, with the exception of the Phram, which engaged the fort from the outer harbour. Lieutenant Wise had been selected as a fit person to command and point the Phram's guns, which he did so badly that his shot mostly fell in the inner harbour. The Mahrattas were quite ready for them, and all the afternoon the cannonade went on, till sunset put an end to it. Five men on board the Phram were wounded, but it had engaged at too great a distance to do or suffer much harm. Brown, in the London, had kept out of action, and contented himself with sending six dozen of wine and arrack to the men on board the Phram, together with orders to Stanton, who was on board, to warp into the harbour at night and renew the action next morning. The following day firing recommenced, and it was found necessary to displace Lieutenant Wise, he being continually drunk, and to allow the sailors to point their own guns. The closer range caused numerous casualties on board the Phram. Among the soldiers, Mr. Tuladay and four men were killed, and a great number wounded. The seamen also had several killed and wounded. Many of the casualties were caused by the bursting of a gun on board the Phram. The explosion fired the gun on the opposite side of the deck, which was loaded with grape, and pointing over a boat full of topasses. The flame from the gun ignited their cartridge boxes, and the poor wretches were terribly scorched and injured. The fire of the ships in the inner harbour was successful in destroying a number of Angria's ships that had sought refuge in the river; one of five hundred tons, one of two hundred tons, and ten smaller ones were set on fire and burnt. By nightfall, all hands thought they had done enough, and told Stanton so, and in spite of Brown's messages of expostulation, they took advantage of a land breeze to come out. At midnight came Captain Woodward, of the Revenge, to report, in a panic, to Brown that he had left his ship on the rocks close to the fort, and that both vessel and crew were as good as lost. Half an hour after, the Revenge was seen coming out with the other vessels. She had not been ashore at all, and the only conclusion was that Woodward was frightened out of his senses; so he was put in irons for his cowardice.

Thus came to an end the grand attack, and nothing better was to be expected. "I have continual disturbances in the ship dayly by the officers excessive drinking, and noe manner of command carryed," wrote Captain Upton, of the London. A few days later he records how Captain S. and Mr. D.[4] fought with their fists in the roundhouse before Mr. Brown, who took no notice of it.

The next few days were spent in repairing damages. While thus employed, messengers came from the Kempsant, offering to join hands with the English in attacking Angria. A quarrel had arisen between the two chiefs, owing to Angria having plundered some of the Kempsant's ships. But he stipulated that Angria's fort at Deoghur, seven leagues to the south, should be first attacked; so, on the 7th October, part of the fleet was sent down to reconnoitre.

On the 16th, fresh stores of arrack, water and provisions having been received from Goa, Brown called a consultation of the officers on board the Addison, and proposed another landing under the Phrams guns. But the officers were disheartened, undisciplined, and under no control. One objection after another was raised, and the council of war came to an end by other officers of the squadron, who had learned what was going on, coming aboard, and conveying to Brown in no measured terms that they would have nothing to do with it. One of them in a passion told Brown he was mad, and did not know what he was about—which was true enough. The next day, a foolish show of landing was made, and then Brown decided to abandon the attempt and transfer his attack to Deoghur.

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