The Pirates of Malabar, and An Englishwoman in India Two Hundred Years Ago
by John Biddulph
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Deoghur, or, as it was sometimes called, Tamana, was one of the ten principal forts ceded to Angria in 1713. It commanded the small but good harbour formed by the Tamana river. This was Angria's southernmost stronghold. The name Tamana is still to be found at a small place ten miles up the river. Here Brown brought his squadron on the 18th October. The usual desultory and harmless bombardment followed; the Phram and the bombketch being equally inefficient. Then, when Brown suggested a landing party to storm the place, the officers refused to second him, and so, with some additional loss, the attack on Deoghur came to an end. Not a word is said as to any assistance rendered by the Kempsant. At daybreak on the 21st, the whole squadron sailed northward, but the tale of Brown's incompetency was not complete.

A little before noon next morning four strange sails were seen in the offing, which, before long, were made out to be the dreaded Madagascar pirates, with the Cassandra, Victory, and two prizes they had just taken. The sight of them struck Brown with terror, though a little reflection would have shown him that the pirates would have little or no inducement to attack armed ships carrying no valuable merchandise. He directed his whole squadron to anchor off Gheriah, which must have appeared puzzling to his late antagonists in that place. Hoping to evade the pirate ships, anchor was weighed in the night, and the squadron sailed northward, no order being preserved, and the fleet getting much scattered.

As it happened, the pirates had mistaken them for Angria's fleet, and were standing to the northward in search of prey, without any thought of attacking them. Without any hostile intention on either side, the two squadrons became intermingled. While it was still dark, the party on the London was startled by a cannon shot flying over them, and in the faint morning light they saw a large ship on their quarter. On hailing to ask her name, an answer came back that it was the Victory. Brown preferred to believe that it was his own ship of that name; but his answering hail, giving the name of the London, was replied to with a broadside, to which a smart fire was returned by the Revenge and the Defiance, that were close astern. On both sides there was no willingness to fight. The pirates were at first seized with consternation at discovering their mistake; they had turned their prizes adrift after throwing their sails overboard, and, with only three hundred men for their joint crews, forty of them negroes, were not strong enough to engage the Bombay squadron. But England was a man who preferred fighting to running, so putting a bold face on the matter, the Cassandra ran through the fleet, firing into the Victory, the Chandos, and the Phram. The Chandos, which was towing the Phram, at once cast it loose. The fleet scattered in all directions, like a flock of sheep when a strange dog runs through it. Upton, of the London, a chicken-hearted fellow, persuaded Brown that they ought not to engage, as Boone had sent them to attack Gheriah, but had given them no instructions about the Madagascar pirates. Brown seemingly did not want much persuading, and crowded all sail to escape; at the same time striking his flag to show that he did not intend fighting, which excited the indignation of his own sailors and the derision of the pirates. He next sent orders by a gallivat for the Phram to be burned, and thus that useless machine, from which so much had been expected; and that had cost so much money and labour, came to an end.

These foolish proceedings gave England the measure of his antagonists. 'Observing the indifferency of the fleet,' the best way of saving himself was, he thought, to 'play the Bull-beggar' with them; so he set to work to chase them northward. The superior sailing powers of the pirates enabled them to do as they pleased.

When they overtook the rearmost of the ships Brown had still got with him, they backed their sails and fired into them till they had got well ahead again. In this ignominious fashion the greater part of the fleet was shuffled along for two days by the pirates, as a flock of sheep is driven by a couple of sheep-dogs, till they at last found refuge in Goa. The soldiers on board the London improved the occasion by breaking into the 'Lazaretto' and getting drunk on the wine they found there. Part of the fleet made for Carwar, and others found safety under the guns of Anjediva. The pirates, having effected their purpose of driving them off, turned south and took the Elizabeth at anchor off Honore.

Before long, an indignant letter from Boone ordered Brown to cruise southward and engage the pirates at all hazards; so the unhappy Brown put to sea again. The news of the capture of the Elizabeth was enough for him: on the third day he turned northward again and made for Bombay; to make his peace with the exasperated Governor as he best could. It is not difficult to imagine Boone's disgust at the failure of his schemes, and the worthlessness of those he had to depend upon; but it must be admitted that these desultory attacks, first on one place and then on another, were not calculated to effect anything useful. Had he concentrated his efforts on Kennery, he might have rendered the waters of Bombay more secure.

Brown laid the blame of his failure on the disobedience of his officers, which had been so flagrant as to conceal his own incapacity; so, on the 12th December, Boone again despatched him to search for the pirates, and give protection to the country vessels bringing up pepper from the southern factories. He took with him a fine squadron: the Greenwich, 42 guns; the Chandos, 40 guns; the Victory, 26 guns; the Britannia, 24 guns; the Revenge, 16 guns; and a fireship. The pusillanimous Upton was left behind, and, next to himself in command of the expedition, but in reality the moving spirit, he took the gallant Macrae. England and Taylor had meanwhile been constrained to run down to the Laccadives, for want of water and provisions. Not getting what they wanted, they had come northward again to Cochin, where they were royally entertained by the Dutch authorities. They were supplied with everything they required, including a present, from the Governor, of a boat loaded with arrack, and sixty bales of sugar, for all of which handsome payment was made, while handfuls of duccatoons were thrown into the boat for the boatmen to scramble for. A fine clock and gold watch, found in the Cassandra when captured, were sent as a present to the Governor's daughter, and formal salutes were fired on both sides as they entered and left the harbour. No wonder that they were made welcome along the coast. On leaving Cochin, they took a small vessel from Tellicherry sailing under a Bombay pass. From the master they learned that the Bombay squadron, with Macrae in command, was cruising in search of them. They were roused to fury by this news of Macrae's 'ingratitude,' and vied with each other in devising the tortures to which they would subject him if he fell into their hands again, while their anger was vented on England and all who had stood up for Macrae after the capture of the Cassandra. Before long they were sighted by Brown, who bore down on them and signalled them to heave to. This behaviour, so different from their previous experiences, was little to their liking. They made sail for the southwards, and, for two days, were held in chase, till by superior sailing they lost their pursuers.

Such an extraordinary change in the behaviour of the Bombay squadron taught them that the Indian coast was no longer a safe place for honest rovers. It was expedient to take themselves elsewhere: so sail was made for Mauritius. Against Macrae their curses were loud and deep. A villain they had treated so well as to give him a ship and other presents, and now to be in arms against them! No fate was bad enough for such a man. They had been cruelly deceived. To appease their wrath they turned upon England. But for his foolish championship of Macrae, this would not have happened. Taylor had been right all along. They would only follow him in future. In their rage they first talked of hanging England, till more moderate counsels prevailed, and it was decided to maroon him at Mauritius, which was done. England and three others who had befriended Macrae were set on shore, among them, no doubt, the one-legged pirate, and in due course of time made their way over to St. Mary's.[5]

At St. Mary's the command of the Victory was made over to Oliver La Bouche, or La Buze, whose efforts at shipbuilding had apparently not met with success, and the two ships, in company, before long took what was probably the richest prize that ever fell into pirate hands. The ex-Viceroy of Goa, the Conde de Ericeira, had sailed for Lisbon, in January, in the Nostra Senhora de Cabo, a seventy-gun ship, taking with him a rich consignment of jewels for the Portuguese Government, and the proceeds of his own private trading during the three years of his viceroyalty. Off the Cape they encountered a heavy storm, which dismasted the ship, forced them to throw many of their guns overboard, and obliged them to put back to Bourbon to refit. Taylor and La Buze, learning the helplessness of the Viceroy's ship, sailed into the anchorage under English colours. A salute from the Viceroy's ship was answered with a shotted broadside, and, in the confusion that ensued, the Portuguese ship was boarded and carried almost without resistance. Seldom or never had such a prize fallen into pirate hands so easily. The booty in diamonds and money was in the shape most coveted by the rovers. The jewels alone were estimated at over three million dollars. The hard cash was said to be five hundred thousand crowns, and the Viceroy was forced to raise another two thousand crowns as a personal ransom, which would have been higher, had he not convinced them that part of the jewels and money on board was his own property.

Bourbon was a French possession, but the Governor, M. Desforges, was obliged to observe une grande circonspection in his dealings with the pirates who came and went as they pleased. Bernardin de St. Pierre, who visited Bourbon nearly fifty years later, repeats a tradition, how La Buze sat at table between the Viceroy and the Governor, and in an access of generosity remitted the Viceroy's ransom. He further tells us that La Buze eventually settled down in the island, and was hung some years later.

Taylor, continuing his cruise in the Cassandra, took a fine Ostend ship, and carried her to St. Mary's. While most of the pirates were on shore, the prisoners overpowered the few left to guard them, and carried off the ship. We get a last glimpse of the Cassandra in a private letter written to the Directors in May, 1723, from Jamaica, in which it is stated that the Cassandra was lying at Portobello, while Taylor was engaged in negotiating with the captain of an English man-of-war for a pardon. The negotiations apparently fell through, as Taylor was eventually given a commission by the Spaniards. The letter relates how the crew boasted that they had, each man, twelve hundred pounds in gold and silver, besides a great store of diamonds and many rich goods. Of the sharing of these diamonds, Johnson tells a story how one man, being given for his share one big diamond instead of a number of small ones, broke it up with a hammer, so that he might have as many 'sparks' as the others.

Macrae's defence of the Cassandra, and the boldness and ability he displayed in his dealings with the pirates, brought him into prominent notice. The son of a poor Ayrshire cottager, he had worked himself up, from before the mast, to the command of a ship. Soon after his return to England, the Directors appointed him to be their supervisor on the west coast of Sumatra, and, before he sailed, a provisional commission was given him to succeed to the Presidentship of Madras, on a vacancy occurring. Eighteen months later, he took his seat as Governor at Fort St. George. His six years of office were distinguished by his efforts to put an end to many abuses that had grown up in the Company's affairs. He left India with a fortune of L100,000, made by private trade, and settled down near his birthplace, which he had not revisited since he left it as a boy. He died in 1746.

NOTE.—The account of England's cruise in the Cassandra, given in Johnson's "History of the Pirates," is evidently taken from Lazenby's narrative to the E.I.C. Directors. Macrae's account of the capture of the Cassandra, given by Johnson, appears also to have been part of a similar report to the Directors, but the report itself has disappeared. Additional information is to be found in the logs of the Greenwich and London.

[1] Proclamation issued at Goa, 19th July, 1720 (Danvers).

[2] This was Oliver Levasseur, otherwise La Buze of Calais, a noted French pirate. By the English he was called La Bouche, and, in one ship's log, Lepouse. On Woodes Rogers assuming the governorship of the Bahamas, La Bouche and England sailed for Madagascar.

[3] Stevenson, in "Treasure Island," evidently took his idea of John Silver, the one-legged pirate, from this incident. "Now what a ship was christened" (he makes him say) "so let her stay, I says. So it was with the Cassandra as brought us all home from Malabar, after England took the Viceroy of the Indies.... First with England, then with Flint; that's my story."

[4] Probably Stanton and Drage.

[5] In Lazenby's narrative, England is mentioned as Seegar, which was probably his real name, England being only an alias.



Measures taken in England against pirates—Woodes Rogers at the Bahamas—Edward Teach—Challoner Ogle—Bartholomew Roberts killed—Matthews sent to the East Indies—Naval officers' duels—Portuguese alliance—Expedition against Colaba—Assault—Defeat—A split in the alliance—Plot against Boone—His departure—Matthews' schemes—His insulting behaviour—He quarrels with everybody—Goes to Madagascar—The King of Ranter Bay—Matthews goes to Bengal.

As long as their forces had been occupied with the French war and the Highland rising, the English ministry had been powerless to check the depredations of the pirates, which had become intolerable both in the East and West Indies. Now Europe was at peace, and measures could be concerted to put a stop to the evil. As usual, the Peace of Utrecht was followed by an increase of piracy, through the privateersmen being thrown out of employment.

On the 5th September, 1717, a royal proclamation was published, offering a free pardon, to all pirates on the American coast surrendering within one year, for all piracies committed before the 5th January. As rewards for the capture of pirate ships, to every captain L100, to other officers L40, to petty officers L30, and to ordinary seamen L20 were to be paid on conviction of the offenders. To pirates, a reward of L200 was offered for the surrender of a pirate captain or commander before the 6th September, 1718. The effect of the proclamation, in conjunction with the measures taken in the Bahamas, was very great. By the 1st July, 1719, to which date the time of grace was extended, all but three or four of the most desperate rovers had retired from business. But against the most audacious of them more vigorous measures were necessary.

It was of little use to hunt down pirates at sea, so long as their haunts in the Bahamas and Madagascar were allowed to flourish, and, as the West Indian rovers were the most mischievous to European trade, the Bahamas were first taken in hand.

During the war, the Bahamas had been twice taken and plundered by the French and Spanish; all semblance of authority had disappeared, and it was estimated that there were upwards of two thousand pirates in and about Providence. In 1718, Captain Woodes Rogers leased the islands for twenty-one years, from the proprietors, and received a commission as Governor; he sailed, for Providence, with a naval force and powers to offer an amnesty to all who submitted. Five or six well-known pirate captains made their peace with the Government, and a number of their crews, though some of them went back to their old trade before long. England, La Buze, and others slipped away and made for Madagascar. A council was then formed, consisting of six of the adventurers and six of the inhabitants who had never been pirates themselves. This was followed by the submission of others; some were hung, and order of a sort was re-established in the Bahamas.

The coasts of Virginia and North Carolina were at this time beset by a number of pirates, the most notorious of whom was Edward Teach, alias Blackbeard, a Bristol man, who had begun his piratical career in the spring of 1717; the most sinister figure in the annals of piracy. Pirate captains were, as a rule, chosen by their crews, and if their conduct was unsatisfactory to the rovers, they were deposed and sometimes put to death or marooned; but Teach, as fearless as he was merciless, ruled his crew by terror. As an instance of his savage humour, it is related that on one occasion, in a drinking bout, he blew out the light and fired two pistols among his companions, wounding Israel Hands, his sailing master, severely. On being asked why he did it, he damned them, and said if he did not kill one of them now and then, they would forget who he was. So impressed were his crew with his wickedness, that they believed they carried the devil on board, who appeared at intervals among them as one of the crew, but could not be identified as belonging to the ship's company. Once he fought the Scarborough, a man-of-war of thirty guns, and beat her off. He boldly went ashore when he pleased, forcing the Governor of North Carolina to marry him, and to supply him with medicines for his crew. With his face covered with black hair, and a beard of extravagant length, fantastically tied up in ribbons, he presented a wild and truculent figure that was the terror of the coast.

An extract of a journal he kept, found after his death, is given by Johnson—

"Such a day, Rum all out:—Our company somewhat sober: A damn'd confusion amongst us!—Rogues a plotting;—great talk of separation.—So I look'd sharp for a Prize;—such a day took one, with a great deal of Liquor on board, so kept the Company hot, damned hot, then all things went well again."

Eden, the Governor of North Carolina, was suspected of sharing in Teach's plunder, and his conduct was so suspicious that it could only be set down to dishonesty or to extreme pusillanimity; so, in their distress, the North Carolina planters sought the assistance of the Governor of Virginia. There were at this time two men-of-war, the Pearl and the Lime, lying in the James river, but their size was too great to permit of their searching the creeks and inlets frequented by Teach; therefore, two small sloops, without guns, were fitted out and placed under command of Maynard, first lieutenant of the Pearl. At the same time a proclamation was published in Virginia offering rewards for the apprehension of pirates, with a special reward of L100 for Teach. Though the whole had been planned with great secrecy. Teach received warnings from friends on shore, but paid no attention to them, and Maynard surprised him at anchor in a small inlet.

Teach cut his cable and tried to stand out to sea, but ran aground. Maynard anchored within half gunshot and set to work to lighten his sloops, while Teach roared out curses and threats, to which Maynard replied that he expected no quarter and would give none. Just as Maynard was ready to attack, Teach got afloat and bore down on the sloops, giving them a broadside that partially disabled one sloop, and killed or wounded twenty men in Maynard's. Nothing discouraged, Maynard kept his men under cover and ran the pirate aboard, and was at once attacked by Teach with fourteen men. Teach and Maynard met hand to hand, and there was a desperate encounter, Teach fighting like a ferocious animal at bay. Maynard's sword broke, but he was saved by one of his men coming to his assistance, and Teach at last fell dead on the deck of the sloop with twenty-five wounds. The second sloop, meanwhile, had boarded and captured the pirate ship, and Maynard sailed back to the James river with Teach's head at his bowsprit. Fifteen of the pirates were taken alive, of whom thirteen were hung.

A year after Teach's death there appeared on the American coast Bartholomew Roberts, a Welshman from Haverfordwest, who, for over two years, was the scourge of the American and African traders. It was said of him that he was a sober man who drank tea constantly, which made him an object of suspicion to his crew. His temperance did not prevent him from being the most wantonly wicked pirate who sailed the seas. In a Newfoundland harbour, on one occasion, he burned and sank twenty-one vessels, destroyed the fisheries and stages, and wrought all the havoc he could, out of pure wantonness. On another occasion, he captured a slaver with eighty slaves on board, and burned it, slaves and all, because it would cost too much time and trouble to unshackle the unfortunate wretches. At the same time, he was a man of order and method. He drew up a set of rules, to which his crew subscribed, in which, among other things, it was laid down that no women should be allowed on board; dice and gambling were prohibited; lights were put out at 8 o'clock; and musicians were exempt from playing on Sundays. The chaplain of Cape Coast Castle having been captured, he was pressed to join the pirates, being promised that nothing would be required of him except to make punch and say prayers. On his declining the office, all church property was restored to him "except three prayer books and a bottle-screw."

In pursuit of Roberts, the British Government despatched Captain Challoner Ogle, with the Swallow and Weymouth. Failing to find him in American waters. Ogle steered for the African shore, and, on the 5th February, 1722, when separated from the Weymouth, he came on the pirates at anchor off Cape Lopez. Putting the Swallow about, and handling his sails as if in confusion and alarm, Ogle stood out to sea, pursued by the Ranger. When well out of sight of land, the Ranger was allowed to draw up, and the pirate crew suddenly found themselves under the fire of a sixty-gun ship, for which their own thirty-two guns were no match, and after a short engagement the black flag was hauled down. On the 10th, Ogle stood in again to engage the Royal Fortune, disposing his flags to make the pirates believe his ship had been captured by the Ranger. Roberts fought with desperation when he discovered the ruse. Dressed in rich crimson damask, a scarlet feather in his hat, a gold chain with large diamond cross round his neck, he made a resistance worthy of his reputation, determined to blow up his ship rather than yield. At the main he hoisted a black flag, on which were displayed a skeleton and a man with a flaming sword; the jack was black, showing a man standing on two skulls, and St. George's ensign was at the ensign staff. After a desperate encounter, Roberts was slain by a grape-shot, and the Royal Fortune carried by boarding, the pirates resisting to the last. Out of two hundred and seventy-six men captured in the two ships, fifty-two were executed, all of them Englishmen. Ogle was knighted for his able and gallant conduct.

The re-establishment of authority at the Bahamas had led to an increase in the numbers of the Madagascar pirates; so Commodore Thomas Matthews was despatched to the East Indies with a strong squadron, consisting of the Lyon, 50 guns; Salisbury, 40 guns; Exeter, 50 guns; and Shoreham, 20 guns. The Company's ship Grantham was also placed under his orders, to act as a store-ship. In Byng's successful action with the Spanish, off Cape Passaro (August, 1718), Matthews had commanded the Kent with credit; but with the exception of courage, he apparently failed to possess a single quality for independent command. Irascible, domineering to his subordinates, and insolent to all others he was brought in contact with, he was entirely devoid of judgment or discretion. Twenty years later, when he became better known, Walpole wrote of his 'brutal manners,' and Horace Mann nicknamed him 'Il Furibondo.' There could not have been a worse selection for the work in hand.

The desire of the Directors was that the squadron should, before going to Bombay, proceed to St. Augustine's Bay and St. Mary's. Thence, that a ship should be detached to Bourbon, where it was supposed a new pirate settlement was being formed; after which, they wished the squadron to proceed to the mouth of the Red Sea, where pirates would in all probability be found waiting for the Indian ships in July and August. But Matthews had views of his own, and was not much concerned with the wishes of the Directors, who had designs of opening up trade with Madagascar, and, as a preliminary step, desired to see the pirate settlements rooted out.

In February, 1721, the squadron sailed from Spithead, with orders to rendezvous at St. Augustine's Bay. Soon after leaving the Channel, the Salisbury and Exeter were dismasted in a storm, and were obliged to put into Lisbon to repair damages. Matthews continued his voyage with the Lyon and the Shoreham to St. Augustine's Bay. He found no pirate ships there at the time, and good policy demanded that he should await the Salisbury and the Exeter. Instead of doing so, he continued his voyage to Bombay, where he arrived on the 27th September. Before leaving, he entrusted to the natives of St. Augustine's Bay a letter for Captain Cockburn, of the Salisbury, in which a number of particulars were given of the squadron. The proceeding was so ill-advised and so well calculated to defeat the object of the squadron's coming into Indian waters, that it was believed in the squadron that Matthews had done it purposely to put the pirates on their guard. Whether this was his intention or not, it serves to show the opinion held of him by those under his command. Soon after Matthews' departure, Taylor and La Buze reached St. Augustine's Bay, read the letter, and sailed at once for Fort Dauphin, in the south-eastern end of Madagascar. The Salisbury and Exeter arrived soon afterwards, and getting no news either of Matthews or the pirates, sailed for Bombay. These proceedings were not of happy augury for the success of the expedition. The pirates had information of the squadron being in the Indian seas, and were doubtless kept henceforth informed, from time to time, of its movements through their various sources of intelligence. Taylor, satisfied with his gains, sailed for the West Indies and surrendered to the Spaniards, who gave him a commission.

Matthews' first act on dropping anchor, was to force the native vessels in harbour, belonging to Bombay traders, to strike the English colours they were in the habit of displaying, and he next embarked in a squabble with the Governor as to who was to fire the first salute, a matter that was not settled without many messages to and fro. The officers of the squadron, taking their cue from Matthews, 'looked as much superior to us,' Downing tells us, 'as the greatness of their ambition could possibly lead them. There were daily duels fought by one or other of them, and challenges perpetually sent round the island by the gentlemen of the navy.' The duels seem mostly to have taken place among the naval officers, who must have been a quarrelsome lot. On the voyage from England, Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Sutherland, 'son of My Lord Sutherland,' had quarrelled, and Mitchell, considering himself aggrieved, demanded his discharge on arrival at Bombay, which was granted. He then sent a challenge to Sutherland, who wounded and disabled him. But all duels were not so harmless. A few days afterwards, Sutherland and Dalrymple, 'grandson of Sir David Dalrymple, His Majesty's Advocate for Scotland,' both midshipmen, quarrelled over dice, and fought a duel, without seconds, the following morning; when Dalrymple was run through the body and killed on the spot—a fate that was apparently not altogether undeserved. Sutherland was tried by court-martial, found guilty of murder, and sentenced to death; but as it was necessary for the death-warrant to be signed by the King, it was arranged to carry him a prisoner to England. Touching at Barbadoes, he made his escape, and remained there till a free pardon was granted him. Not long afterwards a duel, arising out of a quarrel about a lady's health, was fought between Stepney, the second lieutenant, and Berkeley, the third lieutenant of the Salisbury, in which both were badly wounded. Stepney died a fortnight after the duel, but, as the surgeon certified that he had not died of his wound, Berkeley was not brought to a court-martial.

Meanwhile, great preparations were being made for a fresh campaign against Angria, and while these bickerings went on among the subordinates, the Governor and Matthews were engaged in planning the attack. Long before Matthews' arrival, negotiations had been opened between the Portuguese Viceroy, Francisco Jose de Sampaio e Castro, and the Bombay Council, for a joint attack on Colaba. Through the management of Mr. Robert Cowan, who had been deputed, in March, to Goa, for the purpose, a treaty of mutual co-operation had been drawn up, by which the Bombay Council undertook to furnish two thousand men and five ships. The Portuguese authorities undertook to furnish an equal force. The negotiation was not completed till the beginning of September, and Cowan, in recognition of the ability he had displayed, was given a seat in the Council. The combined forces were to assemble at Chaul, then a Portuguese possession, and march overland to attack Colaba. Forgetting the old adage about selling the skin of the bear while the animal was still alive, it was further agreed that Colaba, after capture, was to be the property of Portugal, while Gheriah was to be handed over to the English. The arrival of Matthews' squadron therefore brought a welcome addition to the Bombay armaments.

A camp was formed for the expeditionary force; drilling was the order of the day; Cowan was named general, and various commissions as colonels, majors, and captains were granted to officers of the navy who volunteered for land service. On the 30th October, a seven days' fast was ordered, to secure the Divine blessing on the undertaking, and the chaplain was directed to preach an appropriate sermon.

On the 29th November, the expedition left Bombay, and anchored off Chaul, where the Portuguese force had already assembled. The English force consisted of 655 Europeans and topasses, a troop of 40 horsemen, and 1514 sepoys. Matthews also contributed 200 seamen, of whom 50 were to serve the guns. The artillery consisted of two 24-pounders, two 18-pounders, four 9-pounders, six small field guns, two mortars, and eight coehorns. The Portuguese force consisted of 1000 Europeans, 160 horsemen, 350 volunteers, and 2400 sepoys, with six 24-pounders, six 18-pounders, ten field pieces, and eight mortars, commanded by the General of the North. The Viceroy was also present. Such a force, combined with the men-of-war, was sufficient, under proper direction, to have destroyed all Angria's strongholds along the coast.

Some delay was caused by the necessity of building a bridge over the Ragocim river, and then the army advanced, to be quickly brought to a standstill again till sufficient transport could be brought from Bombay. On the 12th December, after marching round the head of the Alibagh river, the army encamped close to Alibagh fort; while the men-of-war anchored in the roads. During the march, a few of Angria's horsemen had been seen from time to time. On one occasion, while the Viceroy, accompanied by Matthews, Cowan, and other commanders, was riding to view the country, a horseman approached them under cover of a cactus hedge, and threw his lance, wounding Matthews in the thigh. Matthews vainly pursued him, beside himself with rage at his wound and at his pistols missing fire.

On the 13th, an assault was made on the fort, though the heavy guns had not been landed. Outside the fort there were fifteen hundred horse and a thousand foot sent by Sahoojee to Angria's assistance. The Portuguese were to face them, while five hundred English soldiers and marines, led by naval officers, were to force the gateway and scale the rampart. Common sense demanded that Sahoojee's force outside the fort should be disposed of, and the heavy guns that had been brought with so much labour from Chaul should be mounted and used, before any attempt at an assault was projected; but there was a woeful absence of ordinary capacity among the commanders. At four in the afternoon, the little force under Brathwaite, first lieutenant of the Lyon, who held the rank of colonel for the occasion, advanced to the assault. The gateway was blocked, and could not be forced; many of the scaling ladders were too short, and the affair resolved itself into a struggle, by a small number who had gained the rampart, to maintain themselves, while the rest remained exposed to the fire from the walls. In the midst of it, Sahoojee's force advanced on the Portuguese, who broke and fled in wild confusion, leaving the English, force to their fate. The assaulting party, seeing their danger, drew off, leaving many of their wounded behind them, the whole force gave ground, and soon there was a wild rush for the camp, luckily not followed by the Mahratta horsemen. Thirty-three had been killed and twenty-seven wounded; among the latter, Lieutenant Bellamy of the navy, who had behaved with great dash and bravery. Matthews' marines suffered heavily. Though wanting in discipline, they displayed much courage. All the field guns and a great deal of ammunition fell into the hands of the Mahrattas. The whole blame was laid on the Portuguese, to whom treachery was imputed. Matthews, always violent, flew at the General of the North and assaulted him,[1] and treated the Viceroy not much better. A little more enterprise on the part of the Mahrattas would have destroyed the whole force. The following day some heavy guns were landed, and a four-gun battery was constructed. But the Portuguese had had enough of it, and were determined to withdraw.

From the beginning, there had been little cordiality between the ill-matched allies. In the English camp, Cowan was devoid of military experience or instinct, and commanded little confidence among men habituated to defeat in their attacks on Angrian strongholds; while Matthews, violent and overbearing, claimed a right to direct operations that he knew nothing about. The Portuguese, on their side, proud in the recollection of the great position they had once held on the Malabar coast, and which, though now fast falling into decay, was still immeasurably superior to that of the English merchants, were disgusted at the constant drunkenness, quarrelling, and want of discipline among the English, and incensed at the charge of treachery, for which there was no justification. Feigning illness, the Viceroy betook himself to his ship. Angria saw his opportunity of breaking up the alliance, and opened negotiations with him. On the 17th, the Viceroy wrote to the English, proposing a suspension of arms. With a bad grace they were obliged to consent, seeing in the negotiation, which was against the compact that neither should treat separately, farther confirmation of their suspicion of treachery. Angria granted the Portuguese full reparation for injuries, and formed an offensive and defensive alliance with them. The English were left to shift for themselves. Full of wrath, they embarked at once, and sailed for Bombay on the 28th.

While the force was engaged at Colaba, the Malwans[2] strove to make a diversion in Angria's favour by attacking English ships, under pretence that they were Portuguese vessels; they being at war with Goa at the time. The Sunda Rajah also attacked a private English ship, but was beaten off. In the Gulf, the Bombay sloop Prince took a Muscat ship of fourteen guns, but after some days was obliged to relinquish its prize to a Muscat squadron.

It is impossible not to sympathize with Boone's disappointment at the failure of this long-planned expedition, which he had looked forward to as the crowning achievement of his presidentship. The time had come for him to return to England. His successor, Mr. William. Phipps, had arrived from Mocha, in August, and had taken the second seat in Council, while awaiting Boone's departure. Boone's last year in Bombay was embittered by a dangerous intrigue against him, headed by Parker and Braddyll, two of the Council. Investigation showed that they had plotted to seize his person, and had even uttered threats against his life. Being arrested and ordered to leave Bombay, they fled to Goa. After a time, Braddyll made his way in a small boat to Bombay, and sought protection on board the Lyon, which was readily extended to him by Matthews. As Braddyll's name appears among those present in Council in Bombay, in 1723, he must have succeeded in making his peace with the Company. Under the Company's rule, in those days, all but the worst offences were condoned, so long as they were not directly aimed at the Company's trade. A plot against the Governor's freedom might be pardoned, but, for assistance given to the Ostenders there was no locus poenitentiae.

On the 9th January, Boone embarked on board the London, after making over the governorship to Mr. Phipps, followed by the good wishes of the community. During his six years of office he had proved himself a faithful and zealous servant of the Company: 'a gentleman of as much honour and good sense as any that ever sat in that chair,' according to Hamilton. He had found Bombay with a languishing trade and open to attack. Under his fostering care, trade had improved, so that merchants from Bengal and Madras had found it profitable to settle there. A good wall had been built to guard the town against sudden raids, and a respectable naval force had been created to keep piracy in check. He deserves remembrance as the first Bombay Governor who tried to put down the coast pirates by active measures. Though his expeditions against them had been uniformly unsuccessful, he had taught Angria that the Company's trade could not be attacked with impunity, and his ill-success was entirely due to the worthlessness of his instruments. At his departure, salutes were fired from every gun ashore and afloat, except from Matthews' squadron, which did not fire a gun. As he sailed down the coast, accompanied by the Victoria and Revenge, loaded with stores for Carwar and Anjengo, he was attacked by Angria's squadron, but beat them off. Off Anjediva he came on the Kempsant's grabs plundering a ship, which he rescued. One of the grabs was taken and another driven ashore; and so he was gratified with a small success over his inveterate enemies, as he bid farewell to the Indian coast.

As soon as Matthews had returned to Bombay, after the Alibagh fiasco, he applied himself to what, to him, was the principal reason for his coming to India, viz. private trade. For the Company's interests he did not care a button; in fact, anything that injured the Company found an advocate in him. As for the pirates, if they did not come in his way, he was not going to trouble himself much about them. To enrich himself by starting a private trade of his own, was his one object, and, with this end in view, he sailed for Surat. With him he took Mrs. Braddyll and Mrs. Wyche, with sundry chests of treasure, in spite of Phipps' remonstrances: the estates of both having been attached by the Council. In Surat he tried to raise a large sum for a venture in the China trade; but the arbitrary conduct of the King's officers had raised so much distrust among the native merchants, that he was unsuccessful. Within three weeks he was back again in Bombay, and was at once involved in an angry correspondence with the Council. Not confining himself to an acrimonious exchange of letters, he affixed at the sea gate an insulting proclamation. Phipps ordered it to be removed, on which Matthews wrote that, if it were not at once replaced, he would publish it by beat of drum through Bombay, and, should any resistance be offered, he would not leave a house standing in the place. In this dilemma the Council consented to replace it, but, to save their dignity, added a notice that it was licensed by the Secretary. It is difficult to see how this improved the matter. However, Matthews sailed the next day for Madagascar, so no doubt the proclamation did not long remain after his departure.

His absence from Bombay, though doubtless felt as a relief by Phipps and the Council, was probably, before long, a cause of regret in the troubles that shortly beset them: but for the moment we will follow his movements. Not contented with his quarrels with the Council, Matthews was soon at daggers drawn with his own captains. First he proposed to them to employ their ships in trading, on condition that two-thirds of the profits were to be his. The captains refused to have anything to do with the proposal. He had already had a quarrel with Cockburn, his second in command, the first of many that were to follow. Before leaving Bombay, a quarrel arose between him and Sir Robert Johnson, of the Exeter. Johnson threw up his command, and took passage for England in one of the Company's ships, which was lost with all hands on the voyage. With Sir Robert Johnson, his son, a lieutenant in the navy, perished. Brathwaite was appointed to the command of the Exeter. It had already come to be widely known that anybody who was in trouble with the Company would find countenance and protection from Matthews. He told the Portuguese officials that the Company's vessels were only traders, and therefore not entitled to a salute, gun for gun. This matter of salutes was a very important one in Matthews' eyes. Every trading ship, however small it might be, carried guns, and there was a great deal of saluting. In acknowledging such salutes Matthews always responded with three or four less guns than were given him. On one occasion there is a record of his replying with one gun only.[3] Wherever Matthews could find an opportunity for lowering the credit or hurting the interests of the Company, he seized it.

On reaching Carpenter's Bay in Mauritius, he found an impudent message from the pirates, 'writ on Captain Carpenter's tomb with a piece of charcoal,' to the effect that they had been expecting him and had gone to Port Dauphin. The squadron next proceeded to Bourbon, where they sold some casks of arrack and madeira to the French for a very good profit, and thence proceeded to Charnock Point, St. Mary's Island, Madagascar. Here they found the wrecks of several merchant ships that had been run ashore by the pirates. Scattered on the beach were lying their cargoes, china ware, rich drugs and spices, cloth, guns, and other articles, lying where the pirates had cast them. Men waded knee-deep in pepper, cloves, and cinnamon, such was the quantity. In shallow water were lying the remains of a fine Jeddah ship that had been taken, with thirteen lakhs of treasure on board, by a pirate named Conden, who commanded a ship called the Flying Dragon. Matthews at once began to transfer the guns and such commodities as were least damaged to his own ships. A flag of truce had been first sent ashore to communicate with England and the other pirates, but it was found that they had fled inland. A week later, a white man, accompanied by a well-armed guard of natives, made his appearance. He told them that he was a Jamaica man named John Plantain, that he had been a pirate, but was tired of the trade, and had settled down on the spot. This John Plantain was a man of some note in the piratical world. Every and England had sailed with him, and treated him with much consideration and some fear. He had made himself master of a considerable tract of country, so that the pirates had given him the name of the King of Ranter Bay.[4] He gave an invitation to Matthews to visit his castle, where he entertained some of the officers of the squadron. Matthews' first idea was to seize him, but finding that John Plantain had a good number of armed natives with him, besides a Scotchman and a Dane, and that his castle had plenty of guns mounted, he decided to trade with him instead. The pirates made no secret of having taken part in the capture of the Goa Viceroy's ship, and of a rich native vessel with eighteen lakhs of rupees on board. So hats, shoes, stockings, wine, and arrack were made over to John Plantain, for which he paid a good price in gold and diamonds. In spite of his notions as to piracy, John Plantain showed himself an honester man than Matthews. Having paid liberally for the things he had bought, he left the hogsheads of wine and arrack on the beach under a small guard. As soon as his back was turned, Matthews manned his boats, brought off all the liquor he had been paid for, and some of the native guard as well. After which notable achievement he sailed away for Bengal, consoling himself with the thought that he was not like one of "those vile pirates, who, after committing many evil actions, had settled down among a parcel of heathens to indulge themselves in all sorts of vice."[5]

After a fortnight at Charnock's Point, the squadron made its way round the north of Madagascar to Manigaro (Manankara) Bay, whence they steered for Johanna. As the Directors afterwards remarked, Matthews ought to have divided his squadron, and searched both coasts of the great island; but his heart was not in the quest for pirates; he was bent only on trade. Sending the Salisbury and Exeter to cruise towards Socotra, he took the Lyon and Shoreham to Bengal, and, in the beginning of August, he was at anchor in the Hoogly, near Diamond Harbour. There he remained till the end of October. There were no pirates in the Bay of Bengal, but the sugar trade was very lucrative, and he wanted to invest in it.

He was not long in Calcutta without coming to loggerheads with the Council concerning Mrs. Gyfford, who, as Mrs. Chown, has already been mentioned in these pages,[6] and whose third husband had perished in the Anjengo massacre eighteen months before. In flying from Anjengo she had carried off the factory books, together with all the money she could lay her hands on. As the Company had large claims on Gyfford's estate, the Council was bent on making her disgorge. Matthews espoused her quarrel, as he did that of all who were in the Company's bad books, and, in defiance of the Council, carried her off to Bombay, and eventually to England.

[1] 'Thrust his cane in his mouth.'—Downing.

[2] Malwan was a small fortified harbour belonging to Kolapore, about sixty miles north of Goa. The Malwans were noted pirates.

[3] When Watson came to India, he returned salutes gun for gun.

[4] Perhaps Autongil Bay.

[5] This account of Matthews' visit to Madagascar rests to a great extent on the narrative of Clement Downing, who held the rating of a midshipman on board the Salisbury at the time. It is confirmed by the logs of the Lyon and Salisbury. He makes no attempt to conceal his opinion of Matthews' misdoings. He also gives the history of John Plantain, who finally made his way to Gheriah, and took service with Angria.

[6] See p. 80.



Loss of the Hunter galley—Quarrel with Portuguese—Alliance of Portuguese with Angria—War with both—A double triumph—Portuguese make peace—Angria cowed—Matthews reappears—Trouble caused by him—He returns to England—Court-martialled—The last of Matthews.

The year succeeding Boone's departure was a stirring one in Bombay. On the 27th February, the Eagle and Hunter galleys, while off Bassein, convoying a Surat ship, were attacked by four of Angria's grabs. After a five-hours' engagement, during which the Hunter made three attempts at boarding, an unlucky shot ignited some loose powder, and the galley blew up, every soul on board perishing. A similar explosion, though less serious, took place on board the Eagle, which forced her to take refuge in a shattered condition in Saragon harbour. Here the Portuguese showed such unfriendliness, that the Council were obliged to send other galleys to protect and bring the Eagle away.

Since the conclusion of the Portuguese treaty with Angria, an angry correspondence had gone on between Goa and Bombay, and soon the old causes of quarrel were revived. The chief of these was the levying of duties at certain places. The General of the North, who had tried to force on a quarrel a year before, smarting, doubtless, under the treatment he had received from Matthews at the siege of Alibagh, began to levy duties on provisions coming from Bombay to Portuguese territory. Phipps retaliated by levying customs duties at Mahim, which the Portuguese had always claimed to be free to both nations. The quarrel grew hot. The General of the North forbade all communication with Bombay, and, on the 26th May, a British gallivat was fired on at Mahim. The Council resolved to uphold their rights, but were in a poor condition to do so. Meanwhile, it became known that Angria's assistance was being invited by the Portuguese. On the 23rd June, a party from Bombay landed and destroyed the Portuguese fort at Corlem, and shelled Bandara. Captain Loader, of the Revenge, without orders, burned the undefended village on Elephanta, for which he was suspended from his command; but at the end of a week he was reinstated. Want of shipping for a time prevented any vigorous prosecution of hostilities on the part of the Council. They were obliged to remain on the defensive, while Portuguese galleys cruised off the island, making occasional raids, killing a militiaman or two, and burning villages. Mahim, Riva, and Darvi were all raided, but with small benefit to the assailants. On the 28th August, at night, a Portuguese force landed and destroyed the fort at Warlee, assisted by the treachery of a renegade Portuguese. On the 3rd and 4th September, two attempts to land at the Breach were repulsed, and the Council were cheered by the arrival of the Salisbury and Exeter from their Red Sea cruise.

Cockburn, of the Salisbury, less churlish than Matthews, at once put two pinnaces and seventy-six men at the Council's disposal. A small expedition of eleven gallivats under Stanton was also fitted out, and a battery erected by the Portuguese at Surey to hinder provisions coming into Bombay, was captured. One man of the Exeter was killed and another wounded. Just then came news that Angria was fitting out an expedition of five thousand men to attack Carwar, and the Exeter sailed there to defend the factory.

At the beginning of November, the tide turned. News having been received that some of Angria's grabs were cruising off Warlee, the Victoria and Revenge, manned with crews from the Salisbury, were sent out. After a hot engagement, Angria's commodore, a Dutchman, was killed, and his ship, mounting sixteen guns, taken.

On the same day that the captured ship was brought into Bombay, two other captures entered the harbour. The Directors had sent out from England three galleys, the Bombay, the Bengal, and the Fort St. George, manned with sailors from the Thames. As they were proceeding up the coast they found themselves dogged for two days by two strange grabs showing no colours. Resolved to put an end to it, on the third day, on the 1st November, off Cape Ramus, they shortened sail and called on the strangers to show their colours. They proved to be Portuguese, and the English hails were answered by threats and shouts of defiance. The Bengal then fired a shot across the bows of the leading grab, which was answered by a broadside, killing the second mate and two seamen. The Bombay closed in, while the Fort St. George turned its attention to the second grab. In half an hour both of the Portuguese vessels struck their colours, and the galleys continued their course for Bombay with their two prizes, each carrying twenty guns. Such was the difference made by having British seamen, instead of the miserable crews that had hitherto manned the Company's ships.

It was well for the Bombay Council that Matthews had been absent while this was going on. For two months and a half he had remained at anchor in the Hooghly. Early in December he reached Bombay, and at once recommenced his quarrels with the Council and his captains. Cockburn, of the Salisbury, was placed under arrest, presumably for the assistance he had given to the Council. After a time he was transferred to the Exeter, and ordered to proceed to England.

In coming up the coast Matthews had touched at Goa, and informed the Viceroy of his disapproval of the Company's actions, and that his squadron would soon be leaving the Indian seas. But the Viceroy had had enough fighting. The capture of his grabs had brought him to reason. He laid all the blame for recent hostilities on the General of the North, and a peaceful accommodation was come to with the Council, Matthews being disregarded.

In spite of Matthews' failure to destroy the Madagascar pirates, the presence of his squadron in Indian waters impelled them to seek safety in the West Indies, and henceforward they ceased to be dangerous to the trade-ships of India. The Madagascar settlements lingered on till they died a natural death. Angria, too, had been tamed by the slaying of his commodore and the capture of his ships. For years the sea-borne trade of Bombay had not been so little subject to molestation as it was for the next three or four years.

Matthews had sent home two of his ships, remaining, himself, to do another year's trading, during which he lost no opportunity of worrying and insulting the Company's officers. Everybody at variance with the Council found an advocate in him. A Parsee broker, named Bomanjee, was under arrest for fraud; Matthews demanded his surrender. The Council placed Bomanjee in close confinement in the fort, to prevent his being carried off. Matthews promised Bomanjee's sons he would take one of them to England, and undertook to make the Directors see things in a proper light. Men charged with abominable crimes received countenance from him. He told the Council that they were only traders, and had no power to punish anybody. The Crown alone had power to punish. He (Matthews) represented the Crown, and was answerable only to the King of England. One may picture to one's self the satisfaction with which, at the end of the year, the Council learned that Matthews was really going.

In December, 1723, he set sail for England. During the two years he had been in the Indian seas he had accomplished nothing he ought to have done, and done almost everything he ought not to have done. He had been sent out to suppress the pirates and to protect the Company's interests. He had not captured a single pirate ship or rooted out a single pirate haunt. Claiming, as a King's officer, to be exempt from the provisions of the Company's charter, he had indulged in private trade, and had even had dealings with the pirates. He had flouted the Company's authority wherever it existed, and had encouraged others to resist it. Every person who had a dispute with the Company received protection from him. He told the Goa authorities that the Company's vessels were only traders, and therefore not entitled to the salutes they had always received. He had refused to give up the Company's sailors whom he encouraged to desert to his ship. He forbade the Bombay traders to fly British colours, but allowed his own trading friends to do so. He had gone trading to Bengal and Mocha, where there were no pirates; two months and a half he had spent in the Hooghly; three months and a half he had spent at Madras and St. David's for trade purposes; and, when the quarrel between the Bombay authorities and the Portuguese was going on, he gave out that he would send the Goa Viceroy a petticoat, as an old woman, if he did not take every one of the Company's ships. He had quarrelled with all his captains, and one of them, Sir Robert Johnson, owed his death to him. At Surat he had found a discharged servant of the Company, one Mr. Wyche, on whose departure the Governor had laid an embargo till his accounts were cleared. Matthews took him and his eleven chests of treasure on board his ship, in defiance of the Governor's orders, and put him ashore at Calicut, whence he escaped to French territory. From Surat also he carried to England the broker's son, Rustumjee Nowrojee, to worry the Directors. He carried off Mrs. Gyfford, and brought her to England in his ship. His last act on the coast was to call at Anjengo, in order to obtain property she claimed there: but it is probable that he also secured a cargo of pepper.

It is small wonder that, on his arrival in England, in July, 1724, the wrath of the Directors was kindled against him, and an account of his misbehaviour was forwarded to the Secretary of State. The naval authorities called on the Directors to produce their witnesses for the charge of trading with the pirates. The difficulty of doing so was obvious, as the witnesses were all under Matthews' command; so the charge was dropped, and the Directors sued him in the Court of Exchequer for infringing their charter by private trading.

Meanwhile the naval authorities had their own account to settle with Matthews; Captain Maine, of the Shoreham, having made various charges against him. In the last week of December, 1724, he was brought to a court-martial on board the Sandwich in the Medway, and the finding of the court was thus recorded:—

"The Court, having read the complaints of the Directors of the E.I. Co. of several irregularities said to be committed by Captain Thomas Matthews while Commander-in-Chief of a squadron of his Majesty's ships sent to the East Indies, a Publication being made three several times, if any Person or Persons were attending on behalf of the said Directors, in order to prove the several matters therein contained, and not any appearing, the Court proceeded on the complaints exhibited by Captain Covil Maine, and having strictly examined into the several particulars and matters therein contained and heard divers witnesses upon oath, they are unanimously of opinion, that the said Captain Matthews hath in all respects complied with his Instructions, except that of receiving Merchandize on board before the late Act of Parliament, Instituted an Act for the more effectual suppression of Piracy, came to hand, but not afterwards; and it appearing to the Court, that he had sent men irregularly to Merchant Ships, and finding he falls under the 33rd Article of War, they have Resolved he be Mulcted four Months' pay, and that the same be applied for the benefit of the Chest of Chatham, and he is hereby mulcted accordingly."

Six weeks later, the Directors obtained a decree against him in the Court of Exchequer, for L13,676 17s. 6d., which, according to Act of Parliament, was doubled as a penalty.

In 1742, Matthews again found favour with an English Ministry. He was appointed Minister at Turin and Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean. In February, 1744, he encountered a combined French and Spanish fleet off Toulon. His behaviour to his subordinates had excited their ill-will to such an extent that his second in command and many of the captains refused to follow him. The allied fleet escaped with the loss of one ship only. Both admirals and five captains were cashiered, and that is the last we hear of Matthews. The remembrance of his behaviour long rankled in the minds of the Directors, and twenty years elapsed before they could again bring themselves to apply for the despatch of a royal squadron to the Indian seas.[1]

[1] The squadron under Barnet, which was sent out in 1744, on the declaration of war with France.



The case of Mr. Curgenven—Death of Conajee Angria—Quarrels of his sons—Portuguese intervention—Sumbhajee Angria—Political changes—Disaster to Bombay and Bengal galleys—The Ockham beats off Angria's fleet—The Coolees—Loss of the Derby—Mahrattas expel Portuguese from Salsette—Captain Inchbird—Mannajee Angria gives trouble—Dutch squadron repulsed from Gheriah—Gallant action of the Harrington—Sumbhajee attacks Colaba—English assist Mannajee—Loss of the Antelope—Death of Sumbhajee Angria—Toolajee Angria—Capture of the Anson—Toolajee takes the Restoration—Power of Toolajee—Lisle's squadron—Building of the Protector and Guardian.

As an instance of the miseries to which men were exposed by Angria's piracies, may be mentioned the case of Mr. Curgenven, a private merchant of Madras. Being bound on a trading voyage to China, he sailed from Surat in August, 1720, in the Charlotte. Before he could get clear of the coast, he was captured by Angria's fleet and carried into Gheriah. There he remained for nearly ten years, during the whole of which time he was made to wear fetters and work as a slave. In spite of the letters he was able to send to Bombay, nothing appears to have been done to procure his liberty. At last, on payment of a ransom, he was set free, and joined his wife in England. But the fetters he had worn so long had injured one of his legs, and amputation was necessary. As he was recovering from the operation, an artery burst, and he died on the spot.

With Boone's departure from India the attacks on the Angrian strongholds came to an end. They were henceforth regarded as impregnable, and Boone's successors contented themselves with checking the Angrian power at sea.

In June, 1729, Conajee Angria died. He left two legitimate sons, Sakhajee and Sumbhajee; three illegitimate sons, Toolajee, Mannajee, and Yessajee. Sakhajee established himself at Colaba, while Sumbhajee Angria remained at Severndroog, to carry on the predatory policy of their father. In March, 1734, Sakhajee died, and Mannajee and Yessajee were sent to hold Colaba for Sumbhajee. Before long, Mannajee quarrelled with Sumbhajee and Yessajee, and fled to Chaul. The Portuguese espoused his quarrel, and furnished him with a force against Colaba, which was taken; Mannajee gallantly leading the assault, sword in hand. He at once imprisoned Yessajee, and put out his eyes. As soon as the Portuguese force was withdrawn, Sumbhajee attacked Colaba. Mannajee invoked the aid of the Peishwa, who compelled Sumbhajee to raise the siege, and received the Angrian forts of Koolta and Rajmachee in return, while Mannajee proclaimed his allegiance to the Peishwa, and henceforth was secure under his protection. The Portuguese, incensed against Mannajee, who had broken his promises to cede them certain districts in return for their assistance in capturing Colaba, joined hands with Sumbhajee Angria against him. This brought down upon them the hostility of the Mahratta court, who, after two years' severe fighting, expelled them from Salsette and all their possessions in the neighbourhood of Bombay, while the English looked on at the contest waged at their doors with indifference.

In order to strengthen themselves against the Dutch, the Portuguese had ceded Bombay to the English, and then, by their bad faith in retaining Salsette and Thana, they had opened a sore that never was healed. By espousing the quarrel of Mannajee they had earned the enmity of Sumbhajee; and by joining in Sumbhajee's quarrel against Mannajee they had brought down on themselves the formidable power of the Peishwa. Before long, Sumbhajee turned against them again, and they were left without a single ally to struggle as they could. Their intervention in Angrian quarrels was the final cause of the downfall of Portuguese power on the West coast.

The old political landmarks were fast disappearing. Everywhere the Mogul power was crumbling to pieces, and new principalities were being formed. The Peishwa had shaken off his allegiance to Satara, and his armies were making his authority felt all over Hindostan and the Deccan; while Mahratta rule was being established in Guzerat by the Gaicowar. The Dutch and French had ceased to make progress; the Portuguese power was on the wane; the Seedee was losing territory under the attacks of Mannajee and the Peishwa, while the Angrian power was divided. Meanwhile, the Company's position on the West coast was steadily improving. European pirates had ceased to haunt the Indian seas; Mannajee Angria found it necessary to maintain good relations with the English, though occasional acts of hostility showed that he was not to be trusted; while the Peishwa, whose aims were directed inland, had no quarrel with them, and concluded a treaty with Bombay. Trade was flourishing, though the piracies of Sumbhajee Angria, in spite of his feud with Mannajee, caused losses from time to time. The English ships, better manned and better found, no longer contented themselves with repelling attacks, but boldly cruised in search of Sumbhajee's vessels, capturing them or driving them to seek refuge in their fortified harbours.

To relate in detail all the encounters that took place would be tedious; but some of them may be mentioned, in order to give an idea of the warfare that went on for thirty years after Boone's relinquishment of office.

In October, 1730, intelligence having been received of Angrian gallivats cruising north of Bombay, some Bombay gallivats were sent out, and after a smart action captured three of them, each carrying five guns. A month later, the Bombay and Bengal galleys were attacked off Colaba by four grabs and fifteen gallivats. There was a calm at the time: the hostile grabs were towed under the galleys' stern and opened a heavy fire. The galleys were only able to reply with small arm fire, and suffered severely. Several attempts to board were repelled, when an unlucky shot exploded two barrels of musket cartridges on board the Bengal. The quarter-deck was blown up, and, in the confusion, the enemy boarded and carried the ship. The first lieutenant, although wounded, jumped overboard and swam to the Bombay, which was also in evil plight. A similar explosion had occurred, killing the captain, the first lieutenant, and many of the crew. At this juncture came a welcome breeze, bringing up the Victory grab, which had witnessed the fight without being able to take part in it, and the Angrians drew off. No less than eighty Europeans were lost to the Company in this action.

In January, 1732, the Ockham, East Indiaman, coming up the coast with a light wind, was beset, off Dabul, by an Angrian squadron of five grabs and three gallivats. At sunset they came within shot, and a little harmless cannonading took place at long range, till dark. At one in the morning, the moon having risen, they bore down again and attacked the Ockham in their favourite manner, astern. For some time the East Indiaman was exposed to the fire of ten nine-pounders, to which it could only reply with two stern-chasers. Captain Jobson, finding his rigging much cut up, and seeing that the loss of a mast would probably entail the loss of his ship, determined to entice them to close quarters, in the good breeze that was springing up. The plan was explained to the crew, who were in good heart, and encouraged by a promise of two months' pay. Every gun was manned, while the fire of the two stern-chasers was allowed to slacken, as if ammunition was running short. The bait took; the grabs drew up on the Ockham's quarter, with their crews cheering and sounding trumpets. At a cable's distance the Ockham suddenly tacked; and as she gathered way on her new course, she was in the midst of the grabs, firing into them round shot and grape, together with volleys of small arms. This unexpected manoeuvre made the Angrians draw off, and the Ockham resumed her course. At daybreak, only four grabs were in chase, the fifth having evidently suffered severe injuries. A stiff breeze had sprung up, and the crew were eager for another bout, so the Ockham tacked again, and stood for the grabs. But they had had enough of it, and evaded coming to close quarters. Their best chances of successes lay in calms and light airs. With an antagonist like Jobson, in a good stiff wind, the odds were against them; they had lost many men; so after hovering round for some hours they made off to Severndroog.

In 1734, the Coolee rovers, who infested the coast of Guzerat, gave much trouble. Their stronghold was at Sultanpore, on the river Coorla, and they enjoyed the protection of several wealthy persons who shared in their plunder. A squadron under Captain Radford Nunn was sent against them, which captured five armed vessels and burnt fourteen more. To save others from capture they burnt about fifty more small sailing-boats themselves. Six months later, ten more of their boats were burnt and two captured. Under these blows they were quiet for a time.

In December, 1735, a valuable ship fell into Sumbhajee Angria's hands, owing to the bad behaviour of its captain. The Derby, East Indiaman, bringing a great cargo of naval stores from England, and the usual treasure for investment, was due to arrive in Bombay in November. The captain, Anselme, was a schemer, and wished to remain in India for a year, instead of returning to England at once, as had been arranged. Accordingly, he lingered a month in Johanna, and shaped his course northward along the African coast. Thence getting a fair wind which would have brought him directly to Bombay, without running the risk of working along the Malabar coast, he, instead, steered for the latitude of Goa, and thence crept northwards, making as much delay as possible, so as not to reach Bombay till January. On the 26th December, an Angrian squadron of five grabs and four gallivats bore down on the Derby, off Severndroog, and engaged in their favourite way of attacking a big ship, astern. There was little wind, and the Derby would neither stay nor wear. Only two guns could be brought to bear at first; there were no guns mounted in the gun-room, and no encouragement was given to the crew. Two years before, the Directors had authorized the captains of outward-bound ships, when exposed to a serious attack, to hoist two treasure chests on deck, for distribution, after the engagement, to the ship's company, in order to encourage them in making a good resistance. The captains of homeward-bound ships were empowered to promise L2000 to their crews in the same circumstances. Nothing of the kind was done by Anselme. The crew, discontented, fought with little spirit; many of them refused to stand to their guns. The main and mizzen masts were shot away, seven men, including the first mate, were killed, five were dangerously, and a number more slightly, wounded. Still, many of the officers and men were willing to continue the fight, but were overruled by the captain, who insisted on surrender, and the Derby with 115 prisoners, of whom two were ladies, was carried into Severndroog.

No such loss had befallen the Company for many years. The much-needed naval stores went to equip Angria's fleet, and the money for the season's investment was lost. The whole Bombay trade was dislocated. Angria, desirous of peace, opened negotiations. The Council, wishing to redeem the prisoners, offered a six months' truce, and, after eleven months of captivity the prisoners were sent to Bombay, with the exception of three who took service with Angria.

In December, 1736, the King George and three other vessels captured a large grab belonging to Sumbhajee Angria, together with 120 prisoners. A Surat ship that had been taken was also recovered.

The year 1738 was an anxious one in Bombay. The Mahrattas were occupied with the siege of Bassein, which was defended with desperate valour by the Portuguese. Sumbhajee's vessels were active on the coast, and Mannajee was restless and untrustworthy. Commodore Bagwell, with four of the Company's best ships, the Victory, King George, Princess Caroline, and Resolution, was sent to cruise against Sumbhajee, while Captain Inchbird was deputed on a friendly mission to Mannajee. On the 22nd December, Bagwell sighted Sumbhajee's fleet of nine grabs and thirteen gallivats coming out of Gheriah. He gave chase, and forced them to take refuge in the mouth of the Rajapore River, where they anchored. Bagwell, ignorant of the navigation, and with his crews badly afflicted with scurvy, boldly bore down on them; on which they cut their cables and ran into the river. Before they could get out of shot, he was able to pour in several broadsides at close range, killing Angria's chief admiral, and inflicting much damage. Fearing to lose some of his ships in the shoal water, he was obliged to draw off, having had one midshipman killed.

Mannajee at once took advantage of Sumbhajee's temporary discomfiture to attack and capture Caranjah from the Portuguese. Then, elated at his success, and in spite of his own professions of friendship, he seized three unarmed Bombay trading ships and two belonging to Surat. To punish him, Captain Inchbird was sent with a small squadron, and seized eight of his fighting gallivats, together with a number of fishing-boats. Negotiations were opened, broken off, and renewed, during which Mannajee insolently hoisted his flag on the island of Elephanta. With the Mahratta army close at hand in Salsette, the Bombay Council dared not push matters to extremity; so, invoking the help of Chimnajee Appa, the Peishwa's brother, they patched up a peace with Mannajee. At the same time, Bombay succeeded in making a treaty of friendship with the Peishwa, which secured, to the English, trading facilities in his dominions.

While this was going on, a Dutch squadron of seven ships of war and seven sloops attacked Gheriah, and were beaten off. A little later, Sumbhajee took the Jupiter, a French ship of forty guns, with four hundred slaves on board. To English, Dutch, French, and Portuguese alike, his fortresses were impregnable.

In January, 1740, a gallant action was fought by the Harrington, Captain Jenkins. The Harrington was returning from a voyage to China, and, in coming up the coast, had joined company with the Pulteney, Ceres, and Halifax. Between Tellicherry and Bombay they were attacked by fifteen sail of Angria's fleet. Four grabs ran alongside the Harrington, but were received with such a well-directed fire that they dropped astern. The four Company's ships then formed line abreast, and were attacked from astern by Angria's ships. The brunt of the fight fell on the Harrington. Jenkins had trained his crew, and was prepared for this method of attack. After five hours of heavy firing the Angrian ships drew off, showing confusion and loss. At daylight the next morning they attacked again. The Ceres had fallen to leeward, and three grabs attacked her, while three more bore down on the Harrington to windward. Disregarding his own attackers, Jenkins bore down on the assailants of the Ceres, and drove them off; then, hauling his wind, he awaited the attack of the others. The three leeward grabs were towed up within range, and for the next two or three hours the Harrington engaged all six, almost single-handed. The wind had fallen; the Ceres and Halifax were out of gunshot; the Pulteney alone was able to give assistance at long range. So well served were the Harrington's guns that she inflicted more damage than she received, and, by ten o'clock, four of the grabs gave up the contest and were towed away to windward. The other two grabs continued the action for some time, till they also were towed out of action. The two squadrons, just out of gunshot of each other, consulted among themselves. Jenkins found he had only seven rounds left for his big guns, and his consorts, which were more lightly armed, were in little better plight to renew the combat. Still, he put a good face on it, showing no unwillingness to continue the fight; and, on a breeze springing up, the Angrians drew off, leaving the East Indiamen to pursue their voyage. Only one man on board the Harrington was wounded, though the ship was much knocked about. Jenkins was much commended for his skill and courage, and two years later we find him acting as Commodore of the Company's fleet at Bombay.

Three weeks later, Sumbhajee's fleet of five grabs and some gallivats appeared off Bombay, and cruised off the mouth of the harbour, as if inviting attack. Commodore Langworth, with the _Pulteney_, _Trial, _Neptune's Prize_, a bombketch, and five of the largest gallivats, was sent out. The Angrian fleet stood away to the southward, followed by Langworth. The demonstration was a trick to draw off the Bombay fighting ships. When they were well out of the way, Sumbhajee made a sudden attack on Mannajee's territories with two thousand men and forty or fifty gallivats. Sumbhajee had gained over a number of Mannajee's officers, and Alibagh, Thull, and Sagurgurh fell into his hands at once. He attacked Chaul, but was beaten off by the Portuguese, and then laid siege to Colaba. Mannajee was at once reduced to great straits. Half his garrison were untrustworthy, and his water supply was cut off. In his distress he appealed to Bombay for assistance. Though the Council bore him little good will, they recognized that it was better to maintain him in Colaba than to allow Sumbhajee to establish himself there; so, in great haste, the _Halifax_, a small country ship, the _Futteh Dowlet_ grab, the _Triumph_, _Prahm_, and the _Robert_ galley were equipped and sent down, under Captain Inchbird, arriving just in time to save the place. Water was supplied to the garrison, and Bombardier Smith, together with gunner's mate Watson, a mortar and plenty of ammunition were put into the fort. Sumbhajee's batteries were much damaged by the shells from the mortar, his camp was bombarded by Inchbird, and his gallivats forced to run for Severndroog. This prompt action of the Bombay Council upset Sumbhajee's plans. He addressed remonstrances to the Council, offering to restore the _Anne_, which he had taken some months before. A week later, a Mahratta force, from Salsette, under the Peishwa's son, Ballajee Bajee Rao, appeared on the scene, attacked Sumbhajee's camp, destroyed some of his batteries, killing a number of his men, and taking prisoner his half-brother, Toolajee.

In his distress, Sumbhajee tried to come to terms with Mannajee. Each distrusted the other, and both were afraid of the Peishwa. At this juncture the death of the Peishwa was announced. Ballajee Bajee Rao was obliged to return to Satara, and Sumbhajee was allowed to retreat, after making peace with the Mahrattas. The promptitude and energy with which the English had come to the assistance of Mannajee raised them greatly in the esteem of the new Peishwa, and strengthened the bonds of the alliance.

Mannajee now found it expedient to make a solid peace with the English. The new Peishwa had his hands full at Satara. The only power able to afford him ready protection against Sumbhajee was the English, the value of whose friendship he had lately experienced. So he sent agents to Bombay, offering to pay a sum of Rs.7500, on restitution of the gallivats taken from him by Inchbird the year before. On this basis a peace was made.

At the same time, the Portuguese, whose power and resources were fast diminishing, recognized the difficulty of retaining the isolated fortress of Chaul. They offered it first to the Dutch and then to the English, but the dangerous gift was refused by both. Finally they made it over to the Peishwa by agreement.[1]

While these things were going on, the Antelope, gallivat, fell a prey to the Coolee rovers of Sultanpore. Through the treachery of the pilot it was run ashore. The crew defended themselves gallantly, but in the course of the action the ship blew up, and ten Europeans, two sepoys, and two lascars were killed.

In view of the losses he had sustained, Sumbhajee Angria now tried to patch up a peace with Bombay. In order to test his sincerity, he was required, as a preliminary step, to restore the English prisoners he held. Just then he scored a success against the Portuguese, from whom he captured two fine grabs and a convoy; so the negotiation came to a standstill. But his fortunes were declining, his people were leaving his service, while Mannajee, protected by the Peishwa and the English, was increasing in power; so he again addressed the Bombay Governor, in a letter beginning 'For thirty years we have been at war.' But it was soon discovered that his object was to have his hands free to attack Mannajee, and his overtures came to nothing. In May, 1743, he captured the Bombay ketch Salamander, off Colaba, but before it could be carried off it was rescued by some of Mannajee's ships from Chaul, and restored to Bombay. Very shortly afterwards, Sumbhajee died, and was succeeded by his half-brother, Toolajee. The reputation of the English in Bombay was now so good, that a quarrel between Mannajee and the Peishwa was referred to them for arbitration.

The predatory policy of the Angrian family did not suffer in the hands of Toolajee. Within a few weeks of Sumbhajee's death, his squadron fought a prolonged action with the Warwick and Montagu, East Indiamen, and carried off five small vessels sailing under their convoy. Commodore Hough in the Restoration, together with the Bombay grab, was at once sent down the coast, and found seven Angrian grabs with a number of gallivats, which he forced to take shelter under the guns of Severndroog. A year later, the Princess Augusta from Bencoolen was captured by Toolajee, and taken into Gheriah. After plundering it, Toolajee found it was too poor a sailer to be of use to him, so he allowed the Bombay Council to redeem it for Rs.8000.

Meanwhile, war with France had broken out, and the capture of Madras by La Bourdonnais dealt a severe blow to English prestige. The restless Mannajee began stopping and plundering small native craft belonging to Bombay, with the intention, no doubt, of flying at higher game in time. Reprisals were at once ordered, and a vessel of Mannajee's was captured. This brought him to reason, and the vessel was released on his signing a bond to make good the losses he had caused. The loss of Madras was telling against the English, everywhere. In Bengal the Mahrattas seized the Cossimbazaar flotilla bound for Calcutta, valued at four lakhs of rupees. Mannajee still continued to be troublesome, till the Seedee, taking advantage of the situation, attacked and captured Thull, which kept him quiet for a time.

Considerable anxiety was caused in Bombay, at this time, by the appearance of three French men-of-war cruising on the coast, with the evident intention of waylaying the Company's ships from Europe. One of them was a fifty-gun ship, and there was nothing in Bombay harbour to cope with her. To meet the difficulty, a large number of fishing-boats were sent out, each with an English sailor on board, to creep along the coast and warn all incoming ships. In spite of these precautions, the Anson missed the boats sent to warn her, and was attacked by the French Apollo and Anglesea within sight of the harbour. Captain Foulis defended himself long enough to enable him to send off the dispatches and treasure he carried, in his boats, before he was forced to surrender.[2] The Directors bestowed on him a gratuity of L400 for his able conduct.

Fortunately for Bombay, Toolajee Angria's energies were at this time directed against Canara, where in two successive expeditions he sacked Mangalore and Honore, carrying off a large booty.

In October, 1749, Toolajee, who for some time had been giving little trouble, inflicted a severe loss on the Bombay marine. The Restoration was the most efficient ship at the Council's disposal. It had been commanded by Captain Hough, a bold and resolute man, who had done good service in her, attacking Angria's ships and chasing them into their fortified harbours. She carried seventy-five European seamen, sixteen lascars, and thirty soldiers—unruly fellows who wanted a firm hand over them. Hough had fallen ill, and the command was given to Captain Thomas Leake, an irresolute man, not fitted to command such, a crew. They very soon fell into disorder. While coming up the coast from Goa they were attacked by Toolajee's fleet of five grabs, accompanied by a swarm of gallivats. From noon till dark the Restoration was surrounded and cannonaded. Her guns were so badly served that they inflicted little or no damage, while her own sails and rigging were badly cut about. During the night, the action was fitfully continued, her ammunition being lavishly and uselessly expended. Toolajee himself was present, and had a number of European gunners with him. At noon the next day his grabs edged down again, fell aboard the Restoration, and boarded. On this, the colours were struck, Leake ran below, an example that was followed by his crew, and the ship was taken. When they were released, some months afterwards, the Council, after due inquiry, decided that Leake and his officers should not serve the Company again till the Directors' pleasure was known.

Meanwhile, the Coolees of Guzerat had become very troublesome. In 1749, they captured a Bengal ship with Rs.60,000 in hard cash on board, and a cargo of nearly equal value. Their depredations continuing, the Dutch proposed joint action against them; so, in December, 1750, a joint Dutch and English squadron forced the defences of the Coorla River, burnt and captured twenty-three of their vessels, and reduced them to quietness for a time.

Toolajee had now become very powerful. From Cutch to Cochin his vessels swept the coast in greater numbers than Conajee had ever shown, and cruised defiantly off Bombay harbour. But for the presence of four King's ships on the coast, Bombay trade would have suffered severely. When Boscawen left Indian waters,[3] after receiving over Madras from the French, he detached four ships, the _Vigilant_, Tartar_, _Ruby_, and _Syren_, to cruise on the West coast, under Commodore Lisle. For two years, the protection afforded by Lisle's squadron gave some security to the Bombay coast trade. As the small sailing boats, in which the coast trade was carried on, made their way under convoy of the King's ships, Angria's squadrons hovered round to pick up stragglers, and several slight encounters took place. The superior sailing powers of the Mahratta vessels enabled them to keep out of range of the big guns, while they snatched prizes within sight of the men-of-war. Thus, in February, 1750, three small traders were snapped up, while under convoy of the _Ruby_, by an Angrian squadron that hung on their tracks for four days, between Bombay and Vingorla. In October, the _Tartar_, with twenty-six sail under convoy, was followed for three days, between Bombay and Surat, by eleven Angrian gallivats, and lost one of the number. Three weeks later, the _Syren's_ convoy was attacked in the same waters by thirteen Angrian vessels, which were beaten off without loss. In March, 1751, thirty-six trading vessels, under convoy of the _Vigilant_ and _Ruby_, were attacked by six Angrian vessels, which behaved with great boldness. Instead of devoting themselves to the traders, they bore down on the _Ruby_, and opened fire at close range, with great guns and small arms. Before long an Angrian grab was seen to be on fire, and in a short time the after part blew up. Several pieces of mast were blown on board the _Ruby_, tearing her sails and wounding two men. The grab sunk, and her consorts made off. Hardly had Lisle's squadron sailed for England[4] when the Council sustained a loss in the _Swallow_ sloop, which was taken by Toolajee, together with a convoy of rice-boats.

The great benefit conferred on the coast trade by Lisle's squadron taught the Directors the necessity of a change of policy. Hitherto their fighting ships had been utilized to carry cargoes along the coast, a practice that greatly hampered their action. They now determined on keeping ships for fighting only; so they ordered the building of the Protector, a forty-gun ship, and the Guardian, a sloop. The two new ships left Sheerness in the winter of 1751, commanded by Captains Cheyne and James, and the most stringent orders were sent with them that they were to carry no cargoes, and were to be kept on the Malabar coast as long as Angria should keep the sea. During the next three years, the Protector and Guardian did much useful work, convoying the coasting trade, and offering battle to Angria's ships whenever they met them.

[1] September, 1740.

[2] 2nd September, 1747.

[3] November, 1749.

[4] November, 1751.



Toolajee fights successful action with the Dutch—He tries to make peace with Bombay—Alliance formed against him—Commodore William James— Slackness of the Peishwa's fleet—Severndroog—James's gallant attack— Fall of Severndroog—Council postpone attack on Gheriah—Clive arrives from England—Projects of the Directors—Admiral Watson—Preparations against Gheriah.—The Council's instructions—Council of war about prize-money—Double dealing of the Peishwa's officers—Watson's hint—Ships engage Gheriah—Angrian fleet burnt—Fall of Gheriah—Clive occupies the fort—The prize-money—Dispute between Council and Poonah Durbar—Extinction of coast piracy—Severndroog tower.

In the beginning of 1754, the Dutch suffered a severe loss at Toolajee's hands. A vessel loaded with ammunition was taken, and two large ships were blown up after a stiff fight, in which Toolajee had two three-masted grabs sunk and a great number of men killed. Six months later, Toolajee sent an agent to Bombay to propose terms of accommodation. They were terms to which a conciliatory answer, at least, would have been returned in Conajee Angria's time. The Council's reply betrays a consciousness of increased strength. "Can you imagine that the English will ever submit to take passes of any Indian nation? This they cannot do. We grant passes, but would take none from anybody." Toolajee was told that if he was in earnest in desiring peace, he should return the vessels he had taken, and send men of figure and consequence to treat, instead of the obscure individual through whom his overtures had come. In spite of this peremptory reply, Toolajee continued to make half-hearted proposals for peace. The fact was that he was now at open war with the Peishwa, who had made himself master of the Concan, with the exception of the coastline. According to Orme, Toolajee had cut off the noses of the agents sent by the Peishwa to demand the tribute formerly paid to Satara. The Poonah Durbar were so incensed against him that they were determined on his destruction, though without the assistance of the English they had little expectation of success against his coast fortresses. The Bombay Council was ready enough to join in the undertaking, but was unwilling to take immediate action. This unwillingness was apparently due to their desire to see order first restored in Surat, where affairs had fallen into great disorder in the general break-up of Mogul rule.

The Mahratta Court at Poona had been close observers of the long war waged in the Carnatic between the English and French. They had seen Madras taken, only to be regained by diplomacy, and after the English had been foiled at Pondicherry. They had witnessed the rise of French power under Dupleix; rulers deposed and others set up, in the Deccan and the Carnatic, by French arms; and then, when Mahomed Ali, the rightful ruler of the Carnatic, was at his last gasp, they had seen his cause espoused by the English, and one humiliation after another inflicted on French armies, till at last the French were forced to recognize Mahomed Ali's title, while a powerful English squadron and a King's regiment had been sent out to make good the claim. The good relations established between the Peishwa's government and Bombay by the treaty of 1739, had been strengthened since the arrival of Mr. Richard Bourchier, as Governor, in 1750; the fighting in the Carnatic had raised the military reputation of the English, while their support of Mahomed Ali, whom the Mahrattas styled 'their master,' had greatly increased the esteem in which they were held.

When it was definitely known that hostilities between the English and French were at an end, Ramajee Punt, the Sirsoobah of the Concan, was dispatched to Bombay to concert measures against Toolajee. Mr. Bourchier was urged to summon the King's ships from Madras to co-operate with the Peishwa's forces.

To await the arrival of Watson's squadron from Madras would have lost the favourable season before the monsoon, so it was determined to fit out at once what ships were in the harbour, and send them under Commodore William James. Articles of agreement were drawn up, by which it was settled that Severndroog, Anjanvel, and Jyeghur should be attacked by the Mahrattas, while the English engaged to keep the sea, and prevent Toolajee's fleet from throwing succours into the places attacked. A division of the spoils between the victors was agreed on, by which the English were to receive Bankote and Himmutghur, with five villages, in perpetual sovereignty. The Peishwa's fleet was to be under James's orders, and he was instructed to give all the assistance in his power, but not to lend any of his people, except a few to point the guns.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5     Next Part
Home - Random Browse