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of the story. General Harris had written * to the GovernorGeneral of Colonel Wellesley's exertions in terms of high commendation. In his excessive annoyance at not receiving credit t for them publicly on the spot—where all that he had done must have been well known-did not Colonel Wellesley display the natural ambition which Mr. Gleig, as we shall hereafter show, utterly denies to him? If he had obtained the whole of the credit for what had been done, or which he conceived himself to deserve, would that have been the most effective mode of influencing the army to support General Harris ? Could any officer not the Governor-General's brother have so written and spoken to and of his superiors ? Some such reflections must occur to almost any reader of these pages; and exaggerations of disinterestedness in a great man's memoirs have an effect contrary to that which they are intended to produce, especially when they are at variance with the immediate context. Mr. Gleig, also, while making too much of the sayings and doings of his hero, either represents the other actors in the scenes which he describes as inactive, or places them in situations little short of ridiculous. He writes the Duke's biography, in short, too exclusively from portions of his own letters, without paying sufficient attention to contemporary evidence or observing entire impartiality in regard to the merits of others. The expressions in the above letters, showing what Colonel Wellesley anticipated, might, without further explanations, injuriously affect the reputation of General Harris, whose unpresuming but fearless and honest character has been most unjustly assailed. We would quote, as an antidote, the result of his subsequent experience: 'It is “a fact $ not sufficiently known that General Harris himself conducted the details of the victorious army which he commanded” in Mysore.' This sentence is placed in the title-page of Mr. Lushington's Life of Lord Harris, in which he so concisely exposes the misrepresentations of Sir A. Alison.
The description of the sharp affair' at Malavelly, where General Harris received Tippoo's attack with the right wing of his army, while the left wing, under Colonel Wellesley, (composed of the Nizam's army and the 33rd Regiment,') $ acted upon his right flank, is not happily executed :
· Tippoo marched out with the whole of his force, and fell there
* This was not done privately, as Mr. Gleig states, but in a public letter, of which a copy is published at p. 181 of the second edition of Mr. Lushington's * Life and Services of Lord Harris.
It would appear from Gurwood's statement already quoted, that this must afterwards have been accorded to him. Gurwood, vol. i. p. 26.
§ See Gurwood, vol. i. p. 22.
upon General Harris's army, which, by a happy movement of Colonel Wellesley's column, took the enemy in flank, and totally defeated him.'
It was not the army, but Wellesley's column and General Floyd's cavalry, which Lord Harris sent to support it, which took the enemy in flank and by their noble conduct decided the action. The 33rd bore the brunt of an attack by 2000 of the enemy, and Dallas, who was directed by General Floyd at the critical moment, completed their rout by a charge of cavalry.
In regard to the celebrated night-attack on the Sultaunpettah Tope before Seringapatam, Mr. Gleig says :
* It was at one time, I believe, a favourite pastime, with writers to make a great deal of that reverse. The Colonel was represented as losing not only his way, but his head ; and returning alone in a state of utter despondency to the tent of General Harris. Never was superstructure of romance built up on so narrow a foundation.'
Other writers have exaggerated this reverse, but Mr. Gleig seems here to ignore the following extract from General Harris's most conscientious diary; Near twelve * Colonel Wellesley came to my tent, in a good deal of agitation, to say he had not carried the tope. It proved that the 33rd, with which he attacked, had got into confusion, and could not be formed, which was great pity, and must be particularly unpleasant to him;' and he proceeds at once to quote Colonel Wellesley's letter to Lord Mornington:t
On the night of the 5th we made an attack on the enemy's outposts, which, at least on my side, † was not quite so successful as could have been wished. The fact is, that the night was very dark, that the enemy expected us, and were strongly posted in an almost impenetrable jungle, we lost ope officer killed, and nine men of the 33rd wounded, and at last as I could not find out the post which it was desirable that I should occupy, I was obliged to desist from the attack, the enemy also having retired from the post. In the morning, they reoccupied it, and we attacked it again at daylight, and carried it with ease, and with little loss. I got a slight touch on the knee, from which I have felt no inconvenience, and I have come to a determination when in my power never to suffer an attack to be made by night upon an enemy who is prepared and strongly posted, and whose posts have not been reconnoitred by daylight.'
It was very natural that a man who was so intently carving
* Lushington's · Life of Lord Harris,' p. 214, and quoted by Gurwood, vol. i. † This letter, dated April 18, 1799, is given at p. 209, vol. i. 'Supplementary Despatches.' This refers to Colonel Shawe's having succeeded on the opposite side.
his way onward to eminence should be agitated after any failure, and particularly after one which occurred, as this did, at a critical time. To go back to an earlier moment: on the day that the army arrived before Seringapatam, at 5000 yards from the ramparts and half a mile from the nearest part of the above tope, Colonel Wellesley wrote to General Harris the following letter, not referred to by Mr. Gleig: *
To Lieutenant-General Harris, Commander-in-Chief. * MY DEAR SIR,
Camp, 5th April, 1799. 'I do not know where you mean the post to be established, and I shall therefore be obliged to you if you will do me the favour to meet me this afternoon in front of the lines, and show it to me. In the mean time I will order my battalions to be in readiness.
Upon looking at the tope as I came in just now, it appeared to me that when you get possession of the bank of the Nullah, you have the tope as a matter of course, as the latter is in the rear of the former. However, you are the best judge, and I shall be ready. I am, my dear Sir, your most faithful servant,
* ARTHUR WELLESLEY,'
The following remarks upon this subject will be found in the Quarterly Review,' vol. li. pp. 407 and 408:
It is evident from this letter-although worded with the modesty and respect due from a subordinate officer to his commander-in-chief --that Colonel Wellesley did not approve of General Harris's designthat he did not see how a post was to be established by attacking the tope-and did see, that, if the possession of the tope itself was the object, it could be obtained without so dangerous an experiment, by a movement on each side of it to the open bank of the nullah, the possession of which would involve that of the tope as a matter of course without loss or risk. This is the clear meaning of this remarkable note. Now let us follow the event-General Harris (on some view or information which is not stated) persisted in his original intention, and ordered the direct attack on the tope ;-—that attack failed, as Colonel Wellesley seems to have expected ; and next morning the very plan suggested in his letter of the day before was adoptedaccording to which, Colonel Wellesley turned the tope by a movement on both its flanks, the enemy retreated, and the position was taken as he had predicted “as a matter of course," and without the loss of a man! Thus, in this little affair—the first of the details of which we have any record—the only one in the whole course of his long service which ever gave rise to any doubt-we have incontrovertible evidence of his sagacity in foreseeing failure from one course and success from
But often quoted from Gurwood, vol. i. p. 23.
another; and, however vexed Colonel Wellesley might have been by his repulse on the night of the 5th, he must have had the consolation -however inadequate-of having foreseen it, and of having suggested as well as executed, the manæuvre which so easily accomplished the desired object on the morning of the 6th.'
To these remarks, confirmed as it appears to us by Colonel Wellesley's letter to his brother, we steadfastly adhere. Indeed, it seems by no means impossible from that letter that notwithstanding the note to Lord Harris, Colonel Wellesley was left without any sufficiently precise indication of what was expected of him.
The failure was, as it turned out, a trifling matter; and no more would probably have been heard of it if it had happened to anyone else; but it afforded to our great soldier a lesson of the difficulties attendant upon such operations, which was, we may be sure, well remembered. General Harris considerately delayed the renewal of the attack in the morning, as Mr. Lushington relates, on purpose to allow Colonel Wellesley, who had not, by some mistake, been warned for it, to retrieve his reputation. As soon as he arrived he took command of the troops and proceeded to the attack, which was successful, and the position of the army was established before Seringa patam.
Mr. Lushington * quotes a letter which was brought at this time by a native hurkarrah (messenger) to General Harris from Lord Mornington, dated 3rd of April, 1799. It was written with his own hand on both sides of a slip of paper, and sealed up in a quill, in order that it might be the better concealed in the journey through Tippoo's country. It was unimportant in other respects, but contained the expression Do not allow Arthur to fatigue himself too much. We have thought this worthy of notice, as being more elegant than the somewhat similar • Take care of Dowb,' which so puzzled our General commanding in the Crimea.
Even then the situation was, however, extremely urgent. Immediate success was necessary to the existence of the army. When the breaching batteries which had been dragged so many weary miles had done their work, and when all was prepared, General Harris told off Baird for the assault, and Wellesley for the reserve in the trenches. He had also determined, as he said to Captain (afterwards Sir John) Malcolm, to lead the rest of the army in person if necessary, as a last resource. Mr. Gleig puts it:
'In the final assault and capture of the place which occurred on the 4th May, Colonel Wellesley appears not to have been engaged. He * · Life of Lord Harris,' p. 228.
remained with his corps in observation, as the bulk of a besieging army under similar circumstances usually does.'
We may add that Baird carried the place with great gallantry by a midday assault, and applied in the evening to be relieved for a short time that he might report the details of his success in person. Colonel Wellesley followed him into the town on the following morning, as the next senior officer for duty, to restore order, which he did with great determination,—-gallows were erected in seven streets and seven * marauders soon dangled from them.' Wellesley was appointed by Harris Commandant of Seringapatam, and the appointment was confirmed by the Governor-General, who said, in writing to General Harris, t
With respect to the language which you say people held of my brother's appointment to command in Seringapatam, you know that I never recommended my brother to you, and of course never suggested how, or where he should be employed; and I believe you know also, that you would not have pleased me by placing him in any situation in which his appointment could be injurious to the public service. My opinion, or rather knowledge and experience of his discretion, judgment, temper, and integrity are such, that if you had not placed him in Seringapatam, I would have done so of my own authority, because I think him in every point of view the most proper for that service.'
And there can be no doubt that Lord Mornington was right in his opinion.
General Baird was much annoyed by this appointment. Colonel Wellesley had previously obtained the command of the Nizam's contingents over his head, ostensibly because he was brother to the Governor-General. Baird had now carried with great gallantry the fortress in which he had previously suffered a lengthened and cruel imprisonment; and he found himself once more, and permanently, superseded by a junior officer, in a command which he thought he had fairly won. General Harris had, however, other proper and strong reasons for acting as he did ; and after administering to him a sharp rebuke, he allowed him to withdraw his angry letters of remonstrance, and gave him credit not only for his own gallantry, but also for the arrangements which he (General Harris) had himself so carefully made for the assaults.
Colonel Wellesley was as yet by no means relieved from anxiety in regard to his pecuniary affairs, for he wrote to his brother,
“ Nor was it until four men had been executed for plunder that perfect tranquillity was restored.”-Gurwood, vol. i. p. 38.
+ Life of Lord Harris,' p. 320. Vol. 120.-No. 239.