Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

delegated by his Burmese majesty to the supreme government of India. 9- The king of Ava will abolish all exactions upon British ships or vessels in Burman ports that are not required from Burroan ships or vessels in British ports; nor shall ships or vessels, the property of British subjects, whether European or Indian, entering the Rangoon river or other Burman ports, be required to land their guns, or unship their rudders, or to do any other act not required of Burmese ships or vessels in British ports.

10. The good and faithful ally of the British government, his majesty the king of Siam, having taken a part in the present war, will, to the fullest extent, as far as regards his majesty and his subjects, be included in the above treaty.

11. This treaty to be ratified by the Burmese authorities competent in the like cases, and the ratification to be accompanied by all British, whether European or native (American) or other prisoners, who will be delivered over to the British commissioners. The British commissioners, on their part, engaging that the said treaty shall be ratified by the right hon. the governorgeneral in council, and the ratification shall be delivered to his majesty, the king of Ava, in four months, or sooner if possible; and all the Burmese prisoners shall, in like manner, be delivered over to their own government as soon as they arrive from Bengal.

Additional Article.

The British commissioners being most anxiously desirous to manifest the sincerity of their wish for peace, and to make the immediate execution of the fifth article of this treaty

as little irksome, or inconvenient as possible to his majesty the king of Ava, consent to the following arrangements, with respect to the division of the sum total, as specified in the article before referred to, into instalments, viz.: upon the payment of twenty-five lacks of rupees, or one-fourth of the sum total (the other articles of the treaty being executed), the army will retire to Rangoon; upon the future payment of a similar sum at that place, within one hundred days from this date, with the proviso as above, the army will evacuate the dominions of his majesty the king of Ava, with the least possible delay; leaving the remaining moiety of the sum total to be paid by equal annual instalments in two years, from this 24th day of February, 1826, A. D., through the consul, or resident in Ava, or Pegu, on the part of the honourable the East India company.

A. Campbell, Major-Gen. and Senior Commissioner.

T. C. Robertson, Civil Commissioner.

H. D. Chads, Captain Royal Navy.

Labgeen Meonja Woonghee,

Shwagum Woon Atawoon.

While the Burmese war was brought to this triumphant conclusion, fortune had been equally propitious to the arms of Britain, on the north-western frontiers of her Indian empire, where her interposition was demanded to protect a native prince against an usurper. The rajah of Bhurtpore, Buldeo Singh, had died in terms of strict alliance with the company, by which they were bound to assist each other against all enemies. The rajah, apprehensive of the consequences which might follow upon his death had, during his lifetime, declared his son, Bulwunt Singh, his successor, and had obtained for him from the company the formal investiture of the Khilaat, or robe of inauguration. From that moment the young rajah was under the protection of the British government. On the death, however, of Buldeo Singh, his nephew, Doorjun Sal, gained a party in the army, excited a successful rebellion, gained possession of Bhurtpore itself, and seated himself on his cousin's throne. Bulwunt Singh demanded the protection of the company ; and in the end of 1825, an army, under the command of lord Combermere marched to reinstate him.

The first and great object was, the reduction of Bhurtpore itself, a fortress of immense strength, deemed by the natives to be impregnable, and already celebrated for its successful resistance to British troops, when besieged in l805 by lord Lake, who was compelled to give up the enterprise after he had lost 3,000 men. It is a town of considerable extent, strongly fortified on every side, being surrounded by a mud wall of great height and thickness, with a very wide and deep ditch. The fort stands at its eastern extremity, and is of a square figure; one side overlooks the country, the other three are within the town. It occupies a situation that appears more elevated than the town ; its walls also are higher, and its ditch of greater width and depth. The circumference of the town and fort together, is above eight miles; and their walls, in all that extent, are flanked with bastions at short distances, on which is mounted a numerous artillery. The place derives a considerable addition to

its strength, from the quantity of water which its locality enables the garrison to command, and, when filled, the ditch presents a most formidable obstacle. To the real strength of the fortress, was added that of opinion: if not impregnable, the natives of Hindostan believed it to be so. The termination of the attack in 1805, without its actual surrender, although it had been thrice attempted to be stormed, had produced an exaggerated opinion of its strength, and of the courage of its defenders, which presented exceptions to the usual career of the British arms in India. Bhurtpore was a point, on which the vanity and discontent of the military tribes of Hindostan could dwell with satisfaction; and, after the failure of lord Lake, it was a saying amongst them, that India was not yet conquered, for Bhurtpore had not been taken. It was not to be doubted that a second failure would produce the most unfavourable effects on public opinion, and give new life to all the elements of restlessness and disaffection which might be existing. The preparations for the attack were now made on a large and complete scale, calculated to insure ultimate success ; and, on the 10th December, lord Combermere appeared before it with an army of upwards of 20,00C men, and a field of more than an hundred pieces of artillery. During the night the enemy had cut the bund, or embankment of a lake to the northward, for the purpose of filling their broad and deep ditch, a most essential means of defence, which had contributed largely to the successful resistance of the place in 1805; but they had been too tardy with this operation, the British troops arrived in time to

[graphic]
[graphic]

make themselves masters of the embankment, and repair the breach before a sufficient quantity of water had flowed into the fosse to render it impracticable. The following days were occupied in reconnoitring the works, and determining the points of attack, until the battering train and its appurtenances should have come up, the fortress occasionally firing upon the reconnoitring parties, and occasional skirmishes taking place between small detachments and his cavalry which were encamped under the walls. Lord Combermere, desirous to save the women and children from the horrors of a siege, and of a bombardment like that which must follow from such a battering train as he was about to employ, addressed a letter to Doorjun Sal on the 21st, calling upon him to send them out of the fort, promising them a safe conduct through the British camp, and allowing four and twenty hours for that purpose, before he should open his fire upon the town. Having received an evasive answer, his lordship again sent to him, allowing a farther extension of the time for twelve hours; but the humane offer was not accepted. On the 23rd, therefore, every thing being in readiness to commence operations, and the north-east angle of the works having been fixed upon as the point of attack, the besiegers under a heavy fire, took possession of a ruined village called Kuddum Kemdee, and of Buldeo Singh's garden, and completed their first parallel at the distance of about eight hundred yards from the fort. On the morning of the 24th, two batteries erected at these two points opened upon the town, and, on the 25th, another more advanced battery between them, having likewise begun its fire within two hundred and fifty yards of the north-east angle, the defences of the east side of that part of the works were in a great measure destroyed. A battery was then constructed bearing on the north face of the same angle, at a distance of about two hundred and fifty yards. The rest of December was employed in a similar manner in strengthening the old batteries, erecting new ones, and pushing forward the works ; a constant fire, which left scarcely a roof uninjured being kept up against the town, while the enemy seemed to be reserving his resources to the last, and the operations of the besiegers were exposed to no material interruption. On the 3rd January, 1826, the artillery began to breach the curtains; the ditches in front were found to be dry, and, from the ruggedness of the counterscarp, offered fewer obstacles than had been expected. Such, however, was the tenacity of the tough mud walls, that they resisted the effects of shot better than masonry would have done; it was found that the batteries were insufficient to breach them, and recourse was had to mining. On the evening of the 6th, a mine was commenced in the scarp of the ditch on the northern face of the work, with the purpose of improving the breach ; but the engineers, fearing that they would be discovered, if they continued their operations during the day, sprung it at day-light on the following morning, when it was not sufficiently advanced to have any material effect upon the wall. In ranking a second attempt, the miners were driven away, having been countermined from the interior before they had entered many .feet, and,

the gallery was subsequently blown up, it being discovered that the enemy were keeping watch in it. On the 14th, another mine under one of the bastions was exploded too precipitately, and failed of its effect. Two more mines were immediately driven into the same work, which were sprung on the T 6th so successfully, that with the aid of a day's battering they effected an excellent breach, which was reported to be practicable. On the 17th, the mine under the north-east angle was completed, and the following day was fixed for the storm.

Early in the morning of the 18th, the troops destined for the assault established themselves in the advanced trenches unperceived by the enemy. The left breach was to be mounted by the brigade of general Nicolls, headed by the 59th regiment; that on the right by general Reynell's brigade, headed by the 14th regiment; the explosion of the mine under the north-east angle was to be the signal for the attack. At eight o'clock, the mine was exploded with terrific effect; the whole of the salient angle, and part of the stone cavalier in the rear, were lifted into the air, which for some time was in total darkness; but from the mine having exploded in an unexpected direction, or from the troops having been stationed, in consequence of miscalculation, too near it, the ejected stones and masses of earth killed, in their fall, several men of the regiment at the head of the column of attack, and severely wounded three officers; they fell so thick about lord Combermere himself, that brigadier general M'Combe, who was standing next to him, was knocked down, and two sepoys, who were within

a few feet of him, were killed on the spot. The troops immediately mounted to the assault, with the greatest order and steadiness, and, notwithstanding a determined opposition, carried the breaches. The left breach was the more difficult of the two; and at one moment, where the ascent was steepest, the 59th regiment, which led the attack, halted for an instant; but at a cheer from their comrades behind, they pressed on, and quickly surmounted it, the grenadiers moving up it slowly and resolutely without yet drawing a trigger in return for the vollies of round shot, grape, and musketry, which were poured upon them. Some of the foremost of the enemy defended the breach for a few minutes with great resolution, but, as the explosion of the mine had blown up threehundred of their companions, they were soon compelled to give way, and were pursued along the ramparts. Whenever they came to a gun which they could move, they turned it upon their pursuers, but they were immediately killed by the grenadiers, and the gun upset. In two hours the whole rampart surrounding the town, although bravely defended at every gateway and bastion, along with the command of the gates of the citadel, were in possession of the besiegers, and early in the afternoon, the citadel itself surrendered. Brigadier general Sleigh, commanding the cavalry, having been intrusted with preventing the escape of the enemy's troops, after the assault, made such a disposition of his forces, that he succeeded in securing Doorjun Sal, who, with his wife, two sons, and a hundred and sixty chosen horse, attempted to force a passage through the 8th light cavalry.

The loss of the enemy could not be computed at less than four thousand killed; and, owing to the disposition of the cavalry, hardly a man, hearing arms, escaped. Thus, as by the surrender of the town, all the stores, arms, and ammunition fell into the possession of the victor, the whole military power of the Bhurtpoor state might be considered as annihilated. The fortifications were demolished, the principal bastions, and parts of several curtains were blown up on the 6th February, and it was left to the rains to complete the ruin. The Futty Bourg, or " Bastion of Victory," built, as the Bhurtporeans vaunted, with the bones and blood of British soldiers who fell in the assault under lord Lake, was now laid low ; and among its destroyers ware some of those very men who, twenty years before, "had been permitted," in the boasting language of the natives, "to fly from its eternal walls." All the other fortresses within the Rajah's dominions immediately surrendered; the inhabitants returned to their abodes, and the prince was re-instated in his authority. Lord Combermere broke uphiscamp, toreturn to Calcutta, on the 20th February, and arrived there early in April.

In Africa, during this year, our settlements on the coast of Guinea were again threatened by the restlessness of the Ashantees. Sincethe unfortunate battle with sir Charles M'Carthy, which emboldened them, by the death of the British commander, rather than discouraged them by the ultimate failure of the enterprise, the king of that nation had silently been collecting supplies, and forming an army to effect his favourite object of making himself master of all the territory

between his own country and the sea, by successively attacking, and overpowering, the native princes in the British interest, and surprising British Accra. It was not possible for him, however, to make the necessary preparations, without the knowledge of the neighbouring chiefs, whose fears at length led them to supplicate assistance from colonel Purdon, commanding at Cape Coast. They promised, if he would give them muskets and powder, to purchase an equal quantity from the merchants, raise twelve thousand men, and put themselves under his command; and they engaged, in the most solemn manner, not to run away, as they had done on the occasion of sir Charles M'Carthy's unfortunate defeat. Colonel Purdon, taking what assurances he could get, accepted their offer, gave them what assistance he could, anddivided their force into five brigades, with two strong corps of observation, to protect each flank. He then assembled such of the settlers, merchants, and civilians as he could, and formed them into one corps as a reserve. The only British troops he had were eighty men of the Royal African corps, with four field pieces, of six and three-pounders. The united force amounted to less than twelve thousand men. The natives were composed of the following kings, nations, and tribes: Accatoo, king of Aquimbo; Adononaqua, king of Aquapim : Dongua, queen of Aikim; Cudjoe, king of Assin; the king of Tuful, and many other caboceers, and captains of tribes. They brought into the field about ten thousand men; to whom, and the eighty men of the regular troops, were added fivehundred militia, British, Dutch, and Danish, belonging to Accra and Cape Coast Castle. The

« ZurückWeiter »