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Ad imum, Qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constat.' The secret of this wonderful and admirable uniformity is, that all his great qualities have been combined with unaffected simplicity, and an exact and fearless spirit of truth. Truth alone may not constitute a great man—but it is the most important ingredient in a great character; it exalts and extends his own qualities—it gives confidence to those who serve under him, security to those who employ him — and in the world at large, it inspires a solid and permanent admiration which maintains, and at last surpasses and outlives, the enthusiasm excited by temporary success.
We now proceed to the examination of the details of the work. In a former number* we gave a general view of the biography of the Duke of Wellington ; we are now brought into a more internal and confidential acquaintance with him. It has been generally, and naturally, supposed that the position of his elder brother, the Marquis Wellesley, as Governor-General, had been the influencing cause of Colonel Wellesley's first distinctions in India:—that, it seems, is not the fact—he proceeded to India with his regiment (the thirty-third) some fourteen months before Lord Wellesley's appointment, and had already been noticed for the diligence, and success, and activity, with which he endeavoured to make himself acquainted with the military and political interests of the British Empire in the East. The accession of Lord Wellesley to the government may have accelerated the distinction of his brother; but there is abundant evidence that before his arrival Colonel Wellesley's talents had excited unusual expectation, and must, sooner or later—whoever should have been Governor-Generalhave achieved a high reputation. Indeed, it may be doubted whether Colonel Wellesley's connexion with his Lordship did not on some occasions operate to his personal disadvantage; it is impossible to read these dispatches without seeing that under a less able and energetic Governor-General, the ability and energy of Colonel Wellesley would probably have had more play, and that, in at least one remarkable instance, Lord Wellesley's too scrupulous reluctance to appear to favour a brother led to some injustice to the independent merits of the public servant. This is not to be complained of it was honourable to Lord Wellesley, and, fortunately for the world, not ultimately injurious to the advancement of the Duke ;-and we merely notice it here in order to do justice to both.
When Lord Wellesley, soon after his accession to the government, found himself obliged to prepare for hostilities with Tippoo Sultaun, the first step was to form a camp at Walajabad,
* Quarterly Review, vol. XIII. p. 215..
which moved afterwards to Vellore, to cover the assemblage of the troops destined for the attack of Mysore. Of this small body Colonel Wellesley had, as senior officer, the chief command; and the attention he bestowed on their discipline in practising them in combined field movements, with his admirable system for the collection of the larger supplies for the intended campaign, attracted general notice and approbation; and when General Harris joined the army, he warmly expressed his commendation of the merits of Colonel Wellesley during his temporary command. When the army was increased by all the disposable British force in India, with the Indian auxiliaries under Meer Alum, the first minister of the Nizam, and it became necessary to distribute it into corps, Colonel Wellesley's regiment was brigaded with the Nizam's contingent, and he was appointed to the command of that division. In Mr. Hook's interesting and able · Life of Sir David Baird,' we find that Baird, who had lately joined the army with the rank of Major-general, complained to General Harris that Colonel Wellesley, his junior,* was appointed to the command of this division. General Harris paid, Mr. Hook adds, 'no attention to this reclamation. Certainly not. The fact is, as the book now before us shows, that Colonel Wellesley had received the appointment at the urgent request of the Nizam's minister, who had observed the extraordinary attention paid by the colonel to the habits and feelings of the natives—a tact, in truth, to which in the subsequent Peninsular war, as well as throughout his Indian career, the Duke owed a very great share of all his successes. General Harris knew, in short, that Colonel Wellesley's appointment was popular with the Nizam, his ministers, and his troops; he probably thought Baird's grievance but an imaginary one ; at all events he judged it best for the combined service that his original arrangements should stand.
On the 9th of March, 1799, General Harris's army advanced into the territories of Mysore-on the 27th he arrived in front of Tippoo's army at Malavelly. The British, under the per-' sonal command of General Harris, formed the right wing of the allied army- the left wing was composed of the Nizam's contingent, brigaded with our 33d regiment under the command of Colonel Wellesley. An opening between the two divisions of the allied army tempted Tippoo to make an attack on that point, which was unsuccessful; and Colonel Wellesley, seeing the opportunity, asked and obtained General Harris's permission to attack the assailants,-a movement which completely
* General Baird's recent promotion made a considerable difference of rank, but as culonel, he had been but eight months senior to Wellesley.
succeeded; the cavalry under General Floyd, taking advantage of the enemy's confusion, charged at this critical moment, and completed the success. This was, we believe-with one casual exception when in Holland under the Duke of York—the Duke of Wellington's coup d'essai in anything like a superior command; and we see that this, at the moment brilliant and important success,' was not obtained by the ordinary merit of maintaining his own position, or forcing that of the enemy under the orders of his commander-in-chief, but by an original movement, the spontaneous exertion of his own military judgment.
On the 5th, the army approached Seringapatam, and took up a camp in front of the place; and on that very evening an affair occurred to which we shall dedicate a little attention—not because it has been made the subject of cavil and insinuation against the Duke by some persons who are of the temper of those that could not bear to hear Aristides called blameless--but because it affords the first of the series of the Duke's own letters and dispatches, and seems to us to exhibit—though on a small scale and at his very outset—that peculiar military talent, the development of which has made him the first captain of the age. The story as related in Mr. Hook's · Life of Baird,' is, in substance, that Colonel Wellesley being ordered on the evening of the 5th to attack and occupy a certain tope or grove, called the Sultaun Pettah Tope, which lay in front of the camp between it and the wall of Seringapatam, failed in the attack; and that when General Harris next morning ordered a larger force to attack the tope, of which he intended to give the command to Colonel Wellesley, this officer was not on parade, having, as it is said, fallen asleep in General Harris's tent tired with the fatigues of the night—that General Harris then desired Sir David Baird to take the direction of the intended attack—that Baird instantly mounted his horse, and called his aide-de-camp-but'a moment afterwards a generous feeling towards Colonel Wellesley (although he seemed destined to be his rival throughout the campaign) induced him to pause, and, going back to General Harris, he said, “Don't you think, sir, it would be fair to give Wellesley an opportunity of retrieving the misfortune of last night?” General Harris listened to this kind and considerate proposal, and shortly after Colonel Wellesley appeared, who took command of the party, and at its head succeeded in getting possession of the tope. (Hook's · Life of Baird,' vol. i. p. 192.) Upon this statement Colonel Gurwood remarks, that, having had access to General Harris's Private Diary, he thinks it right, although the affair is in itself of little importance, to set the matter in its true light.
• There is little doubt (he says) that both General Harris and General Baird were capable of feeling and acting in the manner represented by Mr. Hook, yet, as General Harris does not make the slightest mention of it in his minute private diary, and as Colonel Wellesley does not allude to it in his several letters to General Harris on that and the following days, and -until many years afterwardsnever even heard of it (!), it is very possible that Mr. Hook has been misinformed.'-p. 25.
There is no doubt that Mr. Hook was misinformed; but his statement, even if it were perfectly accurate, could do no injury to the character of Colonel Wellesley, while it did honour to the generosity of Sir David Baird. We, therefore, have no controversy with Mr. Hook; but Colonel Gurwood has had the good fortune to find in General Harris's papers the letter from Colonel Wellesley before alluded to, which puts the matter in a new and more important point of view, and affords, as we have said, an early and sure indication of Colonel Wellesley's military talents. As every incident in the life of so great a man is interesting, we shall-though agreeing with Colonel Gurwood, that this is in itself a trifling affair-explain it, by the help of the documents, in a few words. As the army approached Seringapatam on the 4th, this tope (behind which ran a deep stream, or nullah) attracted General Harris's attention, and he directed General Baird to beat it up. General Baird, according to Mr. Hook's account, marched at eleven at night, and after scouring the tope in all directions-(at no time,' says Mr. Hook, 'a work of easy operation, on account of ditches five or six feet deep, with which it is intersected for the purpose of watering the betel plants, and rendered infinitely more difficult by the darkness')-he found the enemy had abandoned it; their retreat rendered Baird's further stay in the tope unnecessary; he accordingly prepared to return, and an officer, who had been attached to his force as a guide, confidently undertook to lead the way. At that period, Lieutenant Lambton, of the 33d, who was on Baird's staff, apprized him that he was moving in an opposite direction to that which had been intended, and was, in fact, marching directly towards the enemy; which he substantiated, as the night was clear, by referring to the position of the stars. The guide still persisted they were right. Baird, in this dilemma, took out a pocket compass, and putting a fire-fly on the glass, ascertained that Lambton was right, or, as he used humorously to observe, “the stars were correct;" and immediately the troops faced about, but owing to the détour which they made, they fell in with one of the eneiny's picketswhich having surprised and made several prisoners, they then returned to the camp. The next day, however, the enemy again possessed themselves of the tope, whence it was judged necessary to expel them. For this purpose his Majesty's 33d regiment, commanded by Colonel Wellesley, was directed to perform a
cted for more difficult retreat reude prepared to
similar duty to that which it would have been General Baird's province to have executed the night before, if the enemy had not abandoned the position; and Colonel Shawe, with the 12th regiment, was ordered to take some posts to the left.' (Hook, vol. i. p. 191.) So far Mr. Hook, no doubt, is correct; but we think that justice to Sir David Baird requires some explanation why he should have been so anxious to march away from the enemy, or why any credit should be taken for a few prisoners made by mistake. The explanation, we have no doubt, is that General Harris only wished to explore the tope itself prior to his forming his camp in its neighbourhood, and had desired Baird not to risk his corps with the main body of the enemy, which was posted beyond it. General Harris's diary supports this hypothesis by saying that Baird was only ordered to beat up the tope, and he afterwards adds
. General Baird's expedition last night so far answered our expectations, as he fell in with a small party of the enemy's horse and cut up eight or ten of them, which will tend to prevent their plaguing us with rockets, I trust. He missed his road coming back, although one would have thought it impossible : no wonder night attacks so often fail.'-Harris's Diary, 5th April.
General Harris seems, however, to have set so much value on the possession of the tope, that, notwithstanding the difficulties experienced by Baird, he sent orders next day to Colonel Wellesley to make another night attack. We have not General Harris's order ; but fortunately Colonel Wellesley's reply is preserved in General Harris's papers : as it is, as we have said, the first of the Duke's own letters, we extract it:" To Lieutenant-General Harris,
. Camp, April 5, 1799. · My dear Sir, I do not know where you mean the post to be established, and shall therefore be obliged to you if you will do me the favour to meet me this evening in front of the lines, and show it to me. In the meanwhile, 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 rear of the former. However, you are the best judge, and I will be ready. I am, my dear Sir, your faithful humble servant,
ARTHUR WELLESLEY.' It is evident from this letter-although worded with the modesty and respect due from a subordinate officer to his commander-inchief-that Colonel Wellesley did not approve of General Harris's design-that 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