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inquired pointed to that officer, who was lying on the ground, and apparently dead, with a pike through his lungs; the subadar, with an expression of regret that he had disdained to shew for his own fate, pulled the pike from the wound, and instantly expired. His character and his behaviour in the last moment of his existence arq fully described in the following General Order, which was issued on this occasion by the government of port St. George.
'A rare combination of talents has rendered the character of Shaikh Ibrahim familiar to the officers of the army: to cool decision and daring valour, he added that sober judgment and those honourable sentiments, that raised him far above the level of his rank in life. An exploit of -uncommon energy and personal exertion terminated his career, and the last effort of his voice breathed honour, attachment, and fidelity.
'The Governor in Council, desirous of shewing to the army his Lordship's* sense of^the virtue and attainments which have rendered the death of this native officer a severe loss to the service, has been pleased to confer on his family a pension equal to the pay of a subadar of the Body-guard, being 30 pagodas per month; and his lordship ha» further directed that a certificate to this effect, translated into Persian and Hindostanee, may be presented to the family, as a record of the gift, and a tribute to the memory of the brave subadar Shaikh Ibrahim/
The posthumous praise given to Shaikh Ibrahim appeared to have inspired others with a desire to share his fate, that they might attain his fame. A jemadar of the same corps, some days afterwards, being appointed with a few select men to watch a road, where it was thought the chief whom they were attacking might try to escape with one or two followers, determined when a whole column came out to make an attempt against its leader, and such was the surprize at seeing five or six horsemen ride into a body of between two or three hundred men, that he had cut down the chief before they recovered from their astonishment; he succeeded in riding out of the column, but was soon afterwards shot. He had, when he meditated this attack, sent a person to inform Captain J. (•rant (who had recovered of his wounds) of his intention: 'The captain will discover,' he observed, 'that there are more Shaikh Ibrahims than one in the Body-guard.' Captain Grant, when the service was over, erected tombs over these gallant officers: a constant lamp is kept at them, winch is supported by a trifling monthly donation from every man in the Body-guard, and the noble spirit of the corps is perpetuated by the contemplation of these regimental shrines (for such they may be termed) of heroic valour.
Shaikh Moheedeen, a subadar of the body-guard of Madras,
* Lord Clive (the present Lord Powis) was at this period Governor of Sladras; and it is bu.t justice to that nobleman to state that virtue, talent, or valour, either in European or native, were certain under his administration »f attaining distinction and reward.
who who was one of the first officers appointed to the corps of native horse artillery recently raised on that establishment, accompanied Sir John Malcolm to Persia, and was left,with a detachment of his corps under the command of Captain Lindsay, to aid iu instructing the Persians in military tactics. This small body of men and their gallant European commander were engaged in several campaigns in Georgia, and their conduct has obtained, not only for the subadar, but for all the men of his party, marked honours and reward, both from the Persian government and their own. Their exertions received additional importance from the scene Qn which they acted, for it is not easy to calculate the future benefits which may result from the display of the superior courage and discipline of the native soldiers of India on the banks of the Arases.
The native infantry of Madras is generally composed of Maho^ niedans and Hindoos of good cast: at its first establishment none were enlisted but men of high military tribes. In the progress of time a considerable change took place, and natives of every description were enrolled in the service. Though some corps that were almost entirely formed of the lowest and most despised races of men obtained considerable reputation, it was feared their encouragement might produce disgust, and particularly when they gained, as they frequently did, the rank of officers. Orders were in consequence given to recruit from none but the most respectable classes of society; and many consider the regular and orderly behaviour of these men as one of the benefits which have resulted from this system.
The infantry sepoy of Madras is rather a small man, but he is of an active make, and capable of undergoing great fatigue upon a very slender diet. We find no man arrive at greater precision in all his military exercises; his moderation, his sobriety, his patience, give him a steadiness that is almost unknown to Europeans: but though there exists in this body of men a fitness to attain mechanical perfection as soldiers, there are no men whose mind it is of more consequence to study. The most marked general feature of the character of the natives of India is a proneness to obedience, accompanied by a great susceptibility of good or bad usage; and there are few in that country who are more imbued with these feelings than the class of which we are now treating. The sepoys of Madras, when kindly treated, have invariably shewn great attachment* to the service; and when we know that this class of men
* In old corps that have beea chiefly recruited within the territories which havt been long in the possession of the Company, desertion is of very rare occurrence.
The first battalion of the 3d native infantry marched in 1803 from near Madura, of which district and Trichinopoly a great proportion of its men were natives, to the banks of the Taptee, a distance of above a thoisand miles, without one desertion!
can can be brought, without harshness or punishment, to the highest discipline, we neither can nor ought to have any toleration for those who pursue a different system; and the Commander in Chief is unfit for his station who grants his applause to the mere martinet, and forgets, in his intemperate zeal, that no perfection, in appearance and discipline, can make amends for the loss of the temper and attachment of the native soldiers under his command.
We discover in the pages of Onne many examples of that patient endurance of privations and fatigue, and that steady valour which has since characterised the native infantry of Fort St. George. Their conduct in the war against Hyder Ally in 1766 was such as justly to entitle them to admiration. In the battle of Trinomalee and Molwaggle they displayed all the qualifications of good and steady soldiers, and it was during this war that the fifth battalion of native infantry, commanded by Captain Calvert, distinguished itself by the defence of Ambore, and obtained the honour of bearing a representation of that mountain fortress on one of its standards. To the campaigns of Sir Eyre Coote we have already alluded, and have spoken of the unshaken fidelity which the sepoys of Madras evinced at that trying juncture; but if a moment was to be named when the existence of the British power depended upon its native troops, we should fix upon the battle of Portonovo. Driven to the sea-shore, attacked by an enemy exulting in recent success,* confident in his numbers, and strong in the terror of his name; every circumstance combined that could dishearten the small body of men on whom the fate of the war depended: not a heart shrunk from the trial. Of the European troops it is of course superfluous to speak; but all the native battalions appear, from every account of the action, to have been entitled to equal praise on this memorable occasion; and it is difficult to say whether they were most distinguished when suffering with a patient courage under a heavy cannonade, when receiving and repulsing the shock of the flower of Hyder's cavalry, or when attacking in their turn the troops of that monarch, who, baffled in all his efforts, retreated from this field of anticipated conquest with the loss of his most celebrated commander, and thousands of his bravest soldiers.
* The defeat of Colonel Baillie's detachment which occurred at the commencement of this war. This defeat has been variously attributed to bad arrangements in the general plans of the campaign, to mismanagement on the part of the commanding officer, and to the misconduct of the native troops. It is probable all these causes combined to produce this great misfortune; but we must recollect that the native battalions that were chiefly accused of bad behaviour on this occasion were raw levies wh« -had never before seen service, and most of whom had hardly been in the army a sufficient time to be disciplined. The men composing these corps had been hastily raised in the Circars, or northera possessions of Madras, and their conduct created a prejudice (which experience has since proved to be unjust) against recruits from this quarter.
It would exceed our limits to dwell upon the different actions in the war against Tippoo and the Mahrattas, in which the Madras sepoys signalized themselves; we shall therefore content ourselves with some anecdotes of corps and individuals which appear calculated to give a fair impression of the general character of this class of the defenders of our empire in India.
The natives of India have, generally speaking, a rooted dislike to the sea; and when we consider the great privations and hardships to which Hindoos of high cast are subject on a long voyage, during which some of them, from prejudices of cast, subsist solely on parched grain, we feel less surprize at the occasional mutinies which have been caused by orders for their embarkation, than at the zeal and attachment they have often shewn upon such trying occasions.
A mutiny had occurred in the 9th battalion when ordered to embark for Bombay in 1779 or 1780, which however had been quelled by the spirit and decision of its commandant Captain Kelly. A more serious result had accompanied a similar order for the embarkation of some companies of a corps in the northern Circars, who when they came to Vizagapatam, the port where they were to take shipping, had risen upon their European officers, and m their violence shot all, except one or two who escaped on board the vessel appointed to carry their men.
These events rendered government averse to a repetition of experiments which had proved so dangerous: but in the year 1795, when the island of Ceylon and the possessions of the Dutch in the eastern seas were to be reduced, Lord Hobart,* who was then governor of Fort St. George, made a successful appeal to the zeal and attachment of the native troops, who volunteered in corps for foreign service.
A still greater call for men was necessary when an army was formed in 1797 for the attack of Manilla, and many of the best battalions in the service shewed a forwardness to be employed on this expedition. Among these, one of the most remarkable for its appearance and discipline, was a battalion of the twenty-second regiment. This fine corps was commanded by Lieutenant-colonel James Oram,f an officer not more distinguished (or his personal zeal and gallantry than for a thorough knowledge of the men under
* Lord Hobart (afterwards Earl of Buckinghamshire) was very successful in inspiring zeal in every branch of the government-under his charge, and his attention was peculiarly directed to the conciliation of the natives. The local information he acquired at this period was subsequently matured by a study of the general interests of the Indian empire, and the life of this virtuous nobleman terminated at a moment "hen his services, from the high station he had attained of President of the Board of Coatroul, were most valuable to his country.
t This officer has bean dead upwardl of fifteen years.
his command; whose temper he had completely preserved, at the same time that he had imparted to them the highest perfection in their dress and discipline. When he proposed to his corps on parade to volunteer for Manilla, they only requested to know whether Colonel Oram would go with them: the answer was, 'He would.' 'Will he stay with us?' was the second question: the reply was in the affirmative, the whole corps exclaimed 'To Europe, to Europe!' and the alacrity and spirit with which they subsequently embarked, shewed they would as readily have gone to the shores of the Atlantic as to an island of the eastern ocean. Not a man of the corps deserted, from the period they volunteered for service till they embarked; and such was the contagion of their enthusiasm, that several sepoys who were missing from one of the battalions in garrison at Madras were found, when the expedition returned, to have deserted to join the twenty-second under Colonel Oram. We state this anecdote with a full impression of the importance of the lesson it conveys. It is through their affection! alone that such a class of men can be well commanded.
We meet in the Madras native army with many instances of unconquerable attachment to the service to which they belong. Among these none can be more remarkable than that of Syud Ibrahim, commandant of the Tanjore cavalry, who was made prisoner by Tippoo Sultan in 1781. The character of this distinguished officer was well known to his enemy, and the highest rank and station were offered to tempt him to enter into the employment of the state of Mysore. His steady refusal occasioned his being treated with such rigour, and was attended, as his fellow prisoners (who were British officers) thought, with such danger to his life, that they, from a generous feeling, contemplating hit condition as a Mahomedan and a native of India, as in some essential points different from their own, recommended him to accept the offers of the Sultan; but the firm allegiance of Syud Ibrahim would admit of no compromise, and he treated every overture as an insult. His virtuous resolution provoked at last the personal resentment of Tippoo; and when the English prisoners Were released in 1784, the commandant was removed to a dungeon in the mountain fortress of Couley Droog, where he terminated his existence. His sister, who had left her home, the Carnatic, to share the captivity of her brother, was subsequently wounded in the storming of Seringapatam. She however fortunately recovered, and the goverfiment of Fort St. George granted her a pension of fifty-two pagodas and half per month, or £lbd per annum, being the full pay of a native commandant of cavalry. A tomb was also erected at the place where Syud Ibrahim died, and government endowed it with an establishment sufficient to