4 MARCH 1865, Page 17


Tama Anglo-Indians always waste their power. Here are two productions received by this mail, in which it would be difficult to say whether power or the waste of power were more annoy- ingly conspicuous. One calls itself a supplementary number of the Journal of the Asiatic Society, the Indian branch thereof, and is really an arelmological report upon a Northern city, which must have cost its writer years upon years of thought and inquiry. Overloaded with learning, heavy with knowledge, it would, had it been published in a European journal, have given its author repu- tation in three countries, as it is, no one not specially interested in the subject will ever look at it, and the antiquarian who has heard of its value will be lucky if after infinite research he finds his long sought number upon a Holborn bookstall, in the midst of rubbish saleable at a shilling a pound. The second is a lecture upon Lally, delivered to the people of Calcutta, who care nothing about lectures, and published as a pamphlet for Anglo-Indians, who only appre- ciate pamphlets when they discuss service grievances and advo- cate increasc of pty. It is by very far the best life in English of the greatest Frenchin in among the three who contested with us the dominion of the East, and of the highest value to all men who care to understand the early history of British dominion in India, full of recondite information, presenting in the simplest form the real portrait of a great man. But what then ? It is not forty pages long, even in open and therefore readable print, it was first given to the world as a lecture to an " institute " which English- men never heard of, and would secretly contemn if they had, and it was then published by men who have published some works of rare research, but whose names Londoners never saw. Under those circumstances, if it had been written by the first of Indian states- men it would have failed, and written as it is by a man known in India, but not England, as the author of the "Red Pamphlet," i.e., the short history which decided the fate of the Company in Lord Derby's mind, it will remain utterly unknown, and we shall steal from it unscrupulously. When we have done, Englishmen will know what they do not know now, and ought to have known always, the manner of man who under the name of Count Lally Tollendal imperilled their dominion and dividends.

He was O'Lally, to begin with. His father was Sir Gerard O'Lally, Irishman, Milesian, conquered individual, person, it may be, with bad facial angle, who having in opposition to all true Whig principlesdefended Limerick against a saturnine and very unpopular Dutchman, who thought it his duty to impose Calvinism upon that city, and having been defeated, conceived that there were careers larger than those offered by submission, and took service with the French. He did service, fighting pretty well himself, but above all forming and ruling the "Irish Brigade," and begetting a son, Thomas Arthur—we ask honest men, did they ever know that Lally was "Thomas Arthur ?"—who at the age of one (1702) was a private in the French Army, and at the age of forty-three (1745) saved France at Fontenoy,—a conspicuous example of the mischief arising from that early recognition which in England is called aristocratic favouritism. His charge and that of his brigade, the command of which he had as it were inherited from a grand-uncle, Count Dillon—name known in England as that of persons given to duels, and in France of people given to victories—really decided the day, which had been won by the stolid, immoveable English advance.

Lally served in Russia with credit, in the force raised to

e The Career 0/ Coast Lolly. A Lecture. By biller O. a Mallesou. Calcutta: Le Page and Co. assist the Jacobite rebellion, and under Marshal Saxe, who re- garded him as a future Marechal de France, and on 31st Decem- ber, 1756, when just fifty-four years old, he was appointed Com- mander-in-Chief of the French Possessions in the East with un- limited authority. He was then in the vigour of his powers, a per- fect disciplinarian, a general by instinct and by training, a states- man, and a brute. Full of genius, and knowledge, and thought- fulness, his wonderful capacities were all neutralized by that strange spirit which Garibaldi once denominated "the disease of militarism," which in all ages has betrayed itself in the French Army, which has made its ablest efforts abortive, and amid its most useful conquests roused a hatred nothing but massacre and expulsion has ever sufficed to quench. Pelissier was of this stamp; indeed minus the special " honour " of the old regime, an honour which was not honour, but only a tone, Pelissier was but Lally over again.

"Accustomed only to Europe, and to European habits, Lally was. unable to comprehend the existence of a state of things such as forced itself upon his attention immediately after he had landed in India. To. his mind, he, and the few thousand Europeans at Pondicherry, repre- sented the dominant race, and he was suprised that the millions of native inhabitants objected to be regarded as slaves. The institution of caste appeared to him to be simply an excuse of which men availed themselves to escape toilsome occupation. He regarded it, and was resolved to regard it, in no other light. He at once reversed the policy of Dupleix. That able administrator had been careful to respect native prejudices ; his whole policy in fact had been a policy of conciliation. But Lally, confident in his strength, tried to ignore the existence, as a nation, of the dusky millions of Hindustan. In his eyes, France and England were fighting for the possession of India, and his policy was. expressed in his own words, that he had come to drive the English from India. He went directly, far too directly, to this purpose. He acted as he would have acted in Europe. When men, whose caste forbade them to labour, refused to act as coolies. they were at once impressed, and driven to their tasks. The native inhabitants of Pondicherry were, in this way, condemned without distinction to all sorts of labour. Brah- mins were compelled to carry the loads their caste forbade them to touch, and were yoked with Pariahs and Soodras to draw carts. The result was an universal panic in Pondicherry. When de Leyrit and the Council remonstrated, they were treated as accomplices who had beau bribed. It was another mistake thus to insult those whose co-operation was so necessary. Poor de Leyrit was not corrupt, he was only incap- able. But Lally was inexorable. He redoubled his exactions, and stormed at and derided the Indian experience of men whose duty it was to advise him. The consequences were fatal, and when he returned from the conquest of Fort St. David, he returned to a city the European and Native inhabitants of which were alike struck by a paralysis of terror, and imbued with a feeling of savage hatred. Of these two feelings he himself was at once the cause and the object."

In other words, he was a logical French officer. An English general, bred under a different system, generally a member of Parliament, always hoping to be a country gentleman of influence and estate, hates and distrusts force to such a degree that he sometimes appears vacillating, but the great French officer loves it. If you are obedient he will protect you much more perfectly than the Englishman will, for you become at once part of his "sys- tem ;" but if not, a fusillade on the glacis is the mildest doom you can encounter. Among men to whom, as for example to most Europeans, death is the highest object of fear, that system often succeeds, for death is the result of resistance, but among Hindoos, who care nothing about death, who regard it as a mere incident, and not the gravest incident, in life, it does not work, and among Mahommedans who hold death a passport to a happier life, it is a mere imbecility. To make Iiiudoos break their caste by force is simply to make foes without getting the work done, to make Mahommedans violate their prejudices is simply to give as many swordsmen a religious warranty for cutting you down. Lally, brave, energetic, and successful, so completely master of his art that he dared invest an Indian town three days after landing, so successful that his name lives still in Madras as a charm, was so hated by those he ruled that the settlers of Pondicherry, French- men of Frenchmen, men to whom the cause of France was as the cause of God, still exulted in his defeat before Tanjore, and his own officers petitioned that Buesy, the able, subtle man who knew everything except how to win his game, should command them in the field. When before Madras his own officers—Frenchmen, and Frenchmen with their confidence undimmed by defeat—shrank from an assault out of hate for him, and he was at last, deserted by his fleet, with a mutiny in his army, and, an object of active hatred to every officer under his coMmand, compelled to raise- Hussy to the active command. It was too late, and after the abortive battle of Wandeviash, in which Colonel Coote, afterwards Sir Eyre Coote, totally defeated him, he was com- pelled, with mutinous tZOOpti and hostile population, to defend Pondicherry. He did miracles. Without reinforcements, or sup- plies, or forage, detested by his officers and so hated by the popu- lation that they tried to kill him, he defended the town for nine months against a superior army, compelli a even the admiration of the besiegers, who could not comprehend how a man so detested could have held the reins so long :— " By the 1st May, 1760, the French Army was confined almost to the limits of Pondicherry, and the place was virtually invested by sea and land. Even then, Lally never for a moment showed the slightest sign of despair. For the nine months that followed, though thwarted by intrigues and opposition within the walls, by the discontent of some of his troops, and the faithlessness of others, he still maintained a lofty mind in difficult circumstances. All this time he was surrounded by those whom he had made his enemies, he was ill, harassed, and apposed. The regiment of Lorraine had been reduced to 327 men, that of Lally to 230; whilst the enemy had received large reinforcements. Finally, all resources having been exhausted, and having but four ounces of rice left for distribution to each soldier, he agreed on the 14th January to -capitulate, but the English refused to grant him terms, and he warn com- pelled to surrender at discretion (16th January, 1761). The following extract from the letter of an English officer who was present at the igege, will show the straits to which Lally was reduced before he gave in. 'Our Artillery,' he says, performed wonders, but the want of every necessary within was what chiefly wrought in our favour. The inhabi- tants had subsisted for a long time upon their elephants, horses, camels, d:c. I can assure you for a truth that a dog sold for 24 rupees ; of this miserable provision, there did not remain enough for one day longer, when the English took possession of the place.' Again referring to Lally, he says, It is a convincing proof of his abilities, the managing so long and vigorous a defence, in a place where he was held in universal detesta- tion.' This detestation indeed was so great, that as he marched out of the citadel of Pondicherry, he was saluted with a loud and general hiss, and was loaded with the most abusive and opprobrious epithets. The Inten- slant of his army who followed him, an old man half blind and upwards of seventy years old, was killed on the spot. Lally himself would have shared the same fate but for the opportune appearance of some English hussars."

Taken prisoner, he returned to Europe, voluntarily entered France, and found himself an object of suspicion to the Govern- ment he had served so zealously. For twelve months he occupied himself in prayers for an inquiry, but obtained only an investiga- tion, was condemned on two charges,—insolence to His Majesty's other officers, which was true, treason to His Majesty, which was false,—was haled forth in a dungcart to his execution, and cognizant to the last of his one misfortune, died exclaiming, "'Tell my judges that God has given me grace to pardon them, if I were to see them again, I might no longer have the forbearance to do it.' . . . . An English officer, writing of him at the time he was a pri- soner at Madras, says Monsieur Lally is arrived amongst us ; notwithstanding his fallen condition he is now as proud and haughty as ever. A great share of wit, sense, and martial abili- ties, obscured by a savage ferocity, and an undistinguished con- tempt for every person that moves in a sphere below that of a general, characterize this odd compound of a man.' It was probably the demonstration of this contempt, the undisguised intimation that he considered it impossible that virtue, or public spirit, or talent could exist out of the pale of his own service, that made him so many enemies at Pondicherry. Men, even when un- distinguished by abilities, can feel little heart in a system under which they are treated as inferior animals because of the difference in the colour of the coat that they wear, still less will those submit to it who feel within themselves the proud consciousness of deserving." Lally was in many respects the typical French officer, the real commandant to whom men are machines, allies chessmen, opponents corn to be cut down ; who has every faculty except the single one of sympathy, every capacity except that of comprehending his foes, every attribute of genius except -that of carving on rotten wood. France at last, and France under a King, reversed his sentence, and restored his family to its rank, but Prance has never regained the influence in Asia which Bussy -won for her and Dupleix might have consolidated for her, and Lally Tollendal in his savage love of scientific organization threw away. If his career teaches one lesson, it is that no man can be a _great Indian ruler who, however great a jockey, does not allow for the temper of the horse he rides, and there are times, perhaps there is a time even now, when Englishmen may study his career with great and immediate political advantage.