Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Three Frenchmen in Bengal by S.C. Hill

Part 3 out of 3

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Factory, and that Dacca was only four days by river from Murshidabad
whilst it was fourteen from Calcutta, it seemed idle to hope to
defend it even when assistance could be expected from the latter
place, and, now that it was certain that Calcutta itself had fallen,
any attempt at defence appeared rather "an act of rashness than of
bravery." It was therefore resolved to obtain the best terms they
could through the French.

The next day M. Fleurin, second of the French Factory--M.
Courtin[124] was not well acquainted with the English language--came
to inform them that the Nawab of Dacca agreed that the ladies and
gentlemen should be allowed to retire to the French Factory on M.
Courtin giving his word that they would there await the orders of
Siraj-ud-daula as to their future fate. The soldiers were to lay
down their arms, and be prisoners to the Nawab. This amicable
arrangement was entirely due to M. Courtin's good offices, and he
was much congratulated on the tact he had shown in preventing the
Nawab from using violent measures, as he seemed inclined to do at
first. As the Nawab would not allow the English to take away any of
their property, except the clothes they were wearing, they were
entirely dependent upon the French for everything, and were treated
with the greatest kindness. The Council wrote:--

"The French have behaved with the greatest humanity
to such as have taken refuge at their Factory, and the tenour
of their conduct everywhere to us on this melancholy occasion
has been such as to merit the grateful acknowledgment of
our nation."

For some two months the English remained in the French Factory, M.
Law, at Cossimbazar, warmly soliciting their release from
Siraj-ud-daula. This he obtained with difficulty, and at last Mr.
Becher and his companions sailed in a sloop provided by M. Courtin
for Fulta, where they arrived safely on the 26th of August. When
Calcutta had been recaptured by the English, M. Courtin, like a good
business man, sent in a bill for the costs of the sloop to the
Council at Calcutta, and the Consultations of the 16th of May, 1757,
duly notify its payment.

The English did not regain possession of the Factory at Dacca till
the 8th of March, by which time the declaration of War between
France and England was known, and the likelihood of troubles in
Bengal was very apparent. As we have seen, the English were
successful in their attack on Chandernagore, but the whole country
was aware that the Nawab was only the more enraged with them, and
his local officers might at any moment be instructed to take
vengeance on Englishmen found defenceless up country. On the 23rd of
March, Messrs. Sumner and Waller wrote from Dacca that Jusserat Khan
had refused to restore the Factory cannon, and to pass their goods
without a new _parwana_[125] from Murshidabad. It was therefore
still very doubtful whether he would assist the English or the
French at Dacca, and though the English obtained the _parwana_ they
wanted early in May, on the 9th the Council at Calcutta sent them
orders to do the best they could for their own security, and
informed them they had sent an armed sloop to Luckipore to cover
their retreat. They immediately sent down all the goods they could,
but as matters became quieter again they soon resumed business, and
appear to have had no further trouble.

It may be imagined that M. Courtin and his friends, knowing that the
English had demanded the surrender of the French Factories, had a
very uncomfortable experience all this time.[126] Unfortunately no
Records of the French Factories in Bengal are now to be found, and I
had despaired of obtaining any information about the expulsion from
Dacca, when, in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris, I came on a MS.
entitled, "_Copy of a letter from M. Courtin from India, written to
his wife, in which are given in detail the different affairs which
he had with the Moors from the 22nd of June, 1757, the day of his
evacuation of Dacca, to the 9th of March, 1758_."[127]

M. Courtin had married a Madame Direy, widow of a French Company's
servant, and the letter shows she was fortunately in France at the
time of her husband's troubles. As was natural, but inconveniently
enough for us, Courtin does not think it necessary to trouble her
with unintelligible and unpronounceable Indian names. Where
possible, I shall fill them in from the English Records, otherwise I
shall interrupt the course of the letter as little as possible. It
runs as follows:--

"Calcapur,[128] April 20, 1758.

"Word must have reached thee in France of the loss of
Chandernagore, which was taken from us by the English on
the 23rd of March, 1757, after eleven days' siege. I was
then at Dacca, and expecting every day to see M.
Chevalier return from his journey to the King of Assam.
Judge, my dear wife, of the chagrin and embarrassment into
which I was thrown by this deplorable event. The English
had had no idea of attacking Chandernagore until they had
recovered Calcutta from the Moors, taken the Moorish village
at Hugli, and forced the Moors to agree to a most shameful
peace. This was not, as thou wilt see, sufficient for them,
for Siraj-ud-daula had offended them too deeply for them to
stop when once they found themselves on a good road; but
unfortunately we were an obstacle in the way of their
vengeance, otherwise I believe they would have observed
the neutrality which had been always so carefully maintained
by the European nations in the country of the Ganges, in
spite of all the wars which took place in Europe. Many of
the French from Chandernagore--officers, Company's servants,
and others--had taken refuge at Cossimbazar with M. Law,
who formed there a party which opposed the English in
various ways. The English, however, forced Siraj-ud-daula,
against his true interest and in spite of his promise to
protect us, to abandon us, and to make M. Law leave his
Factory and go to Patna. This imprudent act was the ruin
of the Prince and put the final touch to our misfortunes,
whilst it has made the English masters of Bengal, and has
filled their coffers with wealth.

"I held on at Dacca till the 22nd of June. I was troubled
as little as was possible in such circumstances, owing, I
think, to the gratitude which the English felt for the services
I had rendered them in Dacca the year before. I had all
the more reason to think this was so because, after the
misfortune which befell Chandernagore, they had often
offered to secure to me all my effects and merchandise in
Murshidabad [?]--they were worth a million--provided I
made over to them the French Factory and all that belonged
to the Company, and would myself leave for Pondicherry
in the following October. They said I should not be considered
a prisoner of war, and should not require to be

"These were, no doubt, very good terms, and most
advantageous to me; but should I not have been dishonoured
for ever if I had had a soul so servile and base as to accept
them? I would have been covered with ignominy in my
own eyes, and without doubt in those of all the world. I
therefore thought it my duty to reject them.

"Things were on this footing when, at the beginning
of June, I learned that the English, having got rid of M.
Law, were marching upon Murshidabad with all their forces
to achieve the destruction of a Prince who was already half
ruined by his own timidity and cowardice, and still further
weakened by the factions formed against him by the chief
members of his own family--a Prince detested by every one
for his pride and tyranny, and for a thousand dreadful crimes
with which he had already soiled his reputation though he
was barely twenty-five years old.

"I knew only too well what was preparing against him,
and I was also most eager to find some honourable means of
escape for myself. M. Chevalier's absence troubled me
greatly, and I did not like to leave him behind me. At last
he arrived on the 16th or 17th. I had taken the precaution
to provide myself with a _parwana_, or passport, signed by
Siraj-ud-daula, allowing me to go where I pleased. That
Prince had recalled M. Law to him, but too late, for I felt
certain he could not rejoin him in time to save him or to
check the progress of his enemies. I was in a hurry therefore
to go and help to save him if that were possible, taking
care, however, to choose a route by which I could escape if,
as I thought probable, he should have succumbed beforehand
to the efforts of the English, and the treason of his subjects.

"It was then the 22nd of June when I started with
about 35 boats,[129] MM. Chevalier, Brayer [possibly a relation
of the M. Brayer who commanded at Patna], Gourlade, the
surgeon, and an Augustine Father, Chaplain of the Factory,
8 European soldiers, of whom several were old and past
service, 17 topass gunners, 4 or 5 of the Company's servants,
and about 25 or 30 peons.[130] There, my dear wife, is the
troop with which thou seest me start upon my adventures.[131]
To these, however, should be added my Christian clerks, my
domestics, and even my cook, all of whom I dressed and
armed as soldiers to assist me in what I expected to be a
losing game, and which, in fact, had results the most disastrous
in the world for my personal interests.

"It was not till seven or eight days after I had set out
with this fine troop that I learned there had been a battle at
Plassey between the English and the Nawab, in which the
latter had been defeated and forced to flee, and that Jafar
Ali Khan, his maternal uncle,[132] had been enthroned in his
place. This report, though likely enough as far as I could
judge, did not come from a source so trustworthy that I could
rely on it with entire faith. Accordingly I did not yet
abandon the route which I had proposed to myself; in fact,
I followed it for some days more, and almost as far as the
mouth of the Patna River.[133] There I learned, beyond possibility
of doubt, that Siraj-ud-daula had been captured, conducted
to Murshidabad, and there massacred; that he had
just missed being rejoined by M. Law, who was coming to
meet him, and could easily have done so if he had followed
the instructions given him and had been willing to march
only three hours longer; and that the English had sent a
body of troops towards Patna to capture or destroy M. Law
if possible."

We have seen in a previous chapter the real reasons why Law was
unable to rejoin Siraj-ud-daula in time for the battle.

"I now saw that a junction with him had become impossible,
unless I determined to run the most evident risk of
losing my liberty and all I had."

It appears that Courtin had the Company's effects, as well as his
own private property and that of his companions, on board his little

"This made me change my route immediately. The
mountains of Tibet[134] appeared to me a safe and eminently
suitable asylum until the arrival in the Ganges of the forces
which we flattered ourselves were coming. I therefore directed
my route in this direction, but found myself suddenly and
unexpectedly so close to Murshidabad that for two days
together we heard the sound of the guns fired in honour of
the revolution which had taken place. It is easy to judge
into what alarm this unexpected and disagreeable proximity
threw me. However, we arrived safely, on the 10th of July,
at the capital of the Raja of Dinajpur, who wished to oppose
our passage."

This was the Raja Ram Nath, whom Orme describes as "a Raja, who with
much timidity, was a good man."

"We made it in spite of him, threatening to attack him
if he showed any further intention of opposing us. I do not
know what would have happened if he had had a little firmness,
for we learned afterwards that he had always in his
service a body of 5000 infantry and cavalry. The persons
whom he sent to us had at first suggested that I should pretend
I was English, assuring me that by that means all difficulties
would be removed; but I thought this trick too much
beneath a man of honour for me to make use of it, and, in
fact, I objected to pass for anything but what I really was.

"I found here a French soldier, who had been at the
battle of Plassey, where the brave Sinfray,[135] at the head of
38 Frenchmen, had fought like a hero for a long time, and
had retreated only at the order of Siraj-ud-daula, who, seeing
himself betrayed and the battle lost, sent him word to cease
fighting. This worthy gentleman afterwards took refuge in
Birbhum, the Raja of which country betrayed him, and disgracefully
handed him over to the English in October last."

Courtin is somewhat unfair to the Raja (apparently a Muhammadan, as
he was called Assaduzama Muhammad),[136] for this Prince was an ally
of the English, and had offered Clive the assistance of his forces
before the battle of Plassey. It could be no treachery on his part
to pick up fugitives from the battle, like Sinfray, and hand them
over to his allies. I may as well quote one of the Raja's letters to
Clive, received 28th October, 1757:--

"Before your letter arrived the French were going
through, some woods in my country. I knew they were your
enemies, therefore I ordered my people to surround them. The
French being afraid, some said they were English, and some
Dutch. In the meantime I received your letter that if I
could apprehend them I should send them to you, therefore
I have sent them. Surajah Dowlat has plundered my
country so much, that there is hardly anything left in it."[137]

Courtin continues:--

"To return to my journey and my adventures. I now
found myself outside of Bengal and in sight of the mountains
of Tibet, a month having elapsed since my departure from
Dacca. I was only two or three days distant from these
mountains, and my intention, as thou hast seen above, was to
go there; but I was prevented by the murmurs of my people,
especially the boatmen, who already began to desert in small
parties. Accordingly I accepted an offer made me on the
part of the Raja of Sahibgunj, to give me a site for a fort,
and to aid me with everything I might want. I descended
the river again for a little, and near this site, which was on
the river bank, I commenced a fort, but the thickness of the
forest forced me to abandon it, and I entered a little river
close by, which conducted me to a marsh, on the borders of
which I found an elevated site admirably situated and in a
very agreeable neighbourhood.[138] This belonged to the same
Raja, and with his consent I again set to work, and that
with such promptitude that in less than a month my fortress
commenced to take form, and visibly progressed owing to
the extraordinary efforts I made to complete it. It was
triangular, with a bastion at each angle. At two of the
angles I had found superb trees with very heavy foliage, and
on the third I erected the mast of my boat and hoisted our
flag. All three bastions had four embrasures, a fine entrance
gate opening on the marsh, and a little open turret above,
A small entrance gate led to the open country. The curtains
were carefully pierced for musketry, and strengthened outside
with a trellis work of bamboo, and finished off with banquettes
on the ramparts. An excellent powder magazine
was built in the same way, and, being situated in the interior
of the fort, was quite safe from any accident.

"As I had brought workmen of all kinds with me, the
work went on well, especially as the care of our health made
us all industrious. I was not without cannon, and I mounted
on our ramparts two Swedish guns, which afterwards proved
our safety and preservation.[139] Also being provided with the
requisites for making gunpowder, I very soon had nearly
3000 lbs. weight of very good quality.

"Hardly anything remained to complete my fortress,
which I had named 'Bourgogne,' except to provide it with
a glacis. It was already furnished with a market which was
sufficiently flourishing, when to my misfortune I received
the false information that our forces, which were said to be
considerable, were ready to enter the Ganges, and that there
was certain news of the arrival of a very strong squadron at
Pondicherry.[140] On the 8th September there broke out at
Purneah, and in the province of that name, a Evolution
headed by a person named Hazir Ali Khan,[141] who, having
seized the capital, at once wrote to me to join him, and assist
him against the English and Jafar Ali Khan.[142]

"These two events made me stop everything else and
devote myself entirely to getting my boats out of the little
river by which I had entered the marsh, and which was now
almost quite dried up. I succeeded in doing so after some
time, by means of ditches which I cut from the marsh, but
this took me more than a month and considerable labour, as
I was about two leagues from the great river. To complete
my misfortunes, my troop was attacked by sickness, which
raged with a violence such as I had scarcely ever seen. It
cost me nine soldiers, of whom three were Europeans. The
latter were luckily replaced some days after by the same
number who joined me.[143] Poor M. Brayer and M. Gourlade
had been during almost the whole campaign in the most
pitiable condition, especially the former, who I thought a
thousand times must have died. As for me, the powders
_d'Aillot_ preserved me from the pestilential air, and cured
me from the effects of a fall in my _bajarow_,[144] caused by the
clumsiness of my boatmen. I narrowly escaped breaking
my ribs and back.

"Before quitting Fort Bourgogne I must tell thee, my
dear wife, that I often played there a very grand role. I
was called the 'Fringuey Raja,' or 'King of the Christians.'
I was often chosen as arbiter amongst the little princes in
my neighbourhood, who sent me ambassadors. My reputation
spread so wide, and the respect that I gained was so
great, that the King of Tibet did not disdain to honour me
with an embassy of nearly eight hundred persons, whom I
entertained for nine whole days, and whose chiefs I dismissed
with presents suitable to their rank, their king, our
nation, and the idea which I wished to leave behind me in
this country of the European name. The presents which
were made me consisted of five horses, some bags of scent,
three or four pieces of china, pieces of gilt paper, and a sabre
like those used by the Bhutiyas, or people of Tibet, who are
men as strong and robust as those of Bengal are feeble.
Though pagans like the latter, they eat all kinds of things,
and live almost like the Tartars, from whom they are descended.
They have no beards, and are clothed in a fashion
which is good enough, but which looks singular. They are
very dirty. The complexion of those whom I saw was very
dark, but I know it is not the same in the interior of the
country and in the mountains, where all are as fair as the
Chinese, who are said to be their neighbours. I took some
trouble to form an alliance and to make a party amongst
them. They appeared very willing, but I soon had occasion
to convince myself that not only were they not fitting persons
for my designs, but also that they were playing with me.
It is not that they do not make raids upon the lower country,
but they make these only in the cold weather, always withdrawing
at the commencement of the hot, without trying to
make any permanent conquests.

"There, then, my reign is finished, or nearly so, for the
good news that I continued to receive (though always without
foundation, as I learned afterwards), joined to the entreaties
of Hazir All Khan and to the unhealthy air which continued
to decimate my poor little troop, induced me at last to
abandon my fort, to embark again upon my boats, and to
reapproach Bengal, from which I had hitherto been travelling
away. The second day after my departure was marked by
a very annoying accident, namely the loss of one of my
largest boats, on which was my library and a quantity of my
effects. These were quickly drawn out of the water, but
were none the less ruined for the Company and for me.
From that moment commence my misfortunes. The sixth
day--I had passed three in the salvage of the effects on my
boat--I received a _pattamar_ (messenger), who informed me
that the English and the troops of Jafar Ali Khan were at
Purneah, from which they had chased Hazir Ali Khan and
wholly destroyed his faction."

From Broome we see that this was in the middle of December, 1757. It
was now that Clive first heard what Courtin was attempting. He
immediately sent orders direct, and also through the Nawab, to Kasim
Ali Khan, Faujdar of Rungpore, and to Raja Ram Nath of Dinajpur, to
seize the French.

"It was almost impossible for me to reascend the river
because of the dry banks and the strong currents which
would have put my boats in danger. However, I found
myself in the country of Rungpore, which was a dependency
of Bengal. I determined nevertheless to remain where I
was, flattering myself the English would not come to look
for me, nor the Nawab or the ruler of the province think of
disturbing themselves about me, as I was doing no harm in
the country, and as I was very strict in observing proper
order and discipline. I was so confident on this latter head
that I did not think of throwing up now entrenchments, and
occupied myself only with hunting and walking whilst I
awaited the arrival of the French forces. However, one day,
towards the middle of January, a secret rumour came to me
that Kasim Ali Khan, Faujdar of Rungpore, was coming to
attack me. I sent out scouts, who reported that all was
tranquil in his town, and that, far from wishing to come and
look for a quarrel, he was in fear lest I should march against
his town, which was three days' journey from where I was.
Doubtless my men deceived me or did not take the trouble
to go to Rungpore, for on the 15th of the same month, at
3 p.m., on the opposite side of the river to that on which
we were, there appeared a body of soldiers, cavalry and
infantry, about 600 in number, who approached so near my
fleet that I no longer doubted the correctness of the first
advice which had been given me. I ordered a discharge
of three guns on this troop, which was so well directed that
the enemy were forced to take themselves off and to encamp
a little further from me. Next day the commander sent me
a present of some fruit, and an intimation that he only
wished to see me quit his country. He knew I could not
do this without risk, and, according to the custom of the
infidels, he gave me the strongest possible assurances of my
safety and tranquillity. I took care not to trust to them;
I was then, as I said above, without entrenchments and
without defence, so in the evening I set to work at surrounding
myself with a ditch, the mud taken out of which would
serve me for embrasures. I was short of provisions, which
made me very anxious, and I was still more so when
I learned that the enemy were trying to cut me off from
provisions on all sides, and that their intention was to
capture me by famine or treachery. Their number quickly
increased to 3000 men, of whom a part came over to my
side of the river, and harassed my people whenever they
went out for provisions. This forced me to detach. MM.
Chevalier and Gourlade, with about 10 men, some peons
and boatmen, against one of their little camps, where there
were about 150 men, foot and horse. Our men received
their fire, stormed the camp, and destroyed it after having
put every one to flight. There was not a single person
wounded on our side. This little advantage gave me time to
make a good provision of rice and other things in the villages
near my entrenchments. I cleared out these villages and
drove out the inhabitants, but I was still in need of a
quantity of things necessary to life. To procure these, I
tried to frighten the enemy by cannonading their chief camp
on the other side of the river. This only resulted in making
them withdraw altogether beyond the reach of my guns, not
with the idea of going away, but of starving me out, and, as
I learned later, to give time for a reinforcement of artillery
which they were expecting to arrive. They had already 4
or 5 guns, but their calibre was small compared with mine,
as I was able to see from the balls which fell in my camp
when it was entrenched only on the land side.

"The 19th of January, early in the morning, I sent across
the river a number of workmen, supported by a little detachment
under M. Gourlade, to cut down a grove of bamboos
which masked my guns, and to burn down some houses which
were also in their way. I forbade them to engage the enemy,
and all went well until some topasses and peons advanced
too far towards the enemy's camp, and I heard discharges
so loud and frequent on both sides, that I ordered a retreat
to be beaten in my entrenchments, to make my people recross
the river. I fired my guns continually to facilitate this and to
cover the movement. In this skirmish I had only one soldier
wounded, and I do not know whether the enemy had any
losses. This day more than 1500 shots were fired on both
sides. Some of the guns which the enemy brought up
troubled us greatly, as we were not entrenched on the water
side. Several balls fell at my side or passed over my head.
This determined me to set all my people at work the next
night with torches, to put us under cover on this side

[It was apparently this fight which Kasim Ali reported to Clive on
the 24th of January:--

"I wrote expressly to my people to go and take them"
(the French) "and they went immediately and found them
ready to fight. On both sides there were cannon and
_jenjalls_.[145] A _nulla_[146] was between them, which the French
crost, and advancing upon my people, fought with great
intrepidity: but luckily, three or four of them being killed,
they retired into their fort."[147]]

"The Moors saw, from my manoeuvre, how important it
was for them to seize the ground which I had intended to
clear, and, contrary to my expectation, established themselves
on it the same evening without my being able to hinder
them, keeping themselves always well hidden behind the
bamboos, where they had nothing to fear from my artillery,
and still less from my musketry. Like me they worked at
night, and, having as many prisoners or other workmen at
their command as they wanted, I saw, with regret, next
morning the progress which they had made opposite me. I
could not dislodge them without risking everything. Weak
as I was, I thought it wiser not to hazard anything more in
sorties, but to hold myself always on the defensive.

"Sheikh Faiz Ulla (that was the name of the Moorish
general) sent me one of his men next day with a present and
proposals of peace, the first condition of which was, of course,
that I should quit his country, and as, since the dry weather
had set in, a very large and dangerous bank had formed in
the river seven or eight leagues below me, he offered me one
or two thousand workmen to assist in making a passage for
my boats. The shocking treachery used by the Moors being
well known to me, I refused to accept his offers except on
his furnishing me with hostages for his good faith. He first
proposed himself, but with such a strong escort that it was
not difficult to see that it was a trap which he was setting
for me, so as to seize and massacre us. After many debates
between our emissaries, he consented to come to my _bajarow_,
he and his servants, and that all of them should serve as
hostages until I was quite out of the domains of his master.

"I loyally agreed to this arrangement and made preparations
in consequence, but at 7 in the morning on the
23rd of January, the day I expected the hostages, I was
awakened by a cannon-shot quickly followed by a second, the
ball of which pierced the _rezai_[148] at the foot of my bed from
side to side, and made a great noise. For a long time I had
been accustomed to sleep fully dressed, so I was able to go out
quickly and give orders in the entrenchments. The treachery
and perfidy of the enemy were too manifest; nevertheless, I
forbade a single shot to be fired with musket or cannon, and
simply recommended my people to be on their guard on
the land side. The enemy kept up a continuous and very
lively fire until 4 o'clock in the evening. I considered that
it would be useless for me to reply, and wished to see how far
they would push their insolence. That day we picked up 40
cannon-balls, and our whole loss was one boatman slightly
wounded in the leg. From 4 o'clock till night the enemy's
fire was continued, but at long intervals. It began again
the next morning. I suffered this as on the previous day
for a couple of hours, at the end of which. I fired several
shots and silenced it. My firing seemed to trouble the
enemy more than I expected it would. One of my boats was
sunk by a cannon-ball, several were pierced through, and
my _rezai_, which used to serve me as a coat, was much

"The succeeding days passed much in the same manner
until the 3rd of February, when, on the same bank and to
the north above my fleet, I saw a new entrenchment, which
had been thrown up during the preceding night. Its batteries
enfiladed mine along their whole length. It was necessary
either to risk everything by making a sortie in order to
destroy it, or to arrange terms. I determined on the latter,
which appeared to me all the more necessary, as I was
beginning to be in want of everything, and as I had just
received letters which deprived me of all hope of the arrival
of our forces in Bengal until April or May. I therefore
informed Sheikh Faiz Ulla that I was ready to enter upon
negotiations, and the same day he sent me some of his people,
with whom I agreed to leave my entrenchments and go
down the river. I consented to do this without hostages,
but, that it might be done in security, I promised them a
sum of money for themselves as well as for their general.
This arrangement being agreed to by Sheikh Faiz Ulla, he
sent me word that, in order that he might not appear to
betray his master, it would be necessary for me next morning
to open the fiercest fire possible on his camp; that he would
reply; that on both sides it should be with the intention of
doing as little hurt as possible; that I should pretend it was
to force him to give me a passport, which he would send me
in the evening; and that I should then send him the
money I had promised. All these precautions were only
to assist his rascality, and they appeared to me all the more
surprising, as he had already repeatedly informed me that
he had his master's permission to give me a passport, and to
let me go where I pleased. But of what are these Moors not
capable? Without being blind to the continuance of his perfidy,
I flattered myself that it might happen that he would not
trouble me on my march when he had received my money.

"However this might be, my cannon fired from 10 in
the morning till 3 in the evening. Our people, perceiving
that the enemy were firing in earnest, did not spare them
any more than they spared us, and that which was at first,
on our side, only a pretence, finally became serious. At 4
o'clock I received an envoy, who brought me the passport,
and to whom I paid the money. He assured me that I
might embark my artillery the next morning, and set out the
day after without the slightest apprehension of being interfered
with, I took my precautions, and, in fear of treachery, kept
on shore my two Swedish guns. At last, at seven in the
morning, my boats started, having on board only the sick
and helpless, and I set out by land with my two guns and
the rest of my troop, at the head of which I put myself."

This triumph of time and treachery was reported by Sheikh Faiz
Ulla's master, Kasim Ali, to Clive, on the 14th of February:[149]--

"I before wrote you that I had sent forces to fight the
French, that they had a fort and strong intrenchments, and
that we had a battle with them.... ever since I wrote
you last we have been fighting, my people have behaved well,
and I make no doubt but you have heard it from other people.
God knows what pains and trouble I have taken in this
affair. The French being shut up in their fort and undergoing
much fatigue by always fighting, and likewise being
in want of provisions were obliged to run away in their
boats by night, and went towards the Dinajpur country.

My people being always ready to fight followed them....
They can go no other way but through the Dinajpur country.
I have therefore wrote expressly to the Rajah to stop the

About this time, though Courtin does not mention it till later, he
began to see what the inevitable end must be. He could not cut his
way through to join Law, and with the whole country in arms against
him he was too weak to hold out for any length of time. Accordingly
he sent messengers secretly to Mr. Luke Scrafton, at Murshidabad. It
was Scrafton, as I have said above, who wrote to Courtin for
assistance when the Nawab of Dacca wanted to take their Factory and
imprison the English. Courtin now wrote to him to save him from
falling into the hands of the natives, and, on the 18th of February,
Scrafton wrote to the Select Committee at Calcutta for the necessary

We now rejoin Courtin:--

"What was my surprise, at the end of an hour and a
half, to see that we were followed by a body of four or five
hundred men, with two guns drawn by oxen. I pretended
not to notice, and continued my march, but at 3 o'clock
in the afternoon, seeing this troop approach, within range of
my pieces, I pointed them at the Moors, and put my force
in a position of defence. Their rascality followed its usual
course, and they sent me word that I had nothing to fear,
that they would not march so close to me any more, and
that they followed me only to preserve the peace and to
hinder my people, especially the stragglers, from committing
any disorder. I received this excuse for what it was worth,
and pretended to be content with, it, seeing clearly that they
were looking for an opportunity to surprise and destroy us.

"Several accidents happening to the boats of the rearguard
prevented my troop and myself from rejoining the
main body of the fleet till far on in the night. I found it
anchored in the most disadvantageous position possible, and
in the morning I saw at a distance of one-eighth of a league
the same body of troops, that had followed me the day before,
establishing and settling itself. A moment later I learned
that Sheikh Faiz Ulla was on the opposite bank with his
army and his artillery, that he intended to wait for me in a
narrow place called Choquova,[151] at the foot of which my boats
must pass, and that he was diligently making entrenchments
there. My embarrassment was then extreme. I found
myself surrounded on all sides; I was without any provisions,
destitute of the most necessary articles of life. In
this perplexity I saw only the most cruel alternatives, either
to surrender or to fight to the death so as to perish with our
arms in our hands. The latter appeared to be less dreadful
than the former.

"After repeated consultations, we determined it would
be best to risk the passage of the fleet by Choquova. We
thought that possibly we should find provisions there, and
that certainly the position could not be worse (for defence)
than that in which we then found ourselves. The passage
was carried out in three hours' time without confusion or
disorder, by means of my Swedish guns on the boat which
led the van. What was our delight to find, not only a better
position than that which we had quitted, but one that was
almost completely entrenched by nature, and had villages
full of rice to the right and left of it.

"Next day I collected provisions in abundance, cleared
the country round for a quarter of a league, and did my best
to ameliorate my condition. The enemy were disconcerted by
my boldness. They pretended as usual, in order to deceive
me the more easily, that they were not surprised at my march.
They feared rightly that if I commenced new entrenchments
all their trouble would begin again. Besides, I had completely
protected myself from the possibility of surprise. _Pourparlers_
for an accommodation were renewed and lasted three
days, at the end of which it was agreed that I should
continue my march, that two hostages should be given me
for my safety, and that the army with its guns should retire
from Choquova, and should be sent a long way ahead across
country, and as, at half a league from this place, the river
was no longer navigable because of the bank which had
formed in it, I should be supplied with people to facilitate
my passage. Thou wilt notice, my dear wife, that in all the
negotiations I had for various reasons and on several occasions
proposed to suspend all hostilities until an answer
could be received from Jafar All Khan and the English, to
whom I said I would write to come to some accommodation
with them, offering to send my letter open. This was repeatedly
refused, but the refusal did not prevent my asking
for the honours of war. My letters were despatched secretly
by my own messengers.

"At last, on the 23rd, I quitted, though with regret
(always expecting treachery), my new position, and approached
the shallow or bank mentioned. It was night when I
arrived. In spite of this I could understand, from the
dreadful noise made by the waters, that I should have
difficulty in traversing this dangerous passage even with the
assistance promised me. I was only too well convinced of
the truth of this when day broke, and I saw that I had
again been betrayed. There was nothing to be seen of the
work which the Moors had engaged to do to lessen the
difficulty of the passage. However, I did not hesitate to
put out with my lighter boats, firmly resolved, if they arrived
safely, to sacrifice the larger, with all that was upon them,
to my safety, and thus to effect my retreat during the night.
With the exception of two, which were lost, they all arrived
safely. During this piece of work, which took up the whole
day, I dissimulated my intentions in the presence of my hostages,
merely letting them see I was somewhat surprised to
find that, contrary to the promise given, there were no workmen,
but that the army, which ought to have been withdrawn,
was still close to us. Their excuses were vague and unsatisfactory.
One of them, who, no doubt, knew the enemy's plans,
asked permission to go to their camp, promising to come
back the next day. Though his demand accorded with my
designs, I agreed to it only after much persuasion, warning
him not to break his _parole_ to return the next morning very
early. This he swore to do. As a rule these people think
nothing of an oath. I did not intend to wait for him, which
his comrade clearly perceived, for, seeing that he himself
had been sacrificed by his master's perfidy, he approved of
the resolution I had taken to set out by night, and swore
that he had acted in good faith, and was ignorant of the
treachery that had been concocted. 'You can,' he said to me,
'have my throat cut. You would be justified in doing so;
but I will not quit you, even if you give me permission.
If I went to my own people, they would say that I had
disclosed to you the trick which you have yourself discovered,
and would certainly show me less mercy than I
have experienced from you.' After this I contented myself
with having him closely watched.

"Orders being given to the remaining boats to start by
night, I mounted on horseback to carry certain necessaries
to my detachment on land, which was already a little in
advance and had crossed a small river with the guns. I
had only three blacks with me, and none of us knew the
way. The night was dark, and we wandered from it. I
narrowly escaped being drowned with my horse, and at last
we lost ourselves entirely. If we had been met by any
horsemen, nothing would have been easier than for them to
capture me, our arms and cartridges being all soaked with
water. Luckily I heard our drums beating, and this told us
in what direction we could safely go.

"My intention was to march by land with my troops and
guns. They objected to this, as I was wet to the skin and
had a cold on the chest, which hardly allowed me to speak;
so I went back to the boats, though with much regret, and
resolved to manage so as not to lose sight of my detachment.
I was in constant anxiety about the latter till 8 o'clock the
next day, when we all came together, except one soldier
topass, who, by his own fault, had remained on a big boat
which we had abandoned, and a _manjhi_,[152] who was drowned
in one of the two little ones which had sunk.

"Finding myself in the territory of the Raja of Dinajpur,
I imagined I had nothing to do with any one except him, and
that Sheikh Faiz Ulla and his army would not think of
following me through a country which, though tributary to
the Nawab of Bengal, still in no way belonged to Faiz Ulla's
master. The hostage who remained with me, and to whom
I spoke about the matter,[153] did not altogether dissuade me
from this idea, but counselled me to continue my march
and to get farther away, which I did till 6 o'clock in the
evening. What was my surprise when, at 9 o'clock, my
scouts reported that the enemy were pursuing me, and were
not more than a league away at the most. I could not
advance during the night for fear of running on the banks
or shallows with which the river was filled, and which might
cause the loss of my boats and of my people. Accordingly,
I did not set out till the morning, and always remained
myself in the rear (of the fleet). I had stopped to wait for
my land detachment and the guns, and was at some distance
from the rest of my little fleet, when, about half-past nine,
I heard several musket shots fired. In an instant I was
surrounded by the enemy. M. Chevalier, who conducted the
land detachment, fortunately perceived my situation, and,
seeing my danger, brought up the two guns and fired about
20 shots, which disengaged me, and gave me time to regain
my boats by swift rowing. I had with me only Pedro and
the Moorish hostage mentioned before. Then I landed with
MM. Brayer, Gourlade, and in general every one who was
strong enough to defend himself. At the same time I ordered
the boats to go on. In this skirmish our loss was only one
man slightly wounded in the ear by a musket-ball.

"My little fleet _en route_, we marched by land on the
bank opposite to that on which was, the main body of the
enemy, who had only cavalry, which we did not trouble
ourselves about It was not the same, however, with the
boats. At the end of an hour the boatmen abandoned them
in a sudden panic, and hurried tumultuously to join me.
When my people were collected, I would have tried to go
and recapture my boats, which the enemy had not delayed
to seize; but not only would this have been a rash undertaking
with so small a force against 3000 men, but also
there was a little river which formed an island between my
boats and me, and so prevented the passage of my guns
This determined me to abandon the boats, and to retreat to
Dinajpur, where I hoped to find an asylum with the Raja
whilst I waited for a reply to my letters to Jafar All Khan
and the English. We marched till 1 o'clock in the afternoon
without being harassed or disquieted--no doubt because
during this time Sheikh Faiz Ulla and his people were
occupied in plundering the boats. We were now not very
far from Dinajpur, when we met a body of the Raja's cavalry,
the commander of which begged me to take another road so
as not to pass through his town. Accordingly he gave me
a guide, with whom we marched till half-past five, when we
arrived at a great _gunge_ (market place) at the extremity of
Dinajpur. There they lodged us in a great thatched building.
The want of provisions had caused us to suffer very much in
this retreat."

This was the battle of Cantanagar. Kasim Ali described it as follows
to Clive:--

"My people and the French had a battle, and the latter
finding themselves much, beat, they run away, and left their
boats. They went to Oppoor" "and begged protection of
the Kajah's people.... Bahadur Sing came and told my
people to go a little further off, and they would deliver
them up, but they put us off from day to day."[154]

About the time he was writing this, Clive was writing to say that he
had received Courtin's offer of surrender, and that Kasim Ali was to
cease hostilities and allow the French to come to him with their
boats and necessaries. Kasim Ali had received orders to the same
effect from Mr. Scrafton, who informed him he was sending an officer
to accept their surrender. This did not however prevent Kasim Ali
from trying to get hold of them, which accounts for the following
letter from Raja Ram Nath to Clive:[155]--

"The French are now coming from another country by
boats to go towards Muxadavad, and Kasim Ali Khan's
people have followed them, out of his own country into
mine. They have left their boats among Kasim Ali Khan's
people and are now travelling to Jangepors" (? Tangepur).

"When I heard this I sent people with all expedition to look
after them, and I now hear that they have surrounded them.
The French want the Nawab's and your orders and _call for justice_[156]
from you. They have hoisted the Nawab's[157] and
your colours, have put on your cloaths (?) and want to go
to Muxadavad. Kasim Ali Khan's people want to carry
them to Rungpore but they refuse to go, and say that if one
of us is taken they will destroy themselves.[158] I am a poor
Zemindar who pays revenues[159] and ready to obey your
orders. If the Rungpore people should take them by force,
and they should kill themselves, it would be a troublesome

To return to Courtin's letter.

"The Raja of Dinajpur did not fail to be embarrassed by
the favour which he had shown to us. Fear was the only
motive which influenced him. He sent word to me to
depart by night under an escort of 200 of his people, who
would conduct me to Murshidabad. I was very nearly
accepting his suggestion, but the hunger and thirst, from
which we suffered greatly, prevented me. So I postponed
giving him a final answer till the next morning, and
then, after full reflection, decided not to move from the
place to which. I had been conducted until I received an
answer to the letters sent to Murshidabad. I thought this
all the wiser, as I was informed that nothing would induce
my enemies to approach or attack me in my asylum.[160] The
place was so retired and so well provided with storehouses,
that I found there a greater appearance of security than in
the open country or the escort offered by the Raja, as his
men were subordinate to the same Prince as the people who
composed the army of Sheikh Faiz Ulla, and were likely
enough to abandon me or to join my enemies in overwhelming
me. My conjectures were well founded, as, several days
after, this same Raja, prompted by Sheikh Faiz Ulla, sent
me word that he could not answer for what might happen to
me if I were attacked; that his troops, being subject to
Murshidabad like those of Kasim All Khan, could not
support me, nor fire on the latter. Finally he sent a certain
priest of his faith, a grave man, who came to suggest to us
that our best course was to leave Dinajpur and gain the
open country, otherwise we were lost. He said that he
knew for certain that if I were so obstinate as to persist in
wishing to remain there, orders had been given to attack us,
cut our throats, and send our heads to Murshidabad. This
person wished to terrify us so as to rid the Raja of us, as he
was dying with fright lest war should be made in the very
heart of his town. I replied that I was resolved to defend
myself against any one who attacked me, to set fire to
everything I found within my reach, to kill as many people
as I could, and to die on my guns when I had used up all
my ammunition; that this was also the intention of my companions,
who preferred to die thus, like brave men, rather than
to be exposed to the ignominies and indignities that we should
undergo if we allowed ourselves to be made prisoners by the
people of Kasim All Khan. The timid Raja, threatened by
both parties, found himself in the utmost embarrassment, for
Sheikh Faiz Ulla, at the gates of his town, put, as it were,
his country under contribution, and demanded from him,
with all imaginable insolence, that he should deliver us up
to him, a thing which the Raja found difficult to do.

"Some days passed in this way, during which we had
frequent alarms, but the letters I received from Murshidabad
filled every one with perplexity. The English sent me
people on their own account. One of my private friends,[161]
whom I had been so fortunate as to oblige on a similar
occasion, wrote me not to trouble myself about my boats or
my effects, but to come at once to him, and he would see
that they restored or paid for my property, and that they
gave me all that I might need. The orders received by
Sheikh Faiz Ulla and the Raja at the same time, ordered the
one to leave me in peace and the other to furnish me with
everything I wanted. This put my mind in a condition of
serenity to which it had long been a stranger, and threw my
enemies into much confusion. They proposed that I should
resume possession of my boats. I knew, with absolute
certainty, that they had been half looted, still I accepted
them on condition they were brought to Dinajpur. They
did not wish, to do this; but next morning after reflection
they consented, when, in my turn, I declined, and asked only
for provisions and other things necessary for my journey.
This they had the harshness to refuse, doubtless because they
thought that I, being destitute of everything, would have to
go down by whatever route they pleased. I would not
trust them in anything, fearing treachery.

"At last, without linen, without clothes, except what we
had on our bodies, on the 1st of March, the seventeenth day
after our retreat[162] we set out with our arms and our two
Swedish guns to go to Murshidabad to the English, from
whom I had demanded the honours of war."

We learn from the correspondence between
Mr. Scrafton and Clive, that Drake, the cowardly
Governor of Calcutta, very naturally could not
understand what was meant by this claim to the
honours of war.[163]

"My guns were conducted by land by a small detachment, the command
of which I gave to M. Chevalier, and we embarked on some small
boats belonging to the Raja, in which we had hardly room to move.

"I was not yet at the end of my troubles, for on the 3rd of March,
after dinner, as I was getting back into my boat, one of the
boatmen, wishing to put down a gun, managed to let it off, and sent
a bullet through my left shoulder. It passed through the clavicle
between the sinew and the bone. Luckily the blow was broken by a
button which the bullet first struck; still it passed almost
completely through the shoulder and lodged under the skin, which had
to be opened behind the shoulder to extract it and also the wad.
However unfortunate this wound was, I ought to be very thankful to
God that it was so safely directed, and for the further good fortune
of finding with one of my people sufficient ointment for the
surgeon, who was quite destitute of all necessaries, to dress
my shoulder until the ninth day after, when we arrived at
Murshidabad.[164] This wound caused me much suffering for the first
few days, but, thanks to the Lord, in thirty-two or thirty-three
days it was quite healed and without any bad effects.

"We rested ourselves from our fatigue till the 20th at my friend's
house, when, with his concurrence and in response to their offers, I
went to the Dutch gentlemen at Cossimbazar, where M. Vernet, their
chief and an old friend of mine, received us with the greatest
kindness. It is from their Settlement that I write to thee, my dear
wife. Until the ships sail for England I shall continue to write
daily, and tell thee everything that is of interest.[165]

"August 10, 1758.

"My dear wife, I resume my narrative to tell thee that my boats have
been restored by the English, as well as all the goods that had not
been plundered by Sheikh Faiz Ulla and his people, except the
munitions of war. Still, so much of the merchandise, goods and
silver, has disappeared that I am ruined for ever, unless the
English, who have promised to cause everything to be restored, are
able to make the Moors give them up. The English have at length
decided on our fate in a way altogether honourable to us. We are not
prisoners of war, and so we are not subject to exchange; but we are
bound by certain conditions, which they think necessary to their
security, and which only do me honour. What has flattered me even
more is that the two Swedish guns which I had with me on my campaign
have actually been given to me as a present by the commander of the
English troops, who is also Governor of Calcutta, with the most
complimentary expressions."

Courtin had written to Clive, asking permission to go down to
Pondicherry. Clive replied on the 15th of July, 1758, granting
permission. His letter concludes:--

"I am at this moment sending an order to the Captain
Commandant of our troops to restore to you your two guns.
I am charmed at this opportunity of showing you my
appreciation of the way in which you have always behaved
to the English, and my own regard for your merit."[166]

Courtin continues:--

"Saved from so many perils and sufficiently fortunate
to have won such sensible marks of distinction from our
enemies, ought not this, my dear wife, to make me hope that
the gentlemen of the French Company will do their utmost
to procure me some military honour, in order to prove to the
English that my nation is as ready as theirs to recognize my

"Now, my dear wife, I must end this letter so that it
may be ready for despatch. For fear of its being lost I will
send in the packet another letter for thee.

"Do not disquiet thyself regarding my health. Thanks
to God I am now actually pretty well. I dare not talk to
thee of the possibility of our meeting. Circumstances are
not favourable for thee to make another voyage to the Indies.
That must depend upon events, thy health, peace, and
wishes, which, in spite of my tender longing for thee, will
always be my guide.

"If the event of war has not been doubly disastrous to
me, thou shouldst have received some small remittances,
which I have sent, and of which I have advised thee in
duplicate and triplicate. If the decrees of the Lord, after
my having endured so many misfortunes and sufferings, have
also ordained my death before I am in a position to provide
what concerns thee, have I not a right to hope that all my
friends will use their influence to induce the Company not
to abandon one who will be the widow of two men who have
served it well, and with all imaginable disinterestedness?

"For the rest I repeat that, thanks to God, I am fairly well.

"I kiss thee, etc., etc."

One would be glad to be assured that Courtin re-established his
fortune. If he is, as I suppose, the Jacques Ignace Courtin, who was
afterwards _Conseiller au Conseil des Indes_, we may be satisfied he
did so; but French East India Company Records are a hopeless chaos
at the present moment, and all that one can extract from the English
Records is evidence of still further suffering.

From Murshidabad or Cossimbazar, Courtin went down to Chandernagore,
whence the majority of the French inhabitants had already been sent
to the Madras Coast. The Fort had been blown up, and the private
houses were under sentence of destruction, for the English had
determined to destroy the town, partly in revenge for the behaviour
of Lally, who, acting under instructions from the French East India
Company, had shown great severity to the English in Southern India,
partly because they did not think themselves strong enough to
garrison Chandernagore as well as Calcutta, and feared the Moors
would occupy it if they did not place troops there, and partly
because they dreaded its restoration to France--which actually
happened--when peace was made. At any rate Courtin found the
remnants of his countrymen in despair, and in 1759 he wrote a
letter[168] to Clive and the Council of Calcutta, from which I
quote one or two paragraphs:--

"With the most bitter grief I have received advice of
the sentence you have passed on the French Settlement
at Chandernagore, by which all the buildings, as well of
the Company as of private persons, are to be utterly

"Humane and compassionate as you are, Sirs, you would
be sensibly affected--were your eyes witnesses to it as mine
have been--by the distress to which this order has reduced
the hearts of those unhappy inhabitants who remain in that
unfortunate place, particularly if you knew that there is
nothing left to the majority of them beyond these houses, on
whose destruction you have resolved. If I may believe
what I hear, the motive which incites you is that of reprisal
for what has happened at Cuddalore and Madras: it does
not become me to criticize either the conduct of M. Lally,
our general, who, by all accounts, is a man very much to be
respected by me, or your reasons, which you suppose sufficient.
Granting the latter to be so, permit me, Sirs, to
address myself to your generosity and humanity, and those
admirable qualities, so universally esteemed by mankind,
will encourage me to take the liberty to make certain representations.

"All upbraidings are odious, and nothing is more just
than the French proverb which says, to remind a person of
favours done him cancels the obligation. God forbid, Sirs,
I should be guilty of this to you or your nation by reminding
you for a moment, that these houses, now condemned by
you, served you as an asylum in 1756, and that the owners,
whom you are now reducing to the greatest distress and are
plunging into despair, assisted you to the utmost of their
power, and alleviated your misfortunes as much as they were
able. But what am I saying? Your nation is too polished to
need reminding of what is just. Therefore excuse my saying
that this reason alone is sufficient to cancel the law of
retaliation which you have resolved to execute, and to make
you revoke an order which, I am sure, you could not have
given without much uneasiness of mind. I cast myself at
your feet, imploring, with the most ardent prayers, that
compassion, which I flatter myself I perceive in your hearts,
for these poor creatures, whom you cannot without remorse
render miserable. If you really, Sirs, think I too have had
the happiness to be of some use to you and your nation,
whilst Chief at Dacca, and that I have rendered you some
services, I only beg that you would recollect them for one
moment, and let them induce you to grant the favour I
request for my poor countrymen. I shall then regard it as
the most happy incident in my life, and shall think myself
ten thousand times more indebted to you.

"If, Sirs, you have absolutely imperative reasons for
reprisal, change, if you please, the object of them. I offer
myself a willing victim, if there must be one, and, if blood
were necessary, I should think myself too happy to offer
mine a sacrifice. But as these barbarous methods are not
made use of in nations so civilized as ours, I have one last
offer to make, which is to ransom and buy all the private
houses at Chandernagore, for which I will enter into whatever
engagements you please, and will give you the best
security in my power."

The last words seem to imply that Courtin had recovered his
property, at least to a great extent; but his pathetic appeal was
useless in face of national necessities, and so far was
Chandernagore desolated that, in November of the same year, we read
that the English army, under Colonel Forde, was ambushed by the
Dutch garrison of Chinsurah "amongst the buildings and ruins of

From Chandernagore Courtin went to Pondicherry, where he became a
member of the Superior Council. He was one of the chiefs of the
faction opposed to Lally, who contemptuously mentions a printed
"Memorial" of his adventures which Courtin prepared, probably for
presentation to the Directors of the French East India Company.[169]
When, in January, 1761, Lally determined to capitulate, Courtin was
sent to the English commander on the part of the Council. Still
later we find his name attached to a petition, dated August 3, 1762,
presented to the King against Lally.[170] This shows that Courtin
had arrived in France, so that his elevation to the Council of the
Company is by no means improbable.

To any one who has lived long in India it seems unnatural that in
old days the small colonies of Europeans settled there should have
been incited to mutual conflict and mutual ruin, owing to quarrels
which originated in far-off Europe, and _which were decided without
any reference to the wishes or interests of Europeans living in the
colonies_. The British Settlements alone have successfully survived
the struggle. The least we can do is to acknowledge the merits,
whilst we commiserate the sufferings, of those other gallant men who
strove their best to win the great prize for their own countrymen.
Of the French especially it would appear that their writers have
noticed only those like Dupleix, Bussy, and Lally, who commanded
armies in glorious campaigns that somehow always ended to the
advantage of the British, and have utterly forgotten the civilians
who really kept the game going, and who would have been twice as
formidable to their enemies if the military had been subordinate to
them. The curse of the French East India Company was Militarism,
whilst fortunately for the English our greatest military hero in
India, Lord Clive, was so clear-minded that he could write:--

"I have the liberty of an Englishman so strongly implanted
in my nature, that I would have the Civil all in all,
in all times and in all places, cases of immediate danger

How much might have been achieved by men like Renault, Law, and
Courtin, if they had had an adequate military force at their
disposal! They saw, as clearly as did the English, that Bengal was
the heart of India, and they saw the English denude Madras of troops
to defend Bengal, whilst they themselves were left by the French
commanders in a state of hopeless impotence. On the other hand,
owing to the English Company's insistence that military domination
should be the exception and not the rule, British civilians and
British soldiers have, almost always, worked together harmoniously.
It was this union of force which gave us Bengal in the time of which
I have been writing, and to the same source of power we owe the
gradual building up of the great Empire which now dominates the
whole of India.


[Footnote 122: Probably Portuguese half-castes.]

[Footnote 123: Matchlock men. Consultations of the Dacca Council,
27th June, 1756. Madras Select Committee Proceedings, 9th November,

[Footnote 124: When Courtin was sent by Count Lally with the
proposals for the surrender of Pondicherry he had to take an
interpreter with him. _Memoirs of Lally_, p. 105.]

[Footnote 125: I.e. official order.]

[Footnote 126: I cannot ascertain where M. Fleurin was at this
moment. If at Dacca, then Courtin must have left him behind.]

[Footnote 127: MSS. Francais, Nouvelles Acquisitions, No. 9361. This
is unfortunately only a copy, and the dates are somewhat confused.
Where possible I have corrected them.]

[Footnote 128: Calcapur, the site of the Dutch Factory. See note, p.

[Footnote 129: From a map by Rennell of the neighbourhood of Dacca
it appears that the French Factory was on the River Bourigunga.
There are still several plots of ground in Dacca town belonging to
the French. One of them, popularly known as Frashdanga, is situated
at the mouth of the old bed of the river which forms an island of
the southern portion of the town; but I do not think this is the
site of the French Factory, as the latter appears to have been
situated to the west of the present Nawab's palace.]

[Footnote 130: Now used in the sense of messengers or office

[Footnote 131: Orme says (bk. viii. p. 285) that Courtin started
with 30 Europeans and 100 sepoys. From Law's "Memoir" we see that M.
de Carryon took 20 men to Cossimbazar before Law himself left. This
accounts for the smallness of Courtin's force.]

[Footnote 132: Jafar Ali Khan married the sister of Aliverdi Khan,
Siraj-ud-daula's grandfather.]

[Footnote 133: I think he must mean the mouth of the Murshidabad

[Footnote 134: Courtin means the lower ranges of the Himalayas,
inhabited by the Nepaulese, Bhutiyas, etc. His wanderings therefore
were in the districts of Rungpore and Dinajpur.]

[Footnote 135: Sinfray, Secretary to the Council at Chandernagore,
was one of the fugitives who, as mentioned above, joined Law at

[Footnote 136: Assaduzama Muhammad was nephew to Kamgar Khan, the
general of Shah Alam. _Holwell. Memorial to the Select Committee_,

[Footnote 137: Orme MSS. India XI., p. 2859, No. 246.]

[Footnote 138: Orme says the Fort was on the River Teesta, but
Rennell marks it more correctly a little away from the river and
about fifteen miles south of Jalpaiguri.]

[Footnote 139: These guns Courtin calls "pieces a la minute." The
proper name should be "canon a la suedoise" or "canon a la minute."
They were invented by the Swedes, who used 3-pounders with improved
methods for loading and firing, so as to be able to fire as many as
ten shots in a minute. The French adopted a 4-pounder gun of this
kind in 1743. The above information was given me by Lieut.-Colonel
Ottley Perry, on the authority of Colonel Colin, an artillery
officer on the French Headquarters Staff.]

[Footnote 140: This squadron, under the command of Mons. Bouvet,
actually did arrive.]

[Footnote 141: This rebellion was really conducted by Ukil Singh,
the Hindoo _Diwan_ of Hazir Ali.]

[Footnote 142: Mir Jafar, Jafar Ali, Mir Jafar Ali Khan, are all
variations of the name of the Nawab whom the English placed on the
throne after the death of Siraj-ud-daula.]

[Footnote 143: Law says that the French soldiers who wandered the
country in this way were accustomed to disguise themselves as
natives and even as Brahmins, when they wished to avoid notice.]

[Footnote 144: A kind of native house-boat.]

[Footnote 145: A heavy gun fired from a rest or stand.]

[Footnote 146: A ditch or ravine.]

[Footnote 147: Orme MSS. India XI., p. 2901, No. 374.]

[Footnote 148: A thick quilt used as a covering when in bed, or
sometimes like a blanket to wrap oneself in.]

[Footnote 149: Orme MSS. India XL, p. 2915, No. 417.]

[Footnote 150: Bengal Select Com. Consultations, 22nd February,

[Footnote 151: I have not been able to identify this place.]

[Footnote 152: A boatman.]

[Footnote 153: See note, p. 88.]

[Footnote 154: Orme MSS. India XI., p. 2923, No. 432.]

[Footnote 155: Orme MSS. India XL, p. 2926, No. 438.]

[Footnote 156: This expression is characteristically Indian, and is
used when any one, finding himself oppressed, appeals to some great
personage for protection.]

[Footnote 157: The Nawab's flag was the usual Turkish crescent.]

[Footnote 158: Another Indian expression. The last resource against
oppression or injustice in India is to commit suicide by starvation
or some violent means, and to lay the blame on the oppressor. This
is supposed to bring the curse of murder upon him.]

[Footnote 159: This means simply that the Raja was not an
independent ruler. The sovereign owning all land, _land revenue_ and
_rent_ meant the same thing.]

[Footnote 160: This seems to want explanation. Probably Courtin had
got into some sort of house used for religious ceremonies, such as
are often found in or close to the market-places of great

[Footnote 161: He probably refers to Mr. Luke Scrafton.]

[Footnote 162: I.e. from his entrenchments.]

[Footnote 163: "Courtin and his party arrived here the 10th. They
are 6 soldiers, Dutch, German and Swede, such as took service with
the French when our Factory at Dacca fell into the hands of Surajeh
Dowleit, 4 gentlemen, some Chitagon (_sic_) fellows and about 20
peons. Courtin, on his way hither, has, by mischance, received a
ball through his shoulder. They demanded _honneurs de la guerre_,
which Drake has not understood" (_Scrafton to Clive, March_ 12,

[Footnote 164: According to Orme, Courtin's force was reduct from 30
to 11 Europeans, and from 100 to 30 sepoys.]

[Footnote 165: The manuscript I translate from contains only the
postscript of the 10th of August.]

[Footnote 166: A translation. Clive generally wrote to French
officers in their own language.]

[Footnote 167: Such honours were not uncommonly granted. Law was
made a Colonel, so was another French partisan named Madec. On the
other hand, when a French gentleman had the choice, he often put his
elder son in the Company's service and the younger in the army.
Law's younger brother was in the army. Renault's elder son was in
the Company and the younger in the army.]

[Footnote 168: Appended to "Bengal Public Proceedings," May 31,

[Footnote 169: I do not know whether this "Memorial" still exists,
but see "Memoirs of Count Lally," p. 53.]

[Footnote 170: "Memoirs of Count Lally," p. 367.]


Abdulla Khan
Admiralty, the English
Afghan General, the
_See_ Abdulla Khan
Ahmed Khan Koreishi
Alamgir II., Emperor, assassinated November 29, 1759
Ali Gauhar
_See_ Shah Alam
Aliverdi Khan
his opinion of Europeans
sister of
Amina Begum, mother of Siraj-ud-daula
Anquetil du Perron, M.
"Arabian Nights"
Archives, French
Armenian officers
_Arz-begi_ (Gholam Ali Khan)
_Asiatic Annual Register_
Assaduzama Muhammad, Raja of Birbhum
Assam, King of
Audience Hall, the
Augustine Father

Bahadur Singh
_See_ Bihar
Bankers, influence of Indian
Banowra River
Barber, a native
Battle of the 5th of February
Becher, Mr. Richard
Beinges, M.
Nawabs of
revolution in
rivers of
Bengali merchant
Bettiah, Raja of
Bibi Lass
_See_ Mrs. Law
Bibliotheque Nationale
Biderra, battle of
Bihar, Hindu Rajas of
map of south
province of
town of
Raja of _See_ Assaduzama Muhammad
Bisdom, Adrian, Director of the Dutch in Bengal
Black Hole, the
Bloomer, Lieut.
Boissemont, M.
Bourigunga River
Bouvet, M.
Brayer, Ensign
M., one of Courtin's companions
Brereton, Lieut. William
_Bridgewater_, H.M.S. (Captain Smith)
British. _See_ English
Museum, MS. Department
Broome, Captain A., Author of the "Rise and Progress of the
Bengal Army" (Calcutta, 1850)
Budge Budge, battle of
Bugros, M.
Bulwant Singh, Raja of Benares
Bundelkand or Bundelcund
Bussy, M.

Caillot, or Caillaud
English Council at
Calve, M.
Cannon balls of clay
Cantanagar, battle of
Capitulation of Chandernagore, dispute as to terms of
Capucins, church of
Carnac, Major John
Carryon, M. le Comte de
Carvalho, Jeanne. _See_ Mrs. Law
Cause of Siraj-ud-daula's attack on the English
Chambon, M
booty taken at
cemetery at
council at
deserters from
garrison of
possibility of its capture by English land forces alone
terms of capitulation of
Chevalier, M.
Christian clerks
Chupra or Chapra.
Civil Power, the
Clive, Lieut.-Colonel Robert (Lord Clive)
Coja Wajid
Colbert, M.
Colin, Catherine
Coote, Captain (Sir) Eyre
Coromandel, Coast of, _See_ Madras Coast
Cossimbazar River
Courtin, Francois,
Jacques Ignace
Courtin, Mrs.
_See_ Madame Direy
Courtin's Memorial
Cudmore, Lieut. John

Council at;
Government College at;
Nawab of;
Palace of present Nawab
_D'Aillot_, powders
D'Albert, M. le Chevalier
Dana Shah
Dangereux, M.
Davis, Mr.
Debelleme, M. le Capitaine
De Carryon, M. le Comte
De Kalli, M.
Delabar, M.
De la Bretesche, M.
Delamotte, Mr. John
De la Vigne Buisson;
M. le Capitaine;
De Leyrit, M.
De Montorcin, M.
Desbrosses, M.
Deserters, English;
Desjoux, M.
De Terraneau, Ann.;
Lieut. Charles Cossard;
De Tury;
M., Commandant of Chandernagore
D'Hurvilliers, M.
Raja of
Direy, Madame, _See_ Mrs. Courtin
Doctor, French
Doidge, Mr.
Drake, Roger, jun.;
President of the Council at Calcutta
Droguet, M.
M., French Company's servant;
M., Sturgeon Major
Du Cap, M.
Dupleix, Marquis
Du Pre, M.
Durbar, The
Director. _See_ M. Bisdom;
Octagon, the

East India Company, English;
East India Company, French
Elephants, gentleness of
Engineers, want of
_See_ British;
agent of;
ladies at Dacca;
trade privileges of
Europeans, generosity and courage of,

Fakir, _See_ Dana Shah
Farmers of estates,
Fleurin, M.,
Forde, Colonel,
Fort Bourgogne,
Fournier, M.,
King of,
mistaken for Muhammadans,
up-country factories,
Fringuey Raja,
Fullerton, Dr. William,

Ganges river, _See_ Hugli River
Gentiles, or Gentoos,
Gholam Husain Khan,
Gourbin, M.
Gourlade, M.,
Grand Monarque, the,
Great Britain,
King of,

Haillet, M.,
Hardwicke, Lord,
Hazir Ali Khan,
Hey, Lieut.,
Hindu advisers of the Nawab,
Hindu Rajas,
women, ill-treatment of--by Siraj-ud-daula,
Hindus, the,
Holwell, John Zephaniah, Governor,
Honours of war,
Hugli, Faujdar of, _See_ Nand Kumar

Imad-al-Muluk, Ghazi-ud-din Khan,
Indian expressions, characteristic,
minds, motives of,
ways of business,
Indies, The,
Indrapat, Raja of Bundelkand,
Innocent, or Innocent Jesus,
Ironside, Colonel Gilbert,
Ives, Surgeon Edward, author of "A
Voyage from England to India in
1754, with, a narrative of the operations
of the squadron and army in
India, under Watson and Clive,
1755-1757; Also a Journey from Persia to England," (London, 1799)

Jafar Ali Khan.
_See_ Mir Jafar Ali Khan
Jagat Seth, family of
_See_ Seths
Jats, the
Jesuit Church, the
Fathers, the
Jobard, M.
_See_ Luckipore
Jusserat Khan, Nawab of Dacca

Kamgar Khan
Kasim Ali Khan, Nawab of Bengal
_See_ Mir Kasim
Kasim Ali Khan, Faujdar of Rungpore
_Kent_, H.M.S.
Kerdizien, M.
Khodadad Khan Latty
Kilpatrick, Major James
_See_ Mogul
_Kingfisher_, H.M.S.
Kissendas, son of Raj Balav
Knox, Captain Ranfurlie
Kooti Ghat
Koran, the

La Haye, M.
Lal Dighi
Lally, Count
Memoirs of
Laporterie, M.
La Rue, M.
Latham, Captain
Launay, M.
La Ville Martere, M.
Law, Jacques Francois
Jean, of Lauriston
Madame Jeanne
John, of Lauriston, the Financier
Law's Memoir
Le Conte Dompierre
Lee, Corporal
Le Noir, M.
Le Page, M., Second Surgeon
_See_ Jugdea
Lynn, Captain

McGwire, Mr. William
Madec, Colonel
_See_ Coromandel
Malleson, Colonel G.B., Author of "History of the French in India
from the Founding of Pondicherry in 1674 to the Capture of that
Place in 1761" (London, 1868)
Manik Chand, Raja
Maratha Commander
Law's altercation with
General, the
Martin, Captain
Martin de la Case, Ensign
Matel, M.
Minchin, Captain George, Captain-Commandant of Calcutta
Mir Abdulla
Miran, son of Mir Jafar
Mir Daood, brother of Mir Jafar, and Faujdar of Rajmehal
Mir Jafar Ali Khan, made Nawab by the English after Plassey
Mir Kasim, or Kasim Ali Khan, son-in-law and successor of Mir Jafar
army of
Mir Madan
_See_ King
Mohan Lal, favourite of the Nawab
Moor hostages
Moorish colours
_See_ Muxadabad
or Cossimbazar River
Murshid Kuli Khan
Mustapha Ali Khan
_See_ Murshidabad

Nand Kumar, Faujdar of Hugli
Native indifference to the quarrels of the Europeans
Naval officer, an English
Nawab, the
_See_ Siraj-ud-daula
Hindu advisers and servants of
Nawajis Muhammad Khan, uncle of Siraj-ud-daula
Nawajis Muhammad Khan's widow
Nazir Dalal, the
Neutrality in the Ganges
News from Bengal
Nicolas, M.F.
Nover, Sergeant

Onofre, Reverend Father
Orme Papers or MSS.
Orme, Robert, historian
Nawab of. _See_ Suja-ud-daula

Pagodas or Hindu Temples
Naib of
Pavilion, Bastion du
Pearkes, Mr. Paul Richard
Perry, Lieut.-Colonel Ottley
Picques, M.
Pilots, French
Plassey, battle of
Pocock, Admiral (Sir) George
Superior Council of
Porte Royale, the
Portuguese half-castes
Priest, Hindu
Probate Records (Mayor's Court, Calcutta)
Prussian Gardens
Nawab of. _See_ Saukat Jang

Raj Durlabh Ram, Raja
Rains, the
Raj Balav, Raja
Rajas, Hindu
Faujdar of.
_See_ Mir Daood
Ramnarain, Raja, Naib or Deputy Governor of Patua
Ram Nath, Raja of Dinajpur
Ranjit Rai, agent of the Seths
Raymond, M.
Renault, Pierre, Director of Chandernagore (Malleson calls him
Renault de St. Germain, but he never signs himself as such)
Renault, de St. Germain, eldest son of Pierre Renault
Renault, Lieut., second son of Pierre Renault
Renault, de la Fuye, M.
Renaultions, the
Rennell, Major James, geographer
Royal Music, the
Raja of. _See_ Kasizn All Khan

Sahibgunj, Raja of
_Saint Contest_, the
St. Didier, M.
St. Louis, Order of
Parish Church of
Salabat Jang
_Salisbury_, H.M.S.
Sarfaraz Khan, Nawab of Bengal, defeated and killed in battle
by Aliverdi Khan in 1742
Saukat Jang, Nawab of Purneah and cousin of Siraj-ud-daula
Scrafton, Mr. Luke, Author of "Reflections on the Government
of Indostan" (London, 1770)
Scrafton's "Reflections"
Select Committee at Calcutta
at Madras
Sepoys, 10. _See_ Telingas
Law's opinion of
Serampore, Danish Settlement
Seth Mahtab Rai, grandson of Jagat Seth
Seth Sarup Chand, grandson of Jagat Seth
Seths, agent of
_See_ Ranjit Rai
Seths: the family of Jagat Seth
Shah, Alam
_See_ Ali Gauhar
Shahzada or Crown Prince
_See_ Shah Alam
Sheikh Faiz Ulla
Sinfray, M.
_See_ Nawab
cause of his attack on the English
his aunt, widow of Nawajia Khan
his mother
_See_ Amina Begum
his younger brother
_See_ Fazl-kuli-khan
Slippers, a pair of
Soupy, fort of
Speke, Captain
Spies employed by the English,
by the Nawab
Suan, battle of
Suja-ud-daula, Nawabof Oudh
Summer, Mr. William Brightwell
Surgeons, French
Swedish guns

Tangepur, or Tanjipur,
Tanks used for military purposes
Teesta River
Telingas or Tellingees
king of,
Toby, Captain--of the _Kingfisher_
Tooke, Mr. William
Treaty between the English and Mir Jafar
between the English and Siraj-ud-daula
between the French and Siraj-ud-daula
Turkish Crescent, the
_Tyger_, H.M.S.

Ukil Singh

Vansittart, Governor Henry
Vernet, M. George, Lodewjk
Villequain, M.
Vizir, The
Volunteers, English

Walcot, Clive Correspondence at
Waller, Mr. Samuel
War, Declaration of, between England and France
Water Gate, the
Watson, Admiral Charles
Watts, Mrs. Amelia
the Worshipful Mr. William

Zemindar, collector of revenue


Book of the day: