The Tiger of Mysore: A Story of the War with Tippoo Saib

While some of our wars in India are open to the charge that they were undertaken on slight provocation, and were forced on by us in order that we might have an excuse for annexation, our struggle with Tippoo Saib was, on the other hand, marked by a long endurance of wrong, and a toleration of abominable cruelties perpetrated upon Englishmen and our native allies. Hyder Ali was a conqueror of the true Eastern type. He was ambitious in the extreme. He dreamed of becoming the Lord of the whole of Southern India. He was an able leader, and, though ruthless where it was his policy to strike terror, he was not cruel from choice.

His son, Tippoo, on the contrary, revelled in acts of the most abominable cruelty. It would seem that he massacred for the very pleasure of massacring, and hundreds of British captives were killed by famine, poison, or torture, simply to gratify his lust for murder. Patience was shown towards this monster until patience became a fault, and our inaction was naturally ascribed by him to fear. Had firmness been shown by Lord Cornwallis, when Seringapatam was practically in his power, the second war would have been avoided and thousands of lives spared. The blunder was a costly one to us, for the work had to be done all over again, and the fault of Lord Cornwallis retrieved by the energy and firmness of the Marquis of Wellesley.

The story of the campaign is taken from various sources, and the details of the treatment of the prisoners from the published narratives of two officers who effected their escape from prisons.

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