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It happened (rather oddly; in so large a settlement as Negapatnam) that there was but one man who could post up the journal into the ledger,' and he was too surly to give Haafner any informatiou on the subject. In the course of eighteen inonths, however, by genius and perseverance, he made himself master of the whole mystery of book-keeping; on which occasion he breaks out into a sublime apostrophe to the powers of the human mind in subduing the difficulties of the multiplication table !-He seems not, however, to have acquired much reputation at Negapatnam; he quarrelled, very justly, if he speaks truth, with his master, and was dismissed very unjustly by the governor. What was now to be done? He had heard that, among the English, nothing was more easy for a prudent man than de faire fortune--but he was unacquainted with the language: an English deserter was fortunately serving in the garrison; by his assistance he soon maştered it, and his success at Madras was no longer doubtful. How often did his imagination paint his return to his family loaded with wealth ! how often did he devoutly express a wish to tind them miserably poor, for the sole satisfaction of having it in his power to make them rich! Just, however, as he was setting out on his journey, one of his countrymen, less sanguine than the rest, awakened him from his golden dreams, pointed out the wickedness as well as the folly of deserting his country, and offered him the situation of book-keeper at the small settlement of Sadras. To Sadras, therefore, he went. Subsequent events at this place, laid the foundation of that deadly anti-, pathy which every page of his book breathes against the English name in India.
. Our tranquillity,' he says, was not of long duration; an enemy, not less vindictive and cruel than Hyder Ali, (who had previously disturbed his repose,) and infinitely more perfidious, caine upon us by surprize, just as an assassin attacks the peaceable traveller in a forest;' and he adds, in a note, the Machiavelian and abominable system practised by the English, of making war upon their neighbours without previous notice, can only be attributed to their cowardice and rapacity.'
• This event,' continues he, took place on the 17th June, 1781, about four o'clock in the afternoon. M. de Neys, the chief of Sadras, had invited us to dinner, and we were still at table, when the serjeant of the guard entered the hall, and informed M. de Neys that an English officer, carrying a white handkerchief at the end of a walking stick, asked to speak with him. No one at that moment paid any regard to the white handkerchief. “ The unore the merrier," replied M. de Neys, “ let him come in; he shall drink with us to the prosperity of Sadras.”
This officer, it seems, came from the head quarters at Chingleput, to summon the fort; he was, no doubt, an unwelcome visitor; but M. de Neys at least must have been prepared for Itim. We cannot state the day on which it was 'summoned, as the Gazette is silent on the surrender of this unimportant place; but it most assuredly was not on the 17th of June. Lord Macartney carried out, in the Swallow packet; intelligence of the war between Great Britain and Holland, and he did not arrive until the 21st of June. He certainly lost no time in acting upon his instructions, which were to seize every Dutch ship and factory within his reach. These factories, in the midst of peace and professed friendship, were, in fact, affording money, clothing, and ammunition to Hyder Ali, and were at the same time so many vents for his plunder. Neither can it be true that M. de Neys was taken by surprize, as, before the arrival of the Swallow, a French frigate had carried intelligence of the war to every Dutch settlement on the coast of Coromandel, and given them sufficient notice to put themselves into a posture of defence. The dinner scene, therefore, and all that follow's it, respecting the violation of the articles of capitulation, must fall under those portions of Jacob Haafuer's book, which his sagacious countrymen have set down as un peu romanesque.
We are not much surprised to find an accusation against the governor of Negapatnam, for having sold that settlement, nay made a present of it, to the English: but it was the same governor, unfortunately, who had dismissed him from the Company's service. He observes farther, that selliug or giving forts is a common practice with the Dutch. We have heard indeed of a Dutch governor selling gunpowder to the enemy that was besieging him, but we are quite sure that there was no treachery in the surrender of Negapatnam. On the 21st of October it was invested by more than 4000 men. On the 30th the lines and redoubts were carried, and on the 12th of November, the town and fort surrendered by capitulation, after making two vigorous and desperate sallies.
The irruption of Hyder Ali into the Carpatic, and the flight of its wretched inhabitants to Madras, created that dreadful famine, of which hundreds perished daily in the streets. The sufferings of the settlement were aggravated by a tremendous storm, which destroyed the rice ships, that had been collected with infinite pains, by the government. This melancholy event furnishes a noble subject for the venemous pen of the Dutchman. The famine at Madras, he says, was created upon the sa
same principle as that which desolated Bengal, where three millions of souls perished, to satisfy the insatiable avarice of a company of monopolizers, with the execrable Clive at their head.' He asserts
that the delay in discharging the cargoes of rice from the vessels in Madras roads, had no other object than that of raising the price of grain and other provisions, with which the magazines were already abundantly supplied; that the storm which destroyed them, took place on the 2d of October, 1739, after infallible signs of its terrible approach had been announced to all the world for eight days; that if Mr. Willoughby had been governor, instead of the cruel Macartney, (the same Macartney he observes, who went ambassador to China, from whence, God be praised, he returned without doing anything,) it is certain that not a soul would have perished of hunger; that while the streets of Madras were crouded with the dead and the dying, the English shewed not the least compassion in passing through the midst of these victims of their infernal system; that they carried their barbarity so far as to drive more than 2000 of these wretches beyond the walls of the city, where they remained three days, stretching their feeble arins towards Madras, to implore the pity of their oppressors; that this dreadful spectacle was regarded by the English with the most revolting insensibility ;with much more of a similar kind, repeated over and over, and constantly followed by the most abusive and opprobrious mention of the British name.
It is almost unnecessary for us to say, that the whole of this statement is unfounded. In the first place it is false, that the storm happened on the 2d of October; it is equally false that its approach was announced eight days before, or indeed at all. It took place on the 15th of October, and was so little expected, that all the small craft, and the boats of the squadron of Sir Edward Hughes, were employed the whole morning of that day, in carrying provisions and water to the ships ; which were so unprepared for it, that they were obliged to slip their cables and put to sea. It is too absurd to suppose for a moment, that the delay of landing the grain was in the expectation of a storm;' and it is a malevolent falsehood to say that the warehouses were full of grain. The select coinmittee observe, in their letter to Sir Edward Hughes, that the rice then at the Presidency did not exceed thirty thousand bags; that the quantity afloat in the roads was about as much more; that the monthly consumption was, at the least, fifty thousand bags. And they farther observe, that the number of boats required for the daily service of his squadron, had, in a great measure, deprived them of the means of landing the grain from the vessels in the road. The calumny vented against Lord Macartney is scarcely deserving of notice. The committee abovementioned observe, that the government had the melancholy truth before it, that no human effort could prevent the fate, which the certain ayd imunediate prospect of famiue presented to the mi
serable inhabitants of the settlement.' With regard to Lord Macartney individually, he was the first to set the example of sending away every servant of every description, that was not absolutely necessary to be kept; and we can tell this calumniator, from our own knowledge, that the humanity of the government and of individuals was constant and unremitting, in devising means for mitigating the calamity; and that nourishment was daily distributed to many thousands, under the walls of Madras. It is totally false that 2000 or any number were driven out of the town. On the contrary, a notice was published in various languages, that all who had not a sufficient stock of provisions on hand, and who might choose voluntarily to leave the town, would be supplied with a certain quantity of rice, and furnished with an escort to the provinces which had not suffered; in consequence of which, many thousands were saved.
But the accuracy of Jacob IJaafner is at least equal to his honesty. He tells us that, no the taking of Sadras, (whither he went a beggar,) he carried away with him 120 pagodas; that the rest of his property consisted in 3000 pagodas in money and merchandise, of which he was plundered by the English ; aud 1000 pagodas which he had lent to M. de Neys, for the public service. How did he contrive to realize this sum ? did he too oppress the poor Hindoos, after the manner of the English? This accumulation of property, however, is not the ground on which we mean to impeach his integrity. There is a little history respecting the 1000 pagodas lent to M. de Neys, which furnishes a pretty trait in the character of this conscientious Dutchman, for he appears exceedingly anxious throughout his narrative, to be esteemed "au honourable man.'
The day after the signing of the articles of capitulation, de Neys apprised Haafner that he had taken out of the public treasury 10,000 pagodas, and that it would be necessary to make the books correspond. Haafner did not greatly relish the proposition, for if this violation of the terms should be discovered, it would expose him to the wrath of Captain Mackay, the English officer, of whom he appears to have entertained a sufficient dread. He advised the governor therefore to replace the money, giving him a hint at the same time concerning the repayment of his thousand pagodas. The governor observed it was too late, for that Captain Mackay had got the keys; and that if he did not use his best endeavours to extricate him from his embarrassment, he would not only not repay him the thousand pagodas, but also make known to the Company the little zeal which he had manifested for its interests; but that, if he would alter the books, he would not only repay him the thousand pagodas, and make him a handsome present; but
would also acquaint the directors with his merits in this ticklish' affair. Haafner's integrity was not proof against so many temptations. The fear,' says he, of losing my money, the service I should render the Company in snatching a considerable sum from the greedy hands of the English, the hope of accelerating my advancement, and the dread of Mr. Mackay, &c. all these considerations determined me to give myself up to his wishes. And he tells us that he managed this dangerous business of falsifying the books so well, that it was never discovered.
The farther we proceed in the narrative, the more we develope the real character of Jacob Haafner. His sensibility, he, says was too great to suffer him to remain at Madras, (where, by the way, he bad been sent as a prisoner of war,) among the scenes of misery which he daily experienced. We can discover, however, another reason, for his quitting this place, --lie had outstaid both his reputation and his money. On his arrival, he engaged himself as clerk to an English attorney; he then entered the service of M. de Souza, a Portugieze merchaut, who broke his head, turned him out of his house, and sent him 100 pagodas as compensation money. These being nearly exhausted, and 10 farther supply offering, he was driven to the necessity of purchasing an open boat, so leaky as to be nearly filled with water when launched from the beach. In this crazy machine, at the height of the bad season, when not a vessel can venture to approach the coast, he put to sea with a view to reach Tranquebar, or some other place to the southward. A shot from Fort St. George brought him back, he was conducted as a spy to the government house, and recognized by Major Sydenham, whom he entreated to intercede in his behalf. The Major’s representation, it seems, had the desired effect; for Lord Macartney, after some friendly admonitions respecting prisoners on their parole stealing away from a garrison town, allowed him to proceed-on condition however that he took charge of a packet of letters for Colonel Hamilton, at Tranquebar; a condition which he accepted with apparent satisfaction, and a solemn promise to execute faithfully. This paper then,' said Lord Macartney, contams an order to the Colonel to pay you one thousand pagodas, if you fulfil your mission;' and so saying, he shook hiin by the hand and wished him a good voyage.
Those who were acquainted with this wary statesman, who bestowed his contidence only where he knew it would not be abused; who remember the distant, but digmfied deportment of this wobleman, who, with the apparent hauteur, possessed the real urbanity of the old school, will hesitate, with us, in believing that he would commit papers
any consequence to an enemy taken iu the act of breaking his parole; or that he would desceud to the familiarity