Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 60.djvu/180
battle was fought on a plain in front of the village of Argaum. Some sepoy regiments were disordered by the enemy's artillery fire, and Wellesley wrote: 'If I had not been there, I am convinced we should have lost the day' (Desp. 2 Dec.) But the Mahrattas soon broke and fled, leaving thirty-eight guns on the field, and the victory cost the British under 250 men. Gawilghur was stormed on 15 Dec.; and treaties of peace, negotiated by Wellesley, were signed with the rajah of Berar on the 17th, and with Scindiah on the 30th (Suppl. Desp. iv. 221-287).
Wellesley received the thanks of parliament. A sword of honour was presented to him by the inhabitants of Calcutta, and a service of plate, embossed with 'Assye,' by the officers of his division. He visited Bombay in March and received an address. He was now anxious to return to England: 'I think I have served as long in India as any man ought who can serve anywhere else; and I think that there appears a prospect of service in Europe in which I should be more likely to get forward' (Desp. 8 June 1804). His health had suffered by life in camp, and he was aggrieved that the Duke of York had not confirmed his appointment to the staff of the Madras army. He advised the governor-general also to resign because of the hostility of the directors and the want of support from the ministry (Suppl. Desp. 31 Jan. and 24 Feb.)
The peace turned adrift bands of freebooters who made raids into the Deccan, and in February 1804 Wellesley went in pursuit of one of these bands. He set out on the morning of the 4th with all his cavalry, three battalions of infantry, and four guns, and in thirty hours (including a halt of ten hours) he marched sixty miles. He overtook the band, which was near Perinda, and dispersed it, taking its guns (Desp. 5 Feb.; Croker, ii. 232). This was his last service in the field in India.
He watched with some uneasiness the course of the governor-general, fearing that it would lead to a fresh coalition of the Mahratta princes: 'The system of moderation and conciliation by which, whether it be right or wrong, I made the treaties of peace, and which has been so highly approved and extolled, is now given up' (Suppl. Desp. 13 May). Orders had already been given for hostilities against Holkar, but these fell mainly to Lake. On 24 June Wellesley bade farewell to his division at Poonah, and went to Calcutta. He meant to go home from there, but the disaster to Colonel Monson's force (Desp. 12 Sept.) made it necessary for him to return to Seringapatam in November. He was told that the command of the Bombay army would be offered him, but he wrote: 'Even if I were certain that I should not be employed in England at all, there is no situation in India which would induce me to stay here' (Suppl. Desp. 15 Jan. 1805).
He resigned his civil and military appointments on 24 Feb. 1805. At Madras he was invested with the order of the Bath (K.C.B.), which had been conferred on him on 1 Sept. 1804; he received addresses from the officers of his late division, from those of the 33rd regiment, and from the native inhabitants of Seringapatam, and he was entertained by the civil and military officers of the presidency. In the middle of March Sir Arthur sailed for England in the Trident, and arrived in the Downs on 10 Sept. His eight years' service in India had been excellent training for the varied business he was afterwards to be engaged in. In addition to the ordinary duties of command, he had been engineer, commissariat and store officer, as well as civil administrator and diplomatist. Always ready to accept new functions and clinging to those he already had, more than fifty thousand soldiers were under his orders in different parts of southern India at the beginning of 1804.
It must have been within two or three days of his landing that the only meeting between Wellesley and Nelson took place by chance at the colonial office, for Nelson left England on 13 Sept. for the last time (Croker, ii. 233). Lord Castlereagh, who was then secretary of state for war and the colonies, had been president of the board of control, and Wellesley made it his first business to explain and justify his brother's Indian policy to him and to Pitt. The latter was struck with his reticence about his own actions, and a few days before his death he told Lord Wellesley: 'I never met any military officer with whom it was so satisfactory to converse. He states every difficulty before he undertakes any service, but none after he has undertaken it' (Stanhope, Pitt, iv. 375; Croker, iii. 126). Wellesley was appointed to the staff of the Kent district on 30 Oct., and a month afterwards he was given command of a brigade in the expedition to Hanover under Lord Cathcart [see Cathcart, Sir William Schaw, tenth Baron]. The victory of Austerlitz caused the withdrawal of this expedition, and on 25 Feb. 1806 Wellesley was appointed to a brigade at Hastings. On 30 Jan. he had succeeded Lord Corn-