Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/272

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66 MAJOR-GENERAL SIR THOMAS MUNRO, BART., K.C.B.

He was soon after his arrival, however, called into active service against the forces of Hyder Ally, and continued thus employed, with scarcely any inter- mission, for the next four years, when a definitive treaty of peace was entered into with Tippoo Sultan. During this period of warfare, he was present at four battles, and at more than double that number of sieges, assaults, and stormings ; in all of which he evinced an intrepidity, presence of mind, and military genius, which early attracted the notice of his superiors, by whom he began to be looked upon as an officer of singular promise.

In February, 1786, he was promoted to a lieutenancy; but no further change took place in his fortunes, till August, 1788, when he was appointed assistant in the intelligence department, under captain Alexander Read, and attached to the head-quarters of the force destined to take possession of the province of Guntow.

During the interval between the first and last periods just named, Mr Munro assiduously employed himself in acquiring the Hindostanee and Persian lan- guages, in which he ultimately made a proficiency which has been attained by but few Europeans. In this interval, too, occurred a correspondence with his parents, in which are certain passages, strikingly illustrative of the gene- rosity of his nature, and which it would be doing an injustice, both to his memory, and to the filial piety of his brother, to pass without notice. In one of these letters, dated Tanjore, 10th November, 1785, addressed to his mother, he says, " Alexander and I have agreed to remit my father 100 a-year between us. If the arrears which lord Macartney detained are paid, I will send 200 in the course of the year 1786." When it is recollected that Mr Munro was yet but a lieutenant, this proof of his benevolence will be fully appreciated. It must also be added, that these remittances were made at a time, too, when he had himself scarcely a chair to sit upon. " I was three years in India," he writes to his sister, " before I was master of any other pillow than a book or a cartridge-pouch ; my bed was a piece of canvass, stretched on four cross sticks, whose only ornament was the great coat that I brought from England, which, by a lucky invention, I turned into a blanket in the cold weather, by thrusting my legs into the sleeves, and drawing the skirts over my head."

In the situation of assistant intelligencer, he remained till October, 1790, when, Tippoo having resumed hostilities with the English, he returned to his military duties, by joining the 21st battalion of native infantry, which formed part of the army under the command of colonel Maxwell. Mr Munro remained with the army, sharing in all its dangers and fatigues, and performing the vari- ous duties assigned to him with his usual diligence and activity, till the month of April, 1792, when he was appointed to assist Captain Read in the management of the district of Barmhaul. In this employment he continued till March, 1799, having, in the mean time, June 1796, attained the rank of captain ; when, on a war with Tippoo again occurring, he joined the army under lieutenant-general Harris, and served in it with his accustomed ability and zeal, until after the siege of Seringapatam and death of Tippoo, when he was appointed to the charge of the civil administration of Canara. This charge was an exceedingly laborious one, and, in almost every respect, an exceedingly unpleasant one ; but the cir- cumstance of his appointment to it, was, nevertheless, a very marked proof of the high estimation in which his talents were held by the government, for it was also a charge of great importance ; and the authorities did justice to his merits, by believing that there was no individual in India so well qualified to fill the situation as captain Munro. The principal duties of his new appoint- ment were, to introduce and establish the authority of the government; to


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