Jacobin ambitions of Tipu Sultan revealed
Official documents, relative to the negotiations carried on by Tippoo Sultaun, with the French nation,
and other foreign states, for purposes hostile to the British nation; to which is added, proceedings of a Jacobin club, formed at Seringapatam, by the French soldiers in the corps commanded by M. Dompart: with a translation. Calcutta Printed at the Honorable Company's Press 1799
Folio, 30 x 23 cm., pp.xx, , 195, . Bound in 19th-century quarter calf, boards, spine neatly repaired. Contemporary ownership inscriptions of "H. Russell" and "C. Sutherland" to title, both cancelled.
Shaw 359; SABREB p.303. The English Short Title Catalogue locates four copies at the British Library, and a further three at Oxford, Pennsylvania, and the Royal Asiatic Society. We locate one additional copy at the Boston Athenaeum.
An extraordinary collection of French and Persian documents, seized by British forces after the defeat of Tipu Sultan and capture of Seringapatam in May of 1799, the conclusion of the Anglo-Mysore wars. The documents were published shortly afterwards in two separate English translations at the command of the Governor-General, Arthur Wellesley, presumably to justify his decision to invade Mysore, and expose the perfidy of Tipu Sultan. The British invasion was prompted, in large part, by fear that the French invasion of Egypt in 1798 would permit direct French military support to Mysore; in the event, French assistance was restricted to a call for volunteers issued by the governor of Mauritius, and a small number of French advisers at Tipu's court. The first work contains a substantial selection from Tipu's diplomatic correspondence with the French, other Indian rulers, the Ottoman Sultan Selim III, and the British authorities, spanning more than a decade. The second purports to contain the constitution and minutes of a revolutionary Jacobin club founded at Seringapatam in 1797 by fifty-nine Frenchmen in Tipu's employment: "the French citizens under the orders of citizen Dompard, in the pay of citizen Tipu, the victorious, the ally of the French Republic." According to the minutes, a Tree of Liberty was planted at Seringapatam. This appears to be the only documentation of revolutionary French activity in Mysore. Tipu actively cultivated the French both before and after the revolution; to what extent he took an actual interest in revolutionary politics remains unclear. But to a contemporary British reader, the account would have been suggestive of the bloody revolutionary tumult across Europe. The two works were first printed separately earlier in 1799 at Madras. This text was reprinted later in the same year by the Mirror Press at Calcutta, perhaps in response to popular demand.