Tiger of Mysore
Lord Cornwallis, fresh from Britain’s last failed defence of the American colony, became the Indian army’s new commander in chief in 1784 (and later the Governor General of India). He set the tone immediately by foregoing his annual salary of £6000.
Such was his positive impact in India, it was said that while Cornwallis lost a colony in the West, he won one in the East.
So the new zeitgeist in India: Duty, service and high moral ground.
Not without challenges though.
However, he habitually defeated the British, treating prisoners cruelly. Cornwallis defeat of Tipu and capture of his capital Seringapatam in the 3rd Mysore war therefore was acclaimed in Britain and the Treaty that followed strangely included taking Tipu’s sons hostage - as a guarantee of Tipu’s good behaviour. Even though they were treated with great kindness, this was seen rather differently back in the day than would be the case today, as an example of British benevolence.
Tipu’s final defeat and death shortly afterwards in the 4th Mysore war laid the old enemy to rest.
See our Behind The Craft Story of “Cornwallis and the Mysore Hostages” and our use of the painting by Robert Home on our Assam Signature Caddy.