E.H. COLUMBINE (fl. circa 1781)
Manuscript plan of The Siege of Madras--A Plan of Fort St. George, part of the Black Town and the Country adjacent as it was when besieged by the French, 12 December, 1758. [No place, ?Madras]: signed and dated 'E.H. Columbine delineavit Feb:y 1781'. One page of a bifolium, leaf size 490 x 304mm. A manuscript plan in pen and ink depicting the Fort of St George and the areas of the city around it, and the positions of the English and French troops, their armaments, and actions, to a scale of 180 yards to one inch (i.e. 1:6,480), the troop positions and routes numbered and lettered, and identified below the plan.
A FINELY-DRAWN MANUSCRIPT MAP, DEPICTING LALLY'S SIEGE OF MADRAS IN 1758. Following the outbreak of the Seven Years' War in Europe in 1756, which saw the English and the French ranged on opposing sides, the colonial possessions in India became an extension of the main theatre of war. Comte Thomas-Arthur Lally was appointed commander of all French forces in India, and he departed France for India in May 1757, arriving at Coromandel in April 1758. At the beginning of May, he led a force of some 5,000 troops against Fort St David; by 1 June 1758 the occupants had capitulated, and, following this success, he made his way through the country to Madras, arriving at the city on 12 December 1758. During the intervening months, the English forces had strengthened their defences at Fort St George, and Lally found himself facing a better-prepared and more resilient garrison than that of Fort St David. Following a hard-fought two-month siege, Admiral Pocock's fleet arrived to relieve the city on 16 February 1759: as Lally later remarked, 'Words ... are inadequate to express the effect which the appearance of [Pocock's force] produced. The officer who commanded in the trenches deemed it even inexpedient to wait for the landing of the enemy, and two hours before receiving orders retired from his post' (James Mill The History of British India (London: 1840), III, p.239). The siege was raised, and the tide of France's success turned: following Lally's defeat at Wandiwash in January 1760, he retreated to Pondicherry, where he was besieged by the English, and finally surrendered in January 1761, thereby ending the French threat to the English in India.
Stylistically, the present map appears to have been prepared for publication, with the cartographer's name given below the plan, and the space where the engraver's name would normally appear left blank. However, we have not been able to trace a published copy of the map, and it seems to be unpublished.