WELLINGTON, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of (1769-1852). Six autograph letters signed ('Arthur Wellesley'), two letters signed and one document signed, addressed to Lieutenant Colonel William Harness, and one autograph letter signed to Captain [John] Harvey, Soopah, 'Bottom of the Boor Ghat', Seringapatam, Camp at Chuchoore, and other places in India, 6 October 1799 - 2 February 1800 and 20 April 1803 - 10 June 1804, and autograph 'Instructions for Lt. Col. Campbell', 19 November 1799, and for an engagement , together approximately 4 pages, 8vo, 15 pages, 4to and 3¼ pages, folio, address leaves, blanks (some wear to edges, splits in folds, a few tears, loss of words in 3 lines in letter of 8.10.1799); other items including William Harness's campaign diary before Assaye, 7 March - 11 April , approximately 15 pages, narrow folio; a letter by Harness to General Baird, 'Camp Essaie', 20 September 1803, 3 pages, 4to (ink faded); a fragment of a letter to his wife; a plan of battle; two letters by Robert Barclay (Adjutant General in Mysore); and a letter to Harness from a fellow-officer in Detroit (1788), together approximately 28 pages, various sizes.
The first letter reports the capture of Soopah (in the campaign against Tippoo Sultan) and those during the Mahratta wars of 1803 refer to events leading up to the siege of Assaye. Wellington's phonomenal mastery of the details of regimental duty and its practical aspects was acquired in India and the letters of 1799 - 1800 refer partly to subjects such as the distribution of grain ('Three hundred bags from the Grain Department will therefore be sufficient for the present and I beg that you will not send any more'), provisions for Harness's regiment, including arrack ('I knew that you would be able to get plenty of that at Bangalore'), the agents for transporting bullocks, camp 'equipage' and elephants, musket ammunition, or the health of a senior officer. A three-page letter from the 'Bottom of the Boor Ghat' describes the problems of the Mahratta terrain: 'The road down the ghat is so bad that the Cavalry Guns have been detained in it till now ... It will require much repair to make it what it ought to be for our Wheel Carriages & the march of the Line and [?] must therefore be late. I shudder when I think of the dreadful destruction of the Wheel carriages which there will be on this day's & tomorrow's march'. (20 April 1803). Wellington writes warmly of Harness to Captain Harvey, 'his death was lamented by the whole Army & by no person more than by myself'. Harness's letter to Baird is a detailed account of the battle at Assaye, in which 'General Wellesley had his horse shot under him as had Wallace and myself'.
Wellington's restoration of order in the Mahratta territory was completed by the end of 1803 and confirmed by treaties the next year, earning him a knighthood. William Harness (1762? -1804), an infantry officer, had arrived in India in 1796, and was gazetted to a Lieutenant Colonelcy with the 74th Regiment of Infantry in 1799. He was never able to return to England and, apart from some months in Ceylon and Egypt, remained in India until his death.