'I must say that I was the fit person to be selected.'
GENERAL BAIRD expected to be placed in command of the captured city in which much treasure had to be guarded and a terrified populace reassured. But he was not considered a suitable officer for the task. 'He had no talent, no tact,' Colonel Wellesley said later, while acknowledging his bravery and the regard in which he was held by his men. 'He had strong prejudices against the natives, and was peculiarly disqualified from his manner, habits and temper for the management of them. Having been Tippoo's prisoner for years, he had a strong feeling of the bad usage which he had received during his captivity.' 'I must say,' Wellesley added, 'that I was the fit person to be selected. I had commanded the Nizam's army during the campaign, and had given universal satisfaction. I was liked by the natives.'1 General Harris, who had not forgiven Baird for his 'strong remonstrance' over the command of the Nizam of Hyderabad's troops, accepted that this was the case.
So, while Baird and his staff were having breakfast in the Sultan's palace, news that he was not to be left in command at Seringapatam was broken to him by the Colonel himself who displayed on the occasion just that want of tact of which he accused the bluff Scotsman.
' General Baird,' he said to him, 'I am appointed to the command of Seringapatam, and here is the order of General Harris.'
'Come gentlemen,' replied Baird, rising angrily from the table and ignoring Colonel Wellesley, 'we have no longer any business here.'
'Oh, pray,' said the Colonel. 'Finish your breakfast.'2
Baird stormed from the palace and sat down to write a furious letter to General Harris which elicited another reprimand for once more displaying 'a total want of discretion and respect'. Baird was told to go back to Madras. He stormed out of Seringapatam; but Colonel Wellesley had not yet seen the last of him. 3