Hislop, Thomas (DNB00)
HISLOP, Sir THOMAS (1764–1843), general, born 5 July 1764, was third and youngest son of Lieutenant-colonel William Hislop, royal artillery, who served in India in 1758–9, and died at Woolwich in 1779. His two elder brothers were killed in India, James at the battle of Pollilore in 1781, when acting as aide-de-camp to Sir Eyre Coote [q. v.]; William, a captain, royal artillery, at Cundapore, in 1783. Thomas entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, as a cadet, 31 March 1778, and on 28 Dec. in the same year was appointed ensign in the 39th foot. In this regiment he served through the siege of Gibraltar, 1779–83, and obtained his lieutenancy. He appears to have made sketches of the siege (Heriot, Sketch of Gibraltar). He purchased a company in the old 100th foot in 1785, exchanged back to the 39th, and in December 1792 was appointed aide-de-camp to Major-General David Dundas [q. v.], on whose staff he served in Ireland, at Toulon, and in the expedition to Corsica. He brought home the despatches announcing the capture, on 19 Feb. 1794, of San Fiorenzo, for which he received promotion, and in May the same year was appointed aide-de-camp to Lord Amherst [see Amherst, Jeffrey], then commander-in-chief. He was employed by the Prince of Wales on a special mission in Germany, and on his return was appointed, on 25 April 1795, lieutenant-colonel of the 115th foot (or Prince William of Gloucester's Hanoverians), from which he exchanged once more to the 39th. He accompanied the 39th to the West Indies, and commanded it at the capture of Demerara, Berbice, and Essequibo in 1796. He remained in military command of those settlements until their restoration to the Dutch at the peace of Amiens. During that period he raised a corps of negroes, known as the 11th West India regiment, and afterwards disbanded. After his return home he obtained the colonelcy 8th West India regiment, was reappointed to the West India staff, and became lieutenant-governor of Trinidad. He joined the army under Sir George Beckwith [q. v.] at Martinique in 1809, commanded the first division at the capture of Guadeloupe in 1810, afterwards returning to his government at Trinidad, which he left in ill-health in 1811. On 28 March 1812 Hislop was appointed commander-in-chief at Bombay, and sailed in the Java frigate, which in December 1812 was captured by the United States frigate Constitution off the coast of Brazil. Hislop, whose bravery was conspicuous during the action, was put on shore on parole at San Salvador, whence he returned home. On 27 May 1813 he was appointed commander-in-chief at Madras (Fort St. George), and on 2 Nov. was created a baronet.
Hislop arrived at Madras late in 1814, and in 1815 commanded a corps of observation called the ‘army of reserve,’ collected on the Madras frontier. He was commander-in-chief of the ‘army of the Deccan’ in the Mahratta war. After a detention from illness he assumed the command at Hyderabad on 10 Nov. 1817, and on 21 Dec., with a loss on the British side of eight hundred killed and wounded, signally defeated the combined Mahratta forces, under the nominal command of the youthful Mulhar Rao Holkar, before Mahidpore. The surrender by the Mahrattas of certain border fortresses followed. The division under Hislop's personal command arrived before the fort of Talner, the governor of which, a Mahratta of rank, after a parley, refused to obey the order to surrender. By Hislop's order he was hanged as a rebel, and the garrison of three hundred men put to the sword. When the chief objects of the campaign had been accomplished, the army of the Deccan was broken up at Aurungabad in March 1818, and Hislop returned to his command at Fort St. George, which he held until 1820. Explanations of his severities at Talner had been called for by Lord Moira, the governor-general [see Hastings, Francis Rawdon], and the home government, and the House of Commons, in voting thanks to the army of the Deccan, specifically excepted Hislop in consequence. Hislop alleged the contumacy of the garrison to be due to treachery on the part of the Arab soldiery. Blacker, the historian of the war, supposes them to have been apprehensive of foul play; Prinsep believes that the officers sent to parley did not make themselves intelligible, which is probable. The Duke of Wellington defended Hislop in the House of Lords on the ground of his previous high character. The explanations eventually sent home were never made public, and the subject dropped. The conflicting claims of the Bengal and Madras armies to the spoils known as the Deccan prize became a celebrated case. Portions of this valuable booty were acquired by the enterprise of small independent detachments, in some cases after the army had been broken up. Much the largest portion was captured by the army of the Deccan. The whole booty, from all sources, thrown together under the name of the Deccan prize-money, was admitted to have vested in the crown by virtue of the royal prerogative, and was claimed by Hislop and his army as actual captors. The privy council, after hearing counsel, decided that the Bengal army under the Marquis of Hastings, though at a great distance from the scene of capture, were co-operating by their presence in the field, and by keeping native powers in check, and ultimately declared the Bengal troops constructive captors, entitled to share equably with the troops under Hislop's command. The Duke of Wellington remarked that the sole satisfaction he felt at the decision was that had the sum thus put into the pockets of the army fallen to Sir Thomas Hislop's share it would have vanished in Mexican bonds or Columbian securities, like Hislop's private fortune (Wellington Despatches, Correspondence, &c. iv. 133).
Hislop was made K.C.B. in 1814, and G.C.B. in 1818. He was colonel in succession of the late 8th West India regiment, the old 96th, disbanded as 95th in 1818, and the 48th foot, and was many years equerry to the late Duke of Cambridge. In 1822 Hislop received an ‘honourable augmentation’ to his arms in recognition of his distinguished services in India. Hislop died at Charlton, Kent, 3 May 1843, aged 78. He married 30 Oct. 1823, Emma, daughter of the Right Hon. Hugh Elliot, governor of Madras, by whom he had one daughter.[Nav. and Mil. Gazette, 6 May 1843, p. 276; Mill's Hist. of India, with marginal references there given; Memorial of Sir Thomas Hislop, commander-in-chief at Fort St. George, and commanding the army of the Deccan, &c., see under ‘Hislop’ in Brit. Mus. Cat. Printed Books; Gent. Mag. 1843, ii. 317–19.]