aird objected strongly to the decision
to promote his junior officer, Col. Arthur Wellesley,
over him, and wrote in angry disbelief to the Commander in Chief, Lord
Harris. Lt.Col. Agnew, the Military Secretary, acknowledging receipt
of Baird's letter, reproved him for 'a total want of discretion and
respect in an officer of your high rank.' On 10th May, he wrote again
to Baird that the tenor of his communication was 'wanting in discretion
and respect. Lt.Gen Harris desires that this letter may conclude a
correspondence which you are at liberty to make as Public as you think
Two years later, in February 1801, as Baird prepared to join the campaign
in Egypt, Wellesley wrote to him, 'A more worthy
sequel to the Storming of Seringapatam could not be presented to your
genius and valour,' and referred to 'that glorious War which has rendered
your name memorable in the annals of your country.'
Not surprisingly perhaps, the Scotsman could never entirely suppress
his disappointment and bitterness. After his death in 1829, his widow
commissioned three tributes :an obelisk, a biography and a portrait.
It was Wilkie's great canvas which immortalised
Baird's triumph at Seringapatam.