GEORGE THOMAS (c. 1756-1802), British military adventurer in India. Thomas was born of poor parentage in Ireland in 1756, deserted from the British Navy in Madras, and made his way north to Delhi, where he took service under the begum, Samru of Sardhana. Supplanted in her favour by a Frenchman, he transferred his allegiance to Appa Rao, a Mahratta chieftain, and subsequently set up an independent kingdom of his own in Hariana with his capital at Hansi. Thomas was a man of great personal strength and daring, and considerable military genius. In the turmoil of falling kingdoms in the India of that day his sword was always at the service of the highest bidder; but he had the virtues of his profession - he never betrayed an employer, was kind and generous to his soldiers, and was always ready to succour a woman in distress. He cherished dreams, of conquering the Punjab, and fought one of his best campaigns. against the Sikh chiefs; but he was finally defeated and captured by Sindhia's army under General Perron. His iron constitution was broken by exposure and excessive drinking, and he died on his way down the Ganges on the 22nd of August 1802.
See Francklin, Military Memoirs of Mr George Thomas (1803); Compton, Military Adventurers of Hindustan (1892).
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