The Fall of the Moghul Empire of Hindustan
by H.G. Keene
Hypertext Meanings and Commentaries
from the Encyclopedia of the Self
by Mark Zimmerman

The Fall of the Moghul Empire of Hindustan, by H. G. Keene




Two editions of this book having been absorbed, it has been
thought that the time was come for its reproduction in a form
more adapted to the use of students. Opportunity has been taken
to introduce considerable additions and emendations.

The rise and meridian of the Moghul Empire have been related in
Elphinstone's " History of India: the Hindu and Mahometan Period;
" and a Special Study of the subject will Also be found in the "
Sketch of the History of Hindustan" published by the present
writer in 1885. Neither of those works, however, undertakes to
give a detailed account of the great Anarchy that marked the
conclusion of the eighteenth century, the dark time that came
before the dawn of British power in the land of the Moghul. Nor
is there is any other complete English book on the Subject.

The present work is, therefore, to be regarded as a monograph on
the condition of the capital and neighbouring territories, from
the murder of Alamgir II. in 1759 to the occupation of Dehli by
Lake in 1803. Some introductory chapters are prefixed, with the
view of showing how these events were prepared; and an account of
the campaign of 1760-1 has been added, because it does not seem
to have been hitherto related on a scale proportioned to its
importance. That short but desperate struggle is interesting as
the last episode of mediΎval war, when battles could be decided
by the action of mounted men in armour. It is also the sine qua
non of British Empire in India. Had the Mahrattas not been
conquered then, it is exceedingly doubtful if the British power
in the Bengal Presidency would ever have extended beyond Benares.

The author would wish to conclude this brief explanation by
reproducing the remarks which concluded the Preface to his second

"There were two dangers," it was there observed; "the first, that
of giving too much importance to the period; the second, that of
attempting to illustrate it by stories — such as those of Clive
and Hastings — which had been told by writers with whom
competition was out of the question. Brevity, therefore, is
studied; and what may seem baldness will be found to be a
conciseness, on which much pains have been bestowed."

"The narrative," it was added, "is one of confusion and
transition; and chiefly interesting in so far as it throws light
on the circumstances which preceded and caused the accession of
the East India Company to paramount power in India." The author
has only to add an expression of his hope that, in conjunction
with Mr. S. Owen's book, what he has here written may help to
remove doubts as to the benefits derived by the people of India
from the Revolution under consideration.

Finally, mention should be made of Mr. Elphinstone's posthumous
work, "The Rise of British Power in the East." That work does
not, indeed, clash with the present book; for it did not enter
into the scope of the distinguished author to give the native
side of the story, or to study it from the point of view here
presented. For the military and political aims and operations of
the early British officers in Madras and Bengal, however,
Elphinstone will be found a valuable guide. His narrative bears
to our subject a relation similar to that of the "Roman de Rou"
to the history of the Carling Empire of Northern France.

OXFORD, 1887.




Preliminary Observations on Hindustan and the City of Dehli


Greatness of the Timurides

Causes of Empire's decline

Character of Aurungzeb

Progress of disruption under his descendants

Muhamadan and Hindu enemies

The stage emptied


Muhamad Shah


Ahmad Shah

Alamgir II.


Afghan invasion


Overthrow of Mahrattas at Panipat



A.D. 1760-67.

1760.         Movements of Shahzada Ali Gohar, after escaping
from Dehli


               His Character

               Ramnarayan defeated

               M. Law

1761.         Battle of Gaya

1762.         March towards Hindustan

1763.         Massacre of Patna

1764.         Flight of Kasim and Sumroo

               Battle of Buxar

1705.         Treaty with British

1767.         Establishment at Allahabad

               Legal position


A.D. 1764-71.

1764.         Najib-ud-Daula at Dehli

               Mirza Jawan Bakht Regent

               The Jats

               The Jats attacked by Najib

               Death of Suraj Mal

1765.         Jats attack Jaipur .

1766.         Return of Mahrattas

1767.         Ahmad Abdali defeats Sikhs .

1768.         Mahrattas attack Bhartpur

1770.         Rohillas yield to them

               Death of Najib-ud-Daula

               State of Rohilkand

               Zabita Khan .

1771.         Mahrattas invite Emperor to return to Dehli


A.D. 1771-76

               Agency of Restoration .

               Madhoji Sindhia

               Emperor's return to Dehli . . . .

1772.         Zabita Khan attacked by Imperial force under Mirza
Najaf Khan

               Flight of Zabita

               Treaty with Rohillas

               Zabita regains office

               Mahrattas attack Dehli .

1773.         Desperation of Mirza Najaf .

               Mahrattas attack Rohilkand .

               Opposed by British

               Advance of Audh troops

               Restoration of Mirza

               Abdul Ahid Khan .

               Suspicious conduct of Rohillas

               Tribute withheld by H. Rahmat

1774.         Battle of Kattra

1775.         Death of Shojaa-ud-Daula

               Zabita Khan rejoins Jats

               Najaf Kuli Khan

               Successes of Imperial army

1776.         Zabita and the Sikhs

               Death of Mir Kasim


A.D. 1776-85

               Vigour of Empire under M. Najaf

               Zabita rebels again

1777.         Emperor takes the field .

               And the rebellion is suppressed

               Sumroo's Jaigir

1778.         Abdul Ahid takes the field against the Sikhs

               Unsuccessful campaign

1779.         Sikhs plunder Upper Doab

               Dehli threatened, but relieved

1780.         Mirza Najaf's arrangements

               Popham takes Gwalior

               Death of Sumroo

1781.         Begam becomes a Christian

1782.         Death of Mirza

               Consequent transactions

               Afrasyab Khan becomes Premier

               Mirza Shaffi at Dehli

1783.         Murder of Shaffi

               Action of Warren Hastings

1784.         Flight of Shahzadah Jawan Bakht

               Madhoji Sindhia goes to Agra

               Afrasyab murdered

1785.         Tribute demanded from British, but refused

               Death of Zabita

               Sindhia supreme

               Chalisa Famine

               State of Country


A.D. 1786-88.

1786.         Gholam Kadir succeeds his father Zabita

               Siege of Raghogarh

1787.         British policy

               Measures of Sindhia

               Rajput confederacy

               Battle of Lalsot

               Mohammed Beg's death

               Defection of his nephew Ismail Beg

               Greatness of Sindhia

               Gholam Kadir enters Dehli

               But checked by Begam Sumroo and Najaf Kuli

               Gholam Kadir joins Ismail Beg

1788.         Battle of Chaksana

               Emperor proceeds towards Rajputana

               Shahzada writes to George III.

               Najaf Kuli rebels

               Death of Shahzada

               Siege of Gokalgarh

               Emperor's return to Dehli

               Battles of Fatihpur and Firozabad

               Confederates meet at Dehli

               Sindhia is inactive

               Benoit de Boigne


A.D. 1788

               Defection of Moghuls and retreat of Hindu Guards

               Confederates obtain possession of palace

               Emperor deposed

               Palace plundered

               Gholam Kadir in the palace

               Emperor blinded

               Approach of Mahrattas

               Apprehensions of the spoiler

               Moharram at Dehli

               Explosion in palace

               Gholam Kadir flies to Meerut

               His probable intentions

               His capture and punishment

               Sindhia's measures

               Future nature of narrative

               Poetical lament of Emperor



A.D. 1788 - 94.

               Sindhia as Mayor of palace

               British policy

1789.         Augmentation of Sindhia's Army

1790.         Ismail Beg joins the Rajput rising

               Battle of Patan

               Sindhia at Mathra

               Siege of Ajmir

               Jodhpur Raja

               Battle of Mirta

               Rivals alarmed

               French officers

1792.         Sindhia's progress to Puna

               Holkar advances in his absence

               Ismail Beg taken prisoner

               Battle of Lakhairi

               Sindhia rebuked by Lord Cornwallis

               His great power

               Rise of George Thomas

1793.         He quits Begam's service

               Sindhia at Punah

1794.         His death and character


A.D. 1794 - 1800.

               Daulat Rao Sindhia

               Thomas adopted by Appa Khandi Rao

1795.         Revolution at Sardhana

               Begum delivered by Thomas

               Becomes a wiser woman

               Movements of Afghans

               Battle of Kurdla

1796.         De Boigne retires

1797.         General Perron

               Musalman intrigues

               Afghans checked

               Succession in Audh

1798           War of the Bais

1799.         Afghans and British, and treaty with the Nizam

               Rising of Shimbunath

               Thomas independent

               Revolt of Lakwa Dada

1801.         Holkar defeated at Indor

               Power of Perron


A.D. 1801-3.

               Feuds of Mahrattas

               Perron attacks Thomas

               Thomas falls

1802.         Treaty of Bassein

1803.         Marquis of Wellesley

               Supported from England

               Fear entertained of the French

               Sindhia threatened

               Influence of Perron

               Plans of the French

               The First Consul.

               Wellesley's views

               War declared

               Lake's Force

               Sindhia's European officers

               Anti-English feelings, and fall of Perron

               Battle of Dehli

               Lake enters the capital

               Is received by Emperor

               No treaty made



               Effect of climate upon race

               Early immigrants

               Early French and English

               Empire not overthrown by British

               Perron's administration

               Changes since then

               The Talukdars

               Lake's friendly intentions towards them

               Their power curbed

               No protection for life, property, or traffic

               Uncertain reform without foreign aid

               Concluding remarks






Preliminary Observations on Hindustan and the City of Dehli.

THE country to which the term Hindustan is strictly and properly
applied may be roughly described as a rhomboid, bounded on the
north-west by the rivers Indus and Satlej, on the south-west by
the Indian Ocean, on the south-east by the Narbadda and the Son,
and on the north-east by the Himalaya Mountains and the river
Ghagra. In the times of the emperors, it comprised the provinces
of Sirhind (or Lahore), Rajputana, Gujrat, Malwa, Audh (including
Rohilkand, strictly Rohelkhand, the country of the Rohelas, or
"Rohillas" of the Histories), Agra, Allahabad, and Dehli: and the
political division was into subahs, or divisions, sarkars or
districts; dasturs, or sub-divisions; and parganahs, or fiscal

The Deccan, Panjab (Punjab), and Kabul, which also formed parts
of the Empire in its widest extension at the end of the
seventeenth century, are omitted, as far as possible, from
notice, because they did not at the time of our narration form
part of the territories of the Empire of Hindustan, though
included in the territory ruled by the earlier and greater

Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa also formed, at one time, an integral
portion of the Empire, but fell away without playing an important
part in the history we are considering, excepting for a very
brief period. The division into Provinces will be understood by
reference to the map. Most of these had assumed a practical
independence during the first quarter of the eighteenth century,
though acknowledging a weak feudatory subordination to the Crown
of Dehli.

The highest point in the plains of Hindustan is probably the
plateau on which stands the town of Ajmir, about 230 miles south
of Dehli. It is situated on the eastern slope of the Aravalli
Mountains, a range of primitive granite, of which Abu, the chief
peak, is estimated to be near 5,000 feet above the level of the
sea; the plateau of Ajmir itself is some 3,000 feet lower.

The country at large is, probably, the upheaved basin of an
exhausted sea which once rendered the highlands of the Deccan an
island like a larger Ceylon. The general quality of the soil is
accordingly sandy and light, though not unproductive; yielding,
perhaps, on an average about one thousand lbs. av. of wheat to
the acre. The cereals are grown in the winter, which is at least
as cold as in the corresponding parts of Africa. Snow never
falls, but thin ice is often formed during the night. During the
spring heavy dews fall, and strong winds set in from the west.
These gradually become heated by the increasing radiation of the
earth, as the sun becomes more vertical and the days longer.

Towards the end of May the monsoon blows up from the Indian Ocean
and from the Bay of Bengal, when a rainfall averaging about
twenty inches takes place and lasts during the ensuing quarter.
This usually ceases about the end of September, when the weather
is at its most sickly point. Constant exhalations of malaria take
place till the return of the cold weather.

After the winter, cacurbitaceous crops are grown, followed by
sowings of rice, sugar, and cotton. About the beginning of the
rainy season the millets and other coarse grains are put in, and
the harvesting takes place in October. The winter crops are
reaped in March and April. Thus the agriculturists are never out
of employ, unless it be during the extreme heats of May and June,
when the soil becomes almost as hard from heat as the earth in
England becomes in the opposite extreme of frost.

Of the hot season Mr. Elphinstone gives the following strong but
just description: — "The sun is scorching, even the wind is hot,
the land is brown and parched, the dust flies in whirlwinds, all
brooks become dry, small rivers scarcely keep up a stream, and
the largest are reduced to comparative narrow channels in the
midst of vast sandy beds." It should, however, be added, that
towards the end of this terrible season some relief is afforded
to the river supply by the melting of the snow upon the higher
Himalayas, which sends down some water into the almost exhausted
stream-beds. But even so, the occasional prolongation of the dry
weather leads to universal scarcity which amounts to famine for
the mass of the population, which affects all classes, and which
is sure to be followed by pestilence. Lastly, the malaria noticed
above as following the monsoon gives rise to special disorders
which become endemic in favouring localities, and travel thence
to all parts of the country, borne upon the winds or propagated
by pilgrimages and other forms of human intercourse. Such are the
awful expedients by which Nature checks the redundancy of a
non-emigrating population with simple wants. Hence the
construction of drainage and irrigation-works has not merely a
direct result in causing temporary prosperity, but an indirect
result in a large increase of the responsibilities of the ruling
power. Between 1848 and 1854 the population of the part of
Hindustan now called the North-West Provinces, where all the
above described physical features prevail, increased from a ratio
of 280 to the square mile till it reached a ratio of 350. In the
subsequent sixteen years there was a further increase. The latest
rate appears to be from 378 to 468, and the rate of increase is
believed to be about equal to that of the British Islands.

There were at the time of which we are to treat few
field-labourers on daily wages, the Metayer system being
everywhere prevalent where the soil was not actually owned by
joint-stock associations of peasant proprietors, usually of the
same tribe.

The wants of the cultivators were provided for by a class of
hereditary brokers, who were often also chandlers, and advanced
stock, seed, and money upon the security of the unreaped crops.

These, with a number of artisans and handicraftsmen, formed the
chief population of the towns; some of the money-dealers were
very rich, and 36 per cent. per annum was not perhaps an extreme
rate of interest. There were no silver or gold mines, external
commerce hardly existed, and the money-price of commodities was

The literary and polite language of Hindustan, called Urdu or
Rekhta, was, and still is, so far common to the whole country,
that it everywhere consists of a mixture of the same elements,
though in varying proportions; and follows the same grammatical
rules, though with different accents and idioms. The constituent
parts are the Arabised Persian, and the Prakrit (in combination
with a ruder basis, possibly of local origin), known as Hindi.
Speaking loosely, the Persian speech has contributed nouns
substantive of civilization, and adjectives of compliment or of
science; while the verbs and ordinary vocables and particles
pertaining to common life are derived from the earlier tongues.
So, likewise, are the names of animals, excepting those of beasts
of chase.

The name Urdu, by which this language is usually known, is said
to be of Turkish origin, and means literally "camp." But the
Moghuls of India first introduced it in the precincts of the
Imperial camp; so that as Urdu-i-muali (High or Supreme Camp)
came to be a synonym for new Dehli after Shahjahan had made it
his permanent capital, so Urdu-ki-zaban meant the lingua franca
spoken at Dehli. It was the common method of communication
between different classes, as English may have been in London
under Edward III. The classical languages of Arabia and Persia
were exclusively devoted to uses of law, learning, and religion;
the Hindus cherished their Sanskrit and Hindi for their own
purposes of business or worship, while the Emperor and his Moghul
courtiers kept up their Turkish speech as a means of free
intercourse in private life. The Chaghtai dialect resembled the
Turkish still spoken in Kashgar.

Out of such elements was the rich and still growing language of
Hindustan formed, and it is yearly becoming more widely spread
over the most remote parts of the country, being largely taught
in Government schools, and used as a medium of translation from
European literature, both by the English and by the natives. For
this purpose it is peculiarly suited, from still possessing the
power of assimilating foreign roots, instead of simply inserting
them cut and dried, as is the case with languages that have
reached maturity. Its own words are also liable to a kind of
chemical change when encountering foreign matter (e.g., jau,
barley: when oats were introduced some years ago, they were at
once called jaui — "little barley").

The peninsula of India is to Asia what Italy is to Europe, and
Hindustan may be roughly likened to Italy without the two
Sicilies, only on a far larger scale. In this comparison the
Himalayas represent the Alps, and the Tartars to the north are
the Tedeschi of India; Persia is to her as France, Piedmont is
represented by Kabul, and Lombardy by the Panjab. A recollection
of this analogy may not be without use in familiarizing the
narrative which is to follow.

Such was the country into which successive waves of invaders,
some of them, perhaps, akin to the actual ancestors of the Goths,
Huns, and Saxons of Europe, poured down from the plains of
Central Asia. At the time of which our history treats, the
aboriginal Indians had long been pushed out from Hindustan into
the mountainous forests that border the Deccan; which country has
been largely peopled, in its more accessible regions, by the
Sudras, who were probably the first of the Scythian invaders.
After them had come the Sanskrit-speaking race, a congener of the
ancient Persians, who brought a form of fire-worshipping, perhaps
once monotheistic, of which traces are still extant in the Vedas,
their early Scriptures. This form of faith becoming weak and
eclectic, was succeeded by a reaction, which, under the auspices
of Gautama, obtained general currency, until in its turn
displaced by the gross mythology of the Puranas, which has since
been the popular creed of the Hindus.

This people in modern times has divided into three main
denominations: the Sarawagis or Jains (who represent some sect
allied to the Buddhists or followers of Gautama); the sect of
Shiva, and the sect of Vishnu.

In addition to the Hindus, later waves of immigration have
deposited a Musalman population — somewhat increased by the
conversions that occurred under Aurangzeb. The Mohamadans are now
about one-seventh of the total population of Hindustan; and there
is no reason to suppose that this ratio has greatly varied since
the fall of the Moghuls.

The Mohamadans in India preserved their religion, though not
without some taint from the circumjacent idolatry. Their
celebration of the Moharram, with tasteless and extravagant
ceremonies, and their forty days' fast in Ramzan, were alike
misplaced in a country where, from the movable nature of their
dates, they sometimes fell in seasons when the rigour of the
climate was such as could never have been contemplated by the
Arabian Prophet. They continued the bewildering lunar year of the
Hijra, with its thirteenth month every third year; but, to
increase the confusion, the Moghul Emperors also reckoned by
Turkish cycles while the Hindus tenaciously maintained in matters
of business their national Sambat, or era of Raja Bikram Ajit.

The Emperor Akbar, in the course of his endeavours to fuse the
peoples of India into a whole, endeavoured amongst other things
to form a new religion. This, it was his intention, should be at
once a vindication of his Tartar and Persian forefathers against
Arab proselytism, and a bid for the suffrages of his Hindu
subjects. Like most eclectic systems it failed. In and after his
time also Christianity in its various forms has been feebly
endeavouring to maintain a footing. This is a candid report, from
a source that cannot but be trusted, of the result of three
centuries of Missionary labour.

"There is nothing which can at all warrant the opinion that the
heart of the people has been largely touched, or that the
conscience of the people has been affected seriously. There is no
advance in the direction of faith in Christ, like that which
Pliny describes, or Tertullian proclaims as characteristic of
former eras. In fact, looking at the work of Missions on the
broadest scale, and especially upon that of our own Missions, we
must confess that, in many cases, the condition is one rather of
stagnation than of advance. There seems to be a want in them of
the power to edify, and a consequent paralysis of the power to
convert. The converts, too often, make such poor progress in the
Christian life, that they fail to act as leaven in the lump of
their countrymen. In particular, the Missions do not attract to
Christ many men of education; not even among those who have been
trained within their own schools. Educated natives, as a general
rule, will stand apart from the truth; maintaining, at the best,
a state of mental vacuity which hangs suspended, for a time,
between an atheism, from which they shrink, and a Christianity,
which fails to overcome their fears and constrain their
allegiance." — Extract from Letter of the Anglican Bishops of
India, addressed to the English Clergy, in May, 1874.

The capital cities of Northern India have always been Dehli and
Agra; the first-named having been the seat of the earlier
Musalman Empires, while the Moghuls, for more than a full
century, preferred to hold their Court at Agra. This dynasty,
however, re-transferred the metropolis to the older situation;
but, instead of attempting to revive any of the pristine
localities, fixed their palace and its environs upon a new--and a
preferable—piece of ground.

If India be the Italy of Asia, still more properly may it be said
that Dehli is its Rome. This ancient site stretches ruined for
many miles round the present inhabited area, and its original
foundation is lost in a mythical antiquity. A Hindu city called
Indraprastha was certainly there on the bank of the Jamna near
the site of the present city before the Christian era, and
various Mohamadan conquerors occupied sites in the neighbourhood,
of which numerous remains are still extant. There was also a city
near the present Kutb Minar, built by a Hindu rajah, about 57
B.C. according to General Cunningham. This was the original (or
old) Dilli or Dehli, a name of unascertained origin. It appears
to have been deserted during the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazni,
but afterwards rebuilt about 1060 A.D. The last built of all the
ancient towns was the Din Panah of Humayun, nearly on the site of
the old Hindu town; but it had gone greatly to decay during the
long absence of his son and grandson at Agra and elsewhere.

At length New Dehli—the present city—was founded by Shahjahan,
the great-grandson of Humayun, and received the name, by which it
is still known to Mohamudans, of Shahjahanabad. The city is seven
miles round, with seven gates, the palace or citadel one-tenth of
the area. Both are a sort of irregular semicircle on the right
bank of the Jamna, which river forms their eastern arc. The plain
is about 800 feet above the level of the sea, and is bordered at
some distance by a low range of hills, and receiving the drainage
of the Mewat Highlands. The greatest heat is in June, when the
mean temperature in the shade is 92‘ F.; but it falls as low as
53‘ in January. The situation—as will be seen by the map—is
extremely well chosen as the administrative centre of Hindustan;
it must always be a place of commercial importance, and the
climate has no peculiar defect. The only local disorder is a very
malignant sore, which may perhaps be due to the brackishness of
the water. This would account for the numerous and expensive
canals and aqueducts which have been constructed at different
periods to bring water from remote and pure sources. Here
Shahjahan founded, in 1645 A.D., a splendid fortified palace,
which continued to be occupied by his descendants down to the
Great Revolt of 1857.

The entrance to the palace was, and still is, defended by a lofty
barbican, passing which the visitor finds himself in an immense
arcaded vestibule, wide and lofty, formerly appropriated to the
men and officers of the guard, but in later days tenanted by
small shopkeepers. This opened into a courtyard, at the back of
which was a gate surmounted by a gallery, where one used to hear
the barbarous performances of the royal band. Passing under this,
the visitor entered the 'Am-Khas or courtyard, much fallen from
its state, when the rare animals and the splendid military
pageants of the earlier Emperors used to throng its area.
Fronting you was the Diwan-i-Am (since converted into a canteen),
and at the back (towards the east or river) the Diwan-i-Khas,
since adequately restored. This latter pavilion is in echelon
with the former, and was made to communicate on both sides with
the private apartments.

On the east of the palace, and connected with it by a bridge
crossing an arm of the river, is the ancient Pathan fort of
Salimgarh, a rough and dismal structure, which the later Emperors
used as a state prison. It is a remarkable contrast to the rest
of the fortress, which is surrounded by crenellated walls of high
finish. These walls being built of the red sandstone of the
neighbourhood, and seventy feet in height, give to the exterior
of the buildings a solemn air of passive and silent strength, so
that, even after so many years of havoc, the outward appearance
of the Imperial residence continues to testify of its former
grandeur. How its internal and actual grandeur perished will be
seen in the following pages. The Court was often held at Agra,
where the remains of a similar palace are still to be seen. No
detailed account of this has been met with at all rivalling the
contemporary descriptions of the Red Palace of Dehli. But an
attempt has been made to represent its high and palmy state in
the General Introduction to the History of Hindustan by the
present writer.

Of the character of the races who people the wide Empire of which
Dehli was the metropolis, very varying estimates have been
formed, in the most extreme opposites of which there is still
some germ of truth. It cannot be denied that, in some of what are
termed the unprogressive virtues, they exceeded, as their sons
still exceed, most of the nations of Europe; being usually
temperate, self-controlled, patient, dignified in misfortune, and
affectionate and liberal to kinsfolk and dependents. Few things
perhaps show better the good behaviour — one may almost say the
good breeding — of the ordinary native than the sight of a crowd
of villagers going to or returning from a fair in Upper India.
The stalwart young farmers are accompanied by their wives; each
woman in her coloured wimple, with her shapely arms covered
nearly to the elbow with cheap glass armless. Every one is
smiling, showing rows of well-kept teeth, talking kindly and
gently; here a little boy leads a pony on which his white-bearded
grandfather is smilingly seated; there a baby perches, with eyes
of solemn satisfaction, on its father's shoulder. Scenes of the
immemorial East are reproduced before our modern eyes; now the
"flight into Egypt," now St. John and his lamb. In hundreds and
in thousands, the orderly crowds stream on. Not a bough is broken
off a way-side tree, not a rude remark addressed to the passenger
as he threads his horse's way carefully through the everywhere
yielding ranks. So they go in the morning and so return at night.

But, on the other hand, it is not to be rashly assumed that, as
India is the Italy, so are the Indian races the Italians of Asia.
All Asiatics are unscrupulous and unforgiving. The natives of
Hindustan are peculiarly so; but they are also unsympathetic and
unobservant in a manner that is altogether their own. From the
languor induced by the climate, and from the selfishness
engendered by centuries of misgovernment, they have derived a
weakness of will, an absence of resolute energy, and an
occasional audacity of meanness, almost unintelligible in a
people so free from the fear of death. Many persons have thought
that moral weakness of this kind must be attributable to the
system of caste by which men, placed by birth in certain grooves,
are forbidden to even think of stepping out of them. But this is
not the whole explanation. Nor, indeed, are the most candid
foreign critics convinced that the system is one of unmixed evil.
The subjoined moderate and sensible estimate of the effects of
caste, upon the character and habits of the people is from the
Bishops' letter quoted above. "In India, Caste has been the bond
of Society, defining the relations between man and man, and
though essentially at variance with all that is best and noblest
in human nature, has held vast communities together, and
established a system of order and discipline under which
Government has been administered, trade has prospered, the poor
have been maintained, and some domestic virtues have flourished."

Macaulay has not overstated Indian weaknesses in his Essay on
Warren Hastings, where he has occasion to describe the character
of Nand Komar, who, as a Bengali man-of-the-pen, appears to have
been a marked type of all that is most unpleasing in the Hindoo
character. The Bengalis, however, have many amiable
characteristics to show on the other side of the shield, to which
it did not suit the eloquent Essayist to draw attention. And in
going farther North many other traits, of a far nobler kind, will
be found more and more abundant. Of the Musalmans, it only
remains to add that, although mostly descended from hardier
immigrants, they have imbibed the Hindu character to an extent
that goes far to corroborate the doctrine which traces the morals
of men to the physical circumstances that surround them. The
subject will be found more fully treated in the concluding


A.D. 1707-19.

Greatness of Timur's Descendants—Causes of the Empire's
Decline—Character of Aurangzeb—Progress of Disruption under his
Successors—Muhamadan and Hindu enemies—The Stage emptied.

For nearly two centuries the throne of the Chaghtais continued to
be filled by a succession of exceptionally able Princes. The
brave and simple-hearted Babar, the wandering Humayun, the
glorious Akbar, the easy but uncertain-tempered Jahangir, the
magnificent Shahjahan, all these rulers combined some of the best
elements of Turkish character — and their administration was
better than that of any other Oriental country of their date. Of
Shahjahan's government and its patronage of the arts — both
decorative and useful — we have trustworthy contemporary
descriptions. His especial taste was for architecture; and the
Mosque and Palace of Dehli, which he personally designed, even
after the havoc of two centuries, still remain the climax of the
Indo-Saracenic order, and admitted rivals to the choicest works
of Cordova and Granada.

The abilities of his son and successor ALAMGIR, known to
Europeans by his private name, AURANGZEB, rendered him the most
famous member of his famous house. Intrepid and enterprising as
he was in war, his political sagacity and statecraft were equally
unparalleled in Eastern annals. He abolished capital punishment,
understood and encouraged agriculture, founded numberless
colleges and schools, systematically constructed roads and
bridges, kept continuous diaries of all public events from his
earliest boyhood, administered justice publicly in person, and
never condoned the slightest malversation of a provincial
governor, however distant his province. Such were these emperors;
great, if not exactly what we should call good, to a degree rare
indeed amongst hereditary rulers.

The fact of this uncommon succession of high qualities in a race
born to the purple may be ascribed to two main considerations. In
the first place, the habit of contracting, marriages with Hindu
princesses, which the policy and the latitudinarianism of the
emperors established, was a constant source of fresh blood,
whereby the increase of family predisposition was checked. Few if
any races of men are free from some morbid taint: scrofula,
phthisis, weak nerves, or a disordered brain, are all likely to
be propagated if a person predisposed to any such ailment marries
a woman of his own stock. From this danger the Moghul princes
were long kept free. Khuram, the second son of Jahangir, who
succeeded his father under the title of Shah Jahan, had a Hindu
mother, and two Hindu grandmothers. All his sons, however, were
by a Persian consort — the lady of the Taj.

Secondly, the invariable fratricidal war which followed the
demise of the Crown gave rise to a natural selection (to borrow a
term from modern physical science), which eventually confirmed
the strongest in possession of the prize. However humanity may
revolt from the scenes of crime which such a system must perforce
entail, yet it cannot be doubted that the qualities necessary to
ensure success in a struggle of giants would certainly both
declare and develop themselves in the person of the victor by the
time that struggle was concluded.

It is, however, probable that both these causes aided ultimately
in the dissolution of the monarchy.

The connections which resulted from the earlier emperors' Hindu
marriages led, as the Hindus became disaffected after the
intolerant rule of Aurangzeb, to an assertion of partisanship
which gradually swelled into independence; while the wars between
the rival sons of each departing emperor gave more and more
occasion for the Hindu chiefs to take sides in arms.

Then it was that each competitor, seeking to detach the greatest
number of influential feudatories from the side of his rivals,
and to propitiate such feudatories in his own favour, cast to
each of these the prize that each most valued. And, since this
was invariably the uncontrolled dominion of the territories
confided to their charge, it was in this manner that the reckless
disputants partitioned the territories that their forefathers had
accumulated with such a vast expenditure of human happiness and
human virtue. For, even from those who had received their
titledeeds at the hands of claimants to the throne ultimately
vanquished, the concession could rarely be wrested by the
exhausted conqueror. Or, when it was, there was always at hand a
partisan to be provided for, who took the gift on the same terms
as those upon which it had been held by his predecessor.

Aurangzeb, when he had imprisoned his father and, conquered and
slain his brothers, was, on his accession, A.D. 1658, the most
powerful of all the Emperors of Hindustan, and, at the same time,
the ablest administrator that the Empire had ever known. In his
reign the house of Timur attained its zenith. The wild Pathans of
Kabul were temporarily tamed; the Shah of Persia sought his
friendship; the ancient Musalman powers of Golconda and Bijapur
were subverted, and their territories rendered subordinate to the
sway of the Empire; the hitherto indomitable Rajputs were subdued
and made subject to taxation; and, if the strength of the
Mahrattas lay gathered upon the Western Ghats like a cloud risen
from the sea, yet it was not to be anticipated that a band of
such marauders could long resist the might of the great Moghul.

Yet that might and that greatness were reduced to a mere show
before his long reign terminated; and the Moghul Empire resembled
— to use a familiar image — one of those Etruscan corpses which,
though crowned and armed, are destined to crumble at the breath
of heaven or at the touch of human hands. And still more did it
resemble some splendid palace, whose gilded cupolas and towering
minarets are built of materials collected from every quarter of
the world, only to collapse in undistinguishable ruin when the
Ficus religiosa has lodged its destructive roots in the
foundation on which they rest. Thus does this great ruler furnish
another instance of the familiar but everneeded lesson, that
countries may be over-governed. Had he been less anxious to stamp
his own image and superscription upon the palaces of princes and
the temples of priests; upon the moneys of every market, and upon
every human heart and conscience; he might have governed with as
much success as his free thinking and pleasure-seeking
predecessors. But he was the Louis Quatorze of the East; with
less of pomp than his European contemporary, but not less of the
lust of conquest, of centralization, and of religious conformity.
Though each monarch identified the State with himself, yet it may
be doubted if either, on his deathbed, knew that his monarchy was
dying also. But so it was that to each succeeded that gradual but
complete cataclysm which seems the inevitable consequence of the
system which each pursued.

One point peculiar to the Indian emperor is that the persecuting
spirit of his reign was entirely due to his own character. The
jovial and clement Chaghtai Turks, from whom he was descended,
were never bigoted Mohamadans. Indeed it may be fairly doubted
whether Akbar and his son Jahangir were, to any considerable
extent, believers in the system of the Arabian prophet. Far
different, however, was the creed of Aurangzeb, and ruthlessly
did he seek to force it upon his Hindu subjects. Thus there were
now added to the usual dangers of a large empire the two peculiar
perils of a jealous centralization of power, and a deep-seated
disaffection of the vast majority of the subjects. Nor was this
all. There had never been any fixed settlement of the succession;
and not even the sagacity of this politic emperor was superior to
the temptation of arbitrarily transferring the dignity of
heir-apparent from one son to another during his long reign.
True, this was no vice confined exclusively to Aurangzeb. His
predecessors had done the like; but then their systems had been
otherwise genial and fortunate. His successors, too, were
destined to pursue the same infatuated course; and it was a
defeated intrigue of this sort which probably first brought the
puppet emperor of our own time into that fatal contact with the
power of England which sent him to die in a remote and
dishonoured exile.

When, therefore, the sceptre had fallen from the dead man's
hands, there were numerous evil influences ready to attend its
assumption by any hands that were less experienced and strong.
The prize was no less than the possession of the whole peninsula,
estimated to have yielded a yearly revenue of the nominal value
of thirty-four millions of pounds sterling, and guarded by a
veteran army of five hundred thousand men.

The will of the late emperor had left the disposal of his
inheritance entirely unsettled. "Whoever of my fortunate sons
shall chance to rule my empire," is the only reference to the
subject that occurs in this brief and extraordinary document.

His eldest surviving son consequently found two competitors in
the field, in the persons of his brothers. These, however, he
defeated in succession, and assumed the monarchy under the title
of BAHADUR SHAH. A wise and valiant prince, he did not reign long
enough to show how far he could have succeeded in controlling or
retarding the evils above referred to; but his brief occupation
of the monarchy is marked by the appearance of all those powers
and dynasties which afterwards participated, all in its
dismemberment, and most in its spoil. Various enemies, both Hindu
and Musalman, appeared, and the Empire of the Chaghtai Turks was
sapped and battered by attempts which, though mostly founded on
the most selfish motives, involved a more or less patriotic
feeling. Sikhs, Mahrattas, and Rajputs, all aimed at
independence; while the indigenous Mohamadans, instead of joining
the Turks in showing a common front to the common enemy, weakened
the defence irrecoverably by opposition and rivalry.

In the attempt to put down the Sikhs, Bahadur died at Lahor, just
five years after the death of his father. The usual struggle
ensued. Three of the princes were defeated and slain in detail;
and the partisans of the eldest son, Mirza Moizudin, conferred
upon him the succession (by the title of JAHANDAR SHAH), after a
wholesale slaughter of such of his kindred as fell within their
grasp. After a few months, the aid of the governors of Bihar and
Allahabad, Saiyids of the tribe of Barha, enabled the last
remaining claimant to overthrow and murder the incapable Emperor.
The conqueror succeeded his uncle under the title of FAROKHSIAR.

The next step of the Saiyids, men of remarkable courage and
ability was to attack the Rajputs; and to extort from their
chief, the Maharajah Ajit Sing, the usual tribute, and the hand
of his daughter for the Emperor, who, like some of his
predecessors, was anxious to marry a Hindu princess. But the
levity and irresolution of the Emperor soon led to his being, in
his turn, dethroned and slaughtered. The race was now quite worn

A brief interregnum ensued, during which the all-powerful Saiyids
sought to administer the powers of sovereignty behind the screen
of any royal scion they could find of the requisite nonentity.
But there was a Nothing still more absolute than any they could
find; and after two of these shadow-kings had passed in about
seven months, one after the other, into the grave, the usurpers
were at length constrained to make a choice of a more efficient
puppet. This was the son of Bahadur Shah's youngest son, who had
perished in the wars which followed that emperor's demise. His
private name was Sultan Roshan Akhtar ("Prince Fair Star"), but
he assumed with the Imperial dignity the title of MOHAMMAD SHAH,
and is memorable as the last Indian emperor that ever sat upon
the peacock throne of Shah Jahan.

The events mentioned in the preceding brief summary, though they
do not comprehend the whole disintegration of the Empire, are
plainly indicative of what is to follow. In the final chapters of
the First Part we shall behold somewhat more in detail the
rapidly accelerating event. During the long reign of Mohammad
foreign violence will be seen accomplishing what native vice and
native weakness have commenced; and the successors to his
dismantled throne will be seen passing like other decorations in
a passive manner from one mayor of the palace to another, or
making fitful efforts to be free, which only rivet their chains
and hasten their destruction. One by one the provinces fall away
from this distempered centre. At length we shall find the throne
literally without an occupant, and the curtain will seem to
descend while preparations are being made for the last act of
this Imperial tragedy.


A.D. 1719-48

Muhammad Shah — Chin Kulich Khan, his retirement from Dehli —
Movements of the Mahrattas — Invasion of Nadir Shah — Ahmad Khan
repulsed by the Moghuls.

GUIDED by his mother, a person of sense and spirit, the young
Emperor began his reign by forming a party of Moghul friends, who
were hostile to the Saiyids on every conceivable account. The
former were Sunnis, the latter Shias; and perhaps the animosities
of sects are stronger than those of entirely different creeds.
Moreover, the courtiers were proud of a foreign descent; and,
while they despised the ministers as natives of India, they
possessed in their mother tongue — Turkish — a means of
communicating with the Emperor (a man of their own race) from
which the ministers were excluded. The Saiyids were soon
overthrown, their ruin being equally desired by Chin Kulich, the
head of the Turkish party, and Saadat Ali, the newly-arrived
adventurer from Persia. These noblemen now formed the rival
parties of Turan and Iran; and became distinguished, the one as
founder of the principality of Audh, abolished in 1856, the other
as that of the dynasty of Haidarabad, which still subsists. Both,
however, were for the time checked by the ambition and energy of
the Mahrattas. Chin Kulich was especially brought to his knees in
Bhopal, where the Mahrattas wrung from him the cession of Malwa,
and a promise of tribute to be paid by the Imperial Government to
these rebellious brigands.

This was a galling situation for an ancient nobleman, trained in
the traditions of the mighty Aurangzeb. The old man was now
between two fires. If he went on to his own capital, Haidarabad,
he would be exposed to wear out the remainder of his days in the
same beating of the air that had exhausted his master. If he
returned to the capital of the Empire, he saw an interminable
prospect of contempt and defeat at the hands of the
Captain-General Khan Dauran, the chief of the courtiers who had
been wont to break their jests upon the old-fashioned manners of
the veteran.

Thus straitened, the Nizam, for by that title Chin Kulich was now
beginning to be known, took counsel with Saadat, the Persian, who
was still at Dehli. Nadir Shah, the then ruler of Persia, had
been for some time urging on the Court of Dehli remonstrances
arising out of boundary quarrels and similar grievances. The two
nobles, who may be described as opposition leaders, are believed
to have in 1738 addressed the Persian monarch in a joint letter
which had the result of bringing him to India, with all the
consequences which will be found related in the History of
Hindustan by the present writer, and in the well-known work of
Mountstuart Elphinstone.

It would be out of place in this introduction to dwell in detail
upon the brief and insincere defence of the Empire by Saadat
'Ali, in attempting to save whom the Khan Dauran lost his life,
while the Nizam attempted vain negotiations. The Persians, as is
well-known, advanced on Dehli, massacred some 100,000 of the
inhabitants, held the survivors to ransom, and ultimately retired
to their own country, with plunder that has been estimated at
eighty millions sterling, and included the famous Peacock Throne.

The Nizam was undoubtedly the gainer by these tragic events. In
addition to being Viceroy of the Deccan, he found himself
all-powerful at Dehli, for Saadat 'Ali had died soon after the
Khan Dauran. Death continuing to favour him, his only remaining
rival, the Mahratta Peshwa, Baji Rao, passed away in 1740, on the
eve of a projected invasion of Hindustan. In 1745 the Province of
Rohelkhand became independent, as did the Eastern Subahs of
Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. Leaving his son to represent him at
Dehli, the Nizam settled at Haidarabad as an independent ruler,
although he still professed subordination to the Empire, of which
he called himself Vakil-i-Mutlak, or Regent.

Shortly after, a fresh invader from the north appeared in the
person of Ahmad Khan Abdali, leader of the Daurani Afghans, who
had obtained possession of the frontier provinces during the
confusion in Persian politics that succeeded the assassination of
Nadir. But a new generation of Moghul nobles was now rising,
whose valour formed a short bright Indian summer in the fall of
the Empire; and the invasion was rolled back by the spirit and
intelligence of the heir apparent, the Vazir's son Mir Mannu, his
brother-in-law Ghazi-ud-din, and the nephew of the deceased
Governor of Audh, Abul-Mansur Khan, better known to Europeans by
his title Safdar Jang. The decisive action was fought near
Sirhind, and began on the 3rd March, 1748. This is memorable as
the last occasion on which Afghans were ever repulsed by people
of India until the latter came to have European leaders. The
death of the Vazir took place eight days later. This Vazir
(Kamr-ul-din Khan), who had long been the head of the Turkish
party in the State, was the nominal leader of the expedition, in
conjunction with the heir-apparent, though the chief glory was
acquired by his gallant son Mannu, or Moin-ul-din. The Vazir did
not live to share the triumph of his son, who defeated the enemy,
and forced him to retire. The Vazir Kamr-ul-din died on the 11th,
just before the retreat of the Afghans. A round shot killed him
as he was praying in his tent; and the news of the death of this
old and constant servant, who had been Mohammad's personal friend
through all the pleasures and cares of his momentous reign,
proved too much for the Emperor's exhausted constitution. He was
seized by a strong convulsion as he sate administering justice in
his despoiled palace at Dehli, and expired almost immediately,
about the 16th of April, A.D. 1748.


A.D. 1748-54.

Ahmad Shah — The Rohillas — Ghazi-ud-din the younger —
Perplexities of the Emperor — Alamgir II. placed on the throne.

SELDOM has a reign begun under fairer auspices than did that of
Ahmad Shah. The Emperor was in the flower of his age; his
immediate associates were men distinguished for their courage and
skill; the Nizam was a bar to the Mahrattas in the Deccan, and
the tide of northern invasion had ebbed out of sight.

There is, however, a fatal element of uncertainty in all systems
of government which depend for their success merely upon personal
qualities. The first sign of this precarious tenure of greatness
was afforded by the death of the aged Nizam Chin Kulich, Viceroy
of the Deccan, which took place immediately after that of the
late Emperor.

The eldest son of the old Nizam contended with the nephew of the
deceased Saadat — whose name was Mansur, but who is better known
by his title of Safdar Jang — for the Premiership, or office of
Vazir, and his next brother Nasir Jang held the Lieutenancy of
the Deccan. The command in Rajputan, just then much disturbed,
devolved at first on a Persian nobleman who had been his Bakhshi,
or Paymaster of the Forces, and also Amir-ul-Umra, or Premier
Peer. His disaster and disgrace were not far off, as will be seen
presently. The office of Plenipotentiary was for the time in
abeyance. The Vazirship, which had been held by the deceased
Kamr-ul-din was about the same time conferred upon Safdar Jang,
who also succeeded his uncle as Viceroy or Nawab of Audh. Hence
the title, afterwards so famous, of Nawab-Vazir.

Having made these dispositions, the Emperor followed the
hereditary bent of his natural disposition, and left the
provinces to fare as best they might, while he enjoyed the
pleasures to which his opportunities invited him. The business of
state fell very much into the hands of a eunuch named Jawid Khan,
who had long been the favourite of the Emperor's mother, a Hindu
danseuse named Udham Bai, who is known in history as the Kudsiya
Begam. The remains of her villa are to be seen in a garden still
bearing her name, on the Jamna side a little beyond the Kashmir
Gate of New Dehli. For a time these two had all at their command;
and the lady at least appears to have made a beneficent use of
her term of prosperity. Meanwhile, the two great dependencies of
the Empire, Rohilkand and the Panjab, become the theatre of
bloody contests.

The Rohillas routed the Imperial army commanded by the Vazir in
person, and though Safdar Jung wiped off this stain, it was only
by undergoing the still deeper disgrace of encouraging the Hindu
powers to prey upon the growing weakness of the Empire.

Aided by the Mahrattas under Holkar and by the Jats under Suraj
Mal, the Vazir defeated the Rohillas at the fords of the Ganges;
and pushed them up into the malarious country at the foot of the
Kumaon mountains, where famine and fever would soon have
completed their subjugation, but for the sudden reappearance in
the north-west of their Afghan kindred under Ahmad Khan the

The Mahrattas were allowed to indemnify themselves for these
services by seizing on part of the Rohilla country, and drawing
chauth from the rest; consideration of which they promised their
assistance to cope with the invading Afghans; but on arriving at
Dehli they learned that the Emperor, in the Vazir's absence, had
surrendered to Ahmad the provinces of Lahor and Multan, and thus
terminated the war.

An expedition was about this time sent to Ajmir, under the
command of Saadat Khan, the Amir-ul-Umra, the noble of the Shiah
or "Iranian" party already mentioned as commanding in Rajputan,
and who was also the Imperialist Viceroy of Agra. He wasted his
time and strength, however, in an attack upon the Jats, through
whose country the way went. When at last he neared Ajmir he
allowed himself to be entangled in the local intrigues which it
was the object of his expedition to suppress. He returned after
about fifteen months of fruitless campaigning, and was dismissed
from his office by the all-powerful Jawid, Ghazi-ud-din succeeded
as Amir-ul- Umra.

Almost every section of the History of Ahmad Shah abstracted by
Professor Dowson (VIII.) ends with some sinister allusion to this
favourite eunuch and his influence. The Emperor had nothing to
say as to what went on, as his mother and Jawid were the real
rulers. The Emperor considered it to be most suitable to him to
spend his time in pleasure; and he made his Zanana extend a mile.
For weeks he would remain without seeing the face of a male
creature. There was probably no sincere friend to raise a
warning; and the doom deepened and the hand wrote upon the wall
unheeded. The country was overrun with wickedness and wasted with
misery. The disgrace of the unsuccessful Saadat returning from
Ajmir, was enhanced by his vainly attempting to strike a blow at
the Empress and her favourite. They called in the Turkish element
against him, and contrived to alienate his countryman, Safdar
Jang, who departed towards his Viceroyship of Audh; leaving the
wretched remains of an Empire to ferment and crumble in its own

The cabinet of the Empress was now, in regard to Ghazi-ud-din and
the Mahrattas, in the position of a necromancer who has to
furnish his familiars with employment on pain of their destroying
him. But an escape seemed to be afforded them by the projects of
Ghazi-ud-din, who agreed to draw off the dangerous auxiliaries to
aid him in wresting the Lieutenancy of the Deccan from his third
brother Salabat Jang who had possessed himself of the
administration on the death of Nasir Jang, the second son and
first successor of Chin Kulich, the old Nizam. He was to be
represented at Dehli by a nephew.

Gladly did the Persian party behold their rival thus depart;
little dreaming of the dangerous abilities of the boy he had left
behind. This youth, best known by the family affix of
Ghazi-ud-din (2nd), but whose name was Shahabuddin, and who is
known in native histories by his official title of Aamad-ul-Mulk,
was son of Firoz Jang, the old Nizam's fourth son. He at once
assumed the head of the army, and may be properly described,
henceforth, as "Captain-General." He was but sixteen when the
news of his uncle's sudden death at Aurangabad was brought to
Dehli. Safdar Jang, returning from Lucknow, removed the Emperor's
chief favourite, Jawid, by assassination (28th August, 1752) and
doubtless thought himself at length arrived at the goal of his
ambition. But the young Ghazi, secretly instigated by the weak
and anxious monarch, renewed against the Persian the same war of
Turan and Iran, of Sunni and Shia, which in the last reign had
been waged between the uncle of the one and the grandfather of
the other. The only difference was that both parties being now
fully warned, the mask of friendship that had been maintained
during the old struggle was now completely dropped; and the
streets of the metropolis became the scene of daily fights
between the two factions. Many splendid remains of the old cities
are believed to have been destroyed during these struggles. The
Jats from Bhurtpore came up under Suraj Mal, their celebrated
leader, and plundered the environs right and left. The Vazir's
people, the Persian partly, breached a bastion of the city wall,
and their victory seemed near at hand. But Mir Mannu, the famous
Viceroy of the Punjab — who was Ghazi's near kinsman — sent a
body of veterans to aid the Moghul cause; the account is
confused, but this seems to have turned the tide. The Moghuls, or
Turks, for the time won; and Ghazi assumed the command of the
army. The Vazirship was conferred on Intizam-ud-daulah the Khan
Khanan (a son of the deceased Kamr-ul-din, and young Ghazi's
cousin), while Safdar Jang falling into open rebellion, called
the Jats under Surajmal to his assistance. The Moghuls were thus
led to have recourse to the Mahrattas; and Holkar was even
engaged as a nominal partizan of the Empire, against his
co-religionists the Jats, and his former patron the Viceroy of
Audh. The latter, who was always more remarkable for sagacity
than for personal courage, soon retired to his own country, and
the hands of the conqueror Ghazi fell heavily upon the
unfortunate Jats.

The Khan Khanan and the Emperor now began to think that things
had gone far enough; and the former, who was acquainted with his
kinsman's unscrupulous mind and ruthless passions, persistently
withheld from him a siege-train which was required for the
reduction of Bhartpur, the Jat capital. The Emperor was thus in a
situation from which the utmost judgment in the selection of a
line of conduct was necessary for success, indeed for safety. The
gallant Mir Mannu, son of his father's old friend and servant
Kamar-uddin, was absent in the Panjab, engaged on the arduous
duty of keeping the Afghans in check. But his brother-in-law, the
Khan Khanan, was ready with alternative projects, of which each
was courageous and sensible. To call back Safdar Jung, and openly
acknowledge the cause of the Jats, would probably cost only one
campaign, well conceived and vigorously executed. On the other
hand, to support the Captain-General Ghazi honestly and without
reserve, would have secured immediate repose, whilst it crushed a
formidable Hindu power.

The irresolute voluptuary before whom these plans were laid could
decide manfully upon neither. He marched from Dehli with the
avowed intention of supporting the Captain-General, to whom he
addressed messages of encouragement. He at the same time wrote to
Surajmal, to whom he promised that he would fall upon the rear of
the army (his own !), upon the Jats making a sally from the
fortress in which they were besieged.

Safdar Jang not being applied to, remained sullenly aloof: the
Emperor's letter to the Jats fell into the hands of Ghazi-ud-din,
the Captain-General, who returned it to him with violent menaces.
The alarmed monarch began to fall back upon his capital, pursued
at a distance by his rebellious general. Holkar meanwhile
executed a sudden and independent attack upon the Imperial camp,
which he took and plundered at Sikundrabad, near Bolandshahr. The
ladies of the Emperor's family were robbed of everything, and
sent to Dehli in country carts. The Emperor and his minister lost
all heart, and fled precipitately into Dehli, where they had but
just time to take refuge in the palace, when they found
themselves rigorously invested.

Knowing the man with whom they had to deal, their last hope was
obviously in a spirited resistance, combined with an earnest
appeal to the Audh Viceroy and to the ruler of the Jats. And it
is on record in a trustworthy native history that such was the
tenor of the Vazir's advice to the Emperor. But the latter,
perhaps too sensible of the difficulties of this course from the
known hostility of Safdar Jang, and the great influence of
Ghazi-ud-din over the Moghul soldiery, rejected the bold counsel.
Upon this the Vazir retired to his own residence, which he
fortified, and the remaining adherents of the Emperor opened the
gates and made terms with the Captain-General. The latter then
invested himself with the official robes of the Vazirate (5th
June, 1754) and convened the Moghul Darbar, from which, with his
usual address, he contrived to obtain as a vote of the cabinet
what was doubtless the suggestion of his own unprincipled
ambition. "This Emperor," said the assembled nobles, "has shown
his unfitness for rule. He is unable to cope with the Mahrattas:
he is false and fickle towards his friends. Let him be deposed,
and a worthier son of Timur raised to the throne." This
resolution was immediately acted upon; the unfortunate monarch
was blinded and consigned to the State prison of Salim Garh,
adjoining the palace; and a son of Jahandar Shah, the competitor
of Farokhsiar, proclaimed Emperor under the sounding title of
Alamgir II., July, 1754 A.D. The new Emperor (whose title was due
to the fact that his predecessor — the great Aurangzeb — had been
the first to bear it) was in the fifty-fourth year of his age. He
was a quiet old devotee, whose only pleasures were reading
religious books and attending divine service. His predecessor was
not further molested, and lived on in his captivity to his death
in 1775, from natural causes, at the age of fifty. Ghazi-ud-din
was at the same time acknowledged as Vazir in the room of the
Khan Khanan. That officer was murdered about five years later,
according to Beale (Orl. Bl. Dicty in voc.) So also the

One name, afterwards to become very famous, is heard of for the
first time during these transactions; and, since the history of
the Empire consists now of little more than a series of
biographies, the present seems the proper place to consider the
outset of his career. Najib Khan was an Afghan soldier of
fortune, who had attained the hand of the daughter of Dundi Khan,
one of the chieftains of the Rohilkand Pathans. Rewarded by this
ruler with the charge of a district, now Bijnaur, in the
north-west corner of Rohilkand, he had joined the cause of Safdar
Jang, when that minister occupied the country; but on the
latter's disgrace had borne a part in the campaigns of
Ghazi-ud-din. When the Vazir first conceived the project of
attacking the government, he sent Najib in the command of a
Moghul detachment to occupy the country, about Saharanpur, then
known as the Bawani mahal, which had formed the jagir of the
Ex-Vazir Khan Khanan. This territory thus became in its turn
separated from the Empire, and continued for two generations in
the family of Najib. Though possessing the unscrupulous nature of
his class, he was not without the virtues that are found in its
best specimens. He was active, painstaking, and faithful to
engagements; when he had surmounted his early difficulties he
proved a good administrator. He ruled the dwindled Empire for
nine years, and died a peaceful death, leaving his charge in an
improved and strengthened condition, ready for its lawful
monarch. He was highly esteemed by the British in India.— (v. inf
89 )

The dominions of Akbar and Aurangzeb had now indeed fallen into a
pitiable state. Although the whole of the peninsula still
nominally owned the sway of the Moghul, no provinces remained in
the occupation of the Government besides part of the upper Doab,
and a few districts south of the Satlaj. Gujarat was overrun by
the Mahrattas; Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa were occupied by the
successor of Aliverdi Khan, Audh and Allahabad by Safdar Jang,
the central Doab by the Afghan tribe of Bangash, the province now
called Rohilkand by the Rohillas. The Panjab had been virtually
abandoned; the rest of India had been recovered by the Hindus,
with the exception of such portions of the Deccan as still formed
the arena for the family wars of the sons of the old Nizam. Small
encroachments continued to be made by the English traders.


A.D. 1754-60.

Progress of Ghazi ud-din — Ahmad Khan enters Dehli — Escape of
the Prince Ali Gauhar — Murder of the Emperor — Ahmad the Abdali
advances on Dehli — End of Ghazi's career.

No sooner was the revolution accomplished than the young
kingmaker took effective measures to secure his position. He
first seized and imprisoned his relation the Khan Khanan, whose
office he had usurped, as above stated. The opportune death of
Safdar Jang (17th October, 1754) removed another danger, while
the intrepidity and merciless severity with which (assisted by
Najib Khan) he quelled a military mutiny provoked by his own
arbitrary conduct, served at once as a punishment to the
miserable offenders and a warning to all who might be meditating
future attacks.

Of such there were not a few, and those too in high places. The
imbecile Emperor became the willing centre of a cabal bent upon
the destruction of the daring young minister; and, though the
precautions of the latter prevented things from going that
length, yet the constant plotting that went on served to
neutralize all his efforts at administration, and to increase in
his mind that sense of misanthropic solitude which is probably
the starting-point of the greatest crimes.

As soon as he judged that he could prudently leave the Court, the
Minister organized an expedition to the Panjab, where the gallant
Mir Mannu had been lately killed by falling from his horse. Such
had been the respect excited in men's minds towards this
excellent public servant, that the provinces of Lahor and Multan,
when ceded to the Afghans in the late reign, had been ultimately
left in his charge by the new rulers. Ahmad the Abdali even
carried on this policy after the Mir's death, and confirmed the
Government in the person of his infant son. The actual
administrators during the minority were to be the widow of Mannu
and a statesman of great local experience, whose name was Adina
Beg. This man was a Hindu by origin, a, self-made man, bold and

It was upon this opportunity that the Vazir resolved to strike.
Hastily raising, such a force as the poor remnant of the imperial
treasury could furnish, he marched on Lahor, taking with him the
heir apparent, Mirza Ali Gauhar. Seizing the town by a coup de
main, he possessed himself of the Lady Regent and her daughter,
and returned to Dehli, asserting that he had extorted a treaty
from the Afghan monarch, and appointed Adina Beg sole
Commissioner of the provinces.

However this may have been, the Court was not satisfied; and the
less so that the success of the Minister only served to render
him more violent and cruel than ever. Nor is it to be supposed
that Ahmad the Abdali would overlook, for any period longer than
his own convenience might require, any unauthorized interference
with arrangements made by himself for territory that he might
justly regard as his own. Accordingly the Afghan chief soon lent
a ready ear to the representations of the Emperor's party, and
swiftly presented himself at the head of an army within twenty
miles of Dehli. Accompanied by Najib Khan, (who was in secret
correspondence with the invader,) the Minister marched out to
give battle; and so complete was the isolation into which his
conduct had thrown him, that he learned for the first time what
was the true state of affairs when he saw the chief part of the
army follow Najib into the ranks of the enemy, where they were
received as expected guests.

In this strait the Minister's personal qualities saved him.
Having in the meantime made Mannu's daughter his wife, he had the
address to obtain the intercession of his mother-in-law; and not
only obtained the pardon of the invader, but in no long time so
completely ingratiated himself with that simple soldier as to be
in higher power than even before the invasion.

Ahmad Khan now took upon himself the functions of government, and
deputed the Minister to collect tribute in the Doab, while Sardar
Jahan Khan, one of his principal lieutenants, proceeded to levy
contributions from the Jats, and Ahmad himself undertook the
spoliation of the capital.

From the first expedition Ghazi returned with considerable booty.
The attack upon the Jats was not so successful; throwing
themselves into the numerous strongholds with which their country
was dotted, they defied the Afghan armies and cut off their
foraging parties in sudden sallies. Agra too made an obstinate
defence under a Moghul governor; but the invaders indemnified
themselves both in blood and plunder at the expense of the
unfortunate inhabitants of the neighbouring city of Mathra, whom
they surprised at a religious festival, and massacred without
distinction of age or sex.

As for the citizens of Dehli, their sufferings were grievous,
even compared with those inflicted twenty years before by the
Persians of Nadir Shah, in proportion as the conquerors were less
civilized, and the means of satisfying them less plentiful. All
conceivable forms of misery prevailed during the two months which
followed the entry of the Abdali, 11th September, 1757, exactly
one hundred years before the last capture of the same city by the
avenging force of the British Government during the Great Mutiny.

Having concluded these operations, the invader retired into
cantonments at Anupshahar, on the Ganges, and there proceeded to
parcel out the Empire among such of the Indian chiefs as he
delighted to honour. He then appointed Najib to the office of
Amir-ul-umra, an office which involved the personal charge of the
Palace and its inmates; and departed to his own country, from
which he had lately received some unsatisfactory intelligence.
The Emperor endeavoured to engage his influence to bring about a
marriage which he desired to contract with a daughter of the
penultimate Emperor, Muhammad Shah: but the Abdali, on his
attention being drawn to the young lady, resolved upon espousing
her himself. He at the same time married his son Timur Shah to
the daughter of the heir apparent, and, having left that son in
charge of the Panjab, retired with the bulk of his army to

Relieved for the present from his anxieties, the Minister gave
sway to that morbid cruelty which detracted from the general
sagacity of his character. He protected himself against his
numerous enemies by subsidizing a vast body-guard of Mahratta
mercenaries, to pay whom he was led to the most merciless
exactions from the immediate subjects of the Empire. He easily
expelled Najib (who since his elevation must be distinguished by
his honorific name of Najib ud daula, "Hero of the State"): he
destroyed or kept in close confinement the nobles who favoured
the Emperor, and even sought to lay hands upon the heir apparent,
Ali Gohar.

This prince was now in his seven-and-thirtieth year, and
exhibited all those generous qualities which we find in the men
of his race as long as they are not enervated by the voluptuous
repose of the Palace. He had been for some time residing in a
kind of open arrest in the house of Ali Mardan Khan, a fortified
building on the banks of the river. Here he learned that the
Minister contemplated transferring him to the close captivity of
Salim Garh, the state prison which stood within the precincts of
the Palace. Upon this he consulted with his companions, Rajah
Ramnath and a Musalman gentleman, Saiyid Ali, who with four
private troopers agreed to join in the hazardous enterprise of
forcing their way through the bands which by this time invested
the premises. Early the following morning they descended to the
courtyard and mounted their horses in silence.

There was no time to spare. Already the bolder of the assailants
had climbed upon the neighbouring roofs, from which they began to
fire upon the little garrison, while their main forces guarded
the gateway. But it so happened that there was a breach in the
wall upon the river side, at the rear of the premises. By this
the Prince and his friends galloped out, and without a moment's
hesitation plunged their horses into the broad Jamna. One alone,
Saiyid Ali, stayed behind, and single-handed held the pursuers at
bay until the prince had made good his escape. The loyal follower
paid for his loyalty with his life. The fugitives found their way
to Sikandra, which was the centre of Najib's new fief; and the
Prince, after staying some time under the protection of the
Amir-ul-Umra, ultimately reached Lucknow, where, after a vain
attempt to procure the co-operation of the new Viceroy in an
attack upon the British, he was eventually obliged to seek the
protection of that alien power.

Ahmad the Abdali being informed of these things by letters from
Dehli, prepared a fresh incursion; the rather that Adina Beg,
with the help of the Mahrattas had at the same time chased his
son, Timur Shah, from Lahor; while with another force they had
expelled Najib from his new territory, and forced him to seek
safety in his forts in the Bawani Mahal. The new Viceroy of Audh
raised the Rohillas and his own immediate followers in the
Abdali's name; the Mahrattas were driven out of Rohilkand; and
the Afghans, crossing the Jamna in Najib's territory to the north
of Dehli, arrived once more at Anupshahar about September, 1759,
whence they were enabled to hold uninterrupted communication with

The ruthless Ghazi was now almost at the end of his resources. He
therefore resolved to play his last card, and either win all by
the terror of his monstrous crime, or lose all, and retire from
the game.

The harmless Emperor, amongst his numerous foibles, cherished the
pardonable weakness of a respect for the religious mendicants,
who form one of the chronic plagues of Asiatic society. Taking
advantage of this, a Kashmirian in the interest of the Minister
took occasion to mention to Alamgir that a hermit of peculiar
sanctity had recently taken up his abode in the ruined fort of
Firozabad, some two miles south of the city, and (in those days)
upon the right bank of the Jamna, which river has now receded to
a considerable distance. The helpless devotee resolved to consult
with this holy man, and repaired to the ruins in his palanquin.
Arrived at the door of the room, which was in the N.E. corner of
the palace of Firoz Shah, he was relieved of his arms by the
Kashmirian, who admitted him, and closed the entrance. A cry for
aid being presently heard was gallantly responded to by Mirza
Babar, the emperor's son-in-law, who attacked and wounded the
sentry, but was overpowered and sent to Salim Garh in the
Emperor's litter. The latter meanwhile was seized by a savage
Uzbek, named Balabash, who had been stationed within, and who
sawed off the defenceless monarch's head with a knife. Then
stripping off the rich robe he cast the headless trunk out of the
window, where it lay for some hours upon the sands until the
Kashmirian ordered its removal. The date of this tragic event is
between the 10th and 30th of November, 1759 (the latter being the
day given by Dowson, vol. viii. p. 243). The late Minister,
Intizam-ud-Daula, had been murdered by order of his successor
three days earlier. A grandson of Kam Bakhsh (the unfortunate son
of Aurangzeb) was then taken out of the Salim Garh and proclaimed
Emperor by the sonorous title of "Shah Jahan II." But he is not
recognised on the list of emperors, and his reign — such as it
was — lasted but a moment. Ghazi - (or Shahab) ud-din attempted
to reproduce the policy of the Sayyids by governing behind this
puppet; but the son of the murdered emperor proclaimed himself in
Bihar (v. inf.), and Ahmad the Abdali moved against Ghazi, as we
shall see in the next chapter. Discretion was the only part of
valour left, and the young and unscrupulous politician fled to
Bhartpur, where he found a temporary asylum with Suraj Mal.

As this restless criminal here closes his public life, it may be
once for all mentioned that he reluctantly and slowly retired to
Farukhabad, where he remained till Shall Alam came there in 1771
(inf. p. 98); that being driven from thence at the Restoration he
once more became a wanderer, and spent the next twenty years of
his life in disguise and total obscurity; till being accidentally
discovered by the British police at Surat, about 1791, he was, by
the Governor-General's orders, allowed to depart with a small sum
of money to Mecca, the refuge of many a Mohamadan malcontent.
Returning thence he visited Kabul, where he joined one of the
Dehli princes in an attempted invasion of India. The prince went
mad at Multan, and Ghazi, leaving him there, went on to
Bandelkhand, where he received a grant of land on which he
chiefly passed the remainder of his days. He died in 1800, and
was buried at Pakpatan in the Panjab (v. Journal of the As. Soc.
of Bengal, No. CCXXVI. 1879, pp. 129, ff.)

The vengeance of the Abdali, therefore, fell upon the unoffending
inhabitants of the capital — once more they were scourged with
fire and sword. Leaving a garrison in the palace, the Abdali then
quitted the almost depopulated city, and fell back on his old
quarters at Anupshahar, where he entered into negotiations with
the Rohillas, and with the Nawab of Audh, of which the result was
a general combination of the Musalmans of Hindustan with a view
of striking a decisive blow in defence of Islam. But these events
will form the subject of a separate chapter.


The Campaign of Panipat.

THE Mahratta confederacy was in 1759 irresistible from the
borders of Berar to the banks of the Ganges. On one side they
were checked by the Nizam and Haidar, on the other by
Shujaa-ud-daula, the young ruler of Audh. Between these limits
they were practically paramount. To the westward a third
Mohamadan power, the newly-formed Daurani empire, was no doubt a
standing menace; but it is very possible that, with Ahmad Shah,
as with the other Moslem chiefs, arrangements of a pacific nature
might have been made. All turned upon the character and conduct
of one man. That man was Sadasheo Rao, the cousin and minister of
the Mahratta leader, the Peshwa, into whose hands had fallen the
sway of Mahratta power. For their titular head, the descendant of
Sivaji the original founder, was a puppet, almost a prisoner,
such as we, not many years ago, considered the Mikado of Japan.

The state of the country is thus described by a contemporary
historian, quoted by Tod: — "The people of Hindustan at this
period thought only of personal safety and gratification. Misery
was disregarded by those who escaped it; and man, centred solely
in self, felt not for his kind. This selfishness, destructive of
public, as of private, virtue, became universal in Hindustan
after the invasion of Nadir Shah; nor have the people become more
virtuous since, and consequently are neither happy nor more

Ahmad Khan (known as "the Abdali"), whom we are now to recognise
as Ahmad Shah, the Daurani emperor, returned to Hindustan (as
stated in the last chapter) late in the summer, and marched to
Dehli, when he heard of the murder of Alamgir II. The execrable
Shahabuddin (or Ghazi-ud-din the younger) fled at his approach,
taking refuge with the Jats. Mahratta troops, who had occupied
some places of strength in the Panjab, were defeated and driven
in. The capital was again occupied and plundered, after which the
Shah retired to the territory of his ally Najib, and summoned to
his standard the chiefs of the Rohillas. On the other hand the
Mahrattas, inviting to their aid the leaders of the Rajputs and
Jats, moved up from the South. They possessed themselves of the
capital in December 1759.

The main force of the Mahrattas that left the Deccan consisted of
20,000 chosen horse, under the immediate command of the minister,
Sadasheo, whom for convenience we may in future call by his title
of "the Bhao." He also took with him a powerful disciplined corps
of 10,000 men, infantry and artillery, under a Mohamadan soldier
of fortune, named Ibrahim Khan. This general had learned French
discipline as commandant de la qarde to Bussy, and bore the
title, or nickname, of "gardi," a souvenir of his professional

The Bhao's progress was joined by Mahratta forces under Holkar,
Sindhia, the Gaikwar, Gobind Pant, and others. Many of the Rajput
States contributed, and Suraj Mal brought a contingent of 20,000
hardy Jats. Hinduism was uniting for a grand effort; Islam was
rallied into cohesion by the necessity of resistance. Each party
was earnestly longing for the alliance of the Shias under Shujaa,
Viceroy of Audh, whose antecedents led men on both sides to look
upon them as neutral.

The Bhao had much prestige. Hitherto always victorious, his
personal reputation inspired great respect. His camp, enriched
with the plunder of Hindustan, was on a scale of unwonted
splendour. "The lofty and spacious tents," says Grant-Duff,
"lined with silks and broadcloths, were surmounted by large
gilded ornaments, conspicuous at a distance..... Vast numbers of
elephants, flags of all descriptions, the finest horses,
magnificently caparisoned .... seemed to be collected from every
quarter .... it was an imitation of the more becoming and
tasteful array of the Moghuls in the zenith of their glory." Nor
was this the only innovation. Hitherto the Mahrattas had been
light horsemen, each man carrying his food, forage, bedding, head
and heel ropes, as part of his accoutrements; marching fifty
miles after a defeat, and then halting in complete readiness to
"fight another day." Now, for the first time, they were to be
supported by a regular park of artillery, and a regular force of
drilled infantry. But all these seeming advantages only
precipitated and rendered more complete and terrible their
ultimate overthrow.

Holkar and Suraj Mal, true to the instincts of their old
predatory experience, urged upon the Bhao, that regular warfare
was not the game that they knew. They counselled, therefore, that
the families and tents, and all heavy equipments, should be left
in some strong place of safety, such as the almost impregnable
forts of Jhansi and Gwalior, while their clouds of horse harassed
the enemy and wasted the country before and round him. But the
Bhao rejected these prudent counsels with contempt. He had seen
the effect of discipline and guns in Southern war; and, not
without a shrewd foresight of what was afterwards to be
accomplished by a man then in his train, resolved to try the
effect of scientific soldiership, as he understood it. The
determination proved his ruin; not because the instrument he
chose was not the best, but because it was not complete, and
because he did not know how to handle it. When Madhoji Sindhia,
after a lapse of twenty years, mastered all Asiatic opposition by
the employment of the same instrument, he had a European general,
the Count de Boigne, who was one of the great captains of his
age; and he allowed him to use his own strategy and tactics.
Then, the regular battalions and batteries, becoming the nucleus
of the army, were moved with resolution and aggressive purpose,
while the cavalry only acted for purposes of escort,
reconnoissance, and pursuit. In the fatal campaign before us, we
shall find the disciplined troops doing all that could fairly be
expected of them under Asiatic leaders, but failing for want of
numbers, and of generalship.

On arriving at Dehli, the Bhao surrounded the citadel in which
was situated the palace of the emperors. It was tenanted by a
weak Musalman force, which had been hastily thrown in under the
command of a nephew of Shah Wali Khan, the Daurani Vazir. After a
brief bombardment, this garrison capitulated, and the Bhao took
possession and plundered the last remaining effects of the
emperors, including the silver ceiling of the divan khas, which
was thrown into the melting-pot and furnished seventeen lakhs of
rupees ( £170,000).

Ahmad, in the meantime, was cantoned at Anupshahr, on the
frontier of the Rohilla country, where he was compelled to remain
while his negotiations with Shujaa were pending. So came on the
summer of 1760, and the rainy season was at hand, during which,
in an unbridged country, military operations could not be carried
on. All the more needful that the time of enforced leisure should
be given to preparation. Najib, the head of the Rohillas, was
very urgent with the Shah that Shujaa should be persuaded to take
part against the Mahrattas. He pointed out that, such as the
Moghul empire might be, Shujaa was its Vazir. As Ahmad Shah had
hitherto been foiled by the late Nawab Safdar Jang, it was for
his majesty to judge how useful might be the friendship of a
potentate whose predecessor's hostility had been so formidable.
"But," added the prudent Rohilla, "it must be remembered that the
recollection of the past will make the Vazir timorous and
suspicious. The negotiation will be as delicate as important. It
should not be entrusted to ordinary agency, or to the impersonal
channel of epistolary correspondence."

The Shah approved of these reasonings, and it was resolved that
Najib himself should visit the Vazir, and lay before him the
cause which he so well understood, and in which his own interest
was so deep. The envoy proceeded towards Audh, and found the
Vazir encamped upon the Ganges at Mahdi Ghat. He lost no time in
opening the matter; and, with the good sense that always
characterized him, Najib touched at once the potent spring of
self. Shia or Sunni, all Moslems were alike the object of
Mahratta enmity. He, Najib, knew full well what to expect, should
the Hindu league prevail. But would the Vazir fare better?
"Though, after all, the will of God will be done, it behoves us
not the less to help destiny to be beneficent by our own best
endeavours. Think carefully, consult Her Highness, your mother: I
am not fond of trouble, and should not have come all this
distance to see your Excellency were I not deeply interested."
Such, as we learn from an adherent of Shujaa's, was the substance
of the advice given him by the Rohilla chieftain.

The nature of these negotiations is not left to conjecture. The
narrative of what occurred is supplied by Kasi Raj Pandit, a
Hindu writer in the service of the Nawab Vazir, and an
eye-witness of the whole campaign. He was present in both camps,
having been employed in the negotiations which took place between
the Mahrattas and Mohamadans; and his account of the battle (of
which a translation appeared in the Asiatic Researches for 1791,
reprinted in London in 1799) is at once the most authentic that
has come down to our times, and the best description of war ever
recorded by a Hindu.

Shujaa-ud-daulah, after anxious deliberation, resolved to adopt
the advice of his Rohilla visitor. And, having so resolved, he
adhered honestly to his resolution. He sent his family to
Lucknow, and accompanied Najib to Anupshahr, where he was warmly
received by the Daurani Shah, and his minister Shah Wali Khan.

Shortly after, the united forces of the Moslems moved down to
Shahdara, the hunting-ground of the emperors, near Dehli, from
which, indeed, it was only separated by the river Jamna. But, the
monsoon having set in, the encounter of the hostile armies was
for the present impossible. The interval was occupied in
negotiation. The Bhao first attempted the virtue of Shujaa, whom
he tempted with large offers to desert the Sunni cause. Shujaa
amused him with messages in which our Pandit acted as go-between;
but all was conducted with the knowledge of Najib, who was fully
consulted by the Nawab Vazir throughout. The Shah's minister,
also, was aware of the transaction, and apparently disposed to
grant terms to the Hindus. Advantage was taken of the
opportunity, and of the old alliance between Shujaa and the Jats,
to shake the confidence of Suraj Mal, and persuade him to abandon
the league, which he very willingly did when his advice was so
haughtily rejected. It was the opinion of our Pandit, that a
partition of the country might even now have been effected had
either party been earnest in desiring peace. He did not evidently
know what were the Bhao's real feelings, but probably judged him
by the rest of his conduct, which was that of a bold, ambitious
statesman. From what he saw in the other camp, he may well have
concluded that Najib had some far-seeing scheme on foot, which
kept him from sincerely forwarding the proposed treaty. Certainly
that astute Rohilla was ultimately the greatest gainer from the
anxieties and sufferings of the campaign. But the first act of
hostility came from the Bhao, who moved up stream to turn the
invader's flank.

About eighty miles north of Dehli, on the meadowlands lying
between the Western Jamna Canal and the river (from whose right
bank it is about two miles distant), stands the small town of
Kunjpura. In the invasion of Nadir Shah, it had been occupied by
a force of Persian sharpshooters, who had inflicted much loss on
the Moghul army from its cover. Induced, perhaps, by the
remembrance of those days, Ahmad had made the mistake of placing
in it a garrison of his own people, from which he was now
separated by the broad stream of the Jamna, brimming with
autumnal floods. Here the Bhao struck his first blow, taking the
whole Afghan garrison prisoners after an obstinate defence, and
giving up the place to plunder, while the main Afghan army sat
idle on the other side.

At length arrived the Dasahra, the anniversary of the attack of
Lanka by the demigod Ram, a proverbial and almost sacred day of
omen for the commencement of Hindu military expeditions. Ahmad
adopted the auspices of his enemy and reviewed his troops the day
before the festival. The state of his forces is positively given
by the Pandit, as consisting of 28,000 Afghans, powerful men,
mounted on hardy Turkoman horses, forty pieces of cannon, besides
light guns mounted on camels; with some 28,000 horse, 38,000
foot, and about forty guns, under the Hindustani Musalmans. The
Mahrattas had more cavalry, fewer foot, and an artillery of 200
guns; in addition to which they were aided, if aid it could be
called in regular warfare, by clouds of predatory horsemen,
making up their whole force to over 200,000, mostly, as it turned
out, food for the sabre and the gun.

On the 17th of October, 1760, the Afghan host and its allies
broke up from Shahdara; and between the 23rd and 25th effected a
crossing at Baghpat, a small town about twenty-four miles up the
river. The position of the hostile armies was thus reversed; that
of the northern invaders being nearer Dehli, with the whole of
Hindustan at their backs, while the Southern defenders of their
country were in the attitude of men marching down from the
north-west with nothing behind them but the dry and war-wasted
plains of Sirhind. In the afternoon of the 26th, Ahmad's advanced
guard reached Sambalka, about half-way between Sonpat and
Panipat, where they encountered the vanguard of the Mahrattas. A
sharp conflict ensued, in which the Afghans lost a thousand men,
killed and wounded, but drove back the Mahrattas on their main
body, which kept on retreating slowly for several days,
contesting every inch of the ground until they reached Panipat.
Here the camp was finally pitched in and about the town, and the
position was at once covered by digging a trench sixty feet wide
and twelve deep, with a rampart on which the guns were mounted.
The Shah took up ground four miles to the south, protecting his
position by abattis of felled timber, according to his usual
practice, but pitching in front a small unprotected tent from
which to make his own observations.

The small reverse of the Mahrattas at Sambalka was soon followed
by others, and hopes of a pacific solution became more and more
faint. Gobind Pant Bundela, foraging near Meerut with 10,000
light cavalry, was surprised and slain by Atai Khan at the head
of a similar party of Afghans. The terror caused by this affair
paralysed the Bhao's commissariat, while it greatly facilitated
the foraging of the Shah. Shortly after, a party of 2,000
Mahratta horsemen, each carrying a keg of specie from Dehli, fell
upon the Afghan pickets, which they mistook for their own in the
dark of night. On their answering in their own language to the
sentry's challenge, they were surrounded and cut up by the enemy,
and something like £200,000 in silver was lost to the Bhao.
Ibrahim and his disciplined mercenaries now became very clamorous
for their arrears of pay, on which Holkar proposed that the
cavalry should make an immediate attack without them. The Bhao
ironically acquiesced, and turned the tables upon Holkar, who
probably meant nothing less than to lead so hare-brained a

During the next two months constant skirmishes and duels took
place between parties and individual champions upon either side.
In one of these Najib lost 3,000 of his Rohillas, and was very
near perishing himself; and the chiefs of the Indian Musalmans
became at last very urgent with the Shah to put an end to their
suspense by bringing on a decisive action. But the Shah, with the
patience of a great leader, as steadily repressed their ardour,
knowing very well that (to use the words of a modern leader on a
similar occasion) the enemy were all the while "stewing in their
own-gravy." For this is one of the sure marks of a conqueror,
that he makes of his own troubles a measure of his antagonist's
misfortunes; so that they become a ground, not of losing heart,
but of gaining courage.

Meanwhile the vigilance of his patrol, for which service he had
5,000 of his best cavalry employed through the long winter
nights, created almost a blockade of the Mahrattas. On one
occasion 20,000 of their camp-followers, who had gone to collect
provisions, were massacred in a wood near the camps by this
vigilant force.

The Bhao's spirit sank under these repeated blows and warnings,
and he sent to the Nawab Vazir, Shujaa-ud-daulah, to offer to
accept any conditions that might still be obtainable. All the
other chiefs were willing, and the Shah referred them to the
Rohillas. But Najib proved implacable. The Pandit went to the
Rohilla leader, and urged on him every possible consideration
that might persuade him to agree. But his clear good sense
perceived the nature of the crisis. "I would do much," he said,
"to gratify, the Nawab and show my respect for his Excellency.
But oaths are not chains; they are only words, things that will
never bind the enemy when once he has escaped from the dangers
which compel him to undertake them. By one effort we can get this
thorn out of our sides."

Proceeding to the Shah's tent he obtained instant admission,
though it was now midnight. Here he repeated his arguments;
adding that whatever his Majesty's decision might be was
personally immaterial to himself. "For I," he concluded, "am but
a soldier of fortune, and can make terms for myself with either
party." The blunt counsel pleased the Shah. "You are right,
Najib," said Ahmad, "and the Nawab is misled by the impulses of
youth. I disbelieve in the Mahratta penitence, and I am not going
to throw you over whom I have all along regarded as the manager
of this affair. Though in my position I must hear every one, yet
I promise never to act against your advice."

While these things were passing in the Moslem camp, the
Mahrattas, having exhausted their last resource by the plunder of
the town of Panipat, sent all their chiefs on the same evening to
meet in the great durbar-tent. It was now the 6th of January, and
we may fancy the shivering, starving Southerners crouched on the
ground and discussing their griefs by the wild torchlight. They
represented that they had not tasted food for two days, and were
ready to die fighting, but not to die of hunger. Pan was
distributed, and all swore to go out an hour before daybreak and
drive away the invaders or perish in the attempt.

As a supreme effort, the Bhao, whose outward bearing at durbar
had been gallant and dignified, had despatched a short note to
our Pandit, who gives the exact text. "The cup is full to the
brim, and cannot hold another drop. If anything can be done, do
it. If not, let me know plainly and at once; for afterwards there
will be no time for writing, or for speech." The Pandit was with
Shujaa, by the time this note arrived — the hour was 3 A.M. — and
he handed it to his master, who began to examine the messenger.
While he was so doing, his spies ran in with the intelligence
that the Mahrattas had left their lines. Shujaa, at once hastened
to the Shah's tent.

Ahmad had lain down to rest, but his horse was held ready saddled
at the entry. He rose from his couch and asked, "What news?" The
Nawab told him what he had heard. The Shah immediately mounted
and sent for the Pandit. While the latter was corroborating the
tidings brought by his master, Ahmad, sitting on his horse, was
smoking a Persian pipe and peering into the darkness. All at once
the Mahratta cannon opened fire, on which the Shah, handing his
pipe to an orderly, said calmly to the Nawab, "Your follower's
news was very true I see." Then summoning his prime minister,
Shah Wali, and Shah Pasand the chief of his staff, he made his
dispositions for a general engagement when the light of day came.

Yes, the news was true. Soon after the despatch of the Bhao's
note, the Mahratta troops broke their fast with the last
remaining grain in camp, and prepared for a mortal combat; coming
forth from their lines with turbans dishevelled and
turmeric-smeared faces, like devotees of death. They marched in
an oblique line, with their left in front, preceded by their
guns, small and great. The Bhao, with the Peshwa's son and the
household troops, was in the centre. The left wing consisted of
the gardis under Ibrahim Khan; Holkar and Sindhia were on the
extreme right.

On the other side the Afghans formed a somewhat similar line,
their left being formed by Najib's Rohillas, and their right by
two brigades of Persian troops. Their left centre was led by the
two vazirs, Shujaa-ud-daulah and Shah Wali. The right centre
consisted of Rohillas, under the well-known Hafiz Rahmat and
other chiefs of the Indian Pathans. Day broke, but the Afghan
artillery for the most part kept silence, while that of the
enemy, losing range in its constant advance, threw away its
ammunition over the heads of the enemy and dropped its shot a
mile to their rear. Shah Pasand Khan covered the left wing with a
choice body of mailed Afghan horsemen, and in this order the army
moved forward, leaving the Shah at his usual post in the little
tent, which was now in rear of the line, from whence he could
watch and direct the battle.

On the other side no great precautions seem to have been taken,
except indeed by the gardis and their vigilant leader, who
advanced in silence and without firing a shot, with two
battalions of infantry bent back to their left flank, to cover
their advance from the attack of the Persian cavalry forming the
extreme right of the enemy's line. The valiant veteran soon
showed the worth of French discipline, and another division such
as his would have probably gained the day. Well mounted and
armed, and carrying in his own hand the colours of his own
personal command, he led his men against the Rohilkhand columns
with fixed bayonets, and to so much effect that nearly 8,000 were
put hors de combat. For three hours the gardis remained in
unchallenged possession of that part of the field.
Shujaa-ud-daulah, with his small but compact force, remained
stationary, neither fighting nor flying, and the Mahrattas
forebore to attack him. The corps between this and the Pathans
was that of the Daurani Vazir, and it suffered severely from the
shock of an attack delivered upon them by the Bhao himself at the
head of the household troops. The Pandit, being sent through the
dust to inform Shujaa of what was going on, found Shah Wali
vainly trying to rally the courage of his followers, of whom many
were in full retreat. "Whither would you run, friends," cried the
Vazir, "your country is far from here."

Meanwhile, on the left of the Mohamadan line, the prudent Najib
had masked his advance by a series of breastworks, under cover of
which he had gradually approached the hostile force. "I have the
highest stake to-day," he said, "and cannot afford to make any
mistakes." The part of the enemy's force immediately opposed to
him was commanded by the then head of the Sindhia house, who was
Najib's personal enemy. Till noon Najib remained on the
defensive, keeping off all close attacks upon his earthworks by
continuous discharges of rockets. But so far the fortune of the
day was evidently inclined towards the Mahrattas. The Mohamadans'
left still held their own under the two Vazirs and Najib; but the
centre was cut in two, and the right was almost destroyed.
Victory seemed to await the Mahrattas.

Of the circumstances which turned the tide and gave the crisis to
the Moslems, but one account necessarily exists. Hitherto we have
had the guidance of Grant-Duff for the Mahratta side of the
affair, but now the whole movement was to be from the other side,
and we cannot do better than trust the Pandit. Dow, the only
other contemporary author of importance — if we except Gholam
Hosain, who wrote at a very remote place — is most irremediably
inaccurate and vague about all these transactions. The Pandit,
then, informs us that, during those earlier hours of the
conflict, the Shah had watched the fortunes of the battle from
his tent, guarded by the still unbroken forces on his left. But
now, hearing that his right was reeling and his centre was
defeated, he felt that the moment was come for a final effort. In
front of him the Hindu cries of Har! Har! Jai Mahadeo! were
maintaining an equal and dreadful concert with those of Allah!
Allah! Din! Din! from his own side. The battle wavered to and fro
like that of Flodden as described by Scott. The Shah saw the
critical moment in the very act of passing. He therefore sent 500
of his own body-guard with orders to arise all able-bodied men
out of camp, and send them to the front at any cost. 1,500 more
he sent to encounter those who were flying, and slay without pity
any who would not return to the fight. These, with 4,000 of his
reserve troops, went to support the broken ranks of the Rohilla
Pathans on the right. The remainder of the reserve, 10,000
strong, were sent to the aid of Shah Wali, still labouring
unequally against the Bhao in the centre of the field. The Shah's
orders were clear. These mailed warriors were to charge with the
Vazir in close order, and at full gallop. As often as they
charged the enemy in front, the chief of the staff and Najib were
directed to fall upon either flank. These orders were immediately
carried out.

The forward movement of the Moslems began at 1 P.M. The fight was
close and obstinate, men fighting with swords, spears, axes, and
even with daggers. Between 2 and 3 P.M. the Peshwa's son was
wounded, and, having fallen from his horse, was placed upon an
elephant. The last thing seen of the Bhao was his dismounting
from another elephant, and getting on his Arab charger. Soon
after the young chief was slain. The next moment Holkar and the
Gaikwar left the field. In that instant resistance ceased, and
the Mahrattas all at once became helpless victims of butchery.
Thousands were cut down; other thousands were drowned in
escaping, or were slaughtered by the country people whom they had
so long pillaged. The Shah and his principal commanders then
retired to camp, leaving the pursuit to be completed by
subordinate officers. Forty thousand prisoners are said to have
been slain. Among the prisoners was Ibrahim, the valiant and
skilful leader of the gardis. Though severely wounded, he was
taken care of in Shujaa's tents, where his wounds received
surgical attention. Shujaa also endeavoured to extend protection
to the head of the house of Sindhia. A subordinate member of the
clan, the afterwards celebrated Madhoji — who was to become in
his turn master of the whole country — fled from the field; and
the late Colonel Skinner used to describe how this chief — in
whose service he at one time was — would relate the mental
agonies he endured on his light Deccanee mare from the lobbing
paces and roaring breath of a big Northern horse, on which he was
pursued for many miles by an Afghan, greedy of blood and booty.

Jankoji, the then head of the family, was killed next day, a
victim to the enmity of Najib, whose policy included
relentlessness. Ibrahim Gardi was taken from Shujaa by a mixture
of force and fraud. He was put into the charge of the Afghan
Vazir, and died in that charge a week after. A headless body,
supposed to be that of the Bhao, was found some twenty or thirty
miles off. The body, with that of the Peshwa's son, received the
usual honours of Hindu cremation at the prayer of the Nawab
Shujaa. Several pretenders to the name of this Oriental Sebastian
afterwards appeared from time to time; the last was in captivity
in 1782, when Warren Hastings procured his liberation.

After these things the allies moved to Dehli; but the Daurani
troops became mutinous and quarrelsome; and they parted on ill
terms. Shujaa marched back to Mahdi Ghat, whence he had come six
months before, with the titular appointment of Vazir of the
Empire. The Shah, having written to the fugitive Shah Alam, to
salute him as emperor, got what money he could out of the
exhausted treasury and departed to his own country. Najib Khan
remained at Dehli under the title of Najib-ud-daulah, with a son
of the absent emperor as ostensible regent. Having made these
dispositions, Ahmad the Abdali returned to his own country, and
only once again interposed actively in the affairs of the Indian

Such was the famous Campaign of Panipat, the first disaster, on a
great scale, of the power of the Mahratta confederacy, and the
besom which swept the land of Hindustan for the advent of the

It appears that, at this period, the Shahzada had applied to
Colonel Clive for an Asylum in Calcutta, while the Colonel was at
the same time in receipt of a letter from the minister at Dehli —
the unscrupulous Ghazi-ud-din — calling on him to arrest the
prince as a rebel and forward him to Court in custody. Clive
contented himself by sending him a small present in money. About
the same time, however, Clive wrote to Lord Chatham (then Prime
Minister, and Mr. Pitt), recommending the issue of orders
sanctioning his demanding the Viceroyship of the Eastern Subahs
on behalf of the King of England; an application which he
guaranteed the Emperor's granting on being assured of the
punctual payment of fifty lakhs a year, the estimated fifth of
the revenues. "This," he says, "has of late been very ill-paid,
owing to the distractions in the heart of the Moghul Empire,
which have prevented the Court from attending to their concerns
in those distant provinces." Although nothing came of these
proceedings, they are here noted as the presage of future events.



The English — Shujaa-ud-daulah — Shahzada enters Bihar; his
character — Ramnarayan defeated — M. Law — Battle of Gaya — March
towards Hindustan — Massacre of Patna — Flight of Kasim and Sumro
— Battle of Buxar — Treaty with British — Text of Treaty —
Establishment at Allahabad — Emperor's establishment —
Authorities cited — Broome's Bengal Army — Legal position.

THE events related in the foregoing introductory chapters had led
to a complete obscuration of the Timuride family and power.
Whether or no that dynasty was to resume its sway once more
depended entirely on the turn that events were to take at this
crisis; and chiefly on what might happen in the eastern provinces
of Bihar and Bengal, where a new power was rapidly making itself
felt. To that quarter, therefore, general attention was
henceforth drawn; and the new power — the English — began to be,
by common consent, treated as arbiter of the future. The Nawab of
Audh was also an important element in the problem, as it then
appeared; and the return of the ruler of Kabul to the plains
where he had so lately struck a blow that seemed decisive, was a
matter of almost daily expectation.

1759. — When in 1759 the heir to what was left of the empire of
Hindostan had gallantly cut his way through the myrmidons sent
against him by the ruthless Minister, he crossed the Jamna and
took refuge with Najib-ud-daulah, the Afghan, who was then at
Saharanpur in the Fifty-Two Parganas. But finding that noble
unable to afford him material support, and still fearing the
machinations of his enemy, he gradually retired to Lucknow,
intending perhaps to wait there until the return of the Abdali
leader might afford him an opportunity of turning upon the
Mohamadan and Hindu rebels.

The present viceroy of Audh was Shujaa-ud-daulah, the son of the
famous Safdar Jang, whom he equalled in ability, and far exceeded
in soldierly qualities. On his first succession to his father's
now almost independent fief he was young, and content with the
unbounded indulgence of those bodily faculties with which he was
largely endowed. He is described as extremely handsome, and above
the average stature; with an acute mind, somewhat too volatile;
and more prone by nature to the exercises of the field than to
the deliberations of the cabinet. But neither was the son of
Safdar Jang likely to be brought up wholly without lessons in
that base and tortuous selfishness which, in the East even more
than elsewhere, usually passes for statecraft; nor were those
lessons likely to be read in ears unprepared to understand them.
Shujaa's conduct in the late Rohilla war had been far from frank;
and he was particularly unwilling to throw himself irredeemably
into the cause of a ruined sovereign's fugitive heir. Foiled in
his application to the Viceroy of Audh, the Shahzada (Prince)
then turned to a member of the same family who held the Fort and
District of Allahabad, and was named Mohammad Kuli Khan. To this
officer he exhibited an imperial patent in his own name for the
lieutenancy of Bahar, Bengal, and Orissa, which were then the
theatre of wars between the British traders of Calcutta and the
family of the usurping Viceroy of those Subahs, Aliverdi Khan.
The Prince proposed to Mohammad Kuli that they should raise the
Imperial standard and reduce both competitors to their proper
level. The governor, a man of ambition and spirit, was warmly
encouraged to this scheme by his relation, the Viceroy of Audh
(for reasons of his own, which we shall speedily discover, Shujaa
highly approved of the arrangement); and a powerful official,
named Kamgar Khan, promised assistance in Bihar. Thus supported,
the Prince crossed the frontier stream (Karamnassa) in November,
1759, just at the time that his unfortunate father lost his life
in the manner related above. (Part I. chapter v.)

1760. — In the distracted state of the country it was more than a
month before the news of this tragedy arrived in camp, which was
then pitched at a village called Kanauti, in Bihar. The Prince
immediately assumed the succession, and, as a high aim leads to
high shooting, his title was to be nothing short of "sovereign of
the known world," or SHAH ALAM. He is recorded to have ordered
that his reign should be reckoned from the day of his father's
"martyrdom"; and there are firmans of his patent-office still
forthcoming in confirmation of the record. He was at once
recognised as emperor by all parties; and, for his part, he
wisely confirmed Shujaa-ud-daulah as Vazir; while he intrusted
the command of the army in Hindustan, in the room of the assassin
Ghazi, to Najib-ud-daulah, the Abdali's nominee.

Having made these arrangements he proceeded to collect revenue
and establish himself in Bihar. He was at this time a tall,
portly man, forty years old, or thereabout, with the
constitutional character of his race, and some peculiarities of
his own. Like his ancestors, he was brave, patient, dignified,
and merciful; but all contemporary accounts support the view
suggested by his whole history, and debit him with defects which
more than balanced these great virtues. His courage was rather of
the nature of fortitude than of that enterprising boldness which
was absolutely necessary in his situation. His clemency did great
harm when it led him to forgive and ignore all that was done to
him, and to lend his ear and his hand to any person of stronger
will who was nearest to him at the moment. His patience was of a
kind which ere long degenerated into a simple compromise with
fortune, in which he surrendered lofty hopes for the future in
exchange for immediate gratifications of sense. In a word,
writers unacquainted with English history have combined to
produce a picture which bears a strong likeness, both in features
and position, to that of Charles the Second of Britain, after the
death of his father.

The Eastern Subahs were at this time held by Clive's nominee, Mir
Jafar Khan, known in English histories as Meer Jaffier, and the
Deputy in Bihar was a Hindu man of business, named Raja
Ramnarayan. This official, having sent to Murshidabad and
Calcutta for assistance, attempted to resist the proceedings of
his sovereign; but the Imperial army defeated him with
considerable loss, and the Hindu official, wounded in body and
alarmed in mind, retired into the shelter of Patna, which the
Moghuls did not, at that time, think fit to attack.

Meantime, the army of the Nawab having been joined by a small
British contingent, marched to meet the Emperor, who was worsted
in an engagement that occurred on the 15th of February, 1760. On
this the Emperor adopted the bold plan of a flank march, by which
he should cut between the Bengal troops and their capital,
Murshidabad, and possess himself of that town in the absence of
its defenders. But before he could reach Murshidabad, he was
again overtaken and repulsed by the activity of the English (7th
April), and, being by this time joined by a small body of French
under a distinguished officer, he resolved to remain in Bihar and
set about the siege of Patna.

These French were a party of about one hundred officers and men
who had refused to join in the capitulation of Chandarnagar three
years before, and had since been wandering about the country
persecuted by their relentless victor Clive. Their leader was the
Chevalier Law, a relation of the celebrated speculator of the
Regency; and he now hastened to lay at the feet of the Royal
adventurer the skill and enterprise of his followers and himself.
His ambition was high and bold, perhaps more so than his previous
display of abilities might well warrant. But he soon saw enough
of the weakness of the Emperor, of the treachery and low motives
of the Moghul nobles, to contract the hopes his self-confidence
had fostered. To the historian Gholam Hossain Khan he said: —

"As far as I can see, there is nothing that you could call
government between Patna and Dehli. If men in the position of
Shujaa-ud-daulah would loyally join me, I could not only beat off
the English, but would undertake the administration of the

The very first step in this ambitious programme was never to be
taken. Whilst the Emperor with his new adherents — (and a hundred
Frenchmen under even such a leader as Law were as strong as a
reinforcement of many thousand native troops under a faithless
Moghul)—whilst these strangely matched associates were
beleaguering Patna, Captain Knox, at the head of a small body of
infantry, of which only 200 men were European, ran across the 300
miles between Murshidabad and Patna in the space of thirteen
days, and fell upon the Imperial army, whom he utterly routed and
drove southward upon Gaya. The Imperial army was now commanded by
Kamgar Khan; for Mohammad Kuli had returned to Allahabad, and
been murdered by his unscrupulous cousin Shujaa, who seized upon
the province and fort. The Emperor, as is evident from his
retreating southward, still hoped to raise the country in his
favour, and his hopes were so far justified that he was joined by
another Moghul officer, named Khadim Hossain. Thus reinforced, he
again advanced on Patna opposed by Knox, who in his turn had been
joined by a Hindu Raja named Shatab Rai. Another defeat was the
result, and the baffled sovereign at length evacuated the
country, and fled northward, pursued by the whole united forces
of the British and the Bengal Nawab. The son of the latter,
however, being killed in a thunderstorm in July, the allied
armies retired to cantonments at Patna, and the pertinacious
Imperialists once more posted themselves between that place and
the capital, at their old station of Gaya.

1761. — Early next year, therefore, the Anglo-Bengali troops once
more took the field, and encountering the Imperialists at Suan,
near the city of Bihar, gave them a fresh overthrow, in which Law
was taken prisoner, fighting to the last, and refusing to
surrender his sword, which he was accordingly permitted to

Next morning the British commander paid his respects to the
Emperor, who was now quite weary of the hopeless struggle he had
been maintaining for nearly two years, and who willingly departed
towards Hindustan. He had by this time heard of the battle of
Panipat, and of the plans formed by the Abdali for the
restoration of the empire; and there is reason to believe that,
but for the jealousy of Mir Kasim, whom a late revolution
(brought about by the English) had placed in the room of Mir
Jafar, the Emperor would have been at once reinstated at Dehli
under British protection. Before he went he created Mir Kasim
Subahdar; and the fiscal administration also vested in him, the
English having so determined. The Emperor was to have an annual
tribute of £240,000.

1762. — As affairs turned out there was much to be done and
suffered by the British before they had another opportunity of
interfering in the affairs of Hindustan; and a strange series of
vicissitudes impended upon the Emperor before he was to meet them
in the palace of his fathers. On his way to the northwest he fell
into the hands of the ambitious Nawab Vazir of Audh, who had
received the Abdali's orders to render the Emperor all
assistance, and who carried out the letter of these instructions
by retaining him for some two years in an honourable confinement,
surrounded by the empty signs of sovereignty, sometimes at
Benares, sometimes at Allahabad, and sometimes at Lucknow.

1763. — In the meanwhile the unscrupulous heroes who were
founding the British Government of India had thought proper to
quarrel with their new instrument Mir Kasim, whom they had so
lately raised to the Masnad of Bengal. This change in their
councils had been caused by an insubordinate letter addressed to
the Court of Directors by Clive's party, which had led to their
dismissal from employ. The opposition then raised to power
consisted of all the more corrupt members of the service; and the
immediate cause of their rupture with Mir Kasim was about the
monopoly they desired to have of the local trade for their own
private advantage. They were represented at that Nawab's Court by
Mr. Ellis, the most violent of their body; and the consequence of
his proceedings was, in no long time, seen in the murder of the
Resident and all his followers, in October, 1763. The scene of
this atrocity (which remained without a parallel for nearly a
century) was at Patna, which was then threatened and soon after
stormed by the British; and the actual instrument was a
Franco-German, Walter Reinhardt by name, of whom, as we are to
hear much more hereafter, it is as well here to take note.

This European executioner of Asiatic barbarity is generally
believed to have been a native of Treves, in the Duchy of
Luxemburg, who came to India as a sailor in the French navy. From
this service he is said to have deserted to the British, and
joined the first European battalion raised in Bengal. Thence
deserting he once more entered the French service; was sent with
a party who vainly attempted to relieve Chandarnagar, and was one
of the small party who followed Law when that officer took
command of those, who refused to share in the surrender of the
place to the British. After the capture of his ill-starred chief,
Reinhardt (whom we shall in future designate by his Indian
sobriquet of " Sumroo," or Sombre) took service under Gregory, or
Gurjin Khan, Mir Kasim's Armenian General.

Broome, however, adopts a somewhat different version. According
to this usually careful and accurate historian, Reinhardt was a
Salzburg man who originally came to India in the British service,
and deserted to the French at Madras, whence he was sent by Lally
to strengthen the garrison of the Bengal settlement. The details
are not very material: Sumroo had certainly learned war both in
English and French schools.

After the massacre of the British, Kasim and his bloodhound
escaped from Patna (which the British stormed and took on the 6th
of November), and found a temporary asylum in the dominions of
Shojaa-ud-daulah. That nobleman solemnly engaged to support his
former antagonist, and sent him for the present against some
enemies of his own in Bundelkand, himself marching to Benares
with his Imperial captive, as related in the preceding page.

1764. — In February, 1764, the avenging columns of the British
appeared upon the frontier, but the Sepoys broke into mutiny,
which lasted some time, and was with difficulty and but
imperfectly quelled by Colonel Carnac. Profiting by the delay and
confusion thus caused, the allies crossed into Bihar, and made a
furious, though ultimately unsuccessful attack upon the British
lines under the walls of Patna on the 3rd of May.
Shujaa-ud-daulah, the Nawab of Audh, temporarily retiring, the
Emperor resumed negotiations with the British commander; but
before these could be concluded, the latter was superseded by
Major (afterwards Sir Hector) Monro. This officer's arrival
changed the face of affairs. Blowing from guns twenty-four of the
most discontented of the sepoys, the Major led the now submissive
army westward to Buxar (Baksar), near the confluence of the
Karamnassa with the Ganges, where the two Nawabs (for Kasim and
the Audh Viceroy had now united their forces) encountered him to
be totally routed on the 23rd October, 1764.

The Emperor, who had taken no part in the action, came into the
camp on the evening of the following day. By the negotiations
which ultimately ensued, the British at last obtained a legal
position as administrators of the three Subahs, with the further
grant of the Benares and Ghazipur sarkars as fiefs of the Empire.
The remainder of the Subah of Allahabad was secured to the
Emperor with a pecuniary stipend which raised his income to the
nominal amount of a million a year of our money.

But the execution of these measures required considerable delay,
and some further exercise of that pertinacious vigour which
peculiarly distinguished the British in the eighteenth century.

Shujaa-ud-daulah fled first to Faizabad in his own territories;
but, hearing that Allahabad had fallen, and that the English were
marching on Lucknow, he had recourse to the Pathans of Rohilkand,
whose hospitality he afterwards repaid with characteristic
ingratitude. Not only did the chiefs of the Rohillas harbour the
Nawab Vazir's family at Bareilly, but they also lent him the aid
of 3,000 of their troops. Further supported by the restless
Mahrattas of Malhar Rao Holkar, a chief who always maintained
relations with the Musulmans, Shujaa returned to the conflict.

1765. — It may be easily imagined that what he failed to do with
the aid of Mir Kasim and his own territory, he did not effect
with his present friends as an exile; and Kasim having fled, and
Sumroo having entered the service of the Jats of Bhartpur, the
Vazir consented to negotiate with the English; the latter, under
strong pressure from Clive, who had lately returned to India,
showing themselves perfectly placable, now that it had become
impossible for them to insist upon the terms, so distasteful to
an Eastern chief, which required the surrender of his infamous
guests. General Carnac, who had resumed the command, gave the
Nawab and his allies a final defeat near Cawnpore, and drove the
Mahrattas across the Jamna. The treaty confirming the terms
broached after the battle of Buxar was now concluded, and Audh,
together with part of the Doab, made over to the Nawab Vazir
Shujaa-ud-daulah, who, being thus reinstated as a feudatory of
the British Diwans, returned to his own country, leaving Shah
'Alam at Allahabad as a British pensioner.

The terms accorded to the Emperor will be seen from the
counterpart issued by him, part of which is subjoined:—

" + + + Whereas, in consideration of the attachment and services
of the high and mighty, the noblest of nobles, the chief of
illustrious warriors, our faithful servants and loyal
well-wishers, worthy of royal favour the English Company, we have
granted to them the Diwani of the Soobahs of Bengal, Bahar, and
Orissa, from the beginning of the spring harvest of the Bengal
year 1171, as a free gift and fief (Al tumgha), without the
association of any other person, and with an exemption from the
payment of the tribute of the Diwan which used to be paid to this
court; it is therefore requisite that the said Company engage to
be security for the sum of twenty-six lakhs of rupees a year for
our revenue (which sum has been imposed upon the Nawab), and
regularly remit the same.

"Given on the 8th Safar, in the sixth year of our reign."

The Nawab was to continue Subahdar, the Company was to be his
colleague for purposes of civil and fiscal administration, they
were to support the Nawab's (Nizamat) expenses, and to pay the
tribute (Nazarana) in his name.

The Emperor's establishment during the next few years is thus
described by a British officer who enjoyed his intimacy: — "He
keeps the poor resemblance of a Court at Allahabad, where a few
ruined omrahs, in hopes of better days to their prince, having
expended their fortunes in his service, still exist, the ragged
pensioners of his poverty, and burden his gratitude with their
presence. The districts in the king's possession are valued at
thirty lakhs, which is one-half more than they are able to bear.
Instead of gaining by this bad policy, that prince, unfortunate
in many respects, has the mortification to see his poor subjects
oppressed by those who farm the revenue, while he himself is
obliged to compound with the farmers for half the stipulated sum.
This, with the treaty payment from the revenues of Bengal, is all
Shah Alum possesses to support the dignity of the Imperial house
of Timor. [Dow. ii. 356, A.D. 1767.]

The following further particulars respecting Shah 'Alam's Court
at this period are furnished by Gholam Hossain, and should be
noted here as relating to personages of some of whom we shall
hear more anon.

Mirza Najaf Khan, the Imperial General, was a Persian noble of
high, even of royal, extraction, and destined to play a
conspicuous part in the events related in a large portion of the
remainder of this history. It will suffice, for the present, to
state that, having been a close follower of Mohammad Kuli, he
joined the British after that Chief's murder (Vide Sup. p. 68)
and was by them recommended to the Emperor for employment. He
received a stipend of one lakh a year, and was nominated Governor
of Kora, where he occupied himself in the suppression of
banditti, and in the establishment of the Imperial authority.
Under the modest state of steward of the household,
Manir-ud-daulah was the Emperor's most trusted councillor and
medium of communication with the English. Raja Ram Nath, whom we
saw accompanying the prince in his escape from Dehli, continued
about him; but the chief favourite was an illiterate ruffian
called by the title Hissam-ud-daulah, who stooped to any baseness
whereby he could please the self-indulgent monarch by pandering
to his lowest pursuits. The duties of the office of Vazir were
delegated by Shujaa to his son Saadat Ali, who afterwards
succeeded him as Nawab of Audh.

Fallen as the Emperor truly was, and sincerely as we may
sympathize with his desire to raise the fortunes of his life, it
might have been well for him to have remained content with the
humble but guaranteed position of a protected Titular, rather
than listen to the interested advice of those who ministered, for
their own purposes, to his natural discontent.

In this chapter I have been partly referring to Mill. Not only is
that indefatigable historian on his strongest ground when
describing battles and negotiations of the British from civil and
military despatches recorded at the India House, but in treating
of the movements of the native powers he has had access to a
translation of the very best native work upon the subject — the
Siar-ul-mutakharin — which was written by Ghulam Hossain Khan, a
Musalman gentleman of Patna, himself an eye-witness of many of
the scenes described. His account of the capture of Law, for
example, given at length in a foot-note to Mill's short account
of the action of Gaya after which the affair occurred, is full of
truthfulness and local colour.

Since, however, the events were already amply detailed, and the
best authorities exhausted in a standard work accessible to most
English readers; and since, moreover, they did not occur in
Hindustan, and only indirectly pertained to the history of that
country, I have not thought it necessary to relate them more
minutely than was required to elucidate the circumstances which
led to the Emperor Shah Alam becoming, for the first time, a
pensioner on British bounty, or a dependent on British policy.

Those who require a complete account of the military part of the
affair will find it admirably given in Broome's Bengal Army, a
work of which it is to be regretted that the first volume alone
has hitherto been made public. Of the value of this book it would
be difficult to speak too highly. Coming from the pen of an
accomplished professional man, it sets forth, in a manner no
civilian could hope to rival, the early exploits of that army of
which the author was a member. It may be well to note, in
concluding this chapter, what appears to have been at this time
the legal relation of the British settlers in Bengal towards the
Government of the Empire. In 1678 the Company's Agents had
obtained a patent conferring upon them the power of trading in
Bengal. In 1696 they purchased from the Nawab the land
surrounding their factory, and proceeded to protect it by rude
fortifications. A number of natives soon began to settle here
under the protection of the British; and when the Nawab, on this
account, was desirous of sending a judicial officer to reside
among them, the factors staved off the measure by means of a
donation in money. The grant of land and permission of a formal
kind for the fortifications followed in 1716 on Mr. Hamilton's
cure of the Emperor Farokhsiar. During all this period tribute
continued to be paid (nominally at least) to the Emperor; but in
1759, by espousing, as stated in the beginning of this chapter,
the cause of Mir Jafar, the British committed acts of open
rebellion against the Sovereign. By the treaty of Benares,
however, they returned to their nominal allegiance, and became
once more subjects, tenants and even subordinate officials of the
Great Moghul ( Vide Judgment of Lord Brougham in the case of the
Mayor of Lyons v. East India Company). Elphinstone (Rise of Brit.
Power, 438ΔΔ) finds this "treaty difficult to explain." But the
fact is that all the contemporaneous powers concerned looked upon
the Empire as the legitimate source of authority; and not only
then but for many years after. The British had no legal status
until they received the Emperor's grant; and to think of the
arrangement as "a treaty" may be a source of misapprehension.


A.D. 1765-71.

Najib-ud-daulah and Jawan Bakht — The Jats — Bhartpur State —
Suraj Mal — Najib attacks Jats — Negotiations — Death of Suraj
Mal — Jats attack Jaipur — Return of the Mahrattas — They attack
Bhartpur — Rohillas yield — Death of Najib — State of Rohilkand —
Zabita Khan — Mahrattas invite Emperor to return to Dehli.

AT the conclusion of Part I. we saw that the Abdali ruler of
Kabul had returned to his own land, soon after the battle of
Panipat, in 1761, having recognized the legitimate claims of the
exiled heir to the throne (1764), and placed that prince's eldest
son, Mirza Jawan Bakht, in the nominal charge of affairs, under
the protection of Najib-ud-daulah, the Rohilla (Indian Afghan). A
better choice could not have been made in either case. The young
regent was prudent and virtuous, as was usual with the men of his
august house during their earlier years, and the premier noble
was a man of rare intelligence and integrity. Being on good terms
with his old patrons, Dundi Khan Rohilla, and the Nawab of Audh,
Shujaa-ud-daulah, and maintaining a constant understanding with
Malhar Rao Holkar, whom we have seen deserting the cause of his
countrymen, and thus exempted from their general ruin at Panipat,
Najib-ud-daulah swayed the affairs of the dwindled empire with
deserved credit and success. The Mahratta collectors were
expelled from the districts of the Doab, while Agra admitted a
Jat garrison; nor did the discomfited freebooters of the southern
confederacy make any farther appearance in Hindustan for eight
years, if we except the share borne by Malhar Rao, acting on his
own account in the disastrous campaign against the British in

The area on which these exertions were made was at first but
small, and the lands directly swayed by Najib-ud-daulah were
bounded, within 100 miles south of the capital, by the
possessions of the Jats, who, however, were at the time friendly.

Of the rise of this singular people few authentic records appear
to exist. It is, however, probable that they represent a later
wave of that race, whether true Sudras, or a later wave of
immigrants from Central Asia, which is found farther south as
Mahratta; and perhaps they had, in remote times, a Scythian
origin like the earlier and nobler Rajputs. They affect Rajput
ways, although the Rajputs would disdain their kinship; and they
give to their chiefs the Rajput title of "Thakur," a name common
to the Deity and to great earthly lords, and now often used to
still lower persons. So much has this practice indeed extended,
that some tribes use the term generically, and speak of
themselves as of the "Thakur" race. These, however, are chiefly
pure Rajputs. It is stated, by an excellent authority, that even
now the Jats "can scarcely be called pure Hindus, for they have
many observances, both domestic and religious, not consonant with
Hindu precepts. There is a disposition also to reject the fables
of the Puranic Mythology, and to acknowledge the unity of the
Godhead." (Elliot's Glossary, in voce "Jat.") Wherever they are
found, they are stout yeomen; able to cultivate their fields, or
to protect them, and with strong administrative habits of a
somewhat republican cast. Within half a century, they have four
times tried conclusions with the might of Britain. The Jats of
Bhartpur fought Lord Lake with success, and Lord Combermere with
credit; and their "Sikh" brethren in the Panjab shook the whole
fabric of British India on the Satlaj, in 1845, and three years
later on the field of Chillianwala. The Sikh kingdom has been
broken up, but the Jat principality of Bhartpur still exists,
though with contracted limits, and in a state of complete
dependence on the British Government. There is also a thriving
little principality — that of Dholpur — between Agra and Gwalior,
under a descendant of the Jat Rana of Gohad, so often met with in
the history of the times we are now reviewing (v. inf. p. 128.)
It is interesting to note further, that some ethnologists have
regarded this fine people as of kin to the ancient GetΎ, and to
the Goths of Europe, by whom not only Jutland, but parts of the
south-east of England and Spain were overrun, and to some extent
peopled. It is, therefore, possible that the yeomen of Kent and
Hampshire have blood relations in the natives of Bhartpur and the

The area of the Bhartpur State is at present 2,000 square miles,
and consists of a basin some 700 feet above sea level, crossed by
a belt of red sandstone rocks. It is hot and dry; but in the
skilful hands that till it, not unfertile; and the population has
been estimated at near three-quarters of a million.

At the time at which our history has arrived, the territory
swayed by the chiefs of the Jats was much more extensive, and had
undergone the fate of many another military republic, by falling
into the hands of the most prudent and daring of a number of
competent leaders. It has already been shown (in Part I.) how
Suraj Mal, as Raja of the Bhartpur Jats, joined the Mahrattas in
their resistance to the great Musalman combination of 1760. Had
his prudent counsels been followed, it is possible that this
resistance would have been more successful, and the whole history
of Hindustan far otherwise than what it has since been. But the
haughty leader of the Hindus, Sheodasheo Rao Bhao, regarded Suraj
Mal as a petty landed chief not accustomed to affairs on a grand
scale, and so went headlong on his fate.

Escaping, like his friend Holkar, from the disaster of Panipat —
though in a less discreditable way, for he did not profess to
take the field and then fly in the midst of battle, as the other
did — Suraj Mal took an early opportunity of displacing the
Mahratta Governor of the important fort of Agra, and at the same
time, occupied some strong places in the Mewat country. The
sagacious speculator, about the same time, dropped the falling
cause of Ghazi-ud-din, whose method of statesmanship was too
vigorous for his taste, and who, as has been above shown, retired
soon after from a situation which he had aided to render
impracticable. But a criminal of greater promise, about the same
time, joined Suraj Mal. This was none other than the notorious
Sumroo, who had wisely left his late protector the Nawab of Audh,
at the head of a battalion of Sepoys, a detail of artillery, and
some three hundred European ruffians of all countries.

Thus supported, the bucolic sagacity of the Jat Raja began for
the first time to fail him, and he made demands which seemed to
threaten the small remains of the Moghul Empire. Najib-ud-daulah
took his measures with characteristic promptitude and prudence.
Summoning the neighbouring Musalman chiefs to the aid of Islam
and of the empire, he took the field at the head of a small but
well-disciplined Moghul army, and soon found the opportunity to
strike a decisive blow.

In this campaign the premier was so fortunate as to obtain solid
assistance from the Biloch chiefs of Farokhnagar and Bahadurgarh,
who were in those days powerful upon both banks of the Jamna up
to as far north as Saharanpur on the eastern, and Hansi on the
western side. The actual commencement of hostilities between
Suraj Mal and the Moghuls arose from a demand made by the former
for the Faujdarship (military prefecture) of the small district
of Farokhnagar. Unwilling to break abruptly with the Jat chief,
Najib had sent an envoy to him, in the first instance, pointing
out that the office he solicited involved a transfer of the
territory, and referring him to the Biloch occupant for his
consent. The account of the negotiation is so characteristic of
the man and the time, that I have thought it worth preserving.
The Moghul envoy introduced himself — in conformity with Eastern
custom — by means of a gift, which, in this instance, consisted
of a handsome piece of flowered chintz, with which the rural
potentate was so pleased that he ordered its immediate conversion
into a suit of clothes. Since this was the only subject on which
the Jat chief would for the present converse, the Moghul proposed
to take his leave, trusting that he might reintroduce the subject
of the negotiations at a more favourable moment. "Do nothing
rashly, Thakur Sahib," said the departing envoy; "I will see you
again to-morrow." "See me no more," replied the inflated boor,
"if these negotiations are all that you have to talk of." The
disgusted envoy took him at his word, and returned to Najib with
a report of the interview. "Is it so?" said the premier. "Then we
must fight the unbeliever; and if it be the pleasure of the Most
High God, we will assuredly smite him."

But before the main body of the Moghuls had got clear of the
capital, Suraj Mal had arrived near Shahdara on the Hindan,
within six miles of Dehli; and, had he retained the caution of
his earlier years, he might have at once shut up the Imperialists
in their walled city. But the place being an old hunting-ground
of the Emperor's the Thakur's motive in coming had been chiefly
the bravado of saying that he had hunted in a royal park, and he
was therefore only attended by his personal staff. While he was
reconnoitring in this reckless fashion, he was suddenly
recognised by a flying squadron of Moghul horse, who surprised
the Jats, and killed the whole party, bringing the body of the
chief to Najib. The minister could not at first believe in this
unhoped-for success, nor was he convinced until the envoy who had
recently returned from the Jat camp identified the body by means
of his own piece of chintz, which formed its raiment. Meanwhile
the Jat army was marching up in fancied security from
Sikandrabad, under Jowahir Singh, the son of their chief, when
they were suddenly charged by the Moghul advanced guard, with the
head of Suraj Mal borne on a horseman's lance as their standard.
In the panic which ensued upon this ghastly spectacle, the Jats
were thoroughly routed and driven back into their own country.
This event occurred towards the end of the year.

Foiled in their unaided attempt, they next made a still more
signal mistake in allying themselves with Malhar Rao Holkar, who,
as we have seen, was secretly allied to the Musalmans. At first
they were very successful, and besieged the premier for three
months in Dehli; but Holkar suddenly deserted them, as was only
to have been expected had they known what we know now; and they
were fain to make the best terms that they could, and return to
their own country, with more respectful views towards the empire
and its protector.

But the young Thakur's thirst of conquest was by no means
appeased, and he proceeded in 1765 to attack Madhu Sing, the
Rajput ruler of Jaipur, son of the Kachwaha Raja Jai Singh, who
had lately founded a fine city there in lieu of the ancestral
site, Amber. Descended from Kusha, the eldest son of the Hindu
demigod Rama, this tribe appears to have been once extensive and
powerful, traces of them being still found in regions as far
distant from each other as; Gwalior and the Northern Doab. (Vide
Elliot, in voc.) In this attempt Jowahir appears to have been but
feebly sustained by Sumroo, who immediately deserted to the
victors, after his employer had been routed at the famous Lake of
Pokar, near Ajmir. Jowahir retreated first upon Alwar, thence he
returned to Bhartpur, and soon after took up his abode at Agra,
where he not long afterwards was murdered, it is said at the
instigation of the Jaipur Raja. A period of very great confusion
ensued in the Jat State; nor was it till two more of the sons of
Suraj Mal had perished — one certainly by violence — that the
supremacy of the remaining son, Ranjit Singh, was secured. In his
time the Jat power was at its height; he swayed a country thick
with strongholds, from Alwar on the N.W. to Agra on the S.W.,
with a revenue of two millions sterling, and an army of 60,000

Meantime the Mahrattas, sickened by their late encounter with
Carnac (p. 73), and occupied with their own domestic disputes in
the Deccan, paid little or no attention to the affairs of
Hindustan; and the overtures made to them by the Emperor in 1766,
from Allahabad, were for the time disregarded, though it is
probable that they caused no little uneasiness in the British
Presidency, where it was not desired that the Emperor should be
restored by such agency.

At this period Najib, as minister in charge of the metropolis and
its immediate dependencies, though skilfully contending against
many obstacles, yet had not succeeded in consolidating the empire
so much as to render restoration a very desirable object to an
Emperor living in ease and security. Scarcely had the premier
been freed from the menace of the Eastern Jats by his own prowess
and by their subsequent troubles, than their kindred of the
Panjab began to threaten Dehli from the west. Fortunately for the
minister, his old patron, the Abdali, was able to come to his
assistance; and in April, 1767, having defeated the Sikhs in
several actions, Ahmad once more appeared in the neighbourhood of
Panipat, at the head of 50,000 Afghan horse.

He seems to have been well satisfied with the result of the
arrangements that he had made after crushing the Mahrattas in the
same place six years before; only that he wrote a sharp reprimand
to Shujaa-ud-daulah for his conduct towards the Emperor. But
this, however well deserved, would not produce much effect on
that graceless politician, when once the Afghan had returned to
his own country. This he soon after did, and appeared no more on
the troubled scene of Hindustan.

Profiting by the disappearance of their enemy, the Mahrattas,
having arranged their intestine disputes, crossed the Chambal (a
river flowing eastward into the Jamna from the Ajmir plateau),
and fell upon the Jaipur country towards the end of 1768. Hence
they passed into Bhartpur, where they exacted tribute, and whence
they threatened Dehli in 1769. Among their leaders were two of
whom much will be seen hereafter. One was Madhoji Sindhia—"Patel"
—the other was Takuji Holkar. The first of these was the natural
son of Ranoji Sindhia, and inherited, with his father's power,
the animosity which that chief had always felt against Najib and
the Rohillas. The other was a leader in the army of Malhar Rao
Holkar (who had lately died), and, like his master, was friendly
to the Pathans. Thus, with the hereditary rivalry of their
respective clans, these foremost men of the Mahratta army
combined a traditional difference of policy, which was destined
to paralyze the Mahratta proceedings, not only in this, but in
many subsequent campaigns.

1770. — Aided by Holkar, the Dehli Government entered into an
accommodation with the invaders, in which the Jats were
sacrificed, and the Rohillas were shortly after induced by
Najib-ud-daulah to enter into negotiations. These led to the
surrender to the Mahrattas of the Central Doab, between the
provinces held by the Emperor to the eastward, and the more
immediate territories administered in his name from Dehli. These
latter tracts were spared in pursuance of the negotiations with
the Emperor which were still pending.

Soon after these transactions the prudent and virtuous minister
died, and was succeeded in his post by his son, Zabita Khan. It
is not necessary to enlarge upon the upright and faithful
character of Najib-ud-daulah, which has been sufficiently obvious
in the course of our narrative, as have also his skill and
courage. It would have been well for the empire had his posterity
inherited the former qualities. Had Zabita, for instance,
followed in his father's steps, and had the Emperor at the same
time been a man of more decision, it was perhaps even then
possible for a restoration to have taken place, in which, backed
by the power of Rohilkand, and on friendly terms with the
British, the Court of Dehli might have played off Holkar against
Sindhia, and shaken off all the irksome consequences of a
Mahratta Protectorate.

The preceding record shows how superior Najib-ud-daulah's
character and genius were to those of the native Hindustani
nobles. It may be interesting to see how he impressed a European
contemporary, who had excellent opportunities of judging:—

"He is the only example in Hindustan of, at once, a great and a
good character. He raised himself from the command of fifty horse
to his present grandeur entirely by his superior valour,
integrity, and strength of mind. Experience and abilities have
supplied the want of letters and education, and the native
nobleness and goodness of his heart have amply made amends for
the defect of his birth and family. He is now about sixty years
of age, borne down by fatigue and sickness." — (Mr. Verelst, to
the Court of Directors, March 28th, 1768, ap. Mill.)

Since this prominent mention has been made of the Rohillas, and
since they are now for a short time to play a yet more
conspicuous part in the fortunes of the falling empire, it will
be well to give a brief description of their situation at the

It has been seen how Ali Mohammad rose in the reign of Mohammad
Shah, and had been removed from Rohilkand by the aid of Safdar
Jang, the Viceroy of Audh. On the latter falling into disgrace,
Ali Mohammad returned to his native province about A.D. 1746. In
the next two or three years he continued successfully to
administer the affairs of the fair and fertile tract, but,
unfortunately for his family, died before his heirs were capable
of acting for themselves. Two relations of the deceased chief
acted as regents — Dundi Khan, the early patron of Najib, and
Rahmat Khan, known in India by the title of Hafiz, or
"Protector." Safdar Jang continued to pursue them with relentless
purpose; and although the important aid of Ahmad, their foreign
fellow-clansman, and the necessity of combining against the
Mahrattas, prevented the Audh Viceroy's hostility from taking any
very active form, yet there can be no doubt but that he
bequeathed it to his successor, Shujaa, along with many other
unscrupulous designs. The Rohilla Pathans, for their part, were
as a race determined fighters, but generally false, fickle, and

In 1753 the elder son of Ali Mohammad had made an attempt to
remove the Protector and his colleague from their post. It was
not successful, and its only result was to sow dissensions among
the Rohillas, which caused their final ruin. In 1761, however,
they bore a part in the temporary overthrow of the Mahrattas at
Panipat; and during the next seven years the Rohilla power had
passed the frontier of the Ganges, and overflowed the Central
Doab, while the Najibabad family (who had a less close connection
with local politics, but were powerful kinsmen and allies) had
possession of the Upper Doab, up to the Siwalik Hills, above
Saharanpur. Nevertheless, this seeming good fortune was neither
permanent nor real.

In 1769, as we have just seen, Najib, though well disposed, was
unable to prevent the Central Doab from passing under the
Mahratta sway, and he died soon after its occupation occurred.
Dundi Khan also passed away about the same time; and the
Protector Rahmat was left alone in the decline of his
ever-darkening days, to maintain, as best he might, an usurped
authority menaced by a multitude of foes.

Zabita Khan, the son and successor of the late minister, and
himself an Afghan or Pathan by race, did nevertheless for a time
contribute to the resources of the Protector, his co-religionist
and quasi countryman.

He may, therefore, be reckoned amongst the Rohillas at this
period; and, as far as extent of territory went, he might have
been an ally of some importance. But territory in imbecile hands
and with foes like the Mahrattas was anything but a source of
strength. While these indefatigable freebooters spread themselves
over the whole Upper and Central Doab, and occupied all Rohilkand
— excepting the small territory of Farakhabad, to the south of
the latter and north of the former — Zabita khan, instead of
endeavouring to prepare for the storm, occupied himself in
irritating the Emperor, by withholding the tribute due at
Allahabad, and by violating the sanctity of the Imperial zenana
at Dehli by intrigues with the Begams.

Thus passed the winter of 1770-71, at the end of which the
Mahrattas swarmed into the Doab, and occupied the metropolis;
only respecting the palace, where the Prince Regent and the
Imperial family continued to reside. Zabita, having organized no
plan, could offer no resistance, and escaped towards his
northward possessions.

By the connivance of his hereditary ally, Takuji Holkar (as Grant
Duff supposes), he left the field open for the Deccani marauders
to treat directly with Shah Alam for his restoration to the
throne of his father.

NOTE. — The authority chiefly followed in the portion of this
chapter that relates to Rohilla affairs, has been Hamilton's
"History of the Rohillas," a valuable collection of
contemporaneous memoirs, although not always quite impartial.
Captain Grant Duff's research and fairness are beyond all praise,
wherever transactions of the Mahrattas are concerned. The sketch
of Jat politics is derived from the Siar-ul-Mutakharin and the
Tarikh-i-Mozafari; but it is as well to state, once for all that
the native chroniclers seldom present anything like complete
materials for history. A credulous and uncritical record of
gossip combined with a very scanty analysis of character and
motive characterizes their works, which are rather a set of
highly-coloured pictures without proportion or perspective, than
those orderly annals from which history elsewhere has chiefly
been compiled.


A.D. 1771-76.

Agency of Restoration — Madhoji Sindhia - Zabita attacked — Mirza
Najaf Khan — Flight of Zabita — Treaty with Rohillas — Zabita
regains office — Mahrattas attack Dehli — Desperation of Mirza
Najaf — Mahrattas attack Rohilkand — Opposed by British — Advance
of Audh Troops — Re-employment of Mirza — Abdul Ahid Khan —
Suspicious conduct of Hafiz Rahmat and Rohillas — Tribute
withheld by Hafiz Rahmat - Battle of Kattra — Death of
Shujaa-ud-daulah — Campaign against Jats — Najaf Kuli Khan —
Successes of the Imperial Army — Zabita and Sikhs — Death of Mir

IT would be interesting to know the exact terms upon which the
Mahrattas engaged to restore the Emperor to his throne in the
palace of Shahjahan. But, since they have even escaped the
research of Captain Grant Duff, who had access to the archives of
Punah, it is hopeless for any one else to think of recovering
them. The emissary employed appears to have been the person of
indifferent character who, like the Brounker and Chiffinch of the
English restoration of 1660, had been usually employed in less
dignified agencies. Unacquainted with this man's name, we must be
content to take note of him by his title of Hissam, or Hashim Ud
Daula. The Mahrattas were, amongst other rewards, to receive a
present fee of ten lakhs of rupees (nominally expressible at
£100,000 sterling, but in those days representing as much,
perhaps, as ten times that amount of our present money), nor
would they stir in the matter until they received the sum in hard
cash. It is also probable that the cession of the provinces of
Allahabad and Korah formed part of the recompense they hoped to
receive hereafter.

Though the Emperor, if he guaranteed this latter gift, was
parting from a substance in order to obtain a shadow, yet the
very receipt of that substance by the others depended upon
circumstances over which they had (as the phrase is) no control.
Early in the year 1771 the Emperor had sent to the authorities in
Calcutta, to consult them on his proposed movements; and they had
strongly expressed their disapprobation. But Shujaa-ud-daula, for
reasons of his own, earnestly, though secretly, encouraged the
enterprise. The Emperor set out in the month of May, at the head
of a small but well-appointed army, amongst whom was a body of
sepoys drilled after the European fashion, and commanded by a
Frenchman named Medoc, an illiterate man, but a good soldier. The
command-in-chief was held by Mirza Najaf Khan. A British
detachment, under Major-General Sir Robert Barker, attended him
to the Korah frontier, where the General repeated, for the last
time, the unwelcome dissuasions of his Government. The Emperor
unheedingly moved on, as a ship drives on towards a lee shore;
and the British power closed behind his wake, so that no trace of
him or his Government ever reappeared in the provinces that he
had so inconsiderately left.

From this date two great parties in the Empire are clearly
defined; the Musalmans, anxious to retain (and quarrel over) the
leavings of the great Afghan leader, Ahmad Abdali; and the
Mahrattas, anxious to revenge and repair the losses of Panipat.
The Audh Viceroy acts henceforth for his own hand — ready to
benefit by the weakness of whichever party may be worsted; and
the British, with more both of vigour and of moderation, follow a
like course of conduct.

Arrived at Farrukhabad, the Imperial adventurer confirmed the
succession of that petty state to the Bangash chief, whose father
was lately dead, and received at the investiture a fine
(peshkash) of five lakhs of rupees. He then cantoned his army in
the neighbourhood, and awaited the cessation of the periodical
rains. The Mahratta army, some 30,000 strong, was still encamped
at Dehli, but Madhoji Sindhia, the Patel, waited upon the Emperor
in his cantonments, and there concluded whatever was wanting of
the negotiations. The Emperor then proceeded, and entered his
capital on Christmas Day.

At that time of year Dehli enjoys a climate of great loveliness;
and it may be supposed that the unhappy citizens, for their
parts, would put on their most cheerful looks and the best
remnants of their often plundered finery, to greet the return of
their lawful monarch. The spirit of loyalty to persons and to
families is very strong in the East, and we can imagine that, as
the long procession marched from Shahdara and crossed the shrunk
and sandy Jamna, Shah Alam, from the back of his chosen elephant,
looked down upon a scene of hope and gaiety enough to make him
for the moment forget both the cares of the past and the
anxieties of the future, and feel himself at last every inch a

1772. — Whatever may have been his mood, his new allies did not
leave him to enjoy it long. Within three weeks of his return to
the palace of his forefathers, he was induced to take the field;
and he set out northward at the head of 90,000 men, the greater
number of whom were Mahratta horsemen. It has already been shown
that Zabita Khan had escaped to his own estates a year before.
The Bawani Mahal (comprising fifty-two pergunnahs, now included
in the districts of Saharanpur and Muzaffarnaggar) contained
three strongholds: Pathargarh on the left, Sukhartal on the right
of the Ganges, and Ghausgarh, near Muzaffarnagar. The first two
had been built by the late minister, Najib-ud-daulah, to protect
the ford which led to his fief in the north-western corner of
Rohilkand, for the Ganges is almost always fordable here, except
in the high floods. The last was the work of Zabita Khan himself,
and its site is still marked by a mosque of large size and fine
proportions. Upon these points the first attacks of the
Imperialists were directed. Ghausgarh was hurriedly evacuated at
their approach to be completely plundered; and Zabita was soon
driven to take refuge in his eastern fort of Pathargarh, nearest
to any aid that the Rohilkand Pathans might be able and willing
to afford. The open country, and minor strongholds and towns were
left to the mercy of the invaders.

Although this campaign was dictated by a Mahratta policy, yet the
small Moghul nucleus bore a certain part, being ably commanded by
the Persian, Mirza Najaf Khan, who has been already mentioned as
Governor of Korah, and of whom we shall hear frequently during
the account of the next ten years.

This nobleman, who bore the title "Mirza" in token of belonging
to the late royal family of Persia, evinced the same superiority
over the natives of India which usually characterized the
original immigrants. He had married his sister to a brother of
the former Viceroy, Safdar Jang, and attached himself to the late
unfortunate Governor of Allahabad, Mohammad Kuli Khan, a son of
his brother-in-law (though whether his own nephew or by another
mother does not appear). On the murder of the Governor by his
unscrupulous cousin Shujaa, Najaf Khan succeeded to his place in
the favour of the Emperor, and commanded, as we have seen, the
force which accompanied the Emperor on his restoration.

To the combined armies Zabita opposed a spirited resistance; but
the aid of the Rohilla Afghans (or Pathans, as they are called in
India) was delayed by the menacing attitude of Shujaa; and the
Mahratta and Moghul armies having crossed the Ganges by a mixture
of boldness and stratagem, Zabita Khan fled to the Jat country,
leaving his family and the greater part of the treasures amassed
by his father to fall into the hands of the enemy.

This occasion is especially memorable, because among the children
of Zabita was his eldest son, a beautiful youth, named Gholam
Kadir Khan, whom the Emperor is said, by tradition, to have
transmuted into a haram page, and who lived to exact a fearful
vengeance for any ill-treatment that he may have received.

At the approach of the monsoon the Emperor, dissatisfied at not
receiving the whole of the share of the spoils promised him by
his covetous allies, returned to the metropolis. The Mahrattas
(who even during his presence in the camp had paid him but scanty
respect) now threw off the last shreds of disguise, and
appropriated all the profits of the campaign. They at the same
time restored to Zabita Khan — whom they hoped hereafter to make
into a serviceable tool — the members of his family taken at
Pathargarh; receiving in exchange a ransom of a lakh and a half
of rupees, which was advanced to them on Zabita's account, by the
Viceroy Shujaa-ud-daulah.

The rainy season of 1772 was spent by the Emperor at Dehli; by
the Mahrattas at Agra and in the neighbourhood. They would
willingly have proceeded to complete the reduction of all
Rohilkand, but that Mirza Najaf flatly refused to join or
sanction such a course; seeing clearly that it must involve a
collision with Shujaa-ud-daulah, who was supported by the British
alliance, and of whose traditional policy the annexation of the
province formed an essential part. The Rohillas, on their part,
occupied themselves in negotiations with the Audh Viceroy, in the
hope of reconstructing the Mohamadan League, which had once been
so successful.

The result of which was a treaty, drawn up under the good offices
of the British general, Sir R. Barker, by which the protector,
Hafiz Rahmat Khan, bound himself to join Shujaa in any steps he
might take for the assistance of Zabita Khan, and pay him forty
lakhs of rupees, in four annual instalments upon condition of the
Mahrattas being expelled from Rohilkand. This treaty, which
proved the ruin of the Rohillas, was executed on the 11th of
July, 1772.

The next step in the destruction of these brave but impolitic
Pathans was the outbreak of several violent quarrels, in which
brother fought against brother and father against son. Zabita
Khan, meanwhile, being secretly urged by the faithless Shujaa,
had made terms for himself with the Mahrattas, who engaged to
procure not only his pardon but his investiture with the office
of Premier Noble, formerly held by his father, Najib-ud-daulah.
Their barefaced boldness in restoring Zabita Khan's family and
appropriating the ransom paid to the Emperor's account for them
has been already mentioned.

With the view of paving the way for the removal from power of
Mirza Najaf, they next addressed themselves to creating
disturbances in the country around Dehli. For they knew that this
would at once alarm the Emperor and involve the Mirza in
difficulty and danger; and they foresaw in the result of such
intrigues an easy method of ruining one whom they justly regarded
as an obstacle to the recall to office of their protege Zabita.
They accordingly instigated Ranjit Singh, the ruler of the
Bhartpur Jats, to prefer a claim to the fief of Balamgarh, held
by a petty chieftain of his own nation. This chief solicited aid
from the Emperor against his powerful rival; and in the end of
the year 1772 Mirza Najaf Khan, who henceforth figures in the
native histories by his newly-acquired title of
Zulfikar-ud-daulah, sent a force under a Biloch leader to the aid
of the Balamgarh man. The Mahrattas, on the other hand, sent a
force from Agra, which joining with the Bhartpur Jats, forced the
Imperialists to retreat towards the capital; but the Patel,
disapproving of the Rohilla element contributed to this
confederacy by the presence of Zabita Khan, retired towards
Jaipur, where he occupied himself in plundering the Rajputs.
Takuji Holkar and the other Mahratta chiefs, feeling strong
enough to dispense with his aid, and anxious, for reasons of
their own, to fulfil their promise to Zabita, advanced towards
Dehli, but were met at a place called Baddarpur, ten miles south
of the city, by a force under the minister himself. In the action
which ensued, the Moghul force which, though well disciplined and
well led by Mirza Najaf, seconded by M. Medoc and some efficient
native officers, was numerically weak, fell back upon Humayun's
tomb, within four miles of the palace of New Dehli. Here ensued a
series of skirmishes, which lasted four days; till the Mirza
having had a nephew slain, retreated to the new town by way of
Daryaoganj, followed by a strong detachment of the enemy. He
still obstinately defended the palace and its environs; but
Hissam-ud-daulah (whose backstair influence has been already
mentioned) went in person to the Mahratta camp the following day,
and informed them, as from his master, that the brave minister
would be sacrificed by his weak and ungrateful master. Holkar and
his train of black and unkempt pygmies swarmed insolently into
the palace, where they dictated their own terms. The Mahrattas,
who were anxious to return to the Deccan, were not disposed to
make difficulties; their main terms were the restoration to the
office of premier noble of Zabita Khan, and the cession of those
provinces in the Lower Doab which had been under the direct sway
of the Emperor, while he enjoyed British protection. These terms
being granted, they picked a quarrel with Mirza Najaf Khan, about
a payment which he was alleged to have guaranteed them during the
Sukhartal campaign, and obtained an order from the Emperor
banishing him the court. These events occurred at the end of
December, just a twelvemonth after the unfortunate monarch's

1773 — Finding Zabita Khan in office, and the pander Hisam in
high favour, the heroic ax-minister, having still with him a
strong and faithful escort of Moghul horse, together with the
remains of the trained infantry, and having sent to Saharanpur
for his adopted son, Afrasyab Khan, who had some squadrons with
him for the protection of that district, threw himself into a
fortified house outside the Kabul Gate of the city. The forces of
the new Minister surrounded him, while the Mahrattas looked on
with curiosity, which seems to have been tempered by admiration
for his heroism; and the next day he formed one of those
desperate resolutions which have so often been known to influence
the course of Asiatic politics. Putting on all his armour, and
wearing over it a sort of shroud of green, in the fashion used
for the grave-clothes of a descendant of the Prophet, Najaf Khan
rode out at the head of his personal guards. As the small band
approached the Mahratta camp, shouting their religious war-cries
of "Allah Ho Akbar," and "Ya Hossain," they were met by a
peaceful deputation of the unbelievers who courteously saluted
them, and conducted them to camp in friendly guise.

It can only be supposed that the news of the Peshwa's death,
which had recently arrived from Punah, and the unsettled state of
the Rohilla quarrel combined to render the Mahrattas indisposed
to push matters to extremity against a man of Najaf Khan's
character and influence, and thus gave rise to this extraordinary
scene. The result was that the ex-minister's excitement was
calmed, and he agreed to Join the Mahrattas in an attack on
Rohilkand. One cannot but remark the tortuous policy of these
restless rievers. First they move the Emperor upon the Rohillas;
then they move the Rohilla, Zabita Khan, upon the Emperor; and
then, having united these enemies, they make use of a fresh
instrument to renew the original attack. With this new ally they
marched upon Rohilkand by way of Ramghat, below Anupshahar, where
the Ganges is fordable during the winter months; and at the same
time parties of their troops devastated the Doab.

Meanwhile the British, finding that the Emperor was unable to
protect the provinces about Allahabad, which they had put into
his charge, made them over to the Viceroy of Audh, to whose
management they had been attached previous to the negotiations
that followed the battle of Buxar, and between whose dominions
and those of the British they formed the connecting link. They
had been abandoned by the Emperor when he proceeded to Dehli,
contrary to the remonstrance of the Bengal Council, and though
his own lieutenant had reported, and with perfect accuracy, that
he could not regard the order to give them up to the Mahrattas as
a free act of his master's. It would, indeed, have been an easy
step towards the ruin of the British to have allowed the
Mahrattas to take possession of this tract, and so form a
permanent lodgement upon the borders of the possessions in Bihar
and the Eastern Subahs which the British held by the indefeasible
and twofold tenure of conquest, and of an Imperial grant. And it
so happened that the necessary transfer could not be carried out
without an armed demonstration for the expulsion or coercion of
the usurping Mahrattas. The expenses of this expedition were
naturally met by the Viceroy. Judged even by modern standards,
this cannot but be regarded as a perfectly legitimate act of
self-defence. It is, however, thus characterized by Macaulay:
"The provinces which had been torn from the Mogul were made over
to the government of Audh for about half a million sterling.''
The British having joined their forces to those of the
Vazir-Viceroy Shujaa, accordingly marched to meet the invaders.
Hafiz Rahmat, whom we have lately seen treating with those
powers, now became anxious about the money-payments for which he
had engaged, in the usual reckless Oriental way, and entered into
negotiations with the Mahrattas. In this scheme, the sudden
arrival of the British and Audh armies surprised him and he was
forced to abandon it for the present and join the allies in an
advance against the Mahrattas, who precipitately retired on
Etawa, and thence to their own country in May, 1773.

It has been already seen that Mirza Najaf Khan was a family
connection of Shujaa-ud-daulah, and an old friend of the British
general; and, on the retreat of his Mahratta supporters, he came
over to the allied camp, where he met the reception due to his

The allied armies moved on to Anupshahar, accompanied by the
ex-minister, who was attended by his faithful Moghuls. This town,
which had, as we have seen, been a cantonment of Ahmad the
Abdali, was particularly well situated for the advanced post of a
power like the British, seeking to hold the balance among the
native states of Hindustan. To the north were the fords of
Sukhartal, by which the Najibabad Rohillas passed from one part
of their dominions to another; to the south was the ford of
Ramghat, leading from Aligarh to Bareilly. It remained a British
cantonment from this time until some time subsequent to the
occupation of the country in general, in 1806; after which the
town of Meerut was found more central, and Anupshahar ceased to
be a station for troops. It is a thriving commercial entrepot in
our days, though much menaced by the Ganges, on whose right bank
it stands. The only memorial of the long-continued presence of a
British force is now to be found in two cemeteries, containing
numbers of tombs from which the inscriptions have disappeared.

At this station Najaf Khan took leave of his patrons, having
received from Shujaa-ud-daulah the portfolio (or, to use the
Eastern phrase, the pencase), of Deputy Vazir, and from the
British General a warm letter of recommendation to the Emperor.
It was especially magnanimous on the part of the Vazir to let
bygones be bygones, since they included the murder, by himself,
of his new Deputy's kinsman and former patron Mohammad Kuli Khan,
the former Governor of Allahabad; and it was not an impolitic,
though probably unintentional, stroke on the part of Sir R.
Barker to lend his assistance towards introducing into the
direction of the Imperial councils a chief who was as strongly
opposed to the Rohillas as to the Mahrattas.

Armed with these credentials, and accompanied by a small but
compact and faithful force, the Mirza proceeded to Court to
assume his post. The newly-created premier noble, Zabita Khan,
took refuge with the Jats; but Hisam-ud-daulah, who had been for
some time in charge of the local revenue (Diwan-i-Khalsa) was
dismissed, put under arrest, and made to surrender some of his
ill-gotten wealth. An inadequate idea may be formed of the want
of supervision which characterized Shah Alam's reign, by
observing that this man, who had not been more than two years in
charge of the collections of a small and impoverished district,
disgorged, in all, no less than fifteen lakhs of rupees. He was
succeeded in his appointment by Abdul Ahid Khan (who bears
henceforth the title of Majad-ud-daulah), while Manzur Ali Khan,
another nominee of the minister's, became Vazir, or Controller of
the Household. Of these two officers it is only necessary here to
observe, that after events showed the former — who was a Musalman
native of Kashmir — as a character marked by the faithlessness
and want of manly spirit for which the people of that country are
proverbial in India. The latter was to turn out either a very
blundering politician, or a very black-hearted traitor.

Title and lucrative office were now conferred upon the
Kashmirian, Abdul Ahid, whose pliant manners soon enabled him to
secure a complete influence over his indolent master. Najaf Khan
seems to have been equally deceived at the time; but after-events
showed the difference between the undeceiving of a worn-out
voluptuary, and that of a nature unsuspicious from its own

Such were the first fruits of Najaf's alliance with the Viceroy
of Audh; the price was to be paid in the bestowal of the Imperial
sanction upon the final destruction of the Rohilla Pathans. It
has been already seen how this province, which ran up between the
personal domains of the crown and the fief of the Viceroy of
Audh, had been seized, first by Ali Mohammad, and latterly by his
son's guardian, the Protector Rahmat Khan. But ever since Ali
Mohammad's wars with the late Vazir, Safdar Jang, the rulers of
Audh had probably coveted the province, and the retreat of the
Mahrattas and their occupation in domestic pursuits in the Deccan
afforded just the occasion for which Shujaa-ud-daula was waiting.
Much eloquent indignation has been vented by Macaulay and Mill on
the subject of the accession to this campaign of the British
Governor, Mr. Hastings. As I am not writing a history of British
administration, I shall only observe that the Emperor, whose
servants the British professed themselves, had conferred the
authority usurped by Rahmat Khan upon the Vazir, with whom they
had been for some years in alliance. As allies of both parties
they were clearly at liberty to throw in their help against the
common enemies of both, especially when these chanced to be their
own enemies also. The Mahrattas were the foes of all rulers on
that side of India; and the Rohillas were either in collusion
with the Mahrattas or unable to oppose them. It was essential, if
not to the safety of the possessions of the Vazir-Viceroy, at
least to British interests in Bengal, that a band of faithless
usurpers should not be allowed to hold a country which they could
not, or would not, prevent from affording a high road for the
Mahrattas at all seasons of the year. That view, perhaps,
commended itself to the House of Lords when they finally
acquitted Mr. Hastings, after a protracted trial, in which some
of the ablest of the Whig orators had been engaged against the
accused. It is easy for historians, writing long after the
passions, the temptations, the necessities of the moment have
ceased to press, to criticize the acts of the past by the "dry
light" of pure reason and abstract morality. But the claims of
necessity should not be ignored in delivering what is intended to
form a sort of judicial award.

It is perhaps a mark of the good sense and justice of the English
nation that, when they had considered the matter calmly, they
should have come to the conclusion that to condemn Hastings would
be to condemn their own existence in India. Such a conclusion
would logically require their retirement from the country _ a
step they did not feel at all called upon to take. This appears
the moral of the acquittal. Even Macaulay, who objects to the
decision of the Peers acquitting Hastings as inadmissible at the
bar of history nevertheless confesses that it was generally
approved by the nation. At all events, this particular affair was
dropped out of the charges even before the impeachment began.

But, however important to the existence of the British in India
might be the possession of this frontier territory by the
strongest ally they could secure, the conduct of the Emperor (or
rather of Mirza Najaf, in whose hands he was not quite a free
agent) remains the special subject of inquiry in this place. I
think, however, that both the minister and his master were quite
justified in wishing to transfer the province of Rohilkand from
the hands of Rahmat to those of the Vazir. It has been already
seen that the Pathan usurpers of that province had always been
foes of the Moghul power, since the first rebellion of Ali
Mohammad, with the solitary exception of the campaign of 1761,
when they joined their Abdali kinsman at Panipat. It has also
been seen that the fords by which the Ganges could be crossed in
the cold weather were in their country, but that they could never
hold them; and that, lastly, they were known to have been lately
in treaty with the Mahrattas, without reference to the interests
of the Empire. Eastern politicians are not usually or especially
scrupulous; but, when it is remembered that the Rohillas were
feudatories who had neither the will nor the power to be
faithful, it must follow that here were substantial
considerations of vital importance to the Dehli Government,
sufficient to give them a fair inducement to sanction the
enterprise of one who was their chief minister and most powerful

Of Shujaa's own motives there is not so much palliation to offer.
He had often received aid from the Rohillas, and was under
personal obligations to them, which ought to have obliterated all
earlier memories of a hostile character; and, whatever grounds
the Emperor may have had for consenting to an attack upon the
Pathans, or the British for aiding the same, none such are likely
to have seriously actuated the Vazir in his individual character.
If he thought the Rohillas were inclined to negotiate with the
Mahrattas, he must have seen how those negotiations had been
broken off the instant he came to their assistance; and if he
wished to command the movements of the Mahrattas, he might first
have endeavoured to strengthen the hands of the Imperial
Government, and to cordially carry out his share of the treaty of

It must, however, be added — although the Vazir's character was
not such as to render him altogether entitled to such
justifications — that the latter of those engagements had been
better fulfilled by himself than by the Pathans. For while, on
the one hand, he had driven the Mahrattas out of the country, the
Protector Rahmat Khan, on his part, had neither collected the
wage of that service from the other chiefs, nor paid it himself.
Moreover, the Vazir's proceedings were only directed against the
usurping Protector and his actual adherents; and he was joined by
Zabita and some Rohilla chiefs, while others, among whom were the
sons of the late Dundi Khan, held aloof altogether, and Faizula
Khan, the son of the first founder of the Rohilla power, Ali
Mohammad, and in every way the most respectable of the clan,
though he would not desert an old friend in his hour of need, yet
strongly disapproved of his proceedings, and urged him to fulfil
his compact and pay the Vazir's claim. The bribe by which Zabita
had been detached from the confederacy, was an assignment of the
district in the neighbourhood of Meerut, which had cleared itself
of Mahratta occupation under the late Vazir's rule.

1774. — In October, 1773, the fort of Etawa fell, and the last
Mahratta forces were driven from the Doab. The next two or three
months were occupied in vain negotiations on the part of the
Vazir with the Rohillas; and in more serious combinations with
the Imperial Government, and with the British. And in January,
1774, the allied armies moved forward. On the 12th of April the
British entered Rohilkand; the Protector, when finally summoned
to pay what he owed, having replied by a levee en masse of all
who would obey his summons. At the same time, the Emperor ordered
out a column which he accompanied for a few marches; and issued
patents confirming the Vazir Shujaa-ud-daula in his Doab
conquests, as also in the grant already made by the British of
Korah and Allahabad. This latter circumstance removes all ground
for calling in question the cession of those provinces by their
temporary masters, and shows that the Emperor was conscious of
his own inability to hold them, or to grant them to enemies of
Audh and of England.

On the 23rd of the same month (April) the British army completely
surprised the camp of the Protector, who was defeated and slain,
after a brave but brief resistance at Kattra. Faizula was
pardoned and maintained in his own patrimonial fief of Rampur
(still held by his descendants), while the rest of the province
was occupied, with but little further trouble, by the Vazir, in
strict conformity to an Imperial firman to that effect.

The army of the Empire, under Mirza Najaf Khan, the Deputy Vazir,
had not arrived in time to participate actively in this brief
campaign; but the Vazir acknowledged the importance of the moral
support that he had received from the Empire by remitting to
court a handsome fine, on his investiture with the administration
of the conquered territory. He also gave the Mirza some
reinforcement, to aid him in his pending operations against the
Jats of Bhartpur. Zabita Khan was at the same time expelled from
his lately acquired fief at Meerut, but was again put in charge
next year; a proof, were proof required, of the weakness of the
Home administration of Majad-ud-daulah, who (it need hardly be
said) received a bribe on the occasion.

Anticipating a little, we may notice that the Viceroy of Audh, at
the very climax of his good fortune, met the only enemy whom
neither force can subdue nor policy deceive. Shujaa-ud-daulah
died in January, 1775; and as it was not possible for so
conspicuous a public character to pass away without exciting
popular notice, the following explanation of the affair was
circulated at the time; which, whether a fact or a fiction,
deserves to be mentioned as the sort of ending which was
considered in his case probable and appropriate. It was believed
that, the family of Rahmat Khan having fallen into his hands,
Shujaa-ud-daulah sent for one of the fallen chief's daughters,
and that the young lady, in the course of the interview, avenged
the death of her father by stabbing his conqueror with a poisoned
knife. "Although," says the author of the Siar-ul-Mutakharin, who
is the authority for the story, "there may be no foundation of
truth in this account, yet it was at the time as universally
believed as that God is our Refuge."

The editor of the Calcutta translation of 1789 asserts that he
had satisfactory proof of the truth of this story. The Viceroy
died of a cancer in the groin; and the women of his Zanana, who
were let out on the occasion, and with one of whom he (the
translator) was acquainted, had made a song upon the subject.
They gave full particulars of the affair, and stated that the
young lady — she was only seventeen — had been put to death on
the day the Viceroy received the wound. (S. U. M., III. 268.)

The death of the Viceroy-Vazir, however occasioned, was a serious
blow to the reduced Empire of Dehli, which was just then
beginning to enjoy a gleam of sunshine such as had not visited it
since the day when Mir Mannu and the eldest son of Mohammad Shah
defeated the Abdali, in 1743. Had the career of Shujaa-ud-daulah
been prolonged a few years, it is possible that his ambitious
energy, supported by British skill and valour, and kept within
bounds by Mirza Najaf Khan's loyal and upright character, would
have effectually strengthened the Empire against the Mahrattas,
and altered the whole subsequent course of Indian history.

But Shujaa's son and successor was a weak voluptuary, who never
left his own provinces; and although the Mirza, his deputy in the
Vazirship and real locum tenens, received for his lifetime the
reward of his merits, yet he was unable of himself to give a
permanent consolidation to the tottering fabric.

It has been seen that he was meditating a campaign against the
Jats, whom Zabita's recent fall had again thrown into discontent,
when summoned to Rohilkand, in 1774. In fact, he had already
wrested from them the fort of Agra, and occupied it with a
garrison of his own, under a Moghul officer, Mohammad Beg, of
Hamadan. Not daunted by this reverse, Ranjit Singh, the then
ruler of that bold tribe the Jats, advanced upon the capital, and
occupied Sikandrabad with 10,000 horse. The forces left in Dehli
consisted of but 5,000 horse and two battalions of sepoys; but
they sufficed to expel the intruder. He shortly afterwards,
however, returned, reinforced by the regulars and guns under
Sumroo; but by this time the Mirza was returned from Rohilkand,
and after the rains of 1774, marched against them, aided by a
chief from Hariana, named after himself Najaf Kuli Khan, who
brought into the field some 10,000 troops. This man, who was a
good soldier and a faithful follower of the minister, was a
converted Hindu, of the Rathur tribe; a native of the Bikanir
country bordering on Rajputana Proper to the south, and to the
north on Hariana and other states immediately surrounding the
metropolis. Having been in service at Allahabad, under the father
of Mohammad Kuli, the connection and early patron of the Mirza,
he became a Mohammadan under the sponsorship of the latter, and
ever after continued a member of his household. At the time of
which I write, he had been appointed to the charge of districts
returning twenty lakhs a year, with the title of Saif-ud-daulah.

The departure of the Mirza for this campaign was extremely
agreeable to the Diwan, Majad-ud-daulah, for he never lost an
opportunity of prejudicing the Emperor's mind against this
powerful rival, in whose recent appointment to the office of Naib
Vazir, moreover, he had found a special disappointment. Indeed,
Shah Alam, between these two ministers, was like the hero of
mediΎval legend between his good and evil angels; only differing
in this, that in his case the good influence was also, to a great
extent, the most powerful. What the wily Kashmirian might have
done in the way of supplanting the Mirza, if the latter had been
signally worsted, and he himself had been otherwise fortunate,
cannot now be certainly conjectured, for a fresh revolt of
Zabita's summoned the Diwan to the northward, whilst his rival
was successfully engaged with the Jats. In this expedition
Majad-ud-daulah displayed a great want of spirit and of skill, so
that Zabita became once more extremely formidable. Fortunately at
this crisis Dehli was visited by an envoy, soliciting investiture
for the new Viceroy of Audh, Asaf-ud-daulah. Accompanying the
embassy was a force of 5,000 good troops, with a train of
artillery, the whole under command of the deceased Shujaa's
favourite general, Latafat Khan. This timely reinforcement saved
the metropolis, and allowed of a settlement being made with the
incorrigible Zabita, which preserved, to some extent at least,
the dignity of the Government (Vide next chapter).

Meanwhile the Imperialists had found the Jats, under their
chieftain, intrenched near Hodal, a town sixty miles from Dehli,
on the Mathra road. Dislodged from this, they fell back a few
miles, and again took up a position in a fortified village called
Kotban, where the Mirza endeavoured to blockade them. After
amusing him with skirmishes for about a fortnight, they again
fell back on Dig, a stronghold, to become the scene of still more
important events a few years later. Dig — the name is perhaps a
corruption of some such word as Dirajgarh — is a strong fort,
with a beautiful palace and pleasure-grounds adjoining, on the
shores of an artificial lake, fed by the drainage of part of the
Alwar Highlands. Observing that the sallies of the Jats had
ceased, the Mirza left their camp at Dig in his rear, and marched
to Barsana, where a pitched battle was fought.

1775. — The van of the Imperialists was commanded by Najaf Kuli.
In the centre of the main line was the Mirza himself, with
battalions of sepoys and artillery, under officers trained by the
English in Bengal, on the two wings. In the rear was the Moghul
cavalry. The enemy's regular infantry — 5,000 strong, and led by
Sumroo — advanced to the attack, covered by clouds of Jat
skirmishers, and supported by a heavy cannonade, to which the
Mirza's artillery briskly replied, but from which he lost several
of his best officers and himself received a wound. A momentary
confusion ensued; but the Mirza, fervently invoking the God of
Islam, presently charged the Jats at the head of the Moghul
horse, who were, it will be remembered, his personal followers.
Najaf Kuli, accompanied by the regular infantry, following at the
double, the Jats were broken; and the resistance of Sumroo's
battalions only sufficed to cover the rout of the rest of the
army, and preserve some appearance of order as he too retreated,
though in somewhat better order, towards Dig. An immense quantity
of plunder fell into the hands of the victors, who soon reduced
the open country, and closely invested the beaten army. Such,
however, was the store of grain in the Fort of Dig, that the
strictest blockade proved fruitless for a twelvemonth; nor was
the Fort finally reduced till the end of March, 1776, when the
garrison found means — not improbably by connivance — to escape
to the neighbouring castle of Kumbhair with portable property on
elephants. The rest of the Thakur's wealth was seized by the
victors — his silver plate, his stately equipages and
paraphernalia, and his military chest, containing six lakhs of
rupees — which may perhaps be regarded as not very inferior, in
relative value, to a quarter of a million sterling of our modern

In the midst of these successes, and whilst he was occupied in
settling the conquered country, the Mirza received intelligence
from Court that Zabita Khan, emboldened by his easy triumph over
the Diwan, Majad-ud-daulah (Abdul Ahid Khan), had taken into his
pay a large body of Sikhs, with whom he was about to march upon
the metropolis.

The enterprising minister returned at once to Dehli, where he was
received with high outward honour. He was, on this occasion,
attended by the condottiere Sumroo, who, in his usual fashion,
had transferred his battalions to the strongest side soon after
the battle of Barsana. Sumroo's original patron, Mir Kasim, died
about the same time, in the neighbourhood of Dehli, where he had
settled, after years of skulking and misery, in the vain hope of
obtaining employment in the Imperial service. The date of his
death is given by Broome (Hist. of Beng. Army, p. 467) as 6th
dune, 1777: it is added that his last shawl was sold to pay for a
winding-sheet, and that his family were plundered of the last
wreck of their possessions. But the detail of this year's events
and their consequences requires a fresh chapter.

NOTE—The following is the text of the supplemental treaty of
1772, as given by Captain Hamilton. (The former portion having
provided in general terms for an alliance, offensive and
defensive.) "The Vuzeer of the Empire shall establish the
Rohillas, obliging the Mahrattas to retire, either by peace or
war. If at any time they shall enter the country, their expulsion
is the business of the Vuzeer. The Rohilla Sirdars, in
consequence of the above to agree to pay to the Vuzeer forty
lakhs of rupees, in manner following — viz., ten lakhs, in
specie, and the remaining thirty lakhs in three years from the
beginning of the year 1180 Fussulee." Only redundant or
unimportant phrases have been omitted: there is not a word of
payment to the Mahrattas. The contention that the Vazir of Oudh
was only surety for the payment to the Mahrattas is not very
pertinent. For the Mahrattas did not quit Rohilcand till the
Vazir expelled them, and the money was not paid. But, as we have
seen, the gloss is unsupported. Besides Hamilton,
Tarikh-i-Mozafari and Francklin's "Shah Alum" have been the chief
authorities for this chapter.


A.D. 1776-85.

Vigour of Mirza Najaf — Zabita rebels — Emperor takes the Field,
and the Rebellion is suppressed — Sumroo's Jaigir — Abdul Ahid
takes the Field — Unsuccessful Campaign against the Sikhs — Dehli
threatened, but relieved by Najaf — Mirza's arrangements — Popham
takes Gwalior — Begum Sumroo — Death of Mirza Najaf — Consequent
Transactions — Afrasyab Khan becomes Premier — Mirza Shaffi
returns to Dehli — Is it Peace? — Murder of Shaffi — Action of
Mr. Hastings — Flight of Shahzada — Madhoji Sindhia goes to Agra
— Afrasyab's Death — Tribute claimed from British — Death of
Zabita Khan — Sindhia supreme — Chalisa famine — State of Country
— General distress.

1776. — THE splendid exertions of Mirza Najaf, though not yet at
an end, might have been expected to give the Empire a
breathing-time wherein to recover its strength. If we except the
British in Bengal, it was now the most formidable military power
on this side of India. No more than three fortified places
remained to the Jats of all their once vast possessions. The
Mahrattas had been occupied in the Deccan by the events that
followed upon the death of their Peshwa, Madho Rao; and the whole
of their forces were temporarily withdrawn during the course of
the year, by order of his successor. Najaf held viceregal state
at Agra, surrounded not only by his faithful Moghuls and
Persians, but by two brigades of foot and artillery, under the
command, respectively, of Sumroo and of Medoc. The Mirza's chief
Asiatic subordinates were Najaf Kuli Khan his adopted son, the
converted Hindu, otherwise Saif-ud-daulah; and Mohammad Beg of
Hamadan: two officers of whom frequent mention will be found in
the progress of this narrative. Mirza Shaffi, the minister's
nephew, also held a high command. Shah Alam lived the life of
ease which had become a second nature to him, at Dehli,
surrounded by able servants of the Mirza's selection. One of
these, indeed, soon obtained an apparent ascendancy over the
indolent monarch, which was destined to afford another instance
of the wisdom of that maxim invented of old in the East, "Put not
your trust in Princes." The only enemy who could disturb the
repose of what may be termed the Home Districts was Zabita Khan,
who still exhibited all the faithlessness so common with his
race, and a turbulent disposition peculiar to himself. Finding
all present hope of aid from the Jats and Mahrattas at an end
(and instigated, it was suspected, by his late unsuccessful
opponent, the Financial Minister, Abdul Ahlid Khan), Zabita, as
stated at the close of the preceding chapter, turned to the
Sikhs: a people who, in the decay of the Empire, had established
themselves in the Sirhind territory, notably in Pattiala, and in
Jhind. These pushing warriors — of whose prowess, both against
and for the British, modern history tells so much — gladly
accepted the invitation of the Pathan insurgent, and, crossing
the Jamna in considerable numbers, joined his force at Ghausgarh,
the fort between Saharanpur and Muzafarnagar, of which mention
has been already made. It is even stated by Francklin (though, as
usual, without specification of authority) that the Pathan on
this occasion embraced the religion of the Sikhs, a sort of
eclectic Monotheism tinctured with Hindu doctrine.

1777. — This conduct was justly regarded by the Mirza as a gross
instance, not merely of disloyalty, but — what in his eyes was
even worse — of impiety. In the opinion of a stern soldier of
Islam, such as the Persian Prince had always shown himself to be,
the act of joining with unbelievers was unpardonable. He
therefore despatched a strong force against the combined rebels,
under the command of an officer named Abdul Kasim Khan. Nothing
daunted, the Confederates drew out their troops in front of the
fort of Ghausgarh, and at once engaged the Imperial troops, whom
they at the same time outflanked with a large body of horse, who
got into the rear of the Imperialists without being perceived.
Placed between two attacks, and deprived of their leader by a
stray shot, the latter soon gave way, and Zabita, having pursued
them for some distance, returned to his stronghold triumphant. On
this Mirza Najaf Khan resolved to take the field with all his
power, and ere long presented himself before Ghausgarh,
accompanied by the Emperor in person. The Mirza was aided in this
campaign by the force of 5,000 men, with artillery, contributed
by the new Viceroy of Audh, as part of the peshkash, or fine for
the investiture, and for the succession to the office of Vazir of
the Empire, which had been held by his father, and which he
desired to retain against the counter-claims of the Nizam and of
other competitors. (Vide last chapter, p. 115.) The Pathan had,
however, evacuated the fort on receiving notice of their
approach, and retreated with his allies to their country beyond
the Jamna, closely followed by the Imperial forces. An attempt at
negotiation having been contemptuously rejected by the
Captain-General, Mirza Najaf Khan, the two armies engaged on the
famous field of Panipat, and the action which ensued is described
(with manifest exaggeration) as having been only less terrible
than the last that was fought on the same historic ground,
between the Mahrattas and the Musalmans, in 1761. Beyond this the
native historians give no particulars of the battle, which raged
till night, and with not unequal fortunes, if we may judge from
the result — for on the following morning Zabita Khan's renewed
applications to treat were favourably received; on which occasion
his estates were restored, and a double matrimonial alliance
concluded. The Mirza himself condescended to take the Pathan's
sister as his wife, while his godson (so to speak), Najaf Kuli,
was promised the hand of Zabita's daughter. The pardon of this
restless rebel was attributed to the intercession of Latafat, the
General of the Audh Vazir, who is said to have had a large bribe
on the occasion. (Francklin, chap. Y.)

Peace being thus restored to Hindustan, the Minister revisited
Agra, where he proceeded to provide for the administration of the

The English sought his alliance; but the negotiation failed
because he would not surrender Sumroo. Asaf-ud-daulah, Viceroy of
Audh, was recognized as titular Vazir; a trustworthy chief,
Maulah Ahmad Dad, was appointed to the charge of Sirhind; Najaf
Kuli Khan held the vast tract extending from that frontier to the
borders of Rajputana; and Sumroo was placed in charge of the
country adjoining Zabita Khan's lands, in the centre of which he
fixed his capital at Sardhana, long destined to remain in the
possession of his family, and where a country house and park,
familiar to the English residents at Meerut, still belong to the
widow of his last descendant. This territory, nominally assigned
for the maintenance of the troops under the adventurer's command,
was valued in those days at six laths of rupees annually; so that
the blood-stained miscreant, whose saturnine manners had given
him a bad name, even among the rough Europeans of the Company's
battalion, found his career of crime rewarded by an income
corresponding to that of many such petty sovereigns as those of
his native country.

1778. — The beginning of this year was marked by a bloodless
campaign, to which Majad-ud-daulah led the Emperor. The Rajputs
were the object of the attack, and they were rigorously mulcted.
The Mirza's personal share in this matter was confined to that of
a peacemaker. He probably disapproved of the campaign, which had
been undertaken in a spirit of rivalry to himself; and by
obtaining terms for the Rajputs he made new ties while displaying
his own power. He accompanied the return of the expedition to
Dehli, where his daughter was married to Najaf Kuli in the
presence of the Emperor.

Mirza Najaf Khan then departed once more to Agra, the seat of his
administration and his favourite abode. But his repose was not of
long continuance, and he was soon called upon for fresh
exertions; the Sikhs having risen against Maulah Ahmad Dad, the
Faujdar of Sirhind, whom they defeated and slew. On the receipt
of this intelligence the Emperor had deputed Abdul Ahid Khan —
known to us by his title of Nawab Majad-ud-daulah — with an army
nominally under the command of one of the Imperial Princes, to
indict signal chastisement upon obstinate offenders. If the
surmise of the native historians be correct — that Abdul Ahid
Khan had been privy to the late combination between the Sikhs and
Zabita Khan against Mirza Najaf — the fact of his being sent
against them, without any objection from so wise and loyal a
minister as the Mirza, can only be accounted for by citing it as
a proof of the peculiar danger to which great men are exposed,
under an Eastern despotism, of reposing their confidence in
secret enemies. That Abdul Ahid was even then plotting against
his patron will be seen to be likely from his subsequent conduct,
and certainly derives no confutation from the circumstance of his
being a native of Kashmir, a country the faithlessness of whose
inhabitants is proverbial, even in Indian story.

The Prince, whose standard was the rallying point of the army, is
variously named as Jawan Bakht, Farkhanda Bakht, and Akbar; the
former being the name of the Prince whom we saw acting as Regent
during the Emperor's residence under English protection at
Allahabad, the later that of the future successor to the titular
Empire. Whoever it may have been, the outset of the expedition
promised him success, if not distinction. The Imperial host,
20,000 strong and with an efficient park of artillery. came in
contact with the enemy at Karnal; but Majad-ud-daulah preferred
negotiation to fighting, and induced the Sikhs to pay down a sum
of three lakhs, and pledge themselves to the payment of an annual
tribute. Joining the Sikh forces to his own, the Majad-ud-daulah
next proceeded northwards, but was brought to a check at Pattiala
by Amar Singh, the Jat chief of that state. Here fresh
negotiations ensued, in which the perfidious Kashmirian is said
to have offered to allay himself with the Sikhs for the
destruction of Mirza Najaf Khan, on condition of being supported
by them in his endeavours to be made Prime Minister in the room
of that statesman. Whether the Jat leader had profited by the
lesson lately read to his brethren of Bhartpur, or whether he was
merely actuated by a desire to try conclusions with the
Kashmirian, having penetrated the cowardice of his character, is
matter for conjecture. Whatever the intrigue may have been, it
was soon frustrated. A large Sikh reinforcement profited by the
time gained in the negotiation to advance from Lahor; the Karnal
force deserted the Imperial camp, and a general onset was made
upon it the following morning. Led by a half-hearted commander
and an inexperienced Prince, the Imperialists offered but a faint
resistance; but their retreat was covered by the artillery, and
they contrived to escape without suffering much in the pursuit,
and indeed without being very closely followed up. It is
interesting to observe, among the names of the Sikh Sirdars, who
played this game of "diamond cut diamond" with the Kashmirian,
that of Ranjit Singh, afterwards the wily Egbert of the Panjab
Heptarchy, and the firm friend of Britain for nearly forty years.

This disastrous campaign occurred in the cold weather of 1778-79,
and the victorious Panjabis poured into the Upper Doab, which
they forthwith began to plunder.

1779. — Meanwhile, Mirza Najaf Khan remained in contemptuous
repose at Agra, only interrupted by a short and successful dash
at some Rajput malcontents, who had been stirred up, it is
thought, at the instigation of his rival Majad-ud-daulah. That
inefficient but unscrupulous intriguer is also shown by Captain
Grant Duff to have been at the same time engaged in a
correspondence with Madhoji Sindhia, in view to joining, when
once he should have gained possession of the power of the Empire,
in an attack on the British Provinces. Duff gives this story on
the authority of Sindhia's own letters, which that chief's
grandson had placed in his hands; but he does not say whether the
fickle Emperor was or was not a party to this iniquitous
conspiracy for the ruin of his faithful servant and his
long-established friends.

Certain it is that Sindhia was at that time very far from the
statesmanlike views and reasonable aims which he ultimately
adopted. Towards the close of the year, indeed, he took the
ill-judged step of joining with Haidar Ali and the Nizam with the
object of expelling the British from every part of the Indian
Continent. But Mr. Hastings soon disturbed the plans of the
confederates and ere long rendered them hopeless. Some were
conquered by force of arms, others were conciliated; and Sindhia
in particular, received a lesson which made upon his sagacious
mind a permanent impression.

1780. — There was, in the country now known as Dholpur, between
Agra and Gwalior, a local Jat landholder who had in the decay of
the Empire followed the example of Suraj Mal (of Bhurtpore) and
assumed independence. In 1771, when Shah Alam was returning to
the throne of his ancestors, Chatr Singh, the then Zemindar,
advanced money to the Treasury, and was soon after created a peer
by the title of Maharaj Rana. Henceforth he figures in history as
the "Rana of Gohad." Having a hereditary feud against the
Mahrattas and a hereditary claim, such as it was, to the fortress
of Gwalior, then in Sindhia's hands, he seemed to Hastings a
useful instrument for causing a diversion. Major Popham, one of
the best of the local officers, was accordingly sent to assist
the Rana and stir up a confederation of Jat and Rajput powers to
aid against the Musalman-Mahratta alliance by which British
interests were threatened. The situation of the fort of Gwalior
on a scarped and isolated rock over 200 feet high, need not here
be more than mentioned; the manner of its capture, however,
cannot be too often referred to as an instance of what resolution
and conduct can effect in Asiatic warfare. Having prepared
scaling ladders in such secrecy that even his European officers
were ignorant of what was being done or planned, Popham sent a
storming party of sepoys, backed by twenty Europeans, to a place
at the foot of the rock pointed out to him by some thieves. It
was the night of the 3rd August, 1780, and the party, under the
command of Captain Bruce, were shod with cotton to render their
approach inaudible. The enemies' rounds were passing as they came
near the spot; so the assaulting column lay down and waited until
the lights and voices had ceased; then the ladders were placed
against the cliff, and one of the robber guides mounting returned
with intelligence that the guard had gone to sleep. The next
moment the first ladder was mounted by Lieutenant Cameron, the
engineer officer, and the others followed in silence, Captain
Bruce having reached the rampart with twenty sepoys, a scuffle
ensued which lasted till Popham arrived with the Europeans and
made good the entrance. Thus was this strong place captured, and
without the loss of one single life on the British side. The fort
was made over to the Rana, but he did not long retain it, Sindhia
having recaptured it. He soon afterwards took Gohad also (1784),
and the descendants of the Jat chief are now known as Ranas of

We have seen how marked a feature of the Emperor's character was
his inability to resist the pertinacious counsels of an adviser
with whom he was in constant intercourse; and it is certain that
he gave Majad-ud-daulah all the support which his broken power
and enfeebled will enabled him to afford.

But the danger was now too close and too vast to allow of further
weakness. The Emperor's eyes seem to have been first opened by
his army's evident confusion, as it returned to Dehli, and by the
prevaricating reports and explanations which he received from its
commander. If Mirza Jawan Bakht was the prince who had
accompanied the ill-stared expedition, we know enough of his
prudence and loyalty to be sure that he would have done all in
his power to make his father see the matter in its true light;
and what was wanting to his firm but dutiful remonstrances, would
be supplied by the cries of fugitive villagers and the smoke of
plundered towns.

Najaf Khan was urgently summoned from Agra, and obeyed the call
with an alacrity inspired by his loyal heart, and perhaps also by
a dignified desire for redress. As he approached the capita], he
was met by the Prince and the baffled Kashmirian. To the former
he was respectful, but the latter he instantly placed under
arrest, and sent back under a strong guard. The fallen Minister
was confined, but in his own house; and the Mirza, on reaching
Dehli, confiscated, on behalf of the Imperial treasury, his
wealth, stated to have amounted to the large sum (for those days)
of twenty lakhs, reserving nothing for himself but some books and
a medicine chest. This was the second time he had triumphed over
an unworthy rival, and signalized his own noble temper by so
blending mercy with justice as has seldom been done by persons
situated as he was. Abdul Ahid Khan — or Majad-ud-daulah — was a
fop, very delicate in his habits, and a curiosity-seeker in the
way of food and physic. It is said by the natives that he always
had his table-rice from Kashmir, and knew by the taste whether it
was from the right field or not.

Fully restored to the Imperial favour, the Mirza lost no time in
obeying the pressing behests of his Sovereign, and sending an
adequate force under his nephew, Mirza Shafi, to check the
invaders. Their army, which had been collected to meet the
Imperialists, drew up and gave battle near Meerut, within forty
miles of the metropolis; but their unskilled energy proved no
match for the resolution of the Moghul veterans, and for the
disciplined valour of the Europeanized battalions. The Sikhs were
defeated with the loss of their leader and 5,000 men, and at once
evacuated the country.

1780. — It cannot have escaped notice we have been here reviewing
the career of one whose talents and virtues merited a nobler
arena than that on which they were displayed, and who would have
indeed distinguished himself in any age and country. Profiting by
experience, the successful Minister did not repeat the former
blunder of retiring to Agra, where, moreover, his presence was no
longer required; but continued for the brief remainder of his
life to reside in the metropolis, and enjoy the fruit of his
laborious career in the administration of the Empire, to which he
had restored something of its old importance. Mirza Shafi
commanded the army in the field; while Mohammad Beg, of Hamadan,
was Governor of the Fort and District of Agra. Najaf Khan himself
was appointed Amir-ul-Umra (Premier Noble); his title, as it had
long been, was Zulfikar-ud-daulah — "Sword of State."

I have not thought it necessary to interrupt the narrative of the
Mirza's successes by stopping to notice the death of Sumroo. This
event occurred at Agra on the 4th of May, 1778, as appears from
the Portuguese inscription upon his tombstone there. He appears
to have been a man without one redeeming quality —"stern and
bloody-minded, in no degree remarkable for fidelity or devotion
to his employers" — the one essential virtue of a free lance.
This character is cited from the memoirs of Skinner, where it is
also added that he cannot have been devoid of those qualities
which attach the soldiery to their officer. But even this becomes
doubtful, when we find the late Sir W. Sleeman (who was in the
habit of moving about among the natives, and is an excellent
authority on matters of tradition), asserting that he was
constantly under arrest, threatened, tortured, and in danger at
the hands of his men.

The force was maintained by his widow, and she was accordingly
put in charge of the lands which he had held for the same

This remarkable woman was the daughter (by a concubine) of a
Mohamadan of Arab descent, settled in the town of Kotana, a small
place about thirty miles north-west of Meerut, and born about
1753. On the death of her father, she and her mother became
subject to ill-treatment from her half-brother the legitimate
heir; and they consequently removed to Dehli about 1760. It is
not certain when she first entered the family of Sumroo, but she
did not become his wife till some time afterwards. It has even
been doubted if any formal marriage-ceremony ever took place, for
Sumroo had a wife living, though insane; and the fact was
probably sufficiently notorious to prevent any Catholic clergyman
in that part of the country from celebrating a bigamous alliance
with the rites of the Church.

1781 .— At his death he left a son, baptized as "Aloysius," who
was still in his minority; and the Minister, observing the
Begum's abilities, saw fit to place her in charge, as has been
already said. The ultimate result amply justified his choice. In
1781 — under what influence is not recorded — she embraced
Christianity, and was baptized, according to the ritual of the
Latin Church, by the name of Johanna. Her army is stated to have
consisted, at this time, of five battalions of Sepoys, about 300
Europeans, officers and gunners, with 40 pieces of cannon, and a
body of Moghul horse. She founded a Christian Mission, which grew
by degrees into a convent, a cathedral, and a college; and to
this day there are some 1,500 native and Anglo-Indian Christians
resident at Sardhana.

1782. - On the 26th April died Mirza Najaf Khan, after a
residence in India of about forty-two years, so that he must have
been aged at least sixty. He appears to have been an even greater
and better man than his predecessor, Najib-ud-daulah, over whom
he had the advantage in point of blood, being at once a
descendant of the Arabian prophet, and a member of the Saffavi
house, which had been removed from the throne of Persia by the
usurpation of Nadir Shah. Captain Scott — who was a good scholar
and well acquainted with Native politics, as Persian Secretary to
the Governor-General of British India — records of the Mirza that
no one left his presence dissatisfied. If he could grant a
request he would, and that with a grace as if it pleased him; if
he could not, he could always convince the petitioner of his
sorrow at being obliged to refuse. The faulty side of him appears
to have been a love of money, and (towards the last part of his
life, at least,) of pleasure. It will be seen in the sequel how
soon his gains were dissipated, and his house overthrown. At his
death he wielded all the power of the Empire which his energies
and virtues had restored. He was Deputy Vazir of the absentee
Viceroy of Audh, and Commander-in-Chief of the army. He held the
direct civil administration, with receipt of the surplus
revenues, agreeably to Eastern usages, of the province of Agra
and the Jat territories, together with the district of Alwar to
the south-west and those portions of the Upper Doab which he had
not alienated in Jaidad. But he died without issue, and the
division of his offices and his estates became the subject of
speedy contests, which finally overthrew the last fragments of
Moghul dominion or independence. The following notice of these
transactions is chiefly founded on a Memorial, drawn up and
submitted to the British Governor at Lucknow in 1784, by the
Shahzada Jawan Bakht, of whom mention has been already made more
than once, and who had, for the ten years preceding the Emperor's
return to Dehli, in '71, held the Regency under the title of
Jahandar Shah. After referring to the fact that Majad-ud-daulah
(the title, it may be remembered, of Abdul Ahid Khan) had been
and still was in custody, but that an equerry of the Emperor's
procured the issue of patents confirming existing appointments,
the Prince proceeds, — "The morning after the Mirza's death, I
saw the attendants on His Majesty were consulting to send some
persons to the house of the deceased, in order to calm
disturbances; and at last the Wisdom enlightening the world
resolved on deputing me to effect that object. [I] having
departed with all speed, and given assurances to the afflicted,
the friends of the departed had leisure to wash and dress the
body, and the clamour began to cease. After necessary
preparation, I attended the corpse to the Masjid, and the rites
of Islam having been performed, sent it to the place of
interment, under the care of Afrasyab Khan, who was the
cherished-in-the- bosom" (adopted) "son" of the noble deceased;
whose sister also regarded him as her adopted son.

"Afrasyab Khan soon became ambitious of the dignities and
possessions of the deceased, and the Begam (deceased's sister)
petitioned his Majesty in his favour, with earnest entreaty; but
this proved disagreeable to the far-extending sight of the royal
Wisdom, as Mirza Shaffi Khan, who had a great army and
considerable resources, looked to the succession, and would never
agree to be superseded in this manner, so that contentions would
necessarily ensue." There can be no doubt of the correctness of
Shah Alam's views. Mirza Shaffi was the nearest relative of the
deceased, and in actual possession of the command of the army. He
was thus not merely the most eligible claimant, but the best able
to support his claims. But the Emperor — never, as we have seen,
a man of much determination — was now enfeebled by years and by a
habit of giving way to importunity.

"Instigated," proceeds Jawan Bakht, "by female obstinacy, the
Begam would not withdraw her request, and her petition was at
length, though reluctantly, honoured with compliance. The khillat
of Amir-ul-Omra and acting Minister was conferred upon Afrasyab
by his Majesty, who directed this menial (though he [the writer]
was sensible of the ill-promise of the measure) to write to Mirza
Shaffi to hasten to the presence."

It is not quite clear whether the measure, to which this
parenthesis represents the prince as objecting, was the
appointment of Afrasyab, or the summons to the Mirza. He was
evidently opposed to the former, who was a weak young man, devoid
of resources either mental or material. On the other hand, his
own matured good sense should have shown him that no good
consequences could follow the temporizing policy which brought
the rivals face to face at Court. Afrasyab's first measure was to
release the Kashmirian Ex-Minister Majad-ud-daulah (Abdul Ahid
Khan) from arrest, and by his recommendation this foolish and
notorious traitor was once more received into the Imperial
favour. In the meanwhile, Mirza Shaffi arrived at Dehli, and took
up his quarters in the house of his deceased uncle, whose widow
he conciliated by promising to marry her daughter, his first
cousin. A period of confusion ensued, which ended for the time in
the resignation of Afrasyab, who retired to his estate at Ajhir,
leaving his interests at Court to be attended to by
Majad-ud-daulah and by the converted Rajput Najaf Kuli. Shortly!
after his departure, Mirza Shaffi surrounded the houses of these
agents, and arrested Majad-ud-daulah on the 11th September, 1782,
and the Rajput on the following day, confining them in his aunt's
house under his own eye. The Prince upon this received orders to
negotiate with the Mizra, who was appointed to the office he had
been so long endeavouring to compass. But Afrasyab Khan, his
absent competitor, had still allies at Court, and they succeeded
in bringing over to his cause M. Paoli, the commander of Begam
Sumroo's Brigade, together with Latafat Khan, commandant of the
battalions that had been detached to the Imperial service by the
Viceroy of Audh. This took place a few days only after the arrest
of the agents, and was almost immediately followed by the
desertion from Mirza Shaffi of the bulk of the army. The Emperor
put himself at the head of the troops, and proceeded to the
Minister's house. Finding the premises had been evacuated the
Shah marched in triumph — not quite after the magnificent fashion
of his ancestors — to the Jamma Masjid, and Mirza Shaffi fled to
Kosi, in the vicinity of Mathra, acting by the advice of the
prince, as the latter informs us. The army did not pursue the
fugitive, and the latter enlarged Majad-ud-daulah, who promised
to intercede for him with the Emperor, and also made a friend in
Mohamad Beg of Hamadan, whom we have already met with as Governor
of Agra.

1783. — While the Moghuls were disturbing and weakening the
empire by these imbecile contentions, Madhoji Sindhia, the Patel,
was hovering afar off, like an eagle on the day of battle. His
position had just been greatly improved by the treaty of Salbai,
an arrangement which was probably the result of the spirited
policy pursued by Hastings, of which the storming of Gwalior was
a specimen. Coote and Stuart too, in Madras, and Goddard in the
Deccan, struck repeated blows at the confederacy. Peace, too, was
concluded between the French and English in India as in Europe.
Sindhia was one of the first to submit, and in 1782 acceded to
that famous instrument, in which the British authorities had
recognized him as the representative chief of the Mahrattas, the
Peshwa being still a minor, and the ostensible head of the
Regency, Nana Farnavis, being a mere civilian, though otherwise
an able man. The British Governor-General also, naturally alarmed
at what was going on, and foreseeing danger from the
interposition of the Mahrattas, with whom his Government had,
till lately, been engaged in a deadly conflict, soon after sent
two officers to the Imperial Court, being the first English
Embassy that had visited the city of the Moghul since the
memorable deputation from the infant Factory to the throne of

But before these officials could arrive, further complications
had occurred; Mirza Shaffi returning to Dehli, in company with
Mohamad Beg, requested that his new opponents, Paoli and Latafat,
might be sent to them with authority to treat, and the
application was granted, much against the advice of the prince,
who tells us that he proposed either that an immediate attack
should be made upon the rebels before they had time to
consolidate their power, or else that they should be summoned to
the presence, and made to state their wishes there. To the envoys
elect, he observed that, even were the concession made of sending
a deputation to treat with refractory subjects, he would advise
that only one should go at a time. "But," he continues, "as the
designs of Providence had weakened the ears of their
understandings, an interview appeared to them most advisable; - a
mutual suspicion rendering each unwilling that one should go and
the other remain in camp, lest he who went should make his own
terms without the other." What a glimpse this gives of the
dissolution of all that we are accustomed to call society! The
two envoys set out, but never returned: like the emissaries sent
to the Jewish captain, as he drove furiously along the plain of
Esdraelon to ask, Is it peace? The European was slain at once,
the Audh general being imprisoned and deprived of sight. Mirza
Shaffi and Mohamad Beg next began to quarrel with each other. The
Emperor was now much perplexed, but matters were arranged for the
time through the instrumentality of the prince and by the return
of Afrasyab, who became reconciled to his late competitor. The
three nobles were presented with khillats (dresses of honour) and
Mirza Shaffi became Premier, under the title of Amir-ul-Umra,
while Majad-ud-daulah reverted to his ancient post of Intendant
of the Home Revenues. We pursue the prince's narrative.

"It was at this period that much anxiety and melancholy intruding
on the sacred mind of his Majesty, the Asylum of the World, and
also on the breast of this loyal servant," their attention was
turned towards the English alliance, which had been in abeyance
for some years. On the 23rd of September, 1783, Mirza Shaffi, who
had been to Agra, was shut out from the palace on his return,
probably owing to Afrasyab Khan's renewed desire to obtain the
chief place in the State. On this the Mirza retired to Agra
again, and naturally adopted a hostile attitude, an emissary was
sent forth to treat with him, in the person of Mohamad Beg
Hamadani. The meeting took place in the open air in front of the
main gate of the old Fort of Agra; and when the elephants, upon
which the two noblemen were seated, drew near to each other, the
Mirza held out his hand in greeting, when Mohamed Beg at once
seized the opportunity, and pistolled him under the arm. It is
asserted, indeed, by some that the actual crime was perpetrated
by the attendant who occupied the back seat of the howdah;
possibly Ismail Beg Khan, nephew of the Hamadani.

Afrasyab, who had instigated this murder, profited by it, and
succeeded to the post of his ambition, while the mind of the
prince became still more anxious, and still more bent upon
opening his case, if possible, in a personal interview with the
English Governor.

Meanwhile, the envoys of the latter were not less urgent on their
employer to support the Emperor with an army. "The business of
assisting the Shah" — thus they wrote in December, 1783 — "must
go on if we wish to be secure in India, or regarded as a nation
of faith and honour." Mr. Hastings was not deaf to these
considerations, and subsequent events proved their entire
soundness. He desired to sustain the authority of the Empire,
because he foresaw nothing from its dissolution but an
alternative between Chaos and the Mahrattas; and, but for the
opposition of his council in Calcutta, he would have interposed,
and interposed after his fashion, with effect. Yet his not doing
so was afterwards made the ground of one of the charges (No. 18)
against him, and he was accused of having intrigued in the
interest of Madhoji Sindhia, the Patel. That Mr. Hastings, when
overruled in his desire of anticipating Sindhia in Court
influence at Dehli, preferred seeing the latter succeed, rather
than the Empire should fall a prey to complete anarchy; that he
"turned the circumstance to advantage" — to use Grant Duff's
phrase — was neither contrary to sound statesmanship, nor to the
particular views of the British Government, which was then
occupied in completing the treaty of Salbai. Under this compact
Central India was pacified, and the Carnatic protected from the
encroachments of the notorious Haidar Ali Khan, and his son, the
equally famous Tippu Sahib. It is important here to observe that
the Calcutta Gazettes of the day contain several notices of the
progress of the Sikhs, and the feeble opposition offered to them
by the courtiers. All these things called for prompt action.

1781. — On the 27th March, the British Governor arrived at
Lucknow, and Jawan Bakht resolved to escape from the palace, and
lay before him an account of Dehli politics, such as should
induce him to interpose. The design being communicated to his
maternal uncle, a body of Gujars, from the prince's estate, was
posted on the opposite bank of the river, and everything fixed
for the 14th of April. About 8 P.M., having given out that he was
indisposed, and on no account to be disturbed, the prince
disguised himself, and, secretly departing from his chamber in
the palace, passed from the roof of one building to the roof of
another, until he reached the aqueduct which crossed the garden
of the palace. The night was stormy, and the prince was suffering
from fever, but he found a breach where the canal issued, by
which he got to the rampart of the Salimgarh. Here he descended
by means of a rope, and joined his friends on the river sands;
and, with a considerable mixture of audacity and address, found
means to elude the sentries and get across the river. One trait
is worth preserving, as illustrative of the characteristic
clemency of the house of Timur. "I believe," said the prince, in
talking of this night's adventure to Mr. Hastings, "I ought to
have killed the guide who showed me where to ford the river; but
my conscience disapproved, and I let him go, preferring to trust
myself to the care of Providence. In effect, the man justified my
suspicions, for he instantly went to the nearest guard and gave
him information of my route, as I learned soon after; but I made
such speed that my pursuers could not overtake me."

His Highness reached Lucknow, where he impressed all who met him
with a highly favourable opinion of his humanity, his
intelligence, and his knowledge of affairs; but the only
consolation he received, either from the Viceroy or from Mr.
Hastings, hampered as the latter was by the opposition of his
council, was the advice to turn to Madhoji Sindhia. Captain
Jonathan Scott (who was on Hastings' staff) says that the prince
received an allowance of £40,000 a year from the British
Government (Scott's Ferishta, vol. ii. 242.)

In the meanwhile Mohamed Beg, who had returned to his old
residence at Agra, continued to trouble the repose of the new
minister Afrasyab, so that he also turned to the redoubled Patel,
and this successful soldier who had barely escaped
four-and-twenty years before from the slaughter of Panipat, now
found himself master of the situation. The movements of the
Mahratta chief began, indeed, to be all-important. They were thus
noticed in the Calcutta Gazette for 18th April: — "We learn that
Sindhia is going on a hunting party. ... . We also learn that he
will march towards Bundelkund." He marched in the direction, as
it proved, of Agra.

He sent an envoy to Lucknow to treat with the Governor-General,
and proceeded in person to Hindustan, proposing to meet the
Emperor, who was on his way to dislodge Mohamad Beg from the fort
of Agra.

The Calcutta Gazette for May 10th says, "His Majesty has
signified by letters to the Governor-General and Sindhia that he
will march towards Agra."

The Emperor's desire to put himself into the hands of Sindhia was
very much increased by the violent conduct of Afrasyab towards
one who, whatever his faults, had endeared himself, by long
years' association, to the facile monarch. Majad-ud-daulah, the
Finance Minister, having attempted to dissuade his Majesty from
going to Agra, the haughty Moghul sent Najaf Kuli Khan with a
sufficient force to Majad's house, and seizing him, with the
whole of his property, kept him in close arrest, in which he
continued for the most part till his death, in 1788.

On his arrival, Sindhia had an interview with Afrasyab Khan, at
which it was agreed to concert a combined attack upon Mohamad Beg
forthwith. Three days after, the minister was assassinated, viz.,
2nd November, 1784. The actual hand that struck this blow was
that of Zain-ul-Abidin, brother of Mirza Shaffi, who, no doubt,
was not unwilling to have an opportunity of punishing the
supposed author of his uncle's murder; but there were not wanting
those who, on the well-known maxim, cui bono, attributed the
instigation to Sindhia. Francklin records, on the authority of
one Said Raza Khan, that Zain-ul-Abidin found shelter with
Sindhia immediately after the murder, which was effected in the
very tent of the victim. Rajah Himmat Bahadur (the Gosain leader)
at once proceeded to Sindhia's tent, accompanied by the chief
Moghul nobles, where all joined in congratulations and
professions of service.

1785 — The latter, at all events, immediately stepped into the
dead man's shoes, leaving the title of Vazir to the Audh Viceroy;
and contenting himself with the substance of authority. Calling
the Peshwa of Puna — the head of the Mahrattas — by the revived
title of Plenipotentiary of the Empire, formerly borne (it may be
remembered) by the first Nizam, he professed to administer as the
Peshwa's deputy. He assumed with the command of the army, the
direct management of the provinces of Dehli and Agra, and
allotted a monthly payment of sixty-five thousand rupees for the
personal expenses of Shah Alam. In order to meet these expenses,
and at the same time to satisfy himself and reward his followers,
the Pate] had to cast about him for every available pecuniary
resource. Warren Hastings having now left India, the time may
have been thought favourable for claiming some contribution from
the foreign possessors of the Eastern Subahs. Accordingly we find
in the Calcutta Gazette the following notice, under the date
Thursday, 12th May, 1785: —

"We have authority to inform the public that on the 7th of this
month the Governor-General received from the Emperor Shah Alam
and Maha Rajah Madagee Sindia an official and solemn disavowal,
under their respective seals, of demands which were transmitted
by them, on Mr. Macpherson's accession to the Government, for the
former tribute from Bengal.

"The demands of the tribute were transmitted through Major Brown,
and made immediately upon his recall from the Court of Shah Alam,
but without any communication of the subject to Mr. Anderson.

"Mr. Anderson was immediately instructed to inform Sindhia that
his interference in such demands would be considered in the light
of direct hostility, and a breach of our treaty with the
Mahrattas; and Shah Alam was to be informed that the justice of
the English to his illustrous house could never admit the
interference or recommendation of other powers, and could alone
flow from their voluntary liberality.

"A disavowal of claims advanced unjustly and disrespectfully was
insisted upon; and we are authorized to declare that Mr.
Anderson's conduct in obtaining that disavowal was open and
decided, highly honourable to him as a public minister. He acted
in conformity to the orders of Government even before he received
them. He founded his remonstrances on a short letter which he had
received from the Governor-General, and upon circumstances which
passed in the presence of Sindhia, at Shah Alam's Darbar, as
Major Brown was taking his leave.

"The effects which Mr. Anderson's remonstrance produced are very
satisfactory and creditable to Government, and such explanations
have followed upon the part of Sindhia, as must eventually
strengthen our alliance with the Mahrattas, expose the designs of
secret enemies, and secure the general tranquillity of India."

The revolution begun by the Patel was soon completed. Zabita Khan
died about this time; and Mohamad Beg, being deserted by his
troops, had no resource but to throw himself upon the mercy of
the Mahratta chief. The fort of Agra surrendered on the 27th of
March, 1785; and all that remained of the power of the Moghul
party was the fort of Aligarh, where the widow and brother of the
late minister, Afrasyab Khan, still held out, in the hope of
preserving the property of the deceased, the bulk of which was
stored there. This stronghold, which the late Najaf Khan had
wrested from the Jats, had been fortified with great care, and it
had a strong garrison, but, having held out from July to
November, the Governor was at last prevailed upon, by the
entreaties of the ladies, to avert from them the horrors of a
storm, and make terms with the besiegers. The result of the
capitulation was that the eldest son of the deceased Afrasyab
received an estate, yielding a yearly revenue of a lakh and a
half of rupees. The rest of the property — valued at a crore, a
sum then corresponding to a million of money, but really
representing much more of our present currency — was seized by

The latter was now supreme in Hindustan; the disunited Moghul
chiefs, one and all, acknowledged his authority; and a Mahratta
garrison, occupying the Red Castle of Shah Jahan, rendered the
Emperor little more than an honourable pageant. He joined,
however, personally in all the operations of 1785, and did not
return to Dehli until the middle of the following year. Sindhia
did not at the time accompany him, but retired to his favourite
cantonment of Mathra.

It has been already mentioned that there is little or nothing
recorded of the condition of the country or of the people by
native historians. It must not, however, be thought that I am
satisfied with recording merely the dates of battles, or the
biographies of prominent men. On the contrary, the absence of
information upon the subject of the condition of the nation at
large, is a great cause of regret and disappointment to me. A few
particulars will be found in the concluding chapter.

In 1783, when Afrasyab Khan was distracting the country by his
ambitious attempts, occurred a failure of the periodical rains,
followed by one of those tremendous famines which form such a
fearful feature of Indian life. In Bengal, where the monsoon is
regular, and the alluvial soil moist, these things are almost as
unknown as in England: but the arid plains of Hindustan, basking
at the feet of the vastest mountain-chain in the world, become a
perfect desert, at least once in every quarter of a century. The
famine of 1783-4 has made a peculiarly deep impression upon the
popular mind, under the name of the "Chalisa," in reference to
the Sambat date 1840, of the era of Vikram Adit. An old Gosain,
who had served under Himmat Bahadur, near Agra, once told the
author that flour sold near Agra that year 8 seers for the rupee;
which, allowing for the subsequent fall in the value of money, is
perhaps equivalent to a rate of three seers for our present rupee
— a state of things partly conceivable by English readers, if
they will imagine the quartern loaf at four shillings, and
butcher's meat in proportion.

These famines were greatly intensified by the want of hands for
field-labour, that must have been caused by the constant drafting
of men to the armies, and by the massacre and rapine that
accompanied the chronic warfare of those times. The drain on the
population, however, combined with the absence of the
tax-gatherer, must have given this state of things some sort of
compensation in the long run. Some few further particulars
regarding the state of the country will be found in the
concluding chapter.

NOTE.—Besides the Mozafari, the principal authorities for this
chapter have been Francklin's "Shah Alum" (v. inf. p. 194) the
narrative of the Shahzadah published by Warren Hastings and the
continuation of Ferishta by Captain Jonathan Scott. This
gentleman has already been mentioned (V. sup. p. 132), he was
assisted in compiling his narrative by Maj. Polier, who was at
Dehli at the time. All these authorities are strictly original
and contemporaneous; and in general agree with each other. The
Memoirs of Iradat Khan have also been consulted — a Dehli noble
of the period. A traditional account of the Famine by an "Old
Resident" of Aligarh may not be without interest. It is taken
from the Dehli Gazette of 6th June, 1874. "As told by many
persons who witnessed it, the disastrous circumstance which
occurred during Sindiah's rule and prior to Du Boigne's
administration known by the people as the 'Chaleesa Kaut,' the
severe famine of A.D. 1783 in a considerable degree desolated the
country, and the many ruinous high mounds still visible in the
district owe their origin to this calamity. The inhabitants
either fell victims, or fled to other parts where they met a
similar fate, for the famine was a general one. It was described
to me by those who lived then, that for the two previous years
the rains were very unfavourable, and the produce very scanty,
the third year, A.D. 1783, the people entertained strong hopes
that the season would be a propitious one: but sad was their
condition when they found the rainy months, 'Assaur and Sawun,
passing off with a scorching sun. In 'Bhadoon' they had clouds
but no rain, and when the calamity came, all hopes were gone the
price of grain was enormous and with difficulty it could be
procured, thousands died of sheer starvation within their walls
and streets, and the native governments rendered no assistance to
ameliorate or relieve the wants of their unfortunate subjects.
Children were left to go astray and find their sustenance in the
wild berries of the peepul, burrh, and goolur, and thus became an
easy prey to the wild beasts who in numbers roved round the
country in open day, living on carcases. About the middle of
September or 'Kooar,' the rains fell, and so regularly that the
grain which was thrown in the fields in the two previous years
and did not generate for want of moisture, now came up profusely,
and abundant was the produce. The state of things gradually
changed for the better in October and November. An old Brahmin of
Secundra Rao narrated that some years before 1810 the harvest was
so plentiful that on the occasion he built a house which was on a
very high plinth: he filled the plinth instead of with mud with
an inferior course of small grain called 'kodun,' selling at that
time uncommonly cheap, much lower than the cost of mud would be;
when the famine came he dug up the coarse grain, which was found
good, and sold it, and with the money he made his house a pucka
one, besides gaining a large sum in coin."


A.D. 1786-88.

Gholam Kadir — Pillars of the State — Siege of Raghogarh —
British policy — Measures of Sindhia — Rajput Confederacy —
Battle of Lalsaut — Muhammad Beg's death — Defection of Ismail
Beg — Greatness of Sindhia — Gholam Kadir enters Dehli — Is
checked by Begam Sumroo and Najaf Kuli Khan — Gholam Kadir
pardoned; joins Ismail Beg — Battle of Chaksana — Rajput Embassy
— Emperor takes the field — Shahzada writes to George III. —
Najaf Kuli rebels — Death of Shahzada — Emperor's return — Battle
of Firozabad — Confederates at Dehli — Their difficulties —
Sindhia inactive — Benoit de Boigne.

1786. — The eldest son of the deceased chief of the Bawani Mahal
was that Gholam Kadir, whom we have seen already in the character
of a captive and a page. It does not appear under what
circumstances he had recovered his liberty; but, on the death of
Zabita Khan, he at once succeeded to his estates, under the title
of "Najib-ud-daulah Hoshyar Jang." As in the lower empire of
Byzantium, so in the present case, in proportion as the State
crumbled, the titles of its unserviceable supporters became more
sonorous, until at last there was not a pillar of the ruinous
fabric, however weak and however disengaged from the rest of the
body, but bore some inscription equally "imposing" in both senses
of the word. Daulah or Daulat means "The State," and the Musalman
nobles were called Arkan-i-Daulat — "Columns of the
Commonwealth." Of these one was its Sword, another its Asaph (the
"Recorder" of David and Solomon), a third its Hero, and a fourth
its Shield. The young "Najib" Gholam Kadir Khan, was now the most
prominent representative of the Hindustani Afghans. Among the
Moghuls the leading spirit was Mohamad Beg of Hamadan, for whom
the Patel provided employment by sending him with an army into
Malwa, where he was for some time occupied by the siege of
Raghogarh. This was a very strong fort, held by a colony of
Kachwaha Rajputs since the times of Najaf Khan, and commanding
one of the main roads between Hindustan and the Mahratta country.
It had resisted the Mahrattas when they first invaded Malwa, and
it was destined to resist Sindhia's successors almost down to our
own times. It is now a peaceful market town, and the traces of
its former strength are all that it retains of a military

Sindhia's progress in the Doab was more rapid, nor was it long
before Musalman jealousy began to be aroused. The Patel opened
negotiations with Mirza Jawan Bakht, having the object of
inducing. that prince to return to the capital; but from this he
was strongly dissuaded by the Viceroy Vazir, acting under the
advice of Major Palmer, the British Resident at Lucknow. That
gentleman considered the interests of the Company and of the
Vazir as deeply bound up in the fate of the prince. Whilst he
remained under their joint protection, the Mahratta usurpation
must be incomplete; should he fall into the power of the Patel, a
permanent Mahratta occupation would be established, which would
be a serious danger indeed.

1787. — Under these circumstances the acting Governor-General
Macpherson, who, as already noted, had succeeded Mr. Hastings
when the latter left India, resolved on retaining a British
Brigade in the Doab; and Lord Cornwallis, on taking office the
following year, confirmed the measure. That a change began to
come over the policy of the British in India about this time is
well known, however the English might strive to hide it from
others — or even from themselves: see, for instance, the
following passage from the Calcutta Gazette for March 8th, 1787:-

"Though the Mussulmans dwindle into insignificance, we have
nothing to apprehend from the Hindus. Many have urged the
necessity of upholding the influence of Moghuls to counterbalance
the power of Hindus; but this should seem bad policy, as we would
causelessly become obnoxious, and involve ourselves in the
interests of a declining State, who are at the same time our
secret enemy and rivals."

The new Governor, likewise, further alarmed Sindhia by sending a
minister to reside at the Peshwa's Court at Punah, and the Patel
anxiously set himself to work to consolidate his power in
Hindustan, so as to be ready for the storm, from whatever quarter
it might break. Impressed with the success which had attended his
predecessor, Mirza Najaf, Sindhia's first care was to organize a
body of regular troops — a measure repugnant to the old politics
of the Mahrattas, but none the less approving itself to his
judgment on that account.

The nucleus of this force was the corps raised and organized, in
1785, by Benoit de Boigne, an officer whose history, as it forms
an excellent illustration of the condition of Hindustan in the
latter part of the last century, will be given briefly in a note
at the end of this chapter. The General in command of Sindhia's
forces was a Mahratta, named Appa Khandi Rao, of whom we shall
hereafter have occasion to make further mention.

In civil matters, the first step taken by the Patel was the
sequestration of a number of the Jaigirs of the Musalman nobles —
a cause of discontent to the sufferers, and of alarm to the
remainder; but even this step had a military character, for the
Jaigirs were fiefs bestowed for military service, and their
reduction formed part of the system under which he was
endeavouring to organize a standing army. With this view he at
the same time recalled Mohamad Beg from the siege of Raghogarh
and attempted, vainly, to induce that Chief to disband his

Amongst other unpopular measures must also be enumerated the
removal of Raja Narayan Dass, who had for some time been in
charge of the Home Revenues, and who was replaced by Shah
Nizam-ud-din, a creature of Sindhia's. At the same time the
Gosain leader, Himmat Bahadur, went into open rebellion in
Bundelkand, on being called upon to give an account of the
management of his Jaigir, a measure which he construed as
portending resumption.

Nor was it an easy matter, at this particular juncture, to set
about military reforms, for the Rajputs, emboldened perhaps by
the resistance of Raghogarh, now began to organize a combination,
which not only implied a considerable loss of power and of
revenue, but likewise threatened to cut off the Patel's
communications with Punah. Raja Partab Singh (head of the
Kachwahas, and Dhiraj of Jaipur), called for the aid of the head
of the Rathor clan, Maharaja Bijai Singh of Jodhpur, who had
married his daughter, and who adopted his cause with alacrity.
Joined by the Rana of Udaipur, and by other minor chiefs, the
Rajput leaders found themselves at the head of a force of 100,000
horse and foot, and 400 pieces of artillery, and with this array
they took post at Lalsot, a town forty-three miles east from
Jaipur, and there awaited the attack of the Imperial forces, with
the more confidence that they were aware of the growing
disaffection of the Moghul nobles.

Here they were encountered at the end of May, 1787, by an
enormous force under Sindhia in person, with Ambaji Inglia, Appa
Khandi, M. de Boigne, and other trusty lieutenants. The Moghul
horse and the regular infantry in the Imperial service were under
the general direction of Mohamad Beg and his nephew. The latter,
a young man who will play a conspicuous part in the succeeding
pages, was named Ismail Beg, and was the son of Nahim Beg, who
had accompanied his brother Mohamad from Hamadan, the two
attaching themselves to their Persian countryman, Mirza Najaf,
during that minister's later prosperity. Ismail Beg had married
his uncle's daughter, and was a person of great spirit, though
not, as it would seem, of much judgment or principle.

The battle, as described by Native history, began by a
reconnaisance of Ismail Beg at the head of 300 Moghul horse. A
large body of Rajput horse made way before him, but the Mahrattas
not following up, and nearly half his men being slain, he was
forced to retreat to his uncle's division. This terminated the
fighting for that day, but the next morning Ismail renewed the
fight, leading on his artillery on foot, and followed by his
uncle on an elephant with the rest of the corps. They were
throughout the day engaged with the bulk of the Rajput army, but
a heavy storm arose from the westward, as evening came on. The
Mahrattas, having been in the meantime severely handled by a body
of Rajput swordsmen mad with opium, the battle degenerated into a
cannonade, at long ranges and at fitful intervals. Suddenly a
chance round-shot dropped into the Moghul ranks, which, after
overthrowing two horsemen, made a bound and struck Mohamad Beg on
the right arm. He fell from his elephant, and, coming in contact
with a small stack of branches of trees that had been piled at
hand for the elephants' fodder, received a splinter in his temple
which proved instantly mortal. Ismail, hearing of this event,
exclaimed, "I am now the leader!" and immediately addressed the
troops, and concluded the action for that day with a brisk
cannonade. The next day (the 1st of June, and the third of this
protracted engagement) both sides continued to fight till towards
evening, when a body of some 14,000 infantry surrounded Sindhia's
tents and clamorously demanded an issue of pay — very probably in
arrear — and sent a message at the same time to the Jaipur Raja,
offering to join him on receipt of two lakes of rupees. The Raja
readily accepting these terms, the battalions joined his camp and
received their money on the spot.

Meanwhile, such was the distress in the Moghul-Mahratta camp,
isolated, at it was, in an enemy's country, that wheat was
selling at four seers the Rupee, and there was every prospect of
the scarcity increasing; while the countless camp-followers of
the Rajputs were engaged in nightly depredations, stealing the
elephants and horses from the midst of the sentries. Under these
circumstances, the Patel broke up his quarters the next evening,
and fell back upon Alwar, whence Ismail Beg marched off without
leave towards Agra, taking with him 1,000 horse, four battalions,
and six guns. Sindhia, justly regarding this as an open act of
defection, instantly made terms with Ranjit Singh, the leader of
the Jats, and pushed on all his forces to the pursuit, at the
same time throwing a strong reinforcement into the fort of Agra,
the garrison of which was placed under the command of Lakwa Dada,
one of his best officers.

The following version of the affair appears in the Calcutta
Gazette: —

"Reports are various respecting the particulars of an engagement
between Scindia and the Rajahs of Joynaghur and Jeypore; it is
certain a very bloody battle was fought near Joynaghur about the
end of last month, in which, though the enemy were repulsed in
their attack on his advanced body by Scindia's troops, with much
gallantry, they were ultimately in a great measure victorious, as
Scindia lost a part of his artillery during the engagement, which
was long and obstinate, and in which upwards of 2,000 men were
killed on either side. Both armies, however, still kept the
field. Among the chiefs of note who fell on the part of Scindia,
is Ajeet Roy. On that of the Joynaghur Rajah, is Mohamed Beg
Humdanee, a very celebrated commander, much regretted by that
party, and, but for whose loss, it is said that the Mahrattas
would have been totally defeated. Several of Scindia's
battalions, with a considerable corps of artillery, went over to
the enemy on the 1st instant, but the intelligence we have yet
received does not enable us to account for this revolt."

Francklin says, in general terms, that Mohamad Beg went over at
the commencement of the action, and that it was Partab Singh who
conferred the command of the Moghuls upon Ismail Beg. But Partab
Singh would have no voice in such a matter, and Francklin
inconsistently adds that the trained battalions of the late
Afrasyab's force went over later in the day. Where no authorities
are given, it is inevitable that we should judge for ourselves.
And, after all, the point is not of much importance. It is,
however, pretty clear that the Moghul nobles were grievously
discontented; that their discontents were known to the Rajputs
before they provoked a collision; and that the latter were joined
by them as soon as a likelihood appeared of Sindhia's being

General de Boigne used to relate that this was the hour of
Sindhia's moral greatness. He made vast efforts to conciliate the
Jats, appealing to the Thakur's rustic vanity by costly presents,
while he propitiated the feeling of the Bhartpur army, and the
patriotism of the country at large, by restoring to the Jats the
fortress of Dig, which had been held for the Emperor ever since
its conquest by Najaf Khan. He likewise placed his siege-train in
the charge of his new allies, who stored it in their chief fort
of Bhartpur. At the same time he wrote letters to Poona,
earnestly urging a general combination for the good cause.

Ismail Beg, on his part was not idle. His first effort was to
procure the co-operation of the Rajputs, and had they not been
too proud or too indolent to combine actively with him, it is
possible that Mahratta influence might have been again
overthrown, and the comparatively glorious days of Mirza Najaf
Khan renewed in the Empire of Hindostan. A fresh associate, too,
in these designs are now to appear upon the scene, which, for a
brief but terrible period, he was soon after to fill. This was
Gholam Kadir, who hastened from Ghausgarh to join in the
resuscitation of Mohamadan interests, and to share in the gains.
The Emperor, moreover, was known to be in private correspondence
with the Rajput chiefs, who shortly after this inflicted another
defeat on the Mahrattas under Ambaji.

Unable to resist this combination, Sindhia fell back upon
Gwalior, and Ismail Beg hotly pressed the siege of Agra.

Towards the end of the rainy season of 1787, Gholam Kadir
approached Dehli, and encamped on the Shahdara side of the river,
his object at this time being, in all probability, a renewal of
his father's claims, and attempts to obtain the dignity of
Amir-ul-Umra or Premier Noble. He is always understood to have
been acting under the direction of Manzur Ali Khan, Controller of
the Imperial Household, who thought to secure a valuable support
for the cause of Islam by introducing the young Pathan chief into
the administration. The Mahratta garrison was commanded by a
son-in-law of the Patel, known in Musalman History as the Desmukh
— which is interpreted "Collector of Land Revenue," — and by a
member of the Imperial Household, on whom, from some unexplained
reason, had been bestowed the title of the great Aulia Saint Shah
Nizam-ud-din, and who had lately been placed in charge of the
Home Revenues, as stated above (p. 152.) These officers
immediately opened fire from the guns on the riverside of the
fort, and the young Rohilla replied from the opposite bank. At
the same time, however, he did not fail to employ the usual
Eastern application of war's sinews; and the Moghul soldiers of
the small force being corrupted, the Mahrattas made but a feeble
resistance. Gholam Kadir crossed the river, and the Imperial
officers fled to the Jat Fort of Balamgarh, leaving their camp
and private effects to the mercy of the victor.

It need hardly be observed that the firing on the palace was an
act of gross disrespect, and, unless explained, of rebellion. Nor
was the young chief blind to the importance of basing his
proceedings on an appearance of regularity. He accordingly
entered into a correspondence with the above mentioned Manzur Ali
(a nominee, it may be remembered, of the late Mirza Najaf Khan).
By the agency of this official, Gholam Kadir was introduced to
the Diwan Khas, where he presented a Nazar of five gold mohurs,
and was graciously received. He excused his apparent violence by
attributing it to zeal for the service of his Majesty, formally
applied for the patent of Amir-ul-Umra, and with professions of
implicit obedience withdrew to cultivate the acquaintance of the
courtiers, retiring at night to his own camp. Matters remained in
this condition for two or three days, when Gholam Kadir,
impatient perhaps at the non-occurrence of any circumstance which
might advance his designs, re-entered the Palace with seventy or
eighty troopers, and took up his abode in the quarters usually
occupied by the Amir-ul-Umra.

Meanwhile, Begam Sumroo, who was with her forces operating
against a fresh rising of the Cis-Satlaj Sikhs, hastened from
Panipat and presented herself in the palace. Awed by this loyal
lady and her European officers, and finding the Moghul courtiers
unwilling to enter into any combination against them, the baffled
Rohilla retired across the river, and remained for some time
quiet in his camp. Francklin, indeed, states that the cannonade
was renewed immediately on Gholam Kadir's return to his camp; but
it is more probable that, as stated above, this renewal did not
occur until the arrival of Najaf Kuli Khan. The Emperor showed on
this occasion some sparks of the temper of old time, before
misfortune and sensual indulgence had demoralized his nature. He
sent Moghul chiefs to keep an eye on the Pathan, while he
increased his household troops by a levy of 6,000 horse, for the
pay of whom he melted a quantity of his personal plate. He also
despatched messengers to the converted Rathor, Najaf Kuli Khan,
who was on his estate at Rewari, urging his immediate attendance
in Dehli.

Rewari is in what is now the district of Gurgaon, and lies about
fifty miles S.W. of Dehli. It is a country of mixed mountain and
valley; the former being a table-land of primitive rocks, the
latter the sandy meadow land on the right bank of the river
Jamna. Here, in a district wrested by his former patron from the
Jats, Najaf Kuli had been employed in endeavours to subjugate the
indigenous population of Mewatis, a race professing Islam like
himself, but mixing it with many degrading superstitions, and
resembling their neighbours the Minas of Rajputana and the
Bhattis of Hariana in habits of vagrancy and lawlessness, which
above half a century of British administration has even now
failed to eradicate.

Najaf Kuli Khan obeyed the Imperial summons, and reached Dehli,
where he encamped close to the Begam Sumroo, in front of the main
gate of the Palace, on the 17th November, 1787. The general
command of the Imperial troops was conferred upon the Emperor's
second son, Mirza Akbar, who, since the flight of his elder
brother, had been considered as heir apparent, and who now
received a khillat of seven pieces. The son of a Hindu official,
named Ram Rattan, was appointed the Prince's deputy (although he
was by descent nothing but a modi or "chandler"); and a cannonade
was opened on the camp of Gholam Kadir, who replied by sending
round shot into the palace itself, some of which fell on the
Diwan Khas.

Sindhia's conduct at this juncture has never been explained. He
was himself at Gwalior, and his army under Lakwa Dada, shut up in
the fort of Agra, was defending itself as well as it might
against the forces under Ismail Beg. At the same time the author
of the Tarikh-i-Mazafari assures us that Ambaji Inglia — one of
Sindhia's most trusty lieutenants, arrived in Dehli with a small
force, and that his arrival was the signal for a reconciliation
between the Emperor's principal adherents and Gholam Kadir, who
was then introduced to the presence, and invested with the
dignity of Premier Noble (Shah Alam himself binding upon his head
the jewelled fillet called Dastar-u-Goshwara). It is probable
that a compromise was effected, in which Gholam Kadir, by
receiving the desired office at the hands of the Mahratta
minister, was supposed to have acknowledged the supremacy of the
latter. The whole story is perplexing. When cannonaded, the
Pathan chief suddenly appears within the palace; when Sindhia's
troops arrive, he receives the investiture that he was seeking in
opposition to Sindhia; and at the moment of success he marches
off to Aligarh. This latter movement is, however, accounted for
by Francklin, who attributes it to the news of Prince Jawan Bakht
being at hand with the forces of Himmat Bahadur, who had joined
the cause of Ismail Beg. At all events, if Gholam Kadir owed this
sudden improvement in his position to the good offices of the man
whose garrison he had so lately chased from Dehli, he did not
evince his gratitude in a form that could have been expected; for
he lost no time in marching against Sindhia's late conquest of
Aligarh, which fort almost immediately fell into his hands. He
then proceeded to join his forces to those of Ismail Beg, before
Agra; and remained for some months assisting at the siege of that
fort; these operations being subject to constant annoyance from
the Jats, and from the troops of Sindhia, who finally crossed the
Chambal at the end of the cold season of 1787, having received
large reinforcements from the Deccan. Ismail Beg and Gholam Kadir
immediately raised the siege of Agra, turned upon the advancing
army, and an obstinate battle took place at Chaksana, eleven
miles from Bhartpur, on the 24th April. The particulars of this
action are not given by the native historian, whom I here follow,
but they are detailed by Grant Duff, who probably had them from
General de Boigne, who was present at the action, and with whom
that writer had frequent conversations at Chamberi after the
General's retirement to his native country. The Mahratta army was
commanded by Rana Khan, a man who, having in the capacity of a
water-carrier been the means of assisting Sindhia to escape from
the carnage of Panipat in 1761, had been much protected by him;
and being otherwise a man of merit, was now become one of the
chief officers of the army. Besides M. de Boigne there was
another French officer present, whose name is given by Duff as
Listeneaux, perhaps a mistake for some such word as Lestonneaux.
John Hessing was also in this campaign, as may be gathered from
the epitaph on his tomb, which is close to that of Sumroo at
Agra. (See Appendix.) The Musalman leaders fought well, Gholam
Kadir threw himself upon the infantry of the right wing, and
broke them. Ismail Beg with all the impetuosity of his character
vigorously attacked the battalions of M. de Boigne, but was
received with sang froid and resolution. The Mahratta horse
supported the infantry fairly, but were overmatched for such
severe duty by the weight of the Moghul cavalry and their
superior discipline. It is probable, however, that the infantry,
formed and led by Europeans, would have been more than a match
for all their attempts, had not three of the battalions deserted
and joined the enemy, while the Jat cavalry failed to sustain the
efforts of the remaining sepoys. The army of Rana Khan, under
these circumstances, withdrew under cover of night to Bhartpur;
and Ismail Beg renewed the siege of Agra, while Gholam Kadir
moved northward in order to protect his own possessions from an
incursion of the Sikhs, with which he was then just threatened.

While these transactions were going on to the south and
south-east of the capital, the Emperor had been occupied by a
campaign which he conducted personally in the west, and which
might have given Sindhia much anxiety had it been directed by a
more efficient leader. As events turned, this expedition is
chiefly remarkable as being the last faint image of the once
splendid operations of the great military monarchy of Akbar and
of Aurangzeb.

At the end of 1787, and probably in consequence of Ismail Beg's
attempts to secure the co-operation of the Rajputs, an embassy
from Jodhpur had presented itself at the Court of Shah Alam,
bearing a handsome nazar (gift of homage or respect) and a golden
key. The envoy explained that he was instructed by his master
Bijai Singh, the Rathor leader, to present this, the key of the
Fort of Ajmir, in token of his wish that an Imperial army under
his Majesty in person might march thither and take possession of
that country; adding that Partab Sing, the Kachwaha Dhiraj of
Jaipur joined in the application.

It seems plain that principle and prudence should have combined
to deter the Emperor from consenting to this invitation, whereby
he took an active step of hostility towards Sindhia, his
minister, and at this time perhaps his most powerful and best
disposed supporter. But the dream of a Musalman restoration, even
with Hindu aid, will always have a fascination for the sons of
Islam; and the weak Shah Alam adopted the proposal with an
alacrity such as he had not shown for many years. On the 5th of
January, 1788, he marched from Dehli, accompanied by several of
the princes and princesses of his family. From the fact of Mirza
Akbar continuing to be regarded as heir apparent, and from some
other considerations, it may be gathered that the last attempt of
Jawan Bakht in the Emperor's favour, and its eventual defeat,
must have already taken place; for such is the confused manner in
which these events are related by my authorities — some leaving
out one part, and some another, while the dates shine few and
far, like stars in a stormy night — that the relative position of
events is sometimes left entirely open to conjecture. But it is
certain that the excellent prince whom we have heretofore
encountered more than once, did about this time make his
appearance at the capital, with a small contingent supplied him
by the Viceroy of Audh, adding to his force such irregular troops
as he was able to raise upon the way; and that on this occasion
it was that he addressed to George III. of Britain the touching
yet manly appeal from which I make the following extract: —
"Notwithstanding the wholesome advice given from the throne to
Sindhia, to conciliate the attachment of the ancient nobility,
and to extend protection to the distressed peasantry, that
ungrateful chief, regardless of the royal will, has established
himself in continued and unvaried opposition; until he, having by
his oppressions exasperated the Rajas and Princes of the Empire,
particularly the most illustrious prince of Jainagar, Raja Partab
Singh, as likewise the ruler of Jodhpur, both of whom are allied
by blood to our family, these chiefs united to chastise the
oppressor, gave him battle, and defeated him; but the
machinations of the rebellious increased. On one side, Gholam
Kadir Khan (son of the detested Afghan Zabita Khan) has raised
the standard of rebellion. His example having encouraged others,
the disturbance became so formidable as to penetrate even to the
threshold of the Imperial palace; so that our august parent was
compelled to make use of the most strenuous exertions."

This statement of the condition of the Empire is interesting, as
being given by a contemporary writer in all respects the best
able to judge. He concludes by an urgent appeal to the British
monarch for assistance "to restore the royal authority, punish
the rebellious and re-establish the house of Timur, and, by this
kind interposition, to give repose to the people of God, and
render his name renowned among the princes of the earth."

Among the pressing disturbances noted by the prince was
undoubtedly the defection of Najaf Kuli Khan, whom we have lately
seen combined with the Begam in the protection of the Emperor
against the insults of Gholam Kadir, but who had since gone into
open rebellion, upon an attempt made by the faction in temporary
power to supplant him in his government by one Murad Beg. This
Moghul officer having been put in charge of some part of the
convert's territorial holding, the latter not unnaturally
regarded the act as a menace to his whole power, waylaid the
Moghul on his way to his new post, and put him in confinement at

But the men who had given the advice which led to this misfortune
did not stop there, but proceeded to strike at the prince
himself, whom they accused to the Emperor of designs upon the
throne. He obtained however the titular office of Governor of
Agra, and seriously attempted, with the aid of Ismail Beg, to
obtain possession of the fort and province. Foiled in this, and
escaping narrowly an attempt upon his person by Gholam Kadir, he
ultimately retired to the protection of the British at Benares,
where he died a mortified and heartbroken man on the 31st May, in
the eventful year 1788. It is not quite clear, from the records
of these transactions, why the prince, experienced statesman as
he was, attempted to ally himself to those Musalman malcontents
rather than to the Mahratta Chief, whose ability and resources
must have been well known to him. It must, however, be admitted
that Sindhia was just then showing an inaction which was
calculated to arouse Jawan Bakht's suspicions, and we can trace,
in the letter quoted a short time back, signs of hostility in his
mind against that wily politician. Idle as the speculation may
now appear, it is difficult to refrain from a passing thought on
the manner in which his choice of associates affected the fate
not merely of his royal Father, but of Hindustan and the British
power there. United with Sindhia he would in all probability have
drawn off Gholam Kadir and changed the whole fortunes of the
country. Dis aliter visum.

The prince, who was known to the English as Jahandar Shah, is
described as "an accomplished gentleman, irreproachable in his
private character, constant, humane, and benevolent" (Francklin,
p. 162). He was about forty at the time of his death which was
caused by a fit, and is narrated in detail at p. 256 of the
selections from the Calcutta Gazettes, in a manner somewhat more
minute than that of Francklin, whose account (taken as usual from
Raza Khan) appears inaccurate as well as incomplete.

Unattended therefore by this, his best and nearest friend, the
poor old Emperor began his march to the westward. On the way it
appeared well to take the opportunity of reducing Najaf Kuli,
who, confident in his stronghold of Gokalgarh, would make no
submission unless he were appointed premier. As we know that the
Controller Manzur Ali, who was at present all-powerful, was in
favour of the claims of Gholam Kadir, we may suppose that these
terms were rejected with scorn, and the trenches were accordingly
opened and the fort invested. The Emperor's army on this occasion
consisted, according to Francklin, of some battalions of
half-drilled infantry (called Najibs), the body guard, called the
"Red Battalion," a very considerable body of Moghul horse, and
three disciplined regiments which had been raised and drilled by
the deceased Sumroo, and now with a detail of artillery and about
two hundred European gunners, served under the well-known Begam;
with these forces Shah Alam sate down before Gokalgarh. On the
5th April, 1788, the besieged made a vigorous sally, and charged
close up to the tents of the Emperor. Such was the unprepared
state of the royal camp, that the whole family were in imminent
danger of being killed or captured; the imperial army was already
in commotion, when, at this moment, three battalions of the
Begam's Sepoys and a field piece dashed up, under the command of
her chief officer Mr. Thomas. The infantry deployed with the gun
in the centre, and threw in a brisk fire of musketry and grape,
which checked the sortie, and gave the Imperialists time to form.
The Moghul horse lost their leader: on the other side the Chela
(adopted son) of the chief was shot dead; Himmat Bahadur, at the
head of his Gosains (a kind of fighting friars who were then
beginning to be found useful as mercenaries), delivered a frantic
charge, in which they lost 200 men; and Najaf Kuli was finally
driven in with the loss of his field-guns. He soon after opened
negotiations through the inevitable Manzur Ali; and, the Begam
Sumroo joining in his favour, he was admitted to the presence and
fully pardoned. In the same Darbar, the Begam was publicly
thanked for her services, and proclaimed the Emperor's daughter,
under the title of Zeb-un-Nissa — "Ornament of her sex."

The expedition, however, exhausted itself in this small triumph.
Whether from mistrust of the Rajputs, or from fear of Sindhia,
who was just then hovering about Bhartpur, the Emperor was
induced to turn back on the 15th April, and reached the capital
by a forced march of twenty-four hours, accompanied by Himmat
Bahadur. The Begam retired to Sirdhana, and Gholam Kadir and
Ismail Beg parted, as we have already seen, after the indecisive
action of Chaksana, a few days later. Though disappointed in
their hopes of aid from Dehli, the Rajput chiefs fought on, and
the tide of Sindhia's fortunes seemed to ebb apace. After the
last-named fight he had fallen back upon Alwar, but only, to be
encountered by Partab Singh, the Kachwaha prince, of Jaipur, who
drove him back once more upon Agra. Here Ismail Beg met him again
and chased him across the Chambal. Meanwhile Ambaji Inglia was
prevented from rendering aid to his master by the persistence of
the Rathors of Jodhpur, who put him to flight after an obstinate
engagement. Thus cut off, Sindhia remained under the friendly
protection of the Chambal until the month of June, when Rana Khan
joined him with a fresh body of troops that he had received from
the Deccan. Thus reinforced Sindhia once more marched to the
relief of his gallant follower Lakwa Dada, who still held out in
the Fort of Agra. The attack was made on this occasion from the
eastward, near the famous ruins of Fatihpur-Sikri, and was met by
Ismail Beg with one of his furious cavalry charges. De Boigne's
infantry and artillery however repulsed him, before Gholam Kadir,
who was returning to the Moghul's aid, had been able to cross his
forces over the Jamna, or effect a junction. Ismail Beg, who was
severely wounded, did not hesitate to plunge his horse into the
stream, swollen and widened as it was by the melting of the
Himalayan snows. The Mahrattas, satisfied with having raised the
siege, did not pursue him, and the two Mohammadan chiefs once
more united their forces at Firozabad. Francklin (who very seldom
gives a date) says that this final battle took place on the 22nd
August. He also states that Gholam Kadir had already joined
Ismail Beg, but drew off on the approach of the Mahratta army.
The former statement is easily seen to be erroneous, as both the
noblemen in question were in a very different scene in August of
that year. The latter is possible, but the weight of authorities,
Mahratta and Musalman, is in favour of the account given above.
Francklin carelessly adds: — "Agra surrendered," the fact being
that the gallant governor Lakwa Dada was a brother officer of
Rana Khan's, and his relief had been the object of the battle.
About this time de Boigne retired from Sindhia's employ and went
to Lucknow, where he entered into a business partnership with the
famous Claude Martine, or Martin. Whether this step was caused by
weariness, by doubts of ultimate success, or by hopes of more
material advantage, is not known. But the immediate consequence
that followed was, that the Patel went into cantonments at
Mathra, and remained there watching events throughout the whole
of that eventful autumn.

There is reason to believe that Gholam Kadir — whether from
avarice, from ambition, from a desire to avenge some personal
injury, or from a combination of any two or of the whole of these
motives — had by this time formed a project, vague perhaps at
first, of repeating the career of crime with which Ghazi-ud-din
had startled Asia nearly thirty years before. Meantime he spoke
Ismail fair, seeing in him a chief, worsted indeed for the
moment, but a rallying-point for the Moghuls, on account as much
of his proved valour as his high birth; one who would be alike
useful as a friend, and dangerous as a foe. He accordingly
explained, as best he could, his late defection, and persuaded
the simple soldier to lose no time in collecting his scattered
forces for an attack upon the capital. No sooner had the Beg left
for this purpose, than Gholam Kadir also departed, and proceeding
to Dehli renewed his hypocritical professions of loyalty through
the instrumentality of Manzur Ali Khan.

He asserted that Ismail Beg, who had arrived before him, and who
now joined forces with him, was like himself actuated by the sole
desire to save the Empire from the usurpations of the Mahratta
chief; and, as far as the Beg was concerned, these professions
were possibly not without foundation. At present the conduct of
both leaders was perfectly respectful. In the meantime a small
force was sent to Dehli by Sindhia and entered the palace, upon
which the confederates, whose strength was not yet fully
recruited, retired to their former encamping ground at Shahdara —
the scene, it may be remembered, of Surajmal's fall in the days
of Najib-ud-daulah. In this situation the confederates began to
be straitened for provisions, for it was now the month of July,
and the stock of winter crops, exhausted as were the
agriculturists by years of suffering and uncertainty, was running
low, whilst the lawless character of the young Pathan and his
Rohillas was not such as to encourage the presence of many
grain-dealers in their camp. Desertions began to take place, and
Gholam Kadir prepared for the worst by sending off his heavy
baggage to Ghausgarh. He and his companions renewed to the
Emperor their messages of encouragement in the project of
throwing off the yoke of Sindhia; but the Emperor, situated as he
was, naturally returned for answer, "That his inclinations did
not lie that way." Shah Alam was sustained in this firm line of
conduct by the presence of the Mahratta troops under Himmat
Bahadur, and by the ostensible support of Gul Mohammad, Badal Beg
Khan, Sulaiman Beg, and other Moghul courtiers whom he believed
to be faithful; and it seemed for the moment as if the
confederates' cause was lost.

Thus pressed, these desperate men at length dropped all disguise
and opened fire on the palace with all their heavy guns. The
Emperor on this invited the aid of his Mahratta minister, who was
now at Mathra, only a week's hard marching from the capital. It
was Madhoji Sindhia's undoubted duty to have hastened to the
relief of him whom he professed to serve; but it must be admitted
that the instances he had already witnessed of Shah Alam's want
of resolution and of good faith may have furnished the minister
with some excuse for wishing to read him a severe lesson. He had
also had sufficient taste of the fighting powers of the Musalmans
to lead him to avoid a general engagement as long as possible,
since every day would increase the probability of their
quarrelling if left to themselves, while external attacks would
only drive them to cohere.

Sindhia accordingly pursued a middle path. He sent to the Begam
Sumroo, and urged her to hasten to the Emperor's assistance; but
the prudent lady was not willing to undertake a task from which,
with his vastly superior resources, she saw him shrink. He
likewise sent a confidential Brahmin, who arrived on 10th July,
and five days after, appeared a force of 2,000 horse under
Rayaji, a relation of Sindhia's. The Ballamgarh Jats likewise
contributed a small contingent.

NOTE. — The following account of de Boigne's early career is from
Captain Duff, who knew him at Chamberi, about the year 1825:—

After describing his adventures as a youthful soldier of fortune,
first as an ensign in the French army, and then in the Russian
service in the Levant, whence he reached Cairo, and finally got
to India by what is now called the Overland Route, — the writer
proceeds to state that M. de Boigne was appointed an ensign in
the 6th Native Battalion under the Presidency of Madras, from
whence he, not long after, proceeded to Calcutta, bearing letters
of recommendation to Mr. Hastings, the Governor-General. He was
then permitted to join Major Browne's Embassy to Dehli (in 1784,
vide sup.), when he took the opportunity of visiting Sindhia's
camp, on the invitation of Mr. Anderson, the British resident.
Gohad being at this time besieged by Sindhia (who had treated de
Boigne very scurvily), the latter communicated a plan for its
relief to a Mr. Sangster, who commanded 1,000 sepoys and a train
of artillery in the service of the Gohad Rana. The scheme broke
down, because the Rana could not or would not advance the
required sum of money.

De Boigne next made overtures to the Raja of Jaipur, and was
commissioned by him to raise two battalions; but Mr. Hastings
having meanwhile recalled him to Calcutta, the Raja was induced
to alter his intentions. De Boigne finally entered the service of
his original enemy, Madhoji Sindhia, on an allowance of Rs. 1,000
a month for himself, and eight all round for each of his men. To
the privates he gave five and a half, and paid the officers
proportionately from the balance. M. de Boigne gradually got
European officers of all nations into his corps. Mr. Sangster,
from the service of the Rana of Gohad, joined him, and became
superintendent of his cannon foundry.

Some account of the further proceedings of General de Boigne will
appear in the succeeding pages: and some notes regarding the
close of his life will be found in the Appendix. Though moving in
an obscure scene he was one of the great personages of the
World's Drama; and much of the small amount of the civil and
military organization upon which the British administration in
Hindustan was ultimately founded is due to his industry, skill,
and valour.


A.D. 1788.

Defection of Moghuls - Confederates obtain possession of Palace —
Emperor deposed — Palace plundered — Gholam Kadir in the Palace —
Emperor blinded — Approach of Mahrattas — Apprehensions of
Spoiler — The Moharram — Explosion in Palace — Flight to Meerut -
Probable Intentions — Capture of Gholam Kadir — His Punishment —
Excuse for his Deeds — Sindhia's Measures — Future nature of
Narrative — Poetical Lament — Col. Francklin.

ALARMED by these various portents, Gholam Kadir lost no time in
summoning all his adherents from Ghausgarh, stimulating their
zeal with the promise of plunder. At the same time he deputed
Ismail Beg across the river to practice upon the fidelity of the
garrison; and such was the Beg's influence that the Moghul
portion of the Imperial troops joined him immediately, and left
the unfortunate Emperor to be protected exclusively by
unbelievers, under the general direction of the Gosain leader,
Himmat Bahadur. This mercenary, not perhaps having his heart in
the cause, terrified by the threats of the Pathan, and (it is
possible) tampered with by traitors about the emperor's person,
soon withdrew; and the confederate chiefs at once crossed the
river, and took possession of the city.

The Emperor now became seriously anxious, and, after a
consultation with his attendants, resolved on deputing Manzur Ali
to seek a personal explanation with Gholam Kadir and Ismail Beg.
It has always been customary to tax this official with the
responsibility of this measure, and of the appalling results
which followed; but it does not appear absolutely necessary to
impute his conduct to complicity with the more criminal part of
Gholam Kadir's designs; and his subsequent fate is perhaps some
sort of argument in his favour. But, be this as it may, he went
to the chiefs by order of the Emperor, and demanded, "What were
their intentions?" In the usual style of Eastern manners they
replied, "These slaves are merely in attendance for the purpose
of presenting their duty in person to his Majesty." "Be it so,"
said the Controller; and his acquiescence seems to have been
unavoidable. "But," he added, "you surely need not bring your
army into the palace: come with a small retinue, lest the
Governor should shut the gates in your faces." Upon this advice
the two noblemen acted, and entered the Am Khas on the forenoon
of the following day (18th of July) with some half hundred
men-at-arms. Each received a khilat of seven pieces, together
with a sword and other presents; Gholam Kadir also receiving a
richly-jewelled shield. They then returned to their respective
residences in the town, where Ismail Beg spent the rest of the
day in making arrangements in order to preserve the safety and
confidence of the inhabitants. Next day, he removed his quarters
permanently to the house formerly occupied by Mohammad Shah's
Vazir, Kammar-ud-din Khan; and his men were quartered a couple of
miles south of the city, in and about the celebrated monumental
tomb of the ancient Saint, Shah Nizam-ud-din. Gholam Kadir's men
were nearer the palace, where the present Native Infantry
cantonment is, in Dariaoganj; while his officers occupied the
vast premises formerly belonging successively to the Ministers
Ghazi-ud-din and Mirza Najaf, outside of the Cabul Gate. The
ostensible state of Dehli politics was now this; Gholam Kadir was
Premier (an office he swore upon the Koran faithfully to
discharge), vice Madhoji Sindhia, dismissed; and the combined
armies were the troops of the Empire, commanded by Ismail Beg.

Under these circumstances Gholam Kadir did not want a pretext,
and at seven in the morning of Friday, the 29th July, he returned
to the palace, where he had an interview with the Emperor in the
Diwan Khas. Francklin is at fault again here; making his second
interview one with that which occurred more than a week before.
Citing the authority of Ismail Beg, who stood by, he represented
that the army was prepared to march on Mathra, and to chase the
Mahrattas from Hindustan; but that they first demanded a
settlement of their arrears, for which the Imperial treasury was
alone responsible, and alone sufficient.

This harangue, at its conclusion, was warmly echoed by the
Controller, by his Deputy, and by Ramrattan Modi. On the other
side. Lalla Sital Das, the Treasurer, who was at once summoned,
declared that, whatever might be the responsibility of the
Treasury for an army in whose raising it had had no share, and by
whose service it had not hitherto at all profited, at least that
its chests contained no means for meeting the claims. He boldly
urged that the claims should be resisted at all hazards.

Gholam Kadir replied by an assumed fit of ungoverned anger, and
producing an intercepted letter from Shah Alam, calling upon
Sindhia for help, ordered the Emperor to be disarmed, together
with his personal guard, and removed into close arrest; and then,
taking from the privacy of the Salim Garh a poor secluded son of
the late Emperor Ahmad Shah, set him on his throne, hailed him
Emperor, under the title of Bedar Bakht, and made all the
courtiers and officials do him homage. It is but just to record,
in favour of one whose memory has been much blackened, that
Manzur Ali, the Controller, appears on this occasion to have
acted with sense, if not spirit. When Bedar Bakht was first
brought forward, Shah Alam was still upon the throne, and, when
ordered to descend, began to make some show of resistance. Gholam
Kadir was drawing his sword to cut him down, when the Controller
interposed; advising the Emperor to bow to compulsion, and retire
peacefully to his apartments. For three days and nights the
Emperor and his family remained in close confinement, without
food or comfort of any sort; while Gholam Kadir persuaded Ismail
Beg to return to his camp, and devoted himself to wholesale
plunder during the absence of his associate. The latter's
suspicions were at length aroused, and he soon after sent an
agent to remind Gholam Kadir that he and his men had received
nothing of what it had been agreed to pay them. But the faithless
Pathan repudiated every kind of agreement, and proceeded to
defend the palace and apply all that it contained to his own use.

Ismail Beg, now sensible of his folly, lost no time in sending
for the heads of the civic community, whom he exhorted to provide
for their own protection; at the same time strictly charging his
own lieutenants to exert themselves to the very utmost should the
Pathans attempt to plunder. For the present, Gholam Kadir's
attention was too much taken up with the pillage of the Imperial
family to allow of his doing much in the way of a systematic sack
of the town. Dissatisfied with the jewellery realised from the
new Emperor, to whom the duty of despoiling the Begams was at
first confided, he conceived the notion that Shah Alam, as the
head of the family, was probably, nay, certainly, the possessor
of an exclusive knowledge regarding the place of a vast secret
hoard. All the crimes and horrors that ensued are attributable to
the action of this monomania. On the 29th, he made the new
Titular, Bedar Bakht, inflict corporal chastisement upon his
venerable predecessor. On the 30th, a similar outrage was
committed upon several of the ladies of Shah Alam's family, who
filled the beautiful buildings with their shrieks of alarm and
lamentation. On the 31st, the ruffian thought he had secured
enough to justify his attempting to reconcile Ismail Beg and his
men by sending them a donative of five lakhs of rupees. The
result of this seems to have been that a combined, though
tolerably humane and orderly attempt was made to levy
contributions from the Hindu bankers of the city.

On the 1st of August a fresh attempt was made to wrest the
supposed secret from the Shah, who once more denied all knowledge
of it, employing the strongest figure of denial. "If," said the
helpless old man, "you think I have any concealed treasures, they
must be within me. Rip open my bowels, and satisfy yourself." The
tormentor then tried cajolery and promises, but they were equally
futile. "God protect you, who has laid me aside," said the fallen
Monarch. "I am contented with my fate."

The aged widows of former Emperors were next exposed to insult
and suffering. These ladies were at first treated kindly, their
services being thought necessary in the plunder of the female
inhabitants of the Imtiaz Mahal, whose privacy was at first
respected. But on the failure of this attempt, the poor old women
themselves were plundered and driven out of the palace. When
other resources had been exhausted, the Controller fell under the
displeasure of his former protege, and was made to disburse seven
lakhs. On the 3rd August, Gholam Kadir gave proof of the degraded
barbarity of which Hindustani Pathans can be guilty, by lounging
on the throne on the Diwan Khas, side by side with the nominal
Emperor, whom he covered with abuse and ridicule, as he smoked
the hookah in his face. On the 6th, he destroyed the same throne
for the sake of the plating which still adhered to it, which he
threw into the melting-pot; and passed the next three days in
digging up the floors, and taking every other conceivable measure
in pursuit of his besetting chimera — the hidden treasure. During
this interval, however, he appears to have been at times
undecided; for, on the 7th he visited the Emperor in his
confinement, and offered to put on the throne Mirza Akbar, the
Emperor's favourite son — who did in fact ultimately succeed. The
only answer to these overtures was a request by Shah Alam that he
might be left alone, "for he was weary," he said, "of such state
as he had lately known, and did not wish to be disturbed with
public business."

At length arrived the memorable 10th of August, which, perhaps,
as far as any one date deserves the distinction, was the last day
of the legal existence of the famous Empire of the Moghuls.
Followed by the Deputy Controller, Yakub Ali, and by four or five
of his own most reckless Pathans, Gholam Kadir entered the Diwan
Khas, and ordered Shah Alam to be brought before him. Once more
the hidden treasure was spoken of, and the secret of its deposit
imperiously demanded; and once more the poor old Emperor — whom
we not long ago saw melting his plate to keep together a few
troops of horse — with perfect truth replied that if there was
any such secret he for one was in total ignorance of it. "Then,"
said the Rohilla, "you are of no further use in the world, and
should be blinded." "Alas!" replied the poor old man, with native
dignity, "do not so: you may spare these old eyes, that for sixty
years have grown dim with the daily study of God's word." The
spoiler then ordered his followers to torture the sons and
grandsons of the Emperor, who had followed, and now surrounded
their parent. This last outrage broke down the old man's
patience. "Take my sight," he cried, "rather than force upon it
scenes like these." Gholam Kadir at once leaped from the throne,
felled the old man to the ground, threw himself upon the
prostrate monarch's breast, and, so some historians relate,
struck out one of his eyes with his own dagger. Then rising, he
ordered a byestander — apparently a member of the household,
Yakub Ali himself — to complete the work. On his refusing, he
slew him with his own hand. He then ordered that the Princes
should share the fate of their father and be deprived of
eyesight, but desisted from this part of his brutality on the
pressing, remonstrance of the Treasurer, Lalla Sital Das. The
Emperor was, however, completely blinded by the Pathans, and
removed to Salimgarh, amid the shrill lamentations of women, and
the calmer, but not less passionate curses of men, who were not
scourged into silence without some difficulty and delay.
Francklin, following his usual authority, the MS. narrative of
Saiyid Raza Khan, says that, under these accumulated misfortunes,
the aged Emperor evinced a firmness and resignation highly
honourable to his character. It is pitiable to think how much
fortitude may be thrown away by an Asiatic for want of a little
active enterprise. There were probably not less than half-a-dozen
points in Shah Alam's life when a due vigour would have raised
him to safety, if not to splendour; but his vigour was never
ready at the right moment. There is a striking instance in
Khair-ud-din's Ibratnama. Gholam Kadir asking the blind Emperor
in mockery "If he saw anything?" was answered, "Nothing but the
Koran between thee and me."

The anxious citizens were not at once aware of the particulars of
this tragedy; but ere long rumours crept out to them of what
crimes and sufferings had been going on all day in the Red
Castle, — behind those stern and silent walls that were not again
to shield similar atrocities for nearly seventy years. Then
another day of horror was to come, when one of the princes who
were tortured on the 10th of August, 1788, was to see women and
children brutally massacred in the same once splendid courts; and
to find himself in the hands of adherents whose crimes would
render him a puppet if they succeeded, and a felon if they

But on the 12th more money was sent to Ismail Beg; and, as
before, the citizens were offered as the victims of the
reconciliation. They now began to leave the city in large
numbers; but on the 14th flying parties of Mahrattas began to
appear from the southward, and somewhat restored confidence.
Ismail Beg, who had long ceased to have any real confidence in
Gholam Kadir, and who (let us hope for the credit of human
nature) felt nothing but disgust at his companion's later
excesses, now opened negotiations with Rana Khan. On the 17th a
convoy of provisions from Ghausgarh was cut off, and a number of
the Pathans who escorted it put to the sword or drowned in
attempting to cross the river. On the 18th the Mahrattas came up
in considerable force on the left bank of the Jamna, where they
blockaded the approach from all but the side of the Musalman
camp. In the city the shops were shut, and supplies began totally
to fail. Scarcity even began to prevail in the palace, and the
troops within to murmur loudly for their share of the spoil. Next
day the spoiler condescended to argue with some who remonstrated
with him on his treatment of the Royal Family. Their condition
was in truth becoming as bad as it could well be; many of the
women dying daily of starvation. It is almost with relief that we
find, that the increasing scarcity compelling fresh acts of
spoliation, the Controller, who had so much helped in bringing
about this deplorable state of affairs, became himself its
victim, being deprived of everything that he possessed. Thus
passed the month of August, 1788, in Dehli.

The courage of Gholam Kadir did not at once yield to his growing
perils and difficulties. He appropriated an apartment in the
palace — probably the Burj-i-Tilla or "Golden Bastion." Here he
caroused with his officers, while the younger members of the
royal family played and danced before them like the common
performers of the streets. And they were rewarded by the
assurance on the part of their tormentor that, however deficient
they might be in princely virtues, their talents would preserve
them from wanting bread. Khair-ud-din adds a strange account of
Gholam Kadir going to sleep among them; and on waking, he is
represented as reviling them for their lack of courage in not
stabbing him while thus at their mercy! Many of the younger
princesses were exposed to insult and outrage, according to this
writer. Gholam Kadir at the same time partially suppressed the
discontents of his men, though not without risk to his life. At
length, on the 7th of September, finding the Mahrattas increasing
in numbers and boldness, and fearing to be surrounded and cut
off, Gholam Kadir moved his army back to its old encampment
across the river, and despatched part of his plunder to
Ghausgarh, conciliating his followers by the surrender of what
was less portable, such as the rich tents and equipage which had
been lately used by the Emperor on his expedition to Rewari. On
the 14th he paid a further visit to his camp, being under
apprehensions from Ismail Beg, but returned to the palace soon
after, in order to make one more attempt to shake what he
considered the obstinacy of Shah Alam about the hid treasure.
Foiled in this, and hemmed in by difficulties, it may be hoped
that he now began to perceive with horror the shadow of an
advancing vengeance. His covering the retreat to the eastward of
the palace and city favours the supposition.

Meanwhile the great ceremony of mourning for the sons of Ali drew
on; the Moharram, celebrated in Hindustan alike by the Shias, who
venerate their memory, and by the Sunnis, who uphold their
murderers. The principal features of this celebration are
processions of armed men, simulating the battle of Karbala; and
the public funeral of the saints, represented, not by an effigy
of their bodies, but by a model of their tombs. Loving spectacle
and excitement, with the love of a rather idle and illiterate
population whose daily life is dull and torpid, the people of
India have very generally lost sight of the fasting and
humiliation which are the real essence of the Moharram, and have
turned it into a diversion and a show. But there was no show nor
diversion for the citizens of Dehli that year, menaced by
contending armies, and awed by the knowledge of a great crime. At
length, on the 11th October, the last day of the fast, a sense of
deliverance began to be vaguely felt. It began to be known that
Ismail Beg was reconciled to Rana Khan, and that the latter was
receiving reinforcements from the Deccan. Lestonneaux, with the
formidable "Telinga" battalions of de Boigne, had already
arrived; all was movement and din in the Pathan camp at Shahdara.
Finally, as the short chill evening of the autumn day closed in,
the high walls of the Red Castle blabbed part of their secret to
those who had so long watched them. With a loud explosion, the
powder magazine rose into the air, and flames presently spread
above the crenellated parapets. The bystanders, running to the
rampart of the town, facing the river, saw, by the lurid light,
boats being rowed across; while a solitary elephant was moving
down at his best pace over the heavy sands, bearing the rebel
chief. Gholam Kadir had finally departed, leaving the Salimgarh
by a sally-port, and sending before him the titular Emperor, the
plundered controller of the household, and all the chief members
of the royal family.

The exact events which had passed in the interior of the palace
that day can never now be known. Whether, as is usually thought,
Gholam Kadir tried to set fire to the palace, that his long crime
might be consummated by the destruction of Shah Alam among the
blazing ruins of his ancestral dwelling; or whether, as the
author of the Mozafari supposes, he meant to hold out against the
Mahrattas to the last, and was only put to flight by the
explosion, which he attributed to a mine laid by them, can only
be a matter for speculation. To myself, I confess, the popular
story appears the more probable. If Gholam Kadir meant to stand a
siege, why did he send his troops across the river? and why, when
he was retiring at the appearance of a mine — which he must have
known was likely to be one of the siege operations — did he
remove the royal family, and only leave his chief victim? Lastly,
why did he leave that victim alive? Possibly he was insane.

The Mahratta general immediately occupied the castle; and the
exertions of his men succeeded in extinguishing the flames before
much injury had occurred. Shah Alam and the remaining ladies of
his family were set at liberty, provided with some present
comforts, and consoled as to the future. Rana Khan then awaited
further reinforcements from Sindhia, while the Pathans retired
towards their own country.

The Court of Punah saw their advantage in strengthening the
Patel, and sent him a strong body of troops, led by Takuji Holkar
in person, on condition that both that chief and the Peshwa
should participate in the fruits of the campaign. The arrival of
these forces was welcomed alike by Rana Khan and by the long
harassed citizens of Dehli; and after the safety of the palace
had been secured, the rest of the army, commanded by Rana Khan,
Appa Khandi Rao, and others, started in pursuit of Gholam Kadir,
who found himself so hard pressed that he threw himself into the
Fort of Meerut, three marches off, and about equi-distant from
Dehli, from Ghausgarh, and from the frontiers of Rohilkand. Why
he did not, on leaving Dehli, march due north to Ghausgarh cannot
be now positively determined; but it is possible that, having his
spoil collected in that fort, he preferred trying to divert the
enemy by an expedition in a more easterly direction; and that he
entertained some hopes of aid from his connection, Faizula Khan
of Rampur, or from the Bangash of Farrukhabad.

Be this as it may, the fort of Meerut sheltered him for the time,
but in that fort he was ere long surrounded. The investing army
was large, and, as the chances of escape diminished, the Pathan's
audacity at length began to fail, and he offered terms of the
most entire and abject submission. These being sternly rejected,
he prepared for the worst. On the 21st of December a general
assault was delivered by the Mahratta army; against which Gholam
Kadir and his men defended themselves with resolution throughout
the short day. But his men in general were now weary, if not of
his crimes at all events of his misfortunes, and he formed the
resolution to separate from them without further delay. He
accordingly stole out of the fort that night, mounted on a horse,
into whose saddle-bags he had stuffed a large amount of the most
valuable jewellery from the palace plunder, which he had ever
since retained in his own keeping, in view of an emergency. He
rode some twelve miles through the winter night, avoiding the
haunts of men, and apparently hoping to cross the Jamna and find
refuge with the Sikhs. At last, in the mists of the dawn, his
weary horse, wandering over the fields, fell into a slope used
for the descent of the oxen who draw up the bucket from the well,
for the purposes of irrigation. The horse rose and galloped off
by the incline made for the bullocks, but the rider was either
stunned or disabled by his bruises, and remained where he fell.
As the day dawned the Brahmin cultivator came to yoke his cattle
and water the wheat, when he found the richly-dressed form of one
whom he speedily recognized as having but lately refused him
redress when plundered by the Pathan soldiery. "Salam, Nawab
Sahib!" said the man, offering a mock obeisance, with clownish
malice, to his late oppressor. The scared and famished caitiff
sate up and looked about him. "Why do you call me Nawab?" he
asked. "I am a poor soldier, wounded, and seeking my home. I have
lost all I have, but put me in the road to Ghausgarh, and I will
reward you hereafter." Necessarily, the mention of this fort
would have put at rest any doubt in the Brahmin's mind; he at
once shouted for assistance, and presently carried off his prize
to Rana Khan's camp. Hence the prisoner was despatched to
Sindhia, at Mathra, while the Pathans, left to themselves,
abandoned the Fort of Meerut and dispersed to their respective
homes. Bedar Bakht, the titular Emperor, was sent to Dehli, where
he was confined and ultimately slain, and the unfortunate
controller, Manzur Ali, who had played so prominent a part in the
late events as to have incurred general suspicion of treacherous
connivance, was tied to the foot of an elephant and thus dragged
about the streets until he died.

For the Rohilla chief a still more horrible fate was prepared. On
his arrival at Mathra, Sindhia inflicted upon him the punishment
of Tashhir, sending him round the bazaar on a jackass, with his
face to the tail, and a guard instructed to stop at every
considerable shop and beg a cowree, in the name of the Nawab of
the Bawani. The wretched man becoming abusive under the
contemptuous treatment, his tongue was torn out of his mouth.
Gradually he was mutilated further, being first blinded, as a
retribution for his treatment of the Emperor, and subsequently
deprived of his nose, ears, hands and feet, and sent to Dehli.
Death came to his relief upon the road, it is believed by his
being hanged upon a tree 3rd March, 1789, and the mangled trunk
was sent to Dehli, where it was laid before the sightless
monarch, the most ghastly Nazar that ever was presented in the
Diwin Khas.

Perhaps, if we could hear Gholam Kadir's version of the
revolution here described, we might find that public indignation
had to some extent exaggerated his crimes. It is possible that
the tradition which imputes his conduct to revenge for an alleged
cruelty of Shah Alam may be a myth, founded upon a popular
conception of probability, and only corroborated by the fact that
he died childless. Perhaps he merely thought that he was
performing a legitimate stroke of State, and imitating the
vigorous policy of Ghazi-ud-din the younger; perhaps the plunder
of the palace was necessary to conciliate his followers; perhaps
the firing of the palace was an accident. But the result of the
combination of untoward appearances has been to make his name a
bye-word among the not over-sensitive inhabitants of Hindustan,
familiar, by tradition and by personal experience, with almost
every form of cruelty, and almost every degree of rebellion. It
is said that during moments of reaction, after some of his
debauches in the palace (v. p. 183), Gholam Kadir attempted to
justify his conduct by representing himself as acting under
supernatural inspiration. "As I was sleeping," he averred, "in a
garden at Sikandra, an apparition stood over me and smote me on
the face saying, Arise, go to Dehli, and possess thyself of the
palace." It may be that at such times he experienced some
feelings of remorse. At all events, his punishment was both
immediate and terrible, and his crimes proved the ruin of his
house. Ghausgarh was forthwith razed to the ground, so that — as
already mentioned — no vestige but the mosque remains. The
brother of the deceased fled to the Panjab.

The first care of the Patel, after these summary vindications of
justice, was to make provision for the administration of
Hindustan, to which he probably foresaw that he should not be
able to give constant personal attention, and in which he
resolved to run no further risks of a Musalman revival. The
fallen Emperor was restored to his throne, in spite of his own
reluctance, "in spite of his blindness," as the native historian
says, who knew that no blind man could be a Sultan; and at the
enthronement, to which all possible pomp was lent, the agency of
the Peshwa, with Sindhia for his deputy, was solemnly renewed and
firmly established. We also learn from Francklin that an annual
allowance of nine lakes of rupees was assigned for the support of
the Emperor's family and Court, an adequate civil list if it had
been regularly paid. But Shah Nizam-ud-din, who had been restored
to office, was an unfit man to be entrusted with the uncontrolled
management of such a sum; and during the Patel's frequent and
protracted absences, the royal family were often reduced to
absolute indigence. Sayid Raza Khan, on whose authority this
shocking statement rests, was the resident representative of the
British Minister at Lucknow, and was the channel through which
the aged Emperor received from the British Government a monthly
allowance of 2,000 rupees. This, together with the fees paid by
persons desirous of being presented, was all that Shah Alam could
count on in his old age for the support of his thirty children
and numerous kinsfolk and retainers. Captain Francklin was an
eye-witness of the semblance of State latterly maintained in the
Red Castle, where he paid his respects in 1794. He found the
Emperor represented by a crimson velvet chair under an awning in
the Diwan Khas, but the Shah was actually in one of the private
rooms with three of his sons. The British officers presented
their alms under the disguise of a tributary offering, and
received some nightgowns, of sprigged calico, by way of honorific

The so-called Emperor being now incapable of ruling, even
according to the very lax political code of the East, and all
real power being in the hands of a Hindu headborough supported by
mercenary troops, the native records, to which I have had access,
either cease altogether, or cease to concern themselves with the
special story of Hindustan. And, indeed, as far as showing the
fall of the empire, my task is also done. I do not agree with
those who think that the empire fell with the death of Aurangzeb,
or even with the events that immediately preceded the campaign of
Panipat, in 1761. I consider the empire to have endured as long
as "the king's name was a tower of strength"; as long as Nawabs
paid large fines on succession, and contending parties intrigued
for investiture; as long as Shujaa-ud-daulah could need its
sanction to his occupation of Kattahir, or Najaf Khan led its
armies to the conquest of the Jats. We have seen how that state
of affairs originated, and how it came to an end; there is
nothing now left but to trace briefly the concluding career of
those who have played their parts in the narrative, and to
introduce their successors upon the vast and vacant theatre. In
so doing it must be borne in mind that, although we, from our
present standpoint, can see that the Moghul Empire was ended, it
did not altogether so appear to contemporaries. Whether
federation or disintegration be the best ideal destiny, for a
number of Provinces whose controlling centre has given way, is a
question which may admit of more than one answer. But it is, in
any case, certain that in the year 1789 the Provinces of which
the Empire had been composed, were not ripe for independent and
organic existence. There was still, therefore, a craving for a
paramount power; and that craving was to be finally met by the
British. In the meanwhile the almost effete machinery of the
Empire, directed and administered by Sindhia, made the best
available substitute; General de Boigne — who had the most
complete information on the subject — bears unequivocal testimony
on this subject. His words will be found at the beginning of the
next chapter.

NOTE. — It would be curious to know what became of Gholam Kadir's
jewel-laden horse after the rider fell into the pit. In Skinner's
life, it is conjectured that he came into the hands of M.
Lestonneaux. It is certain that this officer abruptly abandoned
Sindhia's service at this very time. Perhaps the crown jewels of
the Great Mughal are now in France. The Emperor (who composed
poetry with estimation under the name of "Aftab") solaced his
temporary captivity by writing verses, which are still celebrated
in Hindustan, and of which the following is a correct
translation. The resemblance to the Psalms of David is
noticeable: —

"The storms of affliction have destroyed the Majesty of my
Government: and scattered my State to the winds.

I was even as the Sun shining in the firmament of the Empire: but
the sun is setting in the sorrowful West.

It is well for me that I have become blind; for so I am hindered
from seeing another on my throne.

Even as the saints were afflicted by Yazid; so is the ruin that
has fallen upon me, through the appointment of Destiny.

The wealth of this world was my sickness; but now the Lord hath
healed me.

I have received the just reward of mine iniquities; but now He
hath forgiven me my sins.

I gave milk to the young adder; and he became the cause of my

The Steward who served me thirty years compassed my ruin; but a
swift recompense hath overtaken him.

The lords of my council who had covenanted to serve me; even they
deserted me, and took whatsoever in thirty years I had put by for
my children.

Moghuls and Afghans alike failed me; and became confederates in
my imprisonment.

Even the base-born man of Hamadan, and Gul Mohammad, full of
wickedness; Allah Yar also, and Solaiman and Badal Beg all met
together for my trouble.

And now that this young Afghan hath destroyed the dignity of my
empire; I see none but thee, O Most Holy! to have compassion upon

Yet peradventure Timur Shah my kinsman may come to my aid; and
Madhoji Sindhia, who is even as a son unto me he also will surely
avenge my cause.

Asaf-ud-daula and the chief of the English; they also may come to
my relief.

Shame were it if Princes and People gathered not together; to the
end that they might bring me help.

Of all the fair women of my chambers none is left to me but
Mubarik Mahal.

O Aftab! verily thou hast been this day overthrown by Destiny;
yet God shall bless thee and restore thy fallen brightness."

Francklin's Shah Alum has been constantly referred to. He was an
officer of great diligence, who had large local opportunities,
having been in Dehli, the Doab, and Rohilkand, from 1793 to 1796,
on a survey ordered by the British Government. He had access to
many native sources of information; but unfortunately never cites
any in the margin but Sayid Raza's MS. I have not hesitated to
combat his views on several points; but there are few English
writers on the subject to whom we are more indebted. Besides this
work, and one to be hereafter noticed, he was the author of books
on Ancient Palibothra and on snake-worship. He died a
lieutenant-colonel in the Bengal army.



A.D. 1789-94.

Sindhia as Mayor of Palace — British Policy — Augmentation of
Army under General de Boigne — Ismail Beg joins the Rajput rising
— Battle of Patan — Sindhia at Mathra — Siege of Ajmir — Jodhpur
Rajah — Battle of Mirta — Rivals alarmed — French Officers —
Progress to Puna — Holkar advances — Ismail Beg taken — Battle of
Lakhairi — Sindhia rebuked — Power of Sindhia — Rise of George
Thomas — Thomas quits Begam — Sindhia at Puna - Death and
character of Madhoji Sindhia — Koil in the last Century.

FROM the time of the revolution of 1788 each of the dismembered
provinces has its separate history; and the present record
naturally shrinks to the contracted limits of a local history of
the capital, and of the districts more especially connected with
it by proximity or by political ties. Still, since the country is
one that has long been occupying our attention, and the persons
who have made it do so are still upon the scene, it may be
interesting to those who have followed the narrative thus far if
a brief conclusion is presented to them. The story of the
empire's fall will thus be completed, and the chasm between the
Moghul rule and the English rule will be provisionally bridged.
It must, moreover, be remembered that the visible centre of
authority is a thing for which men will always look. And, even in
the fallen state of the Dehli monarchy this was still in the
palace of the descendant of Babar. To use de Boigne's words,
written in 1790: — "le respect .... envers la maison de Timour
regnait a tel point que, quoique toute la peninsule se fut
sucessivement soustraite a son autorite, aucun prince .... de
l'Inde ne s'etait arroge le titre de souverain. Sindhia
partageait le respect, et Shah Alam etait toujours assis sur le
Trone Mogol, et tout se faisait en son nom."

It has been already shown how "Maharaja Patel," as Madhoji
Sindhia is called by the native writers, assumed the actual
government, whilst he secured for the youthful chief of the
Mahratta confederacy the titular office of "Agent
Plenipotentiary," which had been once or twice previously used to
designate mighty Viceroys like the first Nizam.

In providing this distinction for his native superior, the
usually shrewd old minister intended to blind his countrymen and
his rivals; and by another still more clumsy coup de theatre, he
assumed to himself the position of a servant, as harmonizing with
the rural dignity of Beadle or Headborough, which, as we have
seen, he persisted in affecting. Decorated however by the blind
old Emperor with the more sonorous appellations of
Madar-ul-Maham, Ali Jah, Bahadur ("Exalted and valorous Centre of
Affairs"), he played the Mayor-of-the-Palace with far more effect
at Dehli than it would have been possible for him to do at Punah.
Circumstances, moreover, were now far more in his favour than
they had been since 1785. During the three years that followed,
the Rohillas of Ghausgarh were broken, Muhammad Beg was dead, the
strength of the brave but indolent Rajputs was much paralyzed,
and Najaf Kuli Khan — who never had opposed him, but might have
been formidable if he pleased — had succumbed to a long attack of
dropsy. Ismail Beg, it is true, was still in existence, and now
more than ever a centre of influence among the Moghuls. But
Ismail Beg was at present conciliated, having joined the Patel's
party ever since his former associate, Gholam Kadir, had
proceeded to such criminal excesses in the palace. As a further
means of attaching to him this important, even if not very
intelligent chief, the Patel about this time conferred upon him a
portion of Najaf Kuli's fief in the Mewat country south of Dehli.
By this he not only pleased the Moghul noble, but trusted to
furnish him with occupation in the reduction and management of
the wild mountaineers of that district. It was indeed idle to
hope that Ismail Beg would remain faithful in the event of any
future resurrection of the Musalman power; and it could not be
denied that something of the kind might at any time occur, owing
to the menacing attitude of the Afghans, who were still very
powerful under the famous Ahmad Abdali's son, Timur Shah. Indeed,
this was a ceaseless difficulty during the whole of Madhoji's
remaining life; and one that would have been still more serious,
but for the anxiously pacific policy which, for the most part,
characterized the British administration during that period. Nor
did the Minister at this time enjoy the advantage of being served
by European commanders. Lestonneaux retired suddenly in the
beginning of 1789; and de Boigne, as above-mentioned, had also
left the army, and was engaged in commercial pursuits at Lucknow.
But the army continued to comprise a certain proportion of
regular troops; nor was it long before M. de Boigne, being
earnestly solicited by Madhoji, and offered his own terms,
resumed his command, augmented this portion of the force, and
assumed a position of confidence and freedom which had not
previously been allowed him. The skeletons of his two original
battalions remained to form the nucleus of the new force. The
battalion of Lestonneaux — or whatever the name — was deserted by
its commandant, with eight months' arrears due to it, was
disorganized and mutinous; and Sindhia meditated an attack upon
it with an overwhelming body of horse. De Boigne however
interceded, representing that the soldiers were not to blame for
their colonel's defection and that their demand, though it might
not be expressed with due respect, was after all founded on
justice. Sindhia relented so far as to award a present payment of
half the arrears, and a permission that the men should be
absorbed in the brigade about to be formed; but the astute
Savoyard took care first to make them pile their arms, so that
their future entertainment should be as individuals only. The
officers were at the same time cashiered; and thus the mutiny of
a battalion was patiently and ingeniously suppressed without its
precious material being lost to the service. The requisite new
recruits were principally raised from Rohilkand and Audh — the
future nurseries of the famous Bengal army. The officers were the
most respectable Europeans that the General could collect; and
the non-commissioned posts were given to picked men of the old

The augmented force gradually reached the strength of three
brigades, each brigade consisting of eight battalions of sepoys,
each 700 strong; with 500 cavalry and forty fieldpieces. The
General was allowed 10,000 rupees per mensem for his own pay, and
a liberal scale was fixed for the European officers, whose number
was from time to time increased, and the whole force, forming a
small army in itself, marched under the white cross of Savoy, the
national colours of its honourable chief. A gratuity was secured
to all who might be wounded in action, and it was guaranteed that
their pay should go on while in hospital. Invalids were to have
pensions in money and grants of land.

It soon had to take the field: for Ismail Beg's loyalty, already
wavering in view of an Afghan invasion, gave way entirely in the
beginning of 1790 before the solicitations of the Rajput chiefs.
These high-spirited men, longing for an opportunity to strike
another blow for national independence, fancied, and not without
reason, that they could reckon upon the aid of the restless
Ismail with whom they had already combined during the Lalsaut
campaign in 1787.

The corps of de Boigne formed part of the army sent under the
command of Sindhia's Mahratta generals, Lakwa Dada and Gopal Rao
Bhao, to prevent if possible the junction of Ismail Beg with his
Rajput allies. But the Moghul soldier of fortune was determined
not to yield without a struggle. No sooner did he raise his
standard than thousands of disbanded Afghan and Persian horsemen
flocked to his headquarters. In March de Boigne left his employer
at his favourite cantonment of Mathra, and sending before him a
cloud of Mahratta horse, marched upon Ismail Beg with a complete
brigade, including fifty pieces of artillery. On the morning of
the 10th May they came upon him at a place called Patan, in the
rocky country between Ajmir and Gwalior, not many miles from the
scene of the former battle at Lalsaut. For three weeks or more
nothing was effected, but on the 19th June Ismail announced his
intention of attacking the Mahratta lines. De Boigne sent a
messenger to say that he would spare him the fatigue of the
journey, and advanced to the encounter with all his force on the
following morning.

The Rajputs had come up; but there was no longer union between
them; for the Patel, taking advantage of a temporary soreness
felt by the Kachwahas of Jaipur on some trifling provocation, had
contrived to secure their inaction before the battle began.
Notwithstanding this defection, a large body of infantry still
stood firm, but European skill and resolution conquered in the
end. Ismail at the head of his Moghul cavaliers repeatedly
charged de Boigne's artillery, sabring the gunners at their
posts. Between the charges the infantry were thinned by
well-directed volleys of grape, and the squares had to be formed
with the greatest rapidity as the cavalry of the enemy once more
attacked them. De Boigne's squares, however, resisted all
attempts throughout the afternoon, and a general advance of the
whole line at length took place, before which the enemy gradually
broke. De Boigne placing himself at the head of one of his
battalions, ordered the others to follow, and precipitated his
foot upon the enemy's batteries. The first was carried with the
shock; at eight in the evening he was master of the second; the
third fell an hour later; the Moghuls' resistance was completely
overpowered, and their leader was chased into the city of Jaipur.
Ismail also lost in this engagement one hundred guns, fifty
elephants, two hundred stand of colours and all his baggage; and
on the following day a large portion of his army, amounting to
seven battalions of foot and ten thousand irregular troops, went
over to the victors. On this, as on many other occasions, the
Mahratta cause was jeopardised by jealousies; Holkar holding
aloof during the action, which would have begun earlier, and in
all probability proved more decisive and with less loss, had he
given due co-operation. There is a modest account of this action
from de Boigne's pen in the Calcutta Gazette for 22nd July, 1790.
The letter is dated 24th June — four days after the battle — and
does not represent the exertions of the Mahrattas in anything
like the serious light adopted in Captain Grant Duff's work, to
which I have been principally indebted for my account of the
action. The gallant writer estimates Ismail Beg's Moghul horse,
however, at 5,000 sabres; and admits that the Mahrattas would
have sustained severe loss but for the timely firmness of the
regular battalions. The fact appears to be that the diminished
Rajput infantry, deficient in discipline and zeal, and wanting
the prestige and coolness inspired among Asiatics by the presence
of European leaders, did not support the cavalry, and that the
latter become exhausted by their vain assaults upon the
well-trained squares. Seeing this, de Boigne marched up his men
(10,000 strong, by his own account), under the protection of a
steady cannonade from his own guns, and stormed the enemy's camp.
He estimates his own loss at 120 killed and 472 wounded; the
enemy's foot were not much cut up, because they were intrenched;
"but they have lost a vast number of cavalry." He says of
himself, "I was on horseback encouraging our men; thank God I
have realized all the sanguine expectations of Sindhia; the
officers in general have behaved well; to them I am a great deal
indebted for the fortune of the day." This was the most important
victory that Sindhia had ever gained, and fully justified the
increased confidence that he had shown his Savoyard General. The
memoir above cited, estimates the whole combined forces of the
enemy at 25,000 foot and 20,000 horse, but it is probable that
they were not all engaged. Patan, a fortress which has been
compared to Gibraltar, was taken by storm after three days of
open trenches, and Ismail Beg fled to the Panjab.

The Patel himself was not present with the army during this
campaign, but remained at Mathra, which was a favourite residence
of his, owing to its peculiar reputation for holiness among the
Hindus. This ancient city, which is mentioned both by Arrian and
by Pliny, is the centre of a small district which is to the
worshippers of Vishnu what Palestine is to Christians, and the
Western part of Arabia is to the people of the Prophet. Here was
born the celebrated Krishna, reported to be an incarnation of the
Deity; here was his infant life sought by the tyrant Kans; hence
he fled to Gujrat; returning when he came to man's estate, and
partially adopting it as his residence after having slain his

We have seen how the general of Ahmad the Abdali massacred the
inhabitants, with a zeal partaking of the fanatic and the robber
in equal proportions, in 1757. Since then the place, standing at
the head of the Bhartpur basin, and midway between Dehli and the
Rajput country, had recovered its importance, and now formed
Madhoji's chief cantonment. Here it was that he received the news
of the battle of Patan, and of the temporary disappearance of
Ismail Beg; and hence he proceeded to Dehli, and there obtained a
fresh confirmation of the office of Plenipotentiary for the
Peshwa, together with two fresh firmans (or patents). One
conferring upon himself the power to choose a successor in the
Ministry from among his own family, and the other an edict
forbidding the slaughter of horned cattle (so highly reverenced
by the Hindus) throughout all the territory which still owned the
sway, however nominal, of the Moghul sceptre.

Soon after he ordered his army, commanded as before, to return to
Rajputana, and punish Bijai Singh, the Rathor leader of Jodhpur,
for abetting the resistance of Ismail Beg. On the 21st of August
the General arrived at Ajmir, and took the town on the following
day. He then sat down to form the regular siege of the citadel,
called Taragarh (a fastness strong by nature, and strengthened
still more by art, and situated on an eminence some 3,000 feet
above sea-level). Bijai Singh, in Rajput fashion, was ready to
try negotiation, and thought that he might succeed in practicing
upon one whom he would naturally regard in the light of a
mercenary leader. He accordingly sent a message to de Boigne
offering him the fort, with the territory for fifty miles round
Ajmir if he would desert his employer. But the General sent him
for answer that "Sindhia had already given him both Jodhpur and
Jaipur, and that the Rajah could not be so unreasonable as to
expect him to exchange the whole of those territories for the
portion offered." After delivering himself of this grim piece of
humour, and leaving a force to blockade the citadel, General de
Boigne marched west to encounter the Rajah. Burning to retrieve
the disgrace of Patan, Bijai Singh was marching up from Jodhpur
to the relief of Taragarh when de Boigne met him at Mirta, a
walled town about two marches distant from Ajmir and 76 miles
N.E. of Jodhpur. It stands on high ground, the western wall being
of mud, the eastern of masonry. On the 9th September the armies
approached, and Gopal Rao was for attacking at once, but the
General, with his accustomed coolness, pointed out that, not only
were the men fatigued with marching and in need of repose, but
that the day was too far advanced to allow of due pursuit being
made should they — as was to be hoped — gain the action. It was
therefore determined to try the effect of a surprise after the
men had had a meal and a few hours repose. The forces on either
side were not unequal. The Rajputs had the better in point of
cavalry, their strength in this arm has been computed at 30,000
sabres. The Mahrattas had the advantage in artillery and in
disciplined foot. The lines of the Rajputs were partially covered
in rear by the walls of the town. But the spot was of evil omen.
Bijai Singh had sustained a severe defeat on this very ground
near forty years before. Nevertheless, years had not taught the
Rathors wisdom, nor misfortune schooled them to prudence. De
Boigne came up in the grey of the morning, when the indolent
Hindus were completely off their guard. And when the Rajah and
his companions were roused from the drunken dreams of Madhu, they
already found the camp deserted, and the army in confusion. Fifty
field pieces were piercing the lines with an incessant discharge
of grape-shot, and Colonel Rohan who commanded de Boigne's right
wing had, with unauthorised audacity, thrown himself into the
midst of the camp at the head of three battalions. Rallying a
strong body of horse — and the Rajput cavaliers were brave to a
fault — the Rajah fell furiously upon the advanced corps of
infantry, which he hoped to annihilate before they could be
supported from the main army. But European discipline was too
much. for Eastern chivalry. Hastily forming hollow square the
battalions of de Boigne awaited the storm; the infantry of
Waterloo before the gendarmerie of Agincourt. The ground shook
beneath the impetuous advance of the dust-cloud sparkling with
the flashes of quivering steel. But when the cloud cleared off,
there were still the hollow squares of infantry, like living
bastions, dealing out lightnings far more terrible than any that
they had encountered. The baffled horsemen wheeled furiously
round on the Mahratta cavalry, and scattered them to the four
corners of the field. They then attempted to gallop back, but it
was through a Valley of Death. The whole of the regular troops of
the enemy lined the way; the guns of de Boigne, rapidly served,
pelted them with grape at point-blank distance; the squares
maintained their incessant volleys; by nine in the morning nearly
every man of the 4,000 who had charged with their prince lay dead
upon the ground. Unfatigued and almost uninjured, the
well-trained infantry of de Boigne now became assailants. The
battalions rapidly deployed, and advancing with the support of
their own artillery, made a general attack upon the Rajput line.
By three in the afternoon all attempt at resistance had ceased.
The whole camp, with vast plunder and munitions of war, fell into
the hands of the victors. The middle-ages were over in India; and
the prediction of Bernier was vindicated by the superiority of
scientific warfare over headlong valour. The town was easily
taken, and the fall of Taragarh, the lofty and almost
impregnable-looking citadel that frowns above Ajmir, followed
soon after. The echo of this blow resounded throughout native
India. The Nana Farnavis heard it at Punah, and redoubled his
Brahmin intrigues against his successful countryman. He likewise
stimulated the rivalry of Takuji Holkar, who, with more of
practical sagacity, resolved to profit by Sindhia's example, and
lost no time in raising a force similarly organised to that which
had won this great victory. De Boigne, almost worn out himself,
allowed his victorious troops no time to cool, but marched on
Jodhpur, and arrived at Kuarpur in the vicinity of the capital on
the 18th of November. But his presence was enough. The Rajas of
Udaipur and Jodhpur hastened to offer their submission to the
chief who combined the prestige of the house of Timur with the
glamour of the fire-eating Feringhee. Sindhia (to borrow a phrase
from the gambling table) backed his luck. He gave de Boigne an
increased assignment of territory; and authority to raise two
more brigades, on which by express permission of the blind old
Shah was conferred the title of Army of the Empire. The territory
assigned to the General extended from Mathra to Dehli, and over
the whole Upper Doab, yielding a total revenue of about
twenty-two lakhs of rupees, a large sum for those days. After
liquidating the pay of the troops it was estimated that this left
a balance in his favour of about 40,000 rupees a year besides his
pay, and very large perquisites. He also exercised unlimited
civil and military jurisdiction. His headquarters were at
Aligarh, where he exercised quasi-royal sway over the whole
surrounding country. Some further work, however, awaited de
Boigne before he finally retired into purely civil
administration. Among the last to hold out against the good
fortune and genius of Sindhia was the founder of the present
state of Indore, Jeswant Rao Holkar, who resolved to try the
effect upon his rival of a blow struck with his own weapons. The
Duke of Wellington in 1803 took much the same view of this
fondness on the part of the Mahrattas for European discipline and
fashions in war as that vainly urged on Sheodasheo Rao by Malhar
Rao Holkar in 1760. "Sindhia's armies had actually," so wrote
General Wellesley in 1803, "been brought to a very favourable
state of discipline, and his power had become formidable by the
exertions of European officers in his service; but, I think, it
is much to be doubted whether his power — or rather that of the
whole Mahratta nation — would not have been more formidable if
they had never had a European or an infantry soldier in their
service, and had carried on their operations in the manner of the
original Mahrattas, only by means of cavalry." Malhar Rao and
Wellesley were two great authorities; but, in any case, when once
any State had introduced the new system, all its rivals were
compelled to do likewise, and the State which did it with the
most energy prevailed. The citation above given is from Owen's
Selections, p. 336.

This was the hey-day of European adventure in the East. France,
still under the influence of feudal institutions, continued to
send out brave young men who longed, while providing for
themselves, to restore the influence of their country in India,
shaken as it had been by the ill success of Dupleix, Lally, and
Law. The native princes, on the other side, were not backward in
availing themselves of this new species of wardog. A Frenchman
was worth his weight in gold; even an Anglo-Indian — the race is
now relegated to the office-stool — fetched, we may say, his
weight in silver. But men of the latter class, though not
deficient in valour, and not without special advantages from
their knowledge of the people and their language, were not so
fully trusted. Doubtless the French officers would be more
serviceable in a war with England; and that contingency was
probably never long absent from the thoughts of the native
chiefs. With the exception of the Musalman Viceroys of Audh and
the Deccan, every native power dreaded the advance of the
English, and desired their destruction. In fact, now that the
Empire was fallen, a general Hindu revival had taken its place,
the end of which was not seen till the Sikhs were finally subdued
in 1849.

Holkar's new army was commanded by a French officer, whose name
variously spelt, was perhaps du Drenec. He was the son of an
officer in the Royal navy of France, and is described as an
accomplished and courteous gentleman. He usually receives from
contemporary writers the title of Chevalier, and his conduct
sustained the character of a well-born soldier.

1792. — The Patel lost no time in pushing his success in the only
quarter where he now had anything to fear. The combination of the
Nana in the cabinet and Holkar with an Europeanized army in the
field, was a serious menace to his power; and with enterprising
versatility he resolved at once to counteract it. With this view
he obtained khillats of investiture, for the Peshwa and for
himself, from the Emperor, and departed for Puna, where he
arrived after a slow triumphal progress, on the 11th of June,
1792. On the 20th of the same month the ceremony took place with
circumstances of great magnificence; the successful deputy
endeavouring to propitiate the hostility of the Nana by appearing
in his favourite character of the Beadle, and carrying the
Peshwa's slippers, while the latter sate splendidly attired upon
a counterfeit of the peacock throne. All men have their foibles,
and Sindhia's was histrionism, which imposed on no one. The thin
assumption of humility by a dictator was despised, and the
splendid caparisons of the nominal chief were ridiculed by the
Mahrattas and Brahmans of the old school.

Meanwhile Holkar saw his opportunity and struck his blow.
Profiting by the absence of his rival, he for the first time
since 1773, advanced on Hindustan; and summoning Ismail Beg like
an evil spirit from his temporary obscurity, he hurled him upon
the country round the capital, while he himself lost no time in
forcing a rupture with Sindhia's civil deputy in Rajputana.

In the northern part of the Rewari country is a place called
Kanaund; about equidistant from Dehli and Hansi, to the south of
both cities. Here Najaf Kuli Khan had breathed his last in a
stronghold of earth faced with stone, on the borders of the great
Bikanir desert, among sand-hills and low growths of tamarisk; and
here his widow — a sister of the deceased Gholam Kadir —
continued to reside. A call to surrender the fort to Sindhia's
officers being refused by the high-spirited Pathan lady, gave
Ismail Beg occasion to reappear upon the scene. He hastened to
her aid, but found the place surrounded by a force under the
command of M. Perron, a French officer whose name will often
recur hereafter. The Beg, as usual, attacked furiously, and, as
usual, was defeated. He took refuge in the fort which he
contrived to enter, and the defence of which he conducted for
some time. But the lady being killed by a shell, the garrison
lost heart, and began to talk of throwing overboard the Moghul
Jonah. The latter, obtaining from Perron a promise of his life
being spared, and having that strong faith in the truth of his
promise which is the real homage that Asiatics pay to Europeans,
lost no time in coming into camp, and was sent into confinement
at Agra, where he remained till his death a few years later.
Francklin, writing about 1794, says that he had no chance of
deliverance so long as Mahratta sway endured at Dehli; but that
he might, otherwise, still live to play a conspicuous part. But I
believe he died about four years later. His residence was in the
quarters near the Dehli Gate of the Fort, popularly known as Dan
Sah Jat's house, still standing.

De Boigne meantime took the field in person against Holkar, who
brought against him not only the usual host of Mahratta horsemen,
but, what was far more formidable, four battalions of sepoys
under Colonel du Drenec. The forces of the Empire, of somewhat
inferior strength, brought Holkar to action at Lakhairi, not far
from Kanaund, and on the road to Ajmir. The battle which ensued,
which was fought in the month of September, 1792, was considered
by M. de Boigne as the most obstinate that he ever witnessed. The
ground had been skilfully chosen by du Drenec; he held the crest
of a pass, his rear being partly protected by a wood; a marsh
covered his front, while the sides were flanked by forests. The
regular infantry was supported by a strong artillery, and guarded
by 30,000 cavalry. Having reconnoitred this position from a
rising ground, de Boigne advanced under a discouraging fire from
Holkar's batteries; and as his own guns — whose advance had been
unexpectedly impeded — came into action he hoped to silence those
of the enemy. But his artillery officer was unlucky that day. A
tumbril being struck in de Boigne's batteries, led to the
explosion of ten or twelve others; and Holkar observing the
confusion, endeavoured to extricate his cavalry from the trees,
and charge, while du Drenec engaged the enemy's infantry. But the
charge of Holkar's horse was confused and feeble (here Ismail
Beg's absence must have been felt), and de Boigne sheltering his
men in another wood, soon repulsed the cavalry with a
well-directed and well-sustained discharge from 9,000 muskets. As
they retreated, he launched his own cavalry upon them, and drove
them off the field. It was now his turn once more to advance.
Re-forming his infantry and guns in the shelter of the thick
tree-growth, he fell upon the left of the enemy where the
regulars still maintained themselves. Raw levies as they were,
they fought bravely but unskilfully till they were annihilated;
their European officers were nearly all slain, and their guns
taken, to the number of thirty-eight. The battle was lost without
retrieval, mainly owing to the inefficiency of Holkar's horse;
thus vindicating the wise, if premature, confidence of Ibrahim
Gardi at Panipat more than thirty years before. Holkar, with the
remnant of: his army, crossed the Chambal, and fell back on
Malwa, where he revenged himself by sacking Ujain, one of
Sindhia's chief cities.

While these things were taking place, a new rebuff was being
prepared for himself by the Emperor, from whom neither age nor
misfortune had taken that levity of character which, partly
inherited from his ancestors, partly constitutional to himself,
formed at once his chief weakness and his greatest consolation.
In his dependent condition, enjoying but the moderate stipend of
ninety thousand pounds a year for his whole civil list — and that
not punctually paid — the blind old man turned envious thoughts
upon the prosperity of the provinces which he had formerly ceded
to his old protectors, the British. Accordingly, in July 1792,
the Court newsman of Dehli was directed to announce that
despatches had been sent to Punah, instructing Sindhia to collect
tribute from the administration of Bengal. A similar attempt had
been made, it will be remembered, though without success, in 1785
(vide sup. Pt. II. c. iv. in fin. ) The present attempt fared no
better. This hint was taken certainly, but not in a way that
could have been pleasant to those who gave it; for it was taken
extremely ill. In a state-paper of the 2nd of August, Lord
Cornwallis, the then Governor General, gave orders that
information should be conveyed to Madhoji Sindhia to the effect
that in the present condition of the Dehli court he, Sindhia,
would be held directly responsible for every writing issued in
the name of the Emperor, and that any attempt to assert a claim
to tribute from the British Government would be "warmly
resented." Once more the disinclination of the British to
interfere in the Empire was most emphatically asserted, but it
was added significantly, that if any should be rash enough to
insult them by an unjust demand or in any shape whatever, they
felt themselves both able and resolved to exact ample

This spirited language, whether altogether in accordance with
abstract right or not, was probably an essential element in the
maintenance of that peaceful policy which prevailed in the
diplomatic valley that occurred between Warren Hastings and the
Marquess Wellesley. Sindhia (not unmindful of Popham's Gwalior
performance just twelve years before) hastened to assure the
British Government that he regarded them as supreme within their
own territories; and that, for his part, his sole and whole
object was to establish the Imperial authority in those
territories that were still subject to the Emperor.

In this he had perfectly succeeded. The fame of his political
sagacity, and the terror of General de Boigne's arms, were
acknowledged from the Satlaj to the Ganges, and from the
Himalayas to the Vindhyas. And for nearly ten years the history
of Hindustan is the biography of a few foreign adventurers who
owed their position to his successes. In the centre of the
dominions swayed by the Dictator-Beadle were quartered two who
had attained to almost royal state in the persons of General de
Boigne and the Begam Sumroo: the one at Sardhana, the other at
Aligarh. The Chevalier du Drenec, who had not been well used by
Holkar, left (without the slightest blame) the service of that
unprosperous chief, and joined his quasi-compatriot and former
antagonist, the Savoyard de Boigne, as the commandant of a
battalion. The "dignity of History" in the last century has not
deigned to preserve any particulars of the private life of these
gallant soldiers; but one can fancy them of an evening at a table
furnished with clumsy magnificence, and drinking bad claret
bought up from the English merchants of Calcutta at fabulous
prices; not fighting over again the battle of Lakhairi, but
rather discussing the relative merits of the slopes of the Alps
and the cliffs of the Atlantic; admitting sorrowfully the merits
of the intermediate vineyards, or trilling to the bewilderment of
their country-born comrades, light little French songs of love
and wine.

Among the officers of the Begam's army there would be few
congenial companions for such men. The Brigadier, Colonel
Levaissoult (or le Vasseur; it is impossible to be quite sure of
these names as manipulated by the natives of India), seems to
have been a young man of some merit. Her only other European
officer who was at all distinguished was an Irishman named George
Thomas, who had deserted from a man-of-war in Madras Roads about
ten years before, and after some obscure wanderings in the
Carnatic, had entered the Begam's service, and distinguished
himself, as we have seen, in the rescue of Shah Alam before
Gokalgarh, in 1788. The officers of the Begam's little army had
never recovered the taint thrown over the service by its original
founder, the miscreant Sumroo, and the merits of the gallant
young Irishman, tall, handsome, intrepid, and full of the
reckless generosity of his impulsive race, soon raised him to
distinction. About his military genius, untaught as it must have
been, there could be no doubt in the minds of those who had seen
the originality of his movement at Golkalgarh; his administrative
talents, one would suppose, must have given some indication by
this time of what they were hereafter to appear in a more leading
character, and upon a larger stage.

Some time in 1792 the partiality of the Begam for M. Levaissoult
began to show itself; and Mr. Thomas who was not only conscious
of his own merits, but had all the hatred of a Frenchman which
characterized the British tar of those days, resolved to quit her
service and attempt a more independent career. With this view he
retired, in the first instance, to Anupshahar on the Ganges, so
often noticed in these pages, and now, for some time, the
cantonment of the frontier brigade of the English establishment
in the Presidency of the Fort William. Here he found a hospitable
welcome, and from this temporary asylum commenced a
correspondence with Appa Khandi Rao, a chief whom he had formerly
met in the Mahratta army, and whose service he presently entered
with an assignment of land in Ismail Beg's former Jaigir of
Mewat. In the Mewat country he remained for the next eighteen
months, engaged in a long and arduous attempt to subjugate his
nominal subjects; in which employment we must for the present
leave him engaged.

In the meanwhile the Begam had been married to M. Levaissoult,
according to the rites of the ancient Church to which both
adhered. Unfortunately for the lady's present reputation and the
gentleman's official influence, the marriage was private; the
only witnesses of the ceremony being two of the bridegroom's
friends, MM. Saleur and Bernier.

All this time Sindhia was at Punah endeavouring to raise his
influence in the Mahratta country to something like a level with
his power in Hindustan. But the situation was one of much greater
difficulty in the former instance than in the latter. In the one
case he had to deal with a blind old voluptuary, of whom he was
sole and supreme master; in the other the sovereign Madhu Rao
Peshwa was in the vigour of life, and had a confidential adviser
in the Nana Farnavis, who was almost a match for the Patel in
ability, and had an undoubted superiority in the much greater
unity of his objects and the comparative narrowness of his field
of action. It is no part of my task to trace the labyrinth of
Mahratta politics in a work which merely professes to sketch the
anarchy of Hindustan; it will be sufficient for our present
purpose to state that the Tarikh-i-Muzafari, the Persian history
to which we have heretofore been so largely indebted, notices an
incident as occurring at this time which is not detailed in the
usually complete record of Captain Grant Duff, though it is not
at variance with the account that he gives of Punah politics in
1794. The Persian author briefly states that the Peshwa (whose
mind was certainly at this time much embittered against Madhoji
Sindhia) sent assassins to waylay him at a little distance from
the city, against whose attack the Patel defended himself with
success, but only escaped at the expense of some severe wounds.
From the situation of the writer, who appears always to have
lived in Bihar or Hindustan, as well as from the vagueness with
which he tells the story, it is evidently a mere rumour deriving
some strength from the fact that Madhoji died at Wanauli, in the
neighbourhood of the Mahratta capital, on the 12th February of
that year, in the midst of intrigues in which he was opposed, not
only by the Nana, but by almost all the chiefs of the old
Mahratta party.

An interesting and careful, though friendly analysis of the
Patel's character will be found in the fifth chapter of Grant
Duff's third volume. As evinced in his proceedings in Hindustan,
we have found him a master of untutored statecraft, combining in
an unusual manner the qualities of prudence in counsel and
enterprise in action; tenacious of his purposes, but a little
vulgar in his means of affecting opinion. He was possessed of the
accomplishment of reading and writing; was a good accountant and
versed in revenue administration; and thus able to act for
himself, instead of being obliged, like most Mahratta leaders, to
put himself into the hands of designing Brahmans. My valued
friend Sir Dinkar Rao informs me that, among other traditions of
high Mahratta society, he has been told by aged men that the
Maharaja was never known to evince serious displeasure save with
cowards and men who fled in battle. To all others his favour was
equal, and solely apportioned to merit, no matter what might be
their creed, caste, or colour. He showed discrimination and
originality in the wholesale reform that he introduced into the
organization of the army, and the extensive scale on which he
employed the services of soldiers trained and commanded by men of
a hardier race than themselves. Sic fortis Etruria crevit; and it
is curious to find the same circumstances which in the Middle
Ages of Europe caused the greatness of the Northern Italian
States thus reproducing themselves in the Italy of the East.

NOTE. — The following extract from the Dehli Gazette of June 5th,
1874, gives the existing tradition as to the domicile of the
officers at Aligarh: — "De Boigne lived in his famous mansion,
called Sahib Bagh, between the fort and city, and on leaving for
France he gave it to Perron, who considerably improved the
building and garden, which was well laid out with all
descriptions of fruit trees procured from distant climes. He so
adorned the place that it was said by the French officers that
the garden was next to that of Ram Bagh, on the Agra river, so
beautiful was the scenery. Perron had a number of officers in his
army, English, French, and Italian. Next to Perron was Colonel
Pedron, who commanded the fortress of Allygurh; this officer had
his mansion in an extensive garden, which at the British conquest
was converted into the Judges' Court, and the site is the same
where it now stands. There are still some old jamun trees of the
said garden in the school compound. Chevalier Dudernaque was
another officer of distinction in Perron's Brigade; his house was
on the edge of the city, it still stands in the occupancy of
Khooshwuk Allee, a respectable Mahomedan, who has an Illaqua in
Sahnoul." — History of Coel. Aligurhs, by an Old Resident.


A.D. 1794-1800.

Daulat Rao Sindhia — Thomas adopted by Appa Khandi Rao —
Revolution at Sardhana — Begam Sumroo attacked but delivered —
Begam Sumroo becomes a wiser Woman — Movements of Afghans — De
Boigne retires — General Perron — Musalman intrigues — Afghans
checked — Succession in Audh — War of "The Bais" — Afghans and
British — Rising of Shimbunath — Thomas independent — Revolt of
Lakwa Dada — Holkar's defeat at Indor — Power of Perron.

1794. — THE powers and dignities of the old Patel were peaceably
assumed by Daulat Rao, the son of the deceased's youngest nephew,
whom he had, shortly before his death made preparations to adopt
as a son. This new minister was only in his fifteenth year, but
the chiefs of the Deccan soon becoming involved in war with their
Musalman neighbours, and Takuji Holkar shortly afterwards
becoming imbecile both in mind and in body, the young man had
leisure to consolidate his power. He retained eight battalions
always about him, under the command of a Neapolitan named Filose,
and continued to reside at Punah; the Begam Sumroo and her new
husband were at Sardhana; de Boigne at Aligarh; and Thomas still
engaged in conquering the country which had been nominally
conferred upon him by a chieftain who had no right to it himself.
Nothing can better show the anarchy that prevailed than such a
state of things as this last mentioned.

The news of Madhoji's death, and the short suspense that followed
on the subject of the succession, caused some little confusion at
Dehli, and led Appa Khandi Rao to visit the metropolis, on which
occasion Thomas attended him. Here they received investiture to
their several fiefs from Sindhia's local representative, Gopal
Rao Bhao; but it was not long before this chief, stirred up, says
Thomas's biographer, by the Begam and her husband, begam to
tamper with the fidelity of Appa Khandi's men, who mutinied and
confined their chief. Thomas retaliated by plundering the Begam's
estates to the south of Dehli, and loyally escorted his master to
Kanaund. On this occasion Appa (who seems not to have been
destitute of good impulses) adopted him as his son, made him some
handsome presents, and conferred upon him the management of
several contiguous tracts, yielding in all an annual revenue of
one lakh and a half of the money of those days.

One cannot wonder at the faith in the pagoda-tree which formed so
prominent an article of the English social creed of those days,
when we thus find a common sailor, at forty years of age,
attended by a body-guard of chosen cavaliers, and managing
districts as large and rich as many a minor kingdom. No doubt the
price paid was high. Thomas's exertions were evidently prodigious
and ceaseless; while his position — nay, his very existence — was
extremely precarious. On the other hand, his prospect of
realizing any part of his good fortune, and retiring to enjoy it
in his native Tipperary  - which must have sometimes presented
itself to his mind — was certainly not hopeful. To the degenerate
Europeans of the present day, whose programme involves constant
holidays in a mountain climate, occasional furloughs to England,
and, when resident in India, a residence made endurable by
imported luxuries, and by every possible precaution against heat,
there is something almost incredible in this long life of exile,
where the English language would not be heard for years, and
where quilted curtains and wooden shutters would be all the
protection of the most luxurious quarters, and an occasional
carouse upon fiery bazaar spirits the chief excitement of the
most peaceful intervals of repose. Such intervals, however, were
very rare; and the sense of constant struggles in which one's
success was entirely due to one's own merits, must have been the
chief reward of such a life as Thomas was now leading.

Foremost among the difficulties with which he had to contend was
the uncertain character of his chief: and he was at the time of
which we are treating — 1794 — strongly tempted by Lakwa Dada to
enter the service of Sindhia, in which he was offered the command
of 2,000 horse. This temptation, however, he manfully resisted,
and continued true to Appa, even though that chief was neither
true to his follower nor to himself. Whilst thus engaged in a
cause of but small promise, he was once more exposed to the
machinations of the Begam, who, influenced by her husband,
marched into Thomas's new district and encamped about three
marches S.E. from Jhajar, at the head of a force of four
battalions of infantry, twenty guns, and four squadrons of horse.
Thomas made instant preparations to meet the invasion, when it
was suddenly rolled away in a manner which presents one of the
characteristic dissolving views of that extraordinary period.

The ruffianly character of most of the officers in the Sardhana
service has been already mentioned. With the exception of one or
two, they could not read or write, and they had all the debauched
habits and insolent bearing which are the besetting sins of the
uneducated European in India; especially when to the natural
pride of race are added the temptations of a position of
authority for which no preparation has been made in youth. Among
these men (whom Le Vaissoult, not unnaturally, refused to admit
to his dinner-table) was a German or Belgian, now only known to
us by the nickname of Liegeois, probably derived from his native
place. With this man it is supposed that Thomas now opened a
correspondence by means of which he practiced on the disaffection
of his former comrades. The secrecy which the Begam continued to
preserve on the subject of her marriage naturally added to the
unpopularity of Le Vaissoult's position; and the husband and wife
hurried back to Sardhana on learning that the officers had
commenced negotiations with Aloysius the son of the deceased
Sumroo, who resided at Dehli with the title of Nawab Zafaryab
Khan, and had carried over with them a portion of the troops.
Finding the situation untenable, they soon resolved on quitting
it and retiring into the territories of the British with their
portable property, estimated at about two lakhs of rupees. With
this view they wrote to Colonel McGowan, commanding the brigade
at Anupshahar; and finding that officer scrupulous at
participating at the desertion of an Imperial functionary, Le
Vaissoult, in April, 1794, addressed the Governor General direct.
The result was that Sindhia's permission was obtained to a secret
flitting; and Le Vaissoult was to be treated as a prisoner of
war, allowed to reside with his wife at Chandarnagar.

Towards the end of 1795, Zafaryab, at the head of the revolted
soldiery set out from Dehli; determined, by what judicial
stupidity I cannot tell, to cut off the escape of that enemy for
whom, if he had been wise, he ought to have paved the road, had
it been with silver. The intelligence of this movement
precipitated Le Vaissoult's measures; and he set out with his
wife — the latter was in a palankeen, the former armed and on
horseback — with a mutual engagement between them that neither
was to survive if certified of the death of the other. The troops
who still remained at Sardhana, either corrupted by the
mutineers, or willing to secure the plunder before the latter
should arrive, immediately set out in pursuit. The sequel is thus
told by Sleeman, who gathered his information from eye-witnesses
on the spot: — "They had got three miles on the road to Meerut,
when they found the battalions gaining fast upon the palankeen.
Le Vaissoult drew a pistol from his holster and urged on the
bearers. He could have easily galloped off and saved himself, but
he would not quit his wife's side. At last the soldiers came up
close behind them. The female attendants of the Begam began to
scream, and looking into the litter, Le Vaissoult observed the
white cloth that covered the Begam's breast stained with blood.
She had stabbed herself, but the dagger had struck against one of
the bones of her chest, and she had not courage to repeat the
blow. Her husband put the pistol to his temple and fired. The
ball passed through his head, and he fell dead to the ground."
This tragedy is somewhat differently detailed in the account
furnished by Thomas to his biographer, which is made to favour
the suspicion that the Begam intentionally deceived her husband
in order to lead him to commit suicide. Thomas says that Le
Vaissoult was riding at the head of the procession, and killed
himself on receiving a message from the rear attested by the
sight of a blood-stained garment borne by the messenger: but it
is hard to see why a man in his position should have been absent
from his wife's side at such a critical moment. Thomas was
naturally disposed to take an unfavourable view of the Begam's
conduct; but the immediate results of the scene were certainly
not such as to support the theory of her having any understanding
with the mutineers. She was carried back to the Fort, stripped of
her property, and tied under a gun. In this situation she
remained several days, and would have died of starvation but for
the good offices of a faithful ayah, who continued to visit her
mistress, and supply her more pressing necessities.

The new Nawab was a weak and dissolute young man; and the Begam
had a friend among the officers, Saleur, whom the reader may
recollect as one of the witnesses of her marriage. She was ere
long released, and M. Saleur lost no time in communicating with
Thomas, whose aid he earnestly invoked. The generous Irishman,
forgetful of the past, at once wrote strongly to his friends in
the service, pointing out that the disbandment of the force would
be the only possible result of their persisting in disorderly
conduct, so detrimental to the welfare of the Emperor and his
minister. He followed up this peaceful measure by a rapid march
on Sardhana, where he surprised the Nawab by dashing upon him at
the head of the personal escort of horse, which formed part of
the retinue of every leader of those days. The troops, partly
corrupted, partly intimidated, tired of being their own masters,
and disappointed in Zafaryab, made a prisoner of their new chief.
He was plundered to the skin, and sent back to Dehli under
arrest; while the Begam, by the chivalry of one she had ill-used
for years, recovered her dominions, and retained them unmolested
for the rest of her life. The secret of her behaviour is probably
not very difficult of discovery. Desirous of giving to her
passion for the gallant young Frenchman the sanction of her
adopted religion, she was unwilling to compromise her position as
Sumroo's heir by a publicly acknowledged re-marriage. She had
large possessions and many enemies; so that, once determined to
indulge her inclinations, she had to choose between incurring
scandalous suspicions, and jeopardising a succession which would
be contested, if she were known to have made a fresh and an
unpopular marriage.

M. Saleur was now appointed to the command of the forces; but the
astute woman never again allowed the weakness of her sex to
imperil her sovereignty; and from the period of her restoration
by Thomas (who spent two lakhs of rupees in the business), to the
date of her death in 1836, her supremacy was never again menaced
by any domestic danger. Having, as far as can be conjectured, now
arrived at the ripe age of forty-two, it may be hoped that she
had learned to conquer the impulse that sometimes leads a female
sovereign to make one courtier her master, at the expense of
making all the rest her enemies. The management of her extensive
territories henceforward occupied her chief attention, and they
were such as to require a very great amount of labour and time
for their effective supervision: stretching from the Ganges to
beyond the Jamna, and from the neighbourhood of Aligarh to the
north of Mozafarnagar. There was also a Jaigir on the opposite
side of the Jamna, which has formed the subject of litigation
between her heirs and the Government in recent times. Her
residence continued to be chiefly at Sardhana, where she
gradually built the palace, convent, school, and cathedral, which
are still in existence. Peace and order were well kept throughout
her dominions; no lawless chiefs were allowed to harbour
criminals and defraud the public revenue; and the soil was
maintained in complete cultivation. This is considerable praise
for an Asiatic ruler; the reverse of the medal will have to be
looked at hereafter.

Death soon relieved her of all anxiety on the score of her
undutiful stepson, who drank himself to death in his arrest at
Dehli, leaving a daughter, who married a Mr. Dyce, and became the
mother of Mr. D. O. Dyce-Sombre, whose melancholy story is fresh
in the memory of the present generation. Zafaryab Khan was buried
like his infamous father at Agra. But his monument is not in the
cemetery, but in a small church since secularized.

Thomas was now, for the moment, completely successful. The
intrigues of his Mahratta enemy Gopal Rao ended in that officer
being superseded, and Thomas's friend Lakwa Dada became
Lieutenant-General in Hindustan. Appa Khandi, it is true,
commenced a course of frivolous treachery towards his faithful
servant and adopted son, which can only be accounted for on the
supposition of a disordered intellect; but Thomas remained in the
field, everywhere putting down opposition, and suppressing all
marauding, unless when his necessities tempted him to practise it
on his own account.

About this time we begin, for the first time, to find mention of
the threatening attitude of the Afghans, which was destined to
exercise on the affairs of Hindustan an influence so important,
yet so different from what the invaders themselves could have
anticipated. Timur Shah, the kinsman to whom Shah Alam alludes in
his poem, had died in June, 1793; and after a certain amount of
domestic disturbance, one of his sons had succeeded under the
title of Zaman Shah. The Calcutta Gazette of 28th May, 1795, thus
notices the new ruler:—

"Letters from Dehli mention that Zaman Shah, the ruler of the
Abdalees, meditated an incursion into Hindustan, but had been
prevented, for the present, by the hostility of his brothers. . .
. . We are glad to hear the Sikhs have made no irruption into the
Doab this season."

This Zaman Shah is the same who died, many years later, a blind
pensioner of the English at Ludiana; and for the restoration of
whose dynasty, among other objects, the British expedition to
Kabul in 1839 took place.

To this period also belongs the unsuccessful attempt to revive
Musalman power in the South of India, in which the Nizam of the
Deccan engaged with the aid of his French General, the famous
Raymond. The battle fought at Kardla, near Ahmadnagar, on the
12th March, 1795, is remarkable for the number of Europeans and
their trained followers who took part on either side. On the
Nizam's side, besides a vast force of horse and foot of the
ordinary Asiatic kind, there were no less than 17,000 infantry
under Raymond, backed by a large force of regular cavalry and
artillery. The Mahrattas had 10,000 regulars under Perron, 5,000
under Filose, 3,000 under Hessing, 4,500 under du Drenec and
Boyd. An animated account of this battle will be found in Colonel
Malleson's excellent book, The Final Struggles of the French in
India, in which, with admirable research and spirit, the gallant
author has done justice to the efforts of the brave Frenchmen by
whom British victory was so often checked in its earlier flights.
The power of the Musalmans was completely broken by Perron and
his associates on this occasion. It is further remarkable as the
last general assembly of the chiefs of the Mahratta nation under
the authority of their Peshwa (Grant Duff, ii. 284-8). The Moghul
power in the Deccan was only preserved by the intervention of the
British, and has ever since been dependent on their Government.

Early in 1796 a change was perceptible in the health of General
de Boigne, which time and war had tried for nearly a quarter of a
century in various regions. He had amassed a considerable fortune
by his exertions during this long period, and entertained the
natural desire of retiring with it to his native country. Sindhia
had no valid ground for opposing his departure, and he set out
for Calcutta somewhere about the middle of the year, accompanied
by his personal escort — mounted upon choice Persian horses — who
were afterwards taken into the British Governor's body-guard. In
the profession of a soldier of fortune, rising latterly to almost
unbounded power, de Boigne had shown all the virtues that are
consistent with the situation. By simultaneous attention to his
own private affairs he amassed a fortune of nearly half a million
sterling, which he was fortunate enough to land in his own
country, where it must have seemed enormous. He lived for many
years after as a private gentleman in Savoy, with the title of
Count, and visitors from India were always welcome and sure of
being hospitably entertained by the veteran with stories of
Mahratta warfare. On the 1st February, 1797, he was succeeded,
after some brief intermediate arrangements, by M. Perron, an
officer of whom we have already had some glimpses, and whom de
Boigne considered as a steady man and a brave soldier. Like
Thomas, he had come to India in some humble capacity on board a
man-of-war, and had first joined the native service under Mr.
Sangster, as a non-commissioned officer. De Boigne gave him a
company in the first force which he raised, with the title of
Captain-Lieut. On the absconding of Lestonneaux, in 1788, as
above described — when that officer was supposed to have
appropriated the plunder taken by Gholam Kadir on his flight from
Meerut — Perron succeeded to the command of a battalion, from
which, after the successes of the army against Ismail Beg, he
rose to the charge of a brigade. He was now placed over the whole
regular army, to which the civil administration, on de Boigne's
system, was inseparably attached, and under him were brigades
commanded by Colonel du Drenec and by other officers, chiefly
French, of whom we shall see more hereafter. De Boigne, while
entertaining a high opinion of Perron's professional ability,
seems to have misdoubted his political wisdom, for both Fraser
and Duff assert that he solemnly warned Daulat Rao Sindhia
against those very excesses into which — partly by Perron's
counsel — he was, not long after, led. "Never to offend the
British, and sooner to discharge his troops than risk a war," was
the gist of the General's parting advice.

Sindhia remaining in the Deccan, in pursuance of his uncle's plan
of managing both countries at once, the ax-Sergeant became very
influential in Hindustan, where (jealousies with his Mahratta
colleagues excepted) the independent career of George Thomas was
the only serious difficulty with which he had to contend.

For the present the two seamen did not come in contact, for
Thomas confined his operations to the west and north-west, and
found his domestic troubles and the resistance of the various
neighbouring tribes sufficient to fully occupy his attention.
Scarcely had he patched up a peace with his treacherous employer,
and brought affairs in Mewat to something like a settlement, when
his momentary quiet was once more disturbed by the intelligence
that Appa had committed suicide by drowning himself, and that his
son and successor, Vaman Rao, was showing signs of an intention
to imitate the conduct of the deceased in its untruthful and
unreliable character. With the exception of a brief campaign in
the Upper Doab, in which the fortified towns of Shamli and
Lakhnaoti had rebelled, Thomas does not appear to have had any
active employment until he finally broke with Vaman Rao.

The rebellion of the Governor of Shamli (which Thomas suppressed
with vigour) seems to have been connected with the movements of
the restless Rohillas of the Najibabad clan, whose chief was now
Bhanbu Khan, brother of the late Gholam Kadir, and an exile among
the Sikhs since the death of his brother and the destruction of
the Fort of Ghausgarh. Profiting by the long-continued absence of
Sindhia, he re-opened that correspondence with the Afghans which
always formed part of a Mohamadan attempt in Hindustan, and
appealed, at the same time, to the avarice of the Sikhs, which
had abundantly recovered its temporary repulse by Mirza Najaf in
1779. The grandson of the famous Abdali soon appeared at Peshawar
at the head of 33,000 Afghan horse. But the Sikhs and Afghans
soon quarrelled; a desperate battle was fought between them at
Amritsar, in which, after a futile cannonade, the Sikhs flung
themselves upon Zaman's army in the most reckless manner. The
aggregate losses were estimated at 35,000 men. The Shah retreated
upon Lahor; and the disordered state of the Doab began to be
reflected in the only half-subdued conquests of the Viceroy of
Audh in Rohilkand.

At this crisis 'Asaf-ud-daulah, the then holder of this title,
died at Lucknow, 21st September, 1797, and it was by no means
certain that his successor, Vazir 'Ali, would not join in the
reviving struggles of his co-religionists. It must be remembered
that, in virtue of its subjugation to the Sindhias, the Empire
was now regarded as a Hindu power, and that Shia and Sunni might
well be expected to join, as against the Mahrattas or the
English, however they might afterwards quarrel over the spoil,
should success attend their efforts. Furthermore it is to be
noted that in this or the following year the Afghans, under Zaman
Shah, were known to be advancing again upon Lahor.

This state of things appeared to the then Governor-General of the
British possessions sufficiently serious to warrant an active
interposition. The calm courage of Sir John Shore, who held a
local investigation into what, to most politicians, might have
appeared a very unimportant matter — namely, whether the
heir-apparent was really 'Asaf-ud-daulah's son or not; the grave
decision against his claims (the claims of a de facto prince);
his deposition and supersession by his eldest uncle, Saadat 'Ali
the Second; and Vazir 'Ali's subsequent violence, when, too late
to save his throne, he contrived, by the gratuitous murder of Mr.
Cherry, the British resident at Benares, to convert his position
from that of a political martyr to that of a life-convict, are
all amply detailed in the well-known History of Mill, and in the
Life of Lord Teignmouth by his son. Shore, at the same time, sent
an embassy to Persia under Mahdi 'Ali Khan, the result of which
was an invasion of Western Afghanistan and the consequent
retirement of the Shah from the Panjab. The events referred to
only so far belong to the History of Hindustan, that they are a
sort of crepuscular appearance there of British power, and show
how the most upright and moderate statesmen of that nation were
compelled, from time to time, to make fresh advances into the
political sphere of the Empire.

About this time died Takaji Holkar, who had lately ceased to play
any part in the politics, either of Hindustan or of the Deccan.
He was no relation, by blood, of the great founder of the house
of Holkar, Malhar Rao; but he had carried out the traditionary
policy of the clan, which may be described in two words —
hostility to Sindhia, and alliance with any one, Hindu or
Musalman, by whom that hostility might be aided. He was succeeded
by his illegitimate son Jaswant Rao, afterwards to become famous
for his long and obstinate resistance to the British; but for the
present only remarkable for the trouble that he soon began to
give Daulat Rao Sindhia.

1798. — The latter, meanwhile, as though there were no such
persons as Afghans or English within the limits of India, was
engaging in domestic affairs of the most paltry character. His
marriage (1st March) with the daughter of the Ghatgai, Shirji
Rao, put him into the hands of that notorious person, whose
ambition soon entangled the young chief in the obscure and
discreditable series of outrages and of intrigues regarding his
uncle's widow, known as the War of the Bais. The cause of these
ladies being espoused by Madhoji's old commander, Lakwa Dada,
whom the younger Sindhia had, as we have seen, raised to the
Lieutenant-Generalship of the Empire, a serious campaign
(commenced in May) was the result. Sindhia's army (nominally the
army of the Emperor) was under the chief command of Ambaji
Inglia, and in 1798 a campaign of some magnitude was undertaken,
with very doubtful results.

The ladies first retreated to the camp of the Peshwa's brother,
Imrat Rao, but were captured by a treacherous attack ordered by
Sindhia's general, and undertaken by M. Drugeon, a French
officer, at the head of two regular brigades, during the
unguarded hours of a religious festival. This was an overt act of
warfare against Sindhia's lawful superior, the Peshwa, in whose
protection the ladies were, and threw the Peshwa into the hands
of the British and their partizans.

Sindhia, for his part, entered into negotiations with the famous
usurper of Mysore, Tippu Sultan, who was the hereditary opponent
of the British, and who soon after lost his kingdom and his life
before the Mahrattas could decide upon an open espousal of his

1799. — The glory of the coming conquerors now began to light up
the politics of Hindustan. The Afghans retired from Lahor in
January, and were soon discovered to have abandoned their
attempts on Hindustan for the present. But it was not known how
long it might be before they were once more renewed. The
celebrated treaty of "subsidiary alliance" between the British
and the Nizam (22nd June, 1799), occupied the jealous attention
of Sindhia, who had accommodated matters with the Peshwa, and
taken up his quarters at Punah, where his immense material
resources rendered him almost paramount. Still more was his
jealousy aroused by the knowledge that, as long as the attitude
of the Afghans continued to menace the ill-kept peace of the
Empire, the British must be of necessity driven to keep watch in
that quarter, in proportion, at least, as he, for his part, might
be compelled to do so elsewhere. To add to his perplexities,
Jaswant Rao Holkar, the hereditary rival of his house, about this
time escaped from the captivity of Nagpur. to which Sindhia's
influence had consigned him. Thus pressed on all sides, the
Minister restored Lakwa Dada to favour, and by his aid quelled a
fresh outbreak in the Upper Doab, where Shimbunath, the officer
in charge of the Bawani Mahal, had called in the Sikhs in aid of
his attempts at independence. Shimbunath was met and repulsed by
a Moghul officer, named Ashraf Beg; and, hearing that Perron had
sent reinforcements under Captain Smith, retired to the Panjab.

At the same time the Mahratta Governor of Dehli rebelled, but
Perron reduced him after a short siege, and replaced him by
Captain Drugeon, the French officer already mentioned in
reference to the war of the Bais.

Thomas was for the present quite independent; and it may interest
the reader to have a picture, however faint, of the scene in
which this extraordinary conversion of a sailor into a sovereign
took place. Hansi is one of the chief towns of the arid province
curiously enough called Hariana, or "Green land," which lies
between Dehli and the Great Sindh Deserts. When Thomas first
fixed on it as the seat of his administration, it was a ruin
among the fragments of the estates which had belonged to the
deceased Najaf Kuli Khan. His first care was to rebuild the
fortifications and invite settlers; and such was his reputation,
that the people of the adjacent country, long plundered by the
wild tribes of Bhatiana, and by the Jats of the Panjab, were not
slow in availing themselves of his protection. Here, to use his
own words, "I established a mint, and coined my own rupees, which
I made current (!) in my army and country . . . . cast my own
artillery, commenced making muskets, matchlocks, and
powder.....till at length, having gained a capital and country
bordering on the Sikh territories, I wished to put myself in a
capacity, when a favourable opportunity should offer, of
attempting the conquest of the Panjab, and aspired to the honour
of placing the British standard on the banks of the Attock."

His new possessions consisted of 14 Pargannas, forming an
aggregate of 250 townships, and yielding a total revenue of
nearly three lakhs of rupees, — Thomas being forced to make very
moderate settlements with the farmers in order to realize
anything. From his former estates, acquired in the Mahratta
service, which he still retained, he derived nearly a lakh and a
half more.

Having made these arrangements, Thomas consented to join Vaman
Rao, the son of his former patron, in a foray upon the Raja of
Jaipur; and in this was nearly slain, only escaping with the loss
of his lieutenant, John Morris, and some hundreds of his best
men. He then renewed his alliance with Ambaji Sindhia's favourite
general, who was about to renew the war against Lakwa Dada in the
Udaipur country.

This new campaign was the consequence of Lakwa having connived at
the escape of the Bais, a trait of conduct creditable to his
regard for the memory of Madhoji Sindhia, his old master, but
ruinous to his own interests. For the moment, however, the Dada
was completely successful, routing all the detachments sent
against him, and taking possession of a considerable portion of

Thomas did not join this campaign without undergoing a fresh
danger from the mutiny of his own men. This is a species of peril
to which persons in his position seem to have been peculiarly
open; and it is related that the infamous Sumroo was sometimes
seized by his soldiers, and seated astride upon a heated cannon,
in order to extort money from him. In the gallant Irishman the
troops had a different subject for their experiments; and the
disaffection was soon set at rest by Thomas seizing the
ringleaders with his own hands, and having them blown from guns
on the spot. This is a concrete exhibition of justice which
always commands the respect of Asiatics; and we hear of no more
mutinies in Thomas's army.

1800. — In 1800 the sailor-Raja led his men once more against
their neighbours to the north and northwest of his territories,
and gathered fresh laurels. He was now occupied in no less a
scheme than the conquest of the entire Panjab, from which
enterprise he records that he had intended to return, like
another Nearchus, by way of the Indus, to lay his conquests at
the feet of George the Third of England. But the national foes of
that monarch were soon to abridge the career of his enterprising
subject, the Irish Raja of Hansi. For the present, Perron marched
into the country of the Dattia Raja, in Bandelkhand, and entirely
defeated Lakwa Dada, who soon after cried of his wounds. His
success was at first balanced by Holkar, who routed a detachment
of the Imperial army, under Colonel Hessing, at Ujain. Hessing's
four battalions were completely cut up; and of eleven European
officers, seven were slain and three made prisoners. This event
occurred in June, 1801. But it was not long before the disaster
was retrieved at Indor (the present seat of the Holkar family),
by a fresh force under Colonel Sutherland. Holkar lost
ninety-eight guns, and his capital was seized and sacked by the
victors, about four months after the former battle.

The French commander of the regular troops was indeed now master
of the situation. Victorious in the field, in undisturbed
possession of the Upper Doab, and with a subordinate of his own
nation in charge of the metropolis and person of the sovereign,
General Perron was not disposed to brook the presence of a rival
— and that a Briton — in an independent position of sovereignty
within a few miles of Dehli. The French sailor and the English
sailor having surmounted their respective difficulties, were now,
in fact, face to face, each the only rival that the other had to
encounter in the Empire of Hindustan.

NOTE. — Thomas describes the Begam as small and plump; her
complexion fair, her eyes large and animated. She wore the
Hindustani costume, made of the most costly materials. She spoke
Persian and Urdu fluently, and attended personally to business,
giving audience to her native employee behind a screen. At
darbars she appeared veiled; but in European society she took her
place at table, waited on exclusively by maid-servants. Her
statue, surmounting a group in white marble by Tadolini, stands
over her tomb in the Church at Sardhana.


A.D. 1801-3.

Feuds of the Mahrattas — Perron attacks Thomas — End of Thomas —
Treaty of Bassein — Lord Wellesley — Treaty of Lucknow —
Wellesley supported — Fear of the French — Sindhia threatened —
Influence of Perron - Plans of the French — The First Consul —
Wellesley's Views — War declared — Lake's Force — Sindhia's
European Officers, English and French — Anti-English Feelings and
Fall of Perron — Battle of Dehli — Lake enters the Capital —
Emperor's Petition — No Treaty made.

1801. — THE end was now indeed approaching. Had the Mahrattas
been united, it is possible that their confederacy might have
retrieved the disasters of 1760-1, and attained a position in
Hindustan similar to that which was soon after achieved by the
Sikhs in the Panjab. But this could not be. The Peshwa still
assumed to be Vicegerent of the Empire, as well as head of the
Mahrattas, under the titular supremacy of Satara, and Sindhia
affected to rule in Hindustan as the Peshwa's Deputy. But the new
Peshwa, Baji Rao — having dislodged the usurping minister Nana
Farnavis — had proceeded to provoke the Holkars. Jeswant Rao, the
present head of that clan, took up arms against the Peshwa, whose
side was espoused by Sindhia; and Sindhia consequently found
himself constrained to leave the provinces north of the Narbadda
to the charge of subordinates. Of these the most powerful and the
most arrogant was the promoted Quarter-Master Sergeant, now
General Perron.

As long as the last-named officer was in a subordinate position,
he evinced much honourable manhood. But the extremes of
prosperity and adversity proved alike the innate vulgarity of the
man's nature.

When every hereditary prince, from the Satlaj to the Narbadda,
acknowledged him as master, and he enjoyed an income equal to
that of the present Viceroy and the Commander-in-Chief of India
combined; at this climacteric of his fortunes, when he was
actually believed to have sent an embassy to the First Consul of
the French Republic, instead of seriously and soberly seeking to
consolidate his position, or resign it with honour, his insolence
prepared the downfall which he underwent with disgrace.

Not content with openly flouting his Mahratta colleagues, and
estranging such of the Europeans as were not his connections or
his creatures, he now summoned George Thomas to Dehli, and called
upon him to enter Sindhia's service — in other words, to own his
(Perron's) supremacy. The British tar repudiated this invitation
with national and professional disdain; upon which a strong
Franco-Mahratta army invaded his territories under Louis
Bourquin, one of Perron's lieutenants. Judgment formed no part of
Thomas's character; but he acted with his wonted decision.
Sweeping round the invading host, he fell upon the detachment at
Georgegarh — one of his forts which was being beleaguered — and
having routed the besiegers with great loss, threw himself into
the place, and protected his front with strong outworks,
resolving to await assistance from Holkar, or to seize a
favourable opportunity to strike another blow.

Events showed the imprudence of this plan. No aid came; the
French being reinforced, invested his camp, so as to produce a
blockade: corruption from the enemy joined with their own
distress to cause many desertions of Thomas's soldiers, till at
length their leader saw no alternative but flight. About 9 P.M.
therefore, on the 10th November, 1801, he suddenly darted forth
at the head of his personal following, and succeeded in reaching
Hansi by a circuitous route, riding the same horse — a fine
Persian — upwards of a hundred miles in less than three days. But
his capital was soon invested by his relentless foes as strictly
as his camp had been; and although the influence of his character
was still shown in the brave defence made by the few select
troops whom neither hope nor fear could force from his side, he
was at last obliged to see the cruelty of taxing their fidelity
any farther. M. Bourquin was much incensed against this obstinate
antagonist; but the latter obtained terms through the mediation
of the other officers, and was allowed to retire to British
territory with the wreck of his fortune, on the 1st of January,
1802. He died in August, on his way down to Calcutta, and was
interred at Barhampur. He left a family, of whom the Begam Sumroo
at first took charge, but their descendants have now become mixed
with the ordinary population of the country.

This extraordinary man was largely endowed by Nature, both
morally and physically. During the time of his brief authority he
settled a turbulent country, and put down some crimes, such as
female infanticide, with which all the power of Britain has not
always coped successfully. It would have been profitable to the
British Government had they supported him in his manful struggles
against Mahratta lawlessness, and against French ambition and

1802. — The overthrow of Thomas was nearly the last of Sindhia's
successes. Having made a final arrangement with the Bais (from
whom we here gladly part), he confined his attention to the
politics of the Deccan, where he underwent a severe defeat from
Holkar, at Punah, in October, 1802. The Peshwa, on whose side
Sindhia had been fighting, sought refuge with the British at
Bassein, and Holkar obtained temporary possession of the Mahratta
capital. On the 31st of December the celebrated treaty of Bassein
was concluded with the Peshwa. It appears from the Wellington
Dispatches, published by Mr. Owen in 1880, that this treaty was
certainly not conceived in a spirit of hostility to Daulat Rao.
He was a party directly, to the preceding negotiations and, by
the agency of his minister, "to the whole transaction." (Owen's
Selection, p. 30.) Still, as Mr. Wheeler has pointed out, this
instrument tended to substitute the British as the paramount
power in Hindustan (Short History, p. 433), and "shut Sindhia out
from the grand object of his ambition, namely, to rule the
Mahratta empire in the name of the Peshwa." One of the articles
of the treaty debarred the Mahrattas from entertaining French
officers. Grant Duff had seen a secret letter written shortly
after the date of the treaty by the Peshwa in which he summoned
Sindhia to Punah. (II. Grant Duff, p. 384.) Then, not only
supplanted by the British as Protector of the Mahratta State, but
alarmed on the score of his position in Hindustan, Sindhia began
to intrigue with the hitherto inactive Mahratta chief, Raghoji,
the Bhonsla Raja of Nagpur.

Aided by the British under the already famous Arthur Wellesley,
the Peshwa soon regained his metropolis, which Sindhia was
preparing to occupy. That chief was still further estranged in
consequence of the disappointment.

Holkar now held aloof, wisely resolving to remain neutral, at
least until his rival should be either overthrown or
irresistible. The Governor- General, Marquis Wellesley, apprised
by his brother and other political officers of the intrigues of
Sindhia, demanded from the latter a categorical explanation of
his intentions. And this not being given, General Wellesley was
ordered to open the campaign in the Deccan, while General Lake
co-operated in the Doab of Hindustan.

In order to appreciate the grounds of this most important
measure, it will be necessary to break through the rule by which
I have been hitherto guided of keeping nothing before the reader
besides the affairs of Hindustan proper. The motives of Lord
Wellesley formed part of a scheme of policy embracing nearly the
whole inhabited world; and whether we think him right or wrong,
we can hardly avoid the conclusion that the virtual assumption of
the Moghul Empire at this time was due to his personal character
and political projects.

As far back as February, 1801, the Governor-General had
co-operated in European affairs by sending a contingent to Egypt
under General Baird; though the force arrived too late to
participate actively in a campaign by which the French were
expelled from that country. A twelvemonth later the Marquis
received official intimation of the virtual conclusion of the
negotiations on which was based the Peace of Amiens. In the
interval he had sent his brother, Mr. Henry Wellesley, to
Lucknow, and had concluded through that agency the famous treaty
of the 10th November, 1801, by which British rule was introduced
into Gorakpur, the Eastern and Central Doab, and a large part of
Rohilkand. The immediate result of this will be seen ere long.

Having inaugurated these important changes in the position of
British power in the East, Lord Wellesley now notified to the
Court of Directors (by whom he had conceived himself thwarted),
his intention to resign his office, and to return to Europe in
the following December. At the same time he issued to General
Lake, the Commander-in-Chief, instructions for a substantial
reduction of the forces. He added however the following
remarkable words: "It is indispensable to our safety in India
that we should be prepared to meet any future crisis of war with
unembarrassed resources;" words whereby he showed that even
reduction was undertaken with an eye to future exertions. In a
similar spirit he rebuked the naval Commander Admiral Rainier,
for refusing to employ against the Mauritius the forces that had
been set free by the evacuation of Egypt; laying down in terms as
decided as courtesy permitted the principle that, as responsible
agent, he had a right to be implicitly obeyed by all His
Majesty's servants.

And that bold assertion received the approbation of King George
III., in a despatch of the 5th May; the further principle being
communicated by the writer, Lord Hobart, in His Majesty's name,
"that it should be explicitly understood that in the distant
possessions of the British empire during the existence of war,
the want of the regular authority should not preclude an attack
upon the enemy in any case that may appear calculated to promote
the public interest."

Thus fortified, the Governor-General was persuaded to reconsider
his intention of at once quitting India, the more so since the
terms in which the Court of Directors recorded their desire that
he should do so, displayed an almost equal confidence, and
amounted, if not to any apology for past obstruction, at least to
a promise of support for the future. In his despatch of 24th
December, 1802, Lord Wellesley plainly alluded to the opening for
extending the British power in India which he considered to be
offered by the then pending treaty of Bassein, though at the same
time he records, apparently without apprehension, the intention
of Sindhia to proceed from Ujan towards Punah to counteract the
machinations of Holkar. On the 11th February, 1803, Lord
Wellesley signified his willingness to remain at his post another
year, though without referring to any military or political

But the direction in which his eye was constantly cast is soon
betrayed by a despatch of the 27th March, to General Lake,
conveying instructions for negotiating with General Perron, who,
from motives we shall briefly notice lower down, was anxious to
retire from the service of Sindhia. In this letter Lord Wellesley
plainly says, "I am strongly disposed to accelerate Hr. Perron's
departure, conceiving it to be an event which promises much
advantage to our power in India."

It appears, nevertheless, from the Marquis's address to the
Secret Committee of the Court of Directors of 19th April, 1803,
that, up to that time, he still entertained hopes that Sindhia
would remain inactive, and would see his advantage in giving his
adhesion to the treaty of Bassein, if not from friendship for
England, from hostility to Holkar, against whom that settlement
was primarily and ostensibly directed. Meanwhile, advices
continued to arrive from Europe, showing the extremely precarious
nature of the Peace of Amiens, and the imminent probability of a
renewal of hostilities with France, thus keeping awake the
Governor-General's jealousy of Sindhia's French officers, and
delaying the restoration of French possessions in India, which
had been promised by the treaty.

In May the Marquis proceeded explicitly to forbid the crossing of
the Narbadda by Sindhia, and to warn the Bhonsla Raja of Berar or
Nagpur against joining in the schemes of the former chief, to
whom a long and forcible despatch was sent, through the Resident,
Colonel Collins, in the early part of the following month (vide
W. Desp. p. 120). In this letter Colonel Collins — while vested
with much discretionary power — was distinctly instructed to
"apprise Scindiah (Sindhia) that his proceeding to Poonah, under
any pretext whatever, will infallibly involve him in hostilities
with the British power." The Resident was also to require from
him "an explanation with regard to the object of any confederacy"
with the Bhonsla chiefs of Berar and Nagpur, or with Holkar.
Sindhia met all these approaches with the Oriental resources of
equivocation  and delay; apparently unable either to arrange with
due rapidity any definite understanding with the other Mahratta
leaders, or to make up his mind, or persuade his chief advisers
to give a confident and unconditional reception to the friendship
offered him by the British ruler. Whether the latter course would
have saved him is a question that now can only be decided by each
person's interpretation of the despatches above analysed.

Those who desire to study the subject further may refer to the
first volume of Malcolm's Political History, to Mill's History,
and to Grant Duff's concluding volume, but will hardly obtain
much result from their labour. On the one hand, it may be
presumed that, had the British Government really been ambitious
of extending their North-Western frontier, they would have
assisted Thomas in 1801; on the other hand, it is certain that
they supplanted Sindhia at Punah soon afterwards, and that they
had for some years been exceedingly jealous of French influence
in India. In this connection should also be mentioned the
invasion planned by the Czar Paul, in concert with the First
Consul, in 1800, of which the details were first made public in
English by Mr. Michell (Rawlinson's England and Russia in the
East, p. 187). The general fact of Paul's submission to the
ascendancy of Napoleon was, of course, well known to British
statesmen at the time. There was also the fear of an Afghan
invasion, which led to the mission of Malcolm to Persia, and
which was, perhaps, not the mere bugbear which it now appears. A
masterly statement of Lord Wellesley's political complications
will be found in his brother's Memorandum, given as an
Introduction to Professor Owen's Selection, published in 1880. It
is quite clear, again, that Sindhia, for his part, was not
unwilling to see the British espouse the Peshwa's cause as
against Holkar; while it is highly probable that his mind was
worked upon by Perron when the latter found himself under
combined motives of self-interest and of national animosity.

The French General had been losing favour on account of his
increasing unpopularity among the native chiefs of the army; and
had been so contumeliously treated by Daulat Rao Sindhia at
Ujain, in the beginning of the year 1803, that he had resigned
the service. But hardly was the treaty of Bassein communicated to
Sindhia, when Perron consented to remain at his post, and even,
it is believed, drew up a plan for hostilities against the
British, although the latter had shown as yet no intention of
declaring war, but, on the contrary, still maintained a minister
in Sindhia's camp. These facts, together with the statistics that
follow, are chiefly derived from the memoirs of an Anglo-Indian
officer of Perron's, the late Colonel James Skinner, which have
been edited by Mr. Baillie Fraser. "Sindhia and Raghoji together"
(Raghoji was the name of the Bhonsla of Nagpur) "had about
100,000 men, of whom 50,000 were Mahratta horse, generally good,
30,000 regular infantry and artillery, commanded by Europeans;
the rest half-disciplined troops. Sindhia is understood to have
had more than 300 pieces of cannon. The army of Hindustan, under
Perron, consisted of 16,000 to 17,000 regular infantry, and from
15,000 to 20,000 horse, with not less than twenty pieces of
artillery." It may be added, on the authority of Major Thorn,
that his army was commanded by about three hundred European
officers, of whom all but forty were French. In this estimate
must be included the forces of the Begam Sumroo.

The French plans, as far as they can now be learned, were as
follows: — The blind and aged Shah Alam was to be continued upon
the Imperial throne, under the protection of the French Republic.
"This great question being decided," proceeds the memorial from
which I am extracting, "it remains to consider whether it is not
possible that the branches of that unfortunate family may find
protectors who shall assert their sacred rights and break their
ignominious chains. It will then follow that mutual alliance and
a judicious union of powers will secure the permanent sovereignty
of the Emperor, to render his subjects happy in the enjoyment of
personal security and of that wealth which springs from peace,
agriculture, and free trade. The English Company, by its
ignominious treatment of the great Moghul, has forfeited its
rights as Deewan of the Empire." ("Memoir of Lieutenant Lefebre,"
6th August, 1803.)

Lord Wellesley himself records this document, which was found in
Pondicherry, it does not appear exactly how or when; he may have
had an inkling of the policy previously, but the date is
sufficient to show that he had not seen it before going to war
with Sindhia. Lord Wellesley refers, about the same time, to the
magnitude of the establishment sent out to take possession of the
settlements which the French were to recover in India by the
Peace of Amiens, an establishment obviously too large for the
mere management of Pondicherry and Chandarnagar.

Perhaps the memoir in question (which was drawn up by an officer
of the staff sent out on that occasion) may have expressed
correctly the intentions which the First Consul held at the time;
for nobody appears to have been very sincere or much in earnest
on either side at the Peace of Amiens. And it is not impossible
that the paper expresses intentions which might have been more
thoroughly carried out had not the terrible explosion in St.
Domingo subsequently diverted the attention of the French
Government to another hemisphere. At all events it is a
thinly-veiled pretext of aggression; and the accusations against
the English are scandalously false, as will be clear to those who
may have perused the preceding pages. Considering that it was
Perron's own employer who kept the Imperial House in penury and
durance, it was the extreme of impudence for one of Perron's
compatriots to retort the charge upon the English, to whom Shah
Alam was indebted for such brief gleams of good fortune as he had
ever enjoyed, and whose only offence against him had been a
fruitless attempt to withhold him from that premature return to
Dehli, which had been the beginning of his worst misfortunes. It
was, moreover, a gross exaggeration to call the British the
Diwans of the empire now, whatever may have once been their
titular position in Bengal. On the 6th of July Lord Wellesley
received from the ministry in England a hint that war with France
would be likely to be soon renewed; and on the 8th of the same
month he addressed to his commander-in-chief a short private
letter, of which the following extract shows the purport: — "I
wish you to understand, my dear Sir, that I consider the
reduction of Sindhia's power on the north-west frontier of
Hindustan to be an important object in proportion to the
probability of a war with France. M. de Boigne (Sindhia's late
general) is now the chief confident of Bonaparte; he is
constantly at St. Cloud. I leave you to judge why and wherefore."
— (Desp. III. 182.)

The Governor-General here shows his own views, although his
sagacity probably overleaped itself in the imputation against de
Boigne, for which I have found no other authority. Ten days later
he sends Lake more detailed instructions, closing his covering
letter with a sentence especially worthy of the reader's
attention: — "I consider an active effort against Scindhia and
Berar to be the best possible preparation for the renewal of the
war with France." There is little doubt of this being the
key-note of the policy that led the British to the conquest of
Hindustan. — Vide App. E.

On the 31st July, General Wellesley wrote to the Resident at the
court of Sindhia (Colonel Collins) stating that the reasons
assigned by the confederates for not withdrawing their troops
were illusory, and ordering Collins to leave their camp at once.
On the 15th August Lord Wellesley received a packet, which the
collector of Moradabad had transmitted nearly a month before,
containing translation of a letter from the Nawab of Najibabad,
Bhanbu Khan, brother of the late Gholam Kadir, covering copy of a
circular letter in which Sindhia was attempting to stir him and
the other chiefs against the English as "that unprincipled race";
and begging them to co-operate with General Perron. War, however,
had already been declared, and a letter addressed by the
Governor-General to Shah Alam.

The force with which General Lake was to meet the 35,000
Franco-Mahrattas in Hindustan, consisted of eight regiments of
cavalry, of which three were European, one corps of European
infantry, and eleven battalions of Sepoys, beside a proper
complement of guns, with two hundred British artillerymen, making
a total of 10,500, exclusive of the brigade at Anupshahar.

The assembling of this force on the immediate frontier of the
dominion occupied by Sindhia and the French, had been facilitated
by the treaty of the 10th November, 1801, by which Saadat Ali
Khan, whom the British had lately raised to the Viceroyship of
Audh, had ceded to them the frontier provinces above named. This
cession was made in commutation for the subsidy which the Nawab
had been required to pay for the maintenance of the force by
which he was supported against his own subjects. The Peshwa had
previously ceded a portion of Bundelkand by the treaty of
Bassein, and the red colour was thus surely, if slowly, creeping
over the map of India. Perron resisted the cession of the new
frontier under the treaty of Lucknow. The "Old Resident" makes
the following note on the subject: — "When the British came to
Sasnee, which was ceded by the Nawab Wuzier of Lucknow by a
treaty in 1802 to Government, the Pergunnahs of Sasnee,
Akberabad, Jellalee, and Secundra came under British rule, but
not without much bloodshed in the sieges of Sasnee, Bijey Gurh
and Kuchoura fortresses; in all these places we buried the
remains of British officers who first shed their blood for their
King and country. At Sasnee the masonry graves in a decayed
condition are still to be seen. At Bijey Gurh they are in the low
'Duhur' lands apart from the Fort, and at the Kuchoura in Locus
Kanugla, lies the tomb of Major Naivve, Commanding the 2nd
Cavalry, who was shot whilst leading his men to the assault. A
surviving relation of the above officer had a monument built in
1853 at Bhudwas, on the Trunk Road, with the original tablet
which was torn off from the tomb by the villagers, and by chance
discovered by a European overseer of the roads after a lapse of
fifty years."

In Sindhia's armies there were, as we have seen, a number of
officers who were not Frenchmen. These were mostly half-castes,
or (to use a term subsequently invented) Eurasians,
Europeo-Asiatics, or persons of mixed blood; in other words, the
offspring of connections which British officers in those days
often formed with native females. Nearly all these officers,
whether British or half-British, were upon this occasion
discharged from the service by Perron, who had probably very good
reason to believe that they would not join in fighting against
the army of their own sovereign. Carnegie, Stewart, Ferguson,
Lucan, two Skinners, Scott, Birch, and Woodville, are the only
names recorded, but there may have been others also who were
dismissed from the army at Perron's disposal. The prospects of
those who were absent on duty in the Deccan, and elsewhere, soon
became far more serious. Though not at present dismissed, they
were mostly reserved for a still harder fate. Holkar beheaded
Colonel Vickers and seven others; Captain Mackenzie and several
more were confined, and subsequently massacred, by orders of
Sindhia; others perished "in wild Mahratta battle," fighting for
money in causes not their own, nor of the smallest importance to
the world. General Wellesley complained, after the battle of
Assai, of "Sindhia's English officers." He says that his wounded
men heard them give orders for their massacre as they lay upon
the field, and promises to send up a list of their names after
full inquiry (Owen, 311). No such list has ever been heard of;
and it appears, from Lewis F. Smith's memoir, that the European
officers there present were all French, or Italian, or German. It
is barely possible that they used English in conversing,
certainly not probable; but the story was very likely prompted by
the imagination of the wounded men who saw white faces among the
enemy and concluded that they must be their own countrymen. The
only European officers known to have been engaged on the Mahratta
side are Pohlmann and Dupont (both named by Wellesley) and Saleur
of the Begam's service who commanded the baggage-guard; with
perhaps, J. B. da Fontaine.

Although the French officers were now without any Christian
rivals, it does not appear that their position was a satisfactory
one. The reader may refer to Law's remarks on this subject,
during the Emperor's unsuccessful attempts to the eastward. The
isolation and impossibility of trusting native colleagues, of
which that gallant adventurer complained, were still, and always
must be, fatal to the free exercise of civilized minds serving an
Asiatic ruler. All the accounts that we have of those times
combine to show that, whoever was the native master, the
condition of the European servant was precarious, and his
influence for good weak. On the 24th of June, 1802, Colonel
Collins, the British Resident at the Court of Sindhia, had
written thus to his Government in regard to Perron whom he had
lately visited at Aligarh: — "General Perron has been
peremptorily directed by Sindhia to give up all the Mahals
(estates) in his possession not appertaining to his own jaidad
(fief); and I understand that the General is highly displeased
with the conduct of Sindhia's ministers on this occasion,
insomuch that he entertains serious intentions of relinquishing
his present command."

This intention, as we have already seen, was at one time on the
point of being carried out, and Perron was evidently at the time
sincere in his complaints.

It is not however possible to use, as Mill does, these
discontents — alleged by Perron in conversation with a British
political officer — as a complete proof of his not having had,
towards the British, hostile views of his own. The whole tenor of
Colonel Skinner's Memoir, already frequently cited (the work, be
it remembered, of a person in the service at the time), is to
show an intense feeling of hostility on Perron's part towards the
British, both as a community of individuals and as a power in
India. It is more than probable that but for the Treaty of
Bassein, which gave the British in India the command of the
Indian Ocean and the Western Coast, and but for the
contemporaneous successes of Abercromby and Hutchinson in Egypt,
Perron, supported by the troops of the French Republic, might
have proved to the British a most formidable assailant. Skinner
gives a graphic account of his vainly attempting to get
reinstated by Perron, who said: "Go away, Monsieur Skinner! I no
trust." He would not trust officers with British blood and

But such was the fortune, and such were the deserts of those by
whom England was at that time served, that they were able,
without much expense of either time or labour, to conquer the
half-hearted resistance of the French, and the divided councils
of the Mahrattas. Holkar not only did not join Sindhia, but
assisted the British cause by his known rivalry. Arthur Wellesley
gave earnest of his future glory by the hard-fought battle of
Assai, in which the Begam Sumroo's little contingent, under its
French officers, gave Sindhia what support they could; and
General Lake overthrew the resistance of M. Perron's army at
Aligarh, and soon reduced the Fort, in spite of the gallant
defence offered by the garrison. Mention has been made of this
Fort in the account of the overthrow of Najaf Khan's successors
by Sindhia (sup. p. 145). Since those days it had been much
improved. The following is the account of the Dehli Gazette's
"old Resident." — "The Fort of Allyqurh was made by the Jauts
while the place was under the Delhi Kings. Nawab Nujjuff Khan,
the Governor, improved the fortification, and de Boigne brought
it into a regular defensive state according to the French system.
Perron and Pedron subsequently added their skill in strengthening
the fortress, which commanded a wide open plain, the most part
being under water during the heavy rains on account of the lands
being low." The gate was blown in and the place rapidly stormed
by the 76th, piloted by a Mr. Lucan, who was made a captain in
the British service for his treachery. He was afterwards taken
prisoner during Monson's retreat and put to death by Holkar's
orders. The enemy were commanded by natives, having withdrawn
their confidence from Perron's French Lieutenant, Colonel Pedron,
who was on that occasion made prisoner by the troops. Perron
himself, having first retreated upon Agra, and thence on Mathra,
came over to the English with two subordinates, and was at once
allowed a free passage to Chandarnagar with his family and his
property. Bourquien, who commanded the army in Dehli, attempted
to intrigue for the chief command, but was put under arrest by
his native officers; and the Mahratta army, like sheep without a
shepherd, came out to meet the advancing British on the Hindan, a
few miles to the east of the capital, on the old road from the
town of Sikandrabad, so often mentioned in this narrative. After
they had killed six officers and about 160 men by a furious
cannonade, their obstinacy was broken down by the undeniable and
well-disciplined pertinacity of the 27th Dragoons and the 76th
Foot; and they suffered a loss of 3,000 men and sixty-eight
pieces of artillery, mounted in the best French style. This
decisive victory was gained on the 11th September, 1803; when on
the 14th the army crossed the Jamna, and General Bourquien, with
four other French officers, threw themselves upon British
protection. Their example was soon after followed by the
Chevalier du Drenec and two other officers from the army of the
Deccan; and shortly after by Hessing and other European officers
in command of the garrison at Agra, which had at first confined
them, but afterwards capitulated through their mediation.

No sooner did the ill-starred Emperor hear of the sudden
overthrow of his custodians, than he opened formal negotiations
with the British General, with whom he had been already treating
secretly. The result was that on the 16th, the Heir Apparent,
Mirza Akbar, was despatched to wait upon General Lake in camp,
and conduct him to the presence of the blind old man, who was the
legitimate and undoubted fountain of all honour and power in
Hindustan. The prince vindicated his dignity in a manner peculiar
to Asiatics, by keeping the conqueror waiting for three hours.
The cavalcade was at last formed, and, after a slow progress of
five miles, reached the palace as the sun was setting. Rapid
motion was rendered impossible by the dense collection of nearly
100,000 persons in the narrow ways; and even the courts of the
Palace were on this occasion thronged with spectators, free at
last. A tattered awning had been raised over the entrance to the
famous Diwan-i-Khas, and underneath, on a mockery of a throne,
was seated the descendant of Akbar and of Aurangzeb. It would be
interesting to know what was the exact manner of General Lake's
reception, and what were the speeches on either side; but the
inflated enthusiasm of the "Court-Newsman," and the sonorous
generalities of Major Thorn and the Marquess Wellesley, are all
the evidence which survives. According to the latter, the people
of Dehli were filled with admiring joy, and the Emperor with
dignified thankfulness; according to the former, so great was the
virtue of the joyful tears shed on this occasion by the Monarch,
that they restored his eyesight — the eyesight destroyed fifteen
years before by Gholam Kadir's dagger. Such is the nature of the
stones offered by these writers to the seeker for historical

What is certain is, that the British General received the title
of Khan Dauran, which was considered the second in the Empire,
and which implied perhaps a recognition of the claims of the Audh
Nawab to be hereditary Vazir; while the British Government
"waived all question of the Imperial prerogative and authority" —
in other words virtually reserved them to itself. The Emperor was
only sovereign in the city and small surrounding district; and
even that sovereignty was to be exercised under the control of a
British Resident, who was to pay his Majesty the net proceeds,
besides a monthly stipend of 90,000 rupees.

These conditions received the sanction of Government, and are
recorded in despatches. No treaty is forthcoming; although native
tradition asserts that one was executed, but afterwards
suppressed; the copy recorded in the palace archives having been
purloined at the instigation of the British. This suspicion is
entirely unfounded; no treaty was ever concluded with Shah Alam,
though his Majesty formed the subject of a clause in the treaty
with Sindhia. This is of importance, as serving to show the
position to which the Court of Directors was supposed to have
succeeded; namely to that of Vakil-mutlak or Plenipotentiary
Vicegerent of the Empire, in the room of the Mahratta Peshwa and
his once all-powerful Deputy. They were subjects of George III.,
no doubt, but servants of Shah Alam; money continued to be struck
in the Emperor's name, and the laws then prevailing in Hindustan
remained in force. The very disclaimer of all intention to usurp
the royal prerogative or assert "on the part of His Majesty (Shah
Alam) any of the claims which, as Emperor of Hindustan he might
be considered to possess upon the provinces composing the Moghul
Empire," is full of significance.

On the 1st November Lake overthrew the brigade of du Drenec in
the bloody battle of Laswari; and Arthur Wellesley having been
equally victorious a second time in the Deccan, Sindhia consented
to the Treaty of Sarji-Arjangaon. By that instrument Daulat. Rao
Sindhia ceded, besides other territories, all his conquests in
the Doab.

Thus passed into the hands of British delegates the
administration of the sceptre of Hindustan: a sceptre which had
been swayed with success as long as it protected life, order, and
property, leaving free scope to conduct, to commerce, and to
conscience; nor failed in discharging the former class of
obligations until after it had ceased to recognize the latter.



Effects of climate — Early immigrants — French and English —
Mohammedan power not overthrown by British — Perron's
administration — Changes since then — The Talukdars - Lake's
friendly intentions — Talukdars' misconduct — Their power curbed
— No protection for life, property, or traffic — Such things
still dependent on foreign aid — Conclusion.

AFTER many blunderings and much labour, the judgment of history
appears to have formed the final conclusion that the physical
conditions of a given country will always be the chief
determining agents in forming the national character of those who
inhabit it; and that the people of one country, transplanted into
another, where the soil and the sun act in a manner to which they
have not been accustomed, will, in the course of a few
generations, exhibit habits of mind and body very different to
what characterized them in their original seats.

It is therefore without legitimate cause for surprise that we
hear from scholars that the feeble folk of Hindustan are the
direct and often unmixed representatives of the dominant races of
the world. To begin with the Hindus: the Brahmans and some of the
other classes are believed to be descended from the brave and
civilized peoples of ancient Asia, of whom sacred and profane
writers make such frequent mention, of some of the founders of
Nineveh and Babylon, and of the later empire of the Medes and
Persians, which was on the eve of subjugating Europe when stopped
by the Greeks at Marathon and Salamis. Nay, more, the ancient
Greeks and Romans themselves, together with the modern
inhabitants of Europe, are alike descended from the same grand

The Mohamadans, again, are mainly of three noble tribes. The
earlier Mohamadan invaders of India belonged to the victorious
Arabian warriors of the Crescent, or to their early allies, the
bold mountaineers of Ghazni and of Ghor; and their descendants
are still to be found in India, chiefly under the names
respectively of Shaikh and Pathan. A few Saiyids will also be
found of this stock.

In later days came hordes of Turks and Mongols (Tartars as they
are generically though inaccurately called by Europeans), the
people of Janghiz and of Timur, terrible us the locusts of
prophecy — the land before them like the garden of Eden, and
behind them a desolate wilderness.

To these, again, succeeded many Persians, chiefly Saiyids, or
so-called descendants of the Prophet; a later race of Afghans,
also called Pathans, and a fresh inroad of Tartars (converted to
Islam) who finally founded the Moghul Empire. Under the regime
thus established the civilization of India assumed a Persian
type; and the term "Moghul" in the present day, in India
signifies rather a Persian than a Turkman or Tartar. They add the
word "Beg" to their names, and are usually of the Shiah
denomination; as also are the descendants of the Persian Saiyids.
The Saiyids of Arab origin take the title of "Mir;" the Pathans
are commonly known by the affix "Khan." All but the offspring of
converted Hindus represent foreign invasions by races more
warlike than the people of India.

All these mighty conquerors, one after another, succumbed to the
enervating nature of the climate of Hindustan, with its fertile
soil and scanty motives to an exertion which, in that heat, must
always be peculiarly unwelcome.

It is not, however, the heat alone which causes this degeneracy.
Arabia is one of the hottest countries in the world, but the
Arabs have at one time or another overthrown both the Roman
Empire of Byzantium and the Gothic monarchy of Spain. On the
other hand, the lovely climate of Kashmir produces men more
effeminate than the Hindustanis, some of whom indeed, notably the
peasantry of the Upper Doab, are often powerful men, innured to
considerable outdoor labour; their country is far hotter. But the
curse of Hindustan, as of Kashmir, and more or less of all
countries where life is easy, lies in the absence of motives to
sustained exertion; owing to which emulation languishes into
envy, and the competitive instincts, missing their true vent,
exhibit themselves chiefly in backbiting and malice. Whatever
advantage may be derived by Kashmiris from their climate is shown
in the superiority of their intellects.

Hence, after the battle of Panipat, 1761, which exhausted the
victors almost as much as it exhausted the vanquished, and left
Hindustan so completely plundered as to afford no further
incitements to invasion, little other immigration took place; and
the effete and worn-out inhabitants were left to wrangle, in
their own degenerate way, over the ruined greatness of their
fathers. The anarchy and misery to the mass of the population
that marked these times have been partly shown to the reader of
these pages.

But there was fresh blood at hand from a most unexpected quarter.
Bred in a climate which gives hardness to the frame (while it
increases the number of human wants as much as it does the
difficulty of satisfying them), the younger sons of the poorer
gentry of England and France, then (at least) the two most active
nations of Europe, began to seek in both hemispheres those means
of sharing in the gifts of fortune which were denied to them by
the laws and institutions of their own countries. Their struggles
convulsed India and America at once. Still the empire of
Hindustan did not fall by their contests there; nor were the
valour and ambition of the new comers the only causes of its fall
when at last the catastrophe arrived. But when, to predisposing
causes, there was now added the grossest incompetence on the part
of nearly all natives concerned in the administration, it became
inevitable that one or other of the competing European nations
should grasp the prize. Any one who wishes to study this subject
in its romantic details should refer to Colonel Malleson's two
works on the French in India. Living under a better Home
Government, and more regularly supported and supplied, the
English prevailed.

In sketching a part of the process of substituting foreign rule
for anarchy, it has been my task to exhibit the main events which
caused, or accompanied the preparation of the tabula rasa, upon
which was to be traced the British Empire of India. It has been
shown that the occupation of the seaboard, and a few of the
provinces thereto contiguous, long constituted the whole of the
position; and that it was only in self-protection, and after long
abstinence, that the "Company of Merchants" finally assumed the
central power. Upper India, in the meanwhile, stood to their
Calcutta Government in a very similar relation to that occupied,
successively, by the Panjab and by Afghanistan in later times
towards its successors. This, though absolutely true, has been
popularly ignored, owing to the accident of Calcutta continuing
to be the chief seat of the Supreme Government after the empire
had become British; but the events of 1857 are sufficient to show
that, for the native imagination, Hindustan is the centre, and
Dehli still the metropolis of the Empire. The idea, however, that
the British have wrested the Empire from the Mohamadans is a
mistake. The Mohamadans were beaten down — almost everywhere
except in Bengal — before the British appeared upon the scene;
Bengal they would not have been able to hold, and the name of the
"Mahratta Ditch" of Calcutta shows how near even the British
there were to extirpation by India's new masters. Had the British
not won the battles of Plassey and Buxar, the whole Empire would
ere now have become the fighting ground of Sikhs, Rajputs, and
Mahrattas. Except the Nizam of the Deccan there was not a
vigorous Musalman ruler in India after the firman of Farokhsiar
in 1716; the Nizam owed his power to the British after the battle
of Kurdla (sup. p. 229), and it was chiefly British support that
maintained the feeble shadow of the Moghul Empire, from the death
of Alamgir II. to the retirement of Mr. Hastings. Not only
Haidarabad but all the other existing Musalman principalities of
modern India owe their existence, directly, or indirectly, to the
British intervention.

It only now remains to notice, as well as the available materials
will permit, what was the social condition of these capital
territories of the empire when they passed into the hands of the
ultimate conquerors.

Perhaps the best picture is that presented in a work published by
order of the local Government, more than half a century later,
upon the condition of that portion of the country which was under
the personal management of the French general.

This record informs us that, having obtained this territory for
the maintenance of the army, Perron reigned over it in the
plenitude of sovereignty. "He maintained all the state and
dignity of an oriental despot, contracting alliances with the
more potent Rajahs and overawing by his military superiority, the
petty chiefs. At Dehli, and within the circuit of the imperial
dominions, his authority was paramount to that of the Emperor.
His attention was chiefly directed to the prompt realization of
revenue. Pargannahs were generally farmed; a few were allotted as
jaidad to chiefs on condition of military service; [of the lands
in the neighbourhood of Aligarh] the revenue was collected by the
large bodies of troops always concentrated at head-quarters. A
brigade was stationed at Sikandrabad for the express purpose of
realizing collections. In the event of any resistance on the part
of a land-holder, who might be in balance, a severe and immediate
example was made by the plunder and destruction of his village;
and life was not unfrequently shed in the harsh and hasty
measures which were resorted to. The arrangements for the
administration of justice were very defective; there was no fixed
form of procedure, and neither Hindu nor Mohamadan law was
regularly administered. The suppression of crime was regarded as
a matter of secondary importance. There was an officer styled the
Bakshi Adalat, whose business was to receive reports from the
Amils [officials] in the interior, and communicate General
Perron's orders respecting the disposal of any offenders
apprehended by them. No trial was held; the proof rested on the
Amil's report, and the punishment was left to General Perron's

"Such was the weakness of the administration that the Zamindars
tyrannized over the people with impunity, levying imposts at
their pleasure, and applying the revenues solely to their own
use." The "Old Resident" thus compares the past and present of
Aligarh: — "Under the native rule no one attempted to build a
showy masonry house for fear of being noticed as one possessing
property, and thus become subject to heavy taxations. Even in de
Boigne and Perron's time it was the same as before, people lived
in a very low state both as regards their food and clothes, their
marriages were not costly, and none of their females dared to put
jewels on. In such a state of things, the well-to-do accumulated
money and could not enjoy it, they buried it under ground, and
often from death and other causes the wealth got into other hands
by the sudden discovery of the place. What a mighty change in the
space of seventy years the city of Coel bears now to what it did
before? elegant houses now stand in the city everywhere, and the
market is well stocked with articles of trade and consumption.
Bankers and money changers have their shops open, free from any
apprehension of danger, and the females go about with their
trinkets and jewels, all enjoying the wholesome protection of
law. The bazar street of the city of Coel was very narrow in
Perron's time, and neither he nor de Boigne ever paid any
attention to the improvement or welfare of the people. Their time
was principally occupied in military tactics and preserving order
in the country. They knew and were told by their own officers
that their rule was only for the time being, and that a war with
Scindhia would change the state of affairs, and with it
eventually these provinces."

From a report written so near the time as 1808 confirmation of
these statements is readily obtained. The Collector of Aligarh,
in addressing the Board formed for constructing a system of
administration in the conquered provinces, recommended cautious
measures in regard to the assessment of the land tax or
Government rental. He stated that, in consequence of former
misrule, and owing to the ravages of famine in 1785, and other
past seasons, or to the habits induced by years of petty but
chronic warfare, the land was fallen, in a great measure, into a
state of nature. He anticipated an increase in cultivation and
revenue of thirty-two per cent., if six years of peace should

The great landholders, whether originally officials, or farmers
who had succeeded in making good a position before the conquest,
were numerous in this neighbourhood. The principal persons of
importance were, to the westward, Jats, from Bhartpur; the
eastward, Musalmans descended from converted Bargujar Rajputs.
The long dissensions of the past had swept away the Moghul
nobility, few or none of whom now held land on any large scale.

These Jats and these Musalmans were among the ancestors of the
famous Talukdars of the North-West Provinces; and as the
limitation of their power has been the subject of much
controversy, justice to the earlier British administrators
requires that we should carefully note the position which they
had held under the Franco-Mahratta rule, and the conditions under
which they become members of British India.

We have already seen that the Talukdars (to use by anticipation a
term now generally understood, though not applied to the large
landholders at the time) were in the habit of making unauthorized
collections, which they applied to their own use. Every
considerable village had its Sayar Chabutra (customs-platform),
where goods in transit paid such dues as seemed good to the rural
potentates. Besides this, they derived a considerable income from
shares in the booty acquired by highwaymen and banditti, of whom
the number was constantly maintained by desertions from the army,
and was still further swollen at the conquest by the general
disbandment which ensued.

Both of these sources of emolument were summarily condemned by
General Lake; though he issued a proclamation guaranteeing the
landholders in the full possession of their legitimate rights.
But the rights of fighting one another, and of plundering
traders, were as dear to the Barons of Hindustan as ever they had
been to their precursors in mediΎval Europe; and, in the fancied
security of their strong earthen ramparts, they very generally
maintained these unsocial privileges.

So far back as the beginning of 1803, before war had been
declared upon Sindhia, the whole force of the British in Upper
India, headed by the Commander-in-Chief himself, had been
employed in the reduction of some of the forts in that portion of
the Doab which had been ceded by the Nawab of Audh during the
preceding year. The same course was pursued, after long
forbearance, towards the Musalman chiefs of the conquered
provinces. In December, 1804, they had rebelled in the
neighbourhood of Aligarh, and occupied nearly the whole of the
surrounding district. Captain Woods, commanding the fort of
Aligarh, could only occasionally spare troops for the collector's
support; and the rebellion was not finally suppressed until the
following July, by a strong detachment sent from headquarters.
They again broke out in October, 1806, after having in the
interim amassed large supplies by the plunder of their tenantry;
the whole of the northern part of the Aligarh district, and the
southern part of the adjoining district of Bolandshahar were
overrun; the forts of Kamona and Ganora were armed and placed in
a state of defence; and the former defended against the British
army under Major-General Dickens, on the 19th November, 1807,
with such effect that the loss of the assailants, in officers and
men, exceeded that sustained in many pitched battles. The
subjugation of the tribe shortly followed.

The Jat Talukdars of the Aligarh district were not finally
reduced to submission for nearly ten years more; and there is
reason to believe that during this long interval they had
continued to form the usual incubus upon the development of
society, by impeding commerce and disturbing agriculture. At
length the destruction of the fort of Hatras and the expulsion of
Daya Ram the contumacious Raja, put the finishing stroke to this
state of things in March, 1817.

It may be fairly assumed that the protection of life and
property, and that amount of security under which merchants will
distribute the productions of other countries, and husbandmen
raise the means of subsistence from the soil, are among the
primary duties of Government. But in the dark days of which our
narrative has had to take note, such obligations had not been

"It is a matter of fact," say the authors of the "Statistics"
before me, "that in those days the highways were unoccupied, and
the travellers walked through by-ways. The facility of escape
into the Begam Sumroo's territories, the protection afforded by
the heavy jungles and numerous forts which then studded the
country, and the ready sale for plundered property, combined to
foster robbery."

A special force was raised by the British conquerors, and placed
under the command of Colonel Gardner, distinguished Mahratta
officer. His exertions were completely successful, as far as the
actual gangs then in operation were concerned; but unfortunately
they were soon encouraged to renewed attempts by the countenance
which they received from Hira Sing, another Jat Talukdar. This
system also was finally concluded by the destruction of the Raja
of Hatras; nor will fourteen years appear a long time for the
reorganization of order, which had been in abeyance for more than

The following extract from Vol. I. of Forbes's Oriental Memoirs,
is the result of observations made in a more southern part of the
country between 1763 and 1783, and published, not with a purpose,
or in controversy, but in the calm evening of retirement, and at
least thirty years later. "Marre was the nearest Mahratta town of
consequence to the hot wells; by crossing the river it was within
a pleasant walk, and we made frequent excursions to an excavated
mountain in its vicinity. Marre is fortified, large, and
populous; the governor resided at Poona, inattentive to the
misery of the people, whom his duan, or deputy, oppressed in a
cruel manner; indeed the system of the Mahratta government is so
uniformly oppressive that it appears extraordinary to hear of a
mild and equitable administration; venality and corruption guide
the helm of State and pervade the departments; if the sovereign
requires money the men in office and governors of provinces must
supply it; the arbitrary monarch seldom inquires by what means it
is procured; this affords them an opportunity of exacting a
larger sum from their duans, who fleece the manufacturers and
farmers to a still greater amount than they had furnished; thus
the country is subjected to a general system of tyranny. From the
chieftains and nobles of the realm to the humblest peasant in a
village, neither the property nor the life of a subject can be
called his own. When Providence has blessed the land with the
former and the latter rain, and the seed sown produces an
hundredfold, the Indian ryot, conscious that the harvest may be
reaped by other hands, cannot like an English farmer behold his
ripening crop with joyful eyes; his cattle are in the same
predicament; liable to be seized, without a compensation, for
warlike service or any other despotic mandate; money he must not
be known to possess; if by superior talent or persevering
industry he should have accumulated a little more than his
neighbours, he makes no improvements, lives no better than
before, and through fear and distrust buries it in the earth,
without informing his children of the concealment." And again at
Vol. II. p. 339 — "Of all Oriental despots the arbitrary power of
the Mahrattas falls perhaps with the most oppressive weight; they
extort money by every kind of vexatious cruelty, without
supporting commerce, agriculture, and the usual sources of wealth
and prosperity in well-governed States." We have further pictures
of native rule, drawn in 1807, by the collectors of the
newly-acquired districts of Etawah and Koel, and to be found at
pages 314 and 337 of the North-West Provinces Selections from
Revenue Records, published in 1873. Says the Collector of Etawah;
— "The warlike tribes of this country, from disposition and
habit, prefer plunder to peace, and court the exchange of the
ploughshare for the sword. Foreign invasion and intestine tumults
had materially checked population; whilst the poverty of the
country, and the rapacity of its governors had almost annihilated
commerce or had confined it, for the most part, to a few wealthy
residents from the Lower Provinces" (to the Babu "Zemindar"). But
he of Koel is even more bold: — "The consequences of the various
revolutions which have taken place are sufficiently evident in an
impoverished country and a declining population; the form of
government which has existed has not operated to relieve the
necessities of the subjects, or to improve the resources of this
extensive empire, by the encouragement of husbandry and commerce;
and military life has been embraced by a large body of the
people. Habits of peace and industry have been neglected for the
profession of arms, which was more suited to the disposition of
the people and to the character of the times, and which has also
tended to affect the revenue and to thin the population. The
system of rent-oppression and extortion likewise, which has
prevailed, has operated with the most injurious influence upon
the country. The exertions of the landholders have been
discouraged, and means of cultivation denied them by depriving
them of the fair profits of their industry. They have found every
attempt at improvement, instead of being beneficial to
themselves, to have been subservient only to the rapacity of the
Government, or of farmers; and without any inducement to
stimulate their labours, agriculture as a natural consequence has
languished and declined."

Aligarh (Koel) details are the more noticeable because they
relate to the part of the country which had been first occupied
by the conquering British, and still more because, having been
under the immediate management of General Perron, that part may
be supposed to have been a somewhat more favourable specimen than
districts whose management had not had the advantage of European
supervision. In districts administered exclusively by Asiatics,
or which were more exposed to Sikh incursions, or where the
natural advantages of soil, situation and climate were inferior,
much greater misery, no doubt, prevailed; but what has been shown
was perhaps bad enough. An administration without law, an
aristocracy without conscience, roads without traffic, and fields
overgrown by forest — such is the least discreditable picture
that we have been able to exhibit of the results of
self-government by the natives of Hindustan, immediately
preceding British rule.

On the whole record of the past there emerge clearly a few
indisputable truths. Setting apart the community of colour, and
to a less degree of language, the British are no more foreigners
to the people of India than the people of one part of India may
be, and often are, to the people of another. Demoralized by the
hereditary and traditional influence of many generations of
misgovernment and of anarchy, none of these populations have as
yet shown fitness for supreme rule over the entire peninsula,
vast and thickly inhabited as it is. For example, the Brahmans
and their system fell before the fury of the early Muslims, as
these, again, were subdued by the Moghuls. When the Pathans and
Moghuls in their turn became domesticated in Hindustan they
formed nothing more than two new castes of Indians, having lost
the pride and vigour of their hardy mountain ancestry. The
alliance of a refugee, like M. Law, or of a runaway seaman, like
George Thomas, became an object of as much importance as that of
a Muslim noble with a horde of followers.

Nor is it to be overlooked that, in the best days of Muslim rule
in Hindustan, however much the governing class had the chief
attributes of sovereignty, the details of administration were,
more or less, in the hands of the patient, painstaking natives of
the land. And the immediate decay of the Muslim Empire was
preceded by an attempt to centralize the administration in the
Imperial Durbar, and to cashier and alienate the Hindu element.
But the Hindus remained, as indeed we still see them,
indispensable to the conduct of administrative details.

None the less is it certain that the real, if overbearing,
superiority of the Muslim conquerors had emasculated the Hindu
mind and paved the way for anarchy, which was reached as soon as
immigration ceased and degeneration set in. Holding now the
position once abused and lost by the Muslims, the British in
India are bound alike by honour and by interest to mark the
warning. Called and chosen by fortune and their own enterprise to
rule so many tribes and nations in a stage of evolution so unlike
their own, they have to be wary, gentle, and firm. Their office
is to advance the natives and fit them for a true and noble
political life.

It does not follow that the result will be to tempt the natives
to demand Home Rule. Difficulty there will no doubt always be,
and the end is hidden from our eyes. Moreover, that difficult
will be increased by the unavoidably secular character of
State-education. When races lacking in material resources are
also in a very submissive and very ignorant condition they may be
kept on a dead level of immobility; and that has perhaps been the
ideal of many not incompetent rulers. But it is not one which
will satisfy the spirit of the day in England. Modern Englishmen
have recognized that it is their bounder duty to impart knowledge
in India. On the other hand, their relations towards the people
forbid them to attempt religious instruction. Thus the students
in British-Indian schools and colleges are in a fair way to lose
their own spiritual traditions without gaining anything instead.
It is likely enough that such a system may lead to discontent.

Men who lose their hopes of compensation in another state of
being, will be the more anxious about securing the good things of
that state in which they find themselves placed.

Nevertheless, of discontent there are, plainly, two sorts; and
one sort tends to exclude the other. The multitude may hanker
after the flesh-pots of Egypt, or they may long for the milk and
honey of a Promised Land. In the one case they will be inclined
to obey their leaders, in the other to murmur against them. It
cannot be necessary to dwell upon the application. Let the rulers
of India persuade the people that they are being conducted to
light and to liberty. Let us hold up before those laborious and
gentle millions the picture of a redeemed India moving in an
orderly path among the members of a great Imperial system. That
ideal may never be completely realized in the days of any of the
existing generation. But it is one that may still be profitably
maintained for the contemplation of all who aspire and work for
the strength and welfare of Greater Britain.

NOTE. — The following list of Perron's possessions is taken from
the schedule annexed to the treaty of Sarji Anjangaum (dated 30th
December, 1803):—

Resumed Jaigirs, seven, yielding an annual income of ... ... ...
... 3,75,248

Talukas in the Doab, four ... ... ...  84,047

To the west of the Jamna, three districts ...    65,000

Subah of Saharanpur, eighteen ... ...  4,78,089

Formerly held by General de Boigne in the Doab, twenty-seven ..

To the west of the Jamna, nine ... ... 10,31,852

Grand Total, Rs. 41,12,523


IN the foregoing pages I have endeavoured to steer a middle path
between obliterating all trace of my materials and encumbering
the margin with references that appeared superfluous. Wherever I
have decided a disputed point, I have endeavoured to indicate the
chief sources of information — at least throughout the portions
which form the actual history — and to give my reasons for
following one authority rather than another.

Besides the authorities — English and Persian — which have been
thus cited, the following works have been occasionally

1. Amad us-Saudat. — A history of the Viceroys of Lucknow from
the death of Farokhsiar to the accession of Saadat Ali II., in

2. Jam-i-Jum. — Genealogical tables of the House of Timur.

3. Tasallat-i-Sahiban Anqriz. — An account of the rise of British
power in Hindustan and Bengal. By Munshi Dhonkal Singh;
originally written for the information of Ranjit Singh, Thakur of
Bhartpur, about the end of the last century.

4. Hal-i-Begam Sahiba. — A little Persian memoir of Begam Sumroo,
full of vagueness and error, written four years after her death,
and from traditional sources.

Much information as to the views of the British chiefs of those
days lies at present inaccessible at the Calcutta Foreign Office;
and it is to be hoped that the Record Commission will ultimately
make public many useful and interesting papers.

Other information perhaps exists, very difficult to be got at, in
the private archives of old native families at Dehli. But the
events of 1857 broke up many of these collections. A continuation
of the Tarikh-i-Mozafari, down to the taking of Dehli by Sir A.
Wilson, would be a most valuable work, if there be any native
author possessed of the three requisites of leisure, knowledge,
and a fearless love of truth.

Some account of the Siar-ul-Mutakharin has been already given
(vide Note to Part II. Chap. i.). The author was a Saiyid of the
noble stock of Taba-Taba, whose father had been employed by
Safdar Jang, in Rohilkand, during that minister's temporary
predominance. The family afterwards migrated to Patna. This
celebrated history — which has been twice translated into
English, and of which an edition in the original Persian has been
likewise printed — is a work of suprising industry, and contains
many just reflections on the position of the English and the
feelings of the people towards them, which are almost as true now
as they were when written. The translation of the S. u. M.. which
has been mentioned in the text, was made by a French creole,
styling himself Mustafa, but whose true name, it is relieved, was
Raymond. The notes are often interesting.

But my chief guide, where no other authority is cited, has been
the Tarikh-i-Mozafari, the work of an Ansari of good family, some
of whose descendants are still living at Panipat. He was the
grandson of Latfula Sadik, a nobleman who had held high office
under the Emperor Mohammad Shah. The historian himself was in
civil employ in Bihar, under the Nawab Mohammad Raza Khan, so
famous in the history of Bengal during the last century. To him
the work was dedicated, and its name is derived from his title of
"Mozafar Jang." The work is laborious, free from party bias, and
much thought of by the educated natives of Hindustan. For access
to Persian MSS. I was indebted to the late Colonel Hamilton,
formerly Commissioner of Dehli, and of his friendly assistance
and encouragement I take this opportunity to make thankful


REFERENCE has been made in the text, p. 130, to the tomb of
Sumroo, in Padretola, or Padresanto, at Agra. This is one of the
most ancient Christian cemeteries in Eastern Asia, consisting of
a piece of land situated to the north of the Courts of Justice,
and forming part of the original area attached to the
neighbouring township of Lashkarpur. The estate was conferred
upon the Roman Catholic Mission by the Emperor Akbar, or early in
the reign of his son and successor. It contains many tombs, with
Armenian and Portuguese inscriptions, more than two hundred years
old, and promises, with ordinary care, long to continue in good
preservation, owing to the great dryness of the air and soil. The
mausoleum of the Sumroo family is a handsome octagon building,
surmounted by a low dome rising out of a cornice, with a deep
drip-stone, something in the style of a Constantinople fountain.
The inscription is in Portuguese — a proof, most likely, that
there were no French or English in Agra at the time of its being
made. The following is its text: — AQVI IAZO WALTER REINHARD,
MORREO AOS 4 DE MAYO, NO ANNO DE 1778. ("Here lies Walter
Reinhard, died on the 4th May, in the year 1778.") There is also
a Persian chronogram.

The tomb of John Hessing, hard by, is a still more splendid
edifice, being a copy, in red sandstone, of the famous Taj Mahal,
and on a pretty extensive scale too, though far smaller than the
original. The tomb, which was completed in or about the year of
the British conquest, bears an inscription in good English,
setting forth that the deceased colonel was a Dutchman, who died
Commandant of Agra, in his 63rd year, 21st of July, 1803, just
before Lake's successful siege of the place.


THE following additional particulars regarding M. de Boigne are
the last that the writer has been able to obtain from an
eyewitness; they are from the enthusiastic pages of Colonel Tod,
who knew the general at Chamberi, in 1826.

"Distinguished by his prince, beloved by a numerous and amiable
family, and honoured by his native citizens, the years of the
veteran now numbering more than four score, glide in agreeable
tranquillity in his native city, which, with oriental
magnificence, he is beautifying by an entire new street, and a
handsome dwelling for himself."

His occupation consisted chiefly in dictating the memoirs of his
eventful life to his son, the Comte Charles de Boigne, by whom
they were published in 1829. This statement is also made on the
authority of Tod; but the memoir in my possession - though a
second edition — lays claim to no such authority, but is a modest
compilation, derived in great measure from Grant Duff, and
originally, as appears from the "Advertissement sur cette
edition," produced during the General's lifetime. The Royal
Academic Society of Savoy — of which the veteran was honorary and
perpetual President — gives the most extraordinary account of his
munificence to his native city, which comprised the complete
endowment of a college, a fund of over £4,000 sterling towards
the relief of the poor, a hospital for contagious diseases, an
entire new street leading from the Chateau to the Boulevard, and
the restoration of the Hotel de Ville, besides minor projects
full of wise benevolence. He died on the 21st June, 1830, and his
remains received a magnificent military funeral.


LOVERS of detail may like the following view of Begam Sumroo's
fief, as it appeared when it lapsed on her death. The facts and
figures are from the report furnished to the Revenue Board in
1840, by the officer deputed to make the necessary fiscal
settlement. This gentleman begins by saying that the assessments
on the land were annual, but their average rates about one-third
higher than those which prevailed on the neighbouring British
district. In those days, the British took two-thirds of the net
rental, so we see what was left to the Begam's tenants. The
settlement officer at once reduced the total demand of land
revenue from nearly seven lakhs (6,91,388) to little more than
five. But, he did more than that, for he swept away the customs
duties, which he thus describes: — "They were levied on all kinds
of property, and equally on exports and imports; animals, wearing
apparel, and clothes of every description; hides, cotton,
sugar-cane, spices, and all other produce; all were subjected to
a transit duty, in and out. Transfers of lands and houses, and
sugar works, also paid duty; the latter very high."

The good side of this system has been already glanced at (Part
III. Chap. ii.). It was strictly patriarchal. The staple crop
(sugar) was grown on advances from the Begam: and, if a man's
bullocks died, or he required the usual implements of husbandry,
he received a loan from the Treasury, which he was strictly
compelled to apply to its legitimate purpose. The revenue
officers made an annual tour through their respective tracts in
the ploughing season; sometimes encouraging, and oftener
compelling the inhabitants to cultivate. A writer in the Meerut
Universal Magazine stated about the same time, that the actual
presence in the fields of soldiers with fixed bayonets was
sometimes required for this purpose.

The settlement officer adds that the advances to agriculturists
were always recovered at the close of the year, together with
interest at 24 per cent. The cultivators were, in fact,
rack-rented up to the minimum of subsistence. but this much was
insured to them; in other words, they were predial serfs. "To
maintain such system," he proceeds, "required much tact; and,
with the energy of the Begam's administration, this was not
wanting: but when her increasing age and infirmities devolved the
uncontrolled management on her heir, the factitious nature of her
system was clearly demonstrated." The result of these last few
years was, that one-third of the estate of which the fief
consisted fell under "direct management;" the plain meaning of
which is that they were, more or less, abandoned by their owners,
and by the better class of the peasantry, and tilled by a sort of

"Nothing, in fact," concludes this portion of the Report "could
more satisfactorily have shown the estimation in which the
British rule is held by those who do not enjoy its blessings than
the rapid return of the population to their homes, which followed
immediately on the lapse." (Trevor Plowden, Esq., to Board of
Revenue, Reports of Revenue Settlement, N. W.P., vol. i.)

This, be it remembered, is the picture of a fief in the heart of
our own provinces, as swayed in quite recent times, by a ruler of
Christian creed desirous of British friendship.


No. CXV.


FORT WILLIAM. June 2nd, 1805.

HONOURABLE SIRS, — The Governor-General in Council now submits to
your honourable Committee the arrangement which has been adopted
by this Government for the purpose of providing for the future
maintenance of his Majesty Shah Allum, and the royal family, and
for the general settlement of his Majesty's affairs, and the
principles upon which that arrangement is formed.

It has never been in the contemplation of this Government to
derive from the charge of supporting and protecting his Majesty,
the privilege of employing the royal prerogative, as an
instrument of establishing any control or ascendancy over the
states and chieftains of India, or of asserting on the part of
his Majesty any of the claims which, in his capacity of Emperor
of Hindustan, his Majesty may be considered to possess upon the
provinces originally composing the Moghul Empire. The benefits
which the Governor-General in Council expected to derive from
placing the King of Dehli and the royal family under the
protection of the British Government are to be traced in the
statements contained in our despatch to your honourable Committee
of the 18th of July, 1804, relative to the evils and
embarrassments to which the British power might have been exposed
by the prosecution of claims and pretensions on the part of the
Mahrattas, or of the French, in the name and under the authority
of his Majesty Shah Allum, if the person and family of that
unhappy monarch had continued under the custody and control of
those powers, and Especially of the French. With reference to
this subject, the Governor-General in Council has the honour to
refer your honourable Committee to the contents of the inclosure
of our despatch of the 13th of July, 1804, marked A, and to the
seventy-third paragraph of that despatch, in proof of the actual
existence of a project for the subversion of the British Empire
in India, founded principally upon the restoration of the
authority of the Emperor Shall Allum under the control and
direction of the agents of France. The difficulty of every
project of that nature has been considerably increased by the
events which have placed the throne of Dehli under the protection
of the Honourable Company. The Governor-General in Council
further contemplated the advantages of the reputation which the
British Government might be expected to derive from the
substitution of a system of lenient protection, accompanied by a
liberal provision for the ease, dignity, and comfort of the aged
monarch and his distressed family, in the room of that oppressive
control and the degraded condition of poverty, distress, and
insult, under which the unhappy representative of the house of
Timur and his numerous family had so long laboured.

Regulated by these principles and views, the attention of the
British Government has been directed exclusively to the object of
forming such an arrangement for the future support of the King
and the royal family, as might secure to them the enjoyment of
every reasonable comfort and convenience, and every practicable
degree of external state and dignity compatible with the extent
of our resources, and with the condition of dependence in which
his Majesty and the Royal Family must necessarily be placed with
relation to the British power. In extending to the Royal Family
the benefits of the British protection, no obligation was imposed
upon us to consider the rights and claims of his Majesty Shah
Allum as Emperor of Hindustan, and the Governor-General has
deemed it equally unnecessary and inexpedient to combine with the
intended provision for his Majesty, and his household, the
consideration of any question connected with the future exercise
of the Imperial prerogative and authority.

The Governor-General in Council has determined to adopt an
arrangement upon the basis of the following provisions: —

That a specified portion of the territories in the vicinity of
Dehli situated on the right bank of the Jamna should be assigned
in part of the provision for the maintenance of the Royal Family.
That those lands should remain under charge of the Resident at
Dehli, and that the revenue should be collected, and justice
should be administered in the name of his Majesty Shah Allum,
under regulations to be fixed by the British Government. That his
Majesty should be permitted to appoint a Deewan, and other
inferior officers to attend at the office of collector, for the
purpose of ascertaining and reporting to his Majesty the amount
of the revenues which should be received, and the charges of
collection, and of satisfying his Majesty's mind that no part of
the produce of the assigned territory was misappropriated. That
two courts of justice should be established for the
administration of civil and criminal justice, according to the
Mahomedan law, to the inhabitants of the city of Dehli, and of
the assigned territory. That no sentences of the criminal courts
extending to death should be carried into execution without the
express sanction of his Majesty, to whom the proceedings in all
trials of this description should be reported, and that sentences
of mutilation should be commuted.

That to provide for the immediate wants of his Majesty and the
Royal household, the following sums should be paid monthly, in
money from the treasury of the Resident at Dehli, to his Majesty
for his private expenses, Sa. Rs. 60,000; to the heir-apparent,
exclusive of certain Jagheers, Sa. Rs. 10,000; to a favourite son
of his Majesty named Mirza Izzut Buksh, Sa. Rs. 5,000; to two
other sons of his Majesty, Sa. Rs. 1,500; to his Majesty's fifty
younger sons and daughters, Sa. Rs. 10,000; to Shah Newanze Khan,
his Majesty's treasurer, 2,50O; to Syud Razzee Khan, British
agent at his Majesty's Court, and related to his Majesty by
marriage, Sa. Rs. 1,000; total per mensem, Sa. Rs. 90,000.

That if the produce of the revenue of the assigned territory
should hereafter admit of it, the monthly sum to be advanced to
his Majesty for his private expenses might be increased to one
lakh of rupees.

That in addition to the sums specified, the sum of Sa. Rs. 10,000
should be annually be paid to his Majesty on certain festivals
agreeably to ancient usage.

The Governor-General in Council deemed the arrangement proposed
by the Resident at Dehli for the establishment of a military
force for the protection of the assigned territory and of the
North-Western frontier of our possessions in Hindustan, to be
judicious, and accordingly resolved to confirm those arrange
meets, with certain modifications calculated to afford a
provision for part of the irregular force in the service of the
British Government, from the expense of which it was an object of
the British Government to be relieved, and also for a proportion
of the European officers heretofore in the service of Dowlut Rao
Scindiah, who quitted that service under the proclamation of the
Governor-General in Council of the 29th August, 1803.

On the basis of this plan of arrangement detailed instructions
were issued to the Resident at Dehli, under the date the 23rd
May, with orders to carry it into effect with the least
practicable delay.

The Governor-General in Council entertains a confident
expectation that the proposed arrangement and provision will be
satisfactory to his Majesty, and will be considered throughout
all the states of India to be consistent with the acknowledged
justice, liberality, and benevolence of the British Government.

The Governor-General in Council also confidently trusts that the
proposed arrangement will be sanctioned by the approbation of
your honourable Committee, and of the honourable the Court of

We have the honour to be,


Your most faithful, humble servants,





["Wellesley Despatches," vol. iv. p. 553.]


Note to page 209.

SINCE printing the following indication has been found of the
possible original of name printed "Du Drenec." In the "Familles
Francaises" of Count Regis de l'Estourbeillon (Names, 1886) is a
list of extinct Breton families. One of these is given as "Du
Drenec-Keroulas, fondue dans Keroulas." This was, most likely,
the true orthography of the Indian adventurer's name.

          The End

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