Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. IV. - The History of British India, vol. 2
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CHAP. IV. - James Mill, The History of British India, vol. 2 
The History of British India in 6 vols. (3rd edition) (London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1826). Vol. 2.
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From the Commencement to the Close of the Mogul Dynasty.
Upon the death of Shiroch, the son of Timur, andBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1525. the division of the dominions of that conqueror among his descendants, quarrels and war ensued; the weakness and vice, which are the usual attendants upon long inherited sovereignty, weakened the unsteady powers of Asiatic government; and in a few years the great empire of Timur was in a state of dissolution. The Turks, who had penetrated into western Asia, and who, under Bajazet, received a dreadful overthrow by the arms of Timur, no sooner felt the weakness of government in the hands of his successors, than they pressed upon the nearest provinces, and at an early period were masters of Mesopotamia. Ismael was a disgraced servant of Jacob Beg, the eighth in the Turkish dynasty of the white sheep. Pursuing the career of a military adventurer, he collected around him a number of those daring characters, so numerous in the turbulent and unsettled countries of the East, whose business it is to seek a livelihood by their sword; and after a period, spent in subordinate plunder, he conceived himself sufficiently strong to attack, in the year 1500, the governor, or king (for he now affected independence) of the province of Shirvan. After the conquest of Shirvan, Ismael successively made himself master of Tauris, Media, Chaldea, Persia, and became the founder of the dynasty of the Sophis, who held the sceptre of Persia for a number of generations.
BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1525.On the eastern side of the Caspian, Shaïbek Khan, a chief of the Usbeks, or Tartars of Desht Kipshak, entered Transoxiana, at the head of his horde, in the year 1494. In the course of four years, he rendered himself master of all Transoxiana and Chorasan; the last of which was however wrested from the Usbecks, by the arms of Ismael Sophi, in the year 1510.
Baber was the grandson of Abu Seid, the king of Zagatai; and Abu Seid was the son of Mahomed, the grandson of Timur, through Miran Shah. The dominions of Abu Seid were at his death divided among his sons. Ali became king of Cabul; Ahmed, king of Samarcand; Ahmer, king of Indija and Firgana; and Mahmood, king of Kundiz and Buducshan. Baber was the son of Ahmer, king of Indija and Firgana; a district surrounded by mountains, lying between Samarcand and Cashgar. He succeeded his father, while yet very young, in the year 1493; and was immediately involved in a war with his uncles, desirous to profit by his youth and inexperience. Baber maintained himself against them with varying fortune, sometimes reduced to the lowest ebb, at other times borne on a flowing tide; till the arrival of Shaïbek, the Tartar.1 Shaïbek, after a struggle which was strenuously supported by Baber, swept the posterity of Timur from Transoxiana and Chorasan. Baber was compelled to retire towards Cabul; where the son of his uncle Ali had been dethroned by his Omrahs, and the greatest anarchy prevailed. The weak resistance opposed to Baber, in Cabul, he had means to overcome, and became master of that province in the year 1504. After spending some years in contending with the enemies who disputed with him the possession of Cabul and resisted his efforts for obtaining Candahar, he wasBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1525. fired with the hopes of recovering his paternal dominions, Ismael Sophi having defeated and slain his enemy, Shaïbek. In the year 1511 he marched towards Bochara, of which, after some resistance, he made himself master. His next object was Samarcand, which surrendered upon his arrival. His ambition was to make this celebrated capital of the great founder of his house the place of his residence; and he appointed Nasir, his brother, governor of Cabul. But he had not enjoyed, above nine months, this coveted throne, when the Usbeks, under the successor of Shaïbek, returned from the desert, and Baber, after an unavailing struggle, was forced back to Cabul.
Baber had not spent one year in re-establishing his authority, in Cabul, when information received of the weakness at Delhi inspired him with hopes of indemnifying himself in the south for the possessions which he had been constrained to relinquish in the north. In the year 1519 he took possession of all the countries on the further side of the Blue River, one of the branches of the Indus. He overran a part of the Punjab, levying contributions; and after chastising the Gickers, who had molested him in his progress, he returned to Cabul. Before the end of the same year, he renewed his march into Hindustan, and intended to reduce Lahore; but was interrupted, by news from the northern side of the mountains which separate Bochara from Cabul, that a district there, of which he still retained possession, had been invaded by the Tartars of Cashgar. The following year, the conqueror was recalled, after he had made some progress in the invasion of Hindustan, by intelligence that Cabul itself was assailed by the people of Candahar. Baber resolved to complete the conquest BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1525.of this neighbouring country, before he again led out his armies, to regions more remote. The vigour of the king of Candahar, who held out for three years, procured, thus long, a respite to the kings and Omrahs of Hindustan; or rather afforded three additional years for the exercise of their mutual hostilities, and the oppression of the wretched inhabitants. But in the year, 1523, Candahar being at last reduced, Baber rendered himself master of Lahore and the Punjab. The next year, beginning to feel the seducements of luxury and ease, he contented himself with directing his troops in Hindustan to march against Delhi. But they were attacked and overthrown. In 1525 Baber resolved to repair this misfortune by his presence. Ibrahim marched out to defend his capital with an army as much inferior in bravery, as it was superior in numbers. It was speedily routed, Ibrahim was slain in battle, Baber entered Delhi, and, mounting the throne of the Afghauns, or Patans, began the Mogul dynasty in Hindustan.
Great efforts were still demanded for the reduction of the provinces, the Omrahs of which being Afghauns, and expecting little favour under a Mogul monarch, held out, and even formed themselves into an extensive and formidable confederacy, setting a son of the late Secunder, as sovereign, at their head. Baber’s principal officers, alarmed by the resistance which it seemed necessary to overcome, combined in offering him advice to return. The king, declaring that he would relinquish such a conquest only with his life, displayed so formidable a spirit of resolution and perseverance, that in a short time the confederacy began to dissolve. Many of the Omrahs, who were the weakest, or whose territories were the most exposed, came over to Baber, and entered into his service. At last a great battle was fought, which Baber with difficulty won, but which gave him so decided a superiority, that his enemies were no longer able to meet him in the field. Having reduced the provinces which latterly paid obedience to the throne of Delhi, he advanced against the Omrahs of the East, who for a length of time had affected independence. He had scarcely, however, conquered Bahar, when he fell sick and died, in the year 1530.
Humaioon succeeded to the throne of his father, but was not long suffered to enjoy it in peace. His brother Camiran, in the government of Cabul, formed a resolution of seizing upon the Punjab; and Humaioon was fain to confer upon him the government of all the country from the Indus to Persia, on condition of his holding it as a dependency. Mahmood, too, the son of the Emperor Secunder, whom the confederated Omrahs, had placed at their head, was again joined by some chiefs, and kindled the flames of war in the eastern provinces. A victory gained by the Emperor extinguished all immediate danger in that quarter. But Shere Khan, the regent of Bahar, refused to give up the fortress of Chunar. A conspiracy was formed in favour of Mahomed, a prince of the race of Timur; and Bahadur, king of Guzerat, was excited to hostilities by the protection which Humaioon afforded to the Rana of Chitore. Bahadur was unequal to his enterprise; the war against him was pushed with activity and vigour, and he lost entirely the kingdom of Guzerat. Humaioon was now in favour with fortune; from Guzerat he marched to the eastern provinces, and reduced Chunar. Having gained the passes he then entered Bengal; the government of which had recently been usurped, and its sovereign expelled by the enterprising Shere. He took possession of Gour, then the capital of the province; and there resided for several months; but, his BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1530-40.troops suffering from the humidity of the climate, and his two brothers now aspiring openly to his throne, he was compelled to proceed towards Agra, which he and his father had made the seat of government. In the mean time, Shere, though he had been defeated, was not subdued. He made himself master of the strong fortress of Rotas, after he had been obliged to retire from Gour; and he now threw himself in the way of Humaioon, whose presence was urgently required in another part of his empire. Humaioon, threatened with detention, if nothing worse, desired accommodation. After a negotiation, it was agreed that the government of Bahar and Bengal should be conferred upon Shere, paying a slight tribute, in acknowledgment of dependence. The chance of finding the camp of the Emperor unguarded, under the negligence inspired by the prospect of peace, was one among the motives which led Shere to open the negotiation. The perfidy succeeded; and Humaioon, having lost his army, was constrained to fly.
He repaired to Agra, and was joined by his brothers, whose united strength was no more than sufficient to defend them against Shere, the Afghaun. But their conflicting interests and passions defeated every scheme of co-operation. The army with which Humaioon marched out to meet the assailant was overthrown; the capital no longer afforded him a place of refuge; he fled from one place to another, subject at times to the greatest hardships; and was at last obliged to quit the kingdom, and seek an asylum in Persia, where he was hospitably and honourably entertained.
The grandfather of Shere, the new sovereign of Hindustan, came from the district of Roh1 in the mountains of Afghaunistan, in quest of military employmentBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1536-54., in the reign of Beloli, and entered into the service of an Omrah of the court. His son Hussun followed the Subahdar, who acquired the title of King of the East; and rose to considerable rank in his service. Ferid, the son of Hussun, received the name of Shere, which signifies lion, from killing with his own hand, in the presence of the King or Governor of Bahar, an enormous tiger which rushed from a thicket. When this monarch died, and his son, a minor, succeeded him, the government of Bahar rested chiefly in the hand of Shere; and a short time elapsed, when the young prince, having made his escape, left the name as well as the power of sovereign to the usurper. He had just accomplished the conquest of Bengal, when Humaioon, returning from Guzerat, invaded his dominions.1
Immediately after his victory, Shere assumed the imperial title of Shah, and exerted himself with great activity in reducing the provinces to his obedience. His mandates ran from the furthest branch of the Indus, to the Bay of Bengal; a more extensive dominion than for some ages had belonged to any sovereign of Hindustan. Besieging one of the strongly situated forts, which abound in India, he was killed by an accidental explosion of gunpowder, when he had reigned five years in Hindustan. What can be said of few sovereigns, even in still more enlightened BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1536-54.ages, he left various monuments of public beneficence to prolong the memory, and the love, of his short administration. He built caravanseras at every stage, from the Nilab, or furthest branch of the Indus, to the shores of Bengal; he dug a well for the refreshment of the traveller at every two miles; he ordered that all travellers without distinction of country or religion should at every stage be entertained, according to their quality, at the public expense; he had trees planted along the roads to shelter the travellers against the violence of the sun; he established posthorses, the first in India, for the more rapid conveying of intelligence to government,1 and for the accommodation of trade and correspondence; even the religious comfort of the traveller was not neglected; a number of magnificent mosques were erected along the road, and priests appointed for the performance of devotional services.
Shere left two sons, of whom the youngest, being with the army, was proclaimed king. A struggle, as usual, ensued, for the possession of the throne; a feigned accommodation was made up between the brothers; war again quickly broke out; the eldest lost a battle, from which he fled, and disappearing was never heard of more. The youngest remained emperor, by the name of Selim. The Omrahs, however, or Subahdars of the provinces, who never neglected an opportunity that promised a chance of independence, rebelled in several quarters. In some instances they were not without difficulty subdued. After several years spent in reducing his dominions to order and obedience, Selim was roused from his dreams of future tranquillity, by intelligence that the exiled emperor Humaioon was on his way from Persia with an army, for the recovery of Hindustan. SelimBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1536-54. prepared for action with vigour. But Humaioon, instead of advancing, retired. Selim, shortly after, was seized with a violent distemper; and died suddenly, in the tenth year of his reign.
He left a son to succeed him; but only twelve years of age. There was a nephew to the late emperor Shere, by name Mubarick, whose sister was mother of the young prince. Mubarick assassinated the boy in the arms of his mother, three days after he had been proclaimed as king.
Mahomed was the name which Mubarick thought proper to use upon the throne. Vice, profusion, and folly, the attributes of his character and administration, lost him speedily the respect of his people, and the obedience of his Omrahs. His brother Ibrahim raised an army, from which Mahomed fled to the eastern provinces, leaving Ibrahim to assume the style of royalty at Delhi. This was not all. Ahmed, another nephew of the emperor Shere, laid claim to the sovereignty in Punjub, assumed the name of Secunder Shah, and marched towards Agra. Ibrahim met him, and was defeated. Ibrahim was attacked on the other side, by the vizir of Mahomed, and after several turns of fortune, fled to Orissa. Secunder took possession of Agra and Delhi, while Mahomed was engaged in a war with the governor of Bengal; in which at first he was prosperous, but finally stript of his dominions and life.
In the mean time, Secunder was summoned to oppose the exiled emperor Humaioon, who had now a second time returned for the recovery of his throne.
When Humaioon made his escape into Persia, Tamasp the son of Ismael, second of the Sophis, ruled from beyond the Euphrates, to the furthest boundary of Transoxiana. The governor of the BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1536-54.province which first afforded shelter to Humaioon received him with distinction; and he was conveyed, with the respect which seemed due to his rank and misfortunes, to the Presence at Ispahan. He was treated by Tamasp as a sovereign; and his misfortunes excited the compassion of a favourite sister of the king, and of several of his counsellors. At their instigation an army of ten thousand horse was entrusted to Humaioon; with which he advanced towards Candahar, still governed, together with Cabul, by one of his rebellious brothers. After an obstinate resistance, the city of Candahar fell into his hands, and the rest of the province submitted. Jealousy and dissatisfaction soon sprung up between him and the Persian commanders. But various Omrahs of the country now joined him with their troops; and, marching to Cabul, he was joined by the second of his rebellious brothers, and several other chiefs. Cabul was in no situation to resist; and his hostile brother fled to Bicker, a wild and desert province toward the mouth of the Indus, governed by a relation. When Cabul was subdued, Humaioon crossed the mountains to the north, for the purpose of reducing Buducshan, that district of the Mogul kingdom of Transoxiana which had remained united to the dominions of Baber. In the mean time his brother returned from Bicker, and in the absence of Humiaoon and his army obtained possession of Cabul. Humaioon hastened from Buducshan, gave battle to his brother’s army, routed it, and laid siege to Cabul. His brother seeing no hopes of success, fled from the city by night, and made his way to Balk, where he received assistance from the governor, marched against Humaioon’s new conquest of Buducshan, and expelled his governor. Humaioon left him not to enjoy his acquisition in peace: he marched against him, and forcing him to submit, treated him with lenity andBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1536-54. respect. Humaioon next involved himself in hostilities with the Usbeks of Balk, over whom at first he gained advantages, but at last was routed, and obliged to retreat to Cabul. In this retreat he was deserted by his perfidious brother, whom he had recently spared. Some of the chiefs of his army wrote to that deserter, that if he could attack the army of Humaioon, they would betray him in the action. Humaioon was accordingly defeated; and obliged to fly towards Buducshan, leaving Cabul a third time to his foe. Being joined, however, by the second of his brothers, who now repaid by great services his former demerits; and by several other chiefs; he was speedily in a condition to march again to Cabul with a force which his brother was by no means able to withstand. After some resistance the brother was obliged to fly; and though he continued for several years to raise disturbance, he was no longer able to endanger the sovereignty of Humaioon.
That prince, though now in possession of part of his ancient dominions, though aware of the distractions which prevailed in the rest, and invited by the inhabitants of Agra and Delhi, paused at the thought of invading Hindustan. At first he was able to raise an army of only fifteen thousand horse. With that he began to advance towards the Indus, where he was joined by his veterans from Candahar. The governors of Punjab and Lahore fled before him; and those countries were regained without a contest. Secunder detached an army, which advanced towards the Sutledge. But the general of the advanced division of the army of Humaioon surprised the camp of Secunder in the night, and entirely dispersed the troops. This disaster made Secunder hasten with his main army to meet the enemy; a great battle was fought under BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1555.the walls of Serhind, in which the young Akbar, son of Humaioon, showed remarkable spirit and resolution. Secunder, being routed, fled to the mountains of Sewalic.
Humaioon re-entered Delhi in the year 1554; but was not destined to a long enjoyment of the power which he had regained. As he was supporting himself by his staff, on the marble stairs of his palace, the staff slipped, and the emperor fell from the top to the bottom. He was taken up insensible, and expired in a few days, in the year 1555, the fifty-first of his age.
Tamasp still reigned in Persia. But the Usbecks had now possessed themselves of Bochara, and of the greater part of Transoxiana.
Akbar, the son of Humaioon, though not quite fourteen years of age, was placed on his father’s throne. He had been nursed in difficulty and misfortune; and, young as he was, those powerful teachers had done much in forming his mind.
When Humaioon with the few friends who adhered to him first fled from India, they nearly perished in the sandy desert which lies between Ajmere and the Indus. With the utmost difficulty, and after the loss of many lives, they arrived at Amercot, the seat of a Hindu Rajah, about two hundred miles from Tatta. It was here that Akbar was born. Humaioon, proceeding to Candahar, where he still hoped for support, was attacked by the governor of Candahar, and obliged to fly, leaving his infant son and his mother behind him. Akbar was kept at Candahar by the governor, till Humaioon was on his march from Persia, when he sent him to his uncle at Cabul. When Humaioon, after Cabul was taken, again beheld his son and his wife, he took the child in his arms, then four years of age, and exclaimed: “Joseph by his envious brethren was cast into a well; but he wasBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1557. exalted by Providence to the summit of glory.” Akbar once more fell into the hands of his uncle, when that rebellious prince regained possession of Cabul. When Humaioon returned to besiege him, Akbar was bound to a stake, and exposed upon the battlements. Humaioon made proclamation, that if injury happened to Akbar, every human being in Cabul should be put to the sword. The wretched uncle was deterred, or forcibly restrained, from exposing it to such a disaster.
Byram, the chief of the Omrahs in the service of Humaioon, a man of talents, but of a severe, or rather of a cruel disposition, was appointed regent during the minority; which, in so unsettled and turbulent an empire, was not likely to be attended with general submission and peace.
The first object of the new government was to exterminate the party of the late pretended emperor Secunder; and for this purpose an army, with the young sovereign at its head, marched toward the mountains. Secunder fled; the Rajah of Nagracote made his submission; and the rainy season coming on, the army retired into quarters.
In the mean time, the Governor who had been left by Humaioon in the command of Buducshan assumed independence; and presumed so far upon the weakness of the new government, as to march against Cabul. The city stood a siege of four months; but at last submitted, and acknowledged the authority of the invader.
This calamity arrived not alone. Himu, the vizir of Mahomed, the usurper who retained a part of the eastern provinces, marched to the centre of the empire with a formidable army. He took Agra. He took Delhi. The young Shah still remained in his quarters. A council of war was held, in which Byram advised BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1557-60.to march against the enemy. The principal part of the Omrahs, as the hostile army amounted to 100,000 horse, that of the king to scarcely 20,000, held it adviseable to retreat. But the young Shah supported the opinion of Byram with so much ardour, that he kindled the enthusiasm of the Omrahs, who declared their resolution to devote their lives and fortunes to his service.
While the army was on its march, the governor of Delhi, he by whom the city had just been surrendered, joined the King. Waiting for a time when the presence of the Prince offered no interruption, Byram called this governor into his tent, and beheaded him. It was to anticipate, he told the King, the clemency of the royal mind, that he had taken upon him, without consultation, to make this example; necessary to let the neglectful Omrahs know, that want of vigour was hardly less criminal than want of loyalty; and that, as meritorious services would be amply rewarded, so no failure in duty should pass with impunity. The Prince, whatever were his thoughts, thanked the regent for the care he bestowed upon his person and government.
The brave Himu made the necessary dispositions for encountering the imperial army. The contending parties arrived in presence of one another in the neighbourhood of Paniput. The Moguls, who had been reinforced on the march, fought with great constancy, and the enemy were thrown into disorder. Himu advanced, conspicuous on a towering elephant, and endeavoured by his example to reanimate his troops. He was shot with an arrow through the eye; and his followers, believing him killed, endeavoured to save themselves by retreat. Himu drew the eye out of the socket with the arrow; and continued the fight with unabated constancy. But the driver of his elephant seeing a mortal blow aimed at himself offeredBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1557-60. to direct the animal wherever he should be desired. Upon this, Himu was surrounded and taken.
When the battle ended, he was brought into the presence of Akbar, almost expiring with his wounds. Byram, addressing the King, told him it would be a meritorious action to kill that dangerous infidel with his own hands. Akbar, in compliance with the advice of his minister, drew his sword, but only touching with it gently the head of his gallant captive, burst into tears. This movement of generous compassion was answered by the minister with a look of stern disapprobation; and with one blow of his sabre he struck the head of the prisoner to the ground.
This important victory restored tranquillity to the principal part of Akbar’s dominions. It is true that in the same year the invasion of a Persian army, under the nephew of Tamasp, rendered that prince for a time master of Candahar. And the late pretended emperor Secunder advanced into the western provinces, and made the governor fly to Lahore. But the imperial standards were carried with expedition towards the Indus; Secunder was cooped up in a fort; when, offering to surrender the place and all his pretensions, he was permitted to retire into Bengal, and Akbar returned to Lahore.
The overbearing pretensions of an imperious, though useful servant, and the spirit of a high-minded, though generous sovereign, could not long be reconciled. Mutual jealousies and discontents arose; the minister used his power with cruelty to deliver himself from those who stood in his way; he increased by that means the disgust of his master; yet he contrived for a time to preserve himself in power, by occupying the mind of the King with military preparation and action. An expedition, which ended successfully, BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1557-60.was planned against Gualior, at that time a place of the highest importance. In the same year, one of Akbar’s generals subdued all the country about Jion-poor and Benares, hitherto retained by the Omrahs who had derived their power from the gift or the weakness of the late princes of the Afghaun or Patan dynasty. Operations were commenced against Malwa, possessed by another of those Omrahs. But all this business and success served only to retard, not prevent, the fall of the minister. When the royal ear was found open to accusations against the harsh and domineering Byram, courtiers were not wanting to fill it. He was secretly charged with designs hostile to the person and government of the Shah; and the mind of Akbar, though firm, was not unmoved by imputations against the man he disliked, however destitute of facts to support them. After some irresolution and apprehension, a proclamation was issued to announce that Akbar had taken upon himself the government; and that henceforth no mandates but his were to be obeyed. Byram, who had shown so much resolution when serving his master, was full of indecision when called upon to act for himself. The sovereign advised him to make a voyage to Mecca. At one time Byram proceeded to obey; at another time he resolved to render himself independent in some of the provinces which Akbar had not yet subdued; and at another time conceived the design of seizing and governing the Punjab itself. He attempted arms, but met with no support; and, driven to his last resource, implored the clemency of his master. Akbar hastened to assure him of forgiveness, and invited him to his presence. When the unfortunate Byram presented himself with all the marks of humiliation, and bursting into tears threw himself on his face at the foot of the throne, Akbar lifted him up with his own hand, and setting him inBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1560. his former place at the head of the Omrahs, “If the noble Byram,” said he, “loves a military life, he shall obtain the government of a province in which his glory may appear; if he chooses rather to remain at court, the benefactor of our family shall be distinguished by our favours; but should devotion engage the soul of Byram to make a voyage to the holy city, he shall be provided and escorted in a manner suitable to his dignity.” Byram, desiring leave to repair to Mecca, received a splendid retinue and allowance; but in his passage through Guzerat, an Afghaun Chief, whose father he had formerly slain in battle, pretending salutation, stabbed him with a dagger, and killed him on the spot.
In the year 1560, a son of the late Shah Mahomed, who had found means to raise 40,000 horse, advanced with a design to recover the province of Jionpoor. The generals of Akbar, who had the province in charge, vanquished him with the forces under their command. Presuming, however, on their services or strength, they delayed remitting the plunder. Akbar went towards them without a moment’s delay; upon which they made haste to meet him with the spoils. He accepted their obedience; praised their valour; and bestowed on them magnificent gifts. This is a specimen of the behaviour of Akbar to his Omrahs. Their proneness to seize every opportunity of disobedience he restrained by prompt and vigorous interference; seldom punished their backwardness; but always bestowed on their services honour and reward.
Hussun, the governor of Ajmere, made some progress in subduing several forts in that hilly country, yet held by Hindu Rajahs. The general, sent to reduce Malwa, had carried on the war in that province BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1560-80.with so much success as to drive the pretended king out of his dominions. He fled, however, to the sovereigns of Candesh and Berar; from whom he received such effectual support as to be able to defeat the army of the imperial general, which he pursued to the vicinity of Agra. Akbar gave commission to Abdalla, the Usbeck, governor of Kalpy, a city and province on the Jumna, to prosecute the war; and by him was Malwa annexed to the Mogul dominions. About the same time the Gickers, those restless tribes of Hindus, who so often from their mountains disturbed the obedience of the upper provinces, were united under a warlike chief, and assumed the appearance of a formidable enemy. They were attacked with the usual vigour of Akbar’s government; and compelled to receive, though of their own nation, a sovereign named for them by the Moguls.
Notwithstanding the virtues of Akbar’s administration, the spirit of rebellion, inherent in the principles of Indian despotism, left him hardly a moment’s tranquillity, during the whole course of a long and prosperous reign. Hussun revolted in Ajmere, and gained a victory over the imperial troops who were sent to oppose him. Hakim, brother of Akbar, a weak man, the governor of Cabul, began to act as an independent prince. A slave of his, approaching the King, while marching with his troops, let fly an arrow which wounded him in the shoulder. Abdalla, the Usbeck, master of Malwa, believed himself so strong, and the King, pressed by rebellion in various quarters, so weak, that he might erect a throne for himself. He contrived artfully to spread a rumour, that the Shah had contracted a general hatred of the Usbecks in his service, and meditated their destruction. This gained over Secunder and Ibrahim, the governors of two of the eastern provinces. Asaph, who held the government of Corah, had obtainedBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1560-80. great wealth by subduing and plundering a rajahship or Hindu kingdom, between Berar and Bengal, which till this time had escaped the ravage of a Mahomedan conqueror. Not wishing to part with any of this wealth and influence, he joined with the rebels, in hopes of being able to defy the imperial power. Even Zemaun, the captain-general of the empire, and his brother Bahadur, two chiefs of great power and renown, joined the enemies of Akbar, and hoped to raise themselves on the ruins of the king.
Akbar, whom neither exertion nor danger dismayed, opposed himself to his enemies with an activity, which often repaired the deficiencies of prudence. It would be tedious to follow minutely a series of expeditions, so much the same, to subdue one rebellious chieftain after another. Akbar had made considerable progress in reducing the eastern provinces to obedience, when he learned that Hakim, governor of Cabul, in hopes of advantage from his absence, had advanced towards Lahore. The tranquillity of the northern provinces, whose inhabitants were hardy and warlike, was always regarded by Akbar as worthy of more watchful solicitude than that of the east, where the people were effeminate and more easily subdued. Leaving therefore the reduction of the Usbeck rebels still incomplete, he hasted towards Lahore; and surprising his brother by the celerity of his appearance, he rendered opposition hopeless, and crushed the rebellion in its bud. In the mean time the Usbecks increased their army, and extended their conquests. The expeditious movements of Abkar left them little time to enjoy their advantages. Having returned with a recruited army, he came to an action with the combined forces of the insurgents, and gained BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1560-80.a great victory, which effectually quashed the rebellion in the east.
The unsettled state of the province of Malwa soon required the royal presence. Among other measures, for the secure possession of that important district, he advanced to the attack of Chitore, a fort of great natural strength, situated in a mountainous and difficult part of the province, inhabited by Hindus, who had been frequently subdued, by the more powerful of the Mahomedan princes, but had as often revolted when the reins of government were held by a feeble hand. After an obstinate resistance Chitore was taken. Rantampore, in the Arrabarreehills, in the province of Ajmere, was also a hill fort, of great strength, which had often been taken from the Hindus, and as often recovered. Having reduced Rantampore, as well as Callinger, another strong hold of similar description and importance, in the same range of mountains, he directed his attention to Guzerat.
This was one of the provinces the governor of which, during the decline of the Patan or Afghaun dynasty, had assumed independence; and it had been governed as a separate kingdom for a number of years. After a time it had fallen into the same confusion, which seems the common fate of Asiatic sovereignties whether great or small. The Ormahs became too powerful for the sovereign; the different districts or governments assumed independence; and the royal power was reduced to a shadow. In this situation the province offered but little resistance to Akbar; the different leaders, who felt their inferiority, courted favour by hastening submission. Hussun, in Ajmere, was able to take the field with an army; but as the king was now at leisure to push the war against him, he was driven from the province, and, with the remains of his army, fled to Punjab. AttackedBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1560-80. by a warlike tribe of the inhabitants, he was there taken prisoner, delivered up to the governor of Multan, and by him put to death. No sooner had the king turned his back on Guzerat, than some of the turbulent chiefs began to assemble armies, and prepare the means of resistance. The rainy season was now commenced, when the great army was unable to move; but Akbar, selecting a small body of cavalry, pursued his way with the utmost expedition to Guzerat, surprised the rebels in the midst of their preparations; offered them battle notwithstanding the inferiority of his force, and, contrary to all prudential calculation, gained a victory, which established his authority in Guzerat.
The province of Bengal paid a nominal submission to the throne of Delhi, but during several reigns had been virtually independent. After the other provinces of the empire were reduced to more substantial obedience, it was not likely that grounds of quarrel would long fail to be laid between Akbar and the King of Bengal. The governor or Subahdar of Oude being ordered, as contiguous, to begin operations against him, had gained some important advantages, and was besieging Patna, when he was joined by the Shah. The Bengal chief, seeing no chance of success, offered terms of accommodation. Akbar consented to engage for his life, but demanded that every thing else should be left to his clemency; to spare, however, the blood of their subjects, he offered to decide their disputes by personal combat. In the following night the Bengal chief went secretly down the river in a boat, and his troops immediately evacuated the city. Akbar returned to Agra; and the governor of Oude, to whose jurisdiction Patna was annexed, was ordered to complete the reduction of Bengal. The vanquished BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1580.sovereign was allowed to retain Orissa. But unfortunately for him, the Zemindars of Bengal still adhered to his interests, and speedily assembled a considerable army for his restoration. Having put himself at the head of this armament, he was taken prisoner, and in the absence of Akbar put to death in cold blood, upon the field.
For a short space Akbar now enjoyed tranquillity and obedience throughout his extensive empire; and wisely made use of the interval to visit and inspect its several provinces. Soon was he recalled to his former troubles and exertions. The recently subdued Bengal furnished a variety of discontended spirits, who again appeared in arms; and his brother, in Cabul, marched against Lahore. Akbar never allowed disobedience in the upper provinces to gain strength by duration. He hastened to Lahore, overcame his brother, followed him close to Cabul, and received a message from the vanquished prince, imploring forgiveness. Akbar, with his usual generosity, which was often inconsiderate, and cost him dear, replaced him in his government.
The peace of Bengal was in the mean time restored; but a formidable rebellion broke out in Guzerat, which the son of Byram, the late regent, was sent to subdue. He was opposed with great obstinacy; and some power. But being a man of talents, he restored the province in a little time to obedience, and was rewarded with its government.
The governor of Cabul, the king’s brother, died. The state of the upper provinces seemed upon that occasion to require the presence of Akbar, and he marched towards Punjab. Here he projected the conquest of Cashmere, and dispatched an army for that purpose. The season being ill chosen and provisions failing, that army found itself unequal to the enterprise. Akbar, however, was not willing to beBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1593. foiled: he dispatched a second army; and the conquest was made with little opposition. Soon after this, the Governor of Candahar, a province which hitherto had paid but a nominal submission to the Mogul throne, unable to defend himself against his rebellious brothers, and the Usbeks, who had now rendered themselves masters of Transoxiana and Bactria, and were formidable neighbours to the northern provinces of Hindustan, offered to deliver up his government to Akbar; and received that of Multan in exchange.
Akbar, who now beheld himself master, from the mountains of Persia, and Tartary, to the confines of Deccan, began to cast the eyes of ambition on that contiguous land. He gave directions to his governors, in the provinces nearest Deccan, to prepare as numerous armies as possible; and to omit no opportunity of extending the empire. He dispatched ambassadors to the kingdoms of Deccan, more with a design to collect information, than to settle disputes. And at last a great army, under Mirza, the son of Byram, who had reduced Guzerat, marched in execution of this project of unprovoked aggression, and unprincipled ambition.
We have already observed the circumstances which attended the first establishment of a Mahomedan empire in Deccan, and it will now be necessary to recount shortly the events which intervened from the death of Alla Bhamenee, in the year 1357, to the invasion of Akbar in 1593.1 Alla was succeeded by his son Mahomed, who reigned seventeen years, and BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1593.carried on successful wars against the Rajahs of Telingana and Beejanuggur,1 a city on the Tummedra or Toombuddra, the most southern branch of the Kistna or Krishna, and at that time the capital of a considerable kingdom.2 He stript these sovereigns of part of their dominions, and rendered them tributary for the rest. A circumstance is recorded by the historian, which indicates but a thin population in that part of India. The number of lives which were destroyed by his wars was computed at near 500,000, among whom was the natural proportion of both sexes, and of all ages; for Indian wars spare neither sex nor age: And by this loss, the regions of Carnatic, says the historian, were so laid waste, that they did not recover their natural population for several kerruns, or revolutions of ten years: yet they had never before been more than slightly over-run by a foreign invader; and the virtues or vices of Hindu policy were here to be traced in their natural effects. Mujahid the son of Mahomed, was assassinated by his uncle after reigning three years. The murderer Daood placed himself on the throne, but lost his own life by assassination, after a month and five days. Of Alla, the first of the Bahmenee sovereigns, the youngest son was still alive, and had passed his life in confinement during the intermediate reigns. By the intrigues of the Haram, he was now acknowledged as king, and spent a mild and prudent reign of nineteen years, in almost uninterruptedBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1593. tranquillity. His eldest son Gheause succeeded him; but having affronted one of his Turkish Omrahs, who disguised his resentment the more effectually to secure his revenge, he lost his throne and his eyes, after a reign of little more than a month; and his brother Shumse was made to possess it in his stead.
Shumse was but fifteen years of age; and was a passive instrument in the hands of the Turk. Of Daood, however, the usurper, who had enjoyed royalty a month, several sons remained, who, under the odium attending the present state of the government, conceived hopes of profiting by the usurpation of their father. By an alternation of force and artifice, they secured the persons of the king and his minister, after a reign of only five months and seven days, and one of the brothers, by name Firoze, took possession of the throne. He reigned upwards of five and twenty years; and is the most celebrated of all the sovereigns of Deccan. He was engaged in a variety of wars with the Hindu rajahs; but his acquisitions in point of territory were inconsiderable. His endeavours to secure the succession to his son, by the destruction of a brother of his own, whose power and talents excited his fears, involved the last months of his reign in trouble. But finding his efforts ineffectual, he submitted to necessity, and appointing his brother successor, died in a few days.
The new sovereign, Ahmed, was a man of talents; governed with moderation and prudence; and enjoyed a prosperous reign of twelve years and two months. He overthrew the Rajah of Warunkul, and added the city of Telingana to his dominions. The governors who, during the decline of the Afghaun or Patan dynasty of Delhi, had assumed independence in the BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1593.provinces of Malwa, Candesh, and Guzerat, were now sovereigns, whose contiguity failed not to produce occasions of discord. At different times Ahmed was engaged in war with all these princes, but without any memorable result. He enlarged and beautified the city of Beder, which he called Ahmedabad, and removed to it the seat of government from Calburga. Toward the conclusion of his reign, he projected a partition of his kingdom among his sons. His acquisitions in Berar, with some contiguous districts, he assigned to Mahmood; he gave Telingana to Daood; and sent these princes to take possession of their shares. His two remaining sons, Alla and Mahomed, were destined to succeed him as colleagues on the throne of Calburga.
They ascended the throne without opposition; but Mahomed, dissatisfied with the share of power which his brother allowed him, was soon excited to rebel. He was defeated, and treated with generosity by Alla. Their brother Daood having just died in Telingana, Mahomed was appointed governor of that kingdom, where he devoted himself to his pleasures, and lived in peace. Alla was at various times attacked, by the Rajah of Beejanuggur in the south, and the kings of Guzera, Candesh, and Malwa, in the north; but defended himself with success. He sent an army to invade Malabar, which at first gained advantages, but being artfully drawn into the difficult recesses of that mountainous and woody country, was almost totally destroyed. After a reign of nearly twenty-four years, he was succeeded by his son Humaioon, who meeting with opposition and rebellion, gave reins to the ferocity of a violent mind; but died, or was assassinated, it is uncertain which, after a reign of little more than three years. His eldest son, Nizam, was only eight years of age at his accession; but the reins of government were directed by theBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1593. queen-mother, a woman of talents; and though the surrounding sovereigns endeavoured to avail themselves of the weakness of a minority, and the king of Malwa penetrated to the very capital, he was repulsed, and the Bahmenee empire remained entire. Nizam died in little more than two years after his father, when the crown devolved upon his second brother Mahomed, who was then in his ninth year. The abilities of the queen-mother, and of a faithful minister, conducted the state in safety through the difficulties and dangers of a second minority; and Mahomed, displaying, when he grew up, considerable talents for government, enjoyed prosperity for a number of years; took part of Orissa, and the island of Goa; and thus extended his dominions from sea to sea. At last, however, the jealous rivals of the minister forged an accusation, which they presented to the king at an artful moment, and surprised him into a sudden order for his destruction. Mahomed soon discovered, and soon repented, his fatal mistake. The ambitious Omrahs, whom the vigilance and talents of the minister had restrained, began immediately to encroach on the royal authority. Mahomed died within a year of the execution of his minister, having languished both in mind and body, from the day of that unfortunate and criminal act.
His son Mahmood ascended the throne of Deccan in the twelfth year of his age. The contentions of the great Omrahs now filled the state with disorder. The sovereign himself displayed no talents for government, and was a slave to his indolence and pleasures. After plotting and struggling for several years, four of the great Omrahs declared themselves independent in their several governments; and a fifth, who remained at the court, reduced the power of the sovereign to a BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1593.shadow, and ruled in his name. Mahmood’s nominal sovereignty lasted for thirty-seven years; during which the Deccanee empire was divided into five several kingdoms; that of Beejapore or Visiapore, founded by Esuff Adil Khan; that of Ahmednuggur, founded by Ahmed Nizam Beheree; that of Berar, founded by Ummad al Mulk; that of Golconda, founded by Koottub al Mulk; their respective governors; and that of Ahmedabad Beder, founded by Ameer Bereed, who rendered himself master of the person and throne of his master, and retained the provinces which had not been grasped by the other usurpers. This revolution, after being several years in progress, was consummated about the year 1526. These sovereigns were engaged in almost perpetual wars with one another, with the Rajah of Beejanuggur, and with the Sultan of Guzerat, who was so powerful as to hold in a species of subjection the Sultans of both Malwa and Candesh. A temporary union of the Shahs of Beejapore, Golconda, and Ahmednuggur, in 1564, enabled them to subvert the empire of Beejanuggur, and reduce the power of its chief to that of a petty Rajah. The kingdom of Beder, which had fallen to the share of Ameer Bereed, was conquered during the reign of his grandson; and its territories, which were not large, were divided among the other usurpers of the Bahmenee dominions. A similar fate awaited the portion of Ummad, which consisted of the southern part of Berar; it subsisted as a kingdom only four generations; and was annexed to his dominions by the king of Ahmednuggur in the year 1574. Deccan was, therefore, at the time when its invasion was projected by the Moguls, divided among the sovereigns of Beejapore, Ahmednuggur, and Golconda. At the time when the Bahmenee empire of Deccan was first divided into separate kingdoms, the Portuguese began their conquestsBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1598. on the coast of Malabar, and took possession of the island of Goa.
In addition to the army which Akbar had dispatched under Mirza towards Deccan, he sent orders to his son Morad, to whom he had committed the government of Guzerat, to join him with all his forces: Mirza had already been reinforced with the troops of Malwa, governed by another son of the Emperor, and by six thousand horse belonging to the king of Candesh, who had endeavoured, by submission, to avert the ruin which resistance would ensure. The combined army marched upon Ahmednuggur, to which they laid siege. The place was defended with great bravery, till provisions began to fail in the Mogul army, when the generals opened a negociation, and agreed, upon condition of receiving Berar, to raise the siege of Ahmednuggur, and evacuate the kingdom. The pain felt by the king at the loss of Berar soon prompted him to an effort for its recovery. His army fought a drawn battle with the Moguls. The resolution and ardour of Mirza led him to renew the engagement on the following day, when he defeated indeed the enemy, but was so weakened by his loss, as to be unable to pursue the fugitives, or to improve his victory. Mirza was soon after recalled. In his absence the Ahmednuggur arms gained some advantages; and the Mogul interests declined. But in 1598 Mirza was restored to the army in Deccan, to which the Emperor proceeded in person. Ahmednuggur was again besieged; and at last compelled to open its gates. The territory of Ahmednuggur was formed into a province of the Mogul empire; and its government conferred upon Danial, one of the sons of Akbar. The Emperor did not long survive these BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1605.new acquisitions. He returned to Agra, and died in the fifty-second year of his reign.
At the time of the death of this successful prince, his great empire was divided into fifteen vice-royalties, called Subahs; each governed immediately by its own viceroy called Subahdar. The names of the Subahs were, Allahabad, Agra, Oude, Ajmere, Guzerat, Bahar, Bengal, Delhi, Cabul, Lahore, Multan, Malwa, Berar, Candesh, and Ahmednuggur.1
Shah Tamasp, the second in the line of the Sophis, held the sceptre of Persia till the twentieth year of the reign of Akbar; when there was a rapid succession of several princes, most of whom were cut off by violence. During these disorderly reigns, the Usbecks made dangerous inroads upon the eastern provinces of Persia, and even threatened the security of the northern provinces of India. At the time of the death of Akbar, Shah Abbas the great was upon the throne, a prince who made both his neighbours and his subjects tremble at his name.
Selim was the only surviving son of Akbar; but even this fortunate circumstance did not save him from a rival. Selim’s own son Chusero was destined to supersede his father, by Azim Khan, whose daughter was the wife, and by Rajah Man Sing, whose sister was the mother of Chusero. Azim Khan was vizir; Man Sing had a powerful government as an Omrah of the empire, and an army of twenty thousand Rajpoots, his countrymen, in his service. The schemes of these powerful chiefs were rendered abortive, by a decisive resolution of the commander of the City guards; who ordered the gates to be shut, and delivered the keys to Selim on his knees. Selim assumed the title of Mahomed Jehangire, or conquerorBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1605. of the world, and dated his reign from October 21, 1605, being then in the thirty-seventh year of his age. Jehangire, for whom it would have been difficult, in the commencement of his reign, to contend with the power of Azim Khan, and Rajah Man Sing, contented himself with sending them to their respective governments; the vizir to his Subah of Malwa; the Rajah to that of Bengal; and Chusero was received into favour. A short time elapsed, when Chusero again rebelled, but, rejecting the advice of Azim Khan, and Rajah Man Sing, to assassinate his father, he taught those artful chiefs to despair of his cause, and they abstained from lending him any open support. So many followers crowded to his standards, as enabled him to seize and ravage some extensive districts. Unable to contend with the army which pressed him, he retired towards the Indus, when his followers dispersed, his principal friends were punished with all the ferocity of Oriental despotism, and he himself was placed in confinement.
One of the circumstances which had the greatest influence on the events and character of the reign of Jehangire was his marriage with the wife of one of the Omrahs of his empire, whose assassination, like that of Uriah, cleared the way for the gratification of the monarch. The history of this female is dressed in romantic colours by the writers of the East. Chaja Aiass her father, was a Tartar, who left poverty and his native country, to seek the gifts of fortune in Hindustan. The inadequate provision he could make for so great a journey failed him before its conclusion. To add to his trials, his wife, advanced in pregnancy, was seized with the pains of labour in the desert, and delivered of a daughter. All hope of conducting the child alive to any place of relief forsook the exhausted BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1605.parents; and they agreed to leave her. So long as the tree, at the foot of which the infant had been deposited, remained in view, the mother supported her resolution; but when the tree vanished from sight, she sunk upon the ground, and refused to proceed without her. The father returned; but what he beheld was a huge black snake, convolved about the body of his child, and extending his dreadful jaws to devour her. A shriek of anguish burst from the father’s breast; and the snake, being alarmed, hastily unwound himself from the body of the infant, and glided away to his retreat. The miracle animated the parents to maintain the struggle; and before their strength entirely failed, they were joined by other travellers, who relieved their necessities.
Aiass, having arrived in Hindustan, was taken into the service of an Omrah of the court; attracted after a time the notice of Akbar himself; and by his abilities and prudence rose to be treasurer of the empire. The infant who had been so nearly lost in the desert was now grown a woman of exquisite beauty; and, by the attention of Aiass to her education, was accomplished beyond the measure of female attainments in the East. She was seen by Sultan Selim, and kindled in his bosom the fire of love. But she was betrothed to a Turkman Omrah; and Akbar forbid the contract to be infringed. When Selim mounted the throne, justice and shame were a slight protection to the man whose life was a bar to the enjoyments of the King. By some caprice, however, not unnatural to minds pampered, and trained up as his; he abstained from seeing her, for some years, after she was placed in his seraglio; and even refused an adequate appointment for her maintenance. She turned her faculties to account; employed herself in the exquisite works of the needle and painting, in which she excelled; had her productions disposed of in the shopsBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1611. and markets, and thence procured the means of adorning her apartments with all the elegancies which suited her condition and taste. The fame of her productions reached the ear, and excited the curiosity of the emperor. A visit was all that was wanting to rekindle the flame in his heart; and Noor Mahl (such was the name she assumed) exercised from that moment an unbounded sway over the Prince and his empire.
Through the influence of the favourite Sultana, the vizirit was bestowed upon her father; her two brothers were raised to the first rank of Omrahs, by the titles of Acticâd Khan, and Asiph Jah; but their modesty and virtues reconciled all men to their sudden elevation; and though the emperor, naturally voluptuous, was now withdrawn from business by the charms of his wife, the affairs of the empire were conducted with vigilance, prudence, and success; and the administration of Chaja Aiass was long remembered in India, as a period of justice and prosperity.
The Afghauns broke from their mountains into the province of Cabul, in the sixth year of the reign of Jehangire; but an army was collected with expedition, and drove them back to their fastnesses with great slaughter. About the same time, one insurrection was raised in the province of Bengal, and another in that of Bahar. But the springs of the government were strong; and both were speedily suppressed.
More serious hostility began in Odipore, a mountainous district lying between Ajmere and Malwa, the prince of which, though he had acknowledged subjection to the Mahomedans, yet, protected by his mountains, had never been actually subdued. Amar Sinka, the present Rana or prince of Odipore, attacked and defeated the imperial troops in Candesh. BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1611.Purvez, the second son of the Emperor, at the head of 30,000 horse, was sent to take the command of all the troops on the borders of Deccan, and to oppose him. But Amar Sinka was no contemptible foe, possessing great authority among his countrymen, and the obedience of a great proportion of the people called Mahrattas, who inhabited the mountains on the southwest, adjoining those of Odipore. Dissensions prevailed among the Omrahs of the imperial army, which the youth and easy character of Purvez made him unable to repress. Encompassed with difficulties, and fain to retreat, he was pursued with loss to Ajmere. Purvez was recalled; a temporary general was sent to take charge of the army; the Emperor himself prepared to march to Ajmere, whence he dispatched his third son Churrum, to prosecute the war. Churrum entered the mountains with a force which alarmed the Hindus, and induced the Rana after a few losses to offer terms of accommodation. It suited the views of Churrum to show liberality on this occasion, and to conclude the war with dispatch. Peace was effected; and Sultun Churrum returned to his father, with a vast increase of reputation and favour at the expense of Purvez; who was left, notwithstanding, governor of Candesh; and lived in royal state at his capital Burrahanpore.1
It was at the time of which we are now speaking, that Sir Thomas Roe arrived at Surat, ambassador to the Great Mogul. In his way to the imperial presence he repaired to Burrahanpore, to pay his respects to the Prince, and solicit permission for his countrymen to establish a factory in his province. Purvez, whose good nature, affability, and taste, were better fitted for display, than his facility, indolence, and diffidence, for the duties of government,BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1615. received the European messenger with magnificence and distinction. From Burrahanpore, Sir Thomas repaired to Ajmere, where the Emperor still remained. Jehangire was flattered by the compliments and solicitations of a distant monarch. But the rude court of India was not a place where the powers of an ambassador could be exerted with much effect.
In the year 1615, disturbances arose both in Guzerat and Cabul. In the most inaccessible parts of Guzerat lived a race of men, known by the name of Coolies, who exercised perpetual depredations and cruelties upon the inhabitants of the open and cultivated districts. The enormities of this people had lately risen to an extraordinary height, when Jehangire issued a sanguinary order for the utter extirpation of the race. Many were slaughtered; the rest hunted to their mountains and deserts. Cabul was again over-run by the Afghauns, who issued from the mountains adjoining that province on the north. But the Subahdar, collecting an army, overcame them in battle, and drove them back to their own country.
The provinces of the south were still unquiet. Purvez was engaged in a war with the princes of Deccan, which, from the dissensions and treachery of his Omrahs, was not successful, and encouraged the Rana of Odipore “to draw his neck from the yoke of obedience.” The hopes of the Emperor were again cast upon his younger son; and though his counsellors set before him the danger of sending the younger to supersede the elder, he made light of the menaced evil; bestowed upon Churrum the title of Shah Jehan or King of the World, and vested him with the conduct of the war. The easy and unambitious Purvez contested not the royal appointment; fortune, rather than any merit of Shah Jehan, induced the opposing BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1615-28.princes to offer terms of accommodation without trying the fortune of the sword; and the prudent desire of Jehan to obtain the credit of terminating the war, without running any of its dangers, made him eagerly remove every obstacle to the conclusion of the peace. In the mean time the Emperor, accompanied by the English ambassador, departed from Ajmere, to Mando, the capital of Malwa, where he presided at the settlement of the affairs of the south; and having spent at Mando seventeen months in business and pleasure, he conveyed the royal camp, which was a prodigious moving city, into the kingdom of Guzerat, and thence to Agra, where he arrived after an absence of little less than five years.
It was shortly after this arrival, that Chaja Aiass, the Vizir, now dear to the nation for the blessings conferred upon it, ended a life which had been checquered by so great a diversity of fortune. The sympathies of the Sultana with such a father appear to have been strong, in spite of that loss of heart, which flows almost inevitably from the enjoyment of boundless power. She was inconsolable for his loss: and her inconsiderate mind, and gaudy taste, made her conceive the design of raising a monument of silver to his memory, till reminded, by her architect, that one of less covetable materials stood a fairer chance for duration. Her brother Asiph Jah sustained the weight of administration, in the room of Chaja Aiass, and inherited the virtues and capacity of his father. But he dared not contend with the haughty and uncontrolable disposition of his sister. And from the death of her father, the caprices and passions of the Sultana exercised a calamitous influence over the fate of the empire.
As the other parts of his dominions were now at peace, Jehangire marched toward Sewalic, or that part of the mountains, separating Tartary from Hindustan,BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1615-28. which lies near the spot where the Ganges descends upon the plain. In the recesses and valleys of these mountains, lived tribes of Hindus, which, protected by the strength of their country, had escaped subjection to a foreign yoke, and exercised the depredations, common to the mountaineers of Hindustan, upon the fertile provinces below. The Emperor wished to subdue them; his army penetrated into the mountains; and after enduring a variety of hardships, for nearly two years (so long the war continued), brought twenty-two petty princes to promise obedience and tribute, and to send hostages to Agra. During this expedition the Emperor paid a visit to the delightful valley of Cashmere, where he spent several months. His partiality produced one good effect. A command was issued to improve the road, for the future visits of the Emperor; and this grand improvement, once begun, was extended to various parts of the empire.
In the mean time, the south engendered new disturbances, which led to important events. The princes of Deccan withheld their tribute, and raised an army to make good their disobedience. Intelligence arrived that they had crossed the Nerbudda in great force, and were laying waste the adjacent provinces. A great army was placed under the command of Shah Jehan, with which he was dispatched to repel and chastise the enemy. As the greatness of the force with which he advanced took from the confederates all hope of successful resistance, they hastened to make their peace, paid arrears, and promised punctuality and obedience. The success and power of Shah Jehan encouraged him now to commence the execution of designs which had long existed in his mind. His eldest brother Chusero, confined in a BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1615-28.fortress in Malwa, from the time of his last rebellion, he prevailed on his father, before departing, to permit him to relieve from his confinement, and carry along with him. That prince was taken off by assassination, and all men ascribed the murder to Shah Jehan: The emperor loudly expressed his suspicions and resentment. Shah Jehan conceived the time for revolt to be now arrived; assumed the royal titles, and marched to attack his father. They came to action not far from Delhi, and empire was staked on the turn of a die. After an obstinate struggle, the troops of the father prevailed; and the son, who in his rage and grief had with difficulty been restrained from laying hands on himself, fled in great consternation toward the mountains of Mewat. He was pursued to Deccan; one province was wrested from him after another; and he lost a battle on the banks of the Nerbudda, which broke up his army, and obliged him to fly to Orissa. Here fortune seemed to dawn upon him anew. The governor of Orissa retired at his approach. He made himself master of Burdwan. He next entered Bengal, and defeated its Subadhar. He then marched to Bahar, which also yielded to his arms; and the impregnable fortress of Rotas, of which the governor came to deliver the keys into his hands, presented to him the inestimable advantage of a place of security for his family. In the mean time, the imperial army advanced. That of Shah Jehan was routed, in spite of all his exertions, and he again fled towards Deccan. All men now deserted him. After some time spent in eluding his pursuers; his spirits sunk, and he wrote a contrite letter to his father. Pardon was obtained, but with an order to deliver up the forts which were held in his name, and to repair with his family to Agra. That part alone of the command which regarded his own person, he endeavoured to elude, alleging the shame he should feel toBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1615-28. behold the face of an injured sovereign and father; and occupied himself under the guise of pleasure in travelling with a few attendants, through different parts of the empire. During this rebellion Abbas, the Persian Shah, attacked and conquered Candahar. The Usbecks also penetrated to Ghizni, but were successfully resisted, and compelled to retreat.
The general to whose valour and conduct, on the late extraordinary and critical occasions, the Emperor owed his success, was Mohâbet, from whom, also, on many former emergencies, he had reaped the most important services. The first movement in the breast of Jehangire was gratitude to his benefactor. But Mohâbet possessed a dangerous enemy in Noor Mahl. The slave, she said, who had power to keep the crown upon the head of the Emperor, had power to take it off. Fear is nearly allied to hatred in the breast of an emperor. The power of Mohâbet was curtailed; offensive mandates were addressed to him; a strong fort, which he held, was transferred to a creature of the Sultana. He was commanded to court. His friends represented the danger; but an angry and more peremptory order following his apology, Mohâbet resolved to obey. Five thousand Rajputs, who had served with him in the imperial army, offered themselves for his escort. When Mohâbet approached the imperial camp, he was ordered to stop, till he should account for the revenues of Bengal, and the plunder acquired in the recent battle. Mohâbet, deeply affected with this injurious treatment, sent his own son-in-law to the Emperor to represent his loyalty, and expose the injustice of his enemies. His son-in-law was seized in the royal square, stript of his clothes, bastinadoed, covered with rags, placed backwards on a horse, of the most miserable description, BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1615-28.and sent out of the camp amid the shouts and insults of the rabble. Mohâbet separated his retinue from the camp; and resolved to watch his opportunity. Next morning, the royal army began to cross the bridge which lay upon the river Jylum, or Behut, on the road between Lahore and Cabul. The greater part of the army had now passed, and the royal tents were yet unstruck; when Mohâbet, with two thousand of his Rajputs, galloped to the bridge, and set it on fire. Hastening thence, with a few followers, to the royal quarters; he secured the person of the Emperor, and conveyed him without opposition to his camp. Noor Mahl, in the mean time, contrived to make her escape. Next day Asiph Jah, the vizir, made an obstinate attempt to ford the river, and rescue the Emperor; but was repulsed with great slaughter. Unable after this, to keep the army from dispersing, he fled to the castle of New Rotas on the Attock, where he was besieged and soon obliged to surrender at discretion, while his sister the Sultana fled to Lahore. The Emperor was treated by Mohâbet with profound respect; assured that no infringement of his authority was designed; that the necessity alone under which the enemies of Mohâbet had criminally placed him, was the lamented cause of the restraint which his imperial master endured. The generous Mohâbet, who really meant as he spoke, was well aware that for him there was no security, under Jehangire, while influenced and directed by Noor Mahl. She was repairing to the Emperor upon his own request, when met by an escort of Mohâbet, who, under pretence of guarding, kept her a prisoner. He accused her immediately of treason and other high crimes; and the Emperor, on whose feeble mind absence had already effaced in some degree the impression of her charms, signed without much reluctance the order for her execution. She only begged,BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1615-28. that she might have leave, before her death, to kiss the hand of her lord. She was admitted, but in the presence of Mohâbet. She stood in silence. The Emperor burst into tears. “Will you not spare this woman, Mohâbet? See how she weeps.” “It is not for the Emperor of the Moguls,” cried Mohâbet, “to ask in vain.” At a wave of his hand, the guards retired, and she was that instant retored to her former attendants. In a few months Mohâbet restored to the Emperor the full exercise of his authority, and, to show the sincerity of his obedience, dismissed the greater part of his attendants and guards. No sooner did the Sultana conceive him in her power, than she importuned the Emperor for his death. The Emperor had virtue to reject her proposal; but the consequence only was, that she resolved to employ assassination. Jehangire himself discovered to Mohâbet his danger; and he fled without attendants from the camp. The man who had saved the Emperor; and spared both his life and authority, when both were in his hands, was now the object of a command to all the governors of provinces to suffer him no where to lurk in existence; and a price was set on his head. Mohâbet seized a resolution which accorded with the boldness and generosity of his nature. In a mean habit, he secretly entered the camp of Asiph Jah when it was dark, and placed himself in the passage which led from the apartments of the vizir to the haram. He was questioned by the eunuch on guard, who recognized his voice, and carried to Asiph his request to see him on affairs of the utmost importance. Asiph was not ignorant of the baneful effects of his sister’s passions; nor unmoved by the generosity with which Mohâbet had lately treated both her and himself. He took him in BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1628.his arms, and conveyed him in silence to a secret apartment; Mohâbet opened his mind with freedom on the misconduct of the Sultana; the weakness of Jehangire; and the necessity of another sovereign to cure the evils of an afflicted state. “The elder of the princes,” said he, “is a virtuous man, and my friend; but we must not exchange one feeble sovereign for another. I know the merit of Shah Jehan; for I have fought against him; and though his ambition knows no restraint either of nature or justice, his vigour will prevent intestine disorders, and give power to the laws.” The views of Asiph, whose daughter was the favourite wife of Shah Jehan, corresponded, it seems, with those of Mohâbet: a plan of co-operation was concerted at that moment; and Mohâbet, with letters from the vizir, retired to the court of the Rana of Odipore, to wait for events.
The death of the prince Purvez, which happened soon after, of an apoplexy; and the death of Jehangire, which followed at a short interval, saved the conspirators from many difficulties, and probably crimes. It was found, when the will of the Emperor was opened, that he had named Shariar, his youngest son, successor; at the instigation of the Sultana, whose daughter, by her first husband, that prince had espoused. As a temporary expedient, the vizir placed Dawir Buksh, the son of the late prince Chusero, upon the throne; but at the same time dispatched to Mohâbet the concerted signal for commencing operations in behalf of Shah Jehan. Asiph conquered the troops of Shariar, and put out his eyes. Shah Jehan proceeded towards Agra; and every obstacle was removed by the death of Dawir Buksh. Shah Jehan was proclaimed Emperor of the Moguls in the beginning of the year 1628.
He began his reign by removing all danger of competition. The whole of the male posterity of the BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1628.house of Timur, with the exception of himself and his sons, were dispatched by the dagger or the bow-string. His sons were four in number; Dara surnamed Shêko, Suja, Aurungzebe, and Morad; the eldest, at this time, thirteen; the youngest, four years of age. Even the daughters of Shah Jehan were important actors in the scenes of his eventful reign. They were three in number, women of talents and accomplishments, as well as beauty. The eldest, Jehânara, was her father’s favourite, with a boundless influence over his mind; lively, generous, open; and attached to her brother Dara, whose disposition corresponded with her own. The second, Roshenrai Begum, was acute, artful, intriguing, and from conformity of character, favoured Aurungzebe. The gentleness of Suria Bânu, the youngest, kept her aloof from the turbulence of political intrigue and contention.
The two chiefs, Asiph and Mohâbet, who had conducted Shah Jehan to the throne, and were the most able and popular men of the empire, were appointed, the first, vizir; the latter, commander-in-chief of the forces. Through the wide dominions of the Shah, Lodi, who commanded the army in Deccan, was the only disobedient chief. Even he submitted, as soon as an army approached.
The dissensions and weakness usually attending a change of sovereign in the disjointed governments of the East, persuaded the leader of the Usbecks, that conquests might be achieved in Hindustan. Though Abbas still reigned in Persia, and the Usbecks had lately shed their blood in torrents, in disputes about the succession to their throne, they still possessed the regions of the Oxus, of which Abbas had in vain attempted to deprive them. Ten thousand horse, with a train of artillery, penetrated through the mountains BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1632.into Cabul. They first laid siege to the fortress of Zohâc; but, finding it strong and well defended, proceeded to Cabul. The city made a vigorous resistance; but was at last reduced to extremity. The defenders, resolving however upon one desperate struggle, sallied forth, and repulsed the enemy, who evacuated the province, before Mohâbet, on his march from Deccan, whither he had been sent for the subjugation of Lodi, could reach the scene of action.
The disobedience of the Rajah of Bundelcund, who was so imprudent as to take offence at an increase of tribute, was chastised by an overwhelming force. But the heart of the generous Mohâbet was gained by the bravery of his enemy; and he obtained for him pardon and restoration.
All the merit of Mohâbet, and all his services, only inflamed the dark suspicions which usually haunt the mind of an Oriental despot. Shah Jehan regarded him with terror; and by such steps as it appeared safe to venture upon, proceeded to deprive him of his power.
The jealous and revengeful passions of the Emperor involved him in difficulties through another channel. When Lodi submitted upon terms, he was appointed to the government of a province, but not forgiven. He was now ordered to court, and received with so much studied insult, that both his pride and his prudence taught him to look for safety in his independence alone. He escaped with much difficulty; was reduced to the deepest distress; but, having talents and perseverance, he baffled the imperial pursuers, and reached Deccan. The resources which such a man as Lodi might find in the south made the Emperor tremble on his throne. He raised a large army; placed himself at its head; hastened to the scene of action; and engaged in those struggles for the subjugation of Deccan, which formed so large aBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1632. portion of the business of this, and of the following reign.
Since the fall of Ahmednuggur, at the close of the reign of Akbar, the following are the principal events which had taken place in Deccan. The territories of the Nizam Shawee or Ahmednuggur sovereignty were divided between Mallek Umber, who possessed the country from the Telingana frontier to within eight miles of Ahmednuggur, and four of Dowlatabad; and Rajoo Minnaun, who ruled from Dowlatabad northward to the borders of Guzerat, and southward to within twelve miles of Ahmednuggur; while Mortiza II. a prince of the royal house of Ahmednuggur, with the empty name of sovereign, was allowed to hold the fortress of Ouseh, with a few villages to yield him subsistence. Perpetual contests subsisted between the usurpers; and Umber succeeded at last in taking Rajoo prisoner, and seizing his dominions. Umber was now a sovereign of high rank among the princes of Deccan, governed his dominions with wisdom, and, exacting something more than respect from the kings of Beejapore and Golconda, held in check the arms of Jehângîre himself. He built the city of Gurkeh, now called Aurungabad, five coss from Dowlatabad, and died, two years before the present expedition of Shah Jehan, at eighty years of age, leaving his dominions the best cultivated, and the happiest, region in India. Futteh Khan, the son of Umber, succeeded him. Mortiza II., still alive, got him by treachery into his power; and recovered once more to the house of Nizam Beheree the remaining part of the Ahmednuggur territories. He did not retain them long; Futteh Khan regained his liberty and ascendancy; and, with the concurrence of Shah Jehan, whom he BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1632.consulted, put Mortiza to death; and placed his son, only ten years of age, upon a nominal throne.1
The Beejapore and Golconda sovereignties remained nearly in the same situation in which they had been found and left by Akbar. Mahomed Adil Shah was now on the throne of the former; Abdoolla Koottub Shah, on that of the latter kingdom.2
The Emperor arrived at Burrahanpore, the capital of Candesh, and sent his mandates to the princes of Deccan, to disband their forces, deliver up Lodi, and make their submissions in person, on pain of destruction. The celerity of the Emperor had allowed to Lodi too little time to make the preparations which resistance to so formidable an enemy required. But he had already engaged the three sovereigns of Deccan in a confederacy for his support, and had influence to make them reject or evade the commands of the Emperor. He was entrusted with a body of troops, and, seizing the passes of the mountains, opposed the entrance of the Mogul army into Golconda. The Emperor, impatient of delay, removed his general, and commanded the vizir to take upon himself the charge of destroying Lodi, and chastising the insolence of the princes of Deccan. The princes were already tired of the war, and alarmed by its dangers. The reputation and power of the vizir augmented their apprehensions. Lodi was deserted by all on the day of battle, except by a few chiefs, his friends, who adhered to him, with their retinues. With these he posted himself on an advantageous ground; and long arrested victory against the whole might of the imperialBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1640-55. arms. A neighbouring Rajah, to gain the favour of the Emperor, set upon him unexpectedly, as he was pursuing his way to some place of safety, and he lost his brave son with the greater part of his followers. A party of those who were sent in all directions to scour the country, at last came upon him in a place from which there was no retreat; and he fell defending himself to the last extremity. Shah Jehan exhibited the most indecent joy when assured of his destruction; the measure of his terrors, while this brave man was alive. After the conquest of Lodi, the war in Deccan was little else than a series of ravages. The princes were able to make little resistance. A dreadful famine, from several years of excessive drought, which prevailed throughout India and a great part of Asia, added its horrid evils to the calamities which overwhelmed the inhabitants of Deccan. The princes sued for peace, and the Emperor agreed to withdraw his army, which he now found it difficult to subsist, retaining, as a security for good behaviour, the forts which had fallen into his hands.
During the famine, religion had made the Hindus desert cultivation, and betake themselves to the supplications, penances, and ceremonies, pleasing to their gods. The calamities which sprung from this act of devotion raised the indignation of Shah Jehan. Though no fanatic in his own religion, he pronounced that “an army of divinities who, so far from benefitting their votaries, led them to inflict upon themselves worse evils than the wrath of an enemy, were unfit to be endured in his dominions.” The Hindus however took arms in defence of their gods; and after some unavailing and unhappy efforts, he desisted, declaring, “that a prince who wishes to have subjects BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1640–55.must take them with all the trumpery and baubles of their religion.”
The Portuguese, who had established themselves at Hoogley, in Bengal, and whose presumption rose with their success, gave displeasure to the Subahdar. He transmitted a complaint to the Emperor. “Expel those idolaters from my dominions;” was the laconic answer. The Portuguese defended themselves bravely. When compelled to lay down their arms, the principal evil which they were doomed to suffer, was, to see their religious images broken and destroyed. To this affair succeeded a second revolt of the Rajah of Bundelcund, who warded off the destruction now decreed for him with obstinate bravery for two years. The third son of the Emperor, Aurungzebe, with an experienced general for his guide, had the nominal command of the army, though only thirteen years of age; and showed that ardour in the work of destruction which distinguished his riper years.
When the Emperor marched from the borders of Deccan, he offered the government of Candesh and of the frontier army, for which he saw that great talents were required, to the Vizir, who, fearing the consequences of absence from the court, recommended successfully the virtues and capacity of Mohâbet. Adil Shah, the King of Beejapore, threatened to wrest Dowlatabad from Futteh Khan, who governed in the name of the young Shah of Ahmednuggur. To prevent the annexation of this important fortress to the dominions of his rival, Futteh Khan offered it to Shah Jehan, and Mohâbet marched to receive possession. Futteh Khan repented of his offer; and Mohâbet laid siege to the fortress. Dowlatabad is a place of great natural strength, standing upon a detached and precipitous rock, and had been fortified with the highest efforts of Oriental skill; but famine at last made Futteh submit. The young prince, his master,BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1640–55. was carried a prisoner to Gualior. Futteh Khan was allowed to retain his private property, and was destined to become one of the high Omrahs of the empire; but being seized with insanity, the consequence of a wound formerly received in his head, he was carried to Lahore, where he lived many years on a liberal pension. The fall of Dowlatabad put a period to the dynasty of Nizam Shah, which had swayed the sceptre of Ahmednuggur for 150 years.1 Mohâbet, resolving to pursue the reduction of Deccan, marched towards Telingana, and laid siege to a fortress; but falling sick, and finding himself unable to superintend the operations of the army, he withdrew the troops to Burrahanpore, where he died at an advanced age.
The tranquillity of the empire permitted the ambition of Shah Jehan to attach itself to the subjugation of Deccan. He began to march from Agra. That time might be afforded to the governors of the provinces for joining him with their troops, his progress was purposely slow. In rather less than a year he arrived at Dowlatabad with an accumulated army. This great host was divided into twelve bodies, and poured upon the kingdoms of Golconda and Beejapore, with orders not to spare the severities of war: “because war (such was the reflection of Shah Jehan) was the scourge of humanity, and compassion served only to prolong its evils.” One hundred and fifteen towns and fortresses were taken in the course of a year. The unfortunate sovereigns were overwhelmed with calamity; and solicited peace on any terms. It was granted; but on condition that they should resign BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1640-55.their dominions, and be contented to hold them as tributaries of the Mogul. The province of Candesh, with the army in Deccan, was left under the command of the son of the late Mohâbet, an accomplished chief. But he died in a little time, and Aurungzebe, the Emperor’s aspiring son, was appointed to succeed him.
About this time a refractory Rajah of Berar drew upon himself the imperial arms. That large district of Hindustan was regularly subdued; and bestowed as a Subah upon the successful general. Another event yielded high satisfaction to the Emperor. The province of Candahar, which had been wrested from the Moguls by the power of Abbas, Shah of Persia, was now recovered by the treachery of its governor, disgusted with the cruel and capricious sway of Sefi, the successor of Abbas on the Persian throne.
Of the operations next in order it is to be lamented that our information is very imperfect. The province of Bengal, we are told, was invaded from the kingdom of Assam, the enemy descending the Brahmapootra in boats till its junction with the Ganges below Dacca. The Subahdar of Bengal experienced little difficulty in repelling the invaders; and, not contented with an easy triumph, pursued them into their own country, took possession of several forts, and reduced some provinces; but he was obliged to return for want of subsistence, and suffered extremely in his retreat by the commencement of the rains and the badness of the roads. It is related also, that the kingdom of Tibet was reduced about this time by another of the generals of Shah Jehan, who was delighted to conquer in regions, which the arms of his predecessor had never reached. But to these conquests no effects are ascribed; and of that which is said to have been accomplished in Tibet we are told neither the place, nor the extent, nor the circumstances, neither theBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1640-55. road by which the army was led to it, nor that by which it was conducted back.
The numerous subjects of Shah Jehan now enjoyed a tranquillity and happiness such as had seldom, if ever, been experienced in that portion of the globe. The governors and officers, in every part of his dominions, were strictly watched; and not only their obedience to himself, but their duty to his subjects, was vigorously enforced. His reign is celebrated for the exact execution of the laws. And the collection of the revenue, which affects so deeply the condition of the people, and had, in the time of Akbar, been very much improved, was advanced to greater perfection under the diligent administration of Shah Jehan.1
This tranquillity was scarcely affected by an incursion of the Usbecks into Cabul, the governor of which not only repulsed them, but, following the invaders, ravaged their country as far as Balk, and returned with considerable booty. This success of the governor of Cabul encouraged him to make an incursion into the territory of the Usbecks the following year. But he was on the point of paying dear for his temerity, his communications being intercepted, and his retreat rendered in the highest degree dangerous and difficult. The Emperor himself was, at last, infected with the ambition of conquering the Usbecks. His BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1640-55.youngest son, Morad, was sent with an army, and over-ran the country without much difficulty; but offended his father by returning from his command, not only without, but contrary to, orders. The Usbeck sovereign had fled into Persia, but one of his sons solicited and obtained the co-operation of the kindred tribes beyond the Oxus. Aurungzebe was sent to cope with the new adversary; and his talents, and persevering courage were not more than necessary. In a desperate battle victory hung suspended, and fortune was more than once on the point of declaring against the Moguls. After much difficulty, and much loss, the country was indeed subdued; but its ancient sovereign, writing a most submissive letter to the Emperor, was, on promise of a slight tribute, reinstated in his dominions.
It was mortifying to the Emperor, in so high a tide of his power, that Candahar, regarded as the key of his dominions on the side of Persia, was wrested from his hands. Shah Abbas the second had succeeded the wretched Sefi, on the throne of Persia: and taking advantage of the removal of the Mogul troops from the northern provinces, and of the subjugation of the Usbecks, which seemed to deliver those provinces from danger, he marched towards Candahar with a great force, and obtained the city by capitulation, before the Mogul army was able to arrive. The strongest efforts were made for its recovery. Aurungzebe besieged it two several times; and Dara, the eldest son of the Emperor, once. It baffled the operations of both.
The most memorable transaction in the reign of Shah Jehan was the renewal of the war in Deccan. The frontier provinces, and the army appointed to hold in check the sovereigns of the south, had been entrusted to the command of Aurungzebe; but the suspicions and jealousy of his father and brothersBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1640-55. had made them seek occasions to remove him, at one time to command in Guzerat, at another in the war against the Usbecks; he had still, however, found means to regain that important government, and was at Dowlatabad when an occasion offered which a mind like his was not apt to despise. A chief, in the service of the king of Golconda, who had carried the arms of that sovereign against the Rajahs of the Carnatic, and added extensive districts to his dominions, fell, at last, from apprehension of his power, under the hatred of his master; and perceived that his life was no longer safe. He transmitted private intelligence to Arungzebe of his readiness to co-operate with him in surprising the city of Hyderabad, not far from Golconda, where the sovereign resided, and where his treasures were deposited. Aurungzebe, covering his designs under the pretence of an embassy, was admitted into the city, but the king discovered the treachery in sufficient time to make his escape to Golconda; and as Hyderabad was set on fire in the confusion of the attack, the greater part of the riches which had tempted Aurungzebe was consumed in the flames. Siege was laid to Golconda; but orders arrived from court, suggested by the jealousies which there prevailed, that the king of Golconda should be offered terms of peace. The troops were withdrawn, after the beautiful daughter of the king had been given in marriage to the eldest son of Aurungzebe.
The chief, at whose instigation Aurungzebe had undertaken the expedition, was the famous Emir Jumla, born in a village near Ispahan in Persia, and of parents so extremely poor that they had scarcely the means of procuring him instruction to read. A diamond merchant, who travelled to Golconda, carried him to BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1640-55.that city as a servant or clerk; at this place he left his master, and began to trade on his own account. With the first of his gains he purchased a place in the service of the king. His talents and address attracted favour; and he ascended by rapid gradations to the summit of command. During his public services he forgot not the arts of private acquisition; he had vessels trading to various places, and farmed under borrowed names the whole of the diamond mines. He greatly added to those riches by his successful wars in Carnatic; and was supposed to posses enormous treasures at the time when he connected himself with Aurungzebe. That prince immediately received him into his inmost friendship; and sought the benefit of his counsels and co-operation in his most important affairs. As it appeared that his talents might be employed advantageously for Aurungzebe at the court of his father, he was sent with such recommendations as helped him quickly to the highest rank. When the office of vizir became vacant, the remonstrances of Dara could not prevent the Emperor from bestowing it upon Jumla, in the sordid hope of receiving, upon his appointment, a magnificent present, suited to the riches he was supposed to possess.
Meanwhile, a new event demanded the presence of Emir Jumla in Deccan. The king of Beejapore died: and his Omrahs, without consulting the Emperor, placed his son upon the throne. The Emperor, who now affected to reckon the sovereigns of Deccan among his dependants, construed this neglect into a crime, which his new vizir was sent with an army to chastise. He joined Aurungzebe at Burrahanpore; and that ambitious, but artful prince, affected to act with profound submission under the orders of his father’s vizir. These two leaders understood one another. The war was conducted with concert and ability.BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1640-55. The city of Beder was taken. The Beejapore army was defeated in the field. Calburga, the ancient capital of the Deccanee empire, submitted; and the King threw himself at the feet of the conqueror. After settling the terms of submission which were severe, Aurungzebe returned to Burrahanpore, and the vizir was recalled to Agra.1
After these events, the health of the Emperor excited alarm;2 when the flames, which had for some time been with difficulty compressed, broke out with irresistible fury. To every brother under an Oriental despotism the sons of the reigning monarch look, as either a victim, or a butcher; and see but one choice between the Musnud and the grave. The usual policy of Oriental fear is to educate the royal youths to effeminacy and imbecility in the haram; but the sons of Shah Jehan had been led into action, and indulged with the possession of power. They were not all men of capacity; but they were all ardent, brave, and aspiring; and each thought himself worthy of empire. Dara, the eldest, gallant, open, sincere, but impetuous, thoughtless, and rash, was destined to the sovereignty by his father, and generally kept near himself; Sujah, the second, was now Subahdar of Bengal, with more prudence and discretion than his elder brother, but far inferior in those qualities to the deep and dissembling Aurungzebe, who BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1655-58.had from an early age affected a character of piety, pretending to hate the business and vanities of the world, and to desire only a retreat, where he might practise the austerities and devotions pleasing to God. Morâd, the youngest of the sons of Shah Jehan, was conspicuous, chiefly, for his courage; popular, from his affability and generosity; but credulous and weak. When his father’s illness gave fire to the combustibles which filled the imperial house, this Prince was serving as Subahdar in Guzerat.
As the illness of the Emperor was from the first regarded as mortal, Dara took into his hands without hesitation the reins of government; and with his usual precipitation and violence began to show what he apprehended from his brothers, and what his brothers had to expect from him. All communication with them was interdicted on pain of death. Their agents, papers, and effects at the capital were seized. Jumla, and such of the other high officers of the state as were suspected of attachment to any of the younger princes, were removed from their situations. And orders were issued to place the imperial forces in a state of preparation for the field.
Suja, who was nearest the scene of action, was the first to appear in hostile array. From the government of the richest province of the empire, which he had severely pillaged, he was master of a large treasure, the best sinew of war; and he had collected an army with a view to that very contest which was now impending. Solimân, the eldest son of Dara, was dispatched without loss of time to oppose him; found means to cross the Ganges unexpectedly; surprised the camp of Suja, and forced him to retreat precipitately to Mongeer; where he was immediately besieged.
In the mean time, Aurungzebe was employing the resources of his fertile mind for strengthening hisBOOK III. Chap. 4. 655-58. hands, and making sure his blow. He persuaded Morâd, that with regard to himself his views were directed to heaven, not to a throne; but as his brothers Dara and Suja, compared with Morad, were unworthy to reign, he was desirous from friendship of aiding him with all his resources; after which the only boon he should crave would be to retire into obscurity, and devote his days and his nights to the service of his Maker.
Though Emir Jumla had been dismissed from the vizirit, he was sent, through some influence which Dara could not resist, to the command of an army in Deccan, where it was the business of Aurungzebe to obtain the benefit of his talents and resources. But the family of Jumla, detained at Delhi, still retained that chieftain in bonds. The expedient which presented itself to the mind of Aurungzebe, fertile in contrivances, was, to seize the person of Emir Jumla. The appearance of constraint would deprive Dara of a pretext for taking revenge on his family. The sudden resentment of his army could be appeased by promises and bribes. The stratagem succeeded, and the talents and army of Jumla were both added to the resources of Aurungzebe.
Having concerted with his brother, from Guzerat, to join him at Oojeen, he took the route from Burrahanpore, and arrived at the Nerbudda, where he learned that Jesswint Sing, who had married the daughter of the Rana of Odipore, and through her succeeded to most of the dominions of her father, was in possession of the city of Oojeen, and prepared to dispute the passage of the army. The Rajah lost the favourable opportunity of attacking the troops of Aurungzebe, when, spent with heat and fatigue, they first arrived on the banks of the Nurbudda. The BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1655-58.wily Mogul delayed some days, till joined by Morad; when the brothers crossed the river, and, after a well contested action, put the Rajah to flight. Aurungzebe, who never trusted to force what he could effect by deceit, had previously debauched the Mahomedans in the army of the Rajah, by disseminating among them the idea that help to the infidels was treason to the faithful.
In the mean time, the Emperor Shah Jehan had recovered from the violent effects of his disorder; and resumed the exercise of his authority. Dara, who during the royal illness had behaved with tenderness and fidelity truly filial, and delayed not a moment to restore the reins of government when his father was capable to receive them, was exalted to a still higher place in the affections of the Emperor; who dispatched his commands to the Princes Aurungzebe and Morad to return to their respective governments. Aurungzebe was little inclined to intermit the efforts he had so happily begun; but to make war upon his father, beloved both by the soldiers and people, was to ruin his cause, and make even his own army desert him. Under colour of refreshing his troops, he waited several days at Oojeen; and the impetuosity of Dara, which the counsels of Shah Jehan were unable to restrain, speedily afforded him a pretext to cover his designs. The news of the passage of the Nerbudda, and of the defeat of the Rajah, kindled Dara into a flame. He marched out of Agra at the head of the imperial forces; and enabled Aurungzebe to give out that he fought by necessity; against his brother merely, not his father; and in self-defence. Dara sent to his son Soliman, who was besieging Suja in Mongeer, to make what terms he could with that Sultan, and march with all expedition to join him against Aurungzebe. Suja was allowed to resume the government of Bengal: Soliman hastened towardBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1655-58. the new scene of action: And, could the impatience of Dara, have waited, till joined by his son, who was beloved by the soldiers, and at once prudent and brave, the career of Aurungzebe might perhaps have been closed. The emperor trembled at the prospect of a battle; he threatened to take the field in person, which would have been effectual; because no authority would have been obeyed in opposition to his. But the infatuated Dara found means to prevent the execution of this design; and marched to occupy the banks of the river Chumbul, and the passes of the mountains which extend from Guzerat to the Jumna. Aurungzebe found the passes so strongly guarded, and the enemy so advantageously posted, that he durst not attack them; and fearing the approach of Soliman, he was thrown into the greatest perplexity. In this situation he received, from a treacherous Omrah in the army of Dara, information of a byeroad among the hills, which would conduct him to an unguarded part of the river. He left his camp standing, to amuse the eyes of Dara; whose first intelligence was, that Aurungzebe was in his rear, and in full march towards the capital. By great exertion Dara threw himself before the enemy, and prepared for action. Dara appeared to most advantage in the field of battle. His bravery animated his troops. The impetuous gallantry of Morad, and the cool and inventive intrepidity of Aurungzebe, were balanced by the spirit of the imperial army and its leader. The elephant of Dara was wounded; and in an evil hour he was persuaded to dismount. The troops, missing the imperial houda, suspected treachery, and the death of their general; and every man began to provide for himself. Aurungzebe found himself master of the field of battle, at the moment when he despaired BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1658.of any longer being able to make his soldiers maintain the contest.
Dara fled to Agra, and, after a short interview with his father, departed with his family and a few attendants to Delhi, where some imperial troops and treasures were placed at his disposal, and whence he proposed to effect a junction with Soliman. All the cunning and diligence of Aurungzebe were now exerted to the utmost, to improve his victory. He affected to treat Morâd as Emperor; and began to make preparations for himself, as intending immediately to set out on a religious pilgrimage to Mecca. In the mean time he wrote letters, and exhausted the arts of seduction, to detatch the Omrahs from the cause of Dara. His principal solicitude was to debauch the army of Soliman; which he accomplished so effectually, that the unfortunate Prince found at last he could place no dependance on its obedience, and was not even safe in its power. He fled from his danger; and took shelter with the Rajah of Serinagur, an unconquered kingdom of Hindus, among the northern mountains. The victorious army advanced towards Agra; but the Emperor ordered the gates of the citadel to be shut, and Aurungzebe was still afraid to offer violence to his father. He wrote a letter, replete with the strongest professions of loyalty, and of the most profound submission to his parent and sovereign. The Emperor, with the hope of drawing him into his power, affected to be satisfied, and invited him to his presence. Aurungzebe every day pretended that he was just about to comply; but every day found an excuse for delay. After a series of intrigues, he pretended that to set his mind at ease, in appearing under humiliation and abasement before his father, it was necessary that his son should previously be admitted into the citadel with a guard for his person. The Emperor, who was blinded by his desire to have Aurungzebe in his hands,BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1658. assented to a condition which seemed indispensable. When he found himself a prisoner in the hands of his grandson, his rage and vexation exceeded bounds; and he offered to resign to him the crown, if he would set him at liberty, and join him in defeating the schemes of Aurungzebe. But the youth, though not averse to the prospect of reigning, and not much restrained by the sense of filial duty, refused to comply; and, after some hesitation and delay, Shah Jehan sent the keys of the citadel to Aurungzebe. The hypocrisy of Aurungzebe was not yet renounced. By a letter, which was carefully made public, he declared; that with the utmost grief he had been reduced to these extremities; and that as soon as Dara, to whose crimes every evil was owing, should be disabled from future mischief, the happiest event of his life would be, to restore to his father the plenitude of his power.
To deliver himself from Morad was the next study of Aurungzebe. The friends of that thoughtless prince had at last brought him to look with suspicion upon his brother’s designs; and even to meditate an act which might deliver him finally from so dangerous a rival. The sagacity of Aurungzebe enabled him to discover the intended blow, which he contrived to elude at the very moment, when it was aimed and ready to fall. In his turn he inveigled Morad to an entertainment, and, having intoxicated him with wine, withdrew his arms while he slept; seized him without any commotion, and sent him a prisoner to the castle of Agra.1
BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1658.It was now useless, if not hurtful to the cause of Aurungzebe, any longer to disavow his ultimate purpose. But he waited till he was importuned by his nobles; and then, on the second of August, 1658, in the garden of Azabâd, near Delhi, pretending to be overcome by their entreaties, he submitted to receive the ensigns of royalty; and assumed the pompous title of Aulum gîr, or Conqueror of the world.
Aulum gîr allowed not what he had already achieved to slacken his efforts in finishing what remained to be done. Dara had taken the route towards Lahore; and had the resources of the northern provinces, Lahore, Multan, and Cabul, at his command: Soliman was ready to descend from the mountains with the assistance of the Rajah of Serinagur, and with a body of adherents who still approached the size of an army: And Suja was master of the rich province of Bengal. Aulum gîr saw, what every skilful leader has seen, that in the coarse business of war, expedition is the grand instrument of success. He hastened toward the Sutledge, from the banks of which Dara retreated upon the news of his approach. Aurungzebe, pressing on, drove him first from the Beyah, then from Lahore, and next from Multan; the unfortunate Prince, who might have resisted with some chance of success, having lost his resolution together with his fortune. From Multan, he fled across the Indus to the mountains of Bicker, when Aurungzebe, declaring the war against him to be closed, left eight thousand horse to pursue him, and returned with haste to Agra.
He had no sooner arrived at Agra, than he learned, what he partly expected, that Suja was already in force, and in full march toward the capital. He sent to his son Mahomed whom he had left at Multan, to join him with all his forces; and in the mean timeBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1658. took the road to Bengal, but by slow marches, till Mahomed came up. Suja intrenched himself near Allahabad; and waited for the arrival of his enemy. Though Suja did not avail himself of all his advantages, he was able to join battle with a fair prospect of success. Nor was this all. In the very heat of the action, the Rajah, Jesswint Sing, who had made his peace with Aurungzebe, and joined him with his forces, turned his arms against him, and fell upon the rear of his army. The dismay and desertion which every unexpected incident scatters through an Indian army began to appear. But the firmness of the usurper recovered the blow. His elephant, which was wounded and began to be ungovernable, he ordered to be chained immoveable by the feet; the soldiers, still beholding the imperial castle opposed to the enemy, were rallied by the generals; Suja committed the same fatal mistake which had ruined Dara; he descended from his elephant, and his army dispersed.
Emir Jumla, the ancient friend of Aurungzebe, who from his place of confinement, or pretended confinement in Deccan, had joined him on the march, performed eminent service in this battle. It is even said, that Aurungzebe, when his elephant became ungovernable, had one foot out of the castle to alight, when Jumla, who was near him on horseback, cried out sternly, “You descend from the throne!” Aurungzebe smiled, had a moment for reflection, and replaced himself in the houda.
Suja and his army fled during the night, while Aurungzebe was in no condition to pursue them. Jesswint Sing, and his rajaputs, who had plundered the camp, had the audacity to wait the attack of BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1658.Aurungzebe the following day; and were routed, but without being obliged to abandon their spoil. Leaving Mahomed with a force to pursue the vanquished Suja, Aurungzebe hurried back to Agra.
The haste was not without a cause. Dara, after having arrived at Bicker, crossed the desert with his family, and arrived in Guzerat, where he gained the governor. Aurungzebe, aware how small a spark might kindle into a flame, among the disaffected rajahs of the mountains, and the distant viceroys and princes of Deccan, was eager to allow the danger no time to augment. He courted Jesswint Sing, who had so recently betrayed him, to prevent his cooperation with Dara: and marched with all expedition to Ajmere. Dara had already seized an important pass, and entrenched himself. Aurungzebe was not a little startled when he first beheld the advantages of the position, and strength of his works. He set in motion his usual engines of treachery and deceit; and by their assistance gained a complete and final victory. Deserted by all, and robbed of his effects, by a body of Mahrattas in his service, Dara fled towards the Indus with his family, who, nearly destitute of attendants, were on the point of perishing in the desert. After many sufferings, he was seized by a treacherous chief, who owed to him his life and fortune; and delivered into the hands of Aurungzebe. His murder was only a few days deferred; during which he was ignominiously exposed about the streets of Delhi.
While the Emperor was engaged in opposing Dara, his son Mahomed and Jumla the Vizir prosecuted the war against Suja. That Prince had fled from the battle to Patna, from Patna to Mongeer, from Mongeer to Rajamahl, and from Rajamahl he was forced to retreat to Tanda. Sujah was still possessed of resources;BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1658. his courage and resolution failed not; and an event occurred which promised a turn in the tide of his affairs. Mahomed had been formerly enamoured of the daughter of Suja; and their union had been projected, before the distractions of the royal family had filled the empire with confusion and bloodshed. It is said that the Princess wrote to Mahomed a letter, reminding him of his former tenderness, and deprecating the ruin of her father. The impatient and presumptuous Mahomed was little pleased with the treatment he sustained at the hands of Aurungzebe; his heart was touched with the tears of the princess; and he resolved to desert the cause of his own father, and join that of hers. He expected that the army, in which he was popular, would follow his example. But the authority and address of Jumla preserved order and allegiance. The news of his son’s defection quickly reached Aulum gîr; who concluded for certain that he had carried the army along with him, and set out in the utmost expedition with a great force for Bengal. In the mean time Jumla attacked the army of Suja, which he defeated; and the conquered Princes retreated to Dacca. Aurungzebe, pursuing his usual policy, wrote a letter to Mahomed, which he took care that the agents of Suja should intercept. It purported to be an answer to one received; offering to accept the returning duty of Mahomed, and to pardon his error, on the performance of a service which was nameless, but seemed to be understood. This letter smote the mind of Suja with incurable distrust. After a time Mahomed was obliged to depart, and with a heavy heart to entrust himself to his unforgiving father. He was immediately immured in Gualior, where, after languishing for some years, he was entrusted with liberty, though BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1658.not with power; but died a short time after.1 Suja was speedily reduced to extremity in Dacca, and having no further means of resistance, fled from the province, and sought refuge in the kingdom of Arracân. But the wretched Rajah, who at once coveted his wealth, and dreaded his pursuers, violated without scruple the laws of hospitality and mercy. Death, in some of the worst of its forms, soon overtook the family of Suja.
During these transactions, rewards, which were too powerful for the virtue of a Hindu, had been offered to the Rajah of Serinagur; and shortly after the ruin of Suja, Solimân, the last object of the fears of Aulum gîr, was delivered into his hands, and added to the number of the prisoners of Gualior.
From the time when Aulum gîr, having subdued all competition for the throne, found himself the undisputed lord of the Mogul empire, the vigilance and steadiness of his administration preserved so much tranquillity in the empire, and so much uniformity in its business, that the historians who describe only wars and revolutions, have found little to do. The most important series of transactions were these which occurred in Deccan; which ceased not during the whole of this protracted reign; laid the foundation of some of the most remarkable of the subsequent events; and had a principal share in determining the form which the political condition of India thereafter assumed. That we may relate these transactions without interruption, we shall shortly premise such of the other transactions handed down to us (for we have no complete history of Aurungzebe) as fell near the beginning of his reign, and merit any regard.
When Aurungzebe marched from Deccan to contendBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1661. for the crown, he left Mahomed Mauzim, his second son, to command in his name. When established upon the throne, it was not altogether without apprehension that he contemplated so vast a power in hands which possibly might turn it against him. Mauzim, aware of the jealous disposition of his father, preserved the utmost humility of exterior; avoided all display, either of wealth or power; was vigilant in business; exact in obeying the commands of the Emperor, and in remitting the revenue and dues of his government. He was recalled, notwithstanding his prudence, and Shaista Khan made viceroy in Deccan. At the same time, Aurungzebe, seeking security for the present, by directing hope to the future, declared Mahomed Mauzim heir to the throne, and changed his name to Shah Aulum, or King of the World.
The third year of his reign was visited with a great famine, a calamity which ravages India with more dreadful severity than almost any other part of the globe. It was occasioned by the recurrence of an extraordinary drought, which in India almost suspends vegetation, and, throughout the principal part of the country, leaves both men and cattle destitute of food. The prudence of Aurungzebe, if his preceding actions will not permit us to call it his humanity, suggested to him the utmost activity of beneficence on this calamitous occasion. The rents of the husbandman, and other taxes, were remitted. The treasury of the Emperor was opened without limit. Corn was bought in the provinces where the produce was least, conveyed to those in which it was most defective; and distributed to the people at reduced prices. The great economy of Aurungzebe, who allowed no expense for the luxury and ostentation BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1665.of a court, and who managed with skill and vigilance the disbursements of the state, afforded him a resource for the wants of his people.
It was before the commencement perhaps of this calamity, that the empire was agitated by the prospect of a fresh revolution from a dangerous sickness of the Emperor.1 The court was full of intrigues; on one hand, for Mauzim, the declared successor; on the other, for Akbar, a young, and even infant son of Aurungzebe. Shah Jehan himself was still alive; and the people in general expected that he would resume the reins of government. But the nation was relieved from its terrors, and from the calamities which too certainly would have fallen upon it. The usurper recovered. But the efforts of Sultan Mauzim, to secure the succession, expressed to the suspicious mind of Aulum gîr, more of the desire to obtain a throne than to preserve a father; and his purpose in regard to the succession, if his declaration in favour of Mauzim had ever been more than a pretence, was from this time understood to have suffered a radical change.
To forward his designs in favour of Akbar, he applied to Shah Jehan, to obtain for that prince, in marriage, the daughter of Dara, who remained in the seraglio of her grandfather. Shah Jehan, though strictly confined in the palace at Agra, had been treated with great respect; retaining his women and servants, and furnished with every amusement in which he was understood to delight. He had not, however, remitted his indignation against Aurungzebe,BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1665. and now sent a haughty and insulting refusal. Aurungzebe had prudence not to force his inclination; and, so far from showing any resentment, redoubled his efforts to soften his mind.
The services of Emir Jumla had been rewarded with the government of Bengal. But the mind of Aurungzebe, and indeed the experience of Oriental government, told him, that he was never safe while there was a man alive, who had power to hurt him. He wished to withdraw the Vizer from his government, but without a rupture, which might raise distrust in the breasts of all his Omrahs. To afford him occupation which would detain his mind from planning defection, he recommended to him a war against the King of Assam, who had broken into Bengal during the distractions of the empire, and still remained unchastised. Jumla, who promised himself both plunder and reputation from this expedition, and whose exploring eye beheld an illustrious path through the kingdom of Assam to the conquest of China, undertook the expedition with alacrity. He ascended the Brahmapootra in boats. The Assamese abandoned the country which lies on the side of the mountains facing Bengal; but the fortress of Azo was garrisoned, and stood an attack. After the reduction of Azo, Jumla crossed the mountains of Assam, vanquished the King who took refuge in his capital, forced him to fly to the shelter of the mountains, and became master of a great part of the kingdom. But the rains came on, which in that kingdom are peculiarly violent and lay the greater part of the level country under water. Jumla found it impossible to subsist his army; and was under the necessity of returning to Bengal. Incredible were the difficulties with which he had to contend; necessaries wanting, BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1665.the roads covered with water, and the enemy every where harassing his retreat. The capacity of Jumla triumphed over all obstructions; he brought back the greater part of the army safe; and wrote to the Emperor that he would next year carry his arms to the heart of China. But the army, on its return, was afflicted with a dysentery, the effect of the hardships it had endured. The general escaped not; and worn out, as he was, with years and fatigue, fell a victim to the violence of the disease. “You,” said the Emperor to the son of Jumla, whom he had recently made generalissimo of the horse, “have lost a father; and I have lost the greatest and most dangerous of my friends.”1
The next event is ludicrous, perhaps, in itself, but of high importance, as an instance of the power of superstition among the weak and credulous inhabitants of India. Of the professors of devotion and penance, going by the name of Fakîrs, one class is distinguished by wandering about the country in crowds, almost naked, pretending to live by mendicity, but stealing, plundering, and even committing murder, wherever prompted by the hope of advantage. In the territory of Marwâr, or Judpore, an old woman, possessed of considerable property, began to enlarge her liberalities towards the Fakîrs. The sturdy beggars crowded around her, to the number of some thousands, and not satisfied with the wealth of their pious patroness, made spoil of the neighbouring country, and rioted in devotion and sensuality at her abode. The people, exasperated by these oppressions, rose repeatedly upon the saints; but were defeated with great slaughter. The idea of enchantment was generated. The people regarded the old woman as a sorceress; and believed that she compounded for her followers a horrid messBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1665. which rendered them proof against human weapons, and invincible. What they were not rendered by enchantments, they were rendered by the belief of them. The Fakîrs, finding themselves, under the auspices of the old woman, too formidable for resistance, assembled in great numbers, and spread their devastations to a wide extent. The Rajah of Marwar attacked them, but was defeated. The collectors of the imperial revenue marched against them with the troops under their command; but sustained a similar disaster. Becoming presumptuous from unexpected success, they resolved on a march to the capital, to the number of twenty thousand plundering saints, with the sacred old woman at their head. About five days’ journey from Agra, they were opposed by a body of imperial troops, under the collector of the district. Him they overcame; and now grasped in their imaginations the whole wealth and authority of the state. They set up their old woman as sovereign. Aurungzebe felt the danger to be serious; for the soldiers were infected with the superstitions of the people; and it was hazardous to the last degree, from the terrors with which they might be disordered, to permit them to engage with the sainted banditti. What was first demanded; an antidote to the religious contagion; was invented by Aurungzebe. His own sanctity was as famous as that of the old woman; he pretended that by means of incantation, he had discovered a counter-enchantment; he wrote with his own hand, certain mysterious words upon slips of paper, one of which, carried upon the point of a spear before each of the squadrons, he declared would render impotent the spells of the enchantress. The Emperor was believed, and though the Fakîrs fought with great desperation, they were all cut to pieces, BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1665.except a few whom the humanity of the general led him to spare. “I find,” said Aurungzebe, “that too much religion among the vulgar is as dangerous as too little in the monarch.”
In the seventh year of the reign of Aurungzebe his father died. The life of Shah Jehan had reached its natural period; but his death did not escape the suspicion of the pousta, that detestable invention of despotic fears.1
After the death of Jumla, the Rajah of Arracan had invaded the contiguous quarter of Bengal, and possessed himself of Chittagong and all the country along the coast to the Ganges. He availed himself of the Portuguese settlers, who were numerous at Chittagong, and of their ships, which abounded in the bay of Bengal, and it is said infested the coast and every branch of the Ganges as plunderers and pirates. These evils it consisted not with the vigilance of Aurungzebe to leave without a cure. A new deputy was appointed for Bengal; an army collected itself at Dacca; and descended the river. The enemy, though master of the forts and strong holds of theBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1668. country, without much resistance retired. The Portuguese were invited to betray them, and made no hesitation by their obedience to purchase for themselves privileges and settlements in Bengal.1
The mistake of a secretary was near involving the empire, not only in hostilities with the whole force of Persia, but in all the horrors of a civil war. Aurungzebe, who had been complimented upon ascending the throne by embassies from the Khan of the Usbeks, and from Abbas II. Shah of Persia, proposed, after settling the affairs of his government, to make the suitable return. The secretary who composed the letters, addressed to the respective sovereigns, inadvertently designated the Shah, by no higher title than belonged to the Khan of the Usbeks. This was interpreted as a meditated insult: and resented by a declaration of hostilities. Aurungzebe wished to explain the mistake, but his ambassador was not admitted even to an audience. His own weapons were tried against him; and he added an illustrious instance to prove, that he who is most practised in the arts of deception is not always the hardest to deceive. Of the Mahomedan army and officers of the Mogul empire, as some were Moguls, some Afghauns, some Turks, and some Usbeks, so a large proportion were Persians, among whom was the Vizir himself. The fidelity of this part of his subjects, Aurungzebe was by no means willing to try, in a war with their native country. A letter was intercepted from Abbas, addressed BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1668.to the Vizir himself, importing that a conspiracy existed among the Persian nobles to seize the Emperor when he should take the field. Aurungzebe was transported with apprehension and rage. He issued a sudden order to the city guards to surround the houses of the Persian Omrahs, which they were forbidden to quit under pain of death. Aurungzebe found himself on the brink of a precipice. The Persian chiefs were numerous and powerful; a common danger united them; the descendants of the Afghaun nobility, who formed a considerable proportion of the men in power, and hated the Moguls, by whom the Afghaun dynasty had been driven from the throne, were very likely to make common cause with the Persians. Even if guilty, he beheld appalling danger in attempting to punish them; but he now reflected that he might have been deceived, and wished only for the means of a decent retreat. He sent for some of the principal Omrahs; but they excused themselves from attendance. All had assembled their friends and dependants; fortified their houses, and waited the appeal to arms. After a suspense of two days, the princess Jehanara arrived. She had been sent for, express, upon the first alarm. The favourite daughter of Shah Jehan, by whom the Persians had always been distinguished and exalted, might render, by her mediation, the most important assistance. After a short conference with the Emperor, she presented herself in her chair at the door of the Vizir. This was an act of supreme confidence and honour. The doors of the mansion flew open; the Vizir hastened to the hall of audience, and prostrated himself at the foot of the throne. Aurungzebe descended, and embraced him. Convinced that he had been deceived, he now sought only to obliterate all memory of the offence; and with some loss of reputation, and a remainder of disgust in the breasts of some of the Omrahs, he recovered himself from the dangerous position in which a moment of rashness had placed him. Shah Abbas in the mean time, with a large army, was upon his march toward the confines of India; and Aurungzebe, who had sent forward his son Mauzim to harass the enemy, but not to fight, made rapid preparations to meet him in person. Shah Abbas, however, died in the camp, before he arrived at the scene of action. His successor wished to mount the throne, free from the embarrassment of an arduous war; and Aurungzebe was more intent upon gaining conquests in Deccan than in Persia. An accommodation, therefore, was easily made.1
These transactions were all contained within the first ten years of the reign of Aurungzebe, during which several events had already occurred in Deccan. A new enemy had arisen, whose transactions were not as yet alarming, but who had already paved the way to revolutions of the greatest importance. This was Sevagee, the founder of the Mahratta empire; a power which began when the empire of the Moguls was in its utmost strength; and rose to greatness upon its ruins. In the mountainous regions which extended from the borders of Guzerat to Canara, beyond the island of Goa, lived a race of Hindus, who resembled the mountaineers in almost all the other parts of Hindustan, that is, were a people still more rude and uncivilized than the inhabitants of the plains, and at the same time far more hardy and warlike. They consisted of various tribes or communities, to some of which (it appears not to how many) the name of Mahratta, afterwards extended to them all, was applied.2 Sevagee was the son BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1668.of Shahjee, a Hindu in the service of Ibrahim Adil Shah, King of Beejapore, from whom he received a jahgire in the Carnatic, with a command of ten thousand horse. Sevagee, when very young, was sent along with his mother to reside at Poonah, of which as a Zemindary, his father had obtained a grant, and of which he entrusted the management, together with the charge of his wife and son, to one of his officers, named Dadajee Punt. The mother of Sevagee was an object of aversion to her husband; and the son shared in the neglect which was the lot of his mother. He grew up under Dadajee, to vigour both of body and mind; and at seventeen years of age engaged a number of banditti, and ravaged the neighbouring districts. Dadajee, afraid of being made to answer for these enormities, and unable to restrain them, swallowed poison, and died; when Sevagee took possession of the Zemindary, increased the number of his troops, and raised contributions in all the neighbouring districts. Such was the commencement of the fortunes of Sevagee.1
Of his ancestry, the following is the account presented to us. His father was the son of Malojee; and Malogee was the son of Bauga Bonsla, a son ofBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1668. the Rana of Odipoor, by a woman of an inferior caste. The degradation of Bauga Bonsla, from the impurity and baseness of his birth, drove him to seek, among strangers, that respect which he was denied at home. He served, during a part of his life, a Rajah, possessing a Zemindaree in the province of Candesh; and afterwards purchased for himself a Zemindaree in the neighbourhood of Poonah, where he resided till his death. His son Malojee entered the service of a Mahratta chief, in which he acquired so much distinction as to obtain the daughter of his master in marriage for his son. This son was Shajee, and Sevagee was the fruit of the marriage. But Shajee, having quarrelled with his father-in-law, repaired to the king of Beejapore, and received an establishment in Carnatic. He here joined the Polygar of Mudkul in a war upon the Rajah of Tanjore; and having defeated the Rajah, the victors quarrelled about the division of the territory. Shajee defeated the Polygar, took possession of both Mudkul and Tanjore; and having married another wife, by whom he had a son named Ekogee, he left him and his posterity Rajahs of Tanjore, till they sunk into dependants of the East India Company.1
BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1668.When Sevagee, upon the death of Dadajee, seized the Zemindaree of Poonah, his father was too much occupied in the East to be able to interfere. Aurungzebe was at the same moment hastening his preparations for the war with his brothers; and invited Sevagee to join his standards. The short-sighted Hindu insulted his messenger, and reproached Aurungzebe himself with his double treason against a King and a father. He improved the interval of distraction in the Mogul empire; took the strong fortress of Rayree, or Râjegur, which he fixed upon as the seat of his government; and added to it Porundeh, Jegneh, and several districts dependant on the King of Beejapore. The threats of that power, now little formidable, restrained not his career of plunder and usurpation. He put to death, by treachery, the Rajah of Jaowlee, and seized his territory and treasure; plundered the rich and manufacturing city of Kallean; took Madury, Purdhaungur, Rajapore, Sungarpore, and an island belonging to the Portuguese. At length the Beejapore government sent an army to suppress him. He deceived the general with professions of repentance and offers of submission; stabbed him to the heart at a conference; cut to pieces his army deprived of its leader; and rapidly took possession of the whole region of Kokun or Concan, the country lying between the Ghauts and the sea, fromBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1668. Goa to Daman.
When Aurungzebe, upon the defeat of his rivals, sent Shaista Khan, with the rank of Ameer al Omrah, or head of the Omrahs, to command in Deccan, the Rajah Jesswunt Sing, who had redeemed his treachery in the battle against Suja, by his subsequent dereliction of the cause of Dara, was invested about the same time with the government of Guzerat. As soon as Aurungzebe had leisure to attend to the progress of Sevagee, the viceroy of Guzerat was commanded to co-operate with the viceroy of Deccan, in reducing and chastising the Mahratta adventurer. Sevagee could not resist the torrent which now rolled against him. The strong fortress of Jegneh was taken. The Ameer al Omrah advanced to Poonah, where he took up his residence. Here a band of assassins made their way to his bed in the night. He himself was wounded in the hand, by which he warded off a blow from his head, and his son was slain. The assassins escaped, and Sevagee himself was understood to have been among them. Circumstances indicated treachery; and the suspicions of Shaista Khan fell upon Jesswunt Sing. These two generals were recalled; and after an interval of two years, during which the Prince Mahomed Mauzim, or Shah Aulum, held the government of Deccan, the two generals, Jey Sing and Dilleer Khan were sent to prosecute the war against the Mahratta chief. Jey Sing was the Rajah of Abnir,1 and Dilleer was a Patan Omrah, who both BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1668.had obtained high rank as generals in the service of Shah Jehan; and being chosen for their merit as the fittest to guide and enlighten Soliman, when sent against Suja, were the chiefs whom Aurungzebe had gained to betray their master, and debauch his army.
Before the arrival of these generals, Sevagee had with great address surprised and plundered Surat; a city of importance and renown; the chief part of the Mogul empire; and that from which the holy pilgrims commenced their voyage to the tomb of the prophet. The operations of the new commanders turned the tide in Mahratta affairs. The armies of Sevagee were driven from the field; his country was plundered; and Poorundeh, a strong fortress, in which he had placed his women and treasures, was besieged. It was reduced to the last extremity, when Sevagee, unarmed, presented himself at one of the outposts of the imperial camp, and demanded to be led to the general. Professing conviction of his folly, in attempting to contend with the Mogul power, he craved the pardon of his disobedience, and offered to the Emperor his services, along with twenty forts which he would immediately resign. Jeysing embraced the proposal; and Sevagee obeyed the imperial order,BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1668. to wait upon the Emperor at Delhi. Sevagee had offered to conduct the war in Candahar against the Persians. Had he been received with the honour to which he looked, he might have been gained to the Mogul service, and the empire of the Mahrattas would not have begun to exist. But Aurungzebe, who might easily have dispatched, resolved to humble the adventurer. When presented in the hall of audience, he was placed among the inferior Omrahs; which affected him to such a degree that he wept and fainted away. He now meditated, and with great address contrived, the means of escape. Leaving his son, a boy, with a Brahmen whom he knew at Mutterah, and who afterwards conducted him safe to his father, he travelled as a pilgrim to Juggernaut, and thence by the way of Hyderabad to his own country.1
The prince Shah Aulum, and the Rajah Jesswunt Sing, were sent to supersede the Rajah Jey Sing, who was suspected of an understanding with Sevagee, and died on his way to the imperial presence.2 The change was favourable to Sevagee; because Jesswunt Sing, who had but little affection to the imperial service, allowed the war to linger, and discontents and jealousies to breed in the army. Sevagee was not inactive. Immediately upon his arrival he took royal BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1668.titles, and struck coins in his name. His troops, in consequence of his previous arrangements, had been well kept on foot during his absence; and he attacked immediately the Mogul territories and forts. Surat was again plundered; he recovered all the forts which he had resigned, and added some new districts to his former possessions.
The weakness of Beejapore made him look upon the territories of that declining state as his easiest prey. Neither upon that, however, nor any other enterprise, could he proceed with safety, till his forts were supplied with provisions; and provisions, while pressed by the Mogul arms, he found it difficult, if not impossible, to supply. He seems never to have distrusted his own address any more than his courage. By a letter to Jesswunt Sing, he averred, that only because his life was in danger had he fled from the imperial presence, where his faithful offer of services had been treated with scorn; that still he desired to return within the walks of obedience; and would place his son in the imperial service, if any command in the army, not dishonourable, was bestowed upon him. The stratagem succeeded to his wish; he obtained a truce, during which he supplied his forts; he dexterously withdrew his son from the Mogul army; with little resistance he took possession of several important districts belonging to Beejapore; compelled the King to pay him a contribution of three lacs of pagodas, and the King of Golconda to pay him another of four.1
The Emperor, displeased with Jesswunt Sing, as well on account of the ill success of the war, as the divisions and jealousies which reigned in the army, recalled him; and several generals were successively sent to conduct affairs under Aulum Shah. In theBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1671-81. mean time, the Mahrattas plundered the adjoining countries, retreating with the spoil to their forts, in spite of all the efforts of the imperial commanders. At last, in 1671, the Prince himself was recalled. An Omrah, titled Bahadur Khan, succeeded him; and retained the government till the year 1676. During these years the war produced no remarkable event, though it was prosecuted with considerable activity, and without intermission. The efforts of the Viceroy were divided and weakened, by hostilities with Beejapore and Golconda; which, though they had contributed to the fall of those languishing states, had aided the rising power of Sevagee. In 1677 that chieftain affected to enter into an alliance with the King of Golconda against the King of Beejapore and the Moguls; and marched into the territory of Golconda at the head of an army of 40,000 horse. He proceeded to make conquests with great appearance of fidelity; but placed Mahratta governors in all the fortresses, and enriched himself by plunder. He obtained possession of the impregnable fortress of Gingee by treachery. He laid siege to Vellore, which defended itself during more than four months. An interview took place between Sevagee and Ekojee, the latter of whom, perceiving the insatiable appetite of his brother for power, trembled for his dominions. Before he had time, however, to conquer every thing to the north of the Coleroon, he was recalled to his western dominions.1 Dilleer Khan, who succeeded Bahadur, carried on the war in a similar manner, and was superseded by Bahadur, who received the command anew, in 1681. The most remarkable occurrence, BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1681.during the administration of Dilleer, was the arrival in his camp of the son of Sevagee, who had incurred the displeasure of his father, and fled for protection to the Moguls. The event was regarded as fortunate, and a high rank was bestowed upon the young Mahratta; but Sevagee soon found means to regain his confidence, and he had the good fortune to make his escape a little time before his father terminated his indefatigable and extraordinary career.
During all the time of these great and multiplied transactions, a naval war, which we hear of for the first time in the history of India, was carried on between Sevagee and his enemies. At the commencement of his exploits, a chief, distinguished by the name of Siddee Jore, had the government of the town of Dunda Rajapore, a sea-port, to the southward of Bombay, belonging to the king of Beejapore; and at the same time, the command of the fleet, which that sovereign had formed to protect his maritime dominions, and their trade, from the naval enemies which now infested the coasts of India. While Siddee Jore was endeavouring to signalize himself against Sevagee in another quarter, that ingenious adventurer arrived unexpectedly at Dunda Rajapore, and obtained possession of it by a stratagem. The loss of this important place so enraged the King against Siddee Jore that he procured his assassination. At the time of the capture of Dunda Rajapore, however, the heir of Siddee Jore was in the command of the fleet, which lay at the fortified island of Gingerah, before the town. When the outrage was committed upon his father by the king of Beejapore he tendered his services to Aurungzebe, with the fort of Gingerah, and the whole of the Beejapore fleet. The offer, of course, was greedily accepted. Siddee, it appears, was a name, which was applied in common to those Abyssinian adventurers, who had passed over, in greatBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1682. numbers, from their own country into the service of the kings of Deccan; and had there frequently engrossed a great proportion of the principal offices of state. Of this class of men was the admiral who had now enlisted himself in the Mogul service. He was joined by a great number of his family and countrymen. He himself was called the Siddee, by way of distinction; his principal officers had the term Siddee prefixed to their names; and his crews and followers were in general denominated the Siddees. They carried on an active warfare along the whole western coast of India, and were not only dangerous and troublesome enemies to Sevagee, but formidable even to the British, and other European traders, who frequented the coast.1
Sevagee breathed his last, in his fortress of Rayree on the 5th of April, 1682, of an inflammation in his chest, at the early age of fifty-two; having displayed a fertility of invention, adapted to his ends; and a firmness of mind in the pursuit of them, which have seldom been equalled, probably never surpassed. With the exception of the few small districts possessed by the Europeans, his dominions, at the time of his death, comprehended, along the western coast of India, an extent of about 400 miles in length by 120 in breadth, and from the river Mirzeou in the south, to Versal in the north. Of the detached forts, which at one time he had garrisoned in Carnatic, only one or two appear to have at this time remained in his hands.2
During these transactions in the south, we are not informed of any other emergency which called the attention of Aurungzebe from the ordinary details of his administration; excepting a war with the Patans BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1682.or Afghauns who infested the northern provinces; and another, which the Emperor himself provoked, with the rajpoots of Ajmere and Malwa.
The Governor of Peshawir, to punish an incursion of the Patans, had, in 1673, pursued them to their mountains, where he allowed himself to be entangled in the defiles, and was cut off with his whole army. A Patan, who had served in the armies of Sultan Sujah, and bore a strong resemblance to his person, gave birth to a report, that the Sultan had made his escape from Arracan. The Patans proclaimed him King of India; and all the tribes of that people were summoned to join their forces to place him upon his throne. They were able, it is said, had they united, to bring into the field 150,000 men; and Aurungzebe was roused by the magnitude of the danger. He took the field in person, and crossed the Indus, about the close of the year 1674. The war lasted for about fifteen months, during which the Patans were driven from the more accessible country; and Aurungzebe was too cautious to penetrate among the mountains. A chain of forts was established to restrain them; and the governor whom he left at Peshawir, having exerted himself to gain the confidence of the Patan chiefs, drew them to an entertainment at that place, and murdered them along with their attendants. Though Aurungzebe disowned the action, he obtained not the credit of being averse to it.1
It is probable that Aurungzebe, from political motives, projected the reduction of the rajpoot states, viewing with jealousy the existence of so great an independent power, (able, it is said, to bring 200,000 men into the field) to the heart of his dominions. He put on however the mask of religion, and began the execution of a project, or pretended project, for theBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1682. forcible conversion of the Hindus to the religion of the faithful. Jesswunt Sing, the Maharajah, or Great Rajah, as he was called, having died, near Cabul in 1681, his children, on their return to their native country, were ordered to be conducted to court; where he insisted on their being rendered Mahomedans. Their rajpoot attendants contrived their escape, and fled with them to their own country. The Emperor revenged the disobedience by a war; which he conducted in person. His numerous forces drove the rajpoots from the more accessible parts of their difficult country; but they held possession of their mountains and fastnesses; and the war degenerated into a tedious and ineffectual struggle. Aurungzebe sat down at Ajmere, where he superintended, at a less inconvenient distance, the operations in Deccan, as well as the war with the rajpoots.1
Sambah, or Sambagee, the eldest son of Sevagee, succeeded to his throne, but not without a competitor, in a younger brother, whose adherents created him considerable danger, till the principal among them were all put to death. While the war was carried on between the Mahratta and the imperial generals in Deccan, as it had been for several years, by sudden inroads on the one side, and pursuit on the other; but with few important advantages on either; Akbar, one of the younger sons of Aurungzebe, who was employed in the war against the rajpoots, turned his standards against his father, being offered assistance by the enemy whom he was sent to subdue. One of Aurungzebe’s tried artifices, that of raising jealousy between associates, enabled him to defeat the BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1687.first attempt of Akbar, who fled from the country of the rajpoots, and took refuge with Sambagee.
Both Sambagee and Aurungzebe knew the value of the acquisition. The prince was received with extraordinary honours, by the Mahratta chief, who would not sit in his presence. And Aurungzebe, resolving to extinguish the enemy who had so long troubled his government in the south, arrived with a vast army at Aurungabad, in 1684. After the attack and defence of some forts, with no important result, the prince Shah Aulum was sent into Concan, to reduce the Mahratta fortresses on the sea coast. He found it impossible to procure provisions; the climate disagreed with the Mogul troops; and he was obliged to return with only a remnant of his army.1
In 1687, the Emperor resolved upon the final reduction of the Mahomedan kingdoms of Deccan, Hyderabad or Golconda, and Beejapore, which displayed a greater residue of strength and resources, than their reduced condition had led him to expect. From Ahmednuggur, where the grand camp had already arrived, he moved as far as Sholapore, and sent one army towards Hyderabad, another towards Beejapore.
The general, who led the army of the King of Hyderabad, betrayed his trust, and passed over to the enemy; upon which the King abandoned the open country, and shut himself up in the fort of Golconda. Hyderabad was taken and plundered. That the Sultan Mauzim, however, who commanded, might not have the honour, which he was wise enough not to covet, of taking Golconda, Aurungzebe accepted the humble terms which were offered by the King, and reserved his destruction till another opportunity.
Beejapore made considerable resistance, which was aided by scarcity. After the city had been besiegedBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1690. for some time, the Emperor proceeded to the attack in person. Famine at last compelled the garrison to surrender; and the young King was delivered into the hands of Aurungzebe.1
He received, about the same time, intelligence of another agreeable event, the departure of Sultan Akbar, from the Mahratta country to Persia. As this lessened greatly, in the eyes of Aurungzebe, the importance of immediate operations against the Mahrattas, he turned from Bejapore towards Golconda. Shah Aulum, with his sons, was seized and put in confinement, for remonstrating, it is said, against the treachery aimed at the unfortunate King of Golconda, who had submitted under pledge of honour to himself. Aurungzebe, in truth, was incurably jealous of his son, because heir to his throne; and was stimulated to ease his mind of a part of its load of terror and distrust. Golconda was invested, and, after a siege of seven months, fell by that treachery, the benefit of which Aurungzebe made it his constant endeavour to procure. He had now the two sovereigns of Deccan in his hands, and the reduction of the outstanding forts was all that remained to complete the extension of the Mogul dominion to the furthest limit of Carnatic.2
This important success was immediately followed by an event which the Emperor regarded as peculiarly fortunate. His spies brought intelligence, that Sambagee, at one of his forts in the mountains not far distant, was spending his time in a round of his favourite BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1690-1700.pleasures, and very imperfectly on his guard. A body of troops was dispatched to surprise him, and he was, in fact, taken prisoner. Sambagee was too formidable to be permitted to live; but the Emperor polluted his fortune by glutting his eyes with the butchery of his enemy; who relaxed not his haughtiness in the presence of death. The efficacy of Sambagee’s talents, which were not inconsiderable, was obstructed by his immoderate passion for women, which his father predicted would lead him to his ruin.
The Emperor followed up his advantage with activity, and immediately sent an army into Concan. Its operations were highly successful; and Rayree, which Sambagee and his father had made their capital, together with the wives and infant son of that chieftain, fell into the hands of the victor.1
Rama, however, the brother of Sambagee, escaped from Concan, and, crossing by the way of Seringapatam to Carnatic, threw himself into the fort of Gingee, which was a place of great strength, and by the obstinacy of its resistance, or the interested delays of the imperial generals, retarded the settlement of Deccan for several years. It gave occupation to a great part of the imperial army from the year 1692 to the year 1700; and during that period kept the reduction of Carnatic incomplete.
The Emperor turned his whole attention to the final subjugation of the Mahrattas, and penetrated into the country with his principal army. But while he was employed in the reduction of forts, the Mahrattas, under various chiefs, issued from their mountains, and spreading over the newly conquered countries of Beejapore and Golconda, and even the provinces of Berar, Candesh, and Malwa, carried great plunder back with them, and left devastation behind.BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1700-07. The imperial forces marched to oppose them in all directions, and easily conquered them in battle when they could bring them to an action. But the Mahrattas eluded rencounter, retired to their mountains when pursued, hung upon the rear of their enemy when obliged to return, and resumed their devastations whenever they found the country cleared of the troops which opposed them. The Emperor persevered with great obstinacy in besieging the forts in the accessible parts of the Mahratta country; the greater part of which fell into his hands. But during that time the Mahrattas so enriched themselves by plundering the imperial dominions, and so increased in multitude and power, being joined by vast numbers of the Zemindars in the countries which they repeatedly over-ran, that the advantages of the war were decidedly in their favour, and the administration of Aurungzebe betrayed the infirmities of age. The more powerful Omrahs, who maintained numerous troops, and were able to chastise invaders, his jealous policy made him afraid to trust with the command of provinces. He made choice of persons without reputation and power, who abandoning the defence of their provinces, to which they were unequal, were satisfied with enriching themselves by the plunder of the people. Under so defective a government, the Mahrattas found the whole country south from the Nerbudda open to their incursions. The Emperor persevered in his attempts to subdue them. In that harassing and unavailing struggle were the years consumed which intervened till his death. This event took place, in the camp at Ahmednugger on the 21st of February 1707, in the forty-eighth year of his reign, and ninety-fourth of his age.1
BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1707.At the time when the last illness of Aurungzebe commenced, his eldest son Mahomed Mauzim, who at an early age had received the title of Shah Aulum, was at Cabul, of which, as a distant province where he would be least dangerous, he was made governor, upon his liberation from the confinement in which he had languished for several years. His two remaining sons, Azim Shah, who was subahdar of Guzerat, and his youngest son Kam Buksh, who had been recently appointed to the government of Beejapore, were both in the camp. Aurungzebe, who forgot not his caution to the last, hurried them away to their stations, either fearing lest under his weakness they should seize upon his person while yet alive; or lest they should fill the camp with bloodshed immediately upon his dissolution. Azim had not yet reached his province, when he received the news of the Emperor’s decease. He hurried back to the camp, and, no competitor being present, received without difficulty the obedience of the army.
As it was not, however, expected that Shah Aulum would quietly resign his throne and his life, Azim began his march towards the northern provinces. On the news of the Emperor’s illness, Shah Aulum had dispatched his commands to his two sons; Moiz ad dien, the eldest, governor of Multan, and Azim Ooshaun, the second, governor of Bengal, to advance with their forces towards Agra. Azim Ooshaun had used so much diligence, that he was enabled to anticipate the arrival of Azim Shah, and got possession of Agra with its treasures. As the two armies were approaching one another in the neighbourhoodBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1707. of Agra, Shah Aulum addressed a letter to his brother, offering to divide the kingdom. The presumptuous prince rejected the proposal; and the armies came to action; when Azim Shah lost the battle, and he and his two eldest sons their lives. He had committed many important errors; among others offended the generalissimo, the famous Zulfeccar Khan, the favourite general of Aurungzebe, and son of Assud Khan, his vizir. He rejected the advice of this commander at the commencement of the battle, and Zulfeccar with his forces withdrew from the field.1
Shah Aulum, who now assumed the title of Bahadur Shah, was chiefly indebted to the prudence and wisdom of Monâim Khan, his minister of finance, for his victory and throne. He rewarded him with the office of vizir; but Assud Khan, the late vizir, and Zulfeccar Khan his son, were received with extraordinary favour: the former being created vakeel muttulluck;2 the latter meer bukshi;3 and governor of all Deccan, with the title of Ameer ul Omrah.
Another contest, however, still remained. The throne was promised to Kâm Buksh by his own vanity, and by his astrologers; and though his brother, even when near him with an irresistible army, invited him to enjoy in peace his kingdom of Beejapore, to which he offered to add that of Golconda, the infatuated prince was resolved upon his destruction. It had been the object of his father to render BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1708.him, by his power in Beejapore, safe from the jealousy of any of his brothers who might ascend the imperial throne. For this purpose, he had placed in his service the Turanee Moguls, or that part of the army which consisted of the Mogul adventurers, newly arrived from Tartary, and distinguished from those who had been bred in Hindustan. The chief of these Moguls was Ghazee ad dien Khan, a man of great years and experience; who had acquired high reputation and influence in Deccan during the wars of Aurungzebe. The light, inconsiderate, rash, and inconstant character of Kâm Buksh would have discovered to a less discerning mind than that of Ghazee, the speedy ruin of that prince’s hopes; he therefore listened to the friendly proposals of the Emperor, and was appointed Subahdar of Guzerat, while his son Cheen Koolich Khan, a man of great celebrity in the subsequent history of India, was favourably received at court. Kâm Buksh was gradually deserted by almost all his followers; but rushed desperately into battle near Hyderabad with not more than a few hundred attendants. He was taken prisoner; but not till he received a mortal wound, of which he died the same evening.
The Emperor seemed afraid of becoming, like his father, entangled in the labyrinth of Deccanee affairs; and leaving to his officers whatever remained for the settling of those newly conquered regions, he began his march towards the capital, though in the middle of the rains. Zulfeccar Khan, the subahdar of Deccan, left Daood Khan Dunnee, a native of Deccan, his deputy; and followed his master, still further to push his ambitious designs.
The Emperor was not satisfied with the Rajpoot princes, whose disobedience had been provoked by the religious and mischievous war kindled against them at the end of the reign of Aurungzebe. AjeetBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1709. Sing, the successor of Jesswunt Sing, Raja of Odeypore; and Jeysing, the successor of the Rajah, who had rendered himself famous in the wars of Aurungzebe, had formed an alliance, cemented by marriage; and without professing independence of the Mogul power, endeavoured to yield a very limited obedience. Some unavailing measures were taken to reduce them to more perfect subjection. But a new enemy, whose operations began to be serious, and even formidable, rendered it adviseable to accept for the present the nominal obedience of the Rajpoots.
The Seiks, now ravaging the province of Lahore and the northern part of the province of Delhi, committing outrages on the persons of the Moslem, inflamed both the religious and political indignation of the Emperor and his Omrahs. This people, of whom the history is curious, were advancing rapidly to that importance, which renders them at present one of the principal powers in Hindustan. Their origin is to be traced back to the time of the Emperor Baber, when a celebrated Dirvesh, being captivated with the beauty of the son of a grain merchant of the Cshatrya caste, by name Nannuk, brought him to reside in his house, and instructed him in the sublime doctrines and duties of Islamism. Nannuk aspired beyond the merit of a learner. From theological writings which he perused, he selected, as he went on, such doctrines, expressions, sentiments, as captivated his fancy. At length his selections approached to the size of a book; and being written (it is said with elegance) in the Punjabee dialect, or language of the country, were read by various persons, and admired. The fame of Nannuk’s book was diffused. He gave it a name, Kirrunt,1 and, by degrees, the votaries BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1709.of Kirrunt became a sect. They distinguished themselves by a peculiar garb and manners, which resembled those of the Moslem fakîrs. They united so as to live by themselves apart from the other inhabitants; and formed villages or communities, called Sangats, in which some one, as head of the community, always presided over the rest. Nannuk was followed by nine successors in the office of chief, or patriarch of the whole sect; during whose time the Seiks led peaceable and inoffensive lives. Teeg Bahadur, the tenth in order, was perpetually followed by a large multitude of the enthusiasts of the sect; and united himself with a Mussulman fakîr who had a number of followers approaching that of his own. To subsist so numerous a body of idle religionists, the neighbouring districts were laid under contribution; and the saints having tasted the sweets of a life of plunder and idleness, pushed their depredations, and became the scourge of the provinces. Aurungzebe, who was then upon the throne, commanded the governor of Lahore to seize the two leaders of the banditti; to banish the Mussulman beyond the Indus; and to conduct the Hindu to the fort of Gualior; where he was put to death. The loss of their patriarch was far from sufficient to extinguish the religious flame of the Seiks. A son of Teeg Bahadur, whose family name was Govind, was raised to the vacant supremacy, and was distinguished by the name of Gooroo Govind, Gooroo being the title bestowed by a Hindu on his religious instructor. The fate of his father taught him audacity; he instructed his followers, hitherto unarmed, to provide themselves with weapons and horses; divided them into troops; placed them under the command of those of his friends in whose conduct and fidelity he confided; and plundered the country by force of arms. He was not, however,BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1709. able to withstand the troops of the province, which were collected to oppose him; his two sons were taken prisoners, and he himself fled among the Afghauns. After a time he came back, disguised as an Afghaun devotee; but falling into mental derangement, was succeeded by Banda, one of his followers, who assumed the name of Gooroo Govind, and resolved to take vengeance on the Moslems for the slaughter of the father and sons of his predecessor. To the robbery and plunder which had become the business of the Seiks, he added cruelty and murder. The Moslem historians of these events are filled with horror as well as indignation at the cruelties which he exercised upon the faithful (to them alone, it seems, did they extend) and describe as one of the most sanguinary of monsters the man whose actions, had infidels been the sufferers, and a Mussulman the actor, they might not, perhaps, have thought unworthy of applause. It was this Banda whose enormities Shah Aulum hurried from Deccan to interrupt and chastise. The rebels (so they were now denominated) deserted Sirhind upon the approach of the Emperor, and retired to Daber, a place of strength, at the entrance of the mountains, and the principal residence of the Gooroo. When Daber was reduced to the last extremity, Banda, with his principal followers, retired to the mountains during the night. The presence of the Emperor suspended, but did not extinguish, the depredations of the Seiks.1
BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1712.Shah Aulum had reigned five years, counting from the death of Aurungzebe, with the praise of great humanity, having spilt the blood of no rival but in the field, and treating the sons of his rebel brothers like his own; when he was seized with a violent illness, and expired suddenly in his camp, near Lahore, in the year 1712.
The four sons of Shah Aulum, each with his army and retainers, were in the camp; Moiz ad dien Khan, the eldest; Azeem Ooshaun, the second, the favourite of his father; Ruffeh Ooshaun, the third; and Kojesteh Akter, the youngest. Of all the Omrahs, the vizir Monaim Khan being dead, Zulfeccar Khan was by far the most powerful; and doubted not to place on the musnud any of the princes whose cause he should espouse. Azeem Ooshaun, who had in the camp a large treasure of his own, and from his situation near his father was enabled to possess himself of all the imperial treasure and effects, assumed the sceptre without hesitation. Zulfeccar Khan sent to him a confidential messenger, to ask if, in that emergency, he could render him any service; and receiving a careless and disdainful answer, took his resolution. He passed to the camp of Moiz ad Dien, and formed or confirmed a union of the three brothers, who agreed to oppose Azeem Ooshaun, and afterwards to divide the empire. Azeem Ooshaun lost the favourable opportunity of attacking his brothers. He allowed the time to pass; till they made their preparations; and till his own army, becoming uneasy and dispirited, began to disperse. When the inevitable hour arrived, he was conquered without much difficulty, and disappeared in the battle; his wounded elephant, it is supposed,BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1712. rushed with him down the precipice into the river, where both sunk to appear no more.
To the surviving princes it remained to settle the partition on which they had agreed; but Zulfeccar Khan had other designs. Whether from selfish motives, or a patriotic dread of the consequences of division; whether because that prince was the weakest, and might be governed, or the oldest, and had the better title, the Ameer ul Omrah resolved to make Moiz ad Dien sole Emperor, and to defeat the expectations of the other two. By various artifices, creating difficulties and delay, he contrived to secure the greater part of the treasure to Moiz ad Dien. This roused the jealousy of Kojesteh Akter, and he prepared for action; but the night before the projected battle a fire broke out in his camp, and he lost the greater part of his ammunition. He and his son fought with gallantry, but his soldiers deserted him during the engagement, and gave an easy victory to his more fortunate brother. Ruffeh Ooshaun stood aloof during this action; still confiding in the friendship of Zulfeccar Khan, and reserving himself to fall upon the victor. While he waited with impatience for the morning, having been dissuaded from attacking the successful army the same night, intelligence of his design was carried to the Ameer ul Omrah, who made preparations to receive him. The victory was not a moment doubtful, for the army of the prince almost immediately dispersed, and he was slain, fighting bravely amid a few attendants.1
BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1712.Moiz ad Dien was proclaimed Emperor with the title of Jehandar Shah. He possessed not abilities to redeem the weaknesses by which he exposed himself to the disapprobation of his people; and his government and person fell into contempt. He was governed by a concubine, who had belonged to the degraded and impure profession of public dancers, and shed infamy upon the man with whom she was joined. The favours of the crown were showered upon the mean relations, and ancient companions of Lall Koor (such was the name of the mistress), who did not always enjoy them with moderation. The Emperor, who loved the jollity of debauch, exposed himself about the city in company with Lall Koor and her favourites, in situations where dignity was apt to be lost. The nobles were offended, because a new set of favourites intercepted the rays of imperial favour; and the people were disgusted at the sight of vices in their sovereign, which shed degradation on the meanest of themselves.
Jehandar Shah was, from these causes, ill prepared to meet the storm which shortly after he was summoned to face. When Azim Ooshaun marched from Bengal to assist his father in the struggle for the crown, he left behind him his son Feroksere. Upon the defeat of Azim Ooshaun, and the elevation of Jehandar Shah, it became necessary for Feroksere to think either of flight or of resistance. There were two brothers, Abdoolla Khan, and Hussun Khan, of the high birth of Syeds, or descendants of the prophet, who had distinguished themselves in the service of Azim Shah, and, having afterwards attached themselves to Azim Ooshaun, were by him appointed, the one to the government of Allahabad; the other, to that of Bahar. Feroksere succeeded in gaining the support of these brothers, whose talents were powerful, and their reputation high. The counsels of JehandarBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1713. were divided. The powers and services of Zulfeccar Khan were eclipsed by the favour of Kokultash Khan, the foster brother of the Emperor. The talents of Kokultash were unequal to the conduct of any important affair. The abilities of Zulfeccar were restrained, and his ardour cooled, by the success with which Kokultash thwarted his designs. Neither wished to take the command of the army, which, compelling him to quit the Emperor, left the imperial power in the hands of his rival. Time was consumed during these intrigues. In the end, Aiz ad Dien, the eldest son of the Emperor, and with him, for his guide, a relation of the foster brother, a man without talents or experience, proceeded to the reduction of Feroksere. The two armies met at Cudjwa, a town in the district of Corah, where Aurungzebe and Sujah had formerly engaged. But the conductor of Aiz ad Dien fled with him during the night which was expected to precede the battle; upon which the army either dispersed or joined Feroksere. By an advice of Syed Abdoolla, for which it is difficult to account, Feroksere halted for several days, instead of rapidly improving his advantage. Jehandar Shah had now to put life and empire upon the fate of a battle. All that could be assembled of the imperial forces marched towards Agra, with the Emperor himself at their head. Feroksere also arrived on the opposite side of the river, and the two armies faced one another for several days. At last Feroksere unexpectedly crossed the river in the night; and battle was joined the following day. The line of the imperial army was soon broken, and confusion ensued. Zulfeccar Khan, indeed, fought with a gallantry not unworthy of his former renown, and kept the field when he and his followers remained alone. Not despairing to rally BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1713.the army, and renew the action on the following day, he dispatched messengers in all directions, but in vain, to search for the Emperor during the night. That unhappy prince had taken the road in disguise toward Delhi, of which Assud Khan, the father of Zulfeccar, was governor. After intelligence of his arrival, the friends of the late Azim Ooshaun surrounded his palace, and demanded the custody of his person. To quiet their clamours, or to lay a foundation of merit with the future sovereign, Assud Khan placed him in confinement; and wrote to Feroksere that he waited for his commands to dispose of the prisoner. So gracious an answer was received, as dissipated the fears of Assud Khan, and enabled him to prevail upon his son, who had arrived at Delhi, to trus himself in the hands of Feroksere. The credulity of Zulfeccar deceived him; for he might have escaped to his government of Deccan, where his talents would have enabled him to set the imperial power at defiance. He was strangled by order of Feroksere, and his dead body was exposed about the streets of Delhi, at the same time with that of his master Jehandar Shah.1
Feroksere began his reign in the year 1713, with the usual performances of an Oriental despot; that is, the murder of all who were the objects of his apprehension. After this the two Syeds, to whom he owed both his life and his throne, were elevated; Hussun to the post of Bukshi, or paymaster of the forces, with the title of Ameer ul Omrah; and Abdoolla to that of Vizir, with the title of Koottub al Mulk, or axis of the state. Cheen Koolich Khan,BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1713. the son of Gazee ad Dien Khan, who was chief of the Tooranee Moguls in the Deccan at the end of the reign of Aurungzebe, was known to have lived on adverse terms with Zulfeccar Khan; and by this circumstance, as well as by the weight which was attached to his reputation for talents, and his connexion with the Tooranee lords, was recommended to the attention of the new government. He was appointed to the regency or subahdarry of Deccan, and decorated with the title of Nizam al Mulk, or composer of the state; a common title, which he rendered remarkable, in the modern history of India, by transmitting it to his posterity, and along with it a kingdom, in that very region which he was now sent, and but for a little time, to superintend.
Ferokscre was a weak prince, governed by favourites. The two Syeds had laid such obligations upon their sovereign, and possessed such power, chiefly from the inconsiderate cruelty of Ferokscre, who had killed Zulfeccar and others by whom they might have been restrained, that they could brook neither rival nor partner in disposing of the state. Their chains soon became heavy on Ferokscre. A ware of his impatience, they made such efforts to render themselves secure against the effects of his malice, as embroiled the state from the very commencement of his reign.
The first of the contrivances of Emir Jumla (this was the name of the favourite, a man who had formerly been cauzy at Dacca,) was to separate the brothers, under the pretence of honourable employment. The Rajah Ajeet Sing, whom we have already mentioned as the successor of Jesswunt Sing, in that district or division of Rajpootana which was known by the name of Marwar or Rhatore, and of which Chitore and Odeypore had been successively the capitals, BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1718.had stood out against the operations of Aurungzebe, and remained in a state little short of independence, during the reigns of Shah Aulum and Jehandar Shah. Hussun, the Ameer al Omrah, was required to undertake the reduction of the rebellious Hindu. He marched with so great a force that the Rajah deemed it better to yield than contend; and though he received private encouragements from the court, where he was assured that opposition would be gratefully considered, he concluded an agreement with Hussun, impatient to return to the capital, where his brother’s letters assured him, that designs were ripening for their common destruction.
Though Abdoola, the Vizir, had talents and other eminent qualities; he was so addicted to women and other pleasures, that he neglected business; and let the affairs of his high office devolve into subordinate hands, whose mismanagement shed discredit and unpopularity on himself. His enemies therefore enjoyed advantages, which in the absence of his brother they were eager to improve. Upon the return of Hussun from Marwar, he demanded the regency of Deccan, with a view to govern it by deputy, and remain at court; and he received the appointment, in expectation of his being called to that distant province by the duties of his trust. When it was found, at last, that he had no intention to depart for Deccan, the misunderstanding between the court and the brothers became public and undisguised. They forbore attendance upon the Emperor; assembled their followers, and fortified themselves in their palaces; while the weak and timid Feroksere, who desired, without daring to attempt, their destruction, formed and abandoned twenty resolutions in a day. After a period of anxiety and alarm, a reconciliation was effected by mediation of the empress-mother, who was favourable to the Syeds, and by whom, it is said,BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1719. that intelligence was sometimes conveyed to them of the plots by which their lives were essayed. The agreement was, that Meer Jumla, being appointed to the government of Bahar, should depart for that province, at the same time that the Ameer al Omrah should proceed to Deccan.1
Hussun told the Emperor, that if mischief were aimed at his brother, he would in twenty days be in the capital from Deccan. The first danger, however, regarded himself. Daood Khan Punnee, the Afghaun, who had been left deputy by Zulfeccar, and obtained the province of Guzerat, upon the appointment of Nizam al Mulk to the regency of Deccan, was ordered to Boorahanpore, ostensibly to wait upon the Subahdar of Deccan, and receive his commands; but with secret instructions to assail the Syed and cut him off. Great expectations were entertained of the Afghaun, who, being a man of prodigious bodily strength, great courage, and not devoid of conduct, had risen to the highest repute as a warrior. It is not unworthy of remark, that he had associated with himself a Mahratta chief, named Neemajee Sindia, who had been taken into the imperial service by Shah Aulum, honoured with a high rank, and gifted with several jagheers in the vicinity of Aurungabad. Hussun had a severe conflict to sustain; and had not a BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1719.matchlock ball struck Daood, at the moment when the advantage seemed hastening to his side, the day might have been fatal to the fortune of the brothers. When the Emperor heard of the failure of his project, he could not, even in the presence of Abdoolla, suppress his chagrin; and observed that Daood was a brave man unworthily used. Abdoolla replied, that if his brother had fallen, the victim of perfidy, the imperial mind would have experienced more agreeable sensations.
About this time, Banda, the patriarch and captain of the Seiks, fell into the hands of his enemies. He had soon collected his followers, after they were dispersed by Shah Aulum; and spread more widely his depredations and authority in the contiguous provinces. The Subahdar of Lahore had been sent against him, shortly after the accession of Feroksere; but was defeated with great slaughter. The Faujdar, or military and judicial chief of Sirhind, was next commanded to take the field; but was assassinated in his tent, by a Seik, especially commissioned for that purpose. The governor of Cashmere was then removed to the government of Lahore, and appointed to act against the heretics or infidels, with a great army. After many severe engagements, Banda was driven to seek refuge in a fort; where famine at last compelled him to surrender. Great cruelty was exercised upon his followers; and he himself was carried to the capital, where he was ignominiously exposed, and afterwards put to death by torture.
It would be useless and disgusting to describe the scenes to which the hatred of the Emperor and the jealousy of the Vizir gave birth in the capital. When the Ameer al Omrah arrived in Deccan, he found the power of the Mahrattas arrived at a height which was not only oppressive to the provinces but formidable to the imperial throne. Sahoo Rajah, or SahogeeBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1719. the son of Sambagee, had succeeded to the authority of his father and grandfather, as head of the Mahrattas, and had, during the distractions in the Mogul empire, experienced little resistance in extending the sphere of his domination and exactions. Towards the close of the reign of Aurungzebe, the widow of Rama, the brother of Sambagee, who during the minority of Sahogee enjoyed a temporary authority, had offered to put a stop to all the predatory incursions of the Mahrattas under which the imperial provinces in Deccan so cruelly suffered, on condition of receiving a tenth part, which they call Deesmuk-kee, of the revenues of the six provinces which composed the viceroyalty of Deccan. The pride of Aurungzebe revolted at the humiliating condition; and the offer was rejected with scorn. Daood Khan Punnee, however, who governed the country, as deputy of Zulfeccar, during the reigns of Shah Aulum and Jehandar, and who cultivated the friendship rather than the enmity of the Mahrattas, agreed to purchase deliverance from their incursions by the payment of even the chout, or fourth part of the revenues of the Deccanee provinces, reserving only such districts as were held in jagheer by any princes of the blood royal, and excluding the Mahrattas from the collection, which was to be performed by his own officers alone. Upon the arrival of Nizam al Mulk as Viceroy of Deccan, the chout gave rise to dispute and hostilities; in which the Viceroy gained a battle, and might have further checked the pretensions of the freebooters, had he not been recalled, after enjoying the government one year and some months. The Ameer al Omrah sent a force to dislodge a Mahratta chief who had established a chain of mud forts along the road from Surat to Boorahanpore; and by means BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1719.of them plundered or levied a tax upon the merchants who trafficked between the two cities. The commander allowed himself to be drawn by the wily Mahratta into a place of difficulty; where he and the greater part of his soldiers lost their lives. A still stronger force was sent to dislodge the plunderer; who declined an action; and was followed by the imperial general as far as Sattara, the residence of Sahogee. But before Sattara was besieged, the Ameer al Omrah, understanding that danger was increasing at Delhi, and that even Sahogee had received encouragement from the Emperor to effect his destruction, resolved, on any terms, to free himself from the difficulties and embarrassment of a Mahratta war. He not only granted the chout, but he added to it the deesmukkee; nay, admitted the Mahratta agents, with a respectable force at Aurungabad, to perform the collection of their own portion of the taxes. The provinces were thus freed from the ravages of military incursion; but the people were oppressed by three sets of exactors, one for the imperial revenue, one for the chout, another for the deesmukkee.
Meanwhile a new favourite had risen at court, recommended to the Emperor by a double tie, a fellowship in disreputable pleasures, and promises to cut off the Syeds without the danger of a contest. By his advice, the most powerful chiefs in the empire were invited to court; Nizam al Mulk, from his government of Morâdabad; Sirbullund Khan, from that of Patna; and the Rajpoot princes, Jeysing of Ambere or Jagenagur; and, the father-in-law of the Emperor, Ajeet Sing of Rhatore. Had these chiefs perceived a prospect of sharing among themselves the grand posts of the empire, they would have undertaken the destruction of the Syeds; but they found the despicable Feroksere so infatuated with his unworthy favourite, that he alone was destined to beBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1719. the organ of power. Ajeet Sing, perceiving the miserable state of the imperial councils, lost no time in uniting himself with the Vizir.
The increasing violence of the councils pursued for the destruction of the Syeds, and the union, which the removal of the favourite would suffice to form against them, of so many powerful chiefs, induced Abdoolla to summon his brother from Deccan, and to meditate a decisive step. No sooner did the Emperor hear that Hussun was in motion, than, struck with apprehension, he solicited reconciliation with the Vizir. They exchanged turbans, and vows of fidelity, which were equally sincere on both sides. A messenger of rank was dispatched towards Hussun, to declare the reinstatement of his family in the plenitude of imperial favour; while Hussun, giving up to the Mahrattas such forts as he could not garrison, proceeded to the capital with an army, of which ten thousand were Mahrattas; attended by a youth, whom he received from Sahogee as a son of Sultan Akbar, and treated with all the respect due to a grandson of Aulumgir, and a competitor for the imperial throne. In the mean time the Vizir had found little difficulty in detaching from the hopeless cause of the Emperor, Nizam al Mulk, and the other chiefs of the intended conspiracy. Jeysing alone adhered to Feroksere, advising him to take the field in person, and, by the weight of the imperial name, bear down the cause of rebels and traitors. The pride and the resentments of Feroksere made him incline to violent measures during one moment; his fears and pusillanimity made him incline to submissive measures the next. After an interval, during which these passions violently alternated in his breast, he threw himself upon the mercy of the Syeds, and submitted to all their demands. BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1720.It is not certain that they meant to depose him; but during these violent proceedings, tumults arose in the city; Feroksere shut himself up in the women’s apartments, and refused to come out; his friends and servants took arms; the commotions became alarming, and a moment might be productive of fatal events. After repeated entreaties, the Vizir was at last compelled to violate the sanctity of the secret apartments; Feroksere was dragged forth, and put in confinement; Ruffeh al Dirjaut, son of Ruffeh al Kudder, a grandson of Aurungzebe by a daughter of Akbar, was taken from among the confined princes, and seated on the throne; his accession was announced by the sound of the nobut, and firing of cannon; and, in a few hours, the commotions, which seemed ready to overwhelm the city, gave place to tranquillity and order.
Feroksere was rather more than six years on the throne. His successor was labouring under a consumption, and died in five months after his exaltation. During this interval, Feroksere suffered a violent death, but whether at his own hand, or that of the brothers, is variously affirmed. Except in the palace, the offices of which were filled entirely with the creatures of the Syeds, the different functionaries of the state were confirmed in their situations. Nizam al Mulk, who liked not the complexion of the times, desired leave to retire; but he was prevailed upon to accept the government of Malwa.
Ruffeh al Dowlah, the younger brother of Ruffeh al Dirjaut, was chosen to supply the vacancy of the throne. But the Governor of the citadel of Agra had under his charge a son of Akbar, the youngest son of Aulumgîr; and, in hopes of being joined by other lords, inimical to the Syeds, as well as by Jeysing, who, through influence of the brothers, had been dismissed to his own country before the dethronement ofBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1720. Feroksere, proclaimed the son of Akbar, King. The Syeds left no time for the disaffected to combine; and the Governor, finding his undertaking desperate, put an end to his life. The sickly youth, who this time also was placed upon the throne, followed his predecessor in three months. Rooshun Akter, a son of Kojesteh Akter, the youngest son of Shah Aulum, was the Prince who now was taken to fill the dangerous throne.
Mahomed Shah (that was the name which the new sovereign adopted) began his reign in the year 1720. He was in his seventeenth year; had been confined along with his mother, a woman of judgment and prudence, from the beginning of the reign of Jehandar Shah, and reared by her in great silence and obscurity.
The Syeds were now deprived of all grounds of jealousy and resentment towards the throne; for the Empress-mother advised, and the Emperor practised the most perfect submission to their will. But among the great lords of the empire were some, who beheld not their triumphs and power, without envy and hatred. The Governor of Allahabad had been guilty of some marks of disrespect. Shortly after the accession of Mahomed, Hussun marched to chastise him. The Governor died while Hussun was yet upon the march; and his nephew, though he stood upon the defensive, offered to lay down his arms, provided Rajah Ruttun Chund, the famous Duan of the Vizir, were sent to negociate the terms of his submission. The difficulty of besieging Allahabad, strongly defended by the Jamna and the Ganges, which meet under its walls, allayed in the bosom of Hussun, the thirst of revenge. He listened to the proposition of the nephew, and gave him the government BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1720.of Oude, in exchange for that which his uncle had enjoyed.
Mahomed Ameed Khan, one of the Tooranee Omrah, remaining at court, began to excite the suspicions of the Syeds; but Nizam al Mulk soon became the principal object of their attention and fears. Upon taking possession of his government of Malwa, he found the province, owing to the late distractions of the empire, overrun with disorder; the Zemindars aiming at independence, and the people either become robbers themselves, or suffering from bands of robbers, who plundered the country with impunity. The vigorous operations demanded for the suppression of these enormities, justified the Nizam in raising and maintaining troops; in providing his garrisons; in adopting all the measures, in short, which were best calculated to strengthen his position. The Syeds were not slow in discerning that these preparations looked beyond the defence of a province. Policy required the removal of the Nizâm. The most respectful intimations were conveyed to him, that as Malwa lay half way between Deccan and the capital, it was pointed out as peculiarly convenient to form the place of residence for the Ameer al Omrah, who, from that station, could both superintend his viceroyalty in Deccan, and watch the operations of the court; and four Subahs were pointed out to Nizam al Mulk; Multan, Candesh, Agra, and Allahabad; of which he was invited to make his election in exchange. Policy might counsel the non-compliance of the Nizam; but pride and vanity counselled an insolent reply, which precipitated hostilities on both sides. The brothers sent an army against Malwa. The Nizam resolved to take possession of Deccan. He crossed the Nerbudda: got, through bribery, possession of the strong fortress of Asere, and the city of Boorahanpore; wasBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1720. joined by Eiwuz Khan, Subahdar of Berar, his relation; by a Mahratta chief, who had quarrelled with Sahogee; and, by a variety of Zemindars. He encountered and defeated the army which the brothers had sent to oppose him; conquered, and slew in battle the governor of Aurungabad, who marched out to meet him; and remained without a rival in Deccan. The Governor of Dowlatabad held out; but the Governor of Hyderabad joined him with 7000 horse. In addition to all these fortunate events, he was encouraged by messages from the court, from Mahomed Ameen Khan, and from the Emperor himself, that his opposition to the Syeds should meet with their support.
The brothers wavered; and permitted time to be lost. Ruttun Chund recommended, what was probably wise, to gain Nizam al Mulk by resigning to him Deccan; and, with vigilance, to guard the rest of the empire. Pride rejected this proposal. It was at last determined, that Hussun, accompanied by the Emperor, should proceed with a great army to Deccan, while Abdoola should remain to guard the capital. The troops were assembled; the march began; and had continued during four or five days, when Mahomed Ameen Khan conceived his plan to be ripe for execution. He had associated with himself Saadut Khan, afterwards Nabob of Oude, progenitor of the now reigning family; and another desperado, named Hyder Khan, in a conspiracy, with the privity of the Emperor, to assassinate the Ameer al Omrah. The lot fell upon Hyder to strike the blow. Hussun, who received a mortal stab, had strength to cry, “Kill the Emperor!” but the conspirators had taken measures for his protection; and, though the nephew of the deceased armed his followers, BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1720-32.and endeavoured to penetrate to the Emperor, he was overpowered and slain, while his tents were plundered by the followers of the camp.
The dismal news was speedily conveyed to Abdoolla, who was on his march to Delhi. He advanced to that city; took one of the remaining princes, and proclaimed him Emperor; found still the means to assemble a large army, and marched out to oppose Mahomed. A great battle was fought at Shahpore; but the Vizir was vanquished and taken prisoner. The Emperor, after little more than a year of tutelage, entered his capital in great pomp and ceremony, and was hailed as if it had been his accession to the throne.
The weakness of Mahomed Shah’s administration, whose time was devoted to pleasure, and his mind without discernment and force, was soon felt in the provinces. The Rajah, Ajeet Sing, with a view to bind him to the cause of Mahomed, had, through the hands of the Empress-mother, at the time of the accession, received a firmaun appointing him Governor of Guzerat and Adjmere during life. The grant was now revoked, and Ajeet Sing rebelled. After some vain demonstrations of resentment, the Emperor was obliged to submit to concessions and indulgence.
The Afghauns about Peshawir rose in arms; and, after an obstinate engagement, defeated and took prisoner the son of the Governor of the province.
These, and other disorders, were expected to be redressed upon the arrival of Nizam al Mulk, who was invited from Deccan to receive the office of Vizir. He earnestly exhorted the Emperor to apply his own mind to affairs, and to infuse vigour into government, now relaxed and dissolving, through negligence and corruption. But the pleasantries of his gay companions, who turned the person and the counsels of the old and rigid Vizir into ridicule, were moreBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1732. agreeable to the enervated mind of Mahomed; and the Nizam, in disgust, under pretence of coercing a refractory Governor in Guzerat, withdrew from the capital. Saadut Khan was about the same time appointed Subahdar of Oude.
The Nizam, having reduced to his obedience the province of Guzerat, and taken possession of Malwa, which was also added to his extensive government, paid another visit to the capital, where he found the temper of administration as negligent and dissolute as before. Despairing, or careless of a remedy, and boding nothing but evil, he only thought of securing himself in his extensive dominions; and, under pretence of a hunting excursion, left the capital without leave, and pursued his march to Deccan. The Emperor, who now both hated and feared him, dispatched a private message to the Governor of Hyderabad to oppose and cut him off, with a promise of all his government of Deccan, as the reward of so meritorious a service. The bribe was too great to be resisted; but the undertaker paid the forfeit of his temerity with his life. The Nizam, however, was deprived of his Vizirit, and of his new governments of Malwa and Guzerat. To be revenged he encouraged his deputy in Guzerat to resist the imperial commands; and the Mahratta chiefs Peelajee and Coantojee to invade the provinces. Some inadequate and unavailing efforts were made to oppose the progress of these Mahratta chiefs; who were afterwards joined, still at the instigation, it is said, of the old Nizam, by Bajeeraow, the general of Sahogee. The struggle was upheld, with more or less of vigour, by the imperial deputies, till about the year 1732; when the provinces of Guzerat and Malwa might be regarded as completely reduced BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1735.under Mahratta dominion. Never contented with present acquisitions, the Mahrattas made endless encroachments; and, by degrees, seized upon several districts in the Subahs of Agra and Allahabad, plundering even to the vicinity of Agra. When opposed by an army, they retreated; scoured the country; cut off supplies; and made flying attacks. When the opposing army was obliged to retrace its steps, they immediately re-seized the country; and still more extensively diffused their depredations.
During the calamities of the empire, Saadut Khan alone, among the different Omrahs and Governors, exhibited any public spirit, or any manliness and vigour. Though his province, placed beyond the Ganga, was little exposed to the devastations of the destructive Mahrattas, he marched out, in 1735, to chastise a body of them, who were plundering to the very walls of Agra; overtook them by forced marches, brought on a battle, and gave them a signal overthrow. The wreck of the army joined Bajeeraow, in the neighbourhood of Gualior. Saadut Khan intended to follow up his blow, to pursue the marauders to their own country, and redeem the lost honour of the imperial arms. But the Ameer al Omra, jealous of the glory, sent him orders to halt, till he should join him with the troops of the capital. Bajeeraow, having time to restore animation to the Mahrattas, and learning the removal of the troops from Delhi, marched with Mahratta speed towards that capital, and communicated the first intelligence of his stratagem by the fires which he lighted up in the suburbs. He was in possession of the outskirts of the city for three days before the approach of the imperial army made it necessary for him to decamp. He took the road to Malwa; and the pusillanimous monarch was advised by his dissolute courtiers to purchase the promiseBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1735. of peace by paying the chout, or fourth, of his revenues to the Mahrattas.
A more dreadful enemy was now about to fall upon the misgoverned empire. The Sophis, whom in the reign of Shah Jehan we left sitting upon the throne of Persia, had sunk into that voluptuousness and neglect of the business of government, which so uniformly accompany the continued possession of power; relax the springs of the existing government; and prepare the way for an usurper. In this state of the country, the range of mountains placed near the confines of Persia and India, which had already given a race of sovereigns to Hindustan, produced a chief, who with his rude and hardy countrymen, the mountaineers of Afghaunistan, invaded Persia, and pushed his conquests against the feeble Hussun Shah; whose government was, moreover, distracted, by the wretched factions of the black eunuchs, and the white. Though the Afghaun was assassinated, he was succeeded by a nephew, an enterprising youth of eighteen years of age. The provinces near the Caucasus and the Caspian, as well as those near the Indus, revolted. The Afghaun in 1722 laid siege to Ispahan itself, and the wretched Hussun laid his crown at his feet. In the mean time a son of Hussun, whose name was Thamas, escaped from massacre, and was joined by as many people as still adhered to his family or person, in the neighbourhood of Tauris; among others by Nadir, the son of a shepherd of Chorasan, who, by the sale of part of his father’s flocks, had hired a banditti, with whom he scoured and plundered the country. By his daring courage, and indefatigable activity, he soon distinguished himself among the followers of the fugitive Prince. He took the name of Thamas Koolee Khan, or Khan the slave of Thamas. BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1736.Such a man found it easy in Persia to increase the number of his followers, whom he subsisted and rewarded by the plunder of the country. In a short time he was daring enough to measure swords with the Afghaun himself, and prevailed. In 1729 he retook Ispahan, pursued the usurper to Afghaunistan itself, vanquished and took him prisoner. Thamas, whom he acknowledged as king of Persia, he retained in confinement, and, governing in his name, turned his arms against the Turks, who had made encroachments on the western provinces of Persia during the declining vigour of the Sophis. Having conducted this war with success, he felt his power sufficient to pull off the mask. He proclaimed himself King, by the title of Nadir Shah, in the year 1736; and put out the eyes of the unfortunate Thamas.
The restless and enterprising Afghauns, who regretted the loss of Persia, still kept up disturbance on its eastern frontier; and they provoked the proud and furious Nadir to undertake a war of little less than extermination. Not satisfied with driving them from all the accessible parts of their own country, he made his way into Candahar, which had for some generations been detatched from the Mogul empire, and annexed to that of Persia. Cabul, which already contained a great mixture of Afghauns, was now crowded with that people, flying from the cruelties of the foe. Nadir was not soon tired in the pursuit of his prey. He had reason to be dissatisfied with the government of Hindustan, to which he had sent repeated embassies; received with something more than neglect. In the general negligence and corruption which pervaded the whole business of government, the passes from Persia into Cabul were left unguarded. The Persian protested that he meant neither hostility nor disrespect to his brother of Hindustan; and that, if not molested, he would chastise the accursedBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1739. Afghauns, and retire. The opposition he experienced was, indeed, so feeble, as hardly to excite the resenment of Nadir; and, after slaughtering the Afghauns in Cabul, he was ready to withdraw; when a circumstance occurred, which kindled his rage. A messenger and his escort, whom he had dispatched from Cabul to the Emperor at Delhi, were murdered at Jellalabad by the inhabitants; and, instead of yielding satisfaction for the injury, the silken courtiers of Mahomed counselled approbation; and ridiculed the supposition of danger from the shepherd and freebooter of Chorasan.
That furious warrior hastened to the offending city, and slaughtered the inhabitants without mercy. From this he pursued his route to Peshawir, and thence to Lahore: at both of which places he experienced but little opposition. He then turned his face directly to the capital, where Mahomed and his counsellors, wrapped in a fatal security, were not prepared to believe that the Persian usurper would dare to march against the Majesty of Hindustan. The Hindustanee army, which had been two months in the field, had only advanced to Carnal, four days march from Delhi, where it was surprised by the appearance of the enemy, while Mahomed and his friends were yet ignorant of his approach. The hardy and experienced valour of Nadir’s bands quickly spread confusion among the ill conducted crowds of Mahomed. The Ameer al Omrah was mortally wounded, and died after leaving the field of battle. Saadut Khan fought till he was deserted by his followers, and taken prisoner. Nadir, who had no project upon Hindustan, left the disordered camp the next day without an attack; and readily listened to the peaceful counsels of his prisoner Saadut Khan, who hoped, if now set BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1739.free, to obtain the vacant office of Ameer ul Omrah. Mahomed honoured the Shah with a visit in his camp, and the Shah consented to evacuate Hindustan, upon receipt of two crores of rupees. The insatiable avidity, however, of Nizam al Mulk fatally defeated this happy agreement. He demanded, and was too powerful to be refused, the office of Ameer al Omrah. The disappointed and unprincipled Saadut hastened to inform Nadir, that two crores of rupees were no adequate ransom for the empire of Hindostan; that he himself, who was but an individual, would yield as great a sum; that Nizam al Mulk, who alone had power to offer any formidable resistance, ought to be secured; and that Nadir might then make the wealth of the capital and empire his own. A new and dazzling prospect was spread before the eyes of the ravager. Mahomed Shah, and Nizam al Mulk were recalled to the Persian camp; when Nadir marched to Delhi, the gates of which were opened to receive him. For two days had the Persians been in Delhi, and as yet observed the strictest discipline and order. But on the night of the second, an unfortunate rumour was spread that Nadir Shah was killed; upon which the wretched inhabitants rose in tumult; ran to massacre the Persians; and filled the city throughout the night with confusion and bloodshed. With the first light of the morning, Nadir issued forth; and dispersing bands of soldiers in every direction, ordered them to slaughter the inhabitants without regard to age or sex in every street or avenue where the body of a murdered Persian should be found. From sun rise to mid day the sabre raged; and by that time not less than 8000 Hindus, Moguls, or Afghauns, were numbered with the dead. During the massacre and pillage, the city was set on fire in several places. The destroyer at last allowed himself to be persuaded to stay the ruin; the signal wasBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1739. given, and in an instant, such was the authority of Nadir, every sword was sheathed.
A few days after the massacre, a nobleman was dispatched by Nadir, to bring from Oude the two crores of rupees, promised by its governor Saadut Khan; who, in the short interval, had died of a cancer in his back. On the same day he commenced his seizure of the imperial treasure and effects; three crores and fifty lacks in specie;1 a crore and fifty lacks in plate;2 fifteen crores in jewels;3 the celebrated peacock throne, valued at a crore;4 other valuables to the amount of eleven crores;5 besides elephants, horses, and the camp equipage of the Emperor. The bankers, and rich individuals were ordered to give up their wealth, and tortured to make discovery of what they were suspected to have concealed. A heavy contribution was demanded of the city, and exacted with cruel severity; many laid violent hands upon themselves to escape the horrid treatment to which they beheld others exposed. Famine pervaded the city; and pestilential diseases ensued. Seldom has a more dreadful calamity fallen upon any portion of the human race, than that in which the visit of Nadir Shah involved the capital of Hindustan. Yet a native and cotemporary historian informs us, such is the facility with which men accommodate themselves to their lot, “that the inhabitants of Delhi, at least the debauched who were by far the most numerous part, regretted the departure BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1739.of the Persians; and to this day (says he), the excesses of their soldiery are topics of humour in the looser conversation of all ranks, and form the comic parts of the drolls or players. The people of Hindustan at this time regarded only personal safety and personal gratification. Misery was disregarded by those who escaped it, and man, centred wholly in himself, felt not for his kind. This selfishness, destructive of public and private virtue, was universal in Hindustan at the invasion of Nadir Shah; nor have the people become more virtuous since, consequently not more happy, nor more independent.”1
Nadir having ordered, as the terms of peace, that all the provinces on the west side of the Indus, Cabul, Tatta, and part of Multan, should be detached from the dominions of the Mogul, and added to his own, restored Mahomed to the exercise of his degraded sovereignty; and, bestowing upon him and his courtiers some good advice, began on the 14th of April, 1739, his march from Delhi, of which he had been in possession for thirty-seven days.2
In regulating the offices of state, Mahomed was obliged to confirm the vizarut, which he intended for other hands, to Kummir ad dien Khan, the relationBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1739. and partisan of Nizam al Mulk. At the request of that domineering chief, the office of Ameer al Omrah was transferred to Ghazee ad dien Khan, his eldestson, while he himself was in haste to depart for Deccan, where Nazir Jung, his second son, whom he had left his deputy, was already aspiring at independence. After several months spent without avail in messages and negotiations, the father was obliged to draw his sword against the son. A victory, gained in the neighbourhood of Ahmednuggur, restored his government to the Nizam, and made Nazir Jung his prisoner. To compose the provinces subject to his command, which had been governed so irregularly and feebly for many years, and were over-run by innumerable disorders, required both vigour and time. The war which he carried on in Carnatic was the most remarkable of his subsequent transactions. Its result is the only circumstance material to us. Nearly the whole of that great province was reduced to his obedience.1
Saadut Khan Boorahan al Mulk, the deceased governor of Oude, was succeeded by his son in law, Abul Mansoor Khan Suffder Jung; who subsequently received the dignity of grand master of the household. A new governor was appointed for Guzerat, and an effort was made, but without success, to ravage that important province from the Mahrattas.
A refractory chief called the Emperor into the field, in the year 1745. This was Ali Mahomed Khan, the founder of the power of the Rohillas, a name of some celebrity in the modern history of Hindustan. The Afghauns, inhabiting the district of Roh, bordering on Cabul, were known by the name of Rohillas.1BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1745.Ali Mahomed himself is said to have been of Hindu extraction; the son of a man of the caste of cow-keepers. He was adopted, however, and reared by an Afghaun of the Rohilla clan; a man of a rank no higher than his own. He entered into the army as a common soldier; and after a time acquired the command of a small body of Afghaun cavalry, with which he served in the army of the Vizir, governor of Moradabad. His conduct gained him distinction; he was recommended to promotion by the Vizir; received some lands in grant from the Emperor; and was appointed to manage certain districts in Moradabad by the Vizir. Under the negligent government of Mahomed, and the disorders which ensued upon the invasion of Nadir Shah, scope was afforded to the ambition of such a man as Ali Mahomed, the Rohilla. He acquired possession of the lands of some neighbouring jagheer holders, under pretence of taking them in lease: He increased the number of Afghauns in his pay; many of whom the severities of Nadir Shah had driven to look for a home beyond the reach of his destructive sword, and to seek employment and protection under Ali Mahomed their countryman. The supposition of power produced its usual consequence. The remittances from his government were delayed and evaded. The Vizir sent a new governor with an army to enforce obedience. Him the Rohilla conquered and slew: and the Vizir, who hated every thing which disturbed his pleasures and ease, thought it better to make an accommodation with Ali than contend with him. He was confirmed in the government of certain districts; and by one acquisition after another, extended the limits of his authority, till they comprehended Moradabad, Bareilly, Aunlah, Sambal, Bangur, Budaoon, and Amroah, districts of Kutteer,BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1747. a province henceforward known by the name of Rohilcund, from the Afghaun clan, to whom, more particularly, Ali and his followers were regarded as belonging. The progress of this adventurer alarmed at last the Viceroy of Oude; whose representations of danger prevailed upon the Emperor to take the field in person. The Rohilla was unable to resist the imperial army; but was underhand supported by the Vizir, in opposition to the Viceroy of Oude. He was besieged in one of his fortresses; but receiving the promise of the Vizir to make his peace with the Emperor, he sent away his treasures to a place of safety, and surrendered. As a compensation for the territory which he had governed, he received the fojdary, or military and judicial authority of Serhind, a district in the upper part of the province of Delhi.1
In the second year after this imperial expedition, happened the invasion of Ahmed Abdallee, a man destined to be the founder of a formidable empire in the contiguous provinces of Persia and Hindustan. He was an Afghaun chief of the tribe of Abdal, inhabiting a district of the mountains of Gaur, near the city of Herat. When yet very young he was taken prisoner by Nadir Shah, and was for some time one of the slaves of the presence; till, attracting the notice of his master, he was raised to the office of Yessawal, or mace-bearer. He was by degrees promoted to a considerable rank in the army, and accompanied Nadir in his invasion of India. Nadir Shah was massacred in his tent, not far from Meshed, on the 8th of June, 1747. Ahmed Abdallee had acquired so BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1747.great an ascendency among the troops, that upon this event several commanders and their followers joined his standard; and he drew off toward his own country. He fell in with and seized a convoy of treasure, which was proceeding to the camp. This enabled him to engage in his pay a still larger body of his countrymen. He proclaimed himself king of the Afghauns; and took the title of Doordowran, or pearl of the age, which being corrupted into Dooranee, gave one of their names to himself and his Abdallees.1 He marched towards Candahar, which submitted to his arms; and next proceeded to Cabul. The inhabitants had resisted the proposal of the governor to purchase tranquillity by the payment of a contribution, but they deserted him on the approach of danger; and this province also fell into the hands of the Afghaun. The governor of Lahore sent him a proposal, offering to betray his trust, and become the servant of Ahmed, on condition of being appointed his Vizir; and though be repented of his engagement and came to blows, his troops made a feeble resistance; and Lahore was added to the dominions of the conqueror. He now directed his ambitious thoughts to the capital of Hindustan, with the feeble government of which he was not unacquainted. A large army, under the Emperor’s eldest son, the Vizir, and other distinguished chiefs, advanced as far as the Sutledge to repel him; but he passed them artfully, and plundered the rich city of Serhind, where the heavy baggage of the prince was deposited. The imperialists made haste to overtake him: and, after several days of skirmishing, the Vizir was killed with a cannon ball in his tent. The brittle materials of an Indian army were nearly broken asunder by this event; the Rajpoots, under their princes, “stretched,”BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1747. says the historian, “the feet of trepidation on the boundless plain of despondency, and marched back to their homes.” However, the remaining chiefs, and among the rest the sons of the late Vizir, exerted themselves with constancy and judgment; and on the following day a still more disastrous accident took place in the camp of the Abdallees. A magazine of rockets and ammunition which had been taken at Serhind accidentally exploded, and killing a great number of people shed through the army confusion and dismay. Ahmed, no longer willing to risk an engagement, drew off his troops, and marched back unmolested to Cabul1 .
The Emperor, who only survived a sufficient time to receive intelligence of this joyful event, expired in the thirtieth year of his reign, and forty-ninth of his age; his constitution exhausted by the use of opium.2
Ahmed Shah, his eldest son, succeeded him without opposition. The great character and power of Nizam al Mulk removed all competition for the vizirit, but he excused himself on account of his years, and actually died, about a month afterwards, in the hundred and fourth year of his age, leaving his BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1749-50.government of Deccan to be seized by his second son Nazir Jung, whose good fortune it was to be present on the spot. After the refusal of the Nizam, the vizirit was bestowed upon Suffder Jung, the Viceroy of Oude, for whom it was originally intended.
The Rohillas and Abdallee Afghauns gave occasion to the most remarkable transactions of the reign of Ahmed Shah. Ali Mahomed, though removed from Rohilcund to Sirhind, found means to return, upon the invasion of the Abdallees, and being joined by the Afghauns, great numbers of whom had still remained in the country, he regained possession, and expelled the imperial governor, much about the time of the death of Mohamed Shah. He enjoyed not his prosperity long; but, dying of a cancer in his back, left discord and contention in his family. This circumstance encouraged the governor of Oude, who was now Vizir, and commanded the remaining resources of the state, to form the design of relieving himself from the dread of an aspiring neighbour, and of increasing his power and dominion by the country which that neighbour possessed. The district of Furruckabad was governed by an Afghaun of the Bungush tribe. This man the Vizir endeavoured to make his instrument in the destruction of the Rohillas. But the Bungush chieftain lost his life in the contest. The Vizir was not less greedy of the country of his Bungush friend, than he was of that of his Rohilla antagonist. The family of the Bungush chieftain, perceiving the designs of the Vizir, formed a confederacy with the neighbouring Afghauns. The Vizir was defeated in a great battle; after which the Afghauns proceeded in two bodies, one to Allahabad, where they plundered the city and besieged the citadel; the other to Lucknow, which they expected to surprise. The Vizir, now tremblingBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1749-50. for his own possessions, could think of nothing better than the wretched resource of calling in the Mahrattas to his aid. They fell upon the country with their usual rapidity; took the Afghauns in a great measure by surprise; and compelled them after much slaughter to take shelter in the neighbouring hills. This done, the Mahrattas had no inclination to depart. They took up their quarters during the rainy season in the country which they had cleared; and the Vizir was fain to assign them a large portion of it in the name of a reward for their service. The Afghauns, as a welcome counterpoise, were allowed to re-occupy the remainder. These events occurred before the end of the year 1750.
In 1749, Ahmed Abdallee marched from Cabul, and advanced as far as Lahore. Meer Munnoo, the eldest son of the late Vizir, had been appointed Governor of Multan, and of as much of the other provinces of Upper India, as could be recovered from the Persians or Afghauns. Being unprepared for adequate resistance, he offered to purchase the retreat of the Dooranee by assigning to him the revenues of four districts; with which Ahmed, for the present, thought proper to content himself.1 In two years he repeated his visit; when Meer Munnoo, after some months of vigorous resistance, was betrayed by one of his generals, and defeated. The Dooranee Shah was not incapable of generosity; he soothed the vanquished leader by obliging expressions, and appointed him his deputy in the two provinces of Multan and Lahore, which were now finally severed from the dominion of the Moguls. A messenger was sent to BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1752.Delhi to demand even a formal cession of the conquered territory; and, though Suffder Jung was summoned from his government, with a view to resist the Afghauns, the favourite eunuch, jealous of the honour which he might acquire by recovering those important provinces, persuaded the emperor to ratify the cession before he arrived. About the same time an expedition was undertaken against one of the nations of Rajpoots, who had seized, with a disputable title, upon certain districts in Ajmere. The war was ill conducted, and ended in disgrace.
A youth now appeared on the stage, who was destined to play a conspicuous part in the closing scenes of the Mogul sovereignty. This was the only son of Ghazee ad Dien Khan, the eldest son of Nizam al Mulk. Upon the death of Nazir Jung in Deccan, Gazee ad Dien, his elder brother, solicited the Viceroyalty of that important country for himself; and taking with him the Mahratta army, which had been in the pay of the Vizir, marched unmolested to Aurungabad. At this place he died only a few days after his arrival. His army immediately dispersed; and the Mahratta general took possession of Candesh, the government of which the deceased Viceroy had been obliged to assign him in security for the pay of his troops. His son Shaab ad Dien, whom he had left in the capital, made so good a use of his interest, chiefly with the Vizir Suffder Jung, that he received his father’s titles of Ghazee ad Dien Khan Bahadur, and was raised to his office of Ameer al Omrah. This did not prevent him from joining immediately the party of the Emperor, and from seconding, with all his power, the machinations intended for the destruction of the Vizir. The military command of the palace was artfully taken out of the hands of that officer; and he and his dependants were refused admittance. The Vizir was alarmed at the prospectBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1752. of a war with his master. He therefore solicited permission to retire to his government beyond the Jumna. This was refused. He marched out of the city and encamped at a few miles distance; with an intention of proceeding to his government without leave, but without drawing the sword, unless in self defence. Learning that an attack was certainly intended, he invited to his assistance the Jaat Raja Soorâje Mul. This chief had already fought in his service, and readily joined his old friend and commander.1 The Vizir set up a new Emperor, a youth whom he represented as one of the royal princes; and laid siege to the castle. It was vigorously defended by the spirit and bravery of the young Ameer al Omrah; and, after a fruitless contest of six months, both parties were glad to negotiate. Suffder Jung gave up his pretended Prince, and was allowed to BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1753.retire to his government, but was deprived of the Vizirit, which was bestowed upon Intizam ad Dowlah, son of the late Vizir Kummir ad Dien Khan.
The Jaat Rajah, Sooraje Mul, had given sufficient umbrage by his support of the rebellious Vizir; but, during the weakness of the Mogul government, the Jaats had also extended their encroachments over a great part of the province of Agra. The youthful ardour of Ghazee ad Dien suggested to him an expedition for the entire reduction of the Jaat country. He called to his assistance a Mahratta general, Holkar Mulhar; and the Jaats, unable to keep the field, retired to their strong holds. To reduce them speedily, heavy cannon was required. For this Gazee ad Dien applied to the Emperor. But the aspiring temper of the Ameer al Omrah was already formidable to both the Emperor and Intizam ad Dowlah. Sooraje Mul, aware of their sentiments, conveyed intimation to the Emperor, that if he would meet him at Secundra, he would join him with all his forces, and deliver him at once from the dangers which, from the ambition of his Ameer al Omrah, impended over his person and throne. The scheme was relished; and the Emperor, under pretence of a hunting party, set forward with as great a force as possible on the road to Secundra. He had advanced as far as that city, when Holkar Mulhar surprised his camp in the night. The Emperor, the Vizir, and other leading officers, fled, disguised as women; leaving even their wives and daughters behind them. Upon this the army disbanded, and Gazee ad Dien marched to the capital, where nothing remained to oppose him. He invested himself with the office of Vizir; seized the Emperor and his mother; blinded them both; and bringing forth Yezzez ad Dien, son of the late Jehander Shah, proclaimed him Emperor, by the title of Aulumgeer the Second. This revolutionBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1753. occurred in the year 1753.1
During the same year died Suffder Jung, Subahder of Oude; and was succeeded by Sujah ad Dowlah, his son. About the same time died also Meer Munnoo, Viceroy, under the Abdalee King, of the provinces of Multan and Lahore. By the severe exactions of the government, and the interruptions of agiculture through the ravages and terror of war, these provinces had for some time been severely afflicted with scarcity. Of this, one important consequence was, an accession to the numbers and power of the Seiks; for that people making it a rule to provide maintenance and occupation for one another, great numbers of persons in distress were tempted to join them; and all were readily received upon adopting the garb and principles of the sect.2 The Abdallee Shah withdrew not the government of Multan and Lahore from the family of Meer Munnoo. His son was a minor; but, in quality of guardian of the minor, his mother was allowed to act in his stead. Under this arrangement, the disorder of the provinces increased. The weakness of the administration suggested to the Vizir, who now had changed his title from that of Gazee ad Dien Khan to that of Umad al Mulk, the project of wresting the provinces at once from the hands of this female superintendant, and from the dominion of the Afghauns. During the life of Meer Munnoo, the daughter of the Governess had been promised in marriage to Gazee ad Dien Khan, who now claimed fulfilment of the contract. The mother, to whom few events could yield greater pleasure, conveyed to him his bride, with all the magnificence BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1754.which the importance of the nuptials appeared to require. Under the confidence and security which this alliance inspired, the Vizir detached a body of troops to Lahore, who seized, and conveyed to his camp, the deluded Governess, inveighing against his perfidy, and denouncing the vengeance which Ahmed Shah, her sovereign, would speedily exact.
The fulfilment of her angry predictions was not long deferred. The exasperated Afghaun hasted from Candahar to Lahore, which was evacuated on his approach; and thence directed his march to Delhi. The Vizir, sensible of his inability to contend with the storm, eagerly solicited reconciliation with his mother-in-law, and employed her as a mediator with the Shah. The invader rejected not the prayer, but demanded a large contribution as the price of his clemency; and, in the mean time, continued his march to Delhi. The wretched Aulumgeer having no means of resistance, opened to him the gates of the capital; and affected to receive him as a royal guest. For some weeks, Delhi was subject to all the enormities which are practised by a barbarian soldiery, on a prostrate foe. To gratify more fully the rapacity of the invader, Umad al Mulk offered to go in person to raise contributions in the Dooab, or country between the Jumna and Ganges; while the Dooranee Shah was to march against the country of the Jaat Rajah Sooraje Mul. He had reduced some fortresses, and was employed in besieging the citadel of Agra, when a plague broke out in his camp. Upon this he formed the resolution of returning immediately to his own country, without even waiting for the return of the Vizir. An interview, as he passed Delhi, again took place between him and Aulumgeer. The fallen Mogul entreated the invader of his country not to leave him in the hands of his overbearing Vizir. Nujeeb ad Dowlah, a chief of Rohillas, who hadBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1756. lately acted a conspicuous part in the imperial service, was, at the request of the Emperor, appointed Ameer al Omrah; and to him the Dooranee recommended the protection of his master.
The Vizir, upon the retreat of the Abdalees, engaged in his party Ahmed Khan, the Bungush chief of Furrukhabad, whose father had lost his life in the contest with the Rohillas. To him and his Afghauns he joined an army of Mahrattas, under Ragonaut Raow and Holkar. With this force he marched to Delhi. The Emperor and Nujeeb ad Dowlah shut the gates of the city; but after a siege of forty-five days, the Emperor was obliged to submit; while Nujeeb ad Dowlah, by bribing the Mahrattas, obtained the means of escaping to his own district in Rohilcund; and his office of Ameer al Omrah was bestowed upon Ahmed Khan. Alee Gohur, the eldest son of Aulumgeer, was in the vicinity of Delhi, supporting himself with a small body of cavalry on some districts which he had in Jaghire. The Vizir made his father recall him; and the Prince repaired to Delhi, but refused to enter the citadel where he might easily be confined. He was, accordingly, besieged in his palace; but a few of his followers cut a passage for him through the troops of the Vizir, and he made his escape to Nujeeb ad Dowlah, with whom, and with the Subahdar of Oude, he remained for some months; and then betook himself for an asylum to the English in Bengal.
The settlement which, with short-sighted policy, the viceroy of Oude had given to a body of Mahrattas in part of Rohilcund, had fired other Mahrattas with a passion for the fertile country beyond the Ganges. Of this passion, in labouring the ruin of Nujeeb BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1756.ad Dowlah, and of the Nabob of Oude,1 whose power he dreaded and whose government he desired, Umad al Mulk resolved to make his account. At his instigation two chiefs, Junkojee and Duttah Sindia, set out from Deccan, meditating no less than the entire subjugation of Hindustan. They crossed the Jumna; and driving Nujeeb ad Dowlah from the open country, besieged him in one of his forts, where he defended himself with obstinate bravery. Sujah ad Dowlah saw that the danger was common; and collecting an army marched to support him. He encountered the Mahratta army; gained the advantage, and forced it to cross the Jumna, where a considerable portion of it perished in the waters. Hearing at the same time of the march of the Abdalee Shah, its leaders were sufficiently disposed to accommodation.
As soon as Umad al Mulk, the Vizir, was made acquainted with the alliance of Sujah ad Dowlah and the Rohillas, it was his desire, as his interest, to march to the assistance of his Mahratta allies. But he was now beset with a number of difficulties. The Abdalee Shah, whom he had twice offended, was in motion: The Rohillas, with the Nabob of Oude, were opposing the Mahrattas: And Aulumgeer was in correspondence with all his enemies. He resolved, without scruple, to deliver himself from the last of these difficulties.BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1759. A trusty Cashmerian having received his commission, the Emperor was stabbed with poignards, and his body thrown out upon the strand of the Jumna; where it was stripped by the people, and remained exposed for eighteen hours. Mohee al Sunnut, a son or grandson of Kaum Buksh, the youngest son of Aurungzebe, was taken from confinement, and set up as the pageant of royalty; after which the Vizir hastened to join the conflict against Nujeeb ad Dowlah and the Nabob of Oude. He was on his march when he heard that peace was concluded; and that the Mahrattas were gone to oppose themselves to the approach of the Abdalee King. The means of personal safety now engrossed the mind of Umad al Mulk. He retired to the country of Suraje Mul, and shut himself up in one of the strongest of his forts.
Upon the last retreat of Ahmed Dooranee Shah from Hindustan, he had left his son Governor of Lahore and Multan; disordered by revolutions, wasted and turbulent. A chief who had served with distinction under the late Meer Munnoo incited the Seiks to join him in molesting the Dooranees; and they gained several important advantages over their principal commanders. They invited the Mahratta generals, Ragonaut Raow, Shumsheer Bahadur, and Holkar, who had advanced into the neighbourhood of Delhi, to join them in driving the Abdalees from Lahore. No occupation could be more agreeable to the Mahrattas. After taking Sirhind, they advanced to Lahore, where the Abdalee Prince made but a feeble resistance, and fled. This event put them in possession of both Multan and Lahore. Placing the country under a temporary government, they marched BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1760.homeward at the approach of the rains; but left a Mahratta Subahdar, who next season extended his acquisitions as far as the river Attok. It was at this very time that the army, of which we have already spoken, marched to take possession of Rohilcund and Oude: And the whole Indian continent appeared now about to be swallowed up by the Mahrattas. Had not Ahmed Shah, the Abdalee, whose empire was in its youth and vigour, been upon the stage: had not the Mahrattas at that time been possessed of extraordinary power; the Mahrattas in the one case; the Abdalees, in the other, might have extended their dominion from Thibet and Persia to Cape Comorin. The opposition which they made to one another opened a way for a maritime nation to introduce itself from the other side of the globe, and to acquire by rapid strides a more complete ascendant over that extensive region than any single government had ever attained.
Ahmed Shah was not only roused by the loss of his two provinces, and the disgrace imprinted on his arms; but he was invited by the chiefs and people of Hindustan, groaning under the depredations of the Mahrattas, to march to their succour and become their King. The Mahrattas, flying before him, evacuated the two provinces at his approach; and assembled together from all quarters in the neighbourhood of Delhi. The Dooranee army was joined by the chiefs of Rohilcund, Nujeeb al Dowlah, Saadoollah Khan, Hafiz Rhamut, and Doondee Khan. For some days the Dooranees hovered round the Mahratta camp; when the Mahrattas, who were distressed for provisions, came out and offered battle. Their army, consisting of 80,000 veteran cavalry, was almost wholly destroyed; and Duttah Sindia, their General, was among the slain. A detachment of horse sentBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1760. against another body of Mahrattas, who were marauding under Holkar in the neighbourhood of Secundra, surprised them so completely that Holkar fled naked, with a handful of followers, and the rest, with the exception of a few prisoners and fugitives, were all put to the sword.
During the rainy season, while the Dooranee Shah was quartered at Secundra, the news of this disaster and disgrace excited the Mahrattas to the greatest exertions. A vast army was collected; and Suddasheo Raow, commonly called Bhaow, the nephew of Ballajee, the Peshwa, and other chiefs of the greatest note, assuming the command, the Mahrattas marched to gratify the resentments, and fulfil the unbounded hopes of the nation. Having been joined by Sooraje Mul the Jaat, and Umad al Mulk the Vizir, they arrived at the Jumna before it was sufficiently fallen to permit either the Mahrattas on the other side, or the Dooranees, to cross. In the mean time they marched to Delhi, of which after some resistance they took possession; plundered it with their usual rapacity, tearing away even the gold and silver ornaments of the palace; proclaimed Sultan Jewan Bukht, the son of Alee Gohur, Emperor; and named Sujah ad Dowlah, Nabob of Oude, his Vizir. Impatient at intelligence of these and some other transactions, Ahmed Shah swam the Jumna, still deemed impassable, with his whole army. This daring adventure, and the remembrance of the late disaster, shook the courage of the Mahrattas; and they entrenched their camp on a plain near Pannipῦt. The Dooranee, having surrounded their position with parties of troops, to prevent the passage of supplies, contented himself for some days with skirmishing. At last he tried an assault; when BOOK III. Chap. 4. 1760.the Rohilla infantry of Nujeeb ad Dowlah forced their way into the Mahratta works, and Bulwant Raow with other chiefs was killed: but night put an end to the conflict. Meanwhile scarcity prevailed, and filth accumulated, in the Mahratta camp. The vigilance of Ahmed intercepted their convoys. In a little time famine and pestilence raged. A battle became the only resource. The Abdalee restrained his troops till the Mahrattas had advanced a considerable way from their works; when he rushed upon them with so much rapidity as left them hardly any time for using their cannon. The Bhaow was killed early in the action; confusion soon pervaded the army; and a dreadful carnage ensued. The field was floated with blood. Twenty-two thousand men and women were taken prisoners. Of those who escaped from the field of battle, the greater part were butchered by the people of the country, who had suffered from their depredations. Of an army of 140,000 horse, commanded by the most celebrated generals of the nation, only three chiefs of any rank, and a mere residue of the troops, found their way to Deccan. The Dooranee Shah made but little use of this mighty victory. After remaining a few months at Delhi, he recognized Alee Gohur, as Emperor, by the title of Shah Aulum the Second; and entrusting Nujeeb ad Dowlah with the superintendance of affairs, till his master should return from Bengal, he marched back to his capital of Cabul in the end of the year 1760. With Aulumgeer the Second, the empire of the Moguls may be justly considered as having arrived at its close. The unhappy Prince who now received the name of Emperor, and who, after a life of misery and disaster, ended his days a pensioner of English merchants, never possessed a sufficient degree of power to consider himself for one moment as masterBOOK III. Chap. 4. 1760. of the throne.1
[1 ]By Ferishta, as translated by Dow, he is called Shabiani, ii. 100.
[1 ]This district, which gave its name to the Rohillas, a people considerable in the history of British India, is said by Major Stewart, on his Persian authorities, to have been the original seat of the Afghauns, whose mountainous country (Roh signifies a mountainous country; and Rohillas, mountaineers or highlanders) extended, according to the same authorities, in length from Sewad and Bijore to the town of Sia, in Bukharest, and in breadth from Hussin to Rabul. Stewart’s Bengal, p. 127.
[1 ]What relates to Bengal, in these transactions, is extracted minutely by Mr. Stewart, (Hist. Bengal, sect. 5.)
[1 ]This is a stage of civilization to which the Hindus had not arrived.
[1 ]For the succeeding sketch of the history of the Mahomedan sovereignties in Deccan, Ferishta’s History of Deccan, translated by Captain Jonathan Scott, and Wilk’s Historical Sketches of the South of India, have been the principal guides.
[1 ]Called Bisnagar, in the common maps, and Vijeyanuggur by Col. Wilks. Bijanuggur was but a modern power, in the south of India, and had risen upon the ruins of the Rajahship of Warunkul. Historical Sketches, by Col. Wilks, ch. i.
[2 ]Col. Wilks thinks that the whole of the south of India, (i. e. India to the south of the Kistna) had for a considerable space of time been comprised in the empire of Vijeyanuggur. Ibid. p. 20. After the ruin of the Rajahship of Warunkul, when was the time for such an aggrandisement?
[1 ]Ayeen Akberry, ii. 2.
[1 ]Written also Brampore, and Boorhanpore.
Ferishta’s History of Deccan, by Scott, i. 400–403. Umber was one of the adventurers from Abyssinia, of whom so many sought, and obtained, their fortunes in Deccan, during the existence of the Afghâun dynasties.
[2 ]Ibid. p. 339, 340; and 409, 410.
[1 ]The fall of Dowlatabad is somewhat differently related by Dow in his history of Nizam Shah, p. 151. We have here followed the account of Ferishta. Scott’s Deccan, i. 402.
[1 ]We meet with boasts, in the Oriental historians, of kings, whose administration of justice was so perfect, that a purse of gold might be exposed on the highways, and no man would touch it. Never was justice better administered in India than under the reign of Shah Jehan; yet knowing more of the circumstances of his reign, we know better what the general enlogies of the Oriental historians mean. Bernier, describing his situation at the time of his arrival at the court of Shah Jehan, speaks of “le peu d’argent qui me restoit de diverses rencontres de voleurs.” Hist. des Estats du Grand Magol, p. 5.
[1 ]For these transactions of Aurungzebe and Emir Jumla, see Bernier, ut supra, p. 22–32, and the reign of Shah Jehan, chap. v. in Dow.
[2 ]Dow, who follows his Persian authority, says, the malady was paralysis and strangury, brought on by excesses in the haram; Bernier the physician speaks of it in the following terms: “Je ne parlerai point ici de sa maladie, et je n’en raporteray pas les particularitez. Je diray seulement qu’elle estoit peu convenable à un vieillard de soixantedix ans et plus, qui devoit plῦtot songer a conserver ses forces qu’à les ruiner comme il fit.” Ut supra, p. 33.
[1 ]Bernier had not heard of the attempt of Morâd upon the life of Aurungzebe. It is here stated upon the Persian authorities of Dow. Bernier, ut supra, p. 109–114. Dow’s Shah Jehan, ch. iii. Hist. of Hindostan, vol. iii.
[1 ]This account of the fate of Mahomed is given by Mr. Stewart, (Hist. Bengal, p. 276) on the authority of the Muasir Alumgiery, and varies from the account of Ferishta, who says he died in Gualior.
[1 ]Dow, (Hist. of Aurungzebe, chap. iv.) places the Emperor’s illness after the famine. But Bernier, who was on the spot, and mentions the arrival of ambassadors from the Khan of the Usbecks first among the events succeeding the termination of the civil war, says, that those ambassadors, who remained somewhat more than four months, had not departed from Delhi when the Emperor was taken ill. Bernier, Evenemens Particuliers des Etats du Mogul, p. 10.
[1 ]Bernier, ut supra, p 87.
[1 ]The Pousta is thus described by the physician, Bernier. Ce pousta n’est autre chose que du pavot écrasé qu’on laisse la nuit tremper dans de l’eau; c’est ce qu’on fait ordinairement boire à Goualeor, à ces princes ausquels on ne veut pas faire couper la teste; c’est la premiere chose qu’on leur porte le matin, et on ne leur donne point à manger qu’ils n’en ayent beu une grande tasse, on les laisseroit plῦtot mourir de faim; cela les fait devenir maigres et mourir insensiblement, perdans pen à peu les forces et l’entendement, et devenus comme tout endormis et étourdis, et c’est par là qu’on dit qu’on s’est defait de Sepe-Chekouh, du petit fils de Morad, et de Soliman meme. Bernier, Hist. de la derniere Revolut. des Estats du Grand Mogul, p. 170. It is said, that when the gallant Soliman was, by the treachery of the Rajah of Serinagur, delivered into the cruel hands of Aurungzebe, and introduced into his presence, when every one was struck with the noble appearance of the graceful and manly youth, he entreated that he might be immediately beheaded; and not reserved to the lingering destruction of the pousta; when the hypocritical Aurungzebe forbade him to fear, adding, that he was cautious, but not cruel. Bernier, Ibid. p. 169. Dow, Reign of Aurungzebe, ch. iv.
[1 ]Bernier, (Evenemens Particul. des Etats du Mogul, p. 88–101) speaks of these Portuguese as infamous buccaneers; and their own historian, Faria de Sowza, countenances the assertion, which might have been founded upon the reports of enemies. The Portuguese followed their merchandize as their chief occupation, but, like the English and Dutch of the same period, had no objection to plunder, when it fell in their way.
[1 ]Dow, Reign of Aurunzebe, ch. vi.
[2 ]Mheerut, or Mharat, the name of a district, which under the Deccanee sovereigns was part of the province of Dowlutabad, may in former ages, says Mr. Jonathan Scott, have given name to a larger division of Dekkan, and the original country of the Mahrattas. Scott’s Deccan, Introd. p. x. Ibid. i. 32. The Mahratta language extends along the coast from the island of Bardez to the river Tapti. Orme, Histor. Frag. p. 57. It is said by Col. Wilks (Hist. Sketches, p. 6) that “from Beder the Mahratta language is spread over the whole country to the northwestward of the Canara, and of a line which, passing considerably to the eastward of Dowletabad, forms an irregular sweep until it touches the Tapti, and follows the course of that river to the western sea—but that in the geographical tables of the Hindus, the name of Maharashtra, and by contraction Mahratta dasum (or country) seems to have been more particularly appropriated to the eastern portion of this great region, including Baglana, part of Berar and Candeish: the western was known by its present name of Coucan.”
[1 ]Aurungzebe’s Operations in Dekkan, translated by Scott, p. 6.
[1 ]Aurungzebe’s operations in Dekkan, a translation from a Persian manuscript, by Jonathan Scott, p. 6;—Appendix A. to Lord Wellesley’s Notes on the Mahratta war;—East India Papers, printed by the House of Commons, 1804, p. 255. Lord Wellesley seems to have followed Scott. Ekogee, as he is called by Mr. Orme and others, is written Angojee in Mr. Scott’s translation, p. 32. The history and origin of the family is related with considerable variations, by Col. Wilks, on Mahratta authorities. (Hist. Sketches, chap. iii) But if Hindu authority were better than Persian, (and it is far inferior) the facts are not worth the trouble of a critical comparison. It is of some importance to state what is related (ibid.) by Wilks, that Shahjee went second in command in the army of the King of Beejapore which proceeded to the conquest of the Carnatic in 1638; that he was left provincial governor of all the Beejapore conquests in Carnatic, when the general in chief returned to the capital; that his first residence was at Bangalore, but that he afterwards seems to have divided his time between Colar and Balapoor. Wilks infers from some grants of laud by Shawjee, of which the writings still remain, that he affected independence of the declining government which he had served. The acquisition of Tanjore was made, as the Colonel thinks, not by Shawjee, but after his death by Ekojee his son; and his accomplice was not the Rajah or Folygar of Mudkul, but the Naik of Madura, which however appears to have been called Mudkul by the Persian historians. Naik and Polygar were Hindu names of governors of districts, who, as often as they dared to assume independance, affected the title of Rajah. Naik was a title of inferior dignity to Polygar.
[1 ]The mountainous districts, lying between the provinces of Agra and Guzerat, and forming part of the provinces of Malwa and Ajmere, were inhabited by a race of warlike Hindus, named Rajpoots, who, from pride of superior prowess, claimed to be of a higher caste than the mass of other Hindus. They had been divided into three principal Rajahships; that of Abnir or Ambeer, called afterwards Jeypore and Jyenagur, on the borders of Agra; that of Jodepore or Marwar, south west from Abnir, approaching the centre of Ajmere; and lastly that of Chitore, called also Odeypore, from another city, lying further south. Of these Rajahs the most powerful had been the Rajah of Chitore, whose distinctive title was Rana. Jesswint Sing, the Rajah of Judpore, having married the daughter of the last Rana, had merged those two kingdoms of Rajapoots into one. Mr. Orme seems not to have been aware of the marriage of Jesswint Sing, and of its effects; as he mentions with some surprise, that the name of the Rajah of Chitore no where appears in the history of the present transactions. Bernier, Revol. p. 52, 56; Dow. Reign of Shah Jehan, ch. v. p. 212; Scott, ut supra, p. 10; Memoirs of Eradut Khan, p. 18; Rennel’s Memoir, Introd. p. cxxxii. To the above nations of Rajapoots should also be added those of Boudela, or Bundelcund, a district between the provinces of Agra and Malwa, extending from Jeypore, by Gualior and Callinger, as far as Benares. Memoirs of Eradut Khan, p. 17: Rennel, ut supra, p. cxxxii.
[1 ]Scott, ut supra, p. 11–17. Mr. Orme, from scattered reports, has stated the circumstances differently. Historical Frag. p. 17, &c.
[2 ]Not without suspicion of poison.—Mr. Scott’s author, who probably wished to spare Aurungzebe, says, by his moonshee, or secretary (p. 17). Mr. Orme says, by order of Aurungzebe (p. 27). But the Rajah was worn out with age and laborious services; and the only poison, perhaps, was the anguish of disgrace. He is praised by the Mahomedan historians as the most eminent, in personal qualities, of all the Hindus they had yet known; acomplished in Persian and Arabian learning. His successor, of whom more will be heard hereafter, was celebrated for his astronomical learning, and for the observatory which he erected at Jeypore. Memoirs of Eradut Khan, p. 18. Note (1) by Scott.
[1 ]Wilks, (p. 80) says nine, upon what authorities he, as usual, omits to state.
[1 ]This expedition into the Carnatic is noticed by Scott, ut supra, p. 32; by Orme, Hist. Frag. p. 82–87. Col. Wilks, however, (ch. iii. ut supra,) has given the most distinct account, and is here followed.
[1 ]Orme’s Hist. Frag. p. 9 to 11, 79 to 81.
[2 ]Ibid. p. 133, 134. Wilks says he died in 1680, (ubi supra, p. 91).
[1 ]Orme’s Hist. Frag. p. 68–72.
[1 ]Scott’s Operations of Aurungzebe in Deccan, p. 53. Orme, ut supra, p. 100–105, and 119–121.
[1 ]Scott, ut supra, p. 54–64; Orme Hist. Frag. p. 134–152.
[1 ]Scott, ut supra, p. 65–73.
[2 ]The greatest part of Carnatic had belonged to the rajahs of Beejanugger, in the flourishing state of that empire. After the reduction of that state by the Mahomedan powers of Deccan, it was divided between the states of Golconda and Beejapore. Aurungzebe’s Operations in Deccan, Scott, p. 73, 74, 75. Orme, p. 119–130.
[1 ]Scott, ut supra, p. 77–80; Orme, p. 230–234. Wilks (p. 215) says it was taken in 1698.
[1 ]For the last seven years of the reign of Aurungzebe, the author of Aurungzebe’s operations in Deccan, by Scott, (p. 73–123,) is our principal authority. The age of Aurungzebe is stated on the authority of Golam Hussein Khan (Seer Mutakhareen, i. 2). Mr. Scott’s author mentions not the age. Both writers miscalculate the length of the reign (which began in August 1658, and ended in February 1707); the one calling it more than fifty, the other more than fifty-one years.
[1 ]The reign of Shah Aulum is related by two Persian noblemen, both cotemporary with the events, Eradut Khan, (Mem. p. 11–64,) and Golâm Hussein Khan, Seer Mutakhareen, p. 1–23.
[2 ]This was the highest office in an Indian government, and seldom bestowed unless on some great emergency. Scott, Memoirs of Eradut Khan, p. 46.
[3 ]Chief paymaster; an office of great trust and dignity. Ibid.
[1 ]Sir John Malcolm writes it Grant’h. Sketch of the Sikhs, p. 25.
[1 ]Golâm Hussein, (Seer Mutakhareen, i. 87–93) who gives a pretty detailed account of the origin of the Seiks; and Scott, (Hist. of Aurungzebe’s Successors, p. 142) who gives an abridged one, agree pretty exactly in the facts. Eradut Khan (Mem. p. 61) describes the reduction of Daber. Some general remarks are found in a paper of Mr. Wilkins, in the first vol. of the Asiatic Researches. The more detailed account of Sir John Malcolm, (Sketch of the Sikhs, p. 1–85,) taken from Seik authorities, differs widely in the history of Nannuk; but though the inaccurate Persians are not much to be trusted, the fabling Seiks, making every thing miraculous in the origin of their sect, are still less.
[1 ]Eradut Khan, (Memoirs, p. 65–67,) and Golam Hussein Khan, (Seer Mutakhareen, i. 23–36, agree in the general points of this struggle for the crown; the former describing it like an eye-witness, but not a very curious one; the other from report merely, but not without diligence and criticism.
[1 ]The Memoirs of Eradut Khan finish with the reign of Jehandar Shah. He describes the scenes with the knowledge of an eye-witness, but with little favour to Jehandar Shah or Zulfeccar, the victims of the severity or cruelty of the prince under whom he wrote, and whom it was adviseable not to offend. Golam Houssein is more candid and more discerning. Seer Mutakhareen, i. 42–63.
[1 ]Before the departure of Hussun, the marriage of the Emperor was celebrated with the daughter of Maharaja Ajeet Sing, stipulated for, in the conditions lately imposed by Hussun upon the Rajah. She had been conveyed from her father’s palace to that of Hussun, as her adopted father, who graced her nuptials with a magnificence which surpassed all that hitherto had been seen in Hindustan.
[3 ]£ 15,000,000.
[4 ]£ 1,000,000.
[5 ]£ 11,000,000.
[1 ]Aurungzebe’s Successors, by Scott, p. 214.
[2 ]The most valuable of the details respecting the invasion of Nadir are furnished us by Golam Hussein, (Seer Mutakhareen, i. 325–344.) Scott, as usual, gives chiefly an abridgement of the Seer Mutakhareen, but here, enriched with some particulars from the known historians of Nadir. An interesting account of the march of the Persian army back, and its operations in Bucharia, and Karisme, to which Nadir immediately proceeded, is given us by an eye-witness, Khojeh Abdulkurreem, a Cashmerian of distinction, who accompanied him from Hindustan, and whose narrative has been translated for us by Mr. Gladwin. Khojeh Abdulkurreem differs from Scott, in the day of the conqueror’s departure from Delhi, which he makes the 4th of May. Memoirs of Khojeh Abdulkurreem, p. 1. A curious letter of Nadir Shah himself, giving an account to his son of his march towards Delhi, of the battle, and of his intention not to seize the crown of Mahomed, has been translated by Sir John Malcolm. (Asiat. Res. x. 539.)
[1 ]For the circumstances of Nizam ul Mulk’s resumption of his government in Deccan, see Seer Mutakhareen, iii. 3, 8.
[1 ]Memoirs of Khojeh Abdulkurreem, p. 183.
[1 ]Seer Mutakhareen, (iii. 20–26); Memoirs of Khojeh Abdulkurreem, (p. 183–185). Scott gives a very short and unsatisfactory abridgement of the passage in the Seer Mutakhareen; Aurungzebe’s Successors, p. 218.
[1 ]Memoirs of Khojeh Abdulkurreem, p. 204.
[1 ]Seer Mutakhareen, (iii. 38–52); Memoirs of Khojeh Abdulkurreem, p. 186, 203–207. Life of Ahmed Shah, king of the Abdallees, who are also called Duranees, from the custom of wearing a pearl in one of their ears, translated from the Persian by Henry Vansittart, published in Gladwin’s Asiatic Miscellany.
[2 ]The Seer Mutakhareen is the great authority for this reign; Mr. Scott giving little more than an abridgment of the narrative in that work. Some curious facts are contained in the memoirs of Khojeh Abdulkurreem. Frazer’s Nadir Shah; and the history of that ferocious conqueror, translated into French by Sir Wilham Jones, are to be consulted for the details on the Persian side. In Frazer there is an abridgment of the Mogul history, from Aurungzebe to Mahomed Shah, which is given in a still more abridged form by Holwell in his “Interesting Historical Events.” Frazer’s materials were imperfect.
[1 ]Seer Mutakhareen (iii. 79). Mr. Scott speaks of a vigorous resistance on the part of the Governor (p. 225); but Golâm Hussun says, there was no fighting; and so does Kojeh Abdulkurreem (p. 236).
[1 ]The Jaats or Jauts, inhabiting the mountainous region, from the Chumbul and Jumna eastward, to the Jeypoor Rajahship on the west; and from twenty coss to the southward of Agra, to the province of Delhi on the north, were known as a formidable predatory tribe from the earliest period of the Mohamedan history. The original seat of the Jaats appears to have been near the Indus, in the lower part of Multan. Their chief, or one of their chiefs, was received into the service of Jehandar Shah, and behaved with gallantry in the war between that Prince and Feroksere. Upon the ascendancy gained by the latter Prince, the Jaat retired with his plunder to his fortress of Bhurtpore. This chief was succeeded by his son, who was obliged to become tributary to the Rajah of Jeypoor. To him succeeded his brother, who contrived to throw off his dependance upon the Rajpoot; and, first of his race, assumed the title of Rajah. During the weakness of Mahomed Shah’s administration, he spread his incursions to the very walls of Agra, and left to his son and successor, Sooraje Mull, a considerable kingdom. His power, and vicimty to the capital, rendered him an object of consequence; and the Vizir had attached him to his interests by placing him among the Omrahs of the empire, and other favours. See an account of the Jaats, Asiat. An. Reg. 1802; Characters, p. 12. Also “A Sketch of Rajehpootaneh,” translated from the Persian, in “Tracts, &c.” by William Francklin, a small volume, published in 1811.
[1 ]The Seer Mutakhareen is followed in the text. Francklin (Hist. of Shah Aulum, p. 4) says, 1755.
[2 ]Seer Mutakhareen, iii, 137.
[1 ]The term Nabob, as equivalent to Subahdar, is very modern in Hindustan; and is said to have begun with Sujah Dowlah. Formerly it was not applied to the Subahdar or governor of the Subah, but to the Subahdar’s deputy, or locum tenens; the literal meaning of the word being deputy. The new use of the term is thus accounted for in the Seer Mutakhareen (iii. 167): When the Prince Alee Gohur was on the visit just mentioned, to Sujah ad Dowlah, and received the compliments of that Governor, he addressed him by the title of brother Nabob, which being reckoned an elegant compliment, passed into conversation, when the name was afterwards currently applied to him, and also to other governors.
[1 ]The events of Aulumgeer’s and the preceding reign are found in considerable detail in the Seer Mutakhareen (iii. 62–192), which is abridged by Scott, Hist. of Aurungzebe’s Successors, p. 224–246. The principal facts are noticed, but in certain respects somewhat differently, by Francklin, life of Shah Aulum, p. 7–27.