Interesting Historical Events, by J.Z. Holwell, Esq.

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Interesting Historical Events, by J.Z. Holwell, Esq.

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:55 am

Interesting Historical Events, Relative to the Provinces of Bengal, and the Empire of Indostan. With a Seasonable Hint and Persuasive to the Honourable The Court of Directors of the East India Company. As Also The Mythology and Cosmogony, Fasts and Festivals of the Gentoo's, Followers of the Shastah. And a Dissertation on the Metempsychosis, commonly, though erroneously, called the Pythagorean Doctrine
Parts I, II, and III
by J.Z. Holwell, Esq.





John Zephaniah Holwell has received the eulogy of modern writers for his gallant defence of Calcutta in 1756 after the desertion of Governor Drake and his chief officers. He was the principal survivor of the Black Hole tragedy and wrote a narrative of his sufferings. When Clive left India in February 1760, Holwell succeeded him as Governor of Calcutta, but in August was superseded by Vansittart. His great achievement as Governor was to work up a case, in a most unscrupulous manner, against Nawab Mir Jafar. He prepared a memorial3 [The memorial may be found in Holwell's India Tracts and also in Vansittart’s Narrative Vol. 1 pp. 46-63.] on the state of the affairs of the province for the new Governor who was on his way to Calcutta. In this memorial he laid at the door of Mir Jafar all the evils under which the country was suffering; he charged him with treacherous dealings with the Dutch in the previous year, although Major Caillaud pointed out to him that this was never clearly proved, and even if it had been proved the fault had been condoned by Clive; he charged him with corresponding with the Shahzada, although Warren Hastings declared that the document was a forgery4 [The letters of Major Caillaud and Warren Hastings are given in India Tracts, but the writer has mislaid the exact reference.]; he charged him with the murder of persons who were alive when Mir Jafar himself was dead5 [See infra.] and he got £30,000 for himself when his scheme was successful.6 [Malcolm's Life of Clive (1836) Vol. 2, p. 289. See Bengal P. & P. Vol. VIII pp. 214-219.] The dethronement of Mir Jafar, condemned by Clive,7 [Malcolm's Life of Clive, Vol. 2, p. 255.] protested against by seven of the Company’s servants in Bengal who asserted that if the President had consulted the whole Council the measure would have been rejected,8 [Holwell’s India Tracts (1774) p. 107.] approved by the Court of Directors in such hesitating terms that Warren Hastings did not venture to translate the despatch to the new Nawab,9 [Hastings to Vansittart, July 14, 1762. (Vansittart’s Narrative Vol. 2, p. 69.)] was carried out by Governor Vansittart in October, and Mir Kasim was installed in his place.

Holwell was a man of great ability which he used unscrupulously to secure his own ends. Clive condemns him in the strongest terms: “Mr. Holwell is a specious and sensible man, but from what I have heard and observed myself I cannot be persuaded he will ever make use of his abilities for the good of the Company.”10 [Clive to William Mabbot, 31 Jan. 1757, (Hill’s Bengal in 1756-57 Vol. 2, p. 186)] He trembled to think of the fatal consequences if he were succeeded by such a mercenary man. “Mr. * * * has talents, but I fear wants a heart, therefore unfit to preside where integrity as well as capacity are equally essential.”11 [Malcolm's Life of Clive Vol. 2, p. 137 and p. 139. Asterisks are placed for the name but it is quite clear that Holwell is the man.] It seems ungenerous to add that when Siraj-ud-daula besieged Calcutta Holwell would have run away with the others if he had been able. But the statement was made at the time. Ives mentions it without condemnation12 [A Voyage from England to India in the year 1754 etc. (1773) p. 93. Ives was surgeon to Admiral Watson.] and Clive believed it. “I am well informed," he wrote, “there is no merit due to him for staying behind in the fort, nothing but the want of a boat prevented his escape and flight with the rest.”13 [In the letter quoted above. So Mr. William Lindsay who left the fort by permission on the 19th June. “It was much against his inclination being there, two gentlemen having carried away the budgerow he had waiting for him. I mention this as I understand he made a merit in staying when he found he could not get off." Letter to Mr. Robert Orme from Fulta July 1756. Hill’s Bengal in 1756-57, Vol. 1, p. 168.]

As a historian Holwell enjoys a reputation which is quite undeserved. To qualify himself to write on the history of India Holwell asserts that he “studiously perused all that has been written of the empire of Indostan, both as to its ancient as well as more modern state; as also the various accounts transmitted to us, by authors in almost all ages (from Arrian, down to the Abbé de Guyon) concerning the Hindoos, and the religious tenets of the Bramins.” He proceeds “to pronounce them all very defective, fallacious, and unsatisfactory to an inquisitive searcher after truth.”14 [Holwell's Interesting Historical Events, Part 1, p. 5.] Holwell may have been right, for all his reading did not save him from making the elementary blunder of declaring that Prince Nicosir, a pretender to the Empire in 1709, was a son of the great Akbar who died in 1605!15 [Holwell’s Interesting Historical Events, Part 1, p. 37.] If Holwell is correct in his history of the Mughal Empire from the death of Aurungzeb to the reign of Muhammad Shah then Elphinstone’s History of India needs revision for that period. If the Seir Mutaqherin approximates to history then Holwell’s account of the Transactions in Bengal from 1717 to 1750 is romance.

Here the reader may object: “Granted (though we should require better proof than you have brought forward) that Holwell was an inaccurate historian, that does not prove that he was a dishonest man." The latter point will now be established by showing (1) that Holwell fabricated a speech and fathered it on the Nawab Alivardi Khan; (2) that he brought false charges against the Nawab Mir Jafar; (3) that he fabricated a whole book and called it a translation from the ancient sacred writings of the Hindus.

(1) In a letter to the Court of Directors, dated Fulta, 30 November 1756,16 [Hill's Bengal in 1756-1757 Vol. 2, p. l.] Holwell is at pains to prove that the protection given by the Company’s servants to subjects of the Nawab was not the cause, as had been alleged, of Siraj-ud-daula’s attack on Calcutta. He asserts that Alivardi Khan “had long meditated to destroy the forts and garrisons of the Europeans,” and in support of this statement he quotes “verbatim, the last discourse and council which Mahabut Jung (Alivardi Khan) gave his grandson (Siraj-ud-daula) a few days before his death,” which, he adds, "I had from very good authority at Murshidabad, after my releasement.” Then follows the speech from which the following extract may be made:—“Keep in view the power the European nations have in the country. This fear I would also have freed you from if God had lengthened my days—The work, my son, must now be yours ....... ..Think not to weaken all three together. The power of the English is great; they have lately conquered Angria, and possessed themselves of his country; reduce them first; the others will give you little trouble, when you have reduced them. Suffer them not, my son, to have fortifications or soldiers: if you do, the country is not yours.”17 [Hill's Bengal in 1756-1757, Vol. 2, p. 16.]

This speech called forth some very plain language. Matthew Collet, second at Cassimbazar, contemptuously dismissed it with the words:—“As to Alliverde Cawn's last dying speech to his nephew, I look on it as a specious fable.”18 [Letter from Collet to Council, Fort William (Hill, Vol. 2, p. 129).] Richard Becher, chief of the Company’s factory at Dacca remarks:—“Mr. Holwell will excuse me if I do not admitt Alliverdee Cawn's speech as genuine till better proofs are brought to support it than any I have yet seen. Such advice if really given, it is reasonable to imagine had few or no witnesses, so that it appears very improbable Mr. Holwell in his distressed situation at Muxadavad should have been able to unravell the mysterries of the Cabinet and explore a secret never yet known to any one but himself.”19 [Letter from Becher to Council, Fort William (Hill, Vol. 2, p. 162).] William Watts, chief of the factory at Cassimbazar, observes:—“The last dying speech of Mahabut Jung or Alliverdi Cawn to his grandson neither he, or I believe, any of the gentlemen of the factory, ever heard of; neither have I since from any of the country people; it seems an imitation of the speech of Lewis XIV. to his grandson, and appears as Mr. Collet aptly terms it only a specious fable.”20 [Letter from Watts to Court of Directors, (Hill, Vol. 3, p. 336).]

Holwell replied to what (in his own words) was a charge of imposing on the Court of Directors a forgery that had no foundation but in his own invention. After quoting the words of Messrs. Collet, Becher and Watts he proceeds:—"That Mr. Becher should not believe the speech genuine I do not much wonder at, as he seems fully resolved that nothing shall drive him from his adopted principal cause of our misfortunes, the detention of the Nabob’s subjects, in confutation of which I have said sufficient; but the reasons this gentleman gives for his believing the speech not genuine had been better omitted for his own sake. The speech might probably enough have been a secret whilst it was necessary it should be so; but when I obtained it that necessity had long vanished, and Mr. Becher might have observed I say I had it from good authority, after my releasement, which was more than three months after the period it was uttered, and was no longer to be deemed a mystery of the cabinet, but might be judiciously enough divulged and circulated as an apology for and in support of Surajud Dowla's proceedings against the English, &c. Mr. Becher's opinion, “that I was unable to explore a secret, never yet known to any one but myself,” I would explain and reply to, could I possibly understand him. Shall only add, for Your Honours’ satisfaction, and in vindication of my own veracity, that I was released the 16th of July, and continued at the Tanksall, and the Dutch and French factories, until the 19th at night; during which period I had frequent conferences with the principal Armenians, and some the immediate servants of the late and present Suba, from whence I had the speech literally as I have given it; and notwithstanding the ingenious ridicule it meets from Messieurs Watts and Collet to cover their deficiency in matters which ought to have been known to them, I will not despair of giving Your Honours yet more convincing proofs of its being genuine.” The only proof that Holwell produces is a copy of a letter written by William Forth, surgeon at Cassimbazar, who relates that he was attending the Nawab fifteen days before his death when Siraj-ud-daula entered the room and charged the English with plotting to set up a rival to him in the succession. Alivardi Khan questioned Forth and at the end of his examination declared “he did not believe a word of the report he had heard.”21 [Letter from Holwell to Court of Directors, (Hill, Vol. 3, pp. 355, 356, 357.] How this helps Holwell it is difficult to see.

Holwell’s reply is as feeble as it could possibly be. Why did he not produce names with the date and hour of the conferences? He dared not. Watts and Collet were stationed close to Murshidabad and could have bowled him out. The only other remark of Holwell’s worthy of the slightest notice is his statement that the secret might have been circulated as an apology for the Nawab’s proceedings against the English. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Manningham, in his evidence before the Committee of the House of Commons said that “it was impossible to give any rational account of the origin of the Troubles”; that he was in Murshidabad with Clive in July 1757 and “enquiry was then made with all possible attention, but without success, into the motives of Surajah Dowla’s conduct from his principal officers, and likewise from the officers of his predecessor, from the Seats, and every other person from whom information was likely to be obtained.22 [First Report, (Hill, Vol. 3, p. 284).] Scrafton says the same. “I have made it my study since our intercourse with the great men at court, to penetrate into the cause of this event, but could never obtain anything satisfactory .... Perhaps it is a vain research to trace the motives of a capricious tyrant."23 [Scrafton, Reflections on the Government, &c., of Indostan (1763) p. 55.] Finally, on the main point we have the evidence of a relation24 [Hill, Vol. I Introduction, p. xxviii, foot note.] of Alivardi Khan’s—the author of the Seir Mutaqherin—who states:—“He (Alivardi Khan) used to compare the Europeans to a hive of bees, of whose honey you might reap the benefit, but that if you disturbed their hive they would sting you to death.” On another occasion, when his General, Mustafa Khan, supported by his nephew, Sayyid Ahmad, represented the ease with which the Europeans might be deprived of their immense wealth, he exclaimed: “My child, Mustapha Khan is a soldier, and wishes us to be constantly in need of his service, but how come you to join in his request? What have the English done against me that I should use them ill? It is now difficult to extinguish fire on land; but should the sea be in flames, who can put them out? Never listen to such advice as his, for the result would probably be fatal."25 [All this is borrowed from Hill’s Bengal in 1756-57 Vol I, Introduction p. xxxi.] Commenting on the inconsistency of these words with Holwell’s speech Dr. Busteed suggests that probably Alivardi Khan modified these views later on.26 [Echoes from Old Calcutta (2nd edition) p. 5 footnote.] Undoubtedly he did, or Holwell is guilty of forgery. Let the reader judge.

(2) With respect to the second charge against Holwell the reader will probably be disposed to accept the judgment of Clive and his Council who in 1766 considered it their duty to acquaint the Court of Directors in an official despatch that the “horrible massacres” with which Holwell had charged Nawab Mir Jafar were “cruel aspersions on the character of that prince" and had not the least foundation in truth. The persons who, according to Holwell, had been put to death by Mir Jafar “are all now living, except two, who were put to death by Meeran, without the Nawab’s consent or knowledge.“27 [Long's Selections from Unpublished Records of Government, p. 428.]

(3) Holwell asserts that the leisure hours of his thirty years’ residence in India were spent in collecting materials relative to the history and religion of the inhabitants of the country. Many curious Hindu manuscripts came into his possession and among them “two very correct and valuable copies of the Gentoo Shastah" procured with great labour and at great expense. He spent eighteen months in translating the Sastra.28 [Interesting Historical Events, Part 1, p. 3.] In one year more he would have completed the work but the catastrophe of 1756 intervened and when Calcutta was captured he lost manuscript and translation. By an unforeseen and extraordinary event “that possibly I may hereafter relate” (he never does so) he recovered some of his manuscripts.29 [Interesting Historical Events, Part 1, p. 4.] Hence he was able to give to the world an account of what he calls the “Chartah Bhade of Bramah,” the oldest and purest of the sacred writings of the Hindus. In Holwell’s time only three or four families were capable of reading and expounding it from the Sanskrit character.30 [Interesting Historical Events, Part 2, p. 15.] He obtained his information concerning it not from ordinary learned Brahmans who, in spite of their knowledge of the truth, pandered to the corrupt beliefs of the mob, but from those “whose purity of principle and manners and zeal for the primitive doctrines of Bramah’s Shastah sets them above disguising the truth."31 [Interesting Historical Events, Part 2, p 9 and p. 21.] Holwell gives an account of the doctrines contained in the “Chartah Bhade of Bramah”32 [Interesting Historical Events, Part 2, pp. 9 to 21.] and a translation of the first book and a section of the second. This version of the most ancient sacred book of the Hindus will make Sanskrit scholars stare and gasp. But what condemns the whole thing as a colossal fraud is the fact that Holwell has retained some words of the original in his translation which he explains in footnotes, and from these words it appears that his manuscript of the “Chartah Bhade” which only a few Brahman families were capable of reading and expounding from the Sanskrit character, was written in a mixture of Colloquial Bengali and Hindustani33 [Holwell starts his translation with the words "God is one" which according to a footnote are a translation of "ekhummesha" (ek, one hamesha, always?) pure Hindustani (Interesting Historical Events, Part 2 p. 31). The other words of the Sanskrit (?) original given in the translation or in footnotes are:—Debtah, angels; logue, a people, multitude or congregation; debtah-logue, the angelic host (p. 35); hazaar par hazaar (Hindustani), thousands upon thousands (p. 42); mahah surgo, supreme heaven; onderah (Hindustani) intense darkness (p. 44) dooneah or dunneah (Hindustani) the world; dunneahoudah, the worlds or the universe; boboons, regions or planets (p. 48) ghoij, the cow; ghoijal, cows; ghoijalbarry, a cowhouse; mhurd (Hindustani) the common name of man, from murto, matter or earth; jhoale, water, fluid; oustmaan (Hindustani) the air (p. 56) jogues, ages (p. 56); pereeth logue, purified people (p. 103); munnoo logue, people of contemplation, from mun or mon, thought, reflection (p. 104); modoo, discord, enmity; kytoo, confusion, tumult (p. 106); surjee, the sun; chunder, the moon (p. 110). (The meanings and derivations are Holwell’s).] —the latter apparently predominating. The fourth “sublime book" of the “Chartah Bhade" which “must lie in oblivion, until some one, blessed with opportunity, leisure, application, and genius, brings them to light" was according to Holwell, commonly called by Hindus “Bramah Ka Insoff (insaf) Bhade”! or “Bramah's Book of Justice." Such was the barefaced fraud foisted by Holwell on a Europe totally ignorant of Sanskrit, and it was for this that Voltaire gratefully thanked him.34 [Quoted in Busteed's Echoes from Old Calcutta, p. 38 (2nd edition).]

Three outrageous frauds have thus been brought home to Holwell, and we now proceed to reveal a fourth. Let us examine what he calls “a genuine Narrative of the deplorable deaths of the English gentlemen and others who were suffocated in the Black Hole in Fort William, at Calcutta."

-- The Black Hole -- The Question of Holwell's Veracity, by J. H. Little, Bengal, Past & Present, Journal of the Calcutta Historical Society, Vol. XI -- Part 1, July-Sept., 1915


• Part I.
o To the Right Honorable Charles Townsend, Esq.
o To the Public.
 Preliminary Discourse
o Chapter I: The succession of the Mogul Emperors from Auring Zebe
o Chapter II. Transactions in the Subahdary of Bengal, from the year 1717 to the year 1750, inclusive.
o Chapter III. Summary account of their produce; the division of their principals; districts; and towns; with their situation respecting each other; and their commonly estimated distance from our principal settlement of Calcutta.
o Postscript
o Supplement. To Henry Crabb Boulton, Esq.; Chairman, and the Rest of the Gentlemen at Present in the Direction of the Affairs of the East-India Company
o To C. Manningham, Esq.: &c. Council, Calcutta
o To John Payne, Esq., Calcutta
• Part II.
o To the Most Noble Hugh, Duke and Earl of Northumberland; Earl Percy; Baron Warkworth of Warkworth Castle; Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of the Counties of Middlesex and Northumberland, of the City and Liberty of Westminster, and of the town and country of the Town of Newcastle upon Tyne; Vice Admiral of all America, and of the County of Northumberland; One of the Lords of His Majesty's Most Honorable Privy Council; Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter; and Fellow of the Royal Society.
o Errata
o Chapter IV. The Religious Tenets of the Gentoos, followers of the Shastah of Bramah.
 Introduction
 Section I. Of God and His Attributes.
 Remarks.
 Section II. The Creation of Angelic Beings.
 Remarks.
 Section III. The Lapse of Part of the Angelic Bands.
 Section IV. The Punishment of the Delinquent Debtah.
 Remarks.
 Section V. The Mitigation of the Punishment of the Delinquent Debtah, and their Final Sentence.
 Remarks.
o Chapter V. Of the Creation of the Worlds
 Introduction
 Section VIII. Birmahah or Creation.
 Remarks.
o Chapter VI. The Gentoo manner of computing Time, and their conception of the age of the universe, and the period of its dissolution.
o Chap. VII. Of the Gentoo Fasts, and Festivals, &c.
 Introduction
 First Holy Day. Ouposs.
 Second. Ouposs.
 Third. Ouposs Poojah – Purrup.
 Fourth. Purrup, at night Poojah.
 Fifth. Ouposs-Poojah.
 Sixth. Ouposs-Purrup.
 Seventh. Ouposs.
 Eighth. Ouposs.
 Ninth. Ouposs.
 Tenth. Ouposs-Purrup.
 Eleventh. Ouposs.
 Twelfth. Purrup.
 Thirteenth. Purrup.
 Fourteenth. Ouposs.
 Fifteenth. Purrup.
 Sixteenth. Purrup.
 Seventeenth. Ouposs.
 Eighteenth. Ouposs.
 Nineteenth. Purrup.
 Twentieth. Ouposs.
 Twenty-first. Purrup.
 Twenty-second. Ouposs-Purrap.
 Twenty-third. Purrup.
 Twenty-fourth. Purrup.
 Twenty-fifth. Birto.
 Twenty-sixth. Ouposs.
 Twenty-seventh. Ouposs.
 Twenty-eighth. Ouposs.
 Twenty-ninth. Ouposs.
 Thirtieth. Purrup.
 Thirty-first. Ouposs.
 Thirty-two. Ouposs-Purrup.
 Thirty-second. Purrup.
 Thirty-third. Ouposs.
o Explanation of the Plate or Representation of the Gentoos' Grand Feast of the Drugah (Plate No. 2.
• Part III.
o Chapter VIII. A Dissertation on the Metempsychosis of the Bramins, or Transmigrations of the fallen Angelic Spirits; with a Defense of the Original Scriptures of Bramah, and an occasional comparison between them and the Christian Doctrines.
 Introduction
• Part I.
• A Dissertation, &c.
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Re: Interesting Historical Events, by J.Z. Holwell, Esq.

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:58 am

To the Right Honorable Charles Townsend, Esq.


Last year you indulged me with an opportunity of communicating to you, some anecdotes (little known) relative to the Mogul Empire, and the state of our East-India trade; -- and in the course of that conference, you manifested to me such profound penetration, and such a ready comprehension of these subjects, that I could not resist cherishing a desire, to submit to the public my future labors on these interesting matters, under the auspices of your name. I lately intimated that wish and intention, when you most obligingly and politely favored me, with your permission to dedicate to you this First Part of a Work, which at present employs my leisure hours: I now avail myself of the license you have honored me with; and beg leave to subscribe myself, with true respect,

Your most obliged
and most obedient
humble servant,
Mount Felix in Surry,
August 21st, 1765.
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Re: Interesting Historical Events, by J.Z. Holwell, Esq.

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:59 am

To the Public.

Preliminary Discourse.

When a man, excited by an irresistible and laudable impulse for the good of his country, first speaks before an August Assembly; he feels a certain kind of dread, awe, and trepidation, which he finds himself unable immediately to conquer; especially if he has not been much used to speak in public, or perchance possesses some share of modesty in his composition. -- Thus, I conceive, on his first appearance before the August Assembly THE PUBLIC.

In this plight I felt myself in the year 1758, when I exhibited to you a scene of unparalleled horror and distress, which I judged not unworthy a place in our annals; -- justice, and the necessity of the times, lately urged my second appearance, and obliged me to draw my pen in defence of injured worth and character: but now, by use and indulgence grown bolder, (a very common case) I present myself before you of my own voluntary choice.

Independency, and a pleasing retirement, however delectable in themselves, have yet their seasons of vacancy and leisure, that may want filling up. -- And happy! ought that man to esteem himself, who can employ those voids and blanks in time to the emolument, or even literary amusement of mankind.

Such is my situation, and such are my motives, so laudable in themselves, will, I trust, engage the candor and indulgence of my readers for any defects in the following performance.

The East-Indies, and particularly Bengal, are now become so important an object and concern to Great-Britain, that every elucidation thereof, must, I think, be acceptable, that is founded on facts, just observations, and faithful recitals.

Through a course of thirty years residence in Bengal, my leisure hours were employed in collecting materials relative to the transactions, revolutions and occurrences of that invaluable country; and the religious tenets of its inhabitants, natives of Indostan; which I flattered myself, when reduced to form and order, might prove worthy of your attention.

It is well known that at the capture of Calcutta, A.D. 1756, I lost many curious Gentoo manuscripts, and among them two very correct and valuable copies of the Gentoo Shastah. They were procured by me with so much trouble and expense, that even the commissioners of restitution, though not at all disposed to favour me, allowed me two thousand Madras rupees in recompense for this particular loss; but the most irreparable damage I suffered under this head of grievances, was a translation I made of a considerable part of the Shastah, which had cost me eighteen months hard labour: as that work opened upon me, I distinctly saw, that the Mythology, as well as the Cosmogony of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, were borrowed from the doctrines of the Bramins, contained in this book; even to the copying their exteriors of worship, and the distribution of their idols, though grossly mutilated and adulterated. But more of this in the course of my present work.

I should in the compass of one year more, with the close application, I intended bestowing on it, have accomplished a complete translation of the whole Shastah; that would, I flattered myself, have been a valuable acquisition to the learned world; had not the fatal catastrophe of fifty-six put it totally out of my power ever to attempt it again.

From that change in our affairs abroad, a new chain of pursuits engrossed my time and attention; so that I could no longer devote either, to the studies I had before so much at heart -- however, during the last eight months of my residence in Bengal, being freed from the plagues of government, (thanks to my very honorable masters for it) I reassumed my researches with tolerable success; which, joined to some manuscripts recovered by an unforeseen and extraordinary event (that possibly I may hereafter recite) enables me to undertake the task I now assign myself.

It is true I intended a much nobler entertainment for my readers; but as that is now irrecoverably beyond my reach, without once more doubling the Cape of Good Hope, (to which I feel not the least inclination) we must content ourselves with the homely fare we have before us, ranged in the best manner our straightened circumstances will admit of -- as it is essentially necessary at this interesting period, that we should be able to form some clearer ideas of a people, with whom we have had such important transactions; and of whom so little is truly known. [Here I would be understood to mean the Gentoos only, now laboring under Mahometan tyranny, but fated, I hope, soon to feel the blessings of a mild British government.]

Having studiously perused all that has been written of the empire of Indostan, both as to its ancient, as well as more modern state; as also the various accounts transmitted to us, by authors in almost all ages (from Arrian, down to the Abbe de Guyon) concerning the Hindoos, and the religious tenets of the Bramins, I venture to pronounce them all very defective, fallacious, and unsatisfactory to an inquisitive searcher after truth; and only tending to convey a very imperfect and injurious resemblance of a people, who from the earliest times have been an ornament to the creation -- if so much can with propriety be said of any known people upon earth.

All the modern writers represent the Hindoos as a race of stupid and gross Idolaters: from the ancients indeed these people met with better treatment; although they too, as well as the others, were equally ignorant in the subjects they treated of.

The modern authors who have wrote on the principles and worship of the Hindoos, are chiefly of the Romish communion; therefore we need wonder the less that they (from a superstitious zeal inseparable from that communion) should depreciate and traduce the mythology of the venerable ancient Bramins, on so slender a foundation as a few insignificant literal translations of the Veda; and these, not made from the book itself, but from unconnected scraps and bits, picked up here and there by hearsay from Hindoos, probably as ignorant as themselves.

From such weak grounds and evidence as this, and by the help of a few exhibitions of the seemingly monstrous idols of the Hindoos, the Popish authors hesitate not to stigmatize those most venerable sages the Bramins, as having instituted doctrines and worship, which if believed, would reduce them below the level of the brute creation; as every reader must have observed, who has misspent his time in the perusal of them. In the way of their proper calling and function, they were however right; as having been appointed to propagate their own system of theology abroad; though strictly speaking, their own tenets were more idolatrous than the system they travelled so far to stigmatize. On this mistaken method and false zeal of propagating any faith at any rate, I beg to be indulged in making the following general reflections, which naturally arise from the subject before us.

In the first place, I observe, ignorance, superstition and partiality to ourselves, are too commonly the cause of presumption and contempt of others. -- Secondly, That those whose knowledge of states and kingdoms extends no further than the limits of their native land, often imagine all, beyond it, scarce worth their thoughts; or at least greatly inferior in comparison with their own; a conclusion natural, though absurd -- Thirdly, If from clime and country, we proceed to individuals; we shall see the same unwarrantable prepossession, and preference to self take place; and proceeding still further in our reflections, we may observe, the same confined way of thinking and judging, leads the multitude (and I wish I could say the multitude only) of every nation and sect, to arraign and have in utter detestation and contempt, the religious principles and worship of all that happen to be out of the pale of their own church, or mode of faith.

That every nation and sect should have a high and even superior opinion of the religious principles, under which they were born and educated, is extremely natural and just; provided they do not, from an intemperate zeal of religious vanity (now so much the fashion) presume to condemn, depreciate or invade the religious principles of others -- this condemning spirit can proceed only from one of the three following causes; a defect in understanding; a want of knowledge of the world (in men and things;) or a bad (and restless) heart. The salvation of mankind, so much pretended, has no place in the wishes or labors of these zealots; or they would not go about seeking whom they can confound in spirit, destroying the peace and tranquillity of their poor fellow christians.

Men who have been conversant with foreign countries, and made proper and benevolent remarks on the manners and principles of their inhabitants; will not despise or condemn the different ways by which they approach the Deity; but revere it still as a divine worship, though they may piously lament it deviates so much from their own.

To rescue distant nations from the gross conceptions entertained of them by the multitude, of all other persuasions, is the true business and indispensable duty of a Traveller; or else his travels and remarks, can only amuse his readers, without conveying to them any useful instruction or solid satisfaction.

A mere description of the exterior manners and religion of a people, will no more give us a true idea of them; than a geographical description of a country can convey a just conception of their laws and government. The traveller must sink deeper in his researches, would he feast the mind of an understanding reader. -- His telling us such and such a people, in the East or West-Indies, worship this stock or that stone, or monstrous idol; only serves to reduce in our esteem, our fellow creatures, to the most abject and despicable point of light. Whereas, was he skilled in the language of the people he describes, sufficiently to trace the etymology of their words and phrases, and capable of diving into the mysteries of their theology; he would probably be able to evince to us, that such seemingly preposterous worship, had the most sublime rational source and foundation.

But it is not at all to be wondered at, that they should thus lose sight of their original sin and defection, as well as the means laid down for their salvation; when the very spirit of the fasts and festivals, and whole conduct of the drama of the Chatah, and Aughtorrah Bhades, are relative only to the averting the evils of their present existence, without the smallest retrospect to their first transgression, or the means of atoning for it. -- This is the situation of the bulk of the people of Indostan, as well as the modern Bramins; amongst the latter, if we except one in a thousand, we give them over measure; the consequence from these premises are obvious -- the Gentoos in general, are as degenerate, crafty, superstitious, litigious and wicked a people, as any race of beings in the known world, if not eminently more so, especially the common run of the Bramins; and we can truly aver, that during almost five years, that we presided in the judical cutcherry court of Calcutta, never any murder, or other atrocious crime, came before us, but it was proved in the end, a Bramin was at the bottom of it: but then, the remnant of Bramins (whom we have before excepted) who seclude themselves from the communications of the busy world, in a philosophic and religious retirement, and strictly pursue the tenets and true spirit of the Chartah Bhade of Bramah, we may with equal trust and justice pronounce, are the purest models of genuine piety that now exist, or can be found on the face of the earth.

J. Z. Holwell, Interesting Historical Events, Part II.

The traveller, who without these essential requisites, (as well as industry and a clear understanding) pretends to describe and fix the religious tenets of any nation whatever, dishonestly imposes his own reveries on the world; and does the greatest injury and violence to letters, and the cause of humanity -- How far the productions of most travellers may justly fall under this censure, I submit to the public.

To the want of this attention and capacity in the traveller, we may ascribe in a great measure, the despicable, and I dare say unworthy notion, we too aptly entertain of most nations very remote from us; whereas were we better informed, we should find our minds opened; our understandings enlarged; and ourselves inspired with that benevolence for our species; without which, the human form becomes rather a disgrace than ornament.

I am sorry to say, that in general the accounts published of the manners and religious principles of the East and West-Indies, have been in the light and superficial way before objected to: but as my knowledge extends only to the former, I shall confine my remarks to them; and endeavor to extricate them in some degree from the gross absurdities we have conceived of them: confessing myself amazed that we should so readily believe the people of Indostan a race of stupid Idolaters; when, to our cost, in a political and commercial view, we have found them superior to us.

Having transiently mentioned the Veda and Shastah (the Gentoos scriptures) it is necessary, I should inform you -- The book first named, is followed by the Gentoos of the Mallabar and Cormandel coasts: and also by those of the Island of Ceylon. -- The Shastah is followed by the Gentoos of the provinces of Bengal; and by all the Gentoos of the rest of India, commonly called India proper; that is to say -- the greatest part of Orissa, Bengal proper, Bahar, Banaras, Oud, Eleabas, Agra, Delby, &c. all along the course of the rivers Ganges, and Jumna, to the Indus.

Both these books contain the institutes of their respective religion and worship; often couched under allegory and fable; as well as the history of their ancient Rajahs and Princes -- their antiquity is contended for by the partisans of each -- but the similitude of their names, idols, and great part of their worship, leaves little room to doubt, nay plainly evinces, that both these scriptures were originally one. -- And if we compare the great purity and chaste manners of the Shastah, with the great absurdities and impurities of the Veda; we need not hesitate to pronounce, the latter a corruption of the former -- All that I need add here, is, that my remarks follow the Shastah only.

Taste, in reading, differs as much as in the choice of viands. What proves a delicious morsel to one, is disgustful to another. I was never invited to a feast in my life, that I did not regret the absence of a bill of fare: -- Therefore to save you from the same regret, I here present you with a list of what is provided for your entertainment in the following Sheets, in eight courses; so that if your stomach does not stimulate you to taste the whole; you will be enabled to fall to, on that dish, which may best suit your appetite.

I. Under the First general head is contained -- A short history of the succession to the empire of Indostan, from Aurenge Zebe to Mahomet Shaw. -- This subject has been already touched upon by my ingenious friend Mr. James Fraser; but being foreign to his more immediate concern (the invasion of Nadir Shaw) he has touched it so slightly, as to convey a very imperfect idea of the circumstances attending the many astonishing changes that happened in this short and memorable period. These particulars I was favored with at Patna, A.D. 1733, by a sensible Armenian, who resided alternately at Agra and Delhy, in a civil post of some trust, under the Emperors; during the course of these transactions.

II. Transactions in the subahdaary of Bengal; from the period that Jaffier Khan ruled these provinces, to the usurpation of the government by Aliverdi Khan; with the extraordinary circumstances attending the rise of this last mentioned Soubah, and his brother Hodjee Hamet. [The world has been already treated with this part of my subject, by a gentleman in his lucubrations, printed in Edinburgh 1761, under the title of "Reflections on the government of Indostan, and a short sketch, of the history of Bengal, from the year 1739 to 1756." This little piece fell into my hands, about a year and a half after it was printed. -- On perusing it, I could not avoid being surprised at finding The Author's "Short Sketch, &c." was taken from part of the Manuscripts herein before-mentioned, and makes from page 33 to 50, of his second epistle -- These Manuscripts were penned by me in the year 1750, in my passage to Europe, from materials collected abroad. I communicated them, during my short stay in England, to my friends, Sir William Baker, Mr. Mabbot, Mr. R. Drake, Mr. Davis and Doctor Campbell. -- The original was lost at the capture of Calcutta, but after my second return in 1757, I learnt, a copy had been taken of it without my knowledge, by a gentleman to whom I lent it abroad -- from this copy I was permitted to take another. How the Author of the Reflections came by it, he best knows -- He honors me in transcribing from it, but he would have honored himself more, had he acknowledged from whence he took it; and had not taken such fruitless pains to disguise his (yet obvious) plagiarism; by mangling, maiming and curtailing my subjects in the manner I conceive he has done.]

III. A summary account of the provinces of Bengal, (properly so called:) its principal towns; their bearings and distance from each other, and from Calcutta; with an estimate of their revenues; and a seasonable and persuasive hint to the gentlemen in the East-India direction.

IV. A summary view of the fundamental, religious tenets of the Gentoos, followers of the Shastah.

V. A short account, from the Shastah, of the creation of the worlds, or universe.

VI. The Gentoo manner of computing time; and their conceptions touching the age of the worlds; and the period of their dissolution.

VII. An account and explanation of the Gentoo fasts and festivals; with a representation of their grand feast of the Drugah: comprising a view of their principal idols, and the genealogy of their subordinate deities. -- If the fasts and festivals of any nation are once clearly understood; there wants little more to convey to us a distinct idea of their religious principles; the one, being the only true criterion of the other.

VIII. A dissertation on the Gentoo doctrine of the metempsychosis; improperly called Pythagorean, by all who have wrote on this subject, hitherto so little understood.

Having thus set forth my real motives for taking up the pen again, and opened the plan of my intended work; I shall here close this preliminary discourse: the favorable acceptance of my labors, by the candid public, is all the recompence hoped, or wished for, by their

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Re: Interesting Historical Events, by J.Z. Holwell, Esq.

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Chapter I. The succession of the Mogul Emperors from Auring Zebe.

Whoever has attentively perused the histories of the rise of states and kingdoms, must have made this melancholy observation; that the approaches to usurped royalty, dominion and power, are generally founded, in the first instance, on the subduction of every virtue from the human breast; as, the sacred ties of justice, natural affection, gratitude and true benevolence. A few exceptions may possibly subsist in the course of many thousand years, against our conclusion; but they are so very few, that we think they cannot in the least invalidate our general assertion.

The glittering prospects of a crown, so dazzle and dim the eye of cool reflection and reason, that it becomes blind to every other consideration of humanity.

Ambition, or a restless thirst after power and dominion, has ever been the bane of the civil rights and liberties of mankind; and seems to be a passion implanted in the original nature and construction of man: -- if otherwise, his conduct is wholly unaccountable: for we see that every individual of the species, in every rank and degree, is grasping and laboring to possess that which every individual is so materially concerned to prevent; neither of them adverting to this invariable truth: That he who invades the liberty, rights and property of another, gives, at the same time, a lesson and just cause for dispossessing himself. -- Why this eternal warfare and contention for dominion between man and man, collectively or separately, (from his creation to this hour) was originally implanted in him, we may, in a future dissertation, attempt to solve: here we will only lament, that so it undeniably is.

The miserable effects of this fatal passion for rule, is no where more strongly exemplified, than in the short recital we are going to make of the successors of Auring Zebe to the throne of Indostan; to which he himself did not arrive without wading through a sea of blood, and a continued chain of almost unparalleled religious fraud, perfidy and cruelty: leaving on record a flagrant proof, That no ties, however sacred, can resist, or come in competition with, the charms of royalty. His bloody example was very exactly copied by his descendants.

Auring Zebe deceasing the 21st of February 1707, was succeeded in the throne by his second son Mahommed Mauzm; for, notwithstanding the positive injunction in Auring Zebe's last Will, in favor of his son Mahommed Azem Shaw, Mahommed Mauzm adopting the successful example of his father, disputed the crown with his elder brother; who, in battle near Agra, was desfeated and killed. Mahommed Mauzm was immediately proclaimed Emperor, and assumed (amongst other titles mentioned by Mr. Fraser) the title of Shaw Allum, King of the World. I have, in my collection, two gold Mohurs struck in this Emperor's Reign, Anno 1709, and 1711; on the first is impressed Shaw Allum; on the other, Bahadr Shaw, The Valiant King; which title he was, latterly, fondest of.

His reign, though extended to the term of six years, was unhappy and turbulent. The fortune of war gave him the succession to his father's dominions; but he succeeded not to his capacity and fame: perplexed with the restless ambition of his four sons who in his life time showed themselves competitors for his crown, he died of discontent and grief, Anno 1713.

Their names were, Mauz O'din, Mahommed Azim, Rasseil al Kaddr, and Khojista Akter: they had been some years Governors of distinct provinces, and were each, at the death of their father, at the head of a puissant army to support their several pretensions to the throne.

Mahommed Azim, being superior in force, wealth, and reputation, to the other three brothers; they joined in league against him; taking the most solemn oath on Khoran, to be faithful to each other, and to submit to an equal partition of the Empire, in thirds, as soon as they should defeat and succeed against their brother.

In consequence of this compact, the three brothers united their respective armies; and a general battle ensued; in the first heat of which, Mahommed Azim was killed by the shot of an arrow, as he was gallantly charging, on his elephant, the center of his brother's army; which he was informed was commanded, in person, by his eldest brother Mauz O'din.

The treasures of Mahommed Azim, by the dexterity of Zulfecar Khan, an Omrah in the interest or Mauz O'din, fell into the hands of the latter; with which having privately bought over most of the troops of his two remaining brothers, he attacked them on the field of battle, in violation of his solemn oath,

The brothers being no ways prepared for this sudden, unsuspected and perfidious stroke; were capable of making but small resistance: the elder of the two, Raffeil al Kaddr, was presently killed; and, what is worthy remark, fell upon the body of his brother Mahommed Azim. Khojifta Akhter, the youngest of the four, collecting some few of his own and Raffeil al Kaddr's troops, fled towards the province of Deccan, his government; but being pursued and attacked by Mauz O'din, shared the same fate with his brothers.

Thus Mauz O'din became, like his father and grandfather, possessed of the throne of Indostan, by the perfidious destruction of his brothers; one circumstance however might be pleaded in behalf of Mauz O'din, which neither of the other two could lay any claim to, -- for he was the legal heir to the crown: but it may also justly be said, that he had waived and given up his legal right, when he entered into the voluntary compact with his brethren. He was proclaimed Emperor by the style and title of Mauz O'din Jahandar Shaw, The King who possesses the World; and appointed Zulfecar Khan his Vizir.

Jehnadar was a weak Prince; and very soon after he thought himself in secure possession of the throne, he sunk and lost himself in the luxuries and debaucheries of the Seraglio: so wholly devoting his hours to a famed courtesan called Lol Koar, (better known in Indostan by the name of Loll Kooree) that he neglected every duty which ought to distinguish the Man, and the King.

This courtesan was of exquisite beauty, and highly excelled as a dancer and singer, in which profession she was originally bred; besides these qualifications, it is said, her conversation was engaging and bewitching. The Monarch, intoxicated with her allurements, had no will but hers: by her influence she filled all places of the highest trust and honor, with her safe relations. This infatuated conduct, brought the Emperor and Empire into the lowest contempt; and gave universal disgust to all the Omrahs and great officers of the kingdom; who one by one, under various pretexts, withdrew themselves from court; and meditated a favorable conjuncture to depose their sovereign.

Amongst the disaffected, were two Generals and Omrahs of the court, of distinguished character and authority; named Hossan Aly Khan; and Abdallah Khan; brothers of the tribe of the Seyds, for whom Mahometans bear a religious veneration. These, in concert with others of the Omrahs, determined to raise Mahommed Furrukhsir to the throne; and suddenly, at the head of a choice body of troops, retired towards Bengal, where Furrukhsir then resided.

This young Prince was the son of Mahommed Azim, already mentioned, and nephew to the Emperor; he had resided some years at Dacca, (then the metropolis of Bengal) by the appointment of his grandfather Shaw Allum, where he was so much beloved, that the inhabitants of that city, to this day, in their common songs lament his fate, with tears; and celebrate his memory.

When Furrukhsir first received advice of Shaw Allum's death, and the fatal catastrophe of his father and uncles; he withdrew from Dacca; knowing his uncle, Jehandar, would never think himself secure on the throne, whilst so near a pretender to it was in being. Much perplexed, and irresolute what course to take, as he was at the head of an inconsiderable, but faithful body of horse, retiring out of the province, retiring out of the province, he was met by express messengers from the revolters; urging his immediate advance to Patna in the province of Bahaar; where on his arrival he was received by Seyd Hossan Aly Khan, Seyd Abdallah Khan, and other principal Omrahs and Officers; who instantly proclaimed him Emperor of Indostan.

On the first news of this revolt and competitor, the court was struck with a panic; but the Emperor, buried in the embraces of his beloved Loll Kooree, treated it as an impotent attempt hardly worth his notice; contenting himself with sending his son Eas O'din, at the head of 15,000 horse, to suppress him; with orders to bring the traitor's head.

Express after express arriving with intelligence that Furrukhsir's party gained strength every hour; and that he was in full march towards Agra; the Emperor reinforced his son with a large body of troops, under the joint command of his Vizir Zulsecar Khan, and his favorite Gokuldas Khan; between whom there subsisted much private jealousy and enmity.

Furrukhsir had by this time drawn together a respectable army; and thought himself strong enough to quit Patna: which he accordingly did, and by forced marches advanced as far as Chivalram in the province of Eleabas, where he was met by Eas O'din, at the head of his 15,000 horse. This young Prince, after a short contest, perceiving the superiority of the enemy's forces; thought it adviseable to retreat towards Agra, which he did in good order; and in a few days was joined near Agra by the troops, sent by the Emperor under the command of the Vizir and Gokuldas Khan, to reinforce them: here it was resolved to wait the approach of the enemy, for which they did not wait long; and a general battle quickly ensued.

The Emperor's forces, by the advice of Zulsecar Khan, were formed into three divisions. The center was commanded by Eas O'din; the right by Gokuldas Khan; and the left by Zulsecar Khan.

Furrukhsir observed the like division of his forces. He gave the command of his center to Seyd Hossan Aly Khan; the right to Seyd Abdallah Khan; and led on the left himself; preferring this, as the post of the greatest honor; because it was the post of greatest danger, as being opposed to Gokuldas Khan; who commanded the right division of the Emperor's forces; and was justly esteemed the most consummate generate and intrepid soldier in the Empire.

Mr. Fraser in his short narrative intimates, that the Emperor was in person in this engagement; but herein his intelligence deceived him: for it is a known fact, that he was never roused so far from the lethargic pleasures he was immersed in, as once to quit the Seraglio; and indeed the flattering informations that were hourly conveyed to him of the defeat of the rebels, by Loll Kooree (who dreaded his absence) prevented his ever bestowing a thought that way; until it was too late to think of it to any purpose. But to resume our subject.

The battle was fought with great obstinacy and gallantry on both sides -- Wonders are recorded of the spirited actions and personal bravery of Eas O'din and Gokuldas Khan; and not less reported of the valor of Furrukhsir, and Seyd Hossan Aly Khan; but the decisive stroke of victory was given by Seyd Abdallah Khan: this General, observing the Vizir draw off and retire with his division, wheeled and vigorously attacked Eas O'din in flank; whilst he was hard pressed in front by Seyd Hossan Aly Khan, Eas O'din at the same time learning that the brave Gokuldas Khan was killed, and his right wing defeated by Furrukhsir; a general rout soon followed. -- Eas O'din escaped with difficulty from the battle; and by a change of swift horses reached Delhy, where in the presence of his father, he died of his wounds in an hour.

Furrukhsir prudently ordered the troops to be spared in the pursuit. This clemency, and the addresses of some emissaries sent amongst them, operated so strongly on them; that, to a man, they revolted from the Emperor; and joined Furrukhsir: whose triumph, on this happy success, was greatly abated by the absence and supposed death of Seyd Hossan Aly Khan. Short sighted mortal! little didst thou at that time know, that thou were regretting the loss and life of the man, who in a very short period would deprive thee of thine own! -- A large reward being promised by the Prince; and search being made; Seyd Hossan Aly Khan was found amongst the slain with signs of life, and his recovery effected.

The treacherous conduct of the Vizir Zulsecar Khan, it was said, proceeded from cowardice, and resentment at Gokuldas Khan's being joined in the command with him (a source from which the greatest designs have often proved abortive.) When he retired with his division, he made the best of his way to Delhy; where, soon after, the arrival of the unfortunate Eas O'din, too plainly spoke the destiny of the Emperor his Father.

Some feeble attempts were made to raise fresh troops, and put the city in a posture of defence; but the sudden approach of Furrukhsir put a period to every hope. The Emperor, his uncle, fell into his hands without resistance. His head was immediately cut off; and his trunk being fixed upon an elephant, was exposed round the city. His Vizir, Zulsecar Khan, was tied by the feet to the tail of the same elephant, and dragged until he expired: a death cruel, and esteemed the most dishonorable that can be inflicted upon a criminal; but scarcely severe enough for that minister who sacrifices the interest, and cause of his King, to his own private resentments. He was little lamented; for by his maladministration, whilst Vizir, he had acquired the universal hatred of the people.

Mauz O'din Jehander Shaw thus falling a sacrifice to love and indolence; Mahommed Furruksir was proclaimed Emperor of Indostan, without opposition. The first acts of his government consisted, in rewarding those who had raised him to the throne. He appointed Seyd Abdallah Khan his Vizir; and Seyd Hossan Aly Khan his Bukshi, or Pay-Master General, with the title of Emir al Omrah; (The Prince of Princes) and bestowed upon him the government of Deccan; suitably rewarding the other Omrahs that had rendered him service.

But before we enter on the reign of Furrukhsir, we beg to be indulged a few words on the late murdered Emperor Jehander; whose character very minutely resembled that of the unfortunate and licentious Roman, Marcus Antonius.

He was thought by his father, Shaw Allum, the only General capable of repulsing the dangerous annual invasions of the Boluccais; which threatened the Empire on the side of Persia. Prince Mauz O'din was sent against these warlike people, at the head of the choicest troops in the Empire; and in a continued campaign of five years, he had many and signal battles with the invaders; that gave his vast renown. In one of these, when the enemy was intrenched behind a strong and thick wood, on which side they could only be attacked, he cut a passage through the wood; forced their intrenchments sword in hand, and hardly any of the enemy escaped the slaughter. No sooner were the particulars of this action arrived at court, than the Emperor his father, gave him the title of Prince of the Hatchets; one of the honorary titles every since given to the first Prince of the blood.

His disposition, before he came to the throne, was so engaging and amiable; that he became the idol of the whole Empire. This drew on him the jealousy of his father; who to counterbalance his growing influence, heaped that partial power and favor on his second son, Mahommed Azim, (the father of Furrukhsir) which enabled him to make the stand he did against his brother's legal right of succession; at the demise of Shaw Allum; as before recited. In short, if he could be defended from that perfidious stroke against his other two brothers; and had escaped the bewitching snares of that eastern Cleopatra, Loll Kooree; he most probably would have left a more shining character, (and a much more honorable one) on the records of fame, than that of his grandfather Auring Zebe.

Loll Koar had the honor of being condemned, for life, a prisoner in the royal prison, or castle of Selimgur. Some of her base relations, who had been raised to places of high trust, were cut off by the conqueror; and others degraded.

Furrukhsir having obtained the diadem, as before related, peace seemed to be settled in the Empire: but the evil destiny of that Prince forbad its long continuance. During this period, the power of the Seyds grew enormous; and left the Emperor the name and trappings of royalty only: for they disposed of all important posts by their sole authority; amassed immense wealth, and sequestered the public revenues to their own primate emolument; securing thereby the attachment of the principal officers of the crown: who (with a very few exceptions) were entirely devoted to their interest.

Furrukhsir very soon saw, and felt his despicable state of dependence; but could not easily forget, how much he owed to the spirited conduct and friendship of these ambitious brothers. He patiently submitted to the many indignities he labored under: without meditating any thing against them; the life and crown they had given him, he knew, still depended too much on their will and disposal: he dreaded their power, which indeed was greater than any subjects in this despotic government can possess, with safety to their Prince; or than can be consistent with his honor.

Wearied at length, at finding himself this cypher of a King; he nobly determined to free himself from the shackles with which he had been bound so long; by having both the brothers assassinated at the same time: Abdallah Khan at Delhy; and Hossan Aly Khan, as he was upon his march to his government at Deccan; where he was going to dispossess Nizam al Muluck.

A design, so complicated in its nature, could not be carried on without being communicated to many; amongst these the Emperor chiefly entrusted and depended on the two Omrahs, Khondoran Khan, and Mhir Jumla, for the execution of it; they being almost the only two officers about the court, who had been neglected by the powerful Seyds. Khondoran was suspected of betraying the whole to Abdallah Khan: whether this was the fact, is uncertain; but it is very certain, both the brothers had early intelligence of the design against them; and determined to have the start, by deposing the Emperor.

The Vizir immediately withdrew from court; sent express upon express to recall his brother; and put himself at the head of a body of troops, whose commander he was by virtue of his post.

Furrukhsir finding his intentions against the Seyds discovered; had recourse to dissimulation: He sent his mother to the Vizir; charged with his solemn protestations of the falsehood of the information the Vizir had received; and with professions of inviolable friendship and affection entreating, that he would return to court; and contradict any advices he might have dispatched to his brother.

The Vizir having no room to doubt of his intelligence of the Emperor's projected assassination, returned for answer -- That, as a mark of the sincerity of his professions, he should discharge his guards and servants; and submit to receive such as he, the Vizir, should think proper to place about him. This hard condition the Emperor abjectly and unadvisedly consented to; and the Vizir, contented with this security, waited the arrival of his brother, without proceeding further. These events fell out about the beginning of the year 1719.

Seyd Hossan Ali Khan returned at the head of a strong body of horse, immediately on the receipt of his brother's letters; and arrived at Delhy the 14th of February 1719; where after a short conference with the Vizir, and Ajeet Singh (Mahah Rajah, and father-in-law to the Emperor) and with several principal Omrahs; they all proceeded to the apartment of Auring Zebe's daughter in the castle of Selimgur; and demanded the delivery of Rasseeil al Dirjaat, (son of Rasseil al Kaddr, third son of Bahadr Shaw) a youth about 17 years of age; proclaimed him Emperor of Indostan; and swore allegiance to him.

Proceeding thence to the palace with their new King, as soon as they came into the presence of Furrukhsir; the Seyds upbraided him with perfidy and ingratitude; and Ajeet Singh, with the breach of his coronation oath; in imposing the Jeserah (or poll tax) upon the Hindoos: then they divested him of his sword, and ensigns of royalty: and, with little ceremony, informed him they had raised Rasseeil Dirjaat to the throne; to whom they forced him to pay obeisance; and then imprisoned him in a tower over the principal gate of the citadel.

The day after his imprisonment, he was miserably deprived of his sight. On the second, he attempted to finish his torments by a dose of poison; but it proved ineffectual; on the third day, the Vizir sent executioners to strangle him: but as soon as he felt the cord about his neck (still wretchedly desirous of life) he interposed his hands, and forcibly broke it; dragging on, thus, a miserable being, until the next day, the 24th February 1719; when he was at last strangled, after a reign of little more than four years. Mr. Fraser says, seven; but this cannot be; for, by his own account, Auring Zebe deceased in the beginning of the year 1707: his son, Shaw Allum, reigned six years; that is, to the beginning of the year 1713. Furrukhsir was murdered in the beginning of the year 1719; so that if his succession had been uninterrupted, it could have been no more than six years: but the intervening reign of his uncle, Mauz O'din Jehandar Shaw, who sat on the throne 18 months, reduces the reign of Furrukhsir to four years and six months.

The Seyds finding they had mistaken the genius of the young Emperor Dirjaat, (whom they had raised to the throne in preference to his elder brother Rasseeil al Dowlat, as judging his youth would be more subservient to their views) took him off by poison; when he had reigned about three months: and raised to the throne his eldest brother, just abovementioned, who assumed the style and title of Shaw Jehan, (King of the World.)

The brothers, intoxicated with their excess of power, began by various acts of oppression to create themselves enemies from all quarters: the universal hatred of the people, for their repeated murders, cooperating with the envy of the principal Rajahs and Omrahs, (who could endure no longer to see the Seyds engross wholly a power and authority in the Empire, which they themselves wanted a share in) a powerful party was now formed against them.

At the head of this confederacy were Savejee Jeet Singh, (more commonly known by the name of Rajah Jaij Singh) Gopaul Singh Bowderee, and Chivalram Roy; all puissant Rajahs. The first named being hereditary governor of the fortress of Agra. -- Here it is apposite that we recite an anecdote of this empire, which is not generally known.

When the Hindoo Rajahs, or Princes of Indostan, submitted to Tamerlane; it was on these capital stipulations: That the Emperor should marry a daughter of Rajah Jeet Singh's house: that the head of this house should be, in perpetuity, governors of the citadel of Agra; and anoint the King at his coronation: and, that the Emperors should never impose the jesserah (or poll tax) upon the Hindoos.

These three powerful Rhaasepoot Rajahs, with some discontented Omrahs, withdrew themselves; and assembled together in the neighborhood of Agra: and, on the first intelligence of the murder of Rasseeil Dirjaat, released (from a forty years imprisonment in the castle of Agra) Nicosir; a son of the great Ekhbar; and proclaimed him Emperor: and raised a respectable army to support their election against that of the Seyds, in favor of Shaw Jehan.

On the first notice of this formidable competitor Seyd Hossan Ali Khan was dispatched at the head of forty thousand horse towards Agra; and was met, without four miles of that city, by Nicosir's forces, under the command of Jeet Singh: who putting himself at the head of his Rhaasepoots, intrepidly charged Seyd Hossan Aly Khan's army. A long and bloody conflict ensued; wherein, at last, Nicosir's forces began to give way; when the Rhaasepoots, by the example of their Rajah Jeet Singh, displayed the yellow scarf, (the Rhaasepoots signal for conquest or death) by which means the battle had a sudden turn. Hossan Aly Khan's troops, struck with terror at seeing that dreaded signal, and the fury with which the Rhaasepoots returned to the charge, soon turned their backs and fled; disregarding as well the heroic example, as menaces of their General; who, finding all endeavors to rally them fruitless made the best retreat he could with them.

Shaw Jehan wisely profiting by the error which had proved fatal to Mauz O'din; in a situation similar to his own; immediately took the field with the Vizir Seyd Abdallah Khan: and with a large and chosen body of men marched to support and reinforce Seyd Hossan Aly Khan.

This General, in his retreat, or rather flight, had been vigorously pursued by Rajah Jeet Singh, and his nominal Emperor Nicosir; solicitous, if possible, to prevent his union with Shaw Jehan and his brother; who were (they had learned) on their march to his succor. -- In this judicious intention they failed; for Hossan Aly Khan, with his beaten troops, joined the Emperor before the Rajah could overtake him. Both armies being greatly harassed with their severe marches, the decisive battle, which was to determine the possession of this mighty Empire, was delayed until the next day.

Hossan Aly Khan, it was said, selected the evening before the battle, a body of 2,000 horse; composed all of subaltern officers; to whom he gave strict command, that they should pay regard to nothing else in the approaching engagement, but the cutting off, or taking prisoner Nicosir, or Jeet Singh.

The battle began soon after sunrise the next morning; and was fought with incredible fury and obstinacy, for the space of three hours: but, at length, the party abovementioned so well executed what they had in charge, that they took Nicosir prisoner; which being immediately known to his party, they were soon after defeated, or rather put to flight: for in these eastern battles, if the principal on either side is killed or taken prisoner, there is an end generally to the contest. -- The issue of this battle, which was fought about the middle of June 1719, on the plains of Fatteabad, put Shaw Jehan in tranquil possession of the Empire.

The Emperor gave Nicosir the choice of death, or loss of sight: he preferred the latter; which was executed on him in the field of battle; and he then was conducted back to his prison at Agra; a melancholy victim to the ambition of others.

Savagee Jeet Singh, with a select body of Rhaasepoots by a well conducted retreat recovered Agra; and was soon after reconciled to the King and admitted to favor; conformable to the steady policy of this government: in keeping a good understanding with the principal Rajahs; and more especially with the head of this house; who is ever capable of raising and fomenting a very formidable party upon any intended revolution in this despotic and precarious monarchy.

Shaw Jehan lived not long to enjoy his high dignity; for he died a natural death, soon after this return to Delhy, towards the latter end of the year 1719. Happy! we may say, in having made this quiet and easy exit; for had he discovered a wish to make himself a King, indeed; it is more than probable, he would have shared the same fate with his three predecessors.

His death, for some days, was concealed by the singular address of the Seyds; and Hossan Ali Khan, on the night that Shaw Jehan deceased, privately set out with a small, but select party of horse for Agra, where he published his death: and, with the participation of the Mhaahah Rajah, Savajee Jeet Singh immediately proclaimed Mahommed Shaw Emperor of Indostan; who was by the Rajah anointed accordingly. Mahommed Shaw was the only son of Khojistah Akhter, before mentioned; the youngest son of Shaw Allum. Soon after, the Vizir and the other great officers of the crown arrived at Agra, to pay their submission to the new Emperor; and were all confirmed in their posts.

Mahommed Shaw, was soon convinced, by the first movements of the Seyds, that though he was raised to the possession of the ensigns and exteriors of royalty; he was in effect little better than a prisoner of state; whilst the two brothers exercised the uncontrolled authority they had so long and successfully usurped. He did not want courage; but plainly saw their power was too great to be attacked by open force: he therefore wisely, for some time, dissembled his sentiments and resentments; until he could form a proper judgment who, amongst the Omrahs and officers, were trustworthy; and in whom he could with safety to himself put a perfect confidence.

It was not long before his penetration pointed out the persons he sought for. Mahommed Amin Khan, Heydr Kuli Khan, and Kondoran, all Omrahs of the first rank, he was well assured, were inveterate, though concealed enemies to the Seyds: to these Omrahs therefore he ventured to open himself, about the middle of September 1720; and most pathetically lamented his abject dependent state, under the tyranny of the Seyds; imploring their assistance to extricate and free him; themselves; and his people from their usurped power.

This overture from the Emperor met with a warm reception from the Omrahs; they swore fidelity to him; and he, on his part, swore that Mahommed Amin Khan should succeed to the Vizirut; Khondoran to the Mhir Bukhspi; and be created Embir al Omrah: and that Heydr Kuli Khan, (who was at this time General of the Ordinance) should obtain the Souhahdary of Ahmedabad.

These preliminaries settled; and the fidelity of these Omrahs secured, more by making it their own interest, than from any attachment to the royal family; a favorable occasion was only wanting: and the Seyds themselves contributed in some degree to their own downfall, -- for now the measure of their inquity was full, -- too long had they reigned the oppressors of their Kings, and of the people.

The first act of the Seyds power, after the accession of Mahommed Shaw, was to oblige him to declare Nizam al Muluck a traitor; and demand his appearance at court.

Nizam had been long obnoxious to the Seyds: the insurrection raised by Rajah Jeet Singh in favor of Nicosir, had prevented their looking towards him sooner; but now, having fixed Mahommed Shaw on the throne, they determined to suppress him.

Nizam well knowing there was no medium between death and the jealousy of the Seyds, in place of paying obedience to the royal mandate, killed the gursburdars (messengers) that brought it: advanced from his government of Malva to Eugeon; where he seized the royal treasure: from thence he penetrated into Deccan, the government of Seyd Hossan Ali Khan; attacked the capital of the province and took it; assumed the Soubahship; and sending his Niabs, or deputy governors to ever part, displaced those of Hossan Ali Khan; and treated even his women with great indignities. After these exploits (to which it was said he was privately instigated by the Emperor purposely to exasperate the Seyds) he wrote the most submissive letter to the Emperor; extenuating and palliating the necessity of a conduct, to which the tyranny and injustice of the Seyds had drove him.

On news of the outrages committed by Nizam in the Deccan, the Emperor put on a well dissembled rage; and swore by Mahomet, he would take the field against the rebel himself. This resolution was the result of a private conference with his associated Omrahs; it being judged, the first necessary step for the reduction of these dangerous brothers was, to separate them: accordingly the Emperor order the Vizir Seyd Abdallah Khan to return to Delhy, to superintend the civil administration; and preserve the peace of that city during his absence: and himself, with Seyd Hossan Ali Khan, and the rest of the Omrahs, took the field on the 28th of September 1720, with a royal and powerful army, for the pretended reduction of the rebel Nizam al Muluk.

The Emperor made a long march that day towards Deccan, and encamped late in the evening. Here the means for assassinating Seyd Hossan Ali Khan were adjusted by the three Omrahs, to whom the King left the execution of this important event: they found it necessary now to discover their design to several other Omrahs, who they knew had been deeply injured by the Seyds, and were as inveterate as themselves. Amongst these, one Hyddr Khan, a small Munsubdar of distinguished courage, was pitched upon to perpetrate the deed; and as the attempt must be attended with apparent hazard to Hyddr Khan, Mahommed Amin Khan, and Heydr Kuli Khan, to encourage him they solemnly engaged to be at hand with a select party to rescue him from the rage of Hossan Ali Khan's followers.

Early the next morning the signal was made for decamping, and Seyd Hossan went into the Emperor's tent to pay his obeisance and receive his orders: all the Omrahs and officers, as customary, were round his tend: Hyddr Khan placed himself at the door with a petition in his hand: as soon as Seyd Hossan came out of his tent, and had seated himself in his pallenkeen, Heyddr Khan presented his petition; and whilst Seyd Hossan was attentively perusing it, the assassin stabbed him with his kunjaar (dagger) between the neck and collar bone, of which wound he instantly expired.

Notwithstanding the solemn engagement to rescue Hyddr Khan, it was judged expedient to sacrifice this daring man, that his death might blunt and satiate, in some measure, the wrath of those guards who were in immediate attendance on the General's person; by whom Hyddr Khan was assaulted with the utmost fury; and though, drawing his scimitar, he defended himself with astonishing bravery for some time; yet, overpowered by numbers, he was cut to pieces. Nevertheless the tumult raised about the body did not cease, until Mahommed Amin Khan, Khondoran, Heydr Kuli Khan, and their troops came up to quell it. The Emperor mounting his elephant and causing proclamation to be made to the army, that the Embir al Omrah was killed by his order, the confusion subsided; except in one quarter; where five thousand troops, commanded by Jieratt Khan, nephew to the deceased General, breathed nothing but revenge: between these and the royal troops a sharp conflict ensued, in which many were killed (on both sides) amongst whom was a son of Mahommed Amin Khan; but Jieratt Khan falling by an arrow discharged by the King, (who it was said emptied three quivers in the engagement) the rest called for quarter.

The Emperor proceeding to the tent of Seyd Hossan Ali Khan, sat upon his elephant and saw the soldiers, by his permission, plunder it of a khorore of Rupees. [One Million Sterling.] The jewels, found there to an equal amount, were apprpriated to his own use.

Mahommed Shaw, sensible that but half the work was done, whilst Seyd Abdallah Khan survived, immediately directed his march towards Delhy; declaring Mahommed Amin Khan Vizir, and Khondoran, Embir al Omrah.

Abdallah Khan was not far from Delhy, when an express from Jieratt Khan overtook him, advising him of the tragical death of his brother: he saw his own danger, and instantly dispatched a trusty officer with a party of horse to that city, with orders to return immediately with Sultan Ibrahim, younger brother of the Emperors, Rasseeil al Dirjaat, and Rasseil al Dowlat. The officer executed his commission with great celerity; and being returned with Sultan Ibrahim, Abdallah proclaimed that young Prince Emperor of Indostan: then putting himself at the head of a numerous army, he marched back to meet Mahommed Shaw.

The two armies met the latter end of October, Anno 1720, and a bloody battle ensued. Victory stood doubtful a long time, to which she should give the day; but when Abdallah was on the verge of snatching a certain conquest, a seasonable reinforcement turned the issue in favor of the Emperor: for during the heat of the engagement Diabahadr (nephew of Chivalram Governor of Eleabas) arrived with a fresh body of troops; these assaulting the rear and flank of Abdalla's army with the greatest intrepidity, a total defeat and rout soon followed. Seyd Abdallah Khan was taken prisoner; the Emperor spared his life, in consideration of his owing him the crown he wore; but condemned him to perpetual imprisonment (as recited more minutely by Mr. Fraser) sequestering his vast possessions and wealth to his own use.

Thus fell the Seyds Hossan Ali Khan, and Abdallah Khan, by a reverse of fortune too common to be very remarkable. The wonder is, that they should have maintained themselves so long (in this despotic and violent government) in a degree of absolute power and authority, hardly equaled in story; and that, during the reigns of five successive Emperors, four of whom they themselves had placed upon the throne.

The last decisive stroke put Mahommed Shaw into the quiet possession of the Empire of Indostan. A long peace ensued; and the Emperor gave a loose to the indulgence of his natural propensities, which centered only in the excessive use of wine, women and hunting. To everything else he became regardless: the reigns of government in time slackened; confusion in the Empire followed: every Omrah was planning for himself; and none thought of the public. These universal disorders endangered, in consequence, the health and well-being of the state; and paved the way for the invasion of the Empire by Nadir Shaw, in the year 1738; (so accurately investigated by Mr. Fraser) which was brought about by the intrigues of Nizam al Mulluck. This minister, after the reduction of the Seyds, was soon taken into favor, and confirmed in the government of Deccan; or rather maintained himself there by his own strength, as an independent sovereign.

My readers will easily perceive, that in the foregoing recital I have followed the threat of Mr. Fraser's concise narrative; and have only deviated from him in those parts, where my materials afforded me fuller intelligence; and in variety of transactions which he (obviously) thought lay out of the way of his main object: his intention being, very evidently, no more than to give a connected catalog of the Moguls from Timur Lung; (Tamarlam) and at the same time to convey a slight view of the progressive state and condition of the Empire of Indostan, as necessarily preparative to the period of Nadir Shaw's invasion of it; without embarrassing himself with any more of the particular circumstances attending the successions, than were consistent with, and immediately in point to his design. All that I wish or hope for from this production is, that it may be esteemed an illustration only of that ingenious and learned gentleman's work; comprised within the space, from Auring Zebe's demise, to the reduction of the Seyds.
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Re: Interesting Historical Events, by J.Z. Holwell, Esq.

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Part 1 of 3

CHAP. II. Transactions in the Subahdary of Bengal, from the year 1717 to the year 1750, inclusive.

Our present subject calls us back to the reign of Furrukhsir, when Jaffir Khan, an Omrah of great consideration and interest at court, rules those provinces with a rod of iron. His name, to this day, is remembered with detestation; to fill his coffers, he inflicted the most cruel punishments on the Rajahs and Zamindars, by ways and means unheard of, and unknown, but in this Eastern government. He also highly oppressed the Europeans settled in these parts; yet, notwithstanding his very maladministration, he had the address to obtain the governments of Bahar and Orissa, united with that of Bengal in his person; which ever before had been distinct and separate Nabobships.

With this new acquisition of power, he removed from Dacca; which, until that time, had been the chief residence of the Soubahs, to Morshadabad; and this city now became the capital of the provinces.

Jaffir Khan had a favorite daughter whom he married to Soujah Khan, a native of Delhy of some distinction; this person was appointed Niab, or deputy governor of Orissa, when Jaffir Khan changed the seat of his residence, and quitted Dacca.

Soujah Khan, by his marriage with the Soubah's daughter, had two sons born to him; the eldest named Mahommed Tukhee Khan; the younger Suffraaz Khan. The first had constantly resided with his father at Cuttack, the capital of Orissa, and the other, with his grandfather at Morshadabad.

Jaffir Khan's fondness for Suffraaz Khan was so prevalent, that when he obtained an order from court for Soujah Khan's succeeding him in the Soubahship; he procured at the same time Suffraaz Khan to be appointed King's Dewan of the provinces, in prejudice to the just pretensions of his elder brother, Mahommed Tukhee Khan.

This ill-judged mark of affection and preference in the old Soubah, was the cause of declared and unabating enmity between the two brothers; though this effect, probably without that cause, would have naturally resulted from the difference of their genius and dispositions; actuated by the different examples they had long before them, in the father, and grandfather. -- Soujah Khan was bold; rigid in government; but, withal, complaisant and affectionate. -- Mahommed Tukhee Khan was brave and generous; delighting in the exercises of a soldier, and the art of war. -- Jaffir Khan was inveterate; avaricious; and a monster of cruelty. -- Suffraas Khan was impetuous, overbearing and vindictive; and as he had been a stranger to contradiction from his infancy, so in his more advanced age, he could not bear it in the least degree, even from the mouth of wisdom.

In the year 1725 Jaffir Khan deceased, to the general joy of the provinces; and Soujah Khan, hastening to the capital, took upon him the government. In the journey, he was accompanied by Mahommed Tukhee Khan.

When the brothers met, the embers of disgust and hatred, which had been only smothered by absence, now burst into a flame, that had well nigh consumed them both; had not the prudence and authority of the Soubah interposed; who, finding it impossible to accomplish a reconciliation between them, resolved to part them; and immediately appointed Mahommed Tukhee Khan, his Niab of Orissa; with orders, to set out the next day for his government. There in a few months he died universally lamented. His death gave his father the deepest sorrow; for he loved him with a just and truly paternal tenderness.

On Soujah Khan's succession to the government, he released all the Rajahs and Zamindars that had been imprisoned by his father-in-law; and eased them of sundry heavy taxes and impositions, that they had been loaded with. Calling them all before him, he enjoined them to attend carefully to the cultivation of their lands, and the improvement of the manufactures: assuring them that, in future, they should be exempt from the severities they had suffered under his predecessors: reminding them, that as they themselves had long felt the hand of oppression; he depended it would be a lesson to them, not to oppress the tenants dependent on them. Then with a peremptory tone telling them, that if any were found deficient in their annual payments, their lands should be taken from them, and given to others; afterwards he graciously dismissed them to their respective districts.

Soujah Khan taking into consideration the small standing force of the provinces, that until his time never exceeded the number of five or six hundred horse; determined to enlarge it to as many thousands, which he soon accomplished. He then made sundry regulations respecting the trade of the provinces, both inland and foreign; casting his eyes particularly on the Europeans; and attentive that they should not clandestinely partake of greater immunities and advantages, than the terms of their Fhirmaunds, or grants, gave them a title to.

To this end, he increased the number of Chowkee's (or places for the receipts of customs) to twenty, upon the several rivers; whereas, before his government, there were only two, Buxsh Bundar, and Azimgunge.

This wise and solid conduct, had its natural and proper effects; the provinces soon wore a different face; commerce and manufactures flourished; and in a very few years he was enabled greatly to increase the royal revenue, and stipulate to pay into the royal treasury annually, one Khorare, one Lac, one thousand one hundred and one sicca Rupees; over and above forty Lacs of Rupees, annually remitted to court, to different Omrahs residing there, on account of their Jaghir lands. In consequence, his interest at court was strengthened; himself established in his government; and the succession, by grant, secured in his family.

Having brought the Soubah Soujah Khan to this happy and honorable period; and given a general view of the state of these opulent provinces; we next propose to trace the causes, circumstances, and progress of an extraordinary usurpation of this government in the beginning of the year 1742.

Though the ambition, avarice, ingratitude, treachery and violence of two artful adventurers, were the seemingly apparent causes of this usurpation, yet, without other cooperating incidents, those (too common successful auxiliaries in the invasion of right) would have proved ineffectual.

The secret springs of the above-mentioned incidents, were known but to few; and we venture to aver, were never put together before the penning of the manuscripts. A.D. 1750; alluded to in the preliminary discourse to this work; from which manuscript the author of the Reflections, as before remarked, disingenuously took as his own, what he calls his "Short sketch of the history of Bengal, from the year 1739 to the year 1750." [For he recites the same chain of facts as they stand in the manuscript, with little variation, except the poor disguise of, here and there a different mode of expression; interspersed with a few tri e reflections, which are purely his own. We thought this note highly necessary, lest we should incur the undeserved censure of retailing, at second hand, the labors of another.]

Aliverdi Khan, and Hodjee Hamet, were brothers; natives of Tartary; and followers of fortune. In this pursuit they arrived at the court of Delhy about the year 1721; and put themselves under the protection of the then Vizir Khondoran. In their genius and qualifications they differed extremely. The elder, Hodjee Hamet, was of a cowardly, but deeply intriguing disposition; well skilled in political learning; and a profound judge of the nature of mankind. With these talents, he possessed not a single moral principle, capable of impeding them in their full career; and therefore became every way qualified for the transactions of this Eastern (or indeed any other) court.

Aliverdi Khan was bold and daring; bred to arms; and skilled in all the duties of a soldier; enterprising; of ready understanding; and naturally virtuous and honorable; until these amiable qualities were perverted and subdued, by the instigations and evil counsels of his brother; and his other talents were made subservient to Hamet's ambitious views of aggrandizing their obscure family.

Hodjee acquired this title from his having in his early years made a pilgrimage to Hodge, (or the tomb of Mahommed at Mecca.) A duty which the Khoran imposes on every Musselman once in his life, either in person or by proxy; and he who performs it in person, thereby obtains, for life, the honorary appellation of Hodjee; and is much reverenced by the true believers.

It has been confidently asserted, and as currently believed in Bengal, that Hodjee Hamet, had been preferred at Delhy, to the post of master, or keeper of the crown jewels: with the most valuable of which it was said he eloped, and afterwards sanctified this theft by a pilgrimage to Mecca. But, upon the strictest inquiry, we pronounce this report an aspersion of his enemies; having the best authority for saying, neither of the brothers appeared at court before the year 1721: -- but the improbability of the fact speaks it a calumny -- their original obscurity is allowed on all hands; can it then possibly gain credit, that either of them should be preferred to a post, which is usually bestowed on one of the first Omrahs of the Empire?

But if we should admit (what also has been asserted) that Hodjee was for a short space in the service of the keeper of the crown jewels; and might have it in his power to commit the theft alleged against him; yet the fact remains equally improbable: for can it be believed that after so atrocious a crime, both the brothers should obtain the patronage and recommendation of Khondoran? -- Which they certainly brought with them to Cuttac (the residence of the Nabob Soujah Khan) Anno 1722.

On their arrival, they were taken into the service of Soujah Dowla, as immediate attendants on his person: Hodjee, in capacity of his first Kistmutgar (or valet) and Aliverdi, his Chilum Purdaar (dresser or rather keeper of his smoking pipe) with the additional pay and denomination of a seapoy, or foot soldier.

Their rise from these menial stations was rapid, but not astonishing; in a country where superior talents ever make their way to speedy promotion. -- The Nabob very soon discovered in Hodjee an extensive genius and understanding in men and things; and Hodjee, as soon found out the great, and almost only foible of his master; which was an ungovernable appetite for variety of women.

Hodjee benefited himself of this ruling passion; and by indefatigable attention and industry, outran even the Nabob's desires. -- The compiler of the Reflections says, Hodjee prostituted, "and made a sacrifice of his own daughter to his master's lust": we confess we never heard of it before; be this as it may, it is most certain that Hodjee, by indulging and feeing this passion, quickly gained an ascendant over his master; and had the disposal of all places of small importance; and as he was observed to be the growing favorite, all suits and petitions were preferred through his mediation.

Aliverdi Khan's extraordinary military genius did not escape his master's notice. He was soon promoted to be Jemmautdar of the Nabob's foot guards; and not long after preferred to a command of horse, at the intercession of his brother. -- The ruling passion of Hodjee was an unbounded thirst of riches; but whilst he labored to extend his influence over his master, as conducive to the satisfying this vice; he was ever watchful and attentive, that his brother's interest went hand in hand with his own.

To these ends he daily made himself more and more useful to Soujah Khan; and being well versed in the arts of financing, and the invention of ways and means, his importance was confirmed: (this being the most useful and essential duty of a minister in the East, as well as in the West.) He was also an exquisite and penetrating spy upon the actions of all the Niabs and other officers employed under the Nabob; with whom he secretly planted his own emissaries; so that nothing was transacted in any part of the province of Orissa, that his master had not the most early intelligence of.--

The government of Indostan is perhaps the only government in the world, where the character of a spy is not attended, with reproach and infamy: here it is honorable and dignified. The Emperor and all the Soubahs of the provinces entertain an officer with this title, who is always a person of consideration: but like Satan he is more generally feared than loved. Hodjee possessed not the title of the Nabob's Hircarrab, (spy) but he virtually was so; and by this practice, did not a little gain upon his master's confidence, and thereby smoothed the way to designs, which about this time, Anno 1724, began to open upon him; though he yet concealed them even from his brother.

The influence and power of the two brothers acquired new strength every day; in such sort, that at the close of this year they had gained a full dominion over the actions and inclinations of the Nabob: who at this period succeeded to the government of the three provinces by the demise of the Soubah Jaffir Khan, as before recited in the former part of this chapter. The brothers attended him to the capital, where the scene of action became enlarged and more adequate to their different, though equally enterprising spirits. Hodjee Hamet was soon declared prime minister; and Aliverdi proposed to a command of horse of the first distinction.

The first judicious movements made by Soujah Khan on his coming to the Soubahship, (already recorded) were, it was said, the result of the salutary councils of Hodjee Hamet. -- But if we admit the fact, let us not too hastily conclude that this advice flowed from any principle of affection to his master, or regard to his honor; or from a commiseration of the suffering Rajahs: no, these worthy considerations were foreign to his heart, as appeared from the whole tenor of his future conduct. The moderate councils and measures adopted by the Soubah, raised the credit of the minister only, who (by reports of his emissaries dispersed about the city and country) had the sole honor of clemency, strictly due to the Soubah's goodness of heart; who always showed an aversion to the practices of his predecessor.

The minister by this artful procedure gained many friends; and by secret stipulations with the enlarged Rajahs, he filled his own coffers, to the injury of the public revenue. In the degree that the minister gained credit and influence in the provinces -- the Soubah sunk in the opinion of the people (a very natural consequence) and resting secure in the supposed integrity and extensive abilities of Hodjee Hamet, he abandoned himself to the full enjoyment of his ruling passion; and the government, to the absolute disposal of the minister; who without control, put in, put out; removed; displaced, and preferred to every post of profit, whosoever he pleased. And by this traffic he soon acquired immense wealth: taking care to keep his master buried in sensuality; still supplying the flame that had possession of him with fresh fuel; ransacking the provinces, and obtaining (no matter at what price) the most beautiful women that could be procured to answer his purposes: and it was confidently (and we believe truly) said, that he carried his panderism so far, as never to appear at the Soubah's noctural levell, without something of this kind in his hand; formed to attract and engage his attention.

Whilst Hodjee Hamet was thus employed in establishing his own power and fortune, and blinding the Soubah during the first three or four years of his government; his brother Aliverdi Khan began to think himself neglected; but Hodjee soon convinced him of his mistake.

Hitherto Aliverdi had no, in his own person, acquired any considerable luster, except from the light thrown upon it, by reflection, from his brother's being the minister. In his military capacity he had indeed a few opportunities given him of shining alone, both at Orissa and Bengal; just sufficient to gain the belief of his being an intrepid officer: but now the time was come to bring his talents upon the stage in a more conspicuous view: an occasion offering, for which his brother had with impatience long waited.

Having for some time lost sight of the Soubah's only surviving son Suffraaz Khan, we here think it necessary to bring him to the remembrance of the reader, by a slight mention of him. His character has been already delineated: he possessed the post of King's Dewan, by appointment from court, and was successor apparent to the Soubahship: he had long looked with an evil eye on the growing power and influence of Hodjee Hamet, which he thought became pregnant with danger, both to his father and himself -- but he had not the means of reducing it. The impetuosity of his temper burst forth sometimes in abuses, and in insults to the minister; who bore them with patient submission: but heavy resentment from the Soubah, against his son, always followed such abuse. The crafty Hodjee treasured them up in his memory, for a future reckoning; he daily instilled into the ears of the Soubah the many extravagancies his son was guilty of; which had too much truth for the foundation; but if that had not been the case, the Soubah was too ready to listen to any thing to his prejudice; for he loved him not -- ever saying, that his unbridled insolence occasioned the loss of his favorite and beloved son Mahommed Tukhee Khan.

Anno 1729, the Nabobship of Patna becoming vacant, Hodjee, without appearing in it himself, influenced the then reigning favorite mistress of the Soubah (who was deeply in his interest) to solicit it for his brother; who was accordingly the next day nominated to that government. Suffraaz Khan upon this appointment had the courage to tell his father in public Durbar, "he was warming and cherishing two snakes, that would sting him and his family to death." The Soubah ordered him immediately to be taken into custody; but by Hodjee's artful interposition he was appeased.

The following night, the brothers held a long and private conference; to which several Rajahs and officers in their confidence were admitted. -- Here the wicked plan of Aliverdi Khan's government was settled, and he departed the next day for Patna; where in a few days he arrived, and put in execution the political maxims and instructions he had received from his brother.

The exploits of the first six years of his government -- that is from the year 1729 to the year 1735, inclusive, were these following. By force, treachery, craft and policy, he subdued most of the Rajahs of the province of Bahar; some, by the basest dissimulation and professions of friendship, he drew to Patna; where he murdered them and seized their possessions; as the brave Sonder Shaw, &c. -- He then carried his arms against the Chukwaars, a brave and warlike Gentoo race, who possessed a tract of country opposite Mongheer; up the river Samboo: the prince or Rajah of this country had never paid tribute, or acknowledged any subjection to the Soubah of Bengal; or indeed to the Mogul himself. He laid every thing that passed on the river, by Mongheer, under contribution; and put the European settlements to an annual heavy expense of a large armament, to escort their trade to, and from Patna.

The old brave Rajah of these people (who had many times fought hand to hand, with the intrepid commander of our troops, Major Hunt) deceased, in the year 1730; and was succeeded by his son, a youth of seventeen. This young prince, intimidated by the examples made of several of the Bahar Rajahs, after a short resistance submitted; acknowledge allegiance to the Emperor; and subjection to the Soubah. An annual tribute was stipulated, and regularly paid for four years -- a spot was fixed on, five miles from the mouth of Samboo, and thirty from the capital of the Chukwaars; where the prince every year met the Nabob's officer on a certain day: the one to pay; the other to receive the tribute; and it was agreed that they should have only thirty attendants on each side.

The twentieth of October, (Anno 1735) was the day of payment; at which time the English army, under the command of commandant Holcombe, lay encamped in Mangheer grove, with the company's trade for the Patna factory. -- At eleven in the forenoon, we observed a boat, which had come out of Samboo river, making for Patna: the commandant detached two light pulwaars after her, with orders to bring her to -- imagining she had a cargo of fish -- the boat being brought to, and laid alongside the commandant's budgerow -- Guess, reader, our astonishment! when in place of a cargo of fish, it contained a cargo of human heads! five baskets full; and a single head in the sixth.

On inquiry, we learned that before day break, the officer who was deputed to receive the annual tribute from the Rajah of the Chukwaars; had, by orders from the Nabob Aliverdit, placed four hundred men in ambush, under the high banks of the river, near the place of meeting -- that the prince and the Nabo's officer Fowzdar of Bahar, (whose name we have forgot) with their usual attendants, met at nine of the clock; and after the common ceremonials, and the tribute received, when they were just upon parting; the signal being given, the troops in ambush rushed out, and surrounding the Rajah and his few followers, cut them off, one only excepted; who upon a fleet horse escaped, and gave the alarm to the city --- among those killed were his principal general officers. -- We further were informed by the officer who had the charge of the boat, that his orders were to make the best of his way to Patna; and lay his freight at the Nabob's feet; and that the head in the basket by itself, was the Rajah's -- he added that the Fowzdar with his troops were in full march to the city Samboo. -- This was soon after verified; for we observed about four in the afternoon a cloud of smoke over the city; and the same evening we received these other particulars; that on the first alarm and known fate of the Rajah, his wife, the young Begun, shut herself up with her son (about a year old) and her attendants, and set fire to her apartments -- that the Nabob's troops meeting with no resistance, entered the city, plundered it, and then set fire to it.

A body of the Rajah's troops retired, and for some time disputed the possession of the country with the Nabob's; but the Fowzdar being reinforced from his camp, which then lay at Durriapoor; a short march from Mongheer; the whole country was soon reduced, and these brave people subdued.

These were the exploits that rendered the name of Aliverdi Khan a terror to the neighboring districts; and by these he amassed immense riches; part of which he regularly remitted to Morshadabad, to preserve his own and brother's credit with the Soubah; but the much greater part he reserved, for a purpose, he now had in agitation, by the pernicious advice of his brother.

Whilst Aliverdi Khan was carrying on these operations to establish his power, Hodjee Hamet remained unrivaled in the administration of the Soubahship; but a transaction which now manifested itself, opened the Soubah's eyes.

Aliverdi Khan, forgetful of the duty and obligations he owed to his master, and urged by the continued persuasions of his brother, began about the beginning of the year 1736, privately to solicit at court for the government of Patna, and the province of Bahar, independent of the Soubah of Bengal. This negotiation, however, cautiously conducted, came to the knowledge of Soujah Khan. Rage on the instant took possession of him. Hodjee was disgraced, and for some time imprisoned -- but by the most submissive and deceitful letters from Aliverdi, and the powerful intercession of the Seraglio, (Hodjee's never failing resource) the minister was enlarged, and seemingly again taken into favor.

Aliverdi did not slacken his negotiations on this discovery of his treachery; but availing himself of the favor of his patron Khondoran; and by well placed considerable bribes, he obtained the latter end of the year 1737, a phirmaund and proper sunnods from court, constituting him independent governor of the province of Bahar.

This confirmation of the ingratitude and treachery of the two brothers struck deeply to the heart of Soujah Khan. He had, however, the resolution and prudence to disguise his sentiments; knowing their power was too great to be attacked openly; or capable of being reduced by any weapons, but those of dissimulation and craft. By the assistance of these, he planned, and was just on the point of executing, a safe and certain revenge on both the brothers; when death put a period to his intentions. -- It is more than probable, that Hodjee, who still preserved his influence in the Seraglio, received intimation by this channel of the Soubah's designs; for his death was sudden, and judged to be by poison.

His son Suffraaz Khan immediately succeeded his father in the government of Bengal and Orissa; as well as in his resentment to the brothers.

Independent power, only increased the bad qualities, which had already taken too deep possession of Suffraaz Khan: his excesses in spiritous liquors and women, were beyond control and example; his insolence and impetuosity of temper became intolerable to all about him; his principal officers were treated with insults and indignities: most of these had been disgusted with the family for the preference given to Aliverdi Khan, in the government of Patna; though justice could not lay this charge against Suffraaz Khan.

There then resided at his court a Gentoo named Allum Chund, who had been many years Dewan to Soujah Khan; by whom he was much revered for his great age, wisdom, and faithful services. This minister was the only man who had courage and honesty enough to attempt restraining the extravagances of Suffraaz Khan; a duty he thought owing to the memory of his late master. He accordingly, with the greatest circumspection and humility, and with tears in his eyes, represented to him the fatal tendency of his conduct, which if not changed, must inevitably estrange the hearts of the few remaining friends to his house; and at the same time favor and promote the evil designs of his enemies.

Suffraaz Khan, instead of profiting by this wholesome remonstrance and admonition, highly resented his presumption; and ever after treated him with great indignities and contempt; and thereby lost the heart of the only man in the provinces, who by his sincerity, capacity and authority, was capable of counteracting and frustrating the pernicious machinations of Hodjee and his brother.

Though Suffraaz Khan did not immediately degrade Hodjee Hamet from the post of prime minister; yet he took every opportunity of showing an inveterate hatred to him. In public Durbar he commonly called him by the appellation of, "His father's pander," and treated him with such insults and indignities, that he seldom frequented the Durbar; being ill able to brook such treatment in a place where he had for so many years been accustomed to a degree of deference and respect, equal to his master. Nor is it much to be wondered at, that he should meditate vengeance, when a fair occasion offered: this he was not long without; for Suffraaz Khan's own folly and rashness supplied him with the means, and gave him a nearer, and more encouraging prospect, of an event which he for some time past had in view.

A few months after Suffraaz Khan came to the government, he threw a disgrace on Futtuah Chund's house, which laid the foundation of his precipitate fall. The fact, though well known to a few, was only whispered, out of respect to the power and credit of that family, which had maintained, even from the reign of Auring Zebe, a character of distinguished consideration; from Furrukshir, Futtuah Chund received the title of Jaggaut Seet; and might be justly esteemed the greatest banker, and most opulent subject in the world.

He had about this time married his youngest grandson, named Seet Mortah Roy, to a young creature of exquisite beauty; aged about eleven years. The fame of her beauty coming to the ears of the Soubah, he burned with a curiosity and lust for the possession of her; and sending for Jaggaut Seet, demanded a sight of her -- The old man (then complete fourscore) begged and entreated, that the Soubah would not stain the honor and credit of his house; nor load his last days with shame; by persisting in a demand which he knew the principles of his caste, forbid a compliance with.

Neither the tears nor remonstrances of the old man had any weight on the Soubah; who growing outrageous at the refusal, ordered, in his presence, his house to be immediately surrounded with a body of horse; and swore on the Khoran, that if he complied in sending his granddaughter, that he might only see her, he would instantly return her without any injury.

The Seet reduced to this extremity, and judging from the Soubah's known impetuosity, that his persisting longer in a denial, would only make his disgrace more public, at last consented; and the young creature was carried with the greatest secrecy in the night to visit him. She was returned the same night; and we will suppose (for the honor of that house) uninjured. Be this as it may, the violence was of too delicate a nature, to permit any future commerce between her and her husband.

The indignity was never forgiven by Jaggaut Seet; and that whole powerful family, consequently, became inveterate, though concealed enemies to the Soubah.

Hodjee Hamet soon came to the knowledge of this rash step and violence committed against the Seets; he was also well apprised of Allum Chund's disgust, and, as he was upon a friendly footing with them both, he determined to avail himself of their resentment, and make it subservient to his own intended vengeance for the repeated insults he had received from the Soubah. Revenge however was not his sole motive: he was actuated by another, yet more prevalent one, the further aggrandizing his family; the hopes of which he had hitherto only seen at a distance; but now thought the conjuncture favorable for carrying his long projected plan into execution: which was to cut off the son of his late master, friend and benefactor; and place his brother Aliverdi Khan in his stead.

Hodjee lost no time in procuring a private conference with the disaffected Seets an dAllum Chund; in the course of which he represented in the most lively manner, the "oppression and extravagant government of Suffraaz Khan; and that nothing but the most deplorable consequences to the provinces could be expected from such an unbridled and tyrannic disposition -- that if he already treated with such insults and contempt, those for whom his father had the highest veneration and friendship -- what might not others dread from his future violences?" -- He then expatiated on, and with bitter exaggeration painted their own particular injuries; which had all the effect upon them that he might naturally expect or could wish.

He suffered not their resentment to cool; but supported this conference with many others; and the unanimous conclusion of the trimvirate was: "That none could be secure in their lives, honor or property, whilst Suffraaz Khan remained invested wtih the Soubahship." -- Hodjee managed the passions of these men with such art and address in the promotion of his own views -- that they themselves first proposed, "his brother Aliverdi Khan, as the only one capable of rescuing the provinces from apparent and inevitable ruin. -- That he should be immediately advised of their sentiments, and entreated to concur with their hopes by preparing for a speedy march into Bengal, to take upon him the government."

Hodjee, with expressions of gratitude for their favorable opinion of his brother, consented to their proposal with a well dissembled reluctance; declaring "Nothing but necessity of the time, and the peril of the country could have influenced him to meditate aught against the son of his late master."

It being objected by Jaggaut Seet, that an intercourse by letter with Aliverdi was liable to accident and discovery; it was on further deliberation resolved, that Hodjee should repair to Patna, where he could better inform his brother of the state of things, and benefit him by his council at this critical period: but as his sudden and private retreat from court would raise a suspicion in the Soubah, that something was in agitation against him, Allum Chund and Jaggaut Seet engaged to make his departure an act of the Soubah's own weakness.

The plan of operations being thus agreed on, their next step was to engage in the conspiracy of the Soubah's Tope Khonnah Derogher (or master of his ordnance) with several other disaffected officers, which was very soon accomplished. -- It was a saying of a great and brave king, "that one drop of honey caught and engaged more flies, than a ton of vinegar." Suffraaz Khan in place of sweetness of disposition and affability, unhappily substituted a morose, severe and insolent carriage to all around him: which (at this most important juncture) left him not more than two or three officers of any consideration, who bore the least attachment to his person, family, or government.

Matters becoming thus ripe for execution; Hodjee began to grow impatient for an interview with his brother; and urged the promise made to him by Allum Chund and Jaggaut Seet, of procuring his dismissal from the capital.

These embraced the first opportunity, when the Soubah was, according to custom, reviling Hodjee (then absent) in public Durbar; to represent to him, "that it was a disgrace to his court the suffering Hodjee to appear there, considering the infamous employ he bore under his father. -- Drive him (continued they) from your presence, court and city; and let him go to his ungrateful brother." This council being echoed and applauded by the Top Khonnah Derogher, and others in the confederacy: the unwary Soubah instantly sent an order to Hodjee Hamet to quit the provinces; who, not thinking it prudent to wait for a second order, departed without delay; and made the best of his way to Patna, where in a few days he arrived with some of his faithful attendants.

Suffraaz Khan, by this false step, deprived himself of the great security he had in his hands; for the good behavior of Aliverdi Khan, whose ambition, he had cause enough to think, would not stop with the Nabobship of Patna; depended upon the detention of Hodjee.

On Hodjee's arrival at Patna, he painted the whole conduct of the Soubah in the most hideous colors: he employed his whole art and eloquence in the exaggeration of the indignities himself had endured: he told his brother that he might rest assured "Suffraaz Khan could never forget, nor forgive his obtaining the government of Bahar, independent of the Soubahship, whereby so large a portion of the revenues was lost from himself and family: that he was from good authority convinced, the Soubah only waited a favorable occasion to cut him off, and seize and reunite his government to the Soubahship; to which purpose he knew he had forwarded dispatches to court -- That he had gone too far to stop; that Suffraaz Khan was universally detested in the provinces; and finally that no security for himself and family remained, but in affirming the whole Soubahdary, which he might do with very little difficulty."

Hodjee then opened to his brother, the progress he had made in this necessary step below; recited the several conferences he had with the Seets and Allum Chund, and the result of their deliberations; recounting at the same time the names of the Soubah's officers, who had declared themselves wholly devoted to his promotion to the throne.

It was said; Aliverdi expressed much compunction on this overture's being first made to him, to dispossess the son of his master and benefactor: but if we form our conclusion from his Actions, both antecedent and subsequent to his period, we shall have no foundation to encourage our belief in that report: for if he really had at first any scruples to combat with; it is certain he very soon subdued them, and determined to march into Bengal; of which, full advice was immediately dispatched to their confederate friends there.

It was however thought eligible, that Suffraaz Khan should be lulled into security; to which end, Aliverdi (at the time he was levying additional troops) wrote the most submissive letter to him, -- "assuring him he was as much the slave of his house, as he was in the time of his father: humbly entreating his permission to throw himself at his feet, and plead the cause of his unfortunate brother; who, he had with grief learned, had incurred his displeasure; hoping by his personal supplications, his unhappy brother would be restored to the Soubah's favor." [This was the specious pretext publicly avowed for Aliverdi's march into Bengal, which he began soon after the dispatch of the above letter, and before he could possibly receive any reply to it.]

He departed from Patna the latter end of the year 1741, at the head of about 30,000 horse, his Niab, or deputy governor of Bahar. We will leave Aliverdi on his march, and return to the court of the Soubah.

Suffraaz Khan had still about his person three officers of distinction, that remained faithful to his interest -- though from different motives: their names were Mussat Khooli Khan, Goas Khan, and Banteer Ali Khan; (more commonly known by the name of Baaker Ali Khan.) The first, was married to a sister of the Soubah, and appointed Nabob of Orissa; for which government he was in a few days to set out. with a small body of troops. -- His interest connected him firmly to the Soubah, on whose well being his own fortunes depended.

The other two had been proved faithful servants to Soujah Khan; and were attached to the present Soubah, more from principles of gratitude, honor, and affection to the memory of their old master, than to any love they could possibly bear to himself -- they supported the character of brave officers; were in considerable commands under the Viceroy; and, in truth, were the only persons in his court, for whom he observed the least respect or regard.

These officers, after the departure of Hodjee, had received imperfect intelligence of the frequent meetings of Hodjee, Jaggaut Seet, and Allum Chund; which they ventured to communicate to the Viceroy: intimating, at the same time, their opinion or sentiments, that such meetings, composed of persons, which they feared were disaffected to his government, called for his attention; and advised the immediate seizure of the Seets, Allum Chund, and the commanding officer of the artillery. But Suffraaz Khan, doomed to destruction , hearkened not to these faithful admonitions, which he treated as idle apprehensions, without any real foundation; thinking them friendly endeavors only, to draw him from his pleasures; which these faithful monitors had before attempted, but in vain.

By this fatal delusion, the Soubah lost the only opportunity of exerting that power which might have saved him from approaching ruin: for the bold step advised by Goas and Baaker Khans, of seizing those heads of the conspiracy, would have struck terror into the whole party; and effectually put a stop to Aliverdi's intended invasion; and probably a period also to his hopes.

Aliverdi Khan followed the letter he wrote the Soubah, with such expedition; that he gained the pass of Siclygully; and entered Bengal before the least intimation of his departure from Patna had reached the court of the Soubah.

The pass of Siclygully divides the provinces of Bengal and Bahar; is of considerable length, and only about ten to twelve feet wide; situated on the top of a mountain, with a step ascent both ways. The course of the pass is North and South; flanked to the Westward by an impenetrable wood; and to the Eastward by the principal branch of the river Ganges. Thus circumstanced it was capable of being defended by a small number of men; but it was left unguarded by the infatuated Suffraaz Khan; and without any defense at all.

Aliverdi knew the importance of this pass; and therefore determined, by forced marches, to gain the possession of it, before it could possibly be put in a state of defence sufficient to oppose his entrance into Bengal. This he accomplished as above, and found it necessary to halt for some days to refresh his fatigued troops.

On the first advice that the Nabob of Patna has passed Siclygully, the court of the Soubah was struck with the deepest consternation; every one seeing further into the consequences of his approach, than the unhappy and short-sighted Suffraaz Khan: who having, at first, no conception, that Aliverdi was at the head of an army; expressed only high rage and resentment at his daring to enter the province without his permission. -- But when, soon after, Goas and Baaker Khans informed him of the number of troops he had with him -- and that they were convinced (by intelligence from spies they had placed near his person) the design of Aliverdi was to depose him; it is impossible to paint his fury. -- He immediately sent for Jaggaut Seet, and Allum Chund and demanded of them; how they dared suffer such a body of troops to enter the province, without giving early notice of it? averring that he knew such a step was not taken without their privacy and counsel.

The accused, who expected this attack, came prepared; having previously concerted their replies, lest they should have been separately examined -- The suffered the Soubah's rage to expend itself in words, and then submissively assured him "That had there been the smallest foundation for the belief of the reports falsly spread of Aliverdi Khan, they would have been the first of his slaves to advise him of his danger. -- That the forces of Aliverdi were greatly exaggerated by some evil minded people near the Soubah's person, who were declared enemies to Hodjee's house. -- That their intelligence (on which they could depend) said, he was only accompanied by his common attendants, and a small guard to defend him against the petty Rajahs, and freebooters of the mountains. -- That they were themselves perfectly satisfied, the conduct of Aliverdi was greatly misrepresented; and that his only design was to throw himself at the Soubah's feet, and plead the cause of his unhappy disgraced brother Hodjee Hamet.

To corroborate this specious and deceitful harangue, they each produced letters from Aliverdi, and from other seemingly indifferent persons in his train, calculated purposely to support the deceptions; which being compared with others, wrote to the Soubah from Siclygully, he was thereby again lulled into a stupid security; and was influence so far by the combined traitors, as to censure Goas Khan, and Baaker Ali Khan, as aiming to stir up troubles and a war in the province, that they might benefit themselves in the confusion.
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Re: Interesting Historical Events, by J.Z. Holwell, Esq.

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2020 8:07 am

Part 2 of 3

We left Aliverdi Khan to the Southward of Siclygully pass, halting to refresh his troops after their fatiguing march. -- Here he met with an impediment, that was well night making his whole scheme prove abortive.

His principal Jemmautdaars, officers and soldiers, had been promised four months advanced pay, (besides their old arrears) and a gratuity of three Lacs of Rupees, as soon as they entered the province of Bengal. -- The Jemmautdaars, in a body, presented themselves before the Nabob; and demanded the promised pay and gratuity for themselves and their people; declaring if it was withheld from them, they would not march a foot further.

This demand threw Aliverdi into the utmost perplexity, as knowing his inability to comply with it. For, what with the large bribes remitted to Delhy, for the purchase of his independent government of Bahar; and what with other considerable sums just disbursed, to corrupt and keep firm the principal officers in the service of the Soubah; his coffers were drained, and at a very low ebb.

However, without discovering the difficulty he was under, he with his usual dignity, and voice of authority, "ordered them to withdraw, and wait without, and they should be satisfied." -- Then calling a private Durbar, consisting of his Dewan Chinkumunny, and a few of his chief confidants, he informed them of the demand of his Jemmautdaars, and represented in lively colors, "the risk himself and they ran, of being delivered up to Suffraaz Khan, unless some expedient was devised to raise to the amount of three Lacs, with which he doubted not to quiet them for the present." To this the Dewan replied, the whole sum in his hands did not exceed 45,000 Rupees; and that he knew of no means of raising more. --

This unfavorable report of the Dewan, proved a severe shock to Aliverdi and his adherents. -- Various alternatives were (as usual in these cases) proposed, without any having the appearance of succeeding: amongst the rest, it was strenuously urged by the Dewan, that an express should be sent to Jaggaut Seet; but this was opposed by the Nabob, -- who asserted, "such a delay would prove fatal to the whole enterprise." -- And he was just on the point of resolving to retreat with those troops he could depend on; when the evil genius of Suffraaz Khan, in the person of one of Aliverdi's followers, conciliated all matters by a device, which merits being particularly recited.

There were two brothers, merchants of Patna, well known by the names of Omy Chund, and Diep Chund: the former of these now attended the camp, and was generally of Aliverdi's private councils; and much in his confidence.

One of the occupations of this Omy Chund was, to advance occasionally ready money to the officers and soldiers at a very high premium; this is an allowed practice in all Eastern camps, and possibly, at least for aught we know, it may be the practice in the Western also -- however the greatness of the risk certainly justifies the largeness of the premium; for the repayment not only depends upon the lives of the borrowers, but also upon their success.

Omy Chund had brought with him only 20,000 rupees, for this game at hazard: he desired the Nabob would order his Dewan to pay him immediately the 45,000 rupees, which were in his hands; which being complied with, he instructed the Nabob, "To call in the Jemmautdaars -- and order them to bring in an account of their respective claims, and to tell them that he would give them draughts on Omy Chund; taking care to give billets first to those who had the smallest sums to receive; and that in the close of the evening he should (on pretense of fresh intelligence by his spies that Suffraaz Khan was in full march towards him) cause the Nobut to be beat, and issue his orders for engaging the enemy early in the morning, and leave the rest to him."

The Jemmautdaars were called and ordered to bring in their claims, which they did in less than an hour: for they generally have them ready made up on a scrap of paper, which they conceal either in their girdle or turband. When all the claims were laid before the Nabob -- he ordered his Dewan to give them billets upon Omy Chund; the Dewan, according to private instructions, made what delay he could, not to occasion suspicion; and gave those first who had the least to receive.

When the Jemmautdaars tendered their billets to Omy Chund, he paid several of the least considerable sums readily, and without any deductions: then, as he had accounts to settle with most of them, he prolonged the time by many artful blunders and designed errors, until the day was far spent, and not more than one eighth part of their accounts was adjusted. Then excusing himself on account of the great fatigue he had undergone, he deferred the further payments until the next morning.

As soon as the day closed, Aliverdi ordered the Nobut to be beat; and issued out his commands to his Jemmautdaars to hold themselves in readiness for engaging the next day; telling them that Suffraaz Khan's army was not far distant.

This unexpected alarm had the effect, which Omy Chund had foreseen: those who had received the amount of their billets, in all haste returned it into his custody; and the others deposited their billets in his hands. In the morning the Nabob resumed his match; took the rout to Morshadabad, and kept up the alarm and expectance of a battle; until he, in reality, encountered the Soubah; to whom we once again return.

Baaker Ali Khan and Goas Khan, receiving hourly intelligence from their spies of Aliverdi's motions, and the number of his forces, had still the courage to represent to the Soubah, the danger his person and government were in -- and humbly besought him, "to provide for safety whilst in his power;" urging "that if the designs of Aliverdi were honorable, the most eligible way to preserve him in those sentiments, was to let him see he was in a condition and posture to oppose and crush him. That if on the contrary the designs of Aliverdi were aimed against the government; his supine conduct must inevitably secure his success. That from the face of their] intelligence, and the whole procedure of Aliverdi, they had no room to doubt the wickedness of his intentions."

These remonstrances joined to advices the Soubah had himself received of the real number of Aliverdi's troops, at last roused him from his stupor; and he directly ordered his Jemmautdaars and forces to take the field, and rendezvous in the plains of Gyria, about three miles to the North of Morshadabad; himself following the next morning. He had hardly time to marshal his troops in order of battle, when Aliverdi's army appeared.

Their forces were nearly equal; each about 30,000 men; 20,000 foot, and 10,000 horse. Suffraaz Khan had twenty pieces of artillery, from twelve to six and four pounders: Aliverdi had none.

Suffraaz Khan planted his cannon in his front; with strict orders not to fire, until the enemy advanced within half musket shot; for confiding on his artillery, he rested secure of victory -- Alvierdi ordered his troops to receive the discharge of the cannon, and then to rush in upon the Soubah's army sword in hand. He issued these orders with great security; for he and his troops knew that by the treachery of the Tope Khonna Droger, the cannon were loaded with powder only. He also issued his instructions to his officers, to regard nothing but attacking those posts, which were commanded by Muffat Khooli Khan, Baaker Ali Khan, and Goas Khan: well knowing that none of the Soubah's troops or officers would engage, but those which were immediately under their command.

When the engagement began, all but five or six thousand of the Soubah's troops stood idle spectators of the battle. Aliverdi's best troops advanced without the least apprehension; stood the discharge of artillery; and vigorously attacking the division of Baaker Ali Khan, (behind which the Soubah was stationed) they were twice repulsed with much slaughter: but Baaker Ali's troops being overpowered by fresh numbers, this brave man was killed; and most of his party cut to pieces.

Goas Khan penetrating to the center of the enemy, with a few brave followers, was near killing Aliverdi with his own hand; when Sedun Hazzaary, commander of his Burkundaffes, interposed and saved him; obliging Goas Khan to retire with his command; who, soon after being surrounded by Aliverdi's troops, and disdaining to receive quarter, were to a man killed.

Mussat Khooli Khan, and the troops under his command, for some time exerted themselves with great courage and fidelity in defense of the Soubah's person; who being now, for the first time, informed of the treachery of the Tope Khonnah Droger, and the defection and perfidy of most of his officers and troops; and that he was betrayed on all hands; and learning also the fate of his two faithful generals -- he ordered Muffat Khooli Khan to retire from the battle; to make the best retreat he could to Cuttack; and save, if possible, the province of Orissa from the traitor and usurper Aliverdi;" telling him "he saw it was vain for him alone to attempt stemming the current of his adverse fortune." Mussat Khooli Khan obeyed, and with a small faithful party retired, and eluded the pursuit of the enemy.

The Soubah, thus abandoned, determined, it should seem, to efface by a glorious death the remembrance of his inglorious life -- . At this juncture it was, that the leader of his elephant proposed to him to return to the capital, "telling him that he would engage, on the forfeiture of his head, to convey him safe thither, where he had still some friends that would be able to make a stand for him;" but he nobly replied, "It never should be said that Suffraaz Khan fled from rebels and traitors." He then ordered him to plunge into the thickest of the enemy; where, with a few of his guards, that still remained steady to him, he for some time maintained an obstinate engagement -- like an enraged lion he fought to a degree of desperation: it was said he emptied a whole quiver of arrows; and discharged more than a dozen javelins; besides the execution he did with the firearms he had with him, on the elephant. But at last being weary with slaughter, and not able any longer to lift an arm, a period was put to his life and fortunate, by a musket ball from a distance; said to be discharged by one of his own people. With this wound he fell dead from his elephant; and with his death the contest ceased. --

Thus fell the son of Soujah Khan, testifying by his exit from life, that he possessed a soul capable of producing great actions, had the soil been early and properly cultivated.

Aliverdi Khan possessed himself of the late Soubah's tent and baggage; the plunder of which, amounting to between nine and ten lacs of rupees, he bestowed upon his principal officers and soldiers -- He received Suffraaz Khan's perfidious offices and soldiers into his service; and marching to the capital, entered it without resistance through the acclamations of the people. Proceeding to the palace, he seated himself upon the Muzinud, and received the submission of the Rajahs, Jemmautdaars, and other great officers, who acknowledged and saluted him Soubah of the Three provinces.

The fate of one of the three principal conspirators, having something remarkable in it, calls for our particular mention. -- Allum Chund returned from the investing Aliverdi to his own house; and being bitterly reproached by his wife, for his perfidy and treason to the son of his prince and master, and predicting "that he would shortly receive from the usurper the reward due to every traitor," he was thereby so much affected, that he swallowed diamond powder, and in a few hours expired.

Aliverdi Khan entertaining no favorable opinion of the military prowess and capacity of the Bengal soldiery; and having so very lately seen a glaring proof of their natural perfidy, as well as cowardice, in the unhappy fall of his predecessor; determined to put no trust or confidence in them: and in order to guard against their treachery, which he knew might be easily purchased against him, as it had been for him, he entertained immediately in his service a select body of three thousand Patans, with their commander Mustapha Khan, a soldier of fortune; who about this time arrived in Bengal with recommendatory letters from court. He bore the character of a consummate general; and his subsequent actions verified the report. -- These new troops the Soubah kept always on duty near his person; and their chief was admitted to his councils and favor.

His next step was to displace all officers, throughout the provinces, that he had reason to think retained any affection to the late Soubah's house: and when he thought himself secure against all attempts that might endanger his newly acquired government, he appointed a Niab pro tempore, for the government of Bahar and its capital; and recalled his brother Hodjee Hamet, that he might benefit himself of his counsel, and assistance, in his arduous situation.

Hodjee being arrived, all matters were debated and concerted relative to the government of the provinces. Hodjee was invested with the government of Morshadabad, in the absence of his brother; who without delay took the field, and directed his rout towards Orissa, on the thirtieth of March, 1742. [Suffraaz Khan's defeat and death was on the twenty-eight of January, 1741-2, and not on the thirtieth of March, 1742, as the author of the Reflections erroneously says, confounding the date of one event with another.] -- We will leave the Soubah on his march, and for a few minutes attend on the Nabob of Orissa.

This fugitive, and unfortunate brother-in-law to the late Soubah, (with whom I was intimately acquainted) escaped from the battle with a few followers, as before recited. He in a few days reached the capital of Orissa, where many of the friends of Suffraaz Khan's house resorted to him; he made some attempts to fortify, and enlist troops for the defense of the place: but being ill supplied with cannon and ammunition, and receiving certain intelligence of the usurper's approach, with a very superior force to his own; he thought it prudent to provide for his own safety, by retreating out of the province with his family. He left Kuttack four days before the Soubah's vanguard reached it; and found an asylum in the Deccan, under Nizzam Al Mulk.

Kuttack opened its gates to the Usurper; but he had scarcely settled the government of Orissa, when he was alarmed with the news that an army of 80,000 Maharattor horse had entered the province of Bengal, by a passage over the Bierboheen hills; and had already penetrated into the Burdomaan country.

The Usurper received this unexpected shock with manifest astonishment: he immediately saw, not only his retreat, but every communication with his brother and his capital cut off. In this dilemma we will leave him for a while, and investigate as well the causes of this invasion, as convey some idea of the people called Maharattors; who for a few years last past, have been as much the dread and terror of the East, as the Goths and Vandals of old were of the West: with this essential difference however in their characters, that whereas these were the barbarous invaders of the rights and property of others; those are making justifiable efforts to recover that, which their ancestors had been, for ages, in peaceable and just possession of.

When the Empire of Indostan was invaded; and, in part, conquered by the Mogul Tartars, about the beginning of the fifteenth century; many of the Rajahs, or Hindoo princes of the country, submitted with little opposition to the invaders, on condition of holding their lands and principalities, paying a stipulated annual tribute. But others of them, disdaining this tributary state of slavery, retired to the southward; and possessing themselves of the most southern parts of Deccan, they remained unmolested, until about the year 1654; the latter end of the reign of the Emperor Shaw Jehawn.

His third son Auring Zebe, being at that period Soubah of the Deccan, (or south) made a fruitless attempt on Golconda; instigated thereto by Mhir Jemla, who revolted to him from the then reigning Rajah of that famous city, and the adjoining country.

Auring Zebe, succeeding to the throne of Indostan, in the year 1659; pursued by his Generals his former designs against the independent Rajahs, on the coast of Cormandel; being guided chiefly by the counsel and instructions of Mhir Jemla; by whose valor Golconda was reduced; and the whole coast subdued, from Ganjam to Coleroon river, that is, from the latitude of 11°, 40', to 19°. 30' north.

The other promontory of India, called the coast of Mallabar, from the borders of the province of Guzerat to cape Comorin, was never conquered by the Mogul Emperors: but the independent possession of it was maintained by various Rajahs; the chief of whom was the Rajah of Sittarah.

To these independent princes, the distressed and dispossessed Rajahs of Cormandel applied for succor. They, alarmed at the rapid progress of the Mogul arms, immediately united themselves under the banners of the Rajah of Sittarah.

These united princes and people, are those which are known by the general name of Maharattors; a word compounded of Rattor and Maahah: the first being the name of a particular Raazpoot (or Rojpoot) tribe; and the latter, signifying great or mighty; (as explained by Mr. Fraser) a term we have had occasion to make use of before; and frequently shall again.

The acquisitions thus gained to the Empire, by the Generals of Auring Zebe, cost so much blood and treasure, that the diamond mines of Golconda hardly proved an equivalent: for the confederate princes made such vigorous efforts to regain what they had lost, as obliged Auring Zebe to keep up so large an armament, that the expense of preserving his new conquest exceeded the whole revenues acquired by it. The glorious vanity, however, of having carried his conquests of this Empire further than any of his predecessors, determined him not to abandon them; until finding at last, he should risk the loss of the whole, he began to meditate coming to a treaty with them: which resolution was hastened by several bold attacks, made on different parts of his dominions by the Maharattors at the same time. -- On the side of his new southern acquisitions, they carried fire and sword sometimes into the province of Dowlatabad; and attacked the capital Auringabad; and from Sittarah they penetrated through the province through the province of Guzerat; and sometimes alarmed even the court of Delhy; striking a panic wherever they came.

Auring Zebe, seeing, at length, no prospect of extending his conquests farther over these intrepid natives; thought it a wise measure to secure, and keep, if possible, what he had got. -- To this end, he entered into a treaty with the confederate Rajahs; and by a secret valuable consideration given to the Sehoo Rajah, King of Sittarah, a peace was concluded between them on the following terms. "That Auring Zebe should remain in quiet possession of his southern conquests as far as the river Coleroon, before mentioned, and the port of Surat; and that in lieu thereof, the Maharattors should receive, and be entitled to, forever, a Chout (that is, the fourth part) of the revenues of Deccan;" to which Soubahship, these new southern conquests were annexed by the Emperor.

Thus a period was put to a war, that had chiefly employed the attention of near two thirds of Auring Zebe's long and fortunate reign; by which, so important an addition of territory and revenue was obtained, that had it been duly and honestly governed and administered; and the treaty kept inviolate on both sides, would have yielded a perpetual source of riches to all succeeding Emperors, on every emergency of the state.

As long as Auring Zebe lived, the Chout was duly paid to the Maharattors; but on his decease the treaty began to be infringed, though it suffered no open rupture until the death of Shaw Allum; when the Empire falling into a state of universal confusion, (by the contentions that arose between his sons for the succession to the throne, and by the subsequent distractions during the despotic tyranny of the Seyds) little regard was paid to it, on the part of the government.

Things being in this situation, the Maharattors determined to pay themselves; by making incursions on different sides of the Empire; and laying the city of Surat under contribution: in which warfare they met with such success from the continued pusillanimity and distraction of the government, that at length, they extended their claim and demand, from the stipulated Chout of the revenues of the Deccan; to a Chout of the whole revenues of the Empire.

However, when Mahommed Shaw, by the overthrow of the Seyds, arrived to the secure possession of the throne, Anno 1719; some check was put to their invasion: and terms of accommodation being made to them, they for some years acquiesced in the terms of Auring Zebe's treaty; and annually received the Chout of the revenues of the Deccan, by their agents out of the royal treasury at Delhy; long after these revenues had lost their way to court, by the usurpation and independence of the traitor Nizam al Mulk.

In the year 1740, the deputies of the King of Sittarah, arrived as usual at Delhy to receive the Chout; when they were given to understand by the Mogul's ministry, "That Nadir Shaw had lately so exhausted the treasury, that the Emperor was rendered utterly incapable of satisfying their demands: the more especially, as the revenues of the Bengal provinces had been withheld from the year 1738, by the rebellion of Aliverdi Khan; who in conjunction with his brother Hodjee Hamet, had usurped the government of that Soubahdary: they requesting at the same time that the deputies would entreat their master in the Emperor's name, to send an army of sufficient force to exact the amount of the Chout, that was due to them; and also to take the heads of Aliverdi and his brother; and restore the family Soujah Khan to the Soubahship; as the then distracted state of the Empire put it out of his power to send a force, strong enough, to reduce the two rebels."

With this answer, and actual powers from the Emperor, the deputies departed for Sittarah. -- A fact that fully confutes the assertion of Aliverdi's having received a Phirmaund, confirming him in the government; as was published by beat of drum, and industriously circulated by the Seets the latter end of the year 1739. [Aliverdi is reported to have sat in state a whole day to receive the sham Phirmaund, with the usual ceremonials on such occasions; but this is a farce that has been since played in some parts of the provine of Bengal, and laughed at, as much as it was then. -- For the Seets could always cook up a Phirmaund from court whenever it was wanted. That Aliverdi was never confirmed in the government by a real Phirmaund, is a fact that admits of no doubt; and it is well known, that so late as June, Anno 1750, the Vizir Monsoor Ali Khan, (father of Soujah Dowlat, the present Soubah of Oude) was advanced at the head of 100,000 horse, within eight days march of Patna, purposely to restore these so long dismembered provinces to the Empire, and punish the usurper: -- but differences arising between the young Emperor Amet Shaw (son and successor to Mahommed Shaw) and Rajah Jeet Sing, the Vizir was recalled from this service; or, as others more probably said, his retreat was bought off by Aliverdi, at the price of fifty Lac of Rupees.]

The Maharattor deputies arriving at Sittarah, reported the result of their deputation, and the Emperor's request. The King of Sittarah did not ruminate long what resolution to take: he now had obtained a justifiable plea to attack the Mogul's dominions with his own consent; therefore, without loss of time, he ordered an army of 80,000 horse to take the field, and march into Bengal; under the command of Boschar Pundit, a general of some reputation, and favorite of the Sehoo Rajah King of Sittarah. This general, and army, we left in the Burdomaan country between the usurper and his capital; to whom we must again return; and point out the errors that drew him into the perilous situation and dilemma we left him in, before we show how bravely he extricated himself from it.

Some short time before he departed from Morshadabad, a slight rumor prevailed of the intended invasion of the Maharattors; to which no credit was given, either by the usurper or his brother. But slight as the report was, it ought to have merited their attention at a juncture when he was departing with all the strength of the provinces to the most extreme part of his government: and as he must have known, no enemy could enter the province of Bengal, so as to cut off his communication with his capital, but by the western hills of Bierboheen; prudence dictated that he should have secured the fidelity of the Rajahs of Bierboheen and Bisnapore; who were alone capable of harassing and retarding, if not of preventing the Maharattor army from entering on that side.

But (as if Fortune had purposed, that the neglect of this wise precaution should be conducive to the higher exaltation of the character of this her favorite son) so far were the brothers from adverting to the necessity of such a security in their rear, that both these Rajahs had been highly incensed by some acts of oppression exercised towards them soon after Aliverdi's usurpation of the government; and were readily disposed, in place of obstructing the enemy, to give them a free entrance into the heart of Bengal; which they did without the least opposition: though in pursuing their resentment, they entailed a long series of heavy calamities on their unhappy country.

We left Aliverdi Khan at Cuttack, in deep astonishment at the news of this dangerous invasion. Without discovering the least apprehension or alarm, he withdrew for the space of half an hour; in consultation only with Mustapha Khan; and then ordered his people to prepare for marching. He quitted Cuttack the same day; and by forced marches arrived near Budwan, the principal town of Burdomaan; (within five days march of the capital) two days after the Maharattors took possession of it. Here he entrenched himself; and was soon surrounded by the enemy; who though they had at least the superiority of eight to one, had not the courage to attack him.

Boschar Pundit, however, sent Aliverdi a letter; explaining the nature of the powers he was invested with; demanding "three years arrears of the Chout; the treasures of the two late Soubahs; and that in future, an officer of their own should have a seat in every Cutcherry throughout the provinces; to collect the fourth part of the customs, on their behalf."

The usurper received these terms with the highest indignation and impatience; instantly commanding the messenger to leave his camp, without deigning to send any reply to them: and finding by the propositions made to him, that there remained small hope of effecting any accommodation with the Maharattor General; he determined to make one vigorous effort, to break through the enemy, and regain a communication with his brother. To this resolution he was stimulated, by observing an universal panic amongst his Bengal troops, many of which deserted him, by favor of the night.

In pursuance of this resolution, he issued the necessary orders; omitting nothing that could speak the consummate General; promising most liberal rewards to those who maintained, in this exigency, the character of soldiers: and well judging that his principal dependence rested upon the Patans, he bestowed the highest encomiums and promises on that body; by whom he began to be loved and revered; for being themselves brave, their admired those intrepid qualities in Aliverdi, which so nearly resembled their own.

All things being prepared, the usurper directed that part of the trench to be leveled with the utmost silence, which looked towards Cutwah. Then putting himself with Mustapha Khan at the head of the Patans half an hour before day break, he marched out; and with amazing courage charged that part of the enemy that intercepted his rout towards the last mentioned town.

His rear being composed entirely of his Bengal troops, (then esteemed the worst soldiers of the Empire) was soon surrounded and put to flight; but the Patans exhibited a glorious effort: these led on (as before observed) by the Soubah, and their gallant chief Mustapha; and their rear commanded by the brave Zeyndi Amet Khan, (Hodjee's second son) with much slaughter cut themselves a passage through the enemy; and gained the Cutwah road: In the course of which, they maintained a most memorable retreat for near three days and nights: being often surrounded and attacked on all sides, by the whole Maharattor army, and as often repulsing and forcing their passage until they arrived at Cutwah.

At this place the usurper mustered his troops, and found that of 25,000 fighting men, with which he departed from his capital, he had only remaining 2,500 patans; and about 1,500 of his Bengal soldiers, including their officers: these last named troops, stimulated by the example of the Patans, and the intrepid behavior of their Jemmautdaar Jaffier Khan, [Since better known by the name of Mhir Jaffier Ali Khan Soubah of Bengal.] were kept firm to their duty.

At Cutwah, Aliverdi found it necessary to halt for a short space to refresh his harassed troops; who, during the term of this astonishing retreat, had in a manner been strangers to food; rest; or sleep. -- Here they were again surrounded on all sides except on that of the river; which Aliverdi was informed was in one place fordable; a circumstance unsuspected by the enemy.

It was now universally believed that the usurper must surrender himself, or be cut to pieces with the few that remained with him. And indeed a report ran through the province that he was actually taken prisoner; but the actions of this handful of men, in their retreat from Burdwan, had struck suck terror and amazement into the whole Maharattor army; that they gazed upon them as so many enraged tigers in a net, without daring to approach the toils that enclosed them; and contented themselves with the prospect of starving them to a surrender; little dreaming that Aliverdi would attempt fording the river, with people nearly exhausted by continued labor and watching.

The usurper taking advantage of this visible panic in the enemy, and unwilling to let the triumphant ardor of his own soldiers cool; resolved to attempt the river without further delay: and knowing there was a defile leading from the village to the river, through which the enemy might intercept his passage, he judged it necessary to secure it; thereby also to prevent his rear's being attacked before they could gain the river.

The defence of this dangerous post was given to Mustapha Khan, supported by Jeyndi Amet Khan, and Jaffier Khan with eighty select Patans; who immediately departed to take possession of the Defile -- As soon as they were posted, Mustapha Khan dispatched a messenger to the Soubah to advise him, he might attempt the river whenever he pleased.

Aliverdi having previously made the necessary dispositions, put himself at the head of the Patans; and gave the signal for marching to the river; which they entered without molestation, preceded by well instructed guides.

As soon as the enemy perceived him in motion, they instantly attacked the Defile with great violence; hoping still to circumvent him. -- They at first seemed to deride and despite the small number left for the defence of it; but soon found their error, in repeated repulses with heavy slaughter; from this determined, though small body of men: each of their leaders, on this momentous occasion, giving proofs of valor worthy the greatest heroes of antiquity.

They maintained their post, for a full hour, against reiterated attacks of fresh troops; without giving the least way; and until they judged the Soubah had safely past the river. They then began to retreat by slow degrees through the Defile, without turning their backs; and having gained about the middle part of it, [This event happened thus -- a body of the Maharattors, about one thousand men, forced an entrance into the town, and had made a fruitless attack upon Aliverdi's rear, as they passed the river, from which they were now returned.] advice was brought to Mustapha Khan, that his rear was attacked by the enemy. [The Defile was about eighty yards in length and ten wide.] -- This general, without hesitating a moment, committed the charge of his front to Jeyndee Amet Khan, and Jaffier Khan: and ordering the forty men that composed his rear to face about, he put himself at their head, forming two fronts to oppose the enemy; and sending orders to Jeyndee Amet to continue his retreat, he bravely charged his new antagonists, and forced them to retire with much loss. When the whole party had cleared the Defile, he commanded his men to form in one line on the shore, with their backs to the river; and making a feint to give a general assault; the enemy, as he expected, was struck with terror, and retired many paces. Mustapha taking advantage of their distance, instantly commanded his troops to face about and take the river; into which they plunged, and gained the opposite shore, with the loss, on the whole, of only fifteen men.

If we consider the retreat of these Veterans (from Burdwan to the opposite shore of Cutwah riaver) in all its circumstances; it will appear as amazing an effort of human bravery, as the history of any age or people have chronicled; and we think it merits as much being recorded and transmitted to posterity, as that of the celebrated Athenian general and historian.

Mustapha Khan, Jeyndee Amet Khan, and Jaffier Khan were received by the Soubah, with all the marks of the highest affection and esteem. He bestowed great encomiums on the valor of Jaffier Khan, who was ever after distinguished by his favor. He saluted, and thanked by name, every one of the Patans, who fought under these commanders at the memorable defence of the Defile: and having refreshed his troops, proceeded on his march to the capital, where he was received with astonishment and reverence. His first acts were, to present Mustapha Khan with ten lac of rupees; and proportionately to reward the rest of his brave defenders.

Whilst the usurper was gaining everlasting renown as a soldier, his brother Hodjee Hamet was employed in putting the city of Morshadabad in a posture of defence. With extraordinary expedition he sunk a ditch round it; formed a rampart and parapet; and planted cannon in those parts where the city was most open to the enemies attacks. -- Aliverdi reproaching him "with having abandoned him to the enemy; and with being solicitous only for his own safety; by neglecting to send a body of troops to favor his retreat" -- Hodjee replied, "that concluding (from the number of the enemy, his forlorn situation, and the repeated reports of his being taken prisoner and killed) he was no more; he thought it more adviseable to strengthen the city, than to weaken the defence of it, by parting with any of the few forced he had been able to raise for its preservation." And in truth, Aliverdi found it in a much better state of defence than he expected.

Before the usurper had set out on his expedition for the reduction of Orissa, he had sent orders to his deputy governor of Patna, to levy troops in the province of Bahar. But these forces being not yet arrived in Bengal, he was to the great mortification of his enterprising and military genius, reduced to the necessity of shutting himself up in his capital; and was employed in providing further for its security.

The Maharattors recovering from their consternation and panic, and acquiring a better knowledge of the river, passed it with their whole force; advanced to Morshadabad; and surrounded it without attempting to assault it. They detached parties into the environs; plundering and destroying wherever they came; they sent some bodies of horse into the island of Cossimbuzar; who committed there the most horrid devastation and cruelties: their fed their horses and cattle with mulberry plantations; and thereby irreparably injured the silk manufacture: in short, after committing every hostile act, which plenitude of power licensed without molestation; they thought it at length prudent to retire with their plunder; left the approaching rainy season (which sets in, annually, about the middle of June) should intercept their retreat.

With this necessary precaution they quitted the blockade of the city, and repassed at Cutwah early in June, 1742, with all their immense plunder.

From Cutwah, they penetrated through the Burdomaan country; detaching their parties into every district; still amassing greater booty, and striking universal terror round them; sometimes alarming even the European settlements. The rains at length setting in, about the middle of June, gave a flattering hope that the land would soon be delivered from these devouring locusts. But alas! this pleasing prospect had but a short duration; they retired it is true; and bent their rout towards the Bierboheen hills; irresolute whether they should quit the provinces entirely; or only lodge themselves in convenient quarters in that high country; where they would be ready to commence a new scene of destruction as soon as the rains broke up (which they generally do about the latter end of September or the middle of October.)

It was by most believed that the enemy had taken their departure for their own country; and it is certain they had formed that resolution: when on a sudden, to the utter amazement of all, Boschar Pundit issued orders to march into Bengal; -- so his ill destiny prompted him, that he might by his fall pay a sacrifice for the cruel enormities committed on all ranks, by those under his command.

They returned about the latter end of July, and pitched their tents on the highest parts of the Burdomaan country; and settled themselves there for the remainder of the rainy season.

On this event, a general face of ruin succeeded. Many of the inhabitants; weavers; and husbandmen fled. The Arungs were in a great degree deserted; the lands untilled; and the wretched fugitives who had escaped with nothing but their wives and children, and whatever they could carry in their hands, thought there was no safety for them, until they arrived on the Eastern shore of the Ganges; to which they flocked in shoals, without intermission for many days together.

The manufactures of the Arungs received so injurious a blow at this period, that they have ever since lost their original purity and estimation; and probably will never recover them again. But it is necessary we explain what influenced Boschar Pundit, to take the extraordinary and unexpected step above-mentioned.

There was an officer employed in the receipts of the revenues at Dacca, named Mhir Hubbeeb, who had embezzled a considerable sum; and had otherways been guilty of maladministration in the execution of his trust. This man had been ordered, soon after Aliverdi's seizing the government, to repair to the capital, and render an account of the branch committed to him. -- He was bold and enterprising; of solid judgment; minutely acquainted with the state of the provinces and course and nature of the revenues. To draw his character, in short, we need only say, he was in political virtue the very counterpart of Hodjee Hamet.

Conscious that his conduct at Dacca would not bear the test of examination, he availed himself of the present juncture of confusion; and in place of repairing to the capital, he fled to Boschar Pundit; and arrived in his camp, at the very period when that general resolved to quit the provinces, and return to Sittarah.

His known character and abilities procured him a ready and welcome reception; and his mischievous talents made him a dangerous instrument in the hands of these invaders; to accomplish, in a manner, the utter destruction of the country. He represented to Boschar Pundit, "That in the present state of the provinces, he might with facility and security assume the government of the Soubahdaary himself; that it would be inglorious for him to retreat with the calf, when he could take the cow also; that the rains would soon break up, and set his cavalry at liberty; and that he had no cause to apprehend the usurper would ever have any power or force capable of opposing them." Boschar Pundit greedily hearkened to this pernicious advice; immediately changed his rout; and returned from Bierboheen to Burdomaan, as before remarked: and having fixed his headquarters at Burdwan, he sent proper officers at the head of small parties to collect the revenues at every seat of custom; and this they did for some time with as much tranquility, as if they had been the natural sovereigns of the country.

During these transactions the usurper was not idle. As soon as he had certain intelligence that the enemy had repassed the Cutwah river, he quitted the city; and being soon after reinforced by the Patna levies, and the number of his Patans being increased from the Northward, he formed his camp in the neighborhood of Morshadabad. -- The English, French and Dutch, thought it necessary, during the rains, by various means to fortify also, and all to the strength of their several settlements, at Fort William, Chundernagore, Hougly, and Cossimbuzar; though they were hitherto unmolested in their persons, or property, by the enemy.

Early in October the enemy, by the advice of Mhir Hubbeeb, threw a strong bridge of boats over the Cutwah river; the defence of which was given to him. By his assistance also the enemy was now supplied with some small cannon; fire arms; and ammunition. He constructed for the defence of his bridge two large boats; the one contiguous above; the other below the bridge, on the Plassey side. On these he threw platforms, on which he planted a few carriage pieces; forming effectual barricades with loopholes; for the security of his own people, as well as for the annoyance of the usurper's troops, in case they should prove hardy enough to attack the bridge; for the defence of which he embarked with him the best marksmen he could select. --

This disposition being completed the whole of the Maharattor army crossed over, and began their incursions to different parts of the island, wherever the waters would admit their marching: sometimes showing themselves in strong bodies round the usurper's camp; and insulting him with opprobrious language, without daring to attack him.

The latter end of October, the rains broke up; the waters decreased hourly; and the roads soon became passable everywhere. It was now the enemy thought it advisable to recall their detached parties, and unite their whole force; which they drew up between the usurper's camp and Plassey grove, secure of a retreat to their bridge. Here they halted three days; and reported they would wait there and give the usurper battle.

Aliverdi, elated at this report, took the field, and advanced towards the enemy; not doubting but that if he could once bring them to a general engagement, it would prove decisive in his favor. -- His whole force amounted to about forty-eight thousand men; of whom barely twenty thousand were horse. Whereas the enemy's force was wholly composed of cavalry; an advantage they had the wisdom fully to avail themselves of, by the sagacious counsel of Mhir Hubbeeb; through the course of this destructive and long contest.

As the usurper advanced, they retreated towards the bridge, which they now resolved to repass. This they could not effect without their rear's being warmly attacked and harassed by Aliverdi; who, for this purpose, advanced with a chosen body of horse, some hours before the main body of his army.

The enemy had gained the bridge, and passed over three fourths of their army; when Aliverdi made a furious assault upon the remainder, and threw them into confusion. But notwithstanding a heavy slaughter made amongst them, the greatest part of them recovered the bridge; and Aliverdi was obliged to draw off his people (who began to be severely galled by the fire from Mhir Hubbeeb's floating machine) and retire out of the reach of the shot, where he stayed until his heavy cannon was brought up to him.
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Re: Interesting Historical Events, by J.Z. Holwell, Esq.

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Part 3 of 3

Had Mhir Hubbeeb, in obedience to Boschar Pundit's orders, drawn off his party, and destroyed the bridge, as soon as the rear of the Maharattor army past it; and Aliverdi retired; he would have gained great reputation in the action. But not suspecting that the usurper's cannon could possible be so near, as it really was; he was so rash as to remain on his post, until Aliverdi had, with astonishing expedition, opened a battery of three six pounders upon it. -- Mhir Hubbeeb stood one discharge from the battery; and now perceiving his error, attempted to escape with his party: but Aliverdi had posted a body of horse so advantageously, that immediately upon the discharge from his battery, they fell in pell mell with the enemy on the bridge; and a furious engagement ensued: in which Mhir Hubbeeb's party, three excepted, was cut to pieces. Himself and those three gained the Cutwah shore; and by the advantage of a fleet horse that waited for him, he escaped to the Maharattor army. A melancholy event closed the action: Aliverdi's troops crowding, in too great numbers, upon the bridge; it failed under them; and a thousand brave fellows perished in the river.

The usurper repaired the bridge with all possible diligence, and crossed over his troops and artillery in pursuit of the enemy; who artfully eluded every attempt he made to bring them to a general action. Thus, by continual marches and counter marches, his troops, particularly his foot, were almost exhausted by fatigue: whilst the Maharattors, in detached parties, ranged the provinces at large; collecting the revenues without the least interruption: the usurper not daring to divide his army further than reinforcing the garrison of Bukchs Bunder on the Ganges, wtih 500 horse, and 1,000 gunmen; under the command of Serafdi Mahomet.

Aliverdi, touched with deep chagrin at seeing his so lately usurped dominions a prey to his enemies, without being able to protect them, or bring the Maharattors to any decisive action; at last resolved to treat with Boschar Pundit. But that General was so elated with success, that he now added, at the instigation of Mhir Hubbeeb, a new article to those already offered at Burdwan, viz. "that the usurper should also restore the Soubahship to Soujah Khan's family; and resign the government he had so wickedly usurped to Suffraaz Khan's eldeston son." Mhir Hubbeeb, who knew that any treaty of peace would be fatal to himself, artfully threw this stumbling block in the way; which he foresaw would render the treaty of none effect: and to carry this point, he insinuated to Boschar Pundit, "that unless this article was insisted on, the most essential and positive part of the Emperor's orders would appear totally neglected; and wished him, with great humility, to reflect how he would answer this neglect to his master, the King of Sittarah."

This additional article produced the effect that Mhir Hubbeeb expected; for it was refused by the brothers, with marks of resentment and disdain; and hostilities were immediately commenced again on both sides. -- Several skirmishes happened between them, in which the usurper's horse always gained some advantage; but these produced nothing decisive.

Hodjee Hamet, who never suffered any scruples of conscience to oppose the foulest means to accomplish his views; in a private letter sent to his brother, urged the necessity, in their present situation, of attempting that by treachery, which they had failed in obtaining by every other means. Aliverdi, who saw the hazardous and necessitous posture of their affairs, as well as his brother, did not long oppose the motion. Hodjee formed the plan; and it was executed in manner following.

A treaty was set on foot by Aliverdi, who, under pretence of making it more conclusive and less liable to interruptions, proposed a conference with Boschar Pundit. The overture was accepted by that General; contrary to the opinion of Mhir Hubbeeb and the rest of his principal officers.

It was agreed that a spacious tent should be prepared and erected by the usurper, midway between the two armies, where the chiefs were to meet on a certain day and hour; attended each with eighty followers only; and that in the meantime hostilities on both sides should cease.

The appointed time being come, and all things prepared for the reception of the chiefs; they advanced with the stipulated number of followers, consisting on both sides of principal officers. When they approached near the tent, Aliverdi entered first, and was followed by Boschar Pundit, without the least suspicion of treachery.

The usual salutations and ceremonials being over, and both parties seated; on a signal given, two hundred select men who had been concealed by Aliverdi between a double lining of the tent, suddenly rushed out; and cut the Maharattor General and his party to pieces, before they were able to draw their scymitars; two or three only escaping in the confusion.

At the same time instant a signal was displayed from the tent (before agreed on) for the speedy advance of the usurper's army: this being observed by the Maharattor army, they also began to be in motion, not knowing as yet what had happened. But being not long after joined by those who had escaped the slaughter, and informed of the fate of their general and officers, they breathed nothing but fury and revenge.

In the first transports of their rage they advanced, and seemed resolved to avenge the treachery; by giving immediate battle to the usurper. But here, the wisdom and address of Mhir Hubbeeb interposed: he represented to them, "that the only means to frustrate the great object the usurper had in view by this treacherous assassination, was, to avoid coming to a general action with him." His arguments gained force and influence from the distracted state of the army; which was now under no head or any regular command: and observing the usurper advancing towards them in full march, they suddenly retired; to his great mortification and disappointment.

As soon as the disorder in the Maharattor army subsided, they elected unanimously Allee Bey for their General; an officer that held the next rank to Boschar Pundit; and who bore a considerable degree of reputation amongst them. And now their conduct seemed to show that they had resolved to execute that vengeance on the distressed country and inhabitants; which they could not execute on the usurper himself. To this end, they planted small parties of observation about the skirts of his army to report his motions; and appointing Nagur, the capital of Bierboheen, for their general rendezvous, they divided their army, and carried fire and sword in all their different routs. -- They detached a strong body to Bukchs Bunder, which they attacked; took; and plundered: perpetrating everywhere the most execrable cruelties that revenge and inhumanity could dictate; cutting off the ears, noses and hands, of any of the inhabitants whom they suspected of concealing their wealth, or valuable moveables; sometimes carrying their barbarity so far, as cutting off the breasts of women, on the same pretense; neither sex nor age proving any security against these enraged barbarians.

During these horrid scenes of desolation, the usurper left no stratagems unessayed to bring the enemy to a battle; but all his endeavors proved ineffectual. He was in continual chase of them from the beginning of December 1742, to the end of February 1742,-3; and at length, with astonishing bravery and perseverance, he obliged them to repair to their general rendezvous; and to retire out of the provinces over the Bierboheen hills; from whence they soon took their departure for Sittarah, to render an account of their expedition -- leaving many of their brethren behind them in the hands of Aliverdi, who had been taken prisoners in different actions. Amongst the prisoners, was an officer of distinction, character, and authority, named Sessarow, of whom we shall again have occasion to make mention.

The usurper had hardly time to breathe and form some hopes of recess, and ease to himself; and tranquillity to his harassed and desolate country; when he was again alarmed by advices from Orissa, that another army of Maharattors had entered the province by the way of Cuttack, commanded by Ragojee: and to complete his distress, and put his fortitude to the utmost proof, he shortly after received intelligence by express from Hodjee, that a third army of Maharattors had entered by the side of Patna commanded by Ballerow, and had already penetrated within a day or two's march of Siclygully. These Generals led each an army of 60,000 horse; the first had been dispatched from Sittarah, to enforce the orders before given to Boschar Pundit, and to support him in the execution of them: the latter, marched out later from the same city with instructions to join Ragojee, and avenge the murder of Boschar Pundit; of which, advice had been received at Sittarah, by expresses sent from Bierboheen immediately after that event.

The usurper thus beset, and apprehensive of being hemmed in by the two armies, and again cut off from his capital; directed his march with the utmost celerity to Cutwah bridge; which he gained; passed over his whole army; destroyed the bridge; and proceeded to his capital; with a mind greatly agitated and oppressed, by the reflection of being again forced to abandon his country to merciless enemies, who he was not able to oppose with troops, enfeebled by continual labor and hardships.

The reader may remember of how great importance the pass of Siclygully might have been to the unfortunate Suffraaz Khan, had it been properly put in a state of defense. The usurper well knew its consequence; and therefore, soon after his possessing himself of the Soubahship, he stationed there a trusty officer with proved troops, and three pieces of cannon -- depending that a vigorous stand would there be made against the invaders on the side of Patna; and their entrance into Bengal at least retarded, if the pass was as well defended as it was capable of: not suspecting that there was a possibility of their obtaining an inlet by any other passage, unless they marched far to the Westward by the Pachet road, and entered by Bierboheen; as Boschar Pundit had done the preceding year; flattering himself, should they attempt it, that by so long a march they would not be able to reach the province before the annual rains set in: but herein his foresight failed him.

Ballajee Row, more commonly (though improperly) known by the name of Ballerow, on his arrival in the neighborhood of Boglypore, received intelligence from those who had joined him, and were declared enemies of the usurper's house, that by his attempting to force the pass of Siclygully he would hazard the loss of a multitude of his men; and probably in the end be obliged to relinquish the design with disgrace to his arms. -- The Pachet road was proposed, but he declined hearkening to it urging "that thereby he should lose his harvest of plunder for that year; all which would be appropriated by his friend Ragojee to fatten himself and followers; whilst he and his people would be left to starve on the Padjee (paltry) contributions, he had been able to raise in Bahar."

Whilst he was under this difficulty, the evil genius of the usurper (and of unhappy Bengal) dictated a measure, that extricated him out of it without danger to himself or followers. He sent for some of the petty Rajahs from the neighboring Colgong hills; and questioning them concerning a passage through the hills to Bengal, he offered them a large reward if any of them would supply him with guides to answer that purpose. The Rajahs, to a man, were well enough disposed to comply with his wishes; for the usurper's treacherous conduct, during the first six years of his government of Bahar, had rendered his name as hateful as dreadful to them all: yet none of them had knowledge enough of the three ranges of mountains that separated Bahar from Bengal, to engage in so hazardous an undertaking.

The inquiry and reward being, however, bruited abroad, it came to the ears of an old peasant an inhabitant of Colgong hills. This man came to the Maharattor camp, and desired to be introduced to the presence of the General; which having obtained, he boldly undertook, on the forfeiture of his head, to guide his army through the secret passes into Bengal, for a reward of one Lac of Rupees, paid down to his family.

The General taking two of the Rajahs aside, to whom the peasant was known; and inquiring of them touching the character of the man; and what degree of credit might be given to his veracity and knowledge; he received such encouragement that he no longer doubted; and accordingly paid down the money, and issued his orders for marching the next day.

The guide, with faithfulness and dexterity, led the whole Maharattor army; at first Westward, a point or two Southerly; until he found a pass, which he sought for about the center of the range of the Colgong hills. This pass being found, it was his mark for the remainder of the expedition; and he carried them through it by very practicable roads with much facility, until the mouth of it opened upon the level country between the Colgong and Telliagurry hills. From hence his course was due South, which led to the second pass through the last-mentioned hills: this pass he accomplished with equal ease; and from hence for two days he crossed the level country, that lies between the Telliagurry and Rajamhol mountains; shaping his course about South-East: at night he told the General he must halt until the morning sun appeared. -- In the morning he led them due South; and in the evening of the same day entered a pass which guided them through the Rajamhol mountains; and landed (if we may be allowed the expression) the whole army, without the loss either of man or horse, in Bengal; on the plains, West of the city of Rajamhol, at a little town called Banian Gang. Having performed his obligation in six days, from leaving Bogulpore (more commonly by the English called Boglypore) through ways until this period deemed totally impassable; he was farther rewarded with handsome presents by Ballajee Row, and departed to his home: his name was Sittaram Roy; a Gentoo of the Raazpoot tribe. -- Ballajee Row reached Banian Gang the 13th of March, Anno 1742-3.

The usurper, who had received express intelligence of Ballajee Row's departure from Bogulpore, and of the march of his army Westward; did not entertain the least doubt but he was gone round the mountains to enter Bengal by the Pachet or Bierboheen; and was so much convinced of it, that he began to prepare again for taking the field; projecting that he might be able to bring the other army under Ragojee to an engagement, and defeat him before he could possibly be joined by Ballajee Row: but he had hardly formed this resolution, when he was advised by a courier, from his Governor of Rajamhol, "That Ballajee Row had entered Bengal by passes through the mountains, and was by that time, he believed, joined with Ragojee."

This intelligence shocked the usurper's present hopes, but not his courage and constancy: he laid aside the project of repassing the Cutwah river -- but determined not to coop himself up again in his capital; for the defense of which having made every necessary provision, he formed a strong camp not far from the city; preserving a ready communication with it.

The two Maharattor Generals met in the Burdomaan country, the 17th March, 1742-3; and after a private conference, the following agreement as published, "that an equal partition of the revenues and plunder should be made between the two armies, who nevertheless were to act distinctly under their respective Generals and officers." They then settled the different routs of their detached small parties, and took entire possession of the country. Then uniting the main bodies of their armies, they marched to Cutwah; constructed a new bridge; and passed over with their whole force. Here they again separated, and renewed the depredations everywhere, that Boschar Pundit had begun the preceding year.

During these transactions, the usurper kept himself within his entrenchments; yet he was not idle. Convinced he could not oppose them by force, he had nothing left but to combat them with fraud and stratagem; weapons which he was as great a master of, as of arms. His first movement was, to acquire a minute knowledge of the temper, genius, capacity, and characters of the two leaders of the enemy; and how they affected each other. In all these particulars he obtained perfect satisfaction, by the means of his prisoner Seffarow before mentioned; whom he had distinguished by every mark of favor and respect from the time he first fell into his hands; foreseeing he might be of future use to him: and from the arrival of the two armies he had redoubled his caresses; and of an enemy, had made him a fast friend.

Divide and conquer, was one of the usurper's favorite maxims in politics, as well as war. By the lights he had received from Sessarow, he rightly judged the minds of the enemies Generals were fitly disposed to take the impression he intended to stamp on them -- he learnt that Ballajee Row, was hot; insolent; and withal avaricious to an extreme degree: that Ragojee was the bravest soldier, but irritated and jealous at Ballajee Row's being sent equal in command with him, as he bore a superior rank to the other. And more to flatter the usurper's artful views, he was informed that already there subsisted some misunderstandings between them and their respective troops; touching suspicions of an unjust division of their plunder on both sides.

With these materials he began to work; laboring to enlarge a breach that was not yet wide enough for an attack. His plan was; by every means to promote the growth of those seeds of division and jealousy which had already taken root amongst them: to this end, he directed some capable emissaries (fully instructed) to desert to both armies; these executed his purposes so well, that they produced the effect he wished: they prepossessed the enemy against themselves; who accused each other of illicit practices in the division both of the revenues and plunder; and the spies were so well prepared, that they produced proofs and vouchers of many instances of what they insinuated (on both sides) that would not admit of contradiction. This occasioned mutual heats and animosities between the two armies, and an open rupture soon followed; each resolving to act in future on a separate and independent footing. The usurper seized this favorable occasion; and knowing Sessarow had an influence over Ballajee Row, (to whom he was related) he employed him to negotiate, in the most secret manner, a separate treaty of peace with that General.

Sessarow exerted his power with such success, that he soon disposed his relation to receive favorable impressions of the usurper, and readily to hearken to a peace with him. To this he was the more easily induced, as thereby he indulged his ruling passion in the hopes of making his own advantage of the Usurper, without the participation of his rival Ragojee.

The preliminaries of this treaty were soon adjusted, "the usurper was to cede to Ballajee Row alone, the Chout of two years revenues; and Ballajee Row engaged on his part, to join the Usurper with his force, and assist him in driving Ragojee and his army out of the provinces." It was further agreed, that to keep up the appearance of enmity and deceive Ragojee; Ballajee Row's army should advance nearer to the Usurper's camp, -- and make a show of attacking it: this movement as not only made to amuse Ragojee, but also to facilitate a personal conference between the Usurper and the General; which was to take place on the thirtieth of March 1743, near Plassey.

On the twenty-ninth of March, the usurper quitted his camp, and directed his march towards Plassey. He was not far advanced, before his spies brought him intelligence, that Ragojee's army was in motion, as well as Ballajee Row's: this raised a suspicion in Aliverdi, that the treaty was only assented to, to amuse him, and draw him out of his camp: therefore he immediately retired to it again; and the treaty was retarded until the motions of the two armies were explained to him.

Sessarow, deeply chagrined at suspicions which reflected on his own sincerity, engaged on the forfeiture of his head for that of his cousin; which engagement being supported by a solemn oath (the Ganges) on the part of Ballajee Row, Aliverdi's doubts subsided; the treaty was resumed; and the conference appointed on the third of April: but the place of meeting was changed to midway between Plassey and Burwah; a few miles nearer his camp and capital. [The cause that gave rise to Aliverdi's suspicions, was this. -- Ragojee having heard that Ballajee Row intended to attack Aliverdi's camp, and judging the city would fall a prey to him if he succeeded, he put his army in motion, that he might be near at hand, to come in for a share of the plunder.]

On the second of April, the usurper again quitted his camp, and began his march; having drafted off a select body of 10,000 horse; commanded by Mustapha Khan; that moved on his flank, to be an occasional check on Ragojee.

On the third, the chiefs met at the appointed place, in a tent (previously examined by deputies from both parties) about two course distant from each of their armies. -- The condition openly insisted upon by the Maharattor was, "that twenty-five lac of rupees, for two years Chout of the revenues, should be paid down in gold;" -- to this the Usurper replied, "that howsoever unreasonable the demand was, considering them themselves had collected the whole of the revenues and customs for the last two years; yet, he would not make any objection, provided that Ragojee could be brought to sign the treaty; otherwise he could not submit to it:" This unexpected proposal was highly disgustful to Ballajee Row, and had well nigh broke off the treaty; but by the interposition of Sessarow, he was at last prevailed on to send the overture to Ragojee; but not until he had been made easy by the promise of a private gratuity for himself.

Ragojee immediately returned for answer, "that he would hearken to no terms of accommodation, unless the payment of the Chout in perpetuity, was established to them; as a preliminary article for treating at all." [This preliminary was dictated to him by Mhir Hubbeeb, who joined the Ragojee as soon as he entered the province of Bengal.]

When the messenger returned with this laconic reply, the treaty seemed for some time suspended. -- However, by the address and mediation of Sessarow, a separate peace was at last concluded with Ballajee Row, on the following terms -- "That the Usurper shall pay down two years Chout, estimated at twenty-two lac of rupees in gold; and that Ballajee Row should either satisfy Ragojee, or join the Usurper to drive him out of the country." To the performance of which they both solemnly engaged themselves by the most obligatory oaths; this done, and mutual compliments and present made, they parted.

The Usurper with great punctuality performed his part of the treaty in two days; and Ballajee Row so far regarded it, that he drew off his army; repassed Cutwah river; and retired to Burdomaan, followed by Ragojee; who thought himself no match for the Usurper on equal terms.

Ballajee Row recalled all his detached parties; and making a dividend amongst his troops of part of the Usurper's contribution, according to their different ranks, he quitted Bengal; and marched by way of Bierboheen to Sittarah; leaving (in breach of his solemn oath) Ragojee to make the best terms he could for himself.

This General made the most of his time; and immediately took possession of those parts of the country, which had been lately evacuated by Ballajee Row's flying parties. He sent Mhir Hubbee, with the title and authority of General, to take possession of Orissa; who accordingly seated himself at Cuttack, where he ruled as sovereign of the province.

The Usurper, called upon by the universal clamor of the people, and distresses of his country, once more quitted his capital, crossed over Cutwah river; and marched in pursuit of Ragojee: in which chase he was employed all the remaining part of April, and until the middle of May; without being able, by any art or stratagem, to bring him to a general action. And the rains setting in earlier than usual this year, and the roads becoming impassable, both armies were obliged to go into quarters, about the twentieth of May. At the close of this campaign the enemy remained in quiet possession of Orissa; and of all the country on the Western shore of the Hougley river; from Ballafore, to within a few miles of Tanna's Fort, near the English settlement of Fort William. [Aliverdi retired with his army to Morshadabad, and Ragojee with his main body to Beirboheen during the rains.]

Though the treaty of peace with Ballajee Row answered a prudent purpose, and relieved the Usurper from the more immediate danger which threatened himself, his capital and family; yet it afforded no relief to the provinces. The partial execution of the treaty on the part of the Maharattor, he could not be much surprised at; as himself had set them an example of perfidy and treachery.

Every evil attending destructive war, was felt by this unhappy country in the most eminent degree. A scarcity of grain in all parts; the wages of labor greatly enhanced; trade; foreign and inland, laboring under every disadvantage and oppression: -- and although during the recesses of the enemy, from June to October, the manufactures of this opulent kingdom raised their drooping heads, yet the duration of their reprieves from danger was so short, that every species of cloth at the Arungs was hastily, and consequently badly fabricated; though immensely raised in its price; and from these causes came into disrepute at all the foreign markets; particularly at the Western ports of Juddah, Mocha, and Bussorah.

The trade of the Europeans became greatly embarrassed and injured; their effects were often plundered by the enemy; and these grievances were much heightened by oppressive exactions of the Usurper. But in this they were not singular; for the whole of the people who still remained within the reach of his grasp, suffered equally in this respect: even Juggaat Seet's house, which so eminently promoted his usurpation, was often fleeced; to the malicious joy of all, who were friends to Soujah Khan's family.

For these oppressive measures the Usurper had nothing to plead in extenuation, but the necessities of his situation: and in truth, had he not been the ungrateful traitor he was, they were such, as would have merited the deepest commiseration: for although by his usurpation he became possessed of the treasures of the three last Soubahs, yet so immense were his continual expenses and disbursements, that little of them remained; it being pretty well known, that he, notwithstanding what has been said of the treaty with Ballajee Row, did not buy the absence and retreat of that General, for a sum less than five korore of rupees; [Five Million Sterling.] although the twenty-two lac, for two years Chout only, were speciously published to the world; to save the credit of the Usurper, and to afford an opportunity to the Maharattor of secreting from his followers all above that sum; which he appropriated to his own use; besides the lion's share of the twenty-two lac: therefore he was well enabled at his departure to present to Jeyndi Amet Khan, Hodjee's second son, a single complete dress (for Seerpah) valued at two lac of rupees.

In October 1743, the next campaign opened; when the Usurper again took the field: and Ragojee descending from the heights of Bierboheen, assembled his forces about Burdwan. -- The succeeding months exhibited the same scenes of marches, countermarches, retreats and skirmishes, with various success; but with uniform misery to the people; who now for the first time, began to be plundered, and cruelly treated; as well by the detached parties of the Usurper, as of the enemy: the former assuming the dress and accoutrements of the Maharrators, to cover and conceal their villainies.

In March 1744, these invaders entered the provinces in fresh shoals, but Cuttack, Bierboheen and Patna, excited by the immense booty carried off by their brethren, the two preceding years -- and thus this miserable country fell annually a prey to the depredations of the Maharattors, under various leaders, for the six succeeding years; receiving no effectual check, but from the succession of the usual rainy seasons. During these intermediate spaces the country was left to fatten, that it might again be worth devouring. In the meanwhile, the Usurper sustained himself with amazing constancy, intrepidity and address; though often reduced to the deepest distresses; parts of his capital being frequently attacked and plundered.

In the latter part of the year 1744, by indefatigable and sudden marches he attacked and beat up all the quarters of the enemy; and obliged them to retire much sooner than usual. Orissa only remaining in their possession; early in December 1744, he marched to that province; where with expedition hardly to be conceived, he retook Cuttack, and recovered the province; obliging the enemy to retreat to the hills. Then leaving forces for the defense of it, he returned, and arrived at the capital, the beginning of February 1744,-5; crowned with laurels; and received with wonder. Here, revolving in his mind the confusion of affairs in the province of Bahar and city of Patna; and its importance to him, as being one of the enemies' keys into his country; and determining to have a Governor there, whose courage, capacity and integrity he might repose a perfect confidence in, he fixed upon his nephew Jeyndee Amet Khan for this post of trust, who possessed these qualities in a very high degree. He soon after set out for his government, escorted by a strong body of horse.

We shall omit entering more minutely into the particular occurrences of these annual invasions, which would only exhibit an irksome detail of murders, oppressions, and distresses, similar to those already recited: but as we cannot help viewing this Usurper in an extraordinary light, we should be inexcusable in neglecting to lay before the public and posterity those striking events, which were interesting in themselves; and which more strongly mark the character and genius of this great, though wicked man, in the course of a destructive eight years war. With this intent only we again resume our narrative from the close of the year 1745; a period which gave birth to an incident, that eventually proved not only the destruction of his hitherto favorite General; but also that of his brother and nephew.

It was, at the time just mentioned above, that the Usurper first began to entertain suspicions and jealousies of the great reputation and power of Mustapha Khan; who had, by his master's liberality and other means, at different times acquired great wealth; which he profusely bestowed on the soldiery, but chiefly on the Patans; thereby gaining a dangerous popularity, that bore too much the appearance of ambitious views. Whether he really had any designs against his master is not known; but his being the idol of the army was cause sufficient to make him obnoxious; in a government where no subject can with safety to himself, or to his prince, be possessed of a superior degree of power or renown.

The Usurper had received intelligence from his brother Hodjee, that Mustapha Khan was forming designs to his prejudice; and that he had actually concerted measures with the Maharattors, for cutting him off the ensuing year; and placing himself in the government.

Whether this intelligence had truth for its foundation, or was only afterwards devised to cover the step, that was premeditated against Mustapha Khan, is uncertain. Hodjee, however, had the address to produce vouchers for his suspicions that approached to facts; and these acquiring weight from the brother's apprehensions of that General's known talents, reputation, and popularity; it was resolved at all events that he should be assassinated the next time he appeared at court: assassins were accordingly provided, and stationed for his reception.

But Mustapha Khan being generally beloved, the design against him could not be so secretly conducted, as to prevent his receiving hints to provide for his safety; and though these were imperfect, they were yet sufficiently alarming to urge his immediate departure from the city, with 3,000 Patan horse. In about twelve hours after, he was followed by Sumseer Khan, a Patan General next in command to him, with about 2,000 more of their countrymen. The whole being joined, by rapid marches, they arrived at Siclygully, before any suspicion or intelligence of a breach between them and the Usurper had reached the commander of that pass; and by a well feigned story of their being dispatched to join and reinforce Jeyndee Amet Khan, they were permitted to advance into Bahar without interruption; intending to pass through that province into the Patan country.

So great a defection of his best troops, with two officers of such reputation at their head, struck the Usurper with the deepest apprehensions, and this on a double score. He had the greatest cause to dread a union between the Maharattors and Mustapha Khan; and by the secret flight of that General, he became convinced that some traitors were about his person: but still himself, under every exigency and difficulty, he lost not a moment -- by large presents, and larger promises, he secured the fidelity of the remaining Patans -- sent express upon express to his nephew Jeyndi Amet Khan, informing him of this untoward event, with orders "to take the field with what troops he could get together, and endeavor to intercept the fugitive Patans -- and that himself would go in pursuit of them, and probably the might be hemmed in between them."

The Usurper immediately put himself at the head of a strong body of forces, who were best attached to his person and government; and with the greatest expedition arrived at Siclygully; where he only stayed to strike off the head of that commander, who had suffered the Patans to pass his post.

Had the unfortunate Mustapha Khan made the same expedition from the pass of Siclygully, as he did to it; he would, in all human probability, have eluded the pursuit, and passed through Bahar before he could possibly have been intercepted by Jeyndi Amet Khan, or overtaken by the Usurper. But for a particular reason, to be hereafter mentioned; and not suspecting he was pursued, he proceeded through Bahar by such slow marches, that the Usurper came up with him between Monghir and Patna; and sent a messenger to him with offers of pardon, to himself and followers; if they would submit, and embrace again his service.

Mustapha Khan, disdaining all terms of accommodation, returned the Usurper's messenger, with a brave defiance to him; and receiving intelligence at the same time, that Jeyndi Amet was within a few hours march of him, he thought it most advisable to face about, and fight the Usurper first; having learnt his troops were very little superior in number to his own; therefore without hesitation he distributed the necessary orders, and gave the signal for battle.

The conflict was bloody, but of no long duration. Valor and resentment took full possession of the soul of Mustapha Khan, and left no place for prudence or precaution: fired with the hope of executing his vengeance on the Usurper, he thought all else unworthy his sword; and attempting with too much impetuosity to penetrate to that part where Aliverdi fought, and not being well supported, he was soon surrounded, overpowered and slain -- his head was separated from his body, and elevated upon a spear -- his death being known to the Patans, Sumseer Khan, with those that survived the battle, made a speedy flight; and taking a rout different from that, by which Jeyndi Amet Khan was advancing, they escaped out of the province; notwithstanding the eager pursuit that was made after them.

The Usurper returned to his capital more dreaded, but less beloved by the people, for this last stroke of his policy. The jealousy, and (generally believed) unjust motives, for assassinating the Patan General were now blazed abroad; and the Usurper became the object of detestation to some of his best friends, who drew a conclusion (from this act of base ingratitude to the man, who had so often preserved his life and government) -- very unfavorable, and alarming to themselves; as the merits of their greatest services, might on the slightest suspicions or fear, in the cowardly breast of Hodjee, only draw on their own destruction.

Hodjee, who had accompanied his brother in this expedition against Mustapha Khan, advanced from the head of the General, to meet his son Jeyndi Amet Khan. With him he returned to Patna; and after bestowing many indignities upon the head of that brave man, whose face he could not have beheld the day before, without sinking into abject fear and terror; he had now the coward bravery, to order it to be carried in triumph three times round the city; -- unworthy and indecent insults! from which the remembrance of his former signal services should have defended his senseless remains. -- Justice seemed to interest herself in avenging the death of this gallant man, by favoring in an extraordinary manner the escape of her destined instrument Sumseer Khan: and the brave Jeyndi Amet Khan, at the sight of the barbarous insults exercised by his father, could not refrain from tears; for great friendship subsisted between him and the deceased; and his memory was dear to him.

We will leave Hodjee on his return to Morshadabad; exulting for a short time over the success of his treacherous machinations; and advert to Sumseer Khan.

This Patan General arriving safe with his few followers in their own country, began immediately to levy troops; and with such success, that in the year 1747, he was enabled to advance towards Patna, at the head of 8,000 choice horse.

Here it is necessary to advertise the reader, that the two Patan Generals on their sudden retreat from the city of Morshadabad, had opened a correspondence with Mhir Hubbeeb, informing him "that they should return the next year, to attempt the capture and plunder of Patna; then march by the hills and join the Maharattor army; and with their united force attack the Usurper; declaring themselves justly absolved from all allegiance to the assassin." Mhir Hubbeeh improved upon this plan and advised "to encounter Hodjee and the Usurper with their own weapons, craft and treachery; for that, by address and management, and a well feigned contrition for their former conduct, and a fresh tender of their troops, they might easily obtain an interview with the Nabob of Patna; at which they should cut him off: a circumstance that would much facilitate the taking and plundering that city (which seemed to be their principal object) as such an event must necessarily cause the greatest confusion and consternation in the place."

It was this intercourse of letters, that proved fatal to Mustapha Khan; by retarding his escape through Bahar, as already mentioned -- but the counsel of Mhir Hubbeeh was not lost upon Sumseer Khan; who was a man, possessed of every requisite, for carrying it into effectual execution. He was brave; artful; beloved and highly esteemed by his officers and soldiers; who, to a man, were united to him in a solemn vow, to take an exemplary revenge for the death and indignities of their late lamented commander; or perish in the attempt.

With this determined view, Sumseer Khan began his march; and being arrived within a few hours of Patna, on the opposite shore of the river, he dispatched a letter to Jeyndi Amet Khan, couched in the following terms, "that his heart had felt the deepest compunction for his past conduct, to which he had been instigated by the rash counsels of his late commanding officer; that he appealed to Jeyndi Amet himself, to witness for the approved fidelity he had always shown for the service and interest of the Soubah his uncle; that he had now raised a faithful and tried body of officers and troops; who, with him, were ready to devote their lives to his commands, against the common enemies of his house and country: hoping he should obtain permission to visit him; and in a personal conference, give him more convincing proofs of his attachment and submission."

Jeyndi Amet Khan immediately communicated the contents of this letter to his father Hodjee, who was very lately arrived at Patna; brought thither by some informations the brothers had received of the concerted scheme between Sumseer Khan and Mhir Hubbeeh, for the plunder of that capital -- Hodjee, without a moment's hesitation, ordered his son to encourage Sumseer Khan's visit, and cut him off; telling him, he himself would direct the means.

Jeyndi Amet Khan, much averse to obey these orders, determined to wait those of his uncle to whom he wrote, and transmitted a copy of Sumseer Khan's letter; and in the meantime he returned in civil terms a reply to the Patan General, telling him "he had forwarded the purport of his request to the Soubah, but that he could not give any conclusive answer thereto, before the Soubah's pleasure was known." -- This soon reached him, in these few, but peremptory words, "Regarding the business between us and Sumseer Khan, follow the orders of your father."

Hodjee directed Jeyndi Amet Khan to write to the Patan General, "that he should with pleasure receive his visits, and rejoice to embrace him; as the Soubah had readily accepted the tender of his services, and wished his speedy march to Morshadabad." -- To which purport the Usurper had likewise wrote to him in pressing terms; thereby intending to lull him into the greater security.

We have already hinted the method proposed by Mhir Hubbeeb to the two Patan Generals, for taking off the Nabob of Patna, and plundering the city. The intelligence the brothers had received extended only to the latter part of their scheme; of the intended assassination of the Nabob they had not the least conception. -- Hodjee's counterplot for the murder of Sumseer Khan, was concerted in manner following. A day was appointed for the General's visit to Jeyndi Amet Khan, on a plain a small distance North of the city; where a sumptuous tent was prepared for his reception; in the floor of which a mine was sunk, whose train extended some distance from the tent. The signal for putting fire to the train, was Jeyndi Amet Khan's withdrawing a certain space from the tent. -- Every circumstance of whic hwas betrayed to Sumseer Khan, by a Patan in the service and confidence of Hodjee.

On the receipt of the Usurper's and the Nabob's letters, Sumseer Khan passed the river with his troops, about two miles to the Northward of the city; and being advanced, on the day appointed, within a furlong of the tent; he received a polite message from the Nabob, requesting, "that he would favor him in ordering his troops to halt; that they might not in their conference be incommoded by the dust; for that he himself was only attended by fifty followers." -- This request was instantly complied with, and the Patan General proceeded to the tent with a few selected attendants only; all of whom were provided with armor under their coats.

They met in mutual embraces, and with the most affectionate compliments; these over they seated themselves, and began to confer upon the operations of the war, against the common enemy the Maharattors. -- After about an hour's discourse, a servant came and whispered the Nabob, who soon after arose, telling the General "that he was just going to give some necessary orders for his reception and entertainment in the city, and should attend him again in a few minutes." -- When he had got half way to the door of the tent, Sumseer Khan and his attendants drew their scimitars, fell upon Jeyndi Amet Khan, killed him, and all that were in the tent, before they had time to make any resistance: some instantly flew to the head of the train, to which they were perfectly instructed, and prevented fire being put to it; for on the alarm, those who were on the outside of the tent, and thereby escaped the slaughter, fled with all speed to the city.

Sumseer Khan made a signal for his troops to advance; and mounting his horse gained the city almost as soon as the fugitives, and entered it sword in hand with his soldiers; before Hodjee Hamet had received the least intelligence of the unhappy fate of his beloved son.

He proceeded immediately to the palace, where, with little resistance, he took Hodjee Hamet prisoner, at the very moment he was (in disguise) making his escape; and after securing him under a strong guard, he went in search of the principal treasures of the city, (to which he was minutely directed by his spies) these he deposited in the palace, and gave up the town to be plundered by the soldiers; who, for the space of three days, committee every ravage and outrage that revenge and avarice, backed by uncontrolled power, could meditate and execute; except against the English, French, and Dutch factories; which alone remained exempt from ruin and unmolested.

Hodjee Hamet, after suffering the heaviest reproaches and revilings from Sumseer Khan, for his base ingratitude, treachery, and cruelty to Mustapha Khan; and after undergoing a hundred and one lashes from the severe discipline of the Khorah, was by order of the general set on an ass, with his legs tied under the belly of the animal; and his face painted half black, half white; and thus led round the city, the same route himself had appointed for the head of the unfortunate Mustapha Khan. -- Returning from this disgraceful progress, the discipline of the Khorah was again inflicted on him; not only as a punishment, but with a view to extort from his a confession and discovery of a large sum of gold and diamonds; which, it was said, he had buried or otherwise secreted; -- but he bore the lash with amazing constancy; and made not the discovery that was aimed at. -- After this he was chained to the leg of an elephant, -- to that very elephant, on which the head of Mustapha Khan was exposed and elevated. Sumseer Khan had doomed him to a cruel and lingering death; but one of his guards, touched with his great age; the high dignity he had born; his cruel suffering; and heavy lamentations for his murdered son; conveyed, in pity to him, a dose of poison; which he greedily swallowed and put an end to his miserable being.

Sumseer Khan, after this exemplary vengeance, made a short stay at Patna, and retired to his country with an immense booty; but without paying any further regard, at least for the present, to the engagements that subsisted between him and Mhir Hubbeeb.

The fates of Hodjee Hamet and Jeyndi Hamet Khan, met a very different regard from the world; the latter being as much lamented, as the memory of his father was detested. But it may be very easily conceived that the loss of both proved a heavy stroke of Affliction to the Usurper; who now became as eminently wretched as he was great. His grief on the arrival of the news was such, that it was with the greatest difficulty he was prevented following them. -- However; cool reflection soon took place; and his usual fortitude surmounted, in a few days, the first violent impressions of his irreparable misfortune; and obliged him to attend the concerns of his government; to which he was roused and stimulated by the spirited, wise and affectionate representations of his Begun -- A woman whose wisdom, magnanimity, benevolence, and every amiable quality, reflected high honor on her sex and station. She much influenced the Usurper's councils, and was ever consulted by him in every material movement in the state; except when sanguinary and treacherous measures were judged necessary; which he knew she would oppose, as she ever condemned them when perpetrated howsoever successful, -- predicting always that such politics would end in the ruin of his family.

Though the Usurper's critical situation called him to action; yet the death of his nephew ever after remained a heavy pressure upon his heart. He greatly loved him, and had designed him his successor in the government of the Soubahship, in preference to Hodjee's eldest son; who then bore the title of the Emperor's Dewan, (to which he had just as much right as his uncle had to that of Soubah.) But this design being blasted by the untimely decease of Jeyndi Amet; and that occasioned by the pernicious policy of his brother and himself: the only amends in his power to make to the manes of his murdered nephew was, to transfer the affection he ever bore him, to his eldest son Mhirza Mahomeed; whom he immediately adopted as his own: and this youth was, from that period, looked upon as his successor.

Until the rains broke up in October 1747, the Usurper remained unmolested; but now the Maharattors reentered the province of Bengal by the Bierboheen hills; and Sumseer Khan having safely lodged his Patna plunder returned and entered Bahar; at last remindful of his engagement to Mhir Hubbeeb, and hoping by an union with the Maharattors, to share at least the plunder also of Morshadabad.

The Usurper had taken the field very early -- and on the first advice that Sumseer Khan had entered Bahar, he advanced towards him by rapid marches; thirsting to revenge his brother's and nephew's deaths; and depending that she should be able to engage and defeat him before the Maharattors could possibly join him. Whilst he was in this pursuit, the Maharattors, who did not think it eligible to risk an action with the Usurper until they had joined their new allies, were on full march to the settled rendezvous at Bogolpore; near which place the three armies arrived about the same time in the night. The Usurper encamped, and sent out his spies for intelligence. They soon returned and informed him he was encamped between the enemies' armies; the Patans a course to the Northward of him; and the Maharattors about the same distance to the Southward. -- This perilous situation would have struck any but this brave Usurper with alarm and terror: some of his general officers proposed his taking the advantage of the night, and attempting a silent retreat to Siclgully; but he rejected this overture with high indignation. -- He was perfectly acquainted with the different genius and disposition of the enemies he had to encounter; and from this knowledge formed his resolutions; the only resource left him was instantly obvious to this consummate general and soldier.

At midnight he held a council of war, of three or four of his principal officers only. To these he opened his designs, and directed them to issue orders for the troops to be ready to march, half an hour before day break; without striking their tents -- strictly prohibiting they should encumber themselves with aught but their arms; for that his own, his officers, and soldiers baggage should be left in the camp; for which he himself would be accountable to them. -- These orders distributed he went to rest.

Before day break the Usurper put himself at the head of his troops, and marched to attack the Patans; leaving his camp standing -- he found them prepared to receive him, not doubting but their allies, whose situation they had learnt, would attack his rear. -- A bloody engagement ensued, in which the Usurper might justly say, with another great usurper, "that he had many times for for Empire, but in this battle, for Life." -- After an obstinate contest Sumseer Khan was slain and the Patans put to flight -- instead of pursing them, he immediately returned in good order to his camp; where, as he had foreseen, he found the Maharattors plundering it, confusedly dispersed, and regardless of the commands of their General or Officers: -- In this situation the Usurper fell upon them, and after a great slaughter gave them a total defeat and rout. After these exploits he returned triumphantly to his capital.

Notwithstanding these glorious successes, he was incessantly harrassed by, and forced to be ever in the field against the Maharattors, until the year 1750; when he made a lasting peace with them on the terms recited in the "Short sketch of the history of Bengal," before mentioned; to which we beg leave to refer. There the reader may if he pleases follow this great wicked man, "through the more pleasing scenes of domestic life, and public tranquillity." We shall content ourselves in closing this chapter, and second general head, with a few circumstances which happened in consequence of his natural demise, Anno 1756. -- It is pretty well known, and has been by us severely felt, that he was succeeded by Mhirza Mahommed his adopted son and grandson (who assumed the title of Surajad Dowla) in the government; that after he had quelled an opposition that was made to his succession by part of his own family, he directed his arms against our settlements; took, and destroyed them. -- The causes for that invasion of property, having been faithfully investigated and presented to the public in a second edition of "India Tracts," published March 1764. -- This short recapitulation would have had no place here, but to introduce a circumstance not so well known as the foregoing.

When Surajad Dowla declared his resolution to attack and drive the English out of Bengal, he was opposed by the affectionate remonstrances of the deceased Aliverdi Khan's Begun, already mentioned -- with every argument which love and maternal authority could devise, she labored to dissuade him from his purpose; but labored to no end: for though the young tyrant preserved some reverence for her person, yet her influence was not great: but when she found him deaf to her entreaties, she had the courage to tell him, "She saw his own fate was blended with, and waited on the destruction he was aiming to accomplish against the English; and that if he persisted, his rashness and injustice would not only be the cause of his own death, but the total ruin of his family." Her wisdom and foresight was so great and extensive, that it was commonly said by the Usurper, "He never knew her judgment or predictions fail."

We hope to meet with pardon for doing honor to the character of this extraordinary woman; especially as we thereby embrace a favorable opportunity of discharging the tribute of sincere gratitude particularly due from us, -- the author owing life and liberty to her humane and successful intercession.
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Re: Interesting Historical Events, by J.Z. Holwell, Esq.

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2020 8:10 am

Chapter III.

Having in the preceding chapter shown from what causes, and by what gradations the provinces of Bengal fell under the usurpation of Aliverdi Khan; our plan leads us next to convey a summary account of their produce; the division of their principals; districts; and towns; with their situation respecting each other; and their commonly estimated distance from our principal settlement of Calcutta.

Geographers have distinguished these provinces by the title of the rich Kingdom of Bengal; an epithet it highly merited when considered in its original state of opulence and tranquility; in which point of view we intend to exhibit it; for this prevalent reason only; that we think it perfectly capable of being reinstated and improved; a circumstance well worthy our present knowledge and attention.

To form a just estimate of the value and importance of these provinces, we must consider them at the period, when they were governed by the younger princes of the Blood Royal; that is, some years before Jaffier Khan's Soubahship; for in his time they first began to decline and decrease in their worth; from causes already investigated in our last general head.

From his demise, the country for a few years recovered, and began to flourish, until within two years of the decease of Sujah Khan; when, by the rapacity of Hodjee Hamet, the Rajahs and Zamindars were again cruelly oppressed and plundered; and were thereby disabled from making good their contracts to the government. -- Soon after this period, commenced the usurpation of Aliverdi Khan; that drew on the Maharattor invasion; which overwhelmed the country in miseries of every kind for the full space of eight years.

The peace which the Usurper made with these invaders, Anno 1750; seemed, for four or five years, to promise the restoration of vigor to this harassed country: but its shattered constitution was scarcely beginning to revive, when the rash conduct of the succeeding young tyrant reduced it again to eminent peril. A just vengeance and necessity drew the English arms against him and his country; which produced a revolution fatal to himself and family; -- necessity again, produced a second revolution; -- wantonness a third; and when we shall stop, time alone can disclose. -- A few individuals may benefit by this shifting system; but total ruin to the trade of the provinces, and to the Company, must manifestly in the end be the consequence of this continued warfare, if not timely prevented; notwithstanding the flattering fallacious success of our arms.

The foregoing short recapitulation we thought necessary, to vindicate our conclusion; that no perfect judgment can be made of the value of this inestimable country from any period of time within the last forty years; during which space, with few and short interruptions, it has been involved in war, and labored under difficulties that have impaired its very vitals. Thence, the necessity of our giving a picture of it in a permanent settled government; when the lands were permitted to yield their produce unmolested; when the manufactures and every branch of trade flourished; and when the rents, revenues and customs resulting from that happy state, prove it to have been as valuable a spot as any upon this globe; if not the most so.

To this desirable state, we repeat, from our perfect knowledge and experience, it is capable of being restored under a proper government; if it was not, our present labors were vain; and could answer no end or purpose. What essential end and purpose they are calculated to obtain, we shall now venture to open; and as I have no motive to influence me but sincere gratitude to my former employers, and true love for my country, I trust my endeavors will meet with candor and thanks -- at least from the public, if not from that respectable body of men, for whose benefit they are more particularly intended.

Notwithstanding the plausible face of success, our affairs in Bengal may wear at present by late advices from thence; it is as demonstrable as any proposition in Euclid, that they cannot produce the great and essential end aimed at, viz. a lasting peace and settled government: without which, the Company must sink under the pressure of a long expensive war; which not only swallows up their new acquired revenues; but impedes and shackles their trade in every instance, shape and form. In prosecution of this war, the heads of their servants abroad are turned and bewildered; and their mercantile business (which can only support the Company in the end) must suffer under unavoidable neglects and abuses. The gentlemen at home in the direction of affairs, must labor under heavy embarrassments in conducting the two branches of war and trade; either of which would fully employ their whole time and attention.

A trading and a fighting company, is a two headed monster in nature, that cannot exist long; as the expense and inexperience of the latter, must exceed, confound, and destroy every profit or advantage gained by the former. -- New temporary victories, stimulate and push us on to grasp at new acquisitions of territory; these call for a large increase of military force to defend them; and thus we shall go on, grasping and expending, until we cram our hands so full that they become cramped and numbed; and we shall be obliged to quit, and relinquish even that part, which we might have held fast; if bounds had been set to our progress which (upon the present system) we now see is utterly impossible; therefore a total change in our politics becomes indispensably necessary.

The gentlemen in the direction must surely see this fatal tendency of their affairs, and must tremble at it -- but where's the remedy they will say? -- it has been already pointed out and no regard paid to it -- possibly, though convinced, they want the public sanction to a step they may think so extraordinary -- though every day they are taking steps more extraordinary, in supporting their servants in a war against the Mogul, his Viceroys, and subjects, which on the present plan must unavoidably prove the ruin of the company. -- We have a considerable concern in this stock, and therefore claim a right to speak -- when private remonstrances fail, public ones may acquire a due influence.

Why we should wantonly persist in a state of destructive war, with a Potentate, whose alliance is so materially necessary to us; when we have it so much in our power to make a useful friend of him and his successors; is a conduct that surpasses human understanding; and yet that such has been our conduct for five years past is most certain.

Let us have done with this ringing changes upon Soubahs; there's no end to it. Let us boldly dare to be Soubah ourselves; our own terms have been more than once offered to us by the Emperor; why should we longer hesitate to accept them? We have not scrupled to seize and possess part of his territory with violence; surely it would be more conscientious, and more consistent with the laws of nature and nations, to hold the whole of these provinces under him, by his own appointment. -- That this would be readily assented to on his part, if a proper overture came from us, is not to be doubted: the consideration of his own great and obvious advantages, and the necessities of his situation would leave him no room for choice.

We have already convinced him, we are able, when we have a mind to set our own ruin and the lives of our fellow subjects at nought, to hold this part of his country from him, in spite of his strongest efforts against us: nay, possibly we might retain it under our subjection for some short time at least; but the consequence to him, and us, is obvious: a wanton expense of blood and treasure; while the object we are contending for is daily more and more desolated by this contention; and, bye and bye, will not be worth the possession of either -- for every movement that does not tend to a lasting and firm peace by advantaging both, is fruitless; and can have no permanent or salutary effect: and most sure it is, that the plan we have hitherto pursued, and are still pursuing, cannot accomplish that desirable issue.

It is true, we have seen our forces in the East, under the conduct of an able and active commander, drive the Mogul's Viceroys out of the provinces. It is also true, that we have seen a spirited conduct and bravery in the Mogul's troops, that ought justly to strike us with apprehension of future consequences. The Russians when first attached by Sweden, did not possess a tenth part of the courage and discipline that these our enemies have now acquired; and yet the event is known to the world. -- Let us reason upon very probably suppositions; and not rest in a too great and flattering security, at a time when we have the greatest cause to be alarmed.

Suppose the Mogul's Viceroys should, from experience, at last evidently see; that the only way to conquer us, and render our courage and discipline of none effect, is to avoid ever coming to a general action with us: with the great superiority of numbers they will ever be able to bring into the field, they may by this precaution and dividing their army (which consists chiefly of cavalry) into small bodies; cut off our provisions and forage; beat up our quarters; harass our handful of men without ceasing; and finally destroy us without danger to themselves -- and is it improbable they should at last adopt this conduct? we pronounce, no; it is most probable they will, as the only resource left for them.

Let us again, suppose a rupture with France, whilst we are engaged in this war with the Mogul; our presidency of Fort William, and our other factories in a manner deserted; and the chief strength of all our settlements acting at the distance of eight or nine hundred miles from the center of our possession. -- We will not suppose a rupture with France near; but let it come when it will, it sets at nought the article in the last treaty of peace, which gave us an exclusive right to Bengal; and therefore ought to be attended to: for it is not to be imagined, that they will neglect so favorable an occasion of attacking a settlement, which constitutes, in the East, the very essence of our being; when they find it left defenceless by the absence of our troops.

In short, every consideration calls aloud for a period being put to this unprofitable, and precarious war, by some other plan of operations; and we assert none is so eligible, honorable, or practicable, as that we have now hinted at. -- We have nibbled at these provinces for eight years; and notwithstanding an immense acquisition of territory and revenue, what benefit has resulted from our successes, to the company? are their dividends raised to the late standard of eight per cent? no -- it is impossible they should, whilst this destructive expensive contest exists -- and shall we thus go on, nibbling and nibbling at the bait, until the trap falls and crushes us? -- but to come more immediately to the point.

Permit us, Gentlemen, most humbly to advise, that express orders be sent without delay to your President and Governor of Fort William; to make the following overture of peace to the Mogul; viz. "That on condition of his appointing and investing (to all intents and purposes) your Governor for the time being, Soubah of the Provinces of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa; you will engage on your part, that the stipulated sum of one khorore of rupees, shall be annually paid into the royal treasury; free of all deductions."

As this sum nearly doubles the stipulation made by the usurper Aliverdi Khan, with the Vizir Munsoor Ali Khan, Anno 1750, (a tithe of which by the bye was never paid) and we venture to say, redoubles in one year, any advantages the Emperors have received from the revenues of these provinces, for the space of forty years last past; we cannot entertain a doubt of his most readily acceding to the terms proposed; as thereby he would also secure a powerful ally, who could be occasionally of service to him on any emergency, in his government.

When we are invested with this sovereignty and empowered to display the Mogul's royal standard; the provinces will be easily governed and kept in subjection, at a less annual expense and force, than the Company are now from necessity loaded with -- but suppose it double, the stake is amply sufficient, as we shall presently demonstrate.

Some narrow minded people, strangers to the nature of the country and government, will start; and make the greatness of the object a bugbear to their hopes and wishes -- Was it possible, that the Company could unmolested enjoy what they have got, and pursue their trade without interruption; we should be amongst the first that might justly exclaim against their extending their views; -- but, that this was impracticable, we have long foreseen and publicly declared; -- and if we think at all, we must now be convinced there is no medium, or alternative, but this; that can be adopted with any appearance of security or permanency -- aut Soubah, aut nullus, [Google translate: or Soubah, or not at all] must now be our motto.

We cannot enough applaud the seasonable measure of sending out Lord Clive, which we esteem a happy event; notwithstanding, what could be done upon the present plan of politics, has been done without him -- the weight of his Lordship's reputation and experience, in those parts, will most essentially promote this our new plan: he is the best qualified to negotiate it; the fittest to be first invested with that high power; and the most capable of fixing and leaving it upon a solid basis. -- That these are our real sentiments, flowing from a just regard to his Lordship's character, I think the public will not doubt; as they already know, we lie under no obligations to that quarter, that might excite our partiality.

Holwell was a man of great ability which he used unscrupulously to secure his own ends. Clive condemns him in the strongest terms: “Mr. Holwell is a specious and sensible man, but from what I have heard and observed myself I cannot be persuaded he will ever make use of his abilities for the good of the Company.”10 [Clive to William Mabbot, 31 Jan. 1757, (Hill’s Bengal in 1756-57 Vol. 2, p. 186)] He trembled to think of the fatal consequences if he were succeeded by such a mercenary man. “Mr. * * * has talents, but I fear wants a heart, therefore unfit to preside where integrity as well as capacity are equally essential.”11 [Malcolm's Life of Clive Vol. 2, p. 137 and p. 139. Asterisks are placed for the name but it is quite clear that Holwell is the man.] It seems ungenerous to add that when Siraj-ud-daula besieged Calcutta Holwell would have run away with the others if he had been able. But the statement was made at the time. Ives mentions it without condemnation12 [A Voyage from England to India in the year 1754 etc. (1773) p. 93. Ives was surgeon to Admiral Watson.] and Clive believed it. “I am well informed," he wrote, “there is no merit due to him for staying behind in the fort, nothing but the want of a boat prevented his escape and flight with the rest.”13 [In the letter quoted above. So Mr. William Lindsay who left the fort by permission on the 19th June. “It was much against his inclination being there, two gentlemen having carried away the budgerow he had waiting for him. I mention this as I understand he made a merit in staying when he found he could not get off." Letter to Mr. Robert Orme from Fulta July 1756. Hill’s Bengal in 1756-57, Vol. 1, p. 168.] ...

To conclude, what shall be said of Messrs. Holwell, Cooke and Co. who did this thing. Clive read them aright. “I would have you guard against anything these gentlemen can say,” he warned Governor Pigott, “for, believe me, they are bad subjects and rotten at heart .... the riches of Peru and Mexico should not induce me to dwell among them.”117 [Malcolm’s Life I. 158.] As for us let us repair the mischief they have wrought and let them go.

-- The Black Hole -- The Question of Holwell's Veracity, by J. H. Little

We are very sensible, our rulers at home do not like to have the affairs of the Company, the subject of public disquisition. But as they and their affairs, are now truly become a very important national concern; and their own intestine quarrels have given a latitude to make their conduct the sport of every pen; we think there needs the less apology for the liberty we now take; as one of our chief motives is, to extricate them from the difficulties, we imagine they must be plunged in at this period. And no drowning man will be angry at another, who stretches out a friendly hand to save him from sinking? -- The pointing out a measure to them that must, if it takes place, in a very short space, mount their stock in substantial real value to five hundred; will not hurt them or the proprietors.

But it may be asked us, if these only are your motives, why not intimate the measure in private to our chairman or court of directors? Why not communicate it, and enforce it, at a quarterly general court? Why not call a general court on special matters? Why are our affairs and schemes to be canvassed by the public? Have patience, my friends, and we will answer these interrogatories by one prevalent reason that determines us, to adopt none of them. -- Private intimations for public good, leave the parties entrusted, at large; and without public check, to concur with, or reject and lay aside, the means proposed; as caprice, want of comprehension, particular private views, or divided counsels, may chance to influence: -- but when publicly made, they then become accountable to the world. -- In assigning this reason, we must not be thought to insinuate any doubt, injurious to the honor and integrity of the present Chairman, or present court of Directors, whom, from the sincerity of our heart, we believe as much attached to the true interest of the East India Company, as any sett of gentlemen who ever sat at that board.

Our wish is, to promote the well being of the East India Company; and not intentionally to give offence to any; and if our proposed plan meets not the approbation and concurrence of those who will most benefit by the event, we can only lament their loss and our own. -- It appears by a correspondence laid before the public, last year, that we urged the necessity of this measure in the year 1760; Glorious! would have been the issue for the company, had it been then carried into execution; and happy for many unfortunate individuals, who since perished by a contrary system of politics! -- There would then have been no call or necessity for this Nabob-changing scheme; the provinces would have been established in peace; and war, revolutions, murders, and massacres, without a being -- however, from a thorough conviction we say, it is not now too late to regain the happy opportunity we then lost: nay, subsequent events, rather encourage and afford a more favorable aspect; as things may be accomplished now under less difficulties, than we should at that period have had to encounter and struggle with. -- In this confidence we shall proceed, and by a rough sketch of the produce of the revenues, show the vast stake we throw for. If we win, the gain will be immense: if we fail in the attempt, we are but where we were; and at the worst, shall have it in our power to resume our old Dog Trot policy again.

At Natoor, about ten days travel Northeast of Calcutta, resides the family of the most ancient and opulent of the Hindoo Princes of Bengal; Rajah Rhaam Khaunt; of the race of Bramins; who deceased in the year 1748, and was succeeded by his wife, a Princess named Bowanny Rhaanee; whose Dewan, or Mnister, was Diaram of the Teely caste, or Tribe. They possess a tract of country of about thirty-five days travel; [The Gentoos estimate distances by courses, but more commonly by a day's journey, which they reckon five course, but as the course varries in different districts, from one and a half to two and a half miles English, we take the medium days travel at ten English miles.] and under a settled government, their stipulated annual rents to the crown were seventy lac of Sicca rupees, -- the real revenues, about one khorore and a half.

The chief towns of these districts are Malda, Hurrial, Seerpore, Balekooshy, and Cogmarry; all separately famous for manufacturing the following species of piece goods, viz. for the Europe markets, cossacs, clatches, hummums, chowtahs, ootally soosies, seersuchers and raw silk: -- for the markets of Bussorah, Mocha, Judda, Pegu, Acheen and Malacca, the different forts of cossa's, bastas, sannoose, mulmulls, tanjebs, ordinary kenchees, &c. &c.

This country produces also, coposs, or Bengal cotton, with which the above sortments of good are in part manufactured; but the produce does not bear any proportion to the consumption, so that they are indebted to foreign markets for this article; and chiefly to the port of Surat.

The towns of Bowangunge, Siebgunge, Sorupgunge, and Jummaalgunge, are all famous markets for grain; as their names imply. [The meaning of Gunge being a grain market.]

Continguous to this last mentioned district, but still more to the Northeast, lie the lands of Rajah Praunaut of the Koyt, or Scribe Caste. His district extends about fifty days travel; consists mostly of lowlands; and is in great part annually overflowed. His stipulated yearly payment is twenty lac; the real produce of his revenue, from sixty to seventy -- the chief products of his country are grain, oil, and ghee, (an article much used in Indian cookery ) it likewise yields some species of piece goods and raw silk; also soole sugar, lump jaggre, ginger, long pepper, and piplymol -- articles that usually compose the gruss cargoes of our outward bound shipping.

The principal towns of this district, are Rungpore, Gooragat; and Santose Buddaal, the capital residence of the head of this family: from these Arungs, the East India companies are supplied with sannoos, mulmulls, tanjebs and raw silk.

The great market of Bugwan Gola, [Gola signifies a granary.] is supplied from this district, with the three important articles of grain, oil, and ghee: -- and now we have occasion to mention this mart, it is not foreign to our purpose to dwell a little longer on it -- it is situate on the Ganges, about a day and a half North from Morshadabad; and two days Southeasterly of Rajamhol; and is the greatest market for the above-mentioned articles in Indostan, or possibly in the known world. The customs on grain only, amount to three lac of rupees per Annum -- all the customs and duties of Bugwan Gola, rank in the list of revenues, under the head of Khoss Mhol, that is, duties which are kept in the government's hands; and not farmed out.

This place is defended on the land side by a ditch and pallisadoes; and is always, in troublesome times, garrisoned by a thousand horse and a thousand foot. -- In the year 1743, it was four times attacked by the Maharattors, under Boschar Pundit and Alibeg, who were as often repulsed -- It is a place of such importance to the Soubah, that the command of the garrison is always bestowed on the most experienced and trustworthy officer he has in his service: the whole of its revenues being usually valued, in peaceable times, at thirty lac per Annum. In the beginning of the year 1750, it was again attacked by the Maharattors; taken and plundered of an immense booty.

Northwest of Fort William, and about three days and a half distant, lie the lands of Rojah Tilluck Chund, extending twelve days travel. The stipulated rents of these lands are thirty-two lac per Annum; but their read produce and value, from eighty lack to one khorore. This is the principal of the three districts, ceded in perpetuity to the company, by the treaty with Cossim Ali Khan, in the year 1760.

The principal towns of this district are Burdwan, Kirpy, Radnagore, Dewangunge and Ballikissagur; these supply the East India companies with the following sortments of piece goods, viz. doorcas, terrandams, cuttanies, soosies, soot romaals, gurras, sestersoys, santon coupees, cherriderries, chilys, custas and doosoosas. The capital, Burdwan, may be properly called the center of the trade of the provinces. In tranquil times, this place afforded an annual large vend for the valuable staples of lead, copper, broad cloth, tin, pepper, and tootanague. The Puggiah merchants from Delhy and Agra, resorted yearly tot his great mart; and would again, if peace was established in the country: -- they purchased the above staples, either without money; or in barter for opium, tincal, salt petre and horses.

This district produces raw silk and coposs, sufficient only for manufacturing their soosies, cuttanees and gurras. -- The lesser towns manufacture other inferior sortments of cloth, as seerbunds, gollabunds, &c. -- it produces grain, equal to the consumption of the people only.

Burdumaan (the proper name of the district) is high; better peopled, and better cultivated than any part of the three provinces. Blessings! that caused it every year, more particularly, to become a prey to the Maharattors; as before recited.

The family of this Rajah farmed lands to the amount of four lac per Annum, contiguous to the bounds of Calcutta; and had a palace at Beallah, about seven miles South of it -- the forst of Buzbudjee, on the Ganges, was also their property.

To the West of Burdwan, something Northerly, lie the lands belonging to the family of Rajah Gopaul Sing, of the Raazpoot Bramin tribe. They possess an extent of sixteen days travel; this district produces an annual revenue of between thirty and forty lac; but from the happiness of their situation, he is perhaps the most independent Rajah of Indostan; having it always in his power to overflow his country, and drown any enemy that comes against him: as happened at the beginning of Soujah Khan's government; who sent a strong body of horse to reduce him: these he suffered to advance far into his country; then opening the dams of the rivers he destroyed them to a man. This action discouraged an subsequent attempts to reduce him -- but if the frontiers of the district were so inverted, as to prevent the exit of the merchandise of his country, which might easily be done; he would be presently brought to obedience; and would be glad to compound for a tribute of twenty lac per Annum. As it is; he can hardly be said to acknowledge any allegiance to the Mogul or Soubah; some years deigning to send to him an acknowledgement, by way of salaamy (or present) of 15,000 rupees; sometimes 20,000; and some years not anything at all; as he happens to be disposed.

But in truth, it would be almost cruelty to molest these happy people; for in this district, are the only vestiges of the beauty, purity, piety, regularity, equity and strictness of the ancient Indostan government. Here the property, as well as the liberty of the people, are inviolate. Here, no robberies are heard of, either private or public: the traveler, either with, or without merchandise, on his entering this district, becomes the immediate care of the government; which allots him guards without any expense, to conduct him from stage to stage: and these are accountable for the safety and accommodation of his person and effects. -- At the end of the first stage, he is delivered over, with certain benevolent formalities, to the guards of the next; who after interrogating the traveler, as to the usage he had received in his journey, dismiss the first guard with a written certificate of their behavior, and a receipt for the traveler and his effects: which certificate or receipt are returnable to the commanding officer of the first stage; who registers the same, and regularly reports it to the Rajah.

In this form, the traveler is passed through the country; and if he only passes, he is not suffered to be at any expense for food, accommodation, or carriage for his merchandise or baggage. But it is otherwise, if he is permitted to make any residence in one place above three days; unless occasioned by sickness, or any unavoidable accident. -- If anything is lost in this district; for instance, a bag of money or other valuable; the person who finds it, hangs it upon the next tree, and gives notice to the nearest Chowkey or place of guard; the officer of which, orders immediate publication of the same by beat of tomtom, or drum.

There are in this precinct, no less than three hundred and sixty considerable Pagodas or places of public worship; erected by this Rajah and his ancestors. -- The worship of the cow is here carried to so great an extreme; that if that animal meets with a violent death, the city, or village, to which it belonged, goes into a general mourning and fast, for three days; and all are obliged from the Rajah to the meanest of the people, to remain on the spot, where they first heard the publication of the accident; and are employed, during that space, in performing various expiations, as directed in the Shastah. But more of this under a subsequent general head.

Bisnapore, the capital, and chief residence of the Rajah, and which gives a name to the whole district, is also the chief seat of trade. The produce of the country consist of shaal timbers (a wood equal in quality to the best of our oak) dammer laccas, an inferior sortment of raw silk -- and coposs and grain, sufficient only for their consumption: it is from this district that the East India Companies are chiefly supplied with the article of shall lacca.

Northwest of Bisnapore, contiguous lie the territories of Buddeir Jamma Khan, son and successor to Astoola Khan, a Mogul, and Prince of Bierboheen. -- How this Mahommedan family, originally crept in among the Hindoo Rajahs, we never could learn with any precision; but think it proceeded from its importance to the Mogul government; as being the pass into Bengal, from which most danger of invaders was to be apprehended; and therefore the Emperor judged it expedient to have the government of this pass in the hands of a Mahommedan Prince: the conquered Rajahs not being deemed trustworthy.

The lands formerly possessed by this family, equalled in extent those of Bisnapore; and yielded nearly the same articles of merchandise, and about the same revenues, but as soon as Aliverdi Khan usurped the government of the Soubahship, he divested this Rajah (for so he is commonly called) of a great part of his country, and otherways oppressed him; which he had afterwards cause to repent, as we have before shown, but notwithstanding that, he remained taxed at ten lac per Annum.

The fertile part of his country is in the center of the Bierboheen mountains. His chief residence is the fortress of Nagur; and his principal town of trade, is Illumbuzar; from whence the East India Companies usually had the greatest part of their gurras provided: but the Maharattor invasion occasioned, in a great measure, this branch of trade to be transferred to the town of Cutwah.

Northeast of Calcutta, distant about three days journey, like Kissnagur; the fort and capital of Rajah Kissen Chund. He possesses a tract of country of about twelve days journey; and is taxed at nine Lac per annum; though his revenues exceed twenty five Lac. His principal towns are Santipore, Nuddeah, Bouren, &c. where mullmulls, cossaes, and cotton yarn are manufactured for the Europe markets: the country produces coposs and grain, but not sufficient for exportation.

The revenues of the city of Dacca (once the capital of Bengal) at a low estimation, amount annually to two Khorore; proceeding from customs and cuties levied on cloths, grain, oil, ghee, beetlenut, chank-metals, salt and tobacco, &c.

The foregoing instances of the value of the lands, in the province of Bengal only, held by the Rajahs, shall suffice; without our particularizing those held by the Zamindars, scattered through the province: some of whom are very considerable landholders. These are generally taxed nearer the real value of their lands, than those which are held by the Rajahs.

Time presses, and will not permit us to enter minutely into a detail of the other branches of the revenues of this opulent country, in times of settled peace; a bare mention of the principal remaining sources will fully and amply justify the point we aim at, and show the vast importance of the stake was are pushing for.

Under this head are the revenues of the city of Patna, and those of the province of Bahar -- the government of Purnea, a rich Nabobship -- the revenues of the capital of Morshadabad; the city of Rajahmhol; the towns and districts of Cossimbuzar, Cutwah, Mercha, Buxbunder, Azimgunge, Jilinghee, Baaker Gunge, Rajapore; several petty Nabobships and Fowsdaarys, &c. &c. &c. -- the governments and districts of Midnapore, and Chitygongh, already ceded to us by the treaty of 1760 -- and the Purgunnahs ceded by the treaty 1757, all held by a most precarious tenure, whilst this war with the government subsists.

We make no account of the province of Orissa, usually estimated at one Khorore and a half, because it is a moot point, whether the Emperor will engage in any equivalent plan of satisfaction for the Maharattors evacuating it. Be this as it may, if our general scheme succeeds, it would be worth our while to attempt the getting rid of them by fair means, as this province is greatly improvable, and constitutes a necessary frontier barrier to Bengal on the South. We say nothing neither of the Jagghier lands, which are not taken into our estimate, though these are objects may be worth a future consideration.

To sum up the whole, we venture to stake our credit and veracity on the assertion, that the two provinces of Bengal and Bahar, will fully yield a revenue of eleven Khorore per annum, or 13,750,000 pounds sterling -- if it yields this under a despotic and tyrannic government, in times of peace and currency of trade, what may WE not more expect from its improvements, under a mild and British one? -- We beg leave to repeat, by way of conclusion, that

If we should succeed in the attempt, great and glorious will be the British name in those parts; and immense the gain to the company and nation -- if we fail -- nothing remains, but to obtain a lasting peace on almost any terms -- for if this war continues much longer, on the present ineffectual and expensive footing, the company, as a company, cannot possibly support it; and therefore they must be reduced to the necessity of applying to our own government, for more powerful and potent aids than they hitherto have been indulged and favored with; though this has, we confess, been pretty considerable already. What right we have (I speak as a proprietor) to claim or expect more -- we leave to be resolved by our honorable rulers.

With the above obvious conclusion, we close this our third general head, and first part of our work; and shall proceed to the discussion of our remaining five general heads, in a second part, as speedily as leisure and opportunity will permit.
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Re: Interesting Historical Events, by J.Z. Holwell, Esq.

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2020 8:11 am


Having received intimation that a certain party intended again to make application to parliament, for an act to lay the splitting of East India stock under some restrictions; and having seriously considered this subject in, we think, a new point of view; we beg leave to be heard a few words relative to this matter; and a few more, touching the present mode of governing this company.

It is extraordinary that in the course of so much altercation before the general election, last year, on the propriety or impropriety of splitting stock; two obvious considerations should not (as we remember) have been every urged in defense of this practice; which, if duly weighed, we humbly imagine would determine parliament to discountenance, and throw out, any bill brought before them for the above-mentioned purpose.

That both parties, in the last year's direction, benefited themselves by this practice, is incontestable; notwithstanding the bold assertion and fallacious reasoning on one side; and the unmarked hypocrisy of their champion Verax.

It was asserted, "that neither the stockholder could split nor transfer, nor the transfer accept and vote, consistently with a good conscience as a christian, or an honest man." -- To examine the foundation of this heavy charge, let us consider the situation of every East India proprietor on the common plan of voting, at general courts or general elections.

The proprietor who hold 50,000 l. original stock, and he who holds 500 l. are, touching the government of this company, upon an equal footing. Strange! that a regulation so repugnant to equity and the nature of things, should have so long subsisted without amendment.

The attachment and attention, which every individual owes to the particular community he belongs to, will, nay, must be in proportion to the specific concern and part he holds therein: therefore the proprietor who holds only 500 l. stock, will be less attached and attentive, and more liable to be swayed and influenced to join in bad measures with designing men, than the proprietor who holds 50,000 l. stock. -- Therefore whilst this inconsistent regulation subsists, and the letter of it is strictly adhered to, what remedy or means has the proprietor of 80,000 l. stock, to obtain an influence in the government of this company on any critical emergency in their affairs, adequate to his concern and risk, but this very method of splitting and dividing his stock? consequently, every attempt to deprive him of this only resource is, beyond doubt, most unjust; and may tend to the destruction of the company, if they should ever fall into the hands of a designing, self-interested and wicked set of directors.

To refute the charge of dishonesty in the action itself, we need only consider it in comparison with a transaction much more common; yet, we conceive, strictly similar to it.

A. borrows 500 l. of B. on note of hand payable in any stipulated time; -- will any man be hardy enough to say, that this money is not the property of A. to all intents and purposes, during the time of possession? -- and could not A conscientiously and honestly swear it was so? -- where then is the essential difference between borrowing 500 l. cash, or 500 l. stock? -- Verax will tell you (though he laughs in his sleeve at the same time) "that A. borrows the 500 l. cash to convert it to his own private occasions: but that the stock lent and transferred to A. is the consequence of a private compact and collusion between A. and B. to enable and qualify A. to vote on that side of the question A. is to point out to him." -- Be it so -- yet the moment B. transfers, and A. accepts, this individual 500 l. stock becomes the property of A. it has every essential of property, that property can have annexed to it -- he can sell, dispose of, give it away, and expend it in any manner he pleases; and though he determines to hold it, yet it remains totally in his own breast on which side he will bestow his vote, (as a certain party we believe found the last election, to their great disappointment and disgrace.) -- Verax will again tell you there is a counter obligation for A's replacing this individual stock. -- In like manner A. is obliged to repay his 500 l. cash, and take up his note; if in either case he fails, B. has his remedy at law -- but A. may most truly swear either to be bona fide his property, whilst they continue in his possession; though he is accountable in the one case for payment, and the other for replacing.

Touching the mode of governing this company, we beg leave to say, it never was, nor ever can be well governed on its present institution -- Would you have your court of directors respectable? reduce their number to fourteen; raise the qualification for a director to 10,000 l. original stock; and their salaries to 600 l. per annum. On this plan, the direction of your affairs would become an object worthy of being courted by men of the most distinguished characters, abilities, and property: which the present great importance of this company loudly calls to be at their head -- men who would not be shackled by their necessary attention to their own little concerns; and thereby, obliged to abandon those of the company to the conduct and disposal of one, two, or three members of their body; which unhappily has been the fate of this company from its first institution.
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Re: Interesting Historical Events, by J.Z. Holwell, Esq.

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2020 8:13 am



The many years I resided in India; the many offices I bore in the Company's service; the natural bent of my genius to observation and inquiry, and the various occasions that called forth a particular exertion of it, with the fruits of all those taken together, having been, in every interval of leisure and retirement, the subject of much meditation and recollection; I have been induced to give to the Public my thoughts on the affairs of that Country in general, and of Bengal (with which I am best acquainted) in particular. My intention was surely laudable from its utility to you, to your Constituents, and my country; I say, for this reason my intention was laudable, whatever defects might be in the execution.

I was very conscious of the difficulty of the undertaking, and not less so, that there were many gentlemen, who had merited and raised to themselves both honors and fortunes in the service, more able to have performed such a task. Yet seeing their neglect, and well knowing that the greatest capacity, the most unwearied diligence in a Board of Directors, could never supply them with those lights, which experience only can furnish, or open to them the large and extensive views so requisite to persons in their station; I judged it expedient, or rather a duty incumbent on me, to make an offering to you and the Public of that knowledge, which with unceasing diligence I had labored to obtain, and not suffer it to become altogether useless, by being buried in oblivion: More especially, as the critical conjuncture of your affairs in India seemed to call aloud for every assistance of the kind, for the better information of you, Gentlemen, who are entrusted with the interests of the whole body of the Proprietors; and not of them only, but also with the interest the Nation in general has, and must always have, in her commerce to the East Indies.

These and these only were my motives to the work I published in August last. I leave you to judge, Gentlemen, how great my surprise and chagrin at being informed it has been privately insinuated to you (and probably some of your opinions influenced to believe) that in the estimate I have there given, the value of the rich provinces of Bengal, is highly exaggerated and much beyond the truth.

Although my Chapter on this subject was more particularly addressed to you, yet as I had given it to the Public, I might reasonably have expected, if anyone was better informed, or doubted on plausible grounds the authenticity of my computation, it would have been publicly impeached, and an opportunity afforded me thereby of vindicating its truth, by laying before the Public the grounds on which it is formed.

I hold myself much obliged to those friends, who by giving me timely intelligence of those insinuations, have put it into my power to do myself justice, and which is of far great consequence, to do justice to the subject, by giving you such further information, as may remove every shadow of objections, and leave you thoroughly persuaded of the truth of what I have asserted to you and the Public; for although it is of no great moment to me, to you, or the Public to inquire, whether those insinuations arose from envy, self-interest, or personal malevolence; from whatever source they flowed, it is of great importance to the welfare of the East India Company, and to the interest of the Nation in general, as well as in justice to my veracity, that by a speedy discussion their fatal tendency may be effectually removed. I beg leave to add, that at this time it is particularly necessary that all undue influence should be erased from your minds, as it is the season when Bengal affairs come in course under your immediate inspection; allow me therefore to presume there is great propriety (as my heart assures me there is great sincerity) in my present address.

By dedicating the Chapter in question, regarding the revenues, more particularly to you, I appealed as it were to you, who have in your hands vouchers, that by parity of reasoning (as will be shown hereafter) would confirm my assertion, and thereby as I thought made it unnecessary to enter minutely into those proofs in support of it, which a bare ipse dixit in an address to the Public might have required. Without referring to such evidence, might I not reasonably hope to have had credit for my assertion with you, as I was conscious you very well knew that none of the Company's servants had ever applied with more diligence to this branch of your concerns, or met with more (if so many) repeated opportunities of prosecuting such inquiries: I entered on them early, I took my informations from those who were the best versed in these matters; I labored hard to obtain intelligence of his sort, long before there was the least probability of my making use of that intelligence in a practical way; and afterwards my duty led me to verify many points relating to the subject, by the unerring light of experience; and the more my experience, the fuller were the evidences, and the stronger my conviction of the justness of that intelligence I had acquired. Might I not then rationally presume, under a full and firm conviction, that what I as writing was thoroughly well founded, (which could alone have prompted me to a task, to which I was not otherwise called) that I might make the offering to you and the Public, without apprehension of any impeachment of its veracity, but on the clearest and fullest evidence: as a considerable Proprietor, I might have an interest in giving you just information; I could have none in misleading you.

The only method of leading us to the truth, that the subject will admit, is reasoning by analogy from those things of which we are most certain, to those of a like nature, in regard to which we wish to be certain. This then is the method I shall pursue, and I hope and will endeavor to do it, with as much accuracy and perspicuity as you can reasonably expect. -- These previous points being settled, we will now, Gentlemen, proceed to the business.

On a candid and attentive perusal of my third Chapter, it will be obvious from the whole tenor of it, that it is calculated to excite you to attempt the possession of this country, in trust for the Emperor, and thereby put a period to a destructive and inadequate war; but can you imagine I excite you to this from the consideration of the worth of these Provinces, according to the rates standing upon the King's books? no, it is from the consideration of their real value, and actual produce; and the farther consideration of how much this produce would certainly be increased under an English Soubah.

You have been told, Gentlemen, (or my information is wrong) that the revenues of Bengal are rated on the King's books under three khorore of Sicca rupees: If it is said, the rents of the lands are so rated, you have been told the truth; these only go into the Royal Treasury, and to the best of my remembrance are rated at two khorore, seventy-five, or seventy-six lac, and some odd thousands. Should this information (without looking further) be taken as a proof of my exaggeration, when my estimate expressly includes the rents of the lands, and the revenues arising from their produce? which I have estimated conjunctly at eleven khorore; and now proceed to the proof, resting it upon what those who are conversant in your affairs in India will admit to be an indisputable fact, that the lands throughout the provinces, bear nearly a proportional value to each other.

I cannot with any precision charge my memory (having none of my papers with me) as to what the lands of the Company's original zamindary Calcutta stood rated in the King's books; it is enough for my purpose, that you and I know, they and the revenues arising from them, for many years after the Company was invested them, scarcely yielded a net profit that recompensed the expense of collecting them. In process of time, as their servants became better acquainted with the nature of them, they became an object more and more worthy of attention; and being divided into small farms, soon produced a net annual revenue from twenty to twenty-five thousand rupees; as the knowledge of their nature and value increased, so did the rents and farms; until they brought in a net revenue of near forty thousand rupees per annum. Here they seemed to be at their ne plus ultra; though the tenants were daily increasing, and the lands grew more fully occupied and cultivated; consequently their produce, and the consumption of that produce, enlarged; which rationally indicated there should have been an increase of the rents and revenues.

This not being the case, the Gentlemen then in the direction at home, ordered a scrutiny to be made in the office; and upon an average taken of the net proceeds for fifteen years preceding the year 1752, they appeared to have produced the Company barely thirty-nine thousand rupees per annum. In consequence of various reforms and the detection of glaring frauds, the farms for the first time were put up to a public and unbiased sale, to the highest bidder; and though six, by order of the then Court of Directors, were abolished, as grievous and oppressive to the tenants, yet these very lands produced at the close of this year, net seventy-three thousand rupees; at the close of the second, one lac, and thirteen thousand; at the close of the third, one lac and fourteen thousand; and would at the close of the fourth year, to demonstration have produced one lac, and twenty thousand; and from the nature of the thing, would have gone on annually increasing.

The lands of the twenty-four Purgunnahs, ceded to the Company by the treaty of 1757, which subsequently became Colonel Clive's jagghier; were rated on the King's books at two lac, and twenty-two thousand rupees. These lands were, for the space of sixteen months, retained in hand on the Company's account, under the inspection and superintendence of a collector, Mr. Frankland, whose activity, abilities, and integrity, in the execution of that trust, stood unimpeached. But the Company's agents finding that by that method they should never arrive at the knowledge of the real value of these lands; determined to divide them into fifteen farms, and put them up to public sale, reserving the royalties in their own hands, from an apprehension the farmers, by being invested with them, might have it in their power to oppress the tenants. This resolution was carried into execution, I think, in July 1759, and the farms let for the term of three years; when those very lands which had produced for sixteen months only three lac, eighty four thousand rupees, sold at this unbiased sale for seven lack, sixty-five thousand Sicca rupees, per annum, exclusive of the royalties: and thirteen at least of the fifteen purchases, to my knowledge, were annual gainers by their bargains. In bidding to keep up two of the farms to what I had reason to think was their value, they fell upon my hands: as I had not leisure to superintend them myself, I disposed of them a few days after, for an advance of five thousand Sicca rupees, per annum, during the term of my lease. I only mention this as a corroborating proof of my last assertion.

What the Purgunnahs produced at their second sale, you, Gentlemen, know better than I, as before the expiration of the term of their first lease, I had the honor to be recalled.

To particularize every instance that might be brought in proof, or rather justification of my general estimate, would be to protract this address to a tedious length: those already produced, afford full evidence, that the revenues of the lands are very nearly in a quadruple proportion to the rents of them; and that so far from having exaggerated, I have rather depreciated the real and intrinsic value of these provinces; especially when it is remembered, that my estimate is drawn exclusive of the royalties, which alone are a very considerable revenue; and also that I have made no account of the many Jagghiers, nor of the immense tracts of Burmuttu lands, (so called for being set apart for the support of the Bramins) nor of many other possessions which pay no rents; in the grants and investitures of which, there are more frauds and collusions practiced, than in every other branch of the revenues. From a scrutiny into these, a new and considerable income would arise that has hitherto never found its way, either into the royal treasury, or into the Soubah's coffers.

I repeat then, and insist on my estimate, that exclusive of the royalties, upon an obvious and fair calculation, the whole lands of the three provinces have never yielded less than eleven khorore, forty thousand Sicca rupees, per annum; and deducting for Orissa one khorore and a half, at which the lands and revenues of that province are usually estimated, there will remain nine khorore and a half for Bengal and Bahar, to which annex the royalties, and they will more than make good the above deduction for Orissa.

Though I have in my general estimate, confined myself to the consideration of the known and established rents and revenues of the provinces, yet the extra items specified above, no less constitute a part of their value; and though those items have for a long course of years been concealed and embezzled from the government, that is no reason why they may not in future be brought to account by a British Soubah at the head of it; an event which I will still hope is not far distant.

Whoever attempts to depreciate this object at this juncture, can be no friend to you, your constituents, or his country; and should seem moved only by private views to prolong a war, that can benefit none, but the principal actors in it. If it has been insinuated to you, that the provinces of Bengal are not alone worthy your possession; you are now, I trust, fully convinced of the contrary; and will see the necessity of putting a stop at last to the strides, your servants are daily making towards acquisitions, which cannot possibly be maintained: the provinces of Bengal you may maintain and defend, upon the plan I have presumed already to hint to you. I will further communicate a few anecdotes relative to the lands and revenues of this country, and close this address.

The rents of the lands are the property of the Emperor. In consequence of which he has a royal Dewan, in every Soubahdaary, who ought to be accountable to the royal treasury for the whole amount of the rents, as rated upon the King's books: but as there is always a good understanding between the Dewan and the Soubah, they never are at a loss in pretending reasons for the rents falling short, though the whole is strictly and fully collected. What is diverted from the royal treasury, is divided between the Dewan and the Soubah, of which the latter always takes the lion's share.

Though the amount of the rents of the lands is near three khorore per annum; yet the highest stipulation made with the Emperor was that mentioned in another place, of one khorore, one lack, one thousand, one hundred, and one rupee, by the Soubah Soujah Khan: and this was regularly transmitted to the royal treasury, until the usurpation of Aliverdi. He, on pretence of the distresses of the provinces (to which distressed state he himself had brought them) made a new stipulation of fifty-two lac per annum; to which he paid no regard longer than the Vizir Monsoor Ali Khan's army was within a few days march of Patna, A.D. 1750, nor has the royal treasury benefited a rupee from these provinces since that period. This I mention, or should rather say, repeat, to show how gladly the Emperor would embrace any overture that would insure to him annually one-third of the rents of these provinces.

The established ground rent is three Sicca rupees per Begah (about one third of an English acre) throughout the empire; but Aliverdi Khan made the first innovation in the established law, and assessed the land four annas Sicca, or a quarter of a rupee upon each Begah, on pretence of the Chout paid to the Maharattors, and raised the rents of the Rajahs and Zamindaars in that proportion; these had no other means of reimbursing themselves, but levying it upon the farmers, and they again on the tenants. Subsequently the lands were on various pretended exigencies, at different periods, assessed to 10-16ths of a rupee, though every additional tax on land, above three Sicca rupees per annum, is contrary to the standing law of the empire; which until Aliverdi's usurpation, had been held sacred, and inviolable. In the year 1732, your Governor and Council had in agitation the raising the rents of your own Zamindary of Calcutta; which being rumored abroad they received a peremptory Perwannah, from the Soubah, forbidding them; in which the Soubah told them, that they were presuming to do a thing, which he himself had not power to do; and that if they persisted, they would, by the laws of the empire, forfeit their lands.

Frauds throughout the empire in letting the lands, are manifold: for instance: The Rajahs, and Zamindaars, by private compact with the Soubah's officers, who are charged with the management of this department, obtain more lands than by their Synods (or grants, which are commonly called Pottahs) appear, and consequently pay no rent to the king for the surplus land. The same artifice is practiced between the Dewans of the Rajahs and the Zamindaars, and the Izardaars or farmers; and the tenants, or common Pottahholders under them, by bribing the officers of the Jummah Bundi, and those instructed with the measurements of the lands, that they may enjoy among them the benefit of the surplus land; and I may justly aver, there is not a tenant in Indostan, but possessed and occupies a greater quantity of land, than his Pottah expresses, or than he pays rent for: Consequently, it is the tenant that ultimately enjoys the benefit of the surplus land, thus gained by corruption, from the Soubah's Ministers, while the King especially suffers in his rents. It extremely well answers the tenant's purpose, to possess, if he can by a small bribe, more land than he pays for, because himself and his heirs enjoy the profit of it in perpetuity; since, by a fundamental law of the empire, their Pottahs are irrevocable, as long as they pay the rent, rated in them respectively; and so tender and indulgent are the laws of Indostan in this particular, that no tenant forfeits his land, before he has failed in his payments for twelve months; though the land tax, by the same laws, is to be paid every three months.

This method of secreting or purloining the land from the King and the Soubah, has been practiced time out of mind; and it is quite in point, to mention a flagrant instance that appeared in the year 1753; when in consequence of the general scrutiny, made by your order in your Zamindary Calcutta, it was demonstrated that in your small district, upon a favorable new measurement of your land, there were near five hundred Begah secreted in this way, and fraudulently enjoyed, by your tenants, for which you had received no ground rent from your being invested with the Zamindary; of this you may be convinced by turning to your Jummah Bundi, or register of your lands subsequently by me transmitted to you. As you, Gentlemen, have by that measurement gained five hundred Begali of ground, upon a possession only of six thousand two hundred; you may judge from thence, what an astonishing additional revenue would arise to you, when Soubah of the provinces, from a new (though favorable) measurement of the whole lands.

When the revenues, arising from the lands of this country are retained in the proprietors' hands (that is, not farmed out) one universal chain of roguery runs through the whole, as well as in the rents of the lands; and there is a fellow-feeling between every one employed in the collections, from the Dewan to the lowest Moree, or writer; and this the Rajahs and Zamindaars (the great proprietors of the lands) are no more exempt from, than the Company is, notwithstanding the utmost integrity of their convenanted servants: but I have so clearly traced, and laid open the nature of those frauds (which are similar throughout the empire) in my state of the Company's revenues Zamindary, dated the 15th of December, 1752, that I need not trouble you further on that subject, than to refer you thereto.

The whole intention and aim of these communications, is to persuade and convince you, that be the Company's possessions in that country what they will, either less or more; you will never get at their true value, or derive to yourselves and constituents the half of their net advantages, by keeping them in hand: the remedy is obvious. -- If they are divided into farms, in value from five thousand rupees, to one lac per annum, and put up to public sale to the highest bidder, under the same restrictions and exclusions as were stipulated at the sale of your twenty-four Purgunnahs, then most probably, five sixths of their real value would result to the Company. And I cannot enough congratulate your having happly appointed a Gentleman (Mr. Sumner) to succeed Lord Clive in the government, who is intimately acquainted with, and conversant in all matters relative to the lands and revenues; and most capable of carrying your orders on these heads into execution.

To save you the trouble of references, I will subjoin two letters, the one addressed to the then board of Calcutta, the other to a former chairman; as they are both strictly connected with the subject, and will add strength and weight to my arguments.

I have the honor to be with most perfect respect,


Your most Obedient Humble Servant,

Dec. 1765.

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