Page images

former chief of that place, who had thrown off his allegiance to the empire. Previously to his proceeding on this fervice, Ali Mahomet had been required to send Abed-ullah and Fyze-ullahi, two of his sons, to Labore,* to be kept as hostages for the good conduct of the father. The Rohilla, who on every occasion difplayed the ability and spirit of a soldier, defeated the Sirhend rebel, and reduced to his subjection Kote Roy, one of the strongest fortresses in the upper part of India. During the residence of Ali Mahomet at Sirhend, his party, which had been joined by a body of two or three thousand marauding Afghans, was computed at ten thousand cavalry, and fifteen or twenty thousand infantry of various denominations. The Rohilla did not take any part in the Durany war ;t but whilft the Moghul and Afghan armies were approaching to action, he quitted the Punjab and retired to Hurdwar, from whence he penetrated in 1747 into Rohilcund, which he rapidly conquered. The two sons of Ali Mahomet, who had been delivered as hostages for his good conduct, were taken by Ahmed Shah, the Durany, in the fort of Sirhend; where they had been placed by Kummur ud Dein, previously to the reduction of that town by the Afghans. Ali Mahomet could not long have enjoyed the fruits of his last success ; for his death, according to the

* Meer Munnoo, the son of the Vizier, was at that time the Governor of Labore. + The first invasion of the Durany Ahmed Shah.



[ocr errors]

memoirs of that time, happened in the latter end of 1747,* at

Perhaps no soldier that has appeared in India, passed through
more active and eventful scenes of life, than Ali Mahomet. He
was born, and grew up it may be said, amidst the din of arms.
He fell when a boy into the hands of Daoud Khan. An incessant
series of warfare occupied his manhood, and he died at the period
of finally subduing the territory, which he had before arduously
fought for, conquered, and had lost. This chief bore the reputa-
tion of a liberal encourager of agriculture and commerce. He
was strict and rigorous in the exactions which he levied from his
subjects; but as he rarely infringed, he never remitted a ftipulated
engagement. Owlah, his usual place of residence, and the princi-
pal town of Rohilcund, he ornamented with numerous public and
private edifices, which were constructed and arranged with an order
and taste seldom seen in Indian cities.

SAUD Ullah Khan, the third sont of Ali Mahomet, succeeded to the supremacy of the Rohilla Dominion. In obedience to the last counsel of his father, who had recommended Hafiz Rhamut to his young successor, I as the most capable of the Rohillas, Saud Ullah appointed that officer his deputy in the management of pub

[ocr errors]

* Or the beginning of 1748.
+ The two elder were yet kept in confinement by the Durannies.
| At his father's death, Saud Ullah was about twelve years of age.


lic affairs. During the administration of Saud Ullah, the Patans of Furruckabad, commanded by their chief, Caim Khan Bunghish, invaded Rohilcund. Confident of success, and presuming on the military reputation which he had acquired, the Patan precipitately quitted the body of his army, and advanced with a party of his principal officers. A detachment of Rchillas in ambuscade, fired at Caim Khan as he passed, and killed him, with some other persons of his retinue. The army, on the death of their leader, Aled, leaving the baggage and guns behind, which were captured by the Rohillas, and estimated at a great value. Saud Ullah, said at that time to be fourteen years of age, had accompanied the army on this expedition.* Sufdar Jung still retaining a strong animosity to the Rohillas, and desirous of improving the occasion of Saud Ullah's minority, formed a junction with Mulhar Row, the chief of a large body of Marhatta cavalry, and penetrated into Rohil: cund. The Rohillas, unable to resist so large a force, took shelter in the skirts of the northern mountains, where they remained, until some revolutions at court caused Susdar Jung to move towards Dehli. He carried with him the strength of his own, and the

• The invasion of Caim Khan happened in the latter end of 1749. It appears that Mahomet Khan, the son of Daoud Khan, who had taken refuge at Furruckabad, acCompanied Caim Khan on the expedition, and fell in the action. In the course of the Same year, an officer named Kuttib-ud-Dein, the son or grand son of Azmut Ullah Khan, was appointed by the court to the Government of Moradabad, and entered Rohilcund with an army which was encountered and defeated by the Rohillas.


auxiliary army,* ftationing in Rohilcund, a detachment for the purpose of maintaining possessions of the districts he had conquered : the Rohillas did not long continue in concealment, but collecting their scattered forces, they expelled the remaining troops of Sufdar Jung. It

appears that about the year 1750, the two elder sons of Ali Mahomet, having been enlarged by Admed Shah Dourany, came into Rohilcund, and solicited a portion of the paternal estate, Their claims were submitted to the deliberation of the principal Rohilla officers, among whom Hafiz took the lead, and it was resolved that the territory which had been personally possessed by Ali Mahomet, should be divided amongst his sons.t Violent disputes soon arose amongst the brothers, in the detail of which, little ac

is observed by the writers of the tracts, that have come into my possession : nor would the relation, consisting of perplexed scenes of treachery and intrigue, tend to forward the general plan of this treatise. It will be sufficient to say, that the Rohilla chiefs, aware of the difficulties that affected the late arrangement, and difsatisfied at the conduct of Abed Ullah Khan, the eldest of the bro


* It is mentioned, that the Marhattas withdrew from Rohilcund, on receiving a bond of fifty lacks of rupees from the Rohillas ; and it should seem, that they made the non-payment of this bond an oftenfible cause for invading Rohilcund, in the years 1772 and 1773

+ Ali Mahomet had fix sons, Abed Ullah Khan, Fyze-Ullah Khan, Saud Ullah, Mahomet Yar Khan, Allah Yar Khan, and Martaza Khan,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

thers, united in force, and expelled him with some other branches of the family from Rohilcund. Fyze-Ullah Khan, the second son of Ali Mahomet, obtained, after the expulsion of Abed Ullah, the districts of Rampour ; which his prudent wary conduct has preferved to this day, though he has been involved in a series of domestic feuds, and was once invested and reduced to extreme distress by a powerful army.* The districts which had been allotted to Abed Ullah, for a short time considered the ruling chief, were now bestowed on Saud Ullah Khan : who again rose to his former superiority of station. Hafiz Ahmed, having acquired by his office, military ability, and genius, and his extensive influence in Rohilcund, gradually diminished, and at length wholly superfeded, the authority of Saud Ullah, who assenting to the offer of a pensionet Hafiz was avowedly advanced to the supreme administration of affairs. The cause of this revolution is afcribed to the indolent and dissipated genius of Saud Ullah, who, it was represented by the party of Hafiz, would soon waste the resources of the country, and entail a disgrace on the nation. Without searching into remoter motives, it may be directly imputed to the ambition of Hafiz, who no longer held in remembrance the hand that had raised him to honours, and had committed a son to his protection ; but rent without a scruple every bond that confined his schemes of

* The combined army of English and Shujah-ud-Doulah, in 1774.

+ It is said that the other chiefs contributed to this payment, which amounted to cight lacks of rupees per annum,


« PreviousContinue »