Page images

India. Najeb-ud-Dowlah, the only Mahometan chief of power or ability, that was hostile to their interest, could not bring into the field an army of sufficient strength to oppose their progress. He had been compelled to take post in the vicinity of Sookertal, a fort situate on the west side of the Ganges,* where he was reduced to such extremity, that had not the approach of the Rohillas, and Shujah-ud-Dowlah, who were moving to his assistance, together with the rumour of the Duranny Ahmed Shah's march towards the Jumna, obliged the Mahrattas to retire, it is probable that Najeb-ud-Dowlah would have fallen under the superior force of their arms.

In the same year, but previously to this event, Ghaze-ud-Dein had cut off the Emperor, f and placed Shah Jehan the Second on the throne. The capital no longer contained any grand object of ambition. The power of its princes had been sunk and trampled on, its treasures had been plundered,

been plundered, and its gates indifcriminately thrown open to Hindoos and Mahometans, according to the varying power of the day. The Mahrattas, who in their turn gave the law at Dehli, deposed the Shah Jehan, who had been exhibited to promote the views of Ghaze-ud Dein, and raised to the throne, Jehan Bucht, the son of Ali Gohur. I After fome desultory actions, the Duranny Ahmed Shah, joined by

Now in ruins -See Rennell's Map.
+ Alumguir Sani.
$ One of the domestic titles of the present Emperor.


Najeb-ud-Dowlah and their Rohilla chiefs, attacked the Mahrattas, and defeated them, in a general engagement on the plains of Bandelly,* in 1770 ; when Najeb-ud-Dowlah singularly distinguished himself, routing, it is said, with his own troops, the division of the Mahratta army commanded by Duttah Pattelle, † who fell in the field. In the battle of Panifrett, the fortune of which was to decide the existence of the Mahometan Empire in India, the Afghanis were powerfully aslisted by Najeb-ud-Dowlah, who during the period of an important intercourse with them, evinced an invaried fidelity and spirit.

The overthrow of the Mahrattas and Ahmed Shah's return into his own country, contributed to give the affairs of the Empire a less distressful aspect; and and the abilities of Najeb-ud-Dowlah, § who conducted the administration of the young Prince,|| again reflected on the capital a glimmering ray of respect. A war now broke out between Najeb-ud-Dowlah and the Jatts, a powerful and war-like tribe of Hindoos, who in the general convulsion of the state, had seized on large tracts of territory, confining on the

* In the neighbourhood of Dehli, at the passage of the Jumna, called Bouraree Ghaut.

+ One of the Mahratta generals, and the uncle of Mhadgee Scindia, now so well known in the annals of India.

I This decisive action was fought in February 1761.

$ Ghaze-ud-Dein, in 1761, left Dehli, where he could no longer preserve an inAuence, and where he was detested for his cruelties and treachery.

# Tewen Rucht.


western bank of the Jumna, and comprehending the strong holds of Deigh, Combere, Burtpoure, and the city of Agrah. The cause of these hostilities is not explained in any document that has reached my knowledge ; nor would perhaps throw any strong light on the history of Najeb-ud-Dowlah. They arose probably from the source* which produced the various contests



* The seeds which produced the decay of the Moghul empire, and which at this day have ripened into such malignancy, took a deep root during the reign of Aurungzebe ; who though one of the most sagacious princes of the house of Timur, endangered the welfare of the state, and the security of his subjects, by an injudicious impulse of domestic affection. He portioned amongst his fons, who were active and ambitious, the most valuable provinces of the empire ; where acquiring an influence and strength, that cannot be held by an Asiatic subject with safety to the monarch, they expected with impatience the event that was to determine their schemes and pretensions. On the death of Aurungzebe, the sons eagerly took up arıns, and after deluging the country with blood, the war was successfully terminated by Bahauder Shah, who may be said to have mounted the throne of Dehli, from a mound of fraternal and kindred Naughter.-Not being endowed with experience, nor perhaps the genius of his father, the officers who governed the provinces, relaxed during his thort reign in their allegiance, shewing obedience to fuch orders, as might tend to promote their own views. The Mahrattas, whom Aurungzebe had nearly subdued by the active efforts of a thirty years war, descended, at his death, from their mountains, and rapidly recovered the territories from which they had been expelled. Previously to the Persian invasion, the subahdars of Oude and the Decan, having virtually erected their chiefships into independant states, commanded, without the controul of the court, large armies, and disposed of the amount of the revenues, without rendering any account to the imperial treasury. The Empire, thus enfeebled, and govrened by a luxurious and indolent prince, invited Nadir Shah to conqueft and plunder. The river Attoc, the natural western barrier of India, on whose bank Mahomet Shah Mould have stood in person, was croiled by the Persians without opposition ; and this inglorious prince, unworthy of the diadem he wore of the illustrious house which had given to the world a Baber, an Akbar, and an Aurungzebe,


[ocr errors]

and disorders of the times; when the strong arm, unrestrained by fear of punishment, bore down the weaker when established rights were subverted, and the private bonds of faith, with impunity, rent asunder.

SOORidge Mull, the chief of the Jatts, commenced the campaign by attacking a Mahonetan Jaguirdar,* the adherent of Najeb-ud-Dowlah. But the event of this war, which was fatal to Sooridge Mull, + did not confer any essential advantage on Najeb-ud-Dowlah, though he gained an easy and complete victory over the enemy : for the districts of Sarunpour had been over-run by the Sicques, against whom he was obliged to march, and to forego the fruits of his success.

In the autumn of the year 1764, Najeb-ud-Dowlah was besieged in Dehli, by a numerous army of Mahometans, Jatts, and Sicques, collected by Jewayir Sing, the son of Sooridge Mull, who had formed fanguine hopes of crushing the power of Najeb-ud- Dowlah, and revenging the death of his father. Ghaze-ud-Dein, who had brought with him a body of Patans from Furruckabad, also joined

surrendered to them, without drawing his sword, the wealth and dominions of Hindoftan. A subsequent train of diversified ruin, moving with a rapidity not paralelled in the history of nations, has now left no other vestige of the Moghul empire, than the name of king.

* Moofah Khan, the Saguirdar of Furrucknagur, a district lying between Dehli and Agrah.

| Sooridge Mull was killed in December 1763, in an action fought on the plains of Ghaziabad, near the river Hindia, and about eighteen miles distant from Dehli.


the confederate forces. After experiencing the distresses of a close siege of four months, heightened by a scarcity of provisions and money, Najeb-ud-Dowlah prevailed on Mullar Row, the Mahratta officer, to detach his troops from the army of Jewayir Sing, who on the desertion of so powerful an ally, raised the fiege. The relief of Dehli was hastened also by the arrival of Ahmed Shah Duranny, at Sirhend, who was approaching with the avowed purpose of affording succour to Najeb-ud-Dowlah. This chief had but a short time breathed from the embarrassments of the late combination, when he saw that his most active exertions would be called forth to defend the territory he held on the western side of the Ganges, from the ravages of the Sicques ;--a people conftitutionally adapted for carrying on the various fpecies of de(ultory war.

NA JEB-UD-DOWLAu formed a junction in the year 1770, with the Mahratta army, which came into Hindoftan under the command of Tuckejei Holcar and Mhadgee Scindia, whom, according to my Rohilla papers, he had invited to effect the expulsion of the Sicques from the Duab. Najeb-ud-Dowlah, who had in the latter period of his life fallen into an infirm state of health, was seized with a severe illness in the Mahratta camp. Leaving behind him a part of his army under the command of Zabilah Khan, his eldest son, he proceeded towards Rohilcund ; but the disorder became so violent, that he could not proceed farther than Happer, a small town in the Duab, where he VOL. I.


died. *

« PreviousContinue »