Page images

vested the Vizier with the hereditary possession of the province of Oude. This prince was now seen to apply with a vigilant assiduity to the administration of his affairs. The revenue department was committed to the charge of men of ability and credit, who in the space of a few years enabled him to discharge a large debt, and to accumulate a fund for the snpply of public exigencies. On his arrival at Oude, after the Allahabad treaty, he called together, it is said, his principal officers, and making known to them the engagements he had made with the English, he desired their aid in performing the obligation. Through this mode of requisition, which is often praćtised by the princes of India in time of need, the Vizier obtained some aid; though far short of his necessities. His Begum, seeing the difficulties that surrounded him, and the distressed state of his mind, divested herself of the jewels, and other valuable ornaments she possessed, and entreated that the amount might be applied to the arrangement of his affairs. It is mentioned, that Shujah-ud-Dowlah was so warmly affected by this mark of the Begum's attachment, which wholly removed his embarrassment, that he solemnly swore, he would never, while he resided in the same place, absent himself from her apartment after a certain hour of the night; and that he would thenceforth ever esteem her his faithful friend and counsellor. Nor does it appear that he deviated from the vow he made to the Begum, who beU 2 Came

came from that day the repository of his treasure, and all his secret transačtions. THE defeat at Buxar, having relieved the Vizier from the maintenance of a turbulent crowd of cavalry, he began to introduce in his army, a system of order and regular payment. He had seen that the excellency of the European troops consisted in discipline, the quality of their arms, and the skilful management of artillery. He therefore made strenuous and unceasing efforts in forming a body of infantry, with its requisite establishment of cannon, after the European manner. The undertaking was arduous, and such as few Asiatic princes could have executed. But the genius, ačtivity, and perseverance of Shujah-ud-Dowlah, surmounted the various obstacles, which rooted prejudice and constitutional habit had raised to oppose him. Under the direction of some Frenchmen whom he had invited into his service, an arsenal was founded at Fyzeabad, where guns, musquets and shot, with other military stores, were fabricated with skill and expedition.— From this new magazine, about ten battalions of infantry, and a small train of artillery, were equipped. Though this body was formed at the expence of large sums, and much labour, such judicious arrangements had been adopted for the government of his country, that sufficient funds were created to defray the charge, and to produce a respectable treasury. The cavalry, which at the battle of Buxar amounted to 30,000, appears at this time to have

been been reduced to little more than 5,000 men. The Vizier derived an essential benefit from the English garrison, that was stationed at Allahabad, which keeping that quarter in awe, relieved him from the necessary expence of protecting a frontier country. IN the year 1768, Shujah-ud-Dowlah saw himself in the possession of a well appointed army, a treasury competent to its charge, and a flourishing produćtive territory. This quick progress, in endeavouring to dissolve the subordinate connexion into which he had been forced, and to extend his power, attracted the notice of Colonel Smith, who was stationed at Allahabad.—This officer represented the condućt of Oude, as dangerous to the interest of the nation, and demanding an immediate interposition. The council, roused by this information, deputed Messrs. Cartier, Russell, and Colonel Smith, to the Vizier, to expostulate on the tendency of his military preparations; which indicated, they observed, a want of confidence in their friendship and support. The deputies held a conference with the Vizier at Benares, in the month of November, 1768; when after much acrimonious altercation, he consented, though with a deep mortification and relućtance, to limit the strength of his troops to the following.

number and denomination :


[ocr errors][merged small]

every rank, - -
The Nujeeb regiment of matchlock-men, 5,ooo
A corps of artillery, not to exceed - 5oo

Irregulars, not to be clothed, disciplined, or
armed, after the manner of the English sepoys,

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

In the year 1772, a Mahratta army, commanded by the chiefs, Scindia, Halcar, and Hurry Punt, penetrating into Hindostan, laid waste the Duab, and possessed themselves of the Etajoh distrićts, together with all the territory of Ahmed Khan Bungish, except the town and environs of Furruckabad. An invasion so formidable had alarmed the Rohilla chiefs, who, on the approach of the Mahrattas, solicited the Vizier to procure the aid of an English brigade; for which they offered the sum of forty lacks of rupees. The Vizier, anxious for the safety of his own country, on the confines of which the enemy were already encamped, accepted, without hesitation, a proposal that would enable him to defray the expences of a body of troops, from which he himself would derive an essential benefit ; and he, some time in the year 1772, applied to the English Government, for a supply of forces to defend his dominions against the threatened invasion of the Mahrattas. Conformably to this requisition, an English brigade proceeded to Benares, whence a detachment of three native battalions, joined by the forces of the Vizier, marched to the frontiers of Rohilcund; the interiour parts of which the Mahrattas were then laying waste. The commencement of the periodical rains, and the near approach of the combined army, obliged them to rapidly cross the Ganges. The Mahrattas, in the following year,” again entered Rohilcund

where they committed much devastation ; but they retreated on

* 1773, the

« PreviousContinue »