Page images

body, chiefly of horse, was stationed at this camp; the greater part of the forces under the command of the Rajah, being employed in the fiege of Kote Kangrah. The common road to Jumbo from hence, lay through Nadone, the principal town in the Kangrah country, and through the district of Huriepour; but these places being then overrun by the Sicques, we were obliged to deviate from the usual track, and proceed to the westward. It is to be feared that these turbulent mountaineers, the disturbers of their solitary abode, will stir up such commotions in their land, as to wholly shut up this road, the only secure one from India to Kashmire, or render the passage so precarious, that no advantage will compensate the risk.” On the 30th, we moved, and joining the kafilah of the iron merchants again, accompanied it to Sooree — six cosses : — a small village, of which most of the carriers were inhabitants. The halt was made at this village from a desire of the carriers to see their families, for it was at the distance of a full day's journey out of their road. To the eastward of Sooree, which lies in a valley, we crossed a ridge of high and steep mountains. On the 31st, at Bompal — four cosses: —- a small hamlet stuated on an eminence. This day's journey was made short for the accommodation of the iron merchants, who went to the Kangrah

camp to attempt the recovery of the property which the Sicques

* This apprehension has been since verified.

Vol. I. F f had

had plundered; but they returned without redress, and now seemed anxious to leave the country; as instead of procuring a restitution or payment, farther demands had been made. All this night, I was exposed to a continued and copious rain — and here let me observe, with sincere thanks for the blessing of a hale constitution, that though I have, in the course of this journey, endured much feverity of weather, my health has hitherto received no injury. . A continuance of the rain detained us at Bompal until the 2d of April, when we arrived at Chumbah — eight cosses : — a small village, depending on the chiefship of Jessoul. At a short distance from Bompal, we were stopped by the colle&tor of Nadone, who had come three miles from his house, in defiance of the troubled state of the country, to receive from us a toll duty of a few pence. At about mid-way on the right hand side of the road is seen a place of Hindoo worship, at the foot of which runs the Byas Gunge,” with a rapid stream of about one hundred yards broad. A great part of the road from Bompal to Chumbah lay through a valley, watered by the Byas, on the north side of which is seen the level and fertile distrićts of Huriepour. The territory of Kangrah, or Ktochin, is limited on the north, and north-west by Huriepour; on the east by Chumbay ; on the south by Kalour; and on the west by the Punjab. The ordinary revenue, estimated at seven lacks of rupees, has been much diminished by the chief's alliance with the Sicques, who spread destrućtion wherever they go. These marauders are now aćting the part of the man whom fable represents to have been invited by the horse, to aid his contest with the boar; and you know the uses to which the thoughtless horse was applied, when vićtory was decided in favour of the combined forces. This day, our little party which had been joined in the Bellaspour camp by the Kashmirians, resolved, from a dread of the Sicques, who had invested the common track, to quit the kafilah, and through detached paths endeavour to reach Jumbo. A native trader of India, it is to be observed, holds his time in small estimation, and would rather halt for two or three months, than incur even a common risk. On the 3d, at Dada— ten cosses; dependant on the chief of Sebah. From a stream running through the village, we procured some excellent fish, of the size and something of the taste of trouts. This distrićt, by its approach to the head of the Punjab, lies wholly at the mercy of the Sicques, who are I think the plainest dealers in the world. The fort of Sebah,” standing pleasantly on the brink of a rivulet, lay on our road; and in passing it, I saw two Sicque cavaliers strike a terror into the chief and all his people, though shut up within their fort. They had been sent to collect the tribute which the Sicques have imposed on all the mountain chiefs from the Ganges to Jumbo ; and, offended at the delay of the payment, these high spoken men were holding to the affrightened Hindoos, that style of language, which one of our provincial magistrates would direct at a gipsey, or sturdy beggar. Indeed, my friend, no ordinary exertion of fortitude, no common fhare of philanthropy is required, to wield with temper the rod of power; which, from the frailty of his nature, man is ever inclined to use with severity. Yet surely when he looks into himself, he, will see many a strong reason to qualify its stroke. From a spirit of impatience, which having long ačtuated me, I am induced to think is innate, I quitted my companions, and going about a mile in front, fell in with a horseman, who had much the appearance of a freebooter ; but being well armed, and evidently the stronger man, I did not apprehend any risk from a rencounter. Seeing me a stranger, and from the quality of my equipment, a fit subject for plunder, he stopped me, and in a peremptory manner, asked my occupation, and place of abode. My answers were neither explanatory nor gracious, and my departure abrupt, though he had expressed a strong desire of farther communication"; and seemed offended at the unconcern of my deportment. About a quarter of a mile farther on, I met a Sicque horseman, well armed,

* The second of the Punjab rivers from the Eastward.
+ The current runs to the left.

| estimated * Situate about three cosses to the south-west of Dada, and the only fortified residence I have seen among the mountains. The vicinity of the Punjab has perhaps induced the mountaineers to fortify this place.

F f 2 tWO

[merged small][ocr errors]

me attentively, and apprehending, I imagine, that a contest would be of doubtful event, for my sword was long, and my countenance, by the air I had assumed, fierce, he politely saluted me, and passed. The person whom I first saw, had halted, and on the junčtion of the Sicque, a council was held by them on the subjećt of my moveables ; the result of which was to return and take them from me. My companions who gave me this information came up while these men of the blade were communing on the plan of attack, and an eclaircissement took place. They discovered that these footmen, four in number, were associates of him, whose property they intended to invade ; and naturally concluded, that however decided the odds of two to one might have been, so great an additional strength to our party, would manifestly turn the chances; and, swayed probably by this forcible argument, they gave us no

molestation. - ON the 4th at Tulwara,-ten cosses; a village in the distrićt of Dutar, where the Sicque chief has erected a small fort, and holds the adjacent territory. The country to the southward now assumed a level aspečt, which to me had an effect inexpressibly pleasing ; for my eye had long been disgusted, and, I may say, imprisoned, by mountain piled on mountain, till the highest pierced the clouds. The distrićt of Dutar, or Dutarah, extends on the interior side of the Punjab hills, through which our late southern inclination had penetrated. In this day's journey, our party was reduced to the Kashmirian trader and myself; three Kashmirians, who

« PreviousContinue »