Page images

straggle, obliged to cede to them the districts ofKuttack.

Not far from the tomb of Mahobut Jung, lies interred his nephew, Seraje-ttd-Dowlah, well known in English history, by his capture of Fort William, and afterwards, confining the unfortunate garrison in'a close dungeon; where most of them died from the severity of their situation. The fate of this young man was similar to that of many an Eastern Prince; of such, especially, who experience a reverse of fortune.— Seraje-ud-Dowlah was betrayed by Meer Jaffier, at the battle of Plassey, and assassinated a short time after, by his order. Were the conduct of Meer Jaffier to be tried by the law of natural affections, or by the rules of private honour, it must appear tainted with a die of deep hue. Mahobut Jung, thinking to secure to his successor the attachment of Meer Jaffier, bestowed on this officer, the highest office of Government, with his sister in marriage; and on his deathbed, in the most earnest manner, delivered the young Nabob to his tutelage and protection. Mahobut Jung should have known, from successful experience,* that no ties are sufficiently coercive to restrain the wild force of ambition; particularly that species of it found in an

* He had made a successful use, in his attainment of power, of the various instruments of intrigue and treachery.

Asiatic breast, which is seen to break down every fence. , , ; . The Mollahs, who are employed hére to

offer. up their prayers for the dead, said, that the widow of Seraje-ud-Dowlah, frequently comes to this mausoleum, and performs certain ceremonies of mourning, in memory of her deceased husband. Mooreshedabad, which now bears the various marks of poverty and decay, an evident result of the removal of the seat of Government, is a city of no old date; as the residence of the subahs of Bengal, who, not many years ago, kept their court at Rajah Mhal, about one hundred miles further up the river. The present Subahdar, Mubarick-ud-Dowlah, grandson of Meer Jaffier, and son of the Nabob Mirun, who was said to have been killed by - lightning, receives an annual stipend of sixteen lacks of rupees, from the Company's treasury: having never been vested with the power, or possessed of an aspiring temper, he is the less restless, in his present situation. As the British nation, in the acquisition of their possessions in Bengal, have been materially aided, by the family of Mubarick-ud-Dowlah, they should not, from any narrow scheme of economy, recede from their engagements with this prince, who, though flattered by the most indulgent attention, must still have mortifying moments,

[ocr errors]

unless he is wholly bereft of the sense of feeling, or the faculty of reflection. No buildings of note are seen in the city of Mooreshedabad: that, which most attracts the attention, is the cemetery of Meer Jaffier, his begum, and the Nabob Mherun *.: few things are more efficacious, in repressing or mocking vanity, of which affection so ample a share has fallen to our lot, than, dispassionately, to view the repository of those who in their lives have been termed great men, who, “before they shuffled off this mortal “coil,” inflamed by pride, avarice, ambition, thought empires too narrow for their scope, and that mankind were only created to become the

instruments of their mad desires: these once

towering creatures, are now, per force, lodged
in very moderate apartments, where their tur-
bulent schemes sleep in quiet, and their names
are often buried in their ashes. – A tomb is one
of those few appendages of a great man, in the
possession of which none envy him.
ON the 23d of June, I embarked in a boat at
Mooreshedabad, and with a fresh easterly wind,
sailed up the river about 30 miles. The boat-
men, generally Hindoos, fasten the boat to the
shore in the evening, that they may eat and

i. * I have been also informed that Mherun was interred at Rajemhal. It is not usual among the Mahometans to erect cenotaphs.

[ocr errors]


refresh themselves; it not being the usage of their sect to prepare victuals on the water. 24th.-I saw the village of Jungypore on the eastern shore, where the Company have established a factory, for the manufacture of raw silk. This day our course was about twenty miles. 25th.-Entered the main branch of the Ganges: — here the river affords a spacious view, which is terminated, at the extremity of a long reach, by a vista of the hills above Rajah Mhal, extending, in a regular chain, to the north-west. The Ganges, which at Sooty, * is full four miles across, was that day roughly agitated by a strong wind, which heaving the waters into a short breaking wave, gave it the appearance of an arm of the sea. The riches of > Bengal, with a large portion of the conveniency of its inhabitants, are, in an essential degree, derived from this river, which, with its numerous branches flowing through and intersecting an extensive space of country, transports speedily, and at at a moderate expence, the various product of districts, towns, and villages, to places, where they are immediately consumed, or collected for the supply of more distant marts. The Ganges also affords a grand aid to the En

t * A village near the head of the Cassimbazar river.


glish, in all military operations within their own territory; whilst their armies on the Coromandel and Malabar Coasts, are, from a want of provisions and ammunition, cramped and impeded in their motions; and are frequently, for the obtainment of these supplies, compelled to retreat, on the moment of reaping the full fruits of victory. But, the Bengal armaments are furnished, from their store boats, with every equipment; and the Europeans enjoy, in their camps, even the luxuries of life. IN the evening, arrived at Rajah Mhal, a former residence of some of the Bengal subahdars. Ali Verdy Khan, in the beginning of his administration, which commenced in 1742, removed the seat of Government from this place to Mooreshedabad. I could not learn the cause of this preference; although not deficient in enquiry. The natives of India, are not much addicted to curious investigation, and are generally inattentive to the history of their own country. It would seem that their chief happiness is centered, in enjoying the present hour, which absorbs every retrospect of the past, and care of the future. Their pleasures are even indolent and languid, and partake of the mild influence of their climate, and the easy produce of afertile soil. Ali Verdy Khan probably removed his capital to Moorshedabad, that he might keep.

« PreviousContinue »