Page images

fortunes, is seen soliciting, in a country so lately under the dominion of his ancestors, maintenance and protection from an English subject". - The Vizier, who had now severely felt the superiority of the English arms, shewed a serious desire of peace, but still refused to submit to the terms of the preliminary article, in the manner required by the Bengal Government. He refused to deliver up Cassum Ali, and Sambro, but promised to employ some convenient instrument in destroying the one, and to expel the other from his territories. This mode of qualifying the article, not being acceded to, Colonel Munro marched with the army to Benares. The desertion of a party of Europeans, and the retreat of our troops towards Patna, on his entering the Bahar province, had given him sanguine hopes of success, which were wholly dissipated by the defeat at Buxar ; and from that period, he began to model his army on a plan not before practised by the princes of India. The author f of a valuable manuscript, which has largely aided this compila...tion, says, that the aera of the real consequence and power of the Vizier may be dated from the battle of Buxar. Conformably to an usage not unfrequent in Hindostan, this prince had collected a larger army than the sources of his country could maintain ; and even where the funds are competent, military payments are ever distributed in the native armies with a griping hand; though the most pernicious effects are often produced by this fallacious system. The strength of the Vizier's army, consisting of cavalry, and a cumbrous body of artillery, was composed of many nations and tribes, but chiefly of Moghuls. These men, naturally violent and licentious, ill-brooked the failure of payment, and on every demand of arrears, either caused dangerous tumults, or forced expedients that were injurious to the civil government of his country. Orders of payment were granted on the farmers, or managers of districts, on whom these soldiers lived at discretion, until the amount was discharged; giving a loose to every species of disorder, and barely leaving a sum sufficient for supplying the other exigencies of the state. But the defeat he sustained at Buxar, relieved the Vizier from his embarrassments: for the Moghul cavalry, without making one spirited effort to sustain the battle, were the first of his troops that left the field; and conscious, it should seem, of their pusillanimous conduct, they never reture d to his standard. The English army advanced from Benares to invest Chunar-Ghur; but after making two unsuccessful assaults, it returned to Benares. Bulwunt Sing, the Hindoo chief of the province, had accompanied the Vizier in the campaign against the English, with a party of troops, which were stationed on the north side of the Ganges, opposite to the Buxar plain. After the battle, he withdrew himself from the Vizier, and having effected an accommodation with Colonel Munro, he joined the English army : but alarmed at the repulse of Chunar-Ghur, and the Wi- zier's approach, he suddenly deserted Benares, and his new connexion. CoLo NEL Munro, resigning about this period" the command of the army, was succeeded by Major Fletcher, who immediately marched out of Benares, and pursued the Vizier, who had already invested the town as far as Juanpour. He formed the army into two divisions, one of which, under Major Stibbert, reduced the fort of Chunar-Ghur, and afterwards penetrated into the interior parts of the Vizier's country:-the other division he led himself into the Allahabad districts, which were subjected.

* This fact has been again exemplified in the person of Schamdhar Shah, the eldest son of Shah Alum; who, by the interposition of the Bengal Government, receives a pension of three lacks of rupees out of the Oude revenue.

t Colonel Polier.

* This occurrence happened in the beginning of the year 1765.

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

The Vizier, not able to oppose the success of these parties, called in a body of Marhattas, who entered his country on the side of Corah”, and were defeated by the English army, then commanded by General Carnact. The Marhattahs were attacked a second time by this officer, at Ackbarpour 3, and driven from their ground; though not before they had plundered a great part of the European baggage. They were soon obliged to cross the Jumna, which they passed at the ford of Culpee, where they made a stand; but after a short action were wholly dispersed. The Vizier had invited the Marhattas into Oude, without making any provision for the payment of their subsidy; and, fearful that this failure might prompt them to commit an outrage on his person, or create tumults in his army, he never joined their party.

THE affairs of the Vizier had now fallen to a low ebb; he had lost the greater part of his country, his army was thinned by desertions, and he was without a treasury, or an ally. After the battle of Buxar, full of alarms and de* This district, which is situated in the Allahabad territory, is bordered by the Jumna.

+ In May 1765.

# In May or June, 1765.

§ Justice to a character, already distinguished in Hindostan for

liberality and valour, calls on me to note in this place, the name of Ahmed Khan Bunglish, the Navaub of Furruckabad; who when

spondency^ he had retiredmto Rohilcund, whei4e he solicited an asylum for his family, and the assistance of the Rohillas. Hafiz Rahmut received him with hospitality, and the respect due to his rank: he afforded him every domestic conveniency, hut earnestly advised a peace with the English, as the certain medium of retrieving the desolated states of his fortunes. Destitute of every resource for maintaining a war, and dismayed by ill fortune, the Vizier at length resolved to throw himself unreservedly on the clemency of the English. He dispatched Monsieur Gentil, a French gentleman, to the English camp*, to obtain an actual knowledge of the disposition of his enemies. This agent delivered to the commanding officer, an address from the Vizier, couched in a tenour far different from his former letters. He observed that the animosities which had arisen between them, must be attributed to the dispensations of Providence: that of this he had now manifest witness by the ev'ents which had been produced, and that he

urged by Colonel Munro, after the action of Buxar, to assist in completing the overthrow of Shujah-ud-DowIah, who had ever been the avowed enemy of bis house, said that his honour forbade him to carry arms against the vanquished.

• Nudjcf Khan was employed also by the Vizier on this occasion to negociate with the English; but that officer was more seriously engaged in accomplishing-his own purposes, than in procuring terms for his master.

« PreviousContinue »