Page images
PDF
EPUB

Cassum AH Klian, in the last years of hi$ government, retired to the fort of Mongheer, and. actuated by a keen resentment against the English, for their extensive encroachments on his authority, and the commerce of his country, he formed the plan of throwing off their yoke, and annihilating their influence in Bengal. In addition to these motives, he was urgently incited to the attempt by the officers of his court and army, who were necessarily alarmed at the diminution of their power and lucrative appointments. Amongst the foremost of these we find the Armenian Khojah Gregore, who, contrary to the usage of his country-men, had assumed the profession of arms, and had risen to high rank and confidence, in the service of Cassum Ali. He seems, with Sumroo, to have borne a principal part in the war against the English, which ultimately involved, as is well known, the ruin of Cassum, and the destruction of the Mahometan dominion in Bengal. Gregore also lost his life; for, on a suspicion of intriguing with the Armenians of Calcutta, he was cut off, previously to the expulsion of his master.

in a point of view, different from that described by a late writer (Col. Dow) on the Empire of Hindostan ; who, however wellfounded his claims to accuracy, could not have attained the possession of more authentic documents, than a person, who was himself brought forward into the action of the day, and whose writings for the fpace of more than 100 years, have borne the test of truth.

With Cassum Ali" ended, virtually, the power of the subahdars of Bengal. Meer Jaffier, in his last administration, made a feeble attempt to resume his authority, but it soon terminated in his death, and in leaving the English the supreme rulers of an extensive and valuable territory. I should be ill entitled to a place, even amongst the most trite observers, did I not, before I quitted this part of the country, throw my mite into the fund of general applause which has been bestowed on Mr. Cleveland. This gentleman, whom I never saw, but whose works loudly proclaim his merit, and diffuse his praise, has, by an equitable and judicious management of the Rajah Mahl and Bauglepour districts, considerably increased the number of inhabitants, and improved, as well as facilitated, the collection of the revenue. The increase of population is conspicuously seen in the dependency of Mongheer, and in the extensive mercats of that place, which are resorted to by a concourse of various traders. He hath also made strenuous exertions, in drawing the adjacent Mountaineers, from their fastnesses to the plains. Nor have his labours failed of success. Twelve hundred of these men have entered into our service, and are embodied in a corps, which bears the appearance of becoming useful to the state. The indulgent treatment shewn them, with the superior advantages which they derive, must operate as powerful inducements to their brethren, in following so profitable an example. The depredations of these people had, at former periods, rendered the passage of the roads in that quarter so unsafe, that escorts were stationed at certain posts, for the protection of travellers; and detachments of two or three battalions, have occasionally been sent against the savage inhabitants of the Baglepour hills; who are now become the guardians of a country, which they had long wasted, by rapine and bloodshed. Mr. Cleveland has established small buildings, at most of the halting places within his districts, for the accommodation of travellers; and the natives of those parts, who seem to have profited by the conduct of their chief, are peculiarly attentive to strangers. Sach have been the advantages, which the state, and a body of peo

* Cassum Ali Chan, after wandering about the upper provinces, and soliciting the aid of various chiefs against the English, sought protection at the court of Delhi. He evinced the same intriguing and sanguinary disposition in domestic life, as had marked his public character. He endeavoured, it is said, to supplant the Minister at Delhi, by an offer of a large donation to the King; and he is accused of murdering, at different times, the women he carried with him from Bengal. At his death, which happened at the village of Kutwall, in 1777, the Court seized on his estate, the value of which was computed at one thousand pounds;—a small residue of the plunder of Bengal and Bahar !

ple have derived, from the public spirit, and the benevolent efforts of one man . But his reward hath been bounteous and complete. He hath enjoyed the honour of exalting, in a distant land, the character of his nation, and felt sensations which transport the miud beyond the reach of fortune. ON the 3d of July, I left Mongheer ; and arrived, on the 5th, at Patna, by water. This city is spacious and populous, though much fallen from the importance it held, during the residence of the Subahdar of Bahar. The great quantity of poppies cultivated in the contiguous districts, from which opium of an excellent quality is produced, together with extensive salt-petre works, have rendered Patna opulent, and the center of an extensive commerce. The different manufactures of silver, iron, and wood, are little inferior in this city, to those of Europe; and when the rudeness of the tools, with the simplicity of the process, is examined, the degree of delicacy which the artisans have acquired in their several professions, must challenge a high admiration. THE numerous ruins of public and private edifices, scattered through the town of Patna, and its environs, indicate a former grandeur and extent, which now no longer exist. An ancient name of this place, still known to some of the

[ocr errors]

purified state, at a lower rate than that manufactured by the English Company, and of a superior quality. This commercial advantage, may be ascribed to the rigid system of oeconomy observed by the Dutch in all their operations, and to a persevering attention to business, with which that people seem constitutionally endowed. ON the 12th of August, left Choprah, and on the 17th arrived by water at Buxar. It was in the vicinity of this place that Cassum Ali, joined by Shujah-ud-Dowlah, with the whole of that Prince's army, made his last effort against the arms of the English. The superior numbers of the enemy who crowded the plains of Buxar, availed them little, when opposed to the small, but well arranged, and determined body of the English; who, after a smart action of two hours, completely routed the combined forces, and captured the whole of their artillery. This action, heretofore so amply described, had not perhaps now been adverted to, but for the impulse of an earnest desire of imprinting anew on your memory, the services performed on that day by the British troops; to whom their country stands indebted for a singular exaltation of its fame, and the acquisition of solid benefits. THE fort of Buxar, which, though small, is

« PreviousContinue »