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Benares; 30th November, 1782.
My Dear Sir,
On the Sri of this month, I made an excursion to Bidgi-ghur,* a place rendered famous in the Bengal annals, from a large amount of plunder acquired there by the English troops. On the first day, I arrived at Lutteef-ghur, about 18 miles to the south-west of Benares. The fort was entirely deserted, and the passage approaching to it is almost choaked up by brushwood, and the projected branches of trees. Lutteef-ghur stands in the centre of a circular range of hills, from the summit of which, a thick, and in most places, a high wood, reaches to the walls of the fort. The air of this spot being deprived of a quick circulation, has acquired a malignant quality, and communicates its pernicious influence to all ani
* Bidgi and Idgi, according to the Mythology of the Hindoos, keep watch at the gate of Paradise; Ghur, in the Hindoo, is a fortress or strong hold.
supported by branches of the rock, which projecting horizontally eight or ten feetfromthe summit, holds out in the air a solid foundation. The prospect around is diversified and picturesque; but when you throw the eye on the deep and rugged precipice beneath, the view is infinitely grand, though not divested of that horror, which naturally affects the mind in contemplating object* from so abrupt a height. Theorising and setting sun at Bidgi-ghur exhibits, a magnificent scene, and excites a train of ideas strongly impressed with a grateful admiration of the first Cause of nature. The view of the setting sun takes in the river Sbane, which is seen winding its stream, brightened by the rays of the western light, through a long tract of diversified country. A fort also appears on the side of a distant bill, which is only brought into the evening prospect. -'
The village of Mow, situate at the bottom of the descent, which before the capture of Bidgi-ghur was well peopled, and possessed a considerable commerce, is now deserted and in ruins. This village, whose loss is severely felt in many parts of the country, afforded the only mart on that quarter for supplying the wants of the bordering mountaineers, who resorted thither, and bartered their wares for the produce of the low lands. Since the depopulation of Mow,this commercial communication has ceased, and the Benares traders maintain little connection with the inhabitants of the hills, who are a hardy active race of men, and were they encouraged like those of Bauglepore to enter into our service, an useful body of soldiers might be acquired. They are not, it is said, subject to that species of fever incident to a hilly country, which has operated so fatally on the health of our troops; nor do they entertain those prejudices in their mode of living which affect the higher ranks of the Hindoos, and which have been found to embarrass military operations. An introduction also of a foreign class of men into the army, might be conducive, by its counterpoise, to the insuring the fidelity of the whole body of native troops.
Bulwant Sing, through a channel of intrigue and direct dishonesty, qualities he notoriously possessed, seized on Bidgj-ghur, which he strengthened and made the principal repository of his wealth; and Cheyt Sing,* who augmented the works and increased the treasures, constructed a strong bridge of stone over a small river that skirts the bottom of the hill. I am, Dear Sir,
Yours, &c. &c.
* The Son of Bulwant Sing, and now a fugitive ia the Camp-vf
Scindia, . r
7% T. D. F. . . Allahabad, 17th Dec. 1782. MY DEAR Sir, THE want of a subject to inform or amuse you, was the only cause of my not sooner acknowledging your long and very kind letter. You may with confidence believe, that a forgetfulness of the many offices of friendship which I have experienced at your hands, will never be classed in the roll of my offences, which, God knows, already is too long a one ! and trust me when I say, that I hold the connection which has so long subsisted between us, as the chiefest honour and credit of my life. I AM now to inform you, that having resolved on proceeding to Europe by a northern tract, I assumed the name of a Georgian, for the sake of travelling with more safety, and left Benares on the 12th of this month, mounted upon a small horse. After a journey of four days, or forty cosses, in which no particular occurrence fell out, I arrived at Allahabad. About mid-way commences the territory of Oude, which is immediately distinguished from that of Benares by its barren and desolate aspect. The fortress of Allahabad, founded by Acbar,” stands on the point of land which forms the confluence of the Ganges and Jumma;-a situation beautiful as it is commodious; and in the season of the year when the flow of water is spacious and rapid, exhibits a scene of uncommon grandeur. On one side, the Ganges is seen rolling down a strong and yellow tide, and on the other, the Jumma glides with a clearer stream close to the walls of the fort. To this favourite and sacred spot a large assembly of Hindoos resort at an annual period, to wash away their sins, and obtain permission to begin a new score. These pilgrims, who are laid under contributions for participating this indulgence, furnish the yearly sum of about 50,000 rupees to the Vizier's treasury. The fort of Allahabad, which is built of stone, occupies a large space of ground, and has been amply supplied with superb and useful buildings, whether for promoting the pleasures or conveniences of life. The place intitled the Ghah Padshilf is one of the best Mahometan mansions I have hitherto seen ; but the want of suitable tenants has occasioned great disorders