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Rohilla troops, they carried ofF Ahmed Khan, one of the principal officers. The brigade reached the place of this action about break of day, when they observed the Marhattas passing the river*, then fordable, with precipitation; and a distant cannonade ensued, in which the enemy lost a few men and horses: but they soon retired from that quarter, nor have they since appeared in arms on the east side of the Ganges.
The Vizier, on the retreat of the enemy, demanded the sum of forty lacks of rupees from Hafiz Rhamut Khan, who being at this time the superior officer of the Rohilla forces, and the conductor of their political measures, was urged to fulfil the engagement. Hafiz represented, that the Rohillas had not received the stipulated aid, which, if furnished in the preceding year, might have prevented the injuries done by the enemy; and that the present campaign had been maintained by the Rohilla troops: yet he said, that though the other chiefs should withhold their quota of the claimed amount, he would discharge his proportion to the extent of hi* ability.
The ambitious disposition of the Vizier, and the disregard he had hitherto shewn to the dictates of justice, or honour, afford no slender
• At Ramgaut, a ford of the Ganges in Rohilcund.—Vide Ren. nell's map.
authority for supposing that he secretly rejoiced at the refusal of the Rohillas to execute the whole tenour of their agreement. In promoting and extending his schemes of conquest and grandeur, the Vizier must have ever been exposed to the counteracting power of the Rohillas, who were all soldiers, and so far from respecting his military capacity, they treated it with contempt and derision. The conquest of Rohilcund must have therefore naturally composed an essential part of the Vizier's general plan of aggrandizement.
After his return from the Marhatta expedition, he desired a conference with the governor of Bengal, for the purpose of adjusting certain political measures. Mr. Hastings, associated with some other members of the government, was deputed to treat with the Vizier at Benares: and the principal object of the meeting was ascribed to the motive of fixing the western possessions of the English, on a firmer and more permanent basis, by some final arrangement of the territories that had been assigned to the king.
Since the period of the treaty of 1765, Shah Alum had remained at Allahabad, where he had enjoyed a splendid and a quiet retreat; but his wishes seeming to be centered in enjoyingthe residence of his capital, he proceeded thither in 1771; — sacrificing, at once, the substantial benefits which had been conferred on him by the bounty of the English. The King was also excited to this measure by his servants, who saw the influence of a foreign power depriving them of the common advantages of their station, and of that sway which his disposition naturally invited. The repeated solicitation of the king. for troops, to establish his power at Delhi, were not acceded to in a manner that promised any success: he procured two native battalions'that had been maintained by him at Allahabad, but without the complement of European officers; and this party, with about 20,000 irregular troops, commanded by Najeb Khan, arrived in the latter end of the year 1771, at Delhi*.
The principal events of the life of Shujahud-Dowlah, being slenderly connected with the history of Shah Alum, an occasional reference to it is only necessary; and it may here be observed, that the measures of an Indian court, too frequently operating through the many channels of deceit, or by the more daring acts of treachery, would offer little instruction to the European reader, unless they lead to decided revolutions, or affect the general system of government.
* It is said, that the king's journey was hastened b^ the intelligence of Zabitah Khan's seizure of Delhi, where he committed many outrage!; even, according to popular report, in the king's
• The Vizier did not depend upon the court of Delhi, for the success of his schemes, or the advancement of his power. He'maintained however an influence there, by the agency of Ellich Khan, one of his favourite servants, who gratifying the King by opportune donations, procured the formal investiture of such territories, as the Vizier had either previously seized, or meditated the conquest of. But we are not to suppose that the possession of such instruments, which had a constant circulation, and flowed from too weak a source to act with efficacy, would essentially promote the designs of this prince.
That some parts of the treaty now entered into, between the English government and the Vizier, may be clearly understood, it is necessary to notice, that in a short time after the departure of Shah Alum from the territories which had been assigned to him, the right was judged to revert to the English government. On the King's junction with a body of Marhattas, then stationed in the vicinity of Agra, he was compelled to make a formal cession to them of the province of Corah and the districts of Currah. This surrender, to a power deemed hostile to the welfare of Bengal, afforded a plea, equally founded on the rights of conquest and good policy, to assume the relinquished territory: and the Vizier, who had with regret made the sacrifice, expressing, after the King's departure, an earnest desire of recovering the dismembered country, his request, with certain qualifications, was granted*.
* The treaty of 1773, contains little important matter, nor would 1 fatigue the reader with its perusal, did I not apprehend that some serious reflections will occur, in comparing it with the events of the succeeding year. It is specified, "That whereas, "in the treaty concluded at Allahabad, on the 16th of August "1765, between the Vizier and the Company, it is expressed that "" the districts of Corah and Allahabad were given to His Majesty "for his expences; and whereas His Majesty abandoned the pos"session of the aforesaid districts, and even has given a sunnud for "Corah and Currah to the Marhattas, to the great prejudice of "both the Vizier and English Company, and contrary to the "meaning of the said treaty; he hath thereby forfeited' his right "to the said districts, which have reverted to the Company, "from whence he received them: it is therefore agreed, that the "aforesaid districts shall be p,ut into the possession of the Vizier, "on the following conditions, and that, in the same manner as the "province of Oude, and the other dominions of the Vizier are "possessed by him: so shall he possess Corah, and Currah, and "Allahabad, for ever.—He shall by no means, or under any pre"tence, be liable to any obstructions in the aforesaid countries "from the Company, and the English chiefs, and exclusive of the "money now stipulated, no mention or request shall by any "means be made to him for any thing else due on this account. "This agreement shall be observed by the English chiefs, gentle