Page images

with his sister in marriage ; and on his death bed, in the most earnest manner, delivered the young Nabob to his tutelage and protečtion. 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 Asiatic breast, which is seen to break down every fence. • The Mollahs, who are employed here 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, Mubarickud-Dowlah, grandson of Meer Jaffier, and son of the Nabob Mirun, who was said to have been killed by lightening, 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 aeconomy, recede. from their engagements with this prince, who, though flattered by the most indulgent attention, must still have mortifying moments, 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 affečtion 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 turbulent 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. e 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 boatmen, generally Hindoos, fasten the boat to the shore in the evening, that they may eat and refresh themselves ; it not being the usage of their se&t to prepare vićtuals on the water.

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

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

B 2 24th.

24th.-I saw the village of Jungypore on the eastern shore, where the Company have established a fačtory, for the manufacture of raw-filk. 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 it's inhabitants, are, in an essential degree, derived from this river, which, with its numerous branches flowing through and interse&ting an extensive space of country, transports speedily, and at a moderate expence, the various produćt of distrićts, towns, and villages, to places, where they are immediately consumed, or collečted for the supply of more distant marts. The Ganges also affords a grand aid to the English, 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,

* A village near the head of the Cassimbazar river.


, 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 Veidy 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 addićted 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 retrospečt 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 a fertile soil Ali Verdy Khan probably removed his capital to Moorshedabad, that he might keep a more vigilant watch over the ačtions of the English, whom, it was said, he feared; and also more conveniently prosecute the war against the Mahrattas, who had invaded his country, on the side of the Kuttack. Rajah Mhal bears at this day an impoverished aspect; and were it not for the heaps of ruins interspersed through the town and its environs, which have now mouldered into a state of deep decay, it would be difficult to discover, that this place had been, fo lately, the principal city of a powerful and opulent chief. Sauntering amongst the ruined buildings, I strayed into a small garden adjoining the bank of the river ; where perceiving an old man,

employed employed in digging, I entered into a conversation with him. Happening to be more intelligent than the common class, and agreeably to the period of his life, very narrative, he afforded me much amusement in his relation and remarks. This old Cicerone ob‘served, that the very spot which he was then cultivating, was the fite of the Nobet Ghah; or the music-hall of the old palace; and that within his recolle&tion, a capacious garden had extended in front of his little inclosure, which the Ganges had now swept away. The instability of the monuments of human grandeur cannot, in any region of the globe, I apprehend, be more faithfully, or more grievously exemplified than at Rajah Mhal; yet I must exclude from this range of ruins the convenient and hospitable house of Mr. Cleveland, which formed a part of the Subahdar's palace. On the 26th, passed, with a fresh easterly wind, the village of Sickergully, (where a heavy swell had nearly overset the boat) and observed near it a neat building, which had been erected by Mr. Cleveland, for the accomodation of passengers. 27th.-Saw the town of Pointee, near which, on an eminence, {tands an Hindoo, or Mahometan mansion; and a mosque, now apparently in disuse. Adjacent to these buildings, a monument has been raised to the memory of a Mr. Middleton, who died there, on his journey to Calcutta: these objećts would not prehaps deserve notice, did they not present pićturesque land-marks. 28th.-the wind being light, and the current strong, the men


« PreviousContinue »