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L E T T E R VI.
Lucknow, January 16th, 1783. MY DEAR SIR,
BEF ORE I leave the territories of Assoffud-Dowlah, or, as he is often entitled from the rank he holds, the Vizier of the Empire, I will throw together for your perusal some
brief remarks on the Oude government. This country is bounded on the north, by parts of Napaul and Siranagur ; on the east, by the English possessions ; on the south, by the Jumna ; and on the west, generally by the Doab, and the Ganges. The Oude territories, generally flat and fertile, are watered by the Ganges, Jumna, Gograh, Goomty, and Gunduck, exclusive of many rivulets. These rivers flow through most of the principal towns, and intersect a large space of the country; most of them being navigable for boats, in all seasons of the year. —THE English armies may be plentifully supplied with provisions and ammunition, ni the event of executing any military operation in that quarter. These rivers also present strong barriers against the Mahrattah, Seick, or Moghul cavalry. The Vizier's provinces, which yield, it is said, at this period, a revenue of about two millions lions sterling, have greatly decreased in produce fince the death of Shujah-ud-Dowlah. It would be presumptuous in me to attempt an explanation of such decrease. It was sufficiently mortifying, to observe the common effects of a destructive administration. The inhabitants say, that the population of the country is diminished, and that the commerce, which in former periods was important and extensive, has fallen to decay. These evils which have contributed to the ruin of the most powerful states, and are now precipitating the ruin of Oude, can only be eradicated by the stre
to be wished for in Oude. It appears, that a large portion of the
amount now paid by Assoff-ud-Dowlah into the Company's treasury at Lucknow, is transported from thence in specie to relieve the necessities of Bengal, now urgent in the extreme. Much of the wealth also, which has been accumulated by the servants of the Company residing in this country, has been conveyed in a fimilar mode; and the mischief gathers strength from the tenor of our present connection with Assoff-ud-Dowlah, The channels of commerce operate too tardily for measures which require dispatch, and embrace only the objećt of the day. If treasure can be procured, no secondary aids are called in ; no succedaneum is searched for. These drains, unsupplied by any native source, must soon exhaust the vigour of a country, where in addition to the grievance, commerce is loaded with monopoly, and influenced by the hand of power. The demand for bills on Bengal, which has been pressing and continued, gave them often a value of seventeen and an half per cent, on the Lucknow amount; a profit which enabled the bankers to export the value in filver.”—The resumption of the Jaguir, or alienated lands, has not been produćtive of the promised benefits. The officers who enjoyed those benefactions, were many of them men of expensive manners; they promoted the consumption of valuable manufactures, and possessing rank and distinétion, they maintained a numerous body of dependants. Whether from a succession of oppressive managers, or that the inhabitants do not experience the fruits of former liberality, it is evidently seen, that the resumed districts are ill cultivated, and thinly inhabited, LITT le remains to be said of the Vizier's military establishment; it being only useful in assisting the colle&tion of the revenue, enforcing the obedience of the lesser vassals, or furnishing a guard for his person. The defence of the country wholly rests on the forces of the English, which are supplied according to emergency. The troops at this time, amount to about eight thousand sepoys, and five hundred Europeans, with the requisite train of artillery. The treasury of Assoff-ud-Dowlah is now low, but it is said, that he has nearly paid off the residue of a large debt, which had been accumulating since the period of his father's death. It is to be
* A flow of commerce, which now more diffusely conveys the manufaātures of this country to Bengal, has reduced this premium to four per cent.
L E T T E R VII.
Furruckabad, january 26th, 1783. MY DEAR SIR,
I NOW beg to present you with a sketch of my route to Furruckabad, where I purpose resting two or three days with my countrymen, whom I shall not probably see again until my arrival in Europe. ON the 18th at noon, I left my hostess's quarters at Lucknow, and after a warm and dusty ride of seven cosses, halted at the village of Nowill Gunge. The next day I arrived at Meahgunge, a stage also of seven cosses, and was much rejoiced to find that my little steed continued to possess high health and vigor. He is endowed, I fear, with a too great predominance of the latter quality, and that in its worst sense; for if I am to judge from his carnal hankerings, and strong neighings of love to every mare he sees, it would too plainly appear that his life has not been of the chastest kind. But as it is said, and in holy writ I believe, “ that there is no wisdom under the girdle,” meaning, evidently, the girdles of the lords and ladies of the creation, we may surely Vol. I. - M - excuse