Page images


Geographical description of the country of Ou

dipoor or Mewarits constitution-manners and customs of the inhabitantsmilitary operations in the Oudipoor countrytermination of the campaign.


THE dominions of Oudipoor are seventy

coss from north to fouth, and fifty from east to west.

They are bounded on the north by Ajmere and the principality of Kilhenghur, on the north and west by Joudepoor, on the south and east by the province of Malwa, and the north-east by Kotah and Boondy.

The lands throughout Oudipoor are pofsessed by the princes, and chief nobility, and are held-as Jaeedâd. These lands at present can yield an annual revenue of a crore of rupees: it formerly produced a larger sum, but tho depredations committed by the Mahrattas since taking poffeffion of a great part of this country, have caused its reduction to the present standard ; and though the Mahrattas since their conquest have permitted the landholders abovementioned to retain their lands, yet by frequent exactions and vexatious mulets, their value to the proprietors is considerably lef. sened.

Most of the opulent towns in Mewar, which formerly acknowledged the authority of the Oudipoor family, are now in the hands of the Mahrattas.

The rajah is in a state similar to that of the emperor at Delhi; he is entirely guided by Mahratta councils, and dependant on them in a great measure for his subsistence: but in Mr. Thomas's opinion, they have not yet obtained the strong holds in his country, and this prince, at present so insignificant, may poffibly at no distant period free himself from their ụfurpations.

The country of Oudipoor is very productive; ît yields sugar-cane, indigo, tobacco, wheat, rice; barley, and in Mort every thing to be found in other parts of India in the greatest abundance.

In Oudipoor äre found iron-mines, excellent timber, and in one part of the country is produced sulphur.

The generality of cattle, however, are inferior in quality to those of the more western countries : horses only are numerous; and may be procured at a moderate price. .

The produce of the neighbouring states being nearly the same as that of Oudipoor, the trade with them is not considerable, but a very extensive commerce from all parts of India was formerly carried on through the agency of the Ghofseins of Nathdora ; this of late years, through the oppressive government of the Mahrattas, has been obstructed in its progrefs, almost to annihilation.

This country is uncommonly strong by nature. The city of Oudipoot, which is situated

in an amphitheatre of hills, is guarded in the approach by a deep and dangerous defile, which admits of only a single carriage passing at a time. So extensive is the circuit protected by this pafs, that between four and five hundred villages are contained within its range ; but Oudipoor, thus surrounded by hills, is very unhealthy, and peculiarly so during the season of the periodical rains.

The wells in the neighbourhood of the city, though but a small distance from the surface of the earth, are strongly impregnated with the mineral qualities of the water that flows from the neighbouring hills, a principal cause of the insalubrity of this climate.

The internal administration of Oudipoor is extremely singular, and therefore merits attention.

· The whole power of the state was formerly vested in sixteen principal chieftains, who were accustomed to reside at court, with a stipulated number of followers. These chiefs diftinguished by the name of the sixteen omrahs, and constantly residing at the capital, under the immediate eye of the sovereign, this circumstance rendered it impossible for them to transact the business of their respective domains in perfon. To remedy this inconvenience, thirty-two inferior chiefs were nominated to assist them with their counsels: these were designated the thirty-two omrahs; and in order to assist the latter, in the ordinary detail of business in the interior distries, fixtyfour inferior officers were appointed, who from their number are also called the sixtyfour omrahs. Thefe combined, present a fyftem not very diffimilar to that of the feudal tenures of Europe, prior to the consolidation of the French monarchy, under the emperor Charlemagne,* though that prince has been blamed by historians for dividing his kingdom among his children.

In the original design of this extraordinary conftitution, it was intended that a gradation of authority should be established by the

, * Consult the History of France, vol. I. p. 59, et seq. Author anonymous..

« PreviousContinue »