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THOMAS. sented, an oath of fidelity was administered to the troops, and she was finally reinstated in the full authority of her Jaghire.
Somroo's son, after being plundered of his effects, was reconducted a prisoner to Delhi. Part of the sum ftipulated was now paid to Bappoo Scindia, and the remainder promised. An interview took place between the Begum and the Mahratta chiefs, when every thing being amicably adjusted, the army quitting Sirdhannah repaired to their respective destinations.
The restoration of the Begum to her authority, affords us an opportunity of giving a detailed account of her Jaghire.
Sirdhannah, the residence of Begum Somroo, is the capital of a small principality, situs ated in the centre of the Dooab, in latitude 29° 10' north, and about thirty-five coffes dit tant from Delhi. This Jaghire was from early times rich and fruitful: it was first peopled by a Hindoo rajah named Sirkhut. When the famous Mahmood of Ghuzna invaded Hindoostan, he settled a colony of Mussulmans in this district, and distributed lands to them in several parts of the country. When the posterity of Timoor became firmly seated on the throne of India, Sirdhannah was first attached to the province of Sehaurunpore, situated at the head of the Dooab, and at the foot of the mountains called Sewalick. In the reign of Mahmood Shah it was assigned as a Jaghire to the famous Kummur Uddeen Khan; and subsequent to that period it was held by an omrah named Yacoob Ali Khan, of the court of Alumgeer the Second
On the death of that monarch, the province of Sehaurunpore was possessed by the Nawaub Nujuff Khan, prime minister to the present king, and he allotted Sirdhannah and its dependancy to Somroo, a German, who had been in the service of Coffim Ali Khan, the deposed subah of Bengal. This man is well known to the English by the share he bore in the dreadful catastrophe of Patna. On the death of Somroo, which happened in the year 1770, Nujuff Khan delivered over the pergunnah to his widow the present Begum, on condition of
GEORGE THOMAS. her keeping up a force of three battalions of infantry for the protection of the province..
:: When Nujuff Khan died, the Begum still kept possession of her jaghire, from which time until the period we are speaking of, her situation has been fully detailed in recent publications. *
The habitation of Begum Somroo is in a large and spacious inclosure, equal in many respects to a fortified town. The house is well built, and handsomely furnished, partly after the European and partly after the Hindoostany style: these blended together have a singular though not upon the whole an unpleasing appearance. Hospitable in her manner, the Begum’s table is furnished with every thing the country can afford. European articles of all kinds are procured from Calcutta.
It has been the constant and invariable usage of this lady to exact from her subjects and servants the most rigid attention to the customs
OF [A. D. 1796. of Hindoostan. She is never seen out of doors, or in her public durbar unveiled.
Her officers and others, who have businefs with her, present themselves opposite the place where she fits. The front of her apartments is furnished with chicques or Indian screens, these being let down from the roof. In this manner she gives audience, and transacts business of all kinds. She frequently admits to her table the higher ranks of her European officers, but never admits the natives to come within the inclosure. On dinner being announced, twenty or thirty of her female attendants, most of them christians, repairing to the outer door, there receive the dishes and place them upon table; they wait on the company during the repast, which is always plentiful and well served. *
* Begum Somroo is about forty-five years of age, small in stature, but inclined to be plump, Her complexion is very fair, her eyes black, large, and animated; her dress perfectly Hindoostany, and of the most costly materials. She speaks the Persian and Hindoostany languages with fluency, and in her conversation is engaging, sensible, and spirited.
The Begum being thus restored to her authority, Mr. Thomas next received orders to proceed to Samli, and punish the commandant of that place for his conduct in encouraging the seiks in their intended incursions into the Dooab, and having communicated to them the defenceless state of the upper provinces.
After a fatiguing and difficult march of thirty coss in one day, Mr. Thomas arrived before Samli.* An action took place, in which the commandant, after a most gallant resist. ance, was defeated, and compelled to retreat into the town. Mr. Thomas, perceiving the
* Samli is a large town situated near the head of the Dooab, in the province of Sehaurunpore. It is two miles in circumference, and contains many handsome houses both of brick and stone. The streets intersect each other at right angles, and have separate gates at their entrances, which at night are shut for the security of the inhabitants. At Samli is a large bazar and a mint where money used formerly to be coined. But the trade of this place, like many others in the Dooab, is now much on the decline; and, with the exception of a few coarse cloths, the manufactures are at a stand. In its present state, the villages attached to the pergunnah of Samli yield a revenue of about 50,000 rupees, though in the flourishing times of the empire it was far more considerable,