Page images


In the reign of Shah Jehan, Ali Merdan Khan, a nobleman of the court of Persia, who had revolted from Shah Abass, entered into the service of the Mogul prince, having previously delivered up the important fortress of Candahar, of which he was governor.

This nobleman, being a man of a public fpirit and a pattern of munificence, dug at his own expence a canal from the vicinity of the city of Panniput, near the head of the Dooab, which extended to the suburbs of Delhi. It comprehended a tract of ninety miles in the extent, by which means the villages in the neighbourhood, and every where within its influence, received a most surprising benefit in the cultivation of their lands.

This noble canal* runs in a direction from north to south, and is in general about ten miles distant from the Jumna, until it joins GEORGE THOMAS. that river nine miles below the city of New Delhi. From this canal, while it existed, a revenue was produced to the royal treasury of fourteen lacks of rupees per annum. At present it is out of repair, dried up, and in many places almost destroyed; and in the hands of the Mahrattas, its present pofsefsors, the cultivation of the adjacent country scarcely yields a lack of rupees.,

* It is called by the natives NEHUR BEHEISHT, or " canal of paradise."


Restoration to her authority of the Begum Somros

-account of Sirdhannah_death and character of Appakandarow---capture of SamliMr. Thomas marches ta Panniput,

RESUMING our narrative after the fore

going digression, it is necessary to remark that about this time Begum Somroo, whose deposition from authority we have before no. ticed, still remained a prisoner at Sirdhannah, In a manner the most abject and desponding, The addressed Mr. Thomas; she stated her apprehensions of being poisoned, or otherwise put to death; affirmed that her only dependance was on him, implored him to come to her assistance, and, finally, offered to pay any sum of money the Mahrattas should require, on condition they would reinstate her in her Jaghire.

On receipt of these letters, Mr. Thomas, by

GEORGE THOMAS. 87 an offer of 120,000 rupees, prevailed on Bappoo Scindia to make a movement towards Sirdhannah. Convinced from his former experience, that unless he could gain over a pait of the troops under Zaffer Yab Khan to the Begum's interest, not only his exertions would be fruitless, but that she herself would be exposed to the greatest personal danger, he therefore set on foot a negotiation for this purpose, in which having succeeded, he marched and encamped with his whole force at the village of Kathoolee, eight coss to the northeast of Sirdhannah. Here Mr. Thomas publicly gave out that unless the Begum was reinftated in her authority, those who refifted muft expect no mercy; and to give additional weight to this declaration, he apprised them that he was acting under the orders of the Mabratta chiefs.

This intimation was at first attended with desired effect. Part of the troops belonging to the garrison instantly mutinied, confined Zaffer Yab Kkan, and declared for the begum. Mr. Thomas, however, who well knew that no reliance could be placed on the capricious temper of troops accustomed to frequent mu-. tinies, loft no time in advancing to Sirdhannah, but before he reached that place, a counter-revolution had already proclaimed the restoration of Sumroo's son.

Escorted by only fifty horse of approved fidelity, Mr. Thomas entered the cantonments, having at the time he set out directed four hundred of his infantry to follow him with all possible expedition; the arrival of the latter force was particularly fortunate, as Zaffer Yab Khan, on Mr. Thomas's first appearance, perceiving him flightly attended, thought he had now got him into his power, and instructed his foldiers to threaten him with instant death; but at that moment the reinforcement abovementioned arriving, and the mutineers thinking the whole Mahratta force was at hand, not only gave over their design, but now became as submissive as they had before been infolent.

Abandoning the cause of Somroo's son, they endeavoured, through the Begum's mediation, to deprecate the resentment of the Mahratta commanders: to this the Begum having con

« PreviousContinue »