« AnteriorContinuar »
of Shah Allum and his impoverished assigned territory: That no sentences court; the object of the unexpected of the criminal court, extending to the deposit being manifestly to elude the punishment of death, should be carried well-earned claims of the conquerors. into execution without the express The sum in dispute was accordingly sanction of his Majesty, to whom the distributed among the troops ; but in proceedings in all trials of this descripconsideration of the distressed condi- tion were to be reported ; and that tion of the old emperor, instructions sentences of mutilation should be coma were issued to pay into the royal trea- muted: That, to provide for the imsury the sum of six lacks of rupees, mediate wants of his Majesty and the with the view of providing for the royal household, the following sums immediate wants of his Majesty. Ow- should be paid in money from the ing, however, to the pressing exigen- treasury of the resident at Delhi : cies of the public service, funds could
Rupees, not be collected until 1807, when the
To his Majesty, for his private expenses, whole amount was discharged at one
To the heir apparent, exclusive of certain payment. Shah Allum no longer roh favourite son of his Majesty, named
10,000 survived to experience the benefit of
5,000 this generosity, his troubles having To his Majesty's šo younger sons and
10,000 ceased in December 1806: the sum To Shah Nawauz Khan, his Majesty's was, in consequence, paid into the
To Seid Rizzee Khan, British agent at his treasury of his successor, Acber the Majesty's court, and related to him by Second, to whom it was not unaccept
Total per mensem, 90,000 Soon after the surrender of Delhi,
£125,280 per annum. the Maharatta sway being completely To be afterwards augmented to one destroyed in Upper Hindostan by a lack of rupees per month, if the proseries of discomfitures, the Bengal go- duce of the assigned lands admitted of vernment proceeded to make arrange- it-exclusive of all the private proments for the support of their blind perty, and of 10,000 rupees to be paid protege, and, as a commencement, re- to his Majesty on the celebration of stored to the royal family all the certain festivals. houses, gardens, and lands, of which The most urgent wants of the aged they had been deprived by the Maha- monarch and his family being suprattas, and which, from the increased plied, various municipal improvements scarcity of property, soon became of were effected, some of the canals were great value. It was also determined cleaned, the principal streets cleared that a specified proportion of the ter- of rubbish, and an efficient police ritories in the vicinity of Delhi, situ- established. The punishment of muated on the right bank of the Jumna, tilation was abolished in this and in should be assigned in part of the pro- all the territories adjacent subject to vision for the maintenance of the royal the British jurisdiction, and a regulafamily ;--these lands to remain under tion was enacted, directing, that when a the charge of the resident at Delhi, person, by the Mahommedan law, was but the revenue to be collected, and condemned to lose two limbs, the dejustice to be administered, in the name cree should be commuted to imprisonof his Majesty Shah Allum, under ment and hard labour for a term of regulations to be promulgated by the fourteen years; and if one limb, the supreme government: That his Ma- same for seven years. The frequent jesty should be permitted to appoint a assassinations which were customary dewan, and other inferior officers, to during the Maharatta administration attend at the office of the collector, for were effectually suppressed, more by the purpose of ascertaining and reporte the institution of regular courts, to ing to his Majesty the amount of the which persons aggrieved could appeal, collections, and satisfying his mind than by any extension of the penal that no part of the revenue of the as- code, or sanguinary examples; the signed territory was misappropriated: long suspension of justice having in a That two courts of justice should be manner compelled the inhabitants to established, for the distribution of take the law into their own hands, civil and criminal justice, according to and to seek redress by poison and the the Mahommedan law, to the inha- dagger. bitants of the city of Delhi and the In thus protecting the person and increasing the comforts of the blind calculated the facility of gaining the and despised Mogul emperor, it was town, they moved off on the 15th, never intended by the British govern- although they had prepared three ment to employ the royal prerogative mines laid under the bastions between as an instrument to establish any con- the Turkoman and Ajmeer gates, one trol over the different states and chief- of them pushed directly under the tains of India. An object of import- bastion, and ready to be loaded. In ance was attained by his rescue from this manner, by the judicious arrangethe custody of the French and Maha- ments of Colonels Burn and Ochterrattas, who made use of his name to lony, and the determined resistance of sanction their machinations for the their troops, a small force was enabled subversion of the British dominion in to sustain a siege of nine days, repelled Hindostan, and retained, in the most an assault, and defended a city ten degraded condition of poverty and in- miles in circumference, which had sult, this unhappy representative of ever heretofore been given up on the the house of Timour. The most ra- first appearance of an enemy. tional course appeared to be, to leave The siege of his capital by a rapathe king's authority exactly in the cious enemy was viewed by the aged state in which it was found, and to sovereign with the characteristic apathy afford the royal family the means of of a person whose life had been a sucsubsistence, not merely in a style of cession of vicissitudes; nor did the comfort, but of decent splendour, not danger to which they were exposed in unsuitable to a fallen but illustrious the slightest degree animate the inharace, to whose power the British nation bitants. Like Audibras in the stocks, had in a great measure succeeded. they seemed to think, that he that is
From this period (September 1803) down can fall no lower, and waited the the tranquillity of Delhi remained una event as indifferent spectators. Shah disturbed, until 1804, when Holcar, Allum also probably foresaw, that in who was retreating from Mathura be- whichever way it might end, his intefore Lord Lake, sent his infantry, rest in the drama would not be of long provided with a formidable train of continuance, as his health had been artillery, to invest the city; and the gradually declining, and his advanced siege was accordingly commenced on age precluded all hopes of a protracted the 7th day of that month. Owing to existence. Accordingly it came to a a variety of pressing exigencies in close in December 1806, when he other quarters, the garrison was at finished, in his eighty-third year, a this time not only too small for the de- long and calamitous reign of forty-five fence of so immense a city (the walls of years; and on the same day his eldest which, besides their great extent, were legitimate son, Acber, was placed on accessible on all sides), but extremely the throne. In happier times Shah faulty in its composition, consisting Allum might have been a beneficent partly of 300 Mewaties, robbers by sovereign; but his abilities, or perhaps profession, and of a body of irregular any human abilities, were unequal to horse, whose fidelity could not be re- 'the task of retrieving the fortunes of lied on.
The Mewaties justified their that tottering dynasty : he fell with a character, by going over to the enemy falling state, and appears neither to at an early stage of the siege ; and the have retarded nor accelerated the ima irregular horse fled on the approach of petus of the descent. the enemy, and could not be prevailed The accession of Acber the Second on to impede his advance by an attack wss marked by the most unexampled while on the march. The enemy, a tranquillity, the commencement of few days afterwards, having opened every prior reign having been invaritheir batteries, and several breaches ably stained with bloodshed, and disbeing effected, as much by the con- turbed with tumult and commotion. cussion of the guns on the crumb- Of this prince nothing very brilliant ling ramparts, as by their shot, an was anticipated, as, during his father's attempt was made to carry the place life, he had been for many years enby escalade, in which they were re- tirely under the guidance of a woman pulsed; and soon after the guns were of low extraction, weak, proud, ignospiked in their batteries, during a rant, and of insatiable rapacity. The sortie, by a detachment under Lieu- peculiarities of his destiny, however, tenant Rose. Finding they had mis- did not call for the exertion of any
transcendent energies—as he was pro- could these strong assertions be contected by the British power from ex- troverted, as, owing to the complete ternal invasion ; for his internal com- state of seclusion in which he had forts a large stipend had been assigned; been retained by his father, his chaand from within the extensive walls racter was wholly unknown, while the of his seraglio, where his sway was mind of the infatuated sovereign, nanot questioned, he might apparently, turally weak, was perplexed by the like the gods of Epicurus, or the in- artifices of his servants, among whom habitants of the happy valley, have no honest man could remain without viewed with indifference the passing external support. Being entirely ige events of an agitated world, enjoying, norant, also, of his relative situation to in all its perfection, leisure and a large the British government, he persevered pension. But of all institutions ever in his determination to alter the line invented by the ingenuity of man for of the succession, notwithstanding the the promotion of his own misery, a se- reiterated remonstrances of the resiraglio appears to be the most efficacious; dent, who soon found that the effect as the materials of which it is com- of the kindness of the British governposed, consisting of wives, concubines, ment was quite destroyed by the imslave-girls, eunuchs, poets, musicians, positions practised on him by his fasinging and dancing boys and girls, mily and attendants, each of whom dealers in sweetmeats, venders of claimed the merit of accomplishing opium and perfumes, tumblers, snake- every object which the British admidancers, barbers, nail-cutters, hair- nistration acquiesced in. extirpators, and shampooers, are cer- The operation of this intestine war tainly the best adapted for producing at length reached beyond the walls of the greatest quantity of discord from the the seraglio, and threatened to disturb smallest causes. As might be expected the peace of the metropolis. The Emin a community so constituted, the buzz peror, after several preliminary steps, and ferment are incessant; discordant proceeded to the extremity of openly interests, low amours, petty intrigues, proclaiming his fourth son, Jehandar plots, and squabbles, lies, messages, Shah, heir apparent, to the exclusion notes, and whispers, keep up the com- of his eldest son, under the pretext, bustion, while the intervention of the that he was disqualified for such an anarch old, by his decision, more em- elevation, by the weakness of his inbroils the fray.
tellects, not reflecting that the same Being entirely under the influence allegation, if listened to, might have of such advisers, Acber the Second precluded his own accession. In this had scarcely ascended the throne, when emergency, the interposition of the he commenced a series of intrigues, British government became necessary, with the view of effecting the exclu- and the resident at Delhi was accordsion of his eldest son (to whom he had ingly directed to institute an investitaken a most preposterous aversion), gation regarding the sanity or derangefrom the succession, and of procuring ment of the legitimate successor. The the sanction of the British government result proved highly favourable, as, on to the nomination of his fourth and examination, he was found to possess favourite son, Jehandar Shah, as Wulli a perfectly sound, although not very Ahud, or heir apparent. The causes capacious mind-a mind certainly fully of the different princes were supported equal to that of his worthy parent, or by parties within the walls of the pal- to the transaction of any affairs to ace; and the most contemptible acts which his fortune seemed ever likely of meanness and absurdity were prac- to destine him. This fact being estatised by the different factions. The blished, his Majesty was informed, cause of the legitimate heir, however, that it was an invariable maxim of was fast declining, owing to the un- British policy, never to pass over the natural hatred of his father; and he next in succession and lawful claimant was described to the British function- to the throne, unless circumstances aries at the court of Delhi as an idiot, were so strongly against him as to who, so far from being equal to the shut out all hopes of amendment or government of an empire, was scarcely improvement: That in the present able to perform the commonest offices case, no such urgency existed, as the for himself, and in intellect little su- heir apparent's mind seemed quite ade perior to the brute creation. Nor quate to his duties, and that the ev
which would originate from an irregu- tem, and the consequent individual selar succession were too great to permit curity which they have experienced, so momentous a deviation, merely for imprisonment for life does not now the possible benefit to be derived from excite the same degree of admiration. a successor of greater abilities. Nor of this change, in process of time the could any thing very satisfactory be female portion of the population will expected from the conduct of such a also feel the benefit, as in all probasovereign as his favourite Jehandar bility they were originally doomed to Shah, whose youth, and whatever abi. strict seclusion, only from the absence lities he possessed, had been directed of efficient laws to protect them from to the base purpose of supplanting his violence, if exposed to public notice. eldest brother. To prevent the repe- In consequence of this appeal from tition of the miserable artifices which the royal brothers, the governor-gehad so long distracted the interior of neral was induced to proffer his kind the seraglio, and now threatened the offices, and a reconciliation, at least in capital with commotion, Jehandar appearance, was effected in this disShah was ordered to take up his fu- united family. The Emperor's broture residence at Allahabad, there to thers were permitted to attend his Maremain under the supervision of the jesty during the customary religious judge and magistrate.
processions and ceremonies, and also Acber the second reluctantly ac- at certain festivals to visit the tomb of quiesced in what he could not prevent, their father, a gratification from which and shrunk into the recesses of his they had been hitherto debarred, and seraglio. But it soon appeared that for the recovery of which they expressed he was not the only discontented per- the utmost gratitude to the mediator. son within the royal precincts; for in The mortifications which the Delhi 1809 the brothers of the king repre- sovereign experienced from these petty sented to Lord Minto, then governor- alterations, were qualified to a certain general, and ex officio the arbiter ele- degree in 1807, by the donation of the gantiarum of the palace, the severe re- six lacks of rupees already mentioned, straints under which they were kept and in 1812 by the augmentation of by his Majesty, being deprived of their his stipend to one lack of rupees arms, horses, and equipage, and not (£11600) per month, the prosperous permitted to take the slightest recrea- state of the assigned territories fully tion, or to pass the gates of the royal admitting of this augmentation. On residence. This harsh treatment was their acquisition in 1803, they were attributed to the influence of Boodsua leased on a triennial settlement, and Begum, the king's mother, who, accus- the first year they yielded only tomed to the forms that had subsisted 353,952 rupees (£41,058); the second during the reign of Shah Allam, could 390,701 rupees; and the third 432,432 not be prevailed on to depart from rupees; but so rapidly did a few years them, alleging their great antiquity, of tranquillity and good government and the number of centuries during ameliorate the condition of the cultiwhich they had regulated the etiquette yators, and the productive powers of of the Mogul court. Nor probably, in lands, that more tempestuous times, would these in 1812 they yielded 994,944 rupees. relations of his Majesty have wished
1,256,505 (£145,754.) for greater liberty, as they would have been inevitably involved in the in- and the revenue was not only suffitrigues of the factions that agitate all cient to defray the expences of the oriental courts, and have become ob- royal family, but also to leave a conjects of distrust and jealousy to the siderable surplus applicable to general reigning prince, whose suspicions purposes. Within the assigned terriwould have consigned them to a closer tories are several jaghires, the principrison, or expedited their final exit. pal holders of which are the Nabob Within the last half century, great al- Bhamboo Khan, the Nabob Nijabut teration has taken place in the pecu- Ali Khan, and the Seik chiefs Bhang, liar feelings of the higher classes of Singh, and others; a further increase natives, who used formerly to consi- of revenue may therefore be expected der seclusion as essential to their dig- on the falling in of these by the denity and safety; but since the estan cease of the existing incumbents, beblishment of the British judicial sys- sides what may be anticipated to arise
on the reconstruction of the Nuhri the land within the walls became of Fyz, or canal of bounty.
little or no value to the owners, who Nor did the ancient and venerable carelessly disposed of their rights for capital experience less benefit from the any trifle of ready money, and fretransfer than the surrounding territory, quently to escape extortion, left their although the effects were not so quickly properties unclaimed altogether. Of perceptible, and although no improved this supineness they had subsequently system of government could at once cause to repent; for no sooner had compensate for the absence of a splen- the city surrendered to Lord Lake, did and luxurious court, which in India than the value of houses and lands will always collect a population, and cre- within the walls instantaneously douate a city, as if by enchantment. Not- bled, and it has been progressively inwithstanding its great antiquity, and creasing ever since. the long period of time during which Among the most magnificent and it has ranked as the first city of Hin- useful memorials of the taste and dostan, there is nothing in the situa- splendour of the Emperor Shah Jehan tion of Delhi peculiarly attractive, the remaining at Delhi, is the well belongadjacent soil being rather of a sterile ing to the Jamma Musjeed (mosque), than fruitful description, and the river which was excavated at an immense not navigable during the dry season expense out of the solid rock on for boats of any considerable burthen. which that edifice stands. The water Under these disadvantages, however, is raised by a complicated machinery, it had become a city of great fame and and a succession of reservoirs, to the magnitude prior to the Mahommedan area of the mosque, where, at the top invasion, when it was distinguished of a grand flight of steps, it fills a in the Hindoo books of history, or small fish-pond; it is of great utility rather Mythology, by the appellation to all ranks of persons, but more espeof Indraprest; but it never appears to cially to the Mahommedans in performhave had the same sanctity of character ing their prescribed ablutions. For in popular estimation as Mathura and many years the decayed state of some Kanoje. In 1011 it was taken and of the principal wheels, and the ruin. sacked by Sultan Mahmood of Ghizni; ous condition of the masonry, rendere but it did not become the permanent ed the supply of water both difficult residence of a Mussulmaun dynasty to be procured, and extremely scanty. until A. D. 1193, since which date, At length, in 1809, it completely failwith the exception of a short interval ed, and the consequences during the during the reign of Acber I., when intensity of the hot season were exthe royal court was removed to Agra, tremely distressing to the inhabitants, it has continued to be the metropolis and excited considerable interest in the of Hindostan.
mind of the Emperor. Under these According to popular tradition, du- circumstances, Mr Seton, the resident ring its splendid era, Delhi covered a at Delhi, conceiving that the repair of space twenty miles in circumference; the well, at the expence of the British and its ruins still occupy that surface, government, would be highly gratifyalthough its present walls cannot being to the inhabitants, authorised its reckoned at more than ten miles in being put in a state of repair, and the compass. Ever since the death of expense incurred was sanctioned by Aurengzebe in 1707, the population the governor-general. has been decreasing, and it received a Many other repairs and improveserious blow in 1739, during the in- ments of a similar description were vasion of Nadir Shah, who massacred gradually carried into execution ; but 100,000 of the inhabitants; nor was much remains still to be done, espeit likely to recover during the state of cially the renewal of the great canal, anarchy which subsisted in Upper excavated in the reign of Shah Jehan, Hindostan from that period until the by Ali Mordan Khan, a Persian noRritish conquest in 1803. Under the bleman, which is now choked up as useSindia family its decline was uninter- less. In the reconstruction of this, the rupted, every year exhibiting some credit of the British government is impalace newly dilapidated, or some plicated, and the augmented fertility street choked up with rubbish or of the tract it intersects would more jungle. In fact, the decay was so ra- than compensate for the expenditure. pid, and apparently so hopeless, that There is no region in Hindostan susVOL. IV.