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accept any substitute for the former possessors, according to the lottery of a war carried on in Europe. The consequence was, that, although the troops landed, and took possession without difficulty, all communication was broken off by the Chinese. A stop was altogether put to trade, and it was thought a happy conclusion of the affair, to re-establish the former intercourse on the condition of withdrawing the troops. The expedition, of course, returned to Bengal, reinfectá, in the month of February. The commander, and the officers and men composing the expedition, received the thanks of the government for their conduct. Lord Minto was not prevented by these warlike occupations from directing his attention to arrangements of equal importance, though of a peaceful and political nature. The principal object of this description, to which the governor-general directed his attention, was an embassy to the king of Cabul. This embassy, at the head of which the honourable Mr. Elphinstone was placed, had, for its particular object, to counteract the intrigues of the French embassy, then at the court of i’ersia. The kingdom of Cabul, inhabited by the Afghans, is situated, upon the Attock and Indus, to the north of Lahore, bordering upon Persia, of which it was originally a province, till conquered by the Moghuls. It was subsequently re-united to Persia by Nadir Shah; * but is now independent, and of considerable importance to the attack, or defence, of the British territories in India. Cabul, intersected with chains of lofty mountains, and large rivers, forms a sort of barrier, which, if gained by the invaders, facilitates their irruption, if held by or for the defenders, bashes attack. The progress of the embassy, as detailed in its journals, and in the accounts, successively given, in the appropriate part of this volume, is interestig, from the variety of non-descript countries

through which it passed; from the difficulties of travel it frequently encountered ; and the adventures it sometimes met. During its stay at Bikaneer, and in the passage of the desert, an interval of about five weeks altogether, at the close of 1808, the health of the escort suffered extremely ; but was entirely re-established soon after it entered the cultivated country on the other side, in the beginning of the new year. The appearance of a band of Europeans in a country, whole, except, perhaps, in a few instances of single individuals, that people had never been seen, excited great surprize and curiosity, and attracted, in some places, such multitudes of gazing Afghans, that the members of the embassy found it difficult to pass from tent to tent, in the stations where they halted ; and, although no rudeness was offered to then, it was found convenient to prevent the repetition of such intrusion, by surrounding the camp, at the time of halting, with a sort of screen called Kamauls. The chiefs every where manifested the greatest civility; but some of them entertained suspicions, which induced them to take the precaution of strengthening their garrisons, and shutting their towns; this, however, was done without any departure from a personal demeanour, which was always marked by politeness. On entering the territory of Cabul, the embassy received information that

the king, Soojah-ul-Mulk, was not at

his capital, but had inade a progress southward to Peshour. This journey was generally, and, as it afterwards appeared, justly attributed to an intended expedition against Cashmire, though it was considered by some of the embassy, that the most natural, as well as the most simple, motive, was

the desire of passing the winter in a

milder climate, rather than in the

midst of the mountains of Candahar,

which were then covered with snow. While the embassy waited an invi

f * See Compendium of the Modern Persian History, in the preceding volume,

Pages 12. 16. 20. 27.

tation to proceed to the king's presence, information was received, that the Persian monarch had sent two of his brothers to Cabul, to endeavour to negotiate a peace. This intelligence, of course, gave additional importance to the mission, and quickened their zeal and activity. But as it was uncertain what route they should take; some reports representing the king as still proceeding on his route to Peshour, while others stated that he was on his return to Candahar, it was thought best to await more accurate information in Moultan, which the gentlemen of the embassy described, in the month of January, as a climate, at that season, most delightful. They made use of this interval to cross several considerable rivers, and among them the Indus, which might have retarded their progress, if the passage had been deferred. During this halt, an English deserter, of the name of John Pensley, came into the camp, and conversed with the embassy. He related, that himself, and two others, had entered the service of the Native chiefs, by whom they were well treated ; but it appears they were well watched also. One of his comrades was in confinement, for what cause is not stated. This man wore the Mahommedan dress, and appeared, in every respect, like a Native. He and his comrades were married men, and conformed in every thing to the customs of the country. The embassy did not, it appears, derive any very useful information from this gentleman, except an injunction to cultivate the growth of their mustachoes, which he represented as essential to their being treated with respect. At length the expected permission arrived, and the embassy pursued its march to Peshour, where it arrived on the 25th of February. The country through which it passed is described as beautiful, watered by the Indus, which is said to be about 300 yards in breadth, running, in a deep clear stream, between two ridges of rocks. The termination of their long and painful journey was heard with pleasure, by the members of the

embassy; and arrangements were made for the ceremonial of the audience which was expected to take place in a few days. It appeared, by the succeeding accounts, that the result of the audience was most favourable; the embassy continued to enjoy the greatest hospitality and kindness: Mr. Elphinstone was to have a private audience of the king ; and the embassy was to accompany his majesty, in his return northward to Cabul, which was expected speedily to take place. These favourable appearances were, however, soon troubled, although but for a time, by one of those extraordinary vicissitudes, from which the history of Europe, in our own times, have shewn, that no sovereigns are exempt; but which are more frequent in the less settled kingdoms of the East. Mahmood Shah, hall brother to the king, and a pretendel to the musnud, made his appearance, in Candahar, at the head of a powerful force, with which he soon made himself master of the whole province; and when the intelligence was dispatched to the king, he was on full march for the capital. This Mahmood had, about seven years before, seized, and dethroned Zemaun Shah, the king then reigning. Soojah-ul-Mulk, the younger brother of Zemaun, es: caped to the mountains, and lived among the Khybours, (a sort of predatory tribe) till he contrived to collect a force among them sufficient to assert his claim. With this force he encountered, and defeated, Mahmood, taking possession of the throne. With a clemency very unusual, in such cases, among Asiatics, besides saving Zemaun Shah, he granted a pardon to Mahmood, gave him his liberty, and a pension. But Mahmood ungratefully made use of this indulgence to levy an army, and once more to invade Cabul, and dispute the throne with his preserver and benefactor. The rapid progress of Mahmood's arms was, at this time, particularly alarming, as the greater part of the king's army, amounting to 12,000 men, was absent with the vizier, on the expedition in Cashmire.

Intelligence was immediately dispatched to press the vizier to conclude the settlement of that province, and to return to Peshour, in order that the king might march with the army to meet Mahmood in Candahar. As the vizier had defeated Mohammed Khan, and possessed himself of the fortress of Buramoollah, between the army of that rebellious chief and the capital, within three days march of which the army of Cabul had advanced, it was expected that these objects might be speedily effected. The return of the vizier, however, did not keep pace with the urgency of the occasion; and many inferior chiefs, and persons in trust, consulting their advantage, appeared disto join the party that seemed ikely, under existing circumstances, to prevail. The mutual pretensions of the contending chiefs, Mahmood and Soojahul-Mulk, will be better understood by the following statement :Timour Shah, the father of both, died after a reign of nineteen years, leaving nineteen sons. To the eldest, Humaioon, he gave the sovereignty of Herat, and Candahar; to Zemaun Shah, his favourite, who was by a different mother, he gave Cabul, and the rest of his Afghan possessions, as well as Cashmire and Moultan. Zemaun Shah, being of a warlike disposition, attacked Humaioon, whom he despoiled of his succession, and deprived of sight for security. Zemaun was a prince of great power, and was, for some time, formidable even to the British empire, in so much that recourse was had both to Petersburg and to Constantinople for influencing Persia to create a diversion against him. An army under Sir James Craig, was sent against him, about nine years before the date of the embassy, and endeavoured, though unsuccessfully, to bring him to a battle. Mahmood, the full brother of Humaioon, claimed, at this juncture, the succession to his throne, and having secured it by arms, attacked Zemaun Shah, whom he dethroned and blinded in his turn. Soojah-ul-Mulk, the brother of Zemaun Shah, on the first usurpation

of the Shah's dominions, was obliged to consult his safety in flight, yet soon afterwards he appeared in arms at the head of a formidable force, defeated Mahmood, and placed himself on the Musnud, which he held undisputed, till Mahmood, seizing the opportunity, when he was entangled in the war of Cashmire, again invaded Candahar. The invader had opened a communication with the rebellious chief of Cashmire, to whom he promised the sovereignty of that province, and both acted in concert. The chief of Cashmire was soon defeated in several actions, and his followers dispersed and driven out of the province. The army of Cabul having pursued these fugitives within four miles of Mozufferabad, a city on the road to Attock, midway between Cashmire and the Indus, there discontinued the pursuit, and began its march back to the frontier of Cabul. But Mahmood had very different success from his rebellious coadjutor. He advanced to the city of Cabul, where he obtained possession of the Balahissor, a castle of some strength, where the younger princes of the royal blood are generaily sequestered for the security of the reigning prince. Goolistan Khan, the representative of Soojah-ul-Mulk, fled to the mountains on Mahmood's approach : other accounts, however, allege, that he took the more generous resolution of throwing himself into the principal fort, within which the royal palace stands, defending it to the last extremity. In this situation, with reduced forces and an exhausted treasury, deserted by most of those who could give him effectual support, and unable to derive any efficient aid from those who remained faithful, Soojah-ul-Mulk had only the lamentable alternative of abandoning his kingdom without a contest, or contending with a force on his side so disproportionate that success must be hopeless. He chose, however, to try the fortune of arms, and having been defeated in every instance he was under the necessity of once more seeking his personal safety in concealment. His family fled towards the Punjab; and advices were soon received that Zemaun Shah, with the Haram, was at Rawel Hindee, under the protection of a seik chieftain Soojah-ul-Mulk ventured again into Candahar in the hope of awakening an interest in his favour; nor was the hope disappointed; for whether it was that the spirit and firmness he displayed in defence of his rights revived a corresponding spiritin his subjects, and confirmed their attachment, or that those who took part with Mahmood, with the fickleness, for which Asiatics are remarkable, became tired of their leader and after balancing a little, from considerations of interest, reverted to their allegiance, Mahmood was soon after successively deserted by his principal adherents, and left at last without any train deserving of apprehension. These events were so singular, and although but collateral to the object of the embassy, had for a considerable time such an influence on those objects, that the reader cannot but feel them worthy of being recounted. The situation of the embassy during the vicissitudes of the contest for the sovereignty must have been extremely painful. The sovereign to whom the mission was addressed, and at whose court it had been so favourably and so hospitably received, could not consistently with honour be abandoned in his difficulties and distresses; and yet it did not appear wise or necessary to make the company's government a party in a competition in which, whatever rival should be successful, it would be equally essential that he should be friendly to the British interests. In this uncertainty it seemed the most prudent plan that the embassy should return, deferring the ulterior objects of its mission to a more favourable opportunity. Arrangements were accordingly made for their return through the country of the Seiks, where every preparation was made under the influence and direction of Runjeit Sing, to entertain and assist them in their passage. Punjeit himself resolved to meet them at Imrutsir, having previonsiy dispatched a vakeil to compli

ment them and to acquaint them with his intentions. The embassy set out at the commencement of the month of August. It was not, till some time after, that the favourable change already noticed, which re-established Soojah-ul-Mulk on his throne, took place. The examination of the progress made in the study of the native lan. guages in the college of Fort William, established for that purpose, is another of the peaceful objects of Lord Minto's attention in the early part of this year. The familiar acquisition of those languages, although in future, and perhaps not very distant times, it may become less remarkable, is yet, in the infancy of the establishment, mattter of much interest; for it is only by protecting and cherishing the first steps, that the grand strides of future times can be drawn forth. The care bestowed by Lord Minto on this object, is peculiarly pleasing, nor less so is his eloquence in describing the attainments of the several students, entitled to the notice of the visitorial chair. His lordship subsequently adverts to the printing of several of the most important native works, by which European publicity will be given to the hitherto hidden, or at least partially known, treasures of oriental wisdom. There is the greater pleasure on this part of his lordship's administration, as we shall have soon to follow him, reluctantly, into that maze of dissension, wherein he afterwards involved himself at Madras. Before closing the separate history of Bengal for this year, it may not be amiss to mention two events which were omitted in their proper places. One was the introduction of vaccination into the Seik countries, by means of the expedition against Runjeit Sing, and the opportunities subsequently afforded by pacific arrangements with that chieftain. The other was the appearance of Aetocke, Princess of New Zealand, at Calcutta, and her presentation to the governorgeneral by commodore Hayes; on which occasion the Princess shewed much intelligence, and indeed some egree of dignity, as well as considerable progress in the acquisition of the English language. From such minute beginnings, frequently the most important consequences have been found to arise. The reader will now direct his attention to Bombay, passing over, for the present, the transactions of the intermediate presidency of Madras, which, from their importance and interest, demand, and will receive, a separate consideration. The pirates, in the Persian Gulph, had for some time attracted the attention of the government on that side of India, by their molestation and obstruction of the country trade; and their numbers and boldness had increased of late to such a degree, that it became necessary to fit out a force, to pursue them into their haunts, and to disable them from further mischief. The enterprise was in a manner forced upon the local government by the particular outrage practised on the crew of a British ship, the Minerva, captain Hopwood, recently captured. The male prisoners, with a barbarity rarely equalled, were all compelled to embrace the Mahommedan faith, and were obliged to submit themselves to the most minute initiatory ceremonies, attendant on the induction of members within the pale of the Mahommedan church. Three ladies were treated with a brutality that cannot be described with decency or temper. The expedition destined to the Gulph was not long enployed in inflicting due chastisement upon the authors of these outrages. The first place visited by the expedition was the fort of Mallia, in the province of Kuttywar, situated in the dependencies of the Guicowar, a prince in alliance with the British government, but unable to retain in order or subjection these desperate marauders, who had, for a long series of years, defended themselves in this haunt against the utmost efforts of the native power. The expedition, commanded by lieut.-col. Walker, arrived in front of the place in the first week in August, and immediately prePated to take it by storm. The storm

ing party consisted of about six-hundred men, taken from different regiments, followed by the remainder as a reserve, the whole led by a forlorn hope, consisting of twenty-five Europeans, under captain John M'Kenzie, of the Bombay European regiment, and lieutenant Newman of H. M. 56th regt. who gallantly volunteered their serW1CeS. On the morning of the 7th of August this force arrived, after a long and fatiguing march, in front of the fort, which was immediately summoned to surrender; but the garrison, relying on the strength of the place, rejected the summons in terms of vaunting defiance. The fortifications were, indeed, very strong, and the enemy, encouraged by former successes, and desperately bent on the most determined resistance, had secured the wall against the expected attack of the British troops by a strong embankment of earth and brushwood. All expectation of obtaining peaceable possession being precluded, the guns opened their fire on the place in the morning of the 8th, at day light, and by three o'clock the same day the breach was reported practicable. A little before four the storming party advanced to the assault, and rushed into the breach, which captain M Kenzie was the first to enter. They were gallantly seconded, and in less than three quarters of an hour after mounting the breach the whole of the town was in their possession. The most difficult part of the enterprize, however, remained to be still effected, for the enemy had retired into the inner fort, which was inaccessible to assault,

and there they appeared determined to

defend themselves to the last extremity. The guns were brou. ht up, and the fire again opened; out the evening being too far advanced to make any impression, the troops contented themselves with keeping possession of the works of the town during the night, and holding themselves in readiness to renew their bolder enterprizes on the return of day. It was then, however, found that to enemy had retired by a sally po

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