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Yalty, at Fort William ; the brig as prize to the Captors, and her cargo as a droit of admiralty. Calcutta, April 12th-Advices have been received from Peshour, the 10th of March. Mr. Elphinstone and the gentlemen of his suite have been introduced to the King. The third of March was the day appointed for the ceremony; but, in consequence of the unfavourable state of the weather, it was deferred, and did not actually take place until the morning of the 5th. Paishawar is described as a low,damp, unpleasant town; surrounded on every side by a miry country, and containing no very comfortable accomodations for Europeans. Sultan-ul-Moolk, it was supposed, would shortly return towards Candahar; his enemy, the prince Shah Abbas, having excited some commotions in the western provinces, and made himself master of Herat. In that case, the conduct of the war in Cashmere will be left to an inferior officer.
Private account of the progress of the em'assy. DHop A, a village eight miles south of Koha.—Feb. 1.-We lett Qurrah Baugh the day before yesterday. From Turrugun, our roadlay through a rich and fertile tract of ground, subject to inundation from the overflow of the Indus, which, by the quantity of mud which it yearly deposits, gives new vigour and substance to the soil. On our left, at the distance of some miles, was a high range of barren hills, composed of a soft, friable sand-stone,—their tops pointed, craggy, and irregular, and their sides ravined by the torrents, and, within a certain distance from their basis, descending by a moderate slope towards the plain. The intermediate space between these hills and our route, was an uneven track of country; bearing a wide and scattered bush-jungle, with a little grass—On the right was to be seen the bed of the Indus, of a great extent, and the stream separated into many channels by numberless -'ands of various sizes —most of them
bearing grass, but some laid down in corn. Beyond this, and terminating the landscape, appeared the opposite bank of the river, low, and with a cluster or row of trees here and there checquering the horizon, and a ridge of barren hills, in the back-ground, which where neither pleasing from their beauty, nor striking from their magnitude or grandeur. It appeared to me, that the extreme distance from the east bank of the Indus to the base of these hills might be about 18 or 20 miles. The distance gradually increases, as you approach to Kala Baugh. All the hills we have yet seen on the Indus, or near it, are perfectly bare of verdure, with the exception only of a few miserable, thorny bushes, and the scattered tufts of grass on their sloping sides. Their substance is either a dark grey saidstone, or the same sand-stone mixed with fiaky strata of clay and coarse gravel. One side is usually precipitous and craggy, distinctly shewing the materials of which they are composed; while the other has generally a sloping and practicable, though steep ascent, covered with a thin layer of earth, pebbles and sand mingled together, and bearing such scant shiubs and grasses as the soil affords. One of our stages was at KhoodooZaee, on the banks of the Indus. The appearance of the river there is grander and more cheering, than in any other part of its course which I had before seen. The west bank, on which we encamped, was high and steep, and composed of a firm, calcareous earth, much broken and intersected by the descending torrents. The water was beautifully clear, of a light greenish hue, apparently very deep, and flowing over a bed of stones and pebbles, without rocks. The opposite shore was a gently shelving sand-bank, with here and there an island, covered in general with long yellow grass, but in some particular parts with corn. The stream seemed to be from 2 to 300 yards wide, and the curreut' remarkably swift. From Khoodoo-zaee we marched to Qurrah Baugh (a short distance of about
10 miles) over ground broken and uneven, but in some places pretty fertile. Our rout was constantly interrupted, by the broad, stony, and sandy beds of torrents, which run down from the hills. The road gradually approaches the incuntains until it reaches Qurrah Baugh which is a small town, built at the foot of a high, steep, and precipitous bill, overhanging the river. Between the base of this eminence and the stream, but a narrow space is left; and that is very steep and regged, from the fragments of sand-stone and rock, which have fallen from above. A road, or path-way, is here cut for the convenience of travellers, sufficient to admit the passage of loaded mules, bullocks, or asses. But, unless the people attending us on the part of the King had caused it to be repaired and enlarged, it would not have been practicable for our camels and elephants. Carriages of no sort can pass; but there are excellant flat-bottoined boats, by which any articles may be transported round the point. along, several of our camels lost their footing and rolled into the river: but as boats were ready at all the dangerous points, the articles were saved, and the camels escaped with few bruises and knocks. Qurrah Baugh is remarkable in several particulars, but chiefly as the point at which the Indus is first confined to one stream, between banks which it cannot possibly overflow. It is also remarkable for possessing an in;xhaustible store of the finest rock salt, supplied by the same hill, whose base is skilted by the difficult pass above-mentioned. Thirdly, it is enriched by very considerable alum works. And in the last place, it is an object of curiosity, from the peculiar manner in which the houses are built on the almost perpendicular front of the acNvity. The salt is here sold at 25 maunds per rupee, and transported on camels and bullocks, to the Punjaub, Moultain, Sind, and the lower parts of the Cabul dominions; alum also is bartered in trade : and by means of these exports the inhabibitants are supported in great ease and confort. The houses seem to be built
In passing .
on platforms, cut out of the declivity of the hill. They have an odd appearance; rising irregularly one above another, like large square or oblong blocks of masonry, or stratified rocks. Some they are obliged to support by buttresses, and sloping stone ramparts, as the substance of the hill itself is so easily destroyed by water. The inhabitants are a tribe of Afghans, called Awaris, the chief man of the clan living in Qurrah-Baugh. The stream of the Indus here, between the two nearest points of the opposite hills, I should conjecture to be from 3 to 400 yards wide. An arrow shot across the stream fell short of the opposite bank, by about one-third of the distance. Just at Qurrah-Baugh, the current of the river is very slow ; and the large flat-bottomed boats, with two heavy oars (each requiring two men to pull them,) were able to row up against the stream. The velocity of its current cannot here exceed a mile and a half in the hour, if, indeed, it be so much. It flows without noise or impetuosity, and at the edges of the water is almost stagnant. The hills on either side are perfectly bare, and generally steep, craggy, and precipitous to the water's edge, leaving only, when the river is swollen, a sufficient space between their basis and the margin of the stream for a narrow path-way. The brick itself is composed of a soft, rich mud, which sinks so easily under the foot, that it is not in every part that animals can approach the water. In some places, the rocks project into the stream,_and there the water is exceedingly deep to their very odge. The adjoining hills are remarkable, I think, only for their frequently fantastic shape. The rain, melting down their substance, leaves to the last the highest and hardest parts, which often are seen standing on basis much smaller than their summits, in pinnacles, nodding projections, over - hanging craggs, and glacier-like forms. The view up the river from Kala-Baugh is suddenly interrupted by a quick turn to the north, the stream here resuming its usual direction, after an irregular winding in its course towards the town, which it approaches nearly from the south east. It cannot be said to flow in a valley, as the opening between the hills here is equal only to the breadth of its channel. The general effect is dark and gloomy, from the barrenness and melancholy colour of the hills. These indeed are neither exceedingly high nor peculiarly grand. And although the appearance altogether of the landscape about KalaBaugh is interesting, that interest is created chiefly by the novelty of the scene, and the association of ideas. Opposite to Kala-Baugh is a hill with a Hindoo temple and devotee on the top. And a little further up the river, on the Punjaub side, there is situated a village, belonging to Runjeit Sing, the Seik chief, and built in a similar manner to Kala-Baugh. The people of the two towns are, in consequence of the enmity existing between their respective states, also at war with one another, and we were advised not to proceed far up the river, least, knowing us to be under the protection of the Cabul king, they might fire on us. – At Kala-Baugh we left the Indus, and proceeded in the bed of a hill stream, which in rainy weather flows down through the valley. The bed was story and of various breadths, but never exceeding half a mile. At length, we began to ascend a steep and difficult pass, which was in many parts so narrow, that we were obliged to chip the sand rock with hatchets, to enable the loaded camels to pass. The ascent likewise was exceedingly arduous, being continued up the rocky bed of a torrent, for 5 or 6 miles. When we reached the summit, it began to rain heavily, and the prospect all around became most dismally grand. The whole of our descent was rendered tedious and difficult, by the state of the weather. Many camels were lost, and a few stragglers were plundered. We did not reach our ground until four in the evening, and came in all completely wet. We pitched in a low hollow, which was already almost soaked, at d apparently likely to become a bog before morning. One
half of our baggage did not effect their descent until twelve at night, and many of our followers remained in the pass all night under a heavy rain, which was probably, indeed, their best defence again the robbers, who were seen sitting on the tops of the hills and hovering about our line. All yesterday it continued to rain so heavily and incessantly, that we were obliged to move from the low spot, where we were encamped, to ground further down the water course. But when we began to load the camels, most of those, who had heavy burthens, were either unable to rise, or, having risen, again fell. We, however, proceeded, at the imminent risk of having all our valuables precipitated down the steep declivity, which we had to descend; and, though travelling only a few miles, we did not get to our ground until dark. All the time there was a soaking rain : and so severe was the cold, and so dark the night, that our servants were almost disabled; neither firewood nor forage, nor provision could be obtained, and it was with the greatest difficulty that we could get a tent pitched. Most of the people remained out all night in this dismal situation, and two of our party sutiered among the rest. One of them arrived without his baggage, &c. which he had been constrained to leave on the road, the tents being so completely soaked, that the camels were unabled to carry them on. The other having lost his way on a jutting point that overhung the valley, and being fearful to proceed further in the dark, was obliged to renain all night in that unpleasant situation, without fire or companion. Fortunately, we have halted to day; but it still continues to rain, and our march to-morrow will probably be a chain of disasters. We are, however, but six marches from the king, and our troubles will there end. We are, however, all perfectly well.
We have not yet got to the bottom of this pass through the hills; and 1 almost fear to write, lest the post should be rifled, and my letters destroyed.
It was on a rainy dismal day that I wrote the first part of this letter. Thank God, we are now not only cheered by fine weather, and the prospect of a speedy meeting with the king, but are buoyed up with the glorious news lately received from Europe. At present I cannot say more. To-morrow we shall be at Kohat, and in three days more at Peshour. The king is very anxious for our arrival, being on the wing for Attock, to which place, I think it most probable we shall follow, or perhaps accompany him. Calcutta, April 25.—The embassy continued to experience the most courteous hospitality and respect. On the 13th of March, Mr. Elphinstone had a private audience of his majesty, at which he was received with much politeness, and was repeatedly urged by the king, to accompany him on his intended journey to Cabul. If reliance can be placedon the authority of a native newspaper, Soojah-ulMoolk was likely to be immediately called away from Peshour, by an insurrection in the neighbourhood of Herat, which has recently assumed a very sormidable aspect. It appears, indeed, that the danger was considerably nearer then expected. Mahmood Shah, half-brother to his majesty, and a rival candidate for the musnud, having collected a very powerful rebel force in the north, had actually made himself master of Candahar, and, at the date of the last accounts, was understood to be in full march against the capital. The news had excited very great consternation at court; and it was the general opinion, that the most energetic measures would be necessary, and that, in all likelihood, the Shah might yet have to fight another battle for his crown. This Mahmood is the same prince, by whom, about seven years ago, Zemaun Shah (the king then reigning,) was dethroned, and deprived of his sight. On that event Soojah-ulMoolk (the younger full brother of Zemaun,) effected his escape to the mountain, and lived for some time among the Khyburs, a race of rob
bers, by whom these regions are infested. Of these banditti he collected a formidable force, with which he marched against Mahmood, defeated him, and ascended the throne. The first measure of his reign was an act of generosity, not very usual in Asiatic monarchies. He granted a free pardon to the usurper, set his person at large, and settled on him a handsome salary for his maintenance. The same kindness and liberality he extended also to Zemaun Shah, who is still alive, and in the enjoyment of every comfort. Soojah-ul-Mook is said to be very generally esteemed and beloved by his subjects at Peshour. There were still, however, mutinous spirits in many parts of his kingdom, ready for any change which held out the hopes of plunder, whose aid the ungrateful Mahmood had but too successfully courted, for the purpose of kindling anew the flames of civil commotion. The only circumstance which was likely to retard the journey of the king towards Cabul, was the war in Cashmere, which, it was hoped, would terminate in the entire subjugation of the Soohbahdar, within the space of about a month. The army, which had been sent against that province, under the command of the vizier, is stated, in a letter of the 14th of March, from Peshour, to have arrived (at the date of the latest advices then received) within three marches of its destination. Still, however, the most difficult defiles remained to be passed. In the letter of the 10th, again, it is added, that the Cashmerian army had nearly effected their purpose, and that the vizier was expected speedily to return, with his whole force, to aid in the expedition against the rebels in Candahar. A diplomatic mission from the Seiks, consisting of fifteen persons, arrived at Attock, at the latter end of February, charged with some communication to the court of Cabul. Four of the number had actually reached Peshour. The city of Peshour is situated in 34° 5' 38 of north latitude. About the middle of March, the heat began to be unpleasant, and in the course of a month more all accounts gave reason to expect that it would be extremely oppressive. April 19–A barbarous and unprovoked murder was lately committed at Sealdah, in the district of the 24 Purgunnahs, and within a few hundred yards of Calcutta, by a Hindoo Sootie, named Jogomohun, and who, some time ago, had become a convert to christianity; on which occasion he was baptized by the name of John Gomes. The person murdered was his wife. A Malayan woman, named Tomasa, married one serjeant Forbes, a Scotchman, with whom she lived happily till his decease. On the death of Forbes, the widow found herself possessed of considerable property. Jogomohun was at that time in her service, and rendered himself so acceptable in the sight of his mistress, that the only obstacle to their conjugal union was Jogomohun not being a Christian. Such, however, was the love and affection of this Hindoo, that the prejudices of his native religion gave way; he became a convert to christianity, and received, as the first fruits of his new faith, the hand of his mistress. The late Hindoo Jogomohun, now became the Christian John Gomes, was married in due form and solemnity to Mrs. Tomasa Forbes. Mr. Gomes, finding himself thus invested with the rights and authority of a Christian husband, and secure in the possession of his wife's property, determined to dash off with spirit. He accordingly caused his wife to draw, at different periods, the whole of her money, amounting to 16 or 18,000 rupees, from the management of the house of agency, in which it had been placed. The greater part of this money, thus easily acquired, was quickly dissipated by Mr. Gomes; with a part of it, however, he bought some land; the pottahs of which were made out in his own name, or those of his Hindoo relations. About 10 or 12 weeks ago, he went on what he called a trading visit to Dacca, taking with him all the ready money that remained, an excell.i.at
gold watch, and whatever portable property they possessed. On the 3d curt. he returned from Dacca, bringing with him a few pieces of muslin. Immediately on his return, he either re
ceived, or pretended to have received,
some information impeaching the fidelity of his wife, during his absence. He taxed her with the charge, and without waiting her answer, beat the unfortunate woman with great severity, and drove her across the road, to a house which belonged to them, and in which she was at last murdered. The assault just mentioned was made about 10 o'clock in the morning. At about half-past three, on the same day. he recommenced his attack, and beat her more violently than in the morning: using for this purpose a heavy sugar-cane, and the branch of a cocoanut tree. The helpless woman screamed aloud; but no relief was near, and she at length sunk senseless on the ground. The husband believing that her insensibility was only feigned, or that she would soon recover, retired to take his afterncon nap. A servant of the house was the first who discovered the dead body of his mistress lying on the ground. On acquainting his master, it was determined to keep the murder secret, and to give out that his wife died a natural death. To that end it was reported throughout the neighbourhood, in the course of the evening, that Mrs. Gomes had been taken suddenly and alarmingly ill with a pain in her stounach, and was not expected to live for five minutes. The murder would probably, in this way, have been concealed, had not the servant of a gentleman, who lives in the vicinity, informed his master, on the following morning, of the sudden death of their neighbour. The gentleman recollecting to have seen the won, an in her usual health, the evening preceding her death, and having frequently heard her complain of the cruelty of her husband, was led to suspect that he had been accessary to her death; and on those suspicions he gave notice to the adjacent Thuana, and had the husband token into custody, On the following day, a sovruz hol,