His origin. — Sahsaram and Tanda conferred on his father Hussun Khan Soor. — Hussun Khan dies. — Sheer Khan's brothers dispute his title to succeed to the estate. — The con­tests with his brothers eventually end in his favour. — The widow of the King of Joonpoor appoints Sheer Khan minister, and on her death he usurps the government — is attacked by the King of Bengal, whom he defeats. — Mahomed Shah Lody occupies Bengal. — Sheer Khan consents to acknowledge his title to the throne of Dehly. — Hoomayoon makes war with the pretender, who is defeated, and Sheer Khan compelled to fly into the hills — he returns, and takes the fort of Rohtas by stratagem — gains strength, and attacks Hoomayoon, who is defeated, and retreats to Agra. — Sheer Khan assumes the title of Shah, or King — expels the Moguls from India, and ascends the throne of Dehly — conquers Malwa — takes Run-tunbhore and Nagore — returns to Agra — besieges Kalunjur — is wounded by the bursting of a shell, and dies. — Descrip­tion of Sheer Shah's government, and the improvements in the country made by that prince.

THE original name of Sheer Shah was Fureed. His father was Hussun, an Afghan of the tribe of Soor, and a native of Roh in Pishawur. When Bheilole Lody ascended the throne, Ibrahim Khan, the father of Hussun Soor, came to Dehly in quest of military service. The seat of these Afghans is Roh, a word which, in their language, signifies a mountainous country. It extends in length from Swad and Bijowr to the town of Seevy, in the ter­ritory of Bhukkur, and in breadth, from Hussun

Abdal to Kabul. This tract at that time contained many separate tribes. Among the number of these was that of Soor, who derive their origin from the princes of Ghoor. One of the sons of the Ghoorian family, whose name was Mahomed Soor, having left his native country, took up his abode among the Afghans of Roh; and being able to prove satisfactorily that he was descended from the kings of Ghoor (although averse from inter­marrying with strangers), one of the Roh Afghan chiefs consented to give him his daughter. Ma-homed Soor's descendants, therefore, are called Soor Afghans; and, on this supposition, this family may be reckoned the most illustrious of any of the Afghans.

Ibrahim, the grandfather of Sheer Shah, first en­tered the service of one of the nobles of the court of Bheilole Lody; and when Sikundur, the son of Bheilole, succeeded his father, Jumal Khan, a chief of distinction, was appointed governor of Joonpoor. On this occasion, he took Hussun the son of Ibrahim Khan Soor with him, and event­ually conferred on him the districts of Sahsaram and Tanda in jageer, for the maintenance of five hundred horse. Hussun Khan had eight sons; of whom Fureed Khan and Nizam Khan were by the same mother, an Afghan; the rest were illegitimate, and by different mothers.

Hussun, having little regard for his wife, neg­lected her children, so that Fureed quitted his father's roof, and enlisted as a common soldier in the service of Jumal Khan, the governor of Joonpoor. Hussun wrote to Jumal Khan upon this occasion, requesting him to send back his son, that he might be educated; but Fureed could not be persuaded to return. “Joonpoor,” he said, “was a better “place for instruction than Sahsaram;” and he affirmed that he would attend to letters of his own accord. Nor was he negligent of this object; for he could repeat the whole of the works of the celebrated poet Sady, and was besides a proficient in other branches of learning.

Much of his time was devoted to the study of history and poetry, in the pursuit of which he received encouragement from Jumal Khan's libe­rality. Three or four years had elapsed when Hus-sun Khan came to Joonpoor, and through the mediation of mutual friends, Fureed became reconciled to his father, who eventually made over to him the whole charge of his estate, himself re­siding at Joonpoor. Fureed, on taking leave of his father, said, “That the stability of every “administration depended on justice, and that it “should be his greatest care not to violate it, either “by oppressing the weak, or by permitting the “strong to infringe the laws with impunity.” When he arrived at his jageer, he put this maxim into practice, by rendering justice to the poor, and by reducing to order such of the zemindars as op­posed his authority. By this means he procured his country to be well cultivated, and his revenues to be punctually realized.

Hussun coming to visit the estate, was so well pleased with his management, that he permitted him to continue in charge of it. Hussun Khan Soor had two other sons, Sooliman and Ahmud, by a favourite concubine, to whom he was ex­tremely attached. This female lost no opportu­nity to importune him in favour of her son Soo-liman, now grown up, saying he ought to provide for him. At length she obtained from her hus­band a promise to transfer the management of the estates from Fureed to Sooliman. This circum­stance gave the old chief great concern, knowing the superior abilities of Fureed; but when it be­came known to Fureed, he made a voluntary resignation of his trust, which was accordingly conferred on his brother Sooliman.

Fureed and his full brother Nizam Khan left Joonpoor immediately, and proceeded to Agra, where they obtained service with Dowlut Khan Lody, one of the principal officers of the King Ibrahim Lody. Fureed, by his good conduct, gained his master's esteem, till at length he applied to Dowlut Khan, telling him, that his father was now in his dotage, and wholly guided by an artful mistress, who had deprived both him and his brother of their patrimonial inheritance, having procured their estate to be made over to her own illegitimate children. He at the same time pro­mised Dowlut Khan, if he obtained the royal grant of the estate in his name, to provide for his father, and to maintain five hundred good horse for the public service.

Dowlut Khan accordingly preferred a request on the subject to the King, who replied, “That “he must be a bad man indeed who should com-“plain against his own father.” Dowlut Khan having retired in silence, informed Fureed of the answer he had received, but comforted him with a promise of taking some other opportunity to urge his suit. Meanwhile Hussun Khan Soor dying, Dowlut Khan procured the King's patent in favour of Fureed, who proceeded to Sahsaram with a hand­some retinue.

Sooliman, on the arrival of his brothers, eva­cuated the country, and took protection with Ma-homed Khan Soor, a distant relative, then gover­nor of the district of Joonpoor, and who main­tained a force of fifteen hundred horse. Ma-homed Khan, becoming acquainted with the in­tended invasion of Babur, and foreseeing that a war was inevitable, promised Sooliman, if he would accompany him when called on to join the army of the King of Dehly, he would endea­vour to procure him redress. Sooliman being im­patient, induced Mahomed Khan to send a per­son to Fureed, to effect a reconciliation. Fureed replied, he was willing to give him a proper share of his father's inheritance, but that he would on no account part with any of his power; reminding him of the old adage, that “two swords “cannot be contained in one scabbard.” Sooli-man insisting on a share of the government also, no accommodation was then effected between the brothers. This failure irritated Mahomed Khan to such a degree, that he resolved to compel Fureed to submit to the measures which he had proposed. Fureed, informed of his resolution, began to take steps for his security. Meanwhile, news arriving of the defeat and death of the King, Ibrahim Lody, the whole country was thrown into confusion.

Fureed was by no means idle in the midst of the troubles which ensued, and joined Bahadur Khan, the son of Duria Khan Lohany, who had subdued Behar and assumed the royal titles, under the name of Mahomed Shah. * As that monarch was one day on a hunting-party, a lion or tiger was roused, which Fureed attacked and killed with one blow of his sabre in Mahomed Shah's pre­sence. For this act of intrepidity, he received the title of Sheer Khan† * on the spot. Sheer Khan now acquired gradually great influence and favour in Mahomed Shah Lohany's service, and was even appointed tutor to the young Prince Julal Khan. On one occasion, having obtained permission to go to his estate, he was detained by business beyond the period limited by his leave of absence. Mahomed Shah Lohany, dissatisfied with this conduct, spoke of it in public as a breach of promise; and Mahomed Khan Soor, the governor of Joonpoor, his ancient enemy, being present, took that opportunity of accusing him of treason­able designs, and with favouring the interest of Mahomed Shah Lody, one of the sons of the late king Sikundur Lody. Mahomed Shah Lohany became so incensed against Sheer Khan, that he intimated his intention to deprive him of his estate altogether, and to confer it on his brother Sooliman, as a just punishment for his offence, and as the only mode of bringing him to a sense of his duty.