NADIR SHAH marches to Khovarezm.

In the middle of the month of Shaban, Nadir Shah marched from Charjoo, in the order described above. And farther to provide against any surprize from the enemy, he gave positive orders, that no one should move before sunrise; by which means, as the army could only proceed slowly in a body, they were nine hours marching three farsangs, and there was such an intolerable cloud of dust, that you could not distinguish a person close to you, but by his voice. Many were in consequence afflicted with dis­orders in their eyes.

After marching through the uninhabited part of the country, the army arrived at Fiteneh, the first village in Kho­varezm. The inhabitants, in order to distress the Persian army, had carried all their grain into the fort, and burnt the grass. The Persians, in revenge, set fire to the village, and reduced every house to ashes; asserting that there was no crime in retaliation. The fourth day, after getting through the pass of Fiteneh, the army encamped near the fort of Hazarasp. The fort was invested by the whole army, and for two days there was an incessant cannonade: but on our approach, the enemy had filled the ditch with water, which being unfordable, and overgrown with reeds, it was impossible to storm the place; and the artillery could not be brought near enough to do any execution. At this juncture, Nadir Shah’s spies brought him intelligence, that Ilbers Khan, King of Khovarezm, and Mohammed Aly Oushack, the commandant of his army, together with their families and valuable effects, had thrown themselves into the fort of Jieyook, where they intended to wait the fate of Hazarasp; resolved, if the Persians conquered that place, to fly to Kereh Kilpâck, whither it would be difficult for cavalry to follow them even in the spring, and during the winter absolutely impossible. Nadir Shah called a council of his most experienced officers, who delivered their respective sentiments on the occasion, upon which he deliberated, and then formed his own resolution. He ordered a detachment of four thousand chosen men, to pro­ceed immediately to the siege of Jieyook; and Abulhassan Beg, the clerk of the markets, was directed to spread a report amongst the soldiers, that on account of the severity of the cold, Nadir Shah had detemined to set out the next morn­ing for Khorasan. The next day when he broke up his camp, and began his march the garrison of Hazarasp came out of the fort, and rallied the rear of the army, telling them, that the reduction of Hazarasp was not so easy a matter as the conquest of Hindostan. When they had continued these insults for some time, they re-entered the fort.

When Ilbers Khan received intelli­gence that the detachment of four thou­sand cavalry were advancing by quick marches to the siege of Jieyook, he saw it would be impossible to escape, and therefore made preparation to give them battle. They came to an engagement, in which, after great slaughter on both sides, victory inclined towards the Tur­komans; but when the Persians were nearly routed, Nadir Shah came to their relief at the head of seven thousand cavalry. Ilbers Khan and his troops, were now driven back into the fort. Mohammed Aly, his general, left his family in the fort, and fled towards Kereh Kilpâck, and although closely pursued made his escape.

When the remainder of the army joined Nadir Shah, he ordered the comman­dant of artillery to lay siege to the fort. A brisk cannonade was maintained on both sides for five days; when Ilbers Khan being deserted by many of his men, and seeing the bastions demolished, thought it most prudent to surrender at discretion. Himself, his children, and many of his principal dependents, were ordered into custody. The Tur­komans, in their frequent depredatory incursions on the borders of Khorasan, had made prisoners men, women, and children; so that every family had numbers of these slaves, who were employed in tillage, and in digging canals from the Gihoon to different parts of the country. Some of them who had been carried away in their infancy were now sixty years old, and the long change of climate and the manner of living, had absolutely altered their features, so that you could hardly dis­tinguish them from the natives.

The day after the surrender of Jieyook, Ilbers Khan was commanded to collect together these captives from all parts of his kingdom, and in the course of ten or twelve days, seven thousand men and women were assembled in the Persian camp. The way that I came to know their exact number was, that when Nadir Shah ordered every one of them a donation of ten rupees of Hindostan, the Nazir*, desired me to be present, to see that the money was duly dis­tributed. After they had received this donation, Nadir Shah commanded that they should be sent to Khorasan, and maintained on the road at the expence of government. But like the captives in Bokhara, many who had formed connections in Khovarezm, and others who were alarmed at the accounts which they heard of Iran, returned on the road; others died on the way, from the severity of the cold, and the want of necessaries; and the rest, when they arrived at Khorasan, heartily repented of their journey.

Koba Kuly, the Jarchee Bashy*, was commanded to seize seven thousand men and women of Khovarezm, and send them the nearest way through the desert to Mowloodgah, there to experience all the hardships of slavery, after having enjoyed the happiness of freedom; and from this time the name of Mowloodgah was ordered to be changed to Jeiyookabad, because that the captives were chiefly natives of that city. A description of Mowloodgah shall be given in its proper place.

Although the expedition had cost Nadir Shah great labour and expence, with­out the smallest advantage in return, he was nevertheless very proud of this con­quest, and gave many public entertain­ments on the occasion; of which Ilbers Khan and his family, had the mortifica­tion to be spectators.

The most flourishing cities in Khova­rezm are Urkenj, Jieyook, and Haza­rasp.

Notwithstanding Nadir Shah was very illiterate and tyrannical, yet whenever he gained a victory, he attributed his good fortune to the power of Heaven, and never failed to offer up public thanks­giving for it. And it is to this piety, that we must ascribe his great success. On the other hand, some of his officers vainly boasted, that these victories were solely the fruits of their valour, which presumption drew on them the divine vengeance, and terminated in their destruction in the manner following:

After the conquest of the fort of Jie­yook, Nadir Shah by beat of drum, pro­hibited the soldiers from molesting the inhabitants. The Kezlebashes, regard­less of these orders, and thinking to find this place full of money and jewels like Shahjehanabad, began to plunder; but after great search could discover nothing but grain, and some furs. As soon as intelligence hereof was brought to Nadir Shah, he sent a party to seize the offenders, and bring them before him. All the officers amongst them from the com­mander of a thousand, to a Debashy*, he ordered to be beheaded in his presence, and the private soldiers he dismissed with the loss of their ears and noses. The exe­cution lasted till sunset, when he com­manded the headless trunks, with their arms to be carried to the main guard, by which way every one passed, and there to lie exposed for two days as an example to others. I was presentthe whole time, and saw the wonderful hand of God, which employs such instruments for the execution of his divine vengeance. Although not one of the executioners was satisfied with Nadir Shah, yet nobody dared to disobey his commands; a father beheaded his son, and a brother a brother, and yet presumed not to com­plain.

A few days after the above-mentioned public execution, Ilbers Khan was delivered from the miseries of this perishable world, by being privately strangled. His wives, children, and other relations, were made prisoners.

I frequently visited the places in the neighbourhood of Khovarezm, but there are not any buildings worth noticing. The climate is very healthy, which appears from the robust make, and hearty constitutions of the natives.