An account of NADIR SHAH’S expedition
against Mazenderan.

THE army halted forty-two days at Meshed, and then during a heavy snow set out for Asterabad, by the road of Kojoon, another city of Khorasm. Some rain falling afterwards, the roads were so deep, that the loaded camels were left behind sticking in the mud. In the pass of Keramle, near a tenth part of the men with their baggage perished in the river. The rain having continued with great violence, a river, which runs between two mountains, was now so swelled, that it was hardly possible to pass it; and it is so serpentine, like that in the Bungishaut, that in the course of the march, we were obliged to cross it twenty-three times. The rain fell in torrents, provisions were scarce, and the fatigues of the march so insupportable, that every one would have preferred death to the continuation of such an existence. The fifteenth day, Nadir Shah crossed the river on an ele­phant, leaving the army to encounter the deadly river, the noise of whose waves was as tremendous as the trum­pet of Israsil*. However, compassionating their situation, he granted permission to those who chose it, to remain till the water should subside; but being destitute of all kinds of supplies, they gave them­selves up for lost, and plunged their horses into the river. At every crossing, great numbers of men and cattle perished; and a considerable part of the Shah’s erected at every stage. These precautions were absolutely necessary, because as in Bengal, here are periodical rains. In the same manner that Jehangeer used to go to Cashmeer with a small retinue, Shah Abbass was wont to travel to Mazenderan. Ashreff, which is the finest city of Mazenderan, is at the distance of six farsangs from the Caspian Sea, and yet at night you can there distinctly hear the murmur of the waves. The people of Ashreff call this sea, the sea of Kul­zum, whereas the proper sea of Kulzum is in the Turkish empire. Mount Sinai* is on its shore, and it unites with the main ocean. The sea of Mazenderan is called in ancient books the sea of Abgoon, and the sea of Kherz; but it has no connec­tion with the ocean, being surrounded with land; namely, by Mazenderan, Heshterkhan, Herman, Dilem, Shirvaa, baggage was lost. After the officers and troops had crossed with great loss, it came to the turn of the camp followers. But the Almighty had mercy upon them, for the river fell so suddenly in the night, that before the next noon they had all crossed the river. After passing this river we arrived at Asterabad. It is a very populous city, but has not any remarkable buildings.

After halting six days at Asterabad, the army began their march for Tehran, by the route of Mazenderan. I was told, that the road to Mazenderan was so over­grown with trees and thickets, and the mire so deep, that it was hardly passable, till Shah Abbass being very fond of travelling thither, ordered the wood to be cleared away, and for the distance of twelve days journey, had the road paved with stone; and that he might not be incumbered with tents, buildings were and the territory of Kherz, from whence, by this sea, ships bring furs to Iran. In length it is 275 farsangs, and in breadth 225 farsangs. The Desht Kip­chack is also said to border upon it. It is more turbulent than the seas of Hind, Turkey, or Persia, because it is shallower, and has no communication with the ocean. Of a truth this observation holds good in regard to men, for those of the deepest understanding, are the least loquacious. The chief food of the inhabi­tants of Mazenderan is rice and eggs. The wheat of this country is intoxicating, especially to those who have never tasted the bread of Mazenderan, the Bang* of Hindostan, or the Affium* of Gaze­roon. The inhabitants say, that it is only a particularly species, that grows amongst the rest, which has this property, and that upon its being separated, the remainder has no such effect. Some pre­tend that it is occasioned by the wind called Semoom*, blowing over the fields; but this is only an idle story; for in Ara­bia the Semoom ripens the dates, but does not make them inebriating. The people of Iran tell many laughable stories of the stupidity of the natives of Mazen­deran, and Laristan, but these are merely strokes of wit, for certainly they are not by any means deficient in understanding. It is remarkable that in Hindostan, Cashmeer is stiled Jennetnezeer, and that in Iran, Mazenderan is called Jennetni­shan, both signifying the resemblance of Paradise, and that the natives of both kingdoms, abuse the poor inhabitants of their respective Paradise; but it is no wonder, for the friends of God are always despised in this world, and are therefore the dearer to him.

After halting twelve days at Ashreff, Nadir Shah marched with the army to Tehran, through the jungle, over the causeway of Shah Abbass. It was his custom on a march, to be accompanied only by his Haram*, and the female minstrels, who sung the whole way; the army marching on all sides at the distance of about a mile; but as in this narrow road the troops could not march on either side, two men took the opportu­nity of concealing themselves in a thicket, where they lay in wait for him; and as soon as they heard the noise of his horses feet, rushed out like lions on their prey. One of them discharged a large arquebuss, the ball of which wounded Nadir Shah in the left hand, when he immediately flung himself from his horse, that they might suppose him to be dead, and not commit any further violence; and herein he succeeded, for the assassins ran away, believing they had dispatched him. The women of the Haram screamed out, which alarmed the minstrels who were coming after at some distance, they redoubled the cry, and the eunuchs spread the alarm to the servants behind, when they immediately joined the Shah, and endeavoured to seize the assassins, but could discover no traces of them, excepting a bullet that they had let fall upon the ground. From this day, Nadir Shah discontinued travelling in courk*. The Omrahs were all in con­sternation, lest suspicion should fall upon any of them; and three days after they seized two Afghans, whom they accused of the crime. Nadir Shah, after an examination, was convinced of their inno­cence, and upon dismissing them ordered each a donation of 10 Tomans, or 200 Rupees. He reproved their accusers, and told them not to molest innocent men, for that he knew very well who were his enemies.

Some time after, it was discovered that this attempt upon his life, had been made at the instignation of his eldest son Reza Kuly Khan Mirza, and Abdullah Beg, the son of Mohammed Hussein Khan Cutchkar, the steward of the household.

After a long investigation, both of them had their eyes plucked out, and were then committed to prison. Many people believed this to have been the judgment of God upon Reza Kuly, for the following piece of cruelty. Dur­ing the tumult at Dehly, it was rumoured that Mohammed Shah had treacherously slain Nadir Shah, upon which many of his people fled in the night, and spread the report, till at length it reached Iran. Reza Kuly, the regent, was so apprehen­sive that the people, in revenge for his severities, would expel him, and again acknowledge Shah Thamas, that he sent people to murder that innocent monarch, and his son Abbass Mirza, who were imprisoned at Sebzwar. This bar­barity having been committed without the order of Nadir Shah, many believed that he now suffered in retaliation of his crime.

On the 24th of Rubby ul Awwel, A. H. 1154 (or May 28th, A. D. 1741,) Nadir Shah arrived at Cazvin. Every house in this city has an aqueduct in the ground floor, some of which are three, and others eleven yards in depth. Shah Abbass, by means of a subterra­neous aqueduct, brought water to this place, and it runs through the prin­cipal market in a small canal. The people of Iran are wonderfully fond of aque­ducts.