The death of MOHAMMED SHAH. A
summary account of his Ancestors.

I HAVE heard from well informed persons, that the descendants of Ameer Timour, had not fully established their empire in Hindostan, till the middle of the reign of Akber, and his attention was so much given to temporal affairs, that he neglected spiritual concerns. The wise adminstration of Alumgeer, gave splendour to religion, and from his judicious regulations the government obtained full vigour. This monarch, who introduced the collection of Jezyah* in Hindostan, besides being pious, was learned, wise, and active in business: but the wars which ensued amongst his sons and grandsons, after his death, weakened the empire, and brought on its decline: in these bloody contests for the empire, perished all the old and experienced servants of the crown. Sum­marily, after the death of Alumgeer, bloody battles were fought between his sons Bahadre Shah, Azem Shah, and Sultan Kambukhsh. By the will of heaven Bahadre Shah obtained the king­dom, and assumed the title of Shah Alum, or King of the World: he was pious, learned, courteous, and munificent to a fault; and had a numerous family. During the life-time of his father, he had made a vow, that if he should after­wards be king, he would gratify the desire of every one; and by a religious per­formance of this engagement, so incom­patible with the laws of government, by excessive largesses and immense gifts, he exhausted the treasures accumulated by Shahjehan, and which his father had so greatly augmented. Nevertheless, out of regard to the nobleness of his designs, and his personal valour, the Omrahs, the army, the governors of provinces, and the Zemindars, respected his authority, and were ever dutiful and obedient to his commands. On his demise, new wars broke out between his sons Moezeddeen, Azeem us Shan, Raffieh us Shan, and Jehan Shah. Moezeddeen gained the throne, and took the title of Jehander Shah, or the Possessor of the World. He was very robust, possessed courage and military skill; but he had reigned only eight months, when his nephew Ferukhseer, came from Bengal, and took him prisoner in battle; and to the utter disgrace of the victor, he was put to death in a cruel manner. Shortly after, Zulfecar Khan experienced the like fate. Ferukhseer, owing his exal­tation to the two Syed brothers Hussein Aly Khan, and Abdullah Khan, loaded them with honours; but happening at last to displease them, they deprived him of his crown and life. Hussein Aly Khan, who was Meer Bukhshee*, and Soobahdar of the Dekhan, taking advantage of the misunderstanding between his brother and Ferukhseer, carried with him a pretender to the throne in a covered carriage. When he arrived at Dehly, he neglected to wait upon the Emperor, and after having alarmed his fears to the utmost, openly declared, that it was his intention to sacrifice the pretender to the Emperor’s pleasure, by delivering him up at the first interview. After a long negotiation, it was agreed, that Hussein Aly Khan should make his own arrange­ments in the government, and then come and pay his respects to the Emperor. He accordingly entered the fort, and sent his own men into the Haram, from whence they dragged out Ferukhseer, and carried him to prison. In order to preserve the appearance of royalty, the brothers raised to the throne, Reffeih ul Dirjat, son of Raffeih us Shan. Having now effectually resumed all the power of the government, the office of Vizier was conferred upon Abdullah Khan, and that of Meer Bukhshee upon Hussein Aly Khan, as before. Some people assert, that the following verses were written by Ferukhseer whilst in prison: but others attribute the composition to his tutor, and say that he only repeated them.

The heart is intoxicated with madness; give it not wine.

It is habituated to fire; give it not water.

To every one who enquireth after the condition of my heart;

Breathe only a sigh upon the lip, give him no answer.

A few days after, Ferukhseer was destroyed by poison: in order to be sure he was dead, they cut the soles of his feet, and then buried him.

Raffeih ul Dirjat being of a weak con­stitution, and much addicted to drinking an infusion of poppy heads, reigned only three months and eleven days. Abdullah Khan and his brother then raised to the throne his brother Raffeih-ed-dowleh, and gave him the title of Shahjehan. They made him march from Agra to oppose Naikoseer, who had been set up in opposition by Metresain, and others. Naikoseer was taken prisoner. Shahjehan being sickly, like his brother, and addicted to the same intemperance, soon descended from the throne into the coffin.

At the death of Shahjehan, his brother Roshem Akhter* was taken out of con­finement at Dehly, and placed on the throne on the begining of Zekahdeh A. H. 1131 (or in October 1719), with the title of Mohammed Shah. The grand entertainment which he gave on Sunday the 9th of Shawal 1133 (or July 22d 1721), was on account of some astrological prediction. Mohammed Shah being at that time a very beautiful youth, a respectable poet made the following lines upon the circumstances of his accession.

It was a bright star, now it has become the moon*.

Joseph* came out of prison, and was King.

The ministers settled it, that during the seven months of Raffeih ul Dirjat and Raffeih-ed-dowleh the throne should be considered as having been vacant, and that time be added to the reign of Mohammed Shah whereby they place his accession on the 1st of Rebby ul Awwel, which extends his reign to 30 years whereas it was only 29 years and six months.

Hussein Aly Khan, in order to be revenged upon Nizam ul Mulk, for having defeated and slaughtered his troops, made Mohammed Shah march against him on the 27th of Zilhejeh (or 18th Oct. 1720) in the second year of his reign. During the expedition, Meer Hyder Khan, at the instigation of Mohammed Ameen Khan, pretending to have received injuries from him, presented a false petition on the subject to Hussein Aly Khan, and whilst he was reading it, stabbed him with a knife; and repeating the blow till he expired; but the assassin was instantly cut to pieces. Mohammed Shah soon after gave up the expedition and returned towards Dehly, in order to oppose Abdullah Khan, who upon the news of his brother’s assassination, took out of prison Sultan Ibraheem, son to Raffeih us Shan, and declared him Emperor; and was marching at the head of a large army to to take vengeance on the murderers of his brother. On Friday the 13th of Moherrem, in the 2d year of the reign, (or 2d November, 1720), a battle was fought, when Abdullah Khan being made prisoner, Mohammed Ameen Khan was appointed Vizier in his stead. Six weeks after his promotion, Mohammed Ameen Khan died a natural death, when the Emperor wanted to confer the Vizarut upon Khandowran, but the Turany Moghuls being dissatisfied with him, raised a tumult, when Enayutullah Khan, universally respected for his integrity and abilities, was made deputy Vizier, and Nizam ul Mulk grand Vizier; and when the latter came to Dehly, he was formally invested with the office, by receiving a khelut, or dress, and other honorary distinctions. But after­wards, differences happening between the Emperor and Nizam ul Mulk, the Viza­rut was bestowed upon Kummereddeen Khan, on the 2d of Zekahdeh, in the sixth year of the reign, (or 11th July, 1724). The Emperor from this time delivered himself up to indolence and pleasure, till the invasion of Nadir Shah changed his joy into sorrow. During the reign of Mohammed Shah, there were continual dissensions amongst the Omrahs; so that whenever one began a business properly, some other, in order to promote his own selfish views, would be sure to counteract and frustrate his good intentions. The Emperor all the while looked on without daring to inter­fere, from the apprehension of experiencing the fate of Ferukhseer and the two Syeds. But what was worse than the feuds amongst the Omrahs, they had formed connections with the Zemindars; each Ameer in his turn, insinuating that if another ventured to rebel, he could be crushed by means of some particular Zemindar, the Emperor was thereby prevailed upon to strengthen one after another, till at length the Zemindars got possession of the whole power of the empire, and the Omrahs sunk into insignificance. It is, however, but just to observe, that those evils did not result from any peculiar depravity in the present nobility, but were the natural effects of a feeble government, when the authority of the monarch being treated with contempt, cabals and dissentions invariably arise amongst the nobility, and in their consequences are the ruin of the empire.

I have been told, that Mohammed Shah in his youth was of a robust make, and possessed a very good understanding; but in the latter part of his life, from sickness, and the constant use of opium, his mind, and his whole frame were weak and debilitated. He was born on Friday the 23d of Rebby ul Awwel, A. H. 1114, (or 5th August, 1702). in the neighbourhood of Ghuzneen; and died at Dehly on the 27th of Rebby ul Sany, 1161, (or 14th April, 1748.

reigned in Hindostan.
Began to Reign.   Reigned.
A.H. A.D.   Y. M. D.
933 1526 Zeheereddeen* Mohammed Bâber, (in Hindostan). 4 9 15
937 1530 Nesseereddeen* Mohammed Hemayun, 25 10 5
964 1556 Jillaleddeen* Mohammed Akber, 51 9 9
1014 1605 Noureddeen* Mohammed Jehanger* 22 10 13
1038 1628 Shahbeddeen* Mohammed Shahjehan* 31 4 0
1069 1658 Mohyeddeen* Mohammed Aurungzebe* Alumgeer*, 50 2 4
1119 1707 Kotebeddeen* Shah Alum* Bhadre Shah*, 5 0 8
1124 1712 Moezeddeen* Mohammed Jehandar Shah*, 0 8 0
1125 1713 Mohammed Ferukhseer* with the eight months of Jehander Shah. 7 1 7
    Raffieh ed Dirjat* 0 3 11
    Raffieh ed Dowleh* Shahjehan, 0 3 15
1131 1718 Nassireddeen* Mohammed Shah, 29 6 0

At the time Mohammed Shah died, the Prince Sultan Ahmed was with the army at Sirhind; and Malekhah ul Zemany*, Mohammed Shah’s widow, who was a daughter of Ferukhseer, in order to prevent any sudden commotions, enjoined Ghazyeddeen Khan, and some other Omrahs to keep the event secret, till the prince’s arrival. Sultan Ahmed, on receiving intelligence of his father’s death, set out immediately for Shah­jehanabad, leaving Nizam ul Mulk govenor of Lahoor.