NADIR SHAH marcbes from Herat, on an
expedition against Turan.

HAVING appointed Nassirullah Mirza, his second son, to govern in Iran during his absence, he set out upon his expedition against Turan, accom­panied by Reza Kuly Khan Mirza his eldest son; and by quick marches arrived at Maroochâk. This town is well inhabited, but all the water in its neighbour­hood is very bad. Nadir Shah has com­pelled some people of the tribe of Sha­hoon to settle here. Throughout Iran, and the bordering territories, are an infi­nite number of Elats, or wandering tribes, and of whom the Persian army is chiefly composed. The most numerous of these tribes, are the Akrad, or Curds, the Aksar, the Jelaro, the Keratchloo, the Ferdad Aly, the Shamloo, and the Bukhtyearee, &c. Like the Arabs of the desert, they wander about in quest of good pasturage and water, which when they have found, they pitch their tents and remain till their cattle have eaten up all the grass on that spot, when they remove in search of more. Amongst these people, riches and property signify flocks and herds of camels, horses, oxen, sheep, and goats. Some of them, however, settle in towns, and apply themselves to agriculture. These customs prevail also throughout Turan.

From the borders of Maroochâk to the town of Indekoo, dependent upon Balkh, there are very few buildings; and the country being unfrequented, abounds with game, and wild beasts. The soldiers killed such numbers of deer, that no body would eat mutton. Thamas Khan Jelayir an officer of high rank, having gone into the jungle with a small party of chosen men to hunt, a wild boar issued suddenly from amongst the reeds, and his horse taking fright, threw him. The boar then attacked him, when Gholaum Khan shot the tremendous beast with an arrow, and also cut him with his sword, upon which he quitted Thamas Khan, and seizing Gholaum Khan killed him. He now returned to Thamas Khan, but he was again fortunately delivered from his clutches by another servant coming up, and killing the boar with a match-lock. Thamas Khan being very short and thick, and of a dark complexion, Nadir Shah laughed heartily at the relation of his adventure, and told him, that his little brother had used him very uncivilly.

Between Herat and Balkh, is a sandy desert, entirely destitute of water, three days journey in length; the exact breadth I was not able to learn; but it extends to the borders of Khovarezm, and to Kereh Kilpâk, the entrance into the Desht Kipchâk. It also marks the boundary between Bokhara, and Meru Shahjan. Rustam, the son of Zal, marched by this road from Iran to Turan. Nadir Shah went to Turan through Maroochâk, Indekoo, and Balkh, and returned by Meru Shahjan; so that either way you must cross this frightful desert. In passing it this time, many men and great num­bers of horses perished.

From Herat to Balkh, our route lay chiefly west. As Balkh had been some time in the possession of Nadir Shah, the army did not meet with any molestation on the march to that city. Yar Mohammed Khan, the governor of that territory, obtained Nadir Shah’s per­mission to go to Mecca, and was fur­nished, at his expence, with every thing necessary for the journey. I afterwards met with this nobleman at Damascus, where he had been waiting a long time for the Caravan; and again on the road, and at Mecca I had frequently the plea­sure of seeing him. After performing the pilgrimage of Mecca, he went to Surat, and from thence into the Dekhan, where he was received with great respect by Nizam-ul-Mulk, who allowed him an establishment of one thousand rupees per mensum; which at the Death of Nizam-ul-Mulk, was continued to him by the sons of that nobleman.

Balkh must have been a fine city before the rapacity of its govenors had reduced the inhabitants to their present state of indigence. The city is gone to decay; but there are some beautiful seats in the neighbourhood.