1195 A. H.
[28th December, 1780—16th December, 1781.]

IN this year Mr. Bristow arrived in Calcutta on his return from England, with the appointment to Lucknow, and proceeded from Calcutta to Lucknow. Mr. Purling was removed, and Haidar Beg Khán quaked for some time on account of his conduct, but was put at his ease when Mr. Middleton and Mr. John­son were subsequently associated with Mr. Bristow. Thereafter Mr. Bristow became merely a post-office for the transmission of letters on matters affecting the affairs of the Company; and the negotiations between the Governor and the Wazír, and the collection of money and the payment of it to the troops, were all entrusted to the other two.

As Haidar Beg Khán had no regard for Mr. Bristow, Mr. Bristow’s influence was gone, and being unable to put up with his insolence, he returned to Calcutta. The other two, Mr. Middleton and Mr. Johnson, remained in undisputed possession.

About this time the dispute between Chet Singh and Governor Hastings came to a crisis, and for this reason great disturbance arose in the Wazír’s dominions and thousands of people were slain by the zamíndárs. In this exigency Haidar Beg Khán had arrived with a disciplined force within a few kos of Benares, but owing to his natural cowardice he could not venture to go to the Governor. He opened up communications with Chet Singh also, for he con­sidered it politic and prudent to do so, in order that he might eventually join the side which he found prevailing; but the Wazír was some stages behind Haidar Beg Khán, and when he heard of this conduct of his, Sálár Jang, the little-wit, and several associates of the Wazír, enemies of his house, and his mother and the two Khwájasarás, advised the Wazír to return to his own country and pay attention to its affairs. They said: ‘Mr. Hastings and all the English have been disposed of, what necessity is there for us to get ourselves into trouble?’ But the Wazír turned a deaf ear to the fools, and plucking up courage, joined the Governor in Benares. After the termina­tion of this disturbance at Benares, the Wazír took leave of the Governor and returned to Lucknow. On the occasion of this visit, Haidar Beg Khán gained a number of concessions from the Governor, as he was pleased with the Wazír: first, an order for the dis­missal of all the English officers who were in command of the Wazír’s regiments, and for disbanding the regiments themselves, and for the removal and expul­sion of every Englishman employed under the Lucknow Government, whether on the recommendation of the Governor or any one else; second, permission to dis­miss from pargana Aráil Major Osborne, who had been employed in reducing the country of the Bun­delás and had wrested many parganas from them after severe fighting: another, the reduction of the pay of the force under Colonel Gower who had gone to the Dakhin.

In this year also, Colonel Hannay was removed from the districts of Sarwár, and ’Abdullah Beg appointed in his place. This ’Abdullah had been a Turk sawár in the Company’s service, and came after his dismissal to Lucknow, and through Mr. Bristow’s influence was appointed Sazáwal of Farrukhábád. Here he accu­mulated a great sum of money in a few years. As he had been appointed by Haidar Beg Khán, he now got this place, but after a few months he was killed by Amír Beg Mughal, a well-known and highly respected tankhwáh-dár, because the fated fool made use of some indecent abusive language. Amír Beg and his brother were also killed.

The facts regarding Colonel Hannay, are briefly these: Haidar Beg Khán did not wish the English to have a footing in the country, and for this reason, and because of the disgrace which had over taken his nomi­nees in Sarwár, he was constantly endeavouring to discredit the Colonel and procure his dismissal, until eventually the Governor’s mind was poisoned against him, and Haidar Beg Khán caused him to be suspected of oppression, depopulation of the province of Sarwár, and embezzlement of the Wazír’s revenue. Thus, injuring his reputation with the Governor and Council, he endeavoured to get him removed. These false charges were repeated and passed on from one to another until all the English, without inquiring into the facts, spoke reproachfully of his misconduct. Hence I shall, without respect for persons, truthfully record here something of the events of his administration in the hope that, the real facts being laid before impartial judges, the stigma attached to him may be removed.

The charges brought by Haídar Beg Khán are three: (1) oppression, (2) depopulation of the province of Sarwár, and (3) making money by embezzlement.

The truth of the charges of oppression and depopulation is this. Sarwár is a country which, a hundred years before this, had been yielding a kror of rupees, and in the days of the late Nawáb Shujá’u’d Daulah) had perhaps yielded as much as twenty lakhs, and Haidar Beg’s ’ámils had not collected more than twelve lakhs. Colonel Hannay handed into the Wazír’s treasury twenty-two lakhs clear of expenses. The cause of this great falling off in the jama, was the thriftlessness of the rájas of that country who were bent on sensual pleasures. The tenants relied on grazing and cattle-breeding for their maintenance and abandoned agriculture. Thus a village, which a hun­dred years before paid a revenue of two thousand rupees, now paid only one hundred, and that, too, although there are five hundred tenants’ houses in the village, and each householder has five or six hundred head of cattle. And the soil of the country of Sarwár is so rich, that the rabí’ instalment of revenue is collected in the first year from newly broken land. Notwith­standing this superiority of the soil, and the great number and wealth of the tenantry, yet, through the refractoriness of the rájas and the weakness of the col­lectors, the jama’ fell in this interval to ten lakhs.

In short, the Colonel, understanding the case, after many negotiations and numberless quarrels, expelled the refractory from the country, and taking under his protection the small tenants who had always been in terror of them, laid the foundation of prosperity. Although in these changes the revenue of some par­ganas of Gorakhpur fell off, most maháls showed an increase, and the reduced jama’s showed a promise of rising. Accordingly, in the Colonel’s last year that country yielded thirty-five lakhs, and there was every hope that in three or four years the revenue would reach fifty lakhs, when Colonel Hannay was removed.

The rájas, after resisting to their utmost, left the mountains and jungles, and having taken shelter under the protection of the zamíndárs of Sultánpur and A’zamgarh on the banks of the Ghágra, made them­selves obnoxious every now and then. The Colonel therefore wrote to Haidar Beg Khán: ‘A collector like me, and an opportunity like the present, you will not again find, and in a few years the revenue of this country will be rising. It is therefore advisable that you should now make an effort, so that these exiles shall remove to a distance and he rooted out.’ Hai­dar Beg paid no attention. The rájas alluded to, as their domains were near, relied on their strength and waited for their opportunity. During the disturbances at Benares they crossed the Ghágra (at the orders of Chet Singh and the Begam’s khwájasarás) and killed and plundered the Colonel’s náibs and agents, and exerted themselves to restrain the tenants from obeying the Colonel’s orders for the extension of culti­vation. Accordingly, two or three thousand tenants, and two or three thousand of the Colonel’s employés, were killed in this raid, and the country was again depopulated, and Haidar Beg’s náibs were afterwards unable to collect as much as was then collected, owing to their own weakness and to this daring act of these outlaws. The conclusion drawn by the English on the insinuations of Haidar Beg Khán was based on these calamities. But the expulsion of these bad characters and of their agents, who were and are deserv­ing of removal, and the famine which ensued through this occurrence, and the falling off of revenue, all hap­pend after the Colonel’s time, and were in no way attributable to any fault of his.

There is no doubt that the Colonel amassed money, not, however, by embezzlement, but through firmness and knowledge of business on his part and on that of his associates, Dr. Blain, Major MacDonald, Captain Franklin, Captain Garden, Major Lumsden, and others, for profits were realized after paying the income which had been stipulated for with Haidar Beg Khán, and collections were much in excess of the revenue realized in preceding years.

The cause of Governor Hastings’ dislike to the Colonel was that, though he had five or six thousand sawárs and infantry with him, and was near Benares, he could not come up to his relief. The Colonel was not to blame for this, for he crossed the Ghágra from Faizábád with 2,000 men immediately when he heard of the insurrection at Benares, and sent orders to Captain Garden and all his officers, who were scattered through the country, to come up, each from his resi­dence, and join him at Sultánpur. Each of these officers who crossed the river was plundered and killed by the exiles already mentioned. Captain Garden, who had crossed in haste with five or six hundred men without artillery, fought a whole day with the rebels and made his way to Tándá, where Ghulám Báqar Ali Khán, the Nawáb Begam’s collector, was. He intended to rest there for the night, and to cut his way on next day fighting as before, but the collector posted his men to resist the Captain and forbid him to enter the town, and drew to his own side of the stream the boats lying in the deep water of the ravine, which ran between the Captain and Tándá. The Captain’s men, therefore, losing their self-control, threw down their arms and plunged into the river. More than half of them were killed or drowned. The Colonel, notwith­standing that he heard this, determined to go from Faizábád to Benares, with the men he had. Therefore, the sawárs who were with him, and were more numer­ous than his foot, being prompted by the Begam’s khwájasarás declined to accompany him. The Colonel went to the houses of their leaders, who were many of them unworthy to receive him, and strove to move them, but without avail. After this, finding it hopeless, he turned back to guard the cantonment, where his treasure and property lay, and a large concourse of these outlaws had gathered to plunder. The Colonel had left me with 200 sawárs and infantry to guard the cantonment. When the Colonel crossed the river, about 50,000 Rájput sawárs gathered round the can­tonment from three sides to attack me. But as there were deep ravines all round the cantonment and the bridges were carefully watched, the sawárs were delayed while waiting for appliances with which to cross. Nineteen days and nights passed over me in marvellous transitions until the Colonel’s return gave me a new lease of life. In short, although by the arrival of the Colonel and his companions and soldiers on all sides of the cantonment, some five thousand men were collected, the Rájputs still remained firm in their resolve. At this juncture two regiments came up from Kánpúr* to the Colonel’s aid. The Colonel distributed the old force and his new contingent into three parties, and was preparing to attack the enemy, when the latter formed into three bodies. It so hap­pened that they were crossing that day, and half of them were that side, and half this side, of the ravines, when the Colonel’s force came up to punish them. Half were killed and drowned, and the rest were dis­persed. The Colonel, finding the road now open, went with all his property into Lucknow, where his two regiments were disbanded. After some months the Colonel went to Calcutta to obtain satisfaction from Haidar Beg Khán, but after applying to the Council he lost hope, and after two or three days hanged himself.*

Another event of this year was the appointment of Rája Surat Singh by Haidar Beg Khán to the coun­try of Sarwár, to remedy the disorders which had ensued on the inopportune murder of ’Abdullah Beg. He was well qualified to discharge that duty success­fully, but when he had been there only fourteen or fifteen months, he was transferred to Bareli, and his administration produced no good results.

In this year also an order came from the Council to Mr. Middleton and Mr. Johnson, for the confisca­tion of Sálár Jang’s and the Nawáb Begam’s jágírs, because of their shortcomings during the émeute at Benares and their ill-treatment of Colonel Hannay.

The Nawáb Begam’s jágír was entrusted to Mirzá Shafí’ Khán Mughal Iráni and that of Sálár Jang was permitted te remain with Almás Ali Khán, as he had managed it for twenty-seven years, but the condition was added, that he should not give anything to Sálár Jang, and should pay in the revenue and taufír to the Wazír. Haidar Beg, now getting an opportunity, suggested to the Wazír to charge the Nawáb Begam with the money instalments due to the Company. The Nawáb Begam refused to pay, and this led the Wazír to march in force to Faizábád. Mr. Middleton and Mr. Johnson accompanied him in this expedition. The foolish khwája-sarás determined to stand a siege with the three or four thousand men they had, but the Nawáb Begam, after the guns had been mounted and appliances of war inspected, sent the two khwájasarás to her son and took refuge herself in the palace of the Nawáb-i-’Áliya, and this unfortunate lady’s jágír was also confiscated, because she could not help giving protection to her son’s widow. The Wazír, who owed the two khwájasarás a grudge from his boyhood, now put them in iron fetters and omitted no detail of bodily inflictions, outrages, and indignities. He sacked his mother’s residence and took from it 50 lakhs of rupees in cash, and 50 lakhs of property, in gold, silver, and clothes, and returned to Lucknow. Haidar Beg Khán, who owed his very life to the Begams and Bahár Ali Khán, did not utter even one word in their favour, but seems to have been the cause of the aggravation of their misfortunes.