1196 A. H.
[17th December, 1781—6th December, 1782.]

IN this year the quarrel occurred between me and Haidar Beg Khán. It happened as follows: Haidar Beg Khán who had been emboldened from the time of Mr. Bristow’s second appointment, became more secure after meeting the Governor and experiencing his kindness, and grew still bolder than ever. Under the cloak of loyalty he was rebellious and insolent. Accordingly he defeated by every pretence he could devise, the measures enjoined by the Company; and if he could not defeat them, deferred their execution; and if neither of these courses was possible, he tutored the Wazír to say “yes,” “very well,” and make excuses; and after all these subterfuges he used to carry out only a tenth or a trifling part of everything. Mr. Middleton and Mr. Johnson, who had been appointed to carry out orders through him, were continually disheartened and distracted; and Almás Ali Khán, now finding his opportunity, after having kept Mr. Bristow for some successive years in suspense between hope and fear, obtained a reduction of revenue, and all collectors followed Almás Ali’s example and pro­cured a reduction of revenue and introduced an increase of expenditure. Haidar Beg Khán, on account of the presence of English supervisors, feared the dis­closure of the dishonesty of his own collectors, and could do nothing but conciliate them. In conse­quence of this, in a few years, one-third of the revenue, which was about a kror, was lost in a manner which will be explained, and the collectors becoming inde­pendent, treated Haidar Beg Khán and the tenants just as they liked; and the powerful tenantry, driven to extremities, began to become refractory. On account of this disorder and the delay in the affairs of the Com­pany, the two gentlemen (Mr. Middleton and Mr. Johnson) agreed that they should not be dependent on Haidar Beg Khán for the discharge of the business of the Company, and that they should put some one for­ward through whom they might transact some affairs, and thus render Haidar Beg Khán less absolute and more compliant. Accordingly, Ismá’íl Beg Shurah, Shaikh Shafí’-ullah, Murád-ullah Khán, Mirza Shafí’ Khán, and two others, came forward, one after another, for this purpose. Haidar Beg Khán made some of them secretly his friends, and caused others to be dis­missed on proving acts of embezzlement against them. He grew bolder and endeavoured to render Mr. Mid­dleton and Mr. Johnson powerless. He sought out plans to produce disorder in the jágírs which were in Mr. Middleton’s trust. One of these was this. He gave a hint to Balbhadr Singh, a zamíndár in one of these jágírs, who had long been enjoying an allow­ance of Rs. 500 a month from the Begam, and was residing on the other side of the Jamna, to commence a disturbance, and this disorder continued for two years. Although as many as two or three English regiments and six or seven thousand men of the Wazír’s army were detached to expel him, they could not effect his expulsion, for Mirza Shafí’ Khán, Mr. Mid­dleton’s gomashta, was secretly siding with Haidar Beg Khán; and the Hindustani troops, because they were of good family, and the English troops, because they were associated with the Hindustanís, favoured Haidar Beg Khán and did not exert themselves. About this time Almás Ali Khán, at Haidar Beg Khán’s instigation, represented the jama’ of Sálár Jang’s jágír to be five lakhs of rupees, and in the course of correspondence tendered his resignation. His idea in doing this was, that as only three or four months remained of the period of collection, and the zamíndárs had known him for 27 years, they would certainly not throw in their weight against him, and thus this jágír would deteriorate like the Begam’s jágír, and Mr. Middleton himself and the public generally would see how helpless he (Mr. Middleton) was, and thus he (Almás Ali Khán) would of a necessity be placed by them (Mr. Middleton and Mr. Johnson) in charge of both jágírs again from the beginning of the next fasli year. But Mr. Johnson, girding himself to the task of the two jágírs and resolving to carry out his word, invited my assistance in his undertaking. I asked to be excused for fear I should excite the enmity of Hai­dar Beg Khán. Mr. Johnson insisted on my aiding him, and by promises of protection and favour induced me to undertake the business. At the beginning of the undertaking Haidar Beg Khán and Almás Ali Khán, in the pride of their power and on the strength of the disorder of the jágírs and the scattered posi­tion of the parganas, raised doubts everywhere in the whole Súbah as to my ability to manage them, and made light of me; but many respectable persons who had suffered, became as ready to obey as they had been refractory, because the facility with which I carried on affairs was known through the whole Súbah and patent to the eyes of Haidar Beg, Almás Ali, and all their collectors. Although the revenue of the jágírs was not very large, being not quite 20 lakhs, yet the parganas were scattered all over the Súbah. My náibs, however, were so well acquainted with, and gathered such intimate knowledge of, the affairs of the parganas, that they used to discharge their business and stand in readiness to take further orders, and in this way the habitual refractori­ness of Haidar Beg’s time, and the yearly clamours of Almás Ali and the collectors for reduction of the revenue, came to an end, and my náibs showed an increase of revenue. All this can be proved by inspection of the papers of the years preceding and suc­ceeding this year which are in the Wazír’s office. All the affairs of Mr. Johnson, being undertaken with system, were in this way daily progressing, when, as fate would have it, the cards were again shuffled, as will be explained hereafter, and fortune favoured the scoundrels.

The services which I rendered to the Wazír’s gov­ernment during this period were three. First was the saving of two lakhs of rupees taufír from Sálár Jang’s jágír, the revenue of which Almás Ali had represented to be five lakhs, whereas I collected seven lakhs. The explanation of this is as follows:—The zamíndárs of the jágír fled at first, as Almás Ali had expected. After a covenant, bearing Mr. Middleton’s seal, to the effect that they would never again be handed over to Almás Ali, had been sent to them, they returned and disclosed the tyranny and oppres­sion of Almás Ali; and the agreement was made that they should pay to the Government something less than the amount which Almás Ali had used to realize by khám tahsíl. Thus, although a reduction of 30,000 rupees was made, seven lakhs were realized from that jágír. As Almás Ali had always represented a falling off in all the maháls entrusted to him, and had handed in a written under-statement of the reve­nue of this jágír, and as the disclosure of a taufír of two lakhs would show he was a thief and shut his mouth against asking yearly for a reduction, and as the same suspicions would arise against all Haidar Beg Khán’s náibs, the latter and Almás Ali did all they could to lead me astray, but it was of no use. Among other things, Haidar Beg Khán promised to let me have the two lakhs taufír to spend, if only I did not tell Mr. Johnson, and privately sided with him, but, having regard for Mr. Johnson’s claims on me, I declined his offer, and I fully exposed the secret under­standing which he had maintained with Almás Ali for several years.

The second service I rendered was the defeat and extermination of Balbhadr Singh, an act for which the Wazír, in his anxiety to suppress his violence, had offered a public reward of a lakh of rupees. The power of this man needs no illustration, for he was a very rival of the Wazír, and from the time of Safdar Jang until now, he had been the plunderer of the province. This service was effected by three operations.

First, I alienated the affection of his clansmen from him, and cut the cord which bound his band together. Mirza Shafi’ Khán, by withdrawing at Haidar Beg’s suggestion the 500 rupees a month allowed to Balbhadr, had caused his misconduct, and his brothers and clans­men believing him to have right on his side, could not help joining him. Therefore I called up his agent in the presence of his brothers and I offered him an allowance of as much as 2,000 rupees a month, in addi­tion to those villages on which he had previously received 500 rupees a month for his support, but he stood out for more and did not agree to this. His brothers now conceived that by his refusal he was handing them over to death.

Next, in that country there is a jungle, and in the heart of it at every few kos distance there is a forti­fied post. When any former collector went against Balbhadr in force, if he turned him out of one place, and hurried on in pursuit of him without demolishing it, Balbhadr simply went from that post to another, and so through all back again he came into the first. This was an advantage to Balbhadr Singh, for if he had been dependent on one solitary stronghold, he would have been unable to reach any spot at all dis­tant. For this reason I entertained three or four hundred labourers, and when I expelled him from any post, I cut down the jungle and razed the fort until he had no place of refuge left.

The third operation is the fight which I had with him. When the struggle between Balbhadr Singh and me was at its height, I heard of the removal of Mr. Middleton and Mr. Bristow, and Mr. Johnson, as luck would have it, had gone away before this to Calcutta. Loyalty to these two gentlemen and chagrin at my separation from them, as well as my antipathy to Haidar Beg Khán, led me to resign my employment. Although Mr. Middleton wrote to me repeatedly that Mr. Bristow would extend to me the same protection and consideration that he had done, I did not recover my confidence, and so closed my accounts with their government. Haidar Beg Khán, though he desired to have revenge on me, was far-seeing and was pleased with my retire­ment, and gave me an acquittance receipt without going into accounts. After this blew over, I gave up the pur­suit of Balbhadr Singh and went to a village on three sides of which were water, and which was fortified. Balbhadr Singh, who had before heard that I was weak, now grew more bold than ever and pitched his tents opposite my encampment, and the concourse of the unbelievers so closely pressed on all sides of my camp that any one who raised his head was hurried into the next world. I was stung by this and jealous of my reputation, and I determined to face him. One day that he went to the banks of the river to bathe I made a night attack with 600 followers who did not know I had lost my appointment; but, owing to the crookedness of the road, a delay occurred, the night ended, and Balbhadr Singh, who was on the alert and ready, seeing the paucity of my supporters courted an encounter. The fight lasted till midday, and each party routed the other several times. In the afternoon victory declared for me. About six or seven hundred noted Rájputs of that zila’, and near relations of his, were killed. Balbhadr Singh fled with the survivors to the bank of the river and began to cross. My men coming up fired a volley from their muskets. Two out of five boats sank with all on board, about 500 men, and all were drowned. Balbhadr Singh was driven away in a wretched plight, half dead with fear. There was not one village in the jágír of which some well-known people were not killed. After this victory I felt at my ease and, before another collector was appointed, I collected a lakh of rupees and I paid off both soldiers and revenue police. I then came to Lucknow and hurried to call on Mr. Bristow as Mr. Middleton had left.

The end of Balbhadr Singh was this. In the rabi’ of the same year he returned to this side of the river. His clansmen, after the scare they had got, refrained from joining him, and he proceeded to loot with three hundred newly-recruited horse and foot. Ismá’íl Beg Khán, my náib, and Major Lumsden and other officers of two English regiments which had been there from my time, surrounded the jungle, and, as no stronghold had been left to him, succeeded in reaching him, and passing through the stockades* where his servants were, wounded and captured him. Next day he died of his wounds.

A third service which I rendered was the waking up of Haidar Beg Khán, Almás Ali, and all the collectors, and the causing them to stand upright in the service of the Wazír, as has already been described.

In this year Haidar Beg dismissed and imprisoned Tapar Chand Khazánchi, and placed in charge of the treasury Bijairáj, who had caused the disturbance at Benares and had fled to Lucknow for fear the English should call him to account. He left the Bakhshigari with Bholá Náth, the sarishtadár of Tapar Chand’s office. This Bholá Náth has no equal as a cheat and peculator. The whole army is heartless and demor­alized by him, for, in collusion with the officers he is guilty of endless embezzlement and theft, and he bribes every one who is put in as his náib, and up to this day subsists by the same malpractices.