1197 A. H.
[7th December, 1782—25th November, 1783.]

IN this year happened the removal of Mr. John­son and Mr. Middleton and my resignation of the management of the jágírs. The circumstances attending these events are as follows:—When all Haidar Beg’s devices failed to effect his object, as has already been explained, and he could neither upset the arrange­ments in the jágírs nor deceive me: nay more, when his scheming proved the cause of my good fame and stability, I attained both wealth and position, and officers expert and experienced, both military and civil, gathered round me in numbers, and difficulties were easily surmounted. For this reason Haidar Beg Khán, fearing his own displacement, now resorted to the plan of fixing some suspicion on Mr. Johnson, who was a firm and successful administrator, and procuring his removal. At this time it happened that Major Palmer came to Lucknow under Governor Hastings’ orders to demand twelve lakhs of rupees in addition to the ordinary instalments. Accordingly Haidar Beg Khán, through Tafazzul Husen Khán, conspired with the Major, and secured his co-opera­tion in his plans by holding out to him the bait of the Residency at Lucknow. Then he began, accord­ing to his custom, to procrastinate about payment. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Middleton now lost heart, and were mute before Governor Hastings, who, notwith­standing their excellent management, interfered on the advice of this miserable Major Palmer. For a long time there was no sign of the money. This led the Governor to ask Haidar Beg to explain. He replied that the delay had occurred owing to an order from Mr. Johnson, and he sent a forged letter to this effect, bearing Mr. Johnson’s seal, to the Council. Mr. Johnson was summoned to Calcutta to answer this charge. As the Governor was at this time ill and had been rendered powerless in Council, the mem­bers of Council made a great deal out of this small matter, using it as a pretext for re-appointing Mr. Bristow. Mr. Middleton resigned through mortifica­tion, and they sent Mr. Bristow to Lucknow for the third time. I was in Lucknow when Mr. Johnson left. Just at the same time news came in of great out­rages by Balbhadr Singh, and Mr. Middleton ordered that I should he sent for. As Mr. Johnson, when he bid me good-bye, had concealed the circumstances of his departure and consoled me with a promise of his speedy return, I left Lucknow and was involved in all those troublesome enterprises which have been described. I was successful and returned with laurels to Lucknow. To come to the point, Haidar Beg Khán, though he got rid of Mr. Johnson by the trick I have mentioned, did not succeed in his object of obtaining Major Palmer’s appointment. As a last resort he employed himself in deceiving Mr. Bristow. This gentleman was well aware of his peculations and knavery, but, though he was determined to defeat him, Ismá’íl Beg Shúrah, for the furthering of his own ends, kept Mr. Bristow inactive so that Haidar Beg gained time. It happened in this way. As Ismá’íl Beg had made up his mind to seize my ’iláqa and deprive me of my station which rivalled that of Haidar Beg Khán, he put it into Mr. Bristow’s head not to allow me any share in affairs for a short time, so as to reassure Haidar Beg Khán, and thus, while striving to put him at his ease, slowly contrived his ruin. And yet it was a fact that at that time Mr. Bristow was strongly supported by the members of Council; things had been carried on by me with suc­cess; abundant means of defeating Haidar Beg were at hand, and all that he wished was sure to be effected: and in delay there was the danger of the opportunity being lost and of Governor Hastings recovering control. This was actually what hap­pened. When my ’iláqa was divided out, over one-half was entrusted to two or three friends of Haidar Beg Khán’s, and the rest was left with Ismá’íl Beg Khán and Taqi Beg Khán, náibs of mine. Ismá’íl Beg got nothing whatever. In the next year, Governor Hastings regained his power and he removed Mr. Bristow on pretence of a change of plans.

Another event of this year was the establishment of courts of law. On this point it has to be said that, notwithstanding the immense population and the mag­nificence of Lucknow, there was not, and there is not, any recognized jurisdiction of courts of criminal or civil law. All transactions of money-lending are stopped and every one who has the power oppresses some one else, and the only punishment meted out to an oppressor is when the sufferer takes his life in his hand and seeks his revenge himself, or when some influential man in the city takes him under his wing. Qázi Ghulám Mustafá and Mufti Ghulám Hazrat and many famous learned men—for there are numbers of accomplished and just and discerning men of other countries also here—elected to remain in their private houses, through fear of the sneers and ridicule of the Wazír’s servants. Besides this, the Wazír’s servants generally make their chobdárs their agents and obtain fatwá’s and decrees such as they desire. The position of chief justice of the Súbah, a dignity which is the nearest to that of the Súbahdár himself, and an office to be filled only by men of great knowledge and high bearing, had been conferred some years before on Bhawáni Singh Rája, an orderly of the Wazír’s, and is now filled by some one else like him. This results wholly from the villainy of the Wazír’s servants, who desire to have no rule but their own in the city, and while they do not allow him a chance of doing justice, they blame it on his ill-health.

Justice is pushed aside, complaint is vain:
’Mid all this wrong, alas! what can we gain?

When the Wazír does hold a court of justice, what he does is, he deputes a chobdár with the complainant and tells him to “go and do what this oppressor, who makes himself out to be oppressed, wants;” but the pro­tection of the oppressor is everywhere the custom. The Wazír is in the matter of criminal justice utterly heed­less. There was a firework-maker in the Wazír’s ser­vice lived in the Sabza muhalla, in which is my house, and he used to entice children of nine and ten years of age by their love of fireworks and kill them at the bid­ding of wizards, until men got a clue and dug up his house. They exhumed several corpses of children with their tongues and hearts cut out and their faces burned, and carried them in that state to the Wazír’s door, but for all their cries and lamentations there was no notice taken of them. The firework-maker remained in con­cealment for some days, but now carries his head as high as ever in that muhalla, and frightens the parents of the murdered children with accusations of plunder­ing the Wazír’s property. Here is another illustration. A man named Nauroz Khán killed Razá Beg Mughal, a relative of the late Nawáb. As the culprit was a relative of Jhao L’al, all the deceased’s mother’s appeals for justice were vain, and at last two lads about fifteen years of age, sons of the deceased’s sister, killed the murderer at the Wazír’s gate and ran away. Though the Wazír searched for them, they were not to be found. Cases like this are too numerous to be written.

Another oppression is that which the Wazír’s sub­jects suffer in his two regular tours, for his camp-followers have permission to take grass, bhusá, fire­wood, earthen pots and other such things, and the subjects are so accustomed to oppression, that they reckon this tyranny nothing: but these men, on pre­tence of taking these things, levy as much grain and money as they go along, from the fields and houses of the peasantry, as keeps them for two or three months on tour and forms a fund for two or three months at Lucknow. Add to this, they burn at night for illu­minations the houses of the peasants, which are vacated because of the nearness of the camp: and the consump­tion of firewood and other supplies already mentioned is so great in the camp, that they pull out the pillars of the people’s houses and throw down the thatch to get wood for cooking their half sér of flour. When Tikait Rai or the collectors complained to Jhao L’al of the oppressive nature of their conduct, he used to reply that if it were meant to put an end to these practices, the Wazír’s excursions, which are the means of enlivening his spirits, would be brought to an end; and that, if it were not for the two or three months in the year that his servants get something, it would be impossible to be in attendance on the Wazír. Those who exclaimed against the tyranny were silenced when they heard this.

In short, Mr. Bristow, when he learned all these things, was incensed and bitterly reproached Haidar Beg. The latter, fearing lest Mr. Bristow should himself undertake these matters, appointed Maulavi Múbín, a celebrated scholar, for some months during Mr. Bristow’s time, to the post of Civil Judge, and after Mr. Bristow’s removal he appointed Muhammad Nasír Khán, a son of Mukhtárn’d Daulah’s paternal uncle, and a personal friend of his own, to this post, and fixed salaries for court officials. After a couple of years the officials, being unpaid, dispersed, and Muham­mad Nasír Khán even left his native place and took up his residence in Benares. In 1207 A.H., for some unknown reason, Tikait Rai nominated to this office Mufti Ghulám Hazrat, who is eminently qualified for the duty. Although the Mufti still continues appointed to the bench, yet, owing to the delays in payment of the officials of the court and to the authority usurped by influential men in the city, he might as well not exist.

In this year Mr. Cooper, who had been appointed in Mr. Johnson’s stead as Mr. Bristow’s assistant, kept himself aloof from very shame, and being unable to endure these rascalities, left for Calcutta.