1209 A. H.
[29th July, 1794—17th July, 1795.]

IN this year General Abercrombie came by boat to Cawnpore for military inspection. He was still on his journey when the Ruhela war re-opened. The Wazír, who interviewed him opposite Dalmau, was induced after much entreaty to fight against Ghulám Muhammad.

The cause of this was as follows:—At this period Faizullah, son of Muhammad Ali, son of Muham­mad Khán, who had obtained after Háfiz Rahmat’s death, a jágír yielding twelve lakhs of rupees, and had by his skill and prudence tripled the revenue, and gathered together all the people of his tribe, died. His eldest son, Muhammad Ali Khán, succeeded him as his heir by the Wazír’s orders, but within a few days, as the hearts of the leaders of the clan were estranged from him on account of his unbridled tongue and his want of valour, his younger brother, Ghulam Muhammad, who was in command of the troops and had many good qualities, killed him. He calculated that, as it was the custom throughout the Súbah that the survivor should continue to pay the Wazír’s revenue, and no questions were asked, there would be no chance of any interference by the Wazír. But, as the strength of this clan had been jealously marked by the English from the time of Faizullah, and they had had nothing to lay hold of hitherto owing to Faizullah Khán’s prudence, Governor Sir John Shore, now thinking this an opportunity for crushing the clan, wrote to General Abercrombie to that effect. The Wazír, as his hunting season was near, began to raise excuses, and to look for pre­texts for delay and for treating with Ghulám Muham­mad, until he was at last compelled by the General’s importunities to act, and he moved with his army two stages in the rear of the General’s camp. Ghulám Muhammad, misled by Mr. Cherry, had refrained from any adverse movement; being now reduced to despair, he advanced with fifty or sixty thousand men and met the English force five kos on the other side of Bareli. Next day a sharp engagement ensued, and he fled to Rámpur, and taking his family with him, fortified himself in the mountains opposite Rehrah. Owing to the inactivity of some English officers and the intrepidity of the Ruhelas, the English were on the point of sustaining a defeat, but the General, who occupied the centre, notwithstanding the dispersion of his right wing, held his ground and kept up an inces­sant cannon fire. The advanced guard of the Ruhelas, who were in the heat of victory engaged in decapitat­ing the dead, became a mark for the fire, and they and the fugitives of their force were shot down. About 1,000 native soldiers, and one hundred Europeans and ten or twelve officers, were killed on the General’s side, and about the same number fell on the other side, as well as some chiefs, among whom were Najju Khán and a son of Umar Kháñ. Among the points which favoured their enemies was the foolish haste which the Ruhelas showed in attack; for if the Wazír’s force had come up and they had attacked them, the English would have been unable to remedy the defeat which would have ensued. To resume, after the victory the Wazír joined the General’s camp and pursued the routed army, pitched his camp at Rehrah and invested the place. Notwithstanding their defeat the Ruhelas were as eager as before for fight. Ghulám Muhammad, however, seeing the superiority of the English, obtained a promise of safe conduct and came to negotiate. He was not allowed to return. Mr. Cherry worked Nasrullah Khán, Ghulám Muham­mad’s náib, who was with him, round to his side, and after a month and a half the Ruhelas, finding them­selves helpless, agreed to a peace. About 50 lakhs of rupees and nearly half of their country fell into the hands of the Wazír. Of the money, about 12 lakhs were paid to the English as blood-money and compen­sation to the families of those killed in the campaign. Muhammad Ali Khán’s minor son was appointed to the headship of the clan, and Nasrullah was nomi­nated náib. Umar Khán and other Ruhela sardárs, who had led to this war, obtained permission to return to, and reside at, Rámpur, and were left to profit by experience, which is the best master. Ghulám Muham­mad Khán, who had been made a prisoner and sent to the fort of Chunár, was released and a pension of Rs. 1,500 per mensem was settled on him as his share of the Ruhela jagir. He settled this on his wife and children, and left the Company’s dominions for the performance of a pilgrimage to Mecca. It is said that after performing this pilgrimage he returned to Muscat, and came on to Surat, whence he proceeded to Bijainagar. He is now prepared to serve Zamán Sháh in hopes of obtaining his assistance in return.

In the course of these transactions Mr. Cherry on several occasions exhibited a high degree of acuteness and trustworthiness. His claims on the Wazír became apparent. Among these services was the deception he practised with the agents of Ghulám Muhammad. He induced them to believe that this attack had originated with the Wazír, and that the English were merely acting under his orders; but that when the English get an opportunity, they would restrain the Wazír from his purposes. This led them to main­tain a waiting attitude and make no active prepara­tions. Whereas, if they had moved at all, the whole province of Bareli would have been captured by them, and 50 or 60 guns and other munitions of war would have fallen into their hands. They could have sum­moned some thousands of Sikhs to their aid, and the war would have fallen upon the Wazír’s Súbah, and he would have been placed in great difficulties. A second service was the arrival of Ghulám Muhammad to negotiate, and the rupture between Nasrullah Khán and the rest of the clan. This very much facilitated matters. The third service was the gain by the Wazír, without any conditions, of the money plundered and of the territory wrested. Yet a further service was the settlement of the affairs of the Ruhelas on a footing good for the Wazír and the Company, and bad for the Ruhelas. The fact is that the Ruhelas were offering Mr. Cherry eight lakhs of rupees on condition of his favouring them, but he was firm. Jhao L’al also at the beginning of the quarrel was prepared to give ten lakhs of rupees to Mr. Cherry if he would let things go on without inquiry. Yet, in this case also, he remained honest and loyal to the two Governments. Notwithstanding all this, there happened what hap­pened to him through the Wazír’s inappreciation of his worth.