1211 A. H.
[7th July, 1796—25th June, 1797.]

IN the beginning of Muharram of this year, Mr. Cherry left Lucknow for Benares and Mr. Lumsden settled down at Lucknow like a nonentity. The star of Jhao L’al reached its zenith. Ghulám Qadir Khán, a servant of the Company and Mr. Lumsden’s spokes­man, was corrupted by the lying overtures of Jhao L’al, and Jhao L’al’s mind became easy.

I also now considered it inadvisable to remain at Lucknow, and left with Mr. Cherry, and, after passing the rest of the rainy season up-country, I set out for Calcutta. As Jháo L’al had in the course of the late intrigues held out inducements to me, both directly and indirectly, to assist him and throw Mr. Cherry over, and I had not done so, he had fostered a grudge against me, and it was highly probable that he would on some pretence injure me. At this juncture, the Bareli maháls which were under Shambhu Náth, Baijnáth’s brother, were made over to Almás at a reduced jama. He divided out Nirmal Dés’s iláqa and Baiswára to Mirza Mahdi, and an orderly, Nawáz Singh. Although this Mirza Mahdi had been raised from the dirt by Tikait Rai, he joined Hasan Raza Khán when Tikait Rai was Náib, and aspired openly to the Níábat. Tikait Rai for this reason removed him and imprisoned him for embezzlement. When after a time Tikait Rai’s position became shaky, he broke off from Hasan Raza Khán and made up to Jhao L’al. On paying five or six lakhs he obtained his release, and by a contemptible fawning, to which honourable men do not stoop, he became Jhao L’al’s confidant and confederate. Now he was on intimate terms with Tafazzul Husen Khán, because the son of the latter is married to his brother’s daughter. In the face of the ruin which he has worked in Bareli, he still has a finger in all the affairs of the Súbah and is doing his utmost to ruin Hasan Raza Khán, Jhao L’al and Tikait Rai.

To sum up, the service which Jhao L’al rendered the Wazír at this time was this. He reduced in some cases, and in others cut off, the auxiliary allowances granted to relatives and old friends and military chiefs, even those of the very kinsmen and brothers of the Wazír, and those of the women of the seraglios of Burhànu’l Mulk and Safdar Jang and of the late Nawáb; and he lodged the savings thereby made in the Nawáb Wazír’s personal treasury. He feared incur­ring disrepute on account of delay in paying the instalments due to the English, and he paid off the debts of Tikait Rai’s time, amounting to about a kror and a half. He did this thus: He deferred payment of the interest due on the English bonds, and borrowing forty lakhs from the Nawáb Wazír he paid cash. He spread the debts due to bankers of the city over seven years, and told them that their lien was on the world above. Some of them stood out. When the inquiry was referred to Rája Mahra, they made up their accounts and accepted this arrangement. Yet he not only failed to notice the prodigality of the Nawáb Wazír’s officials and Tikait Rai’s protègés, who had now become his officials and protègés, but the old evil actually grew worse. More, the thin veil of decency formerly maintained was withdrawn.

It must be said that this course was no new one with him. Even before this, when he appointed any one to any post, he assigned it to him as if it were a jágír. For instance, Bálak Ram, who was the Názir of 1,000 bárgírs, used to receive from Tikait Rai the price of the grain and of the shoeing of their horses each month, and of two suits of clothing for each horse each year, and the pay of the bárgírs themselves. For all this, the horses had to stand uncovered for three watches in the depth of winter, and many perished of the cold. He used to have them shod only twice in the year, that is, when the usual tours were near, and he used to give them grain once only in several days. He delivered to the bárgírs only half their monthly pay. If a bárgír ventured to complain in the darbár, Jhao L’al represented him to be an idiot or maniac, and discharged him. On account of the command to be always in attendance on the Wazír and of the neces­sity to humour him, he had not time to scratch his head. He was thus regularly engaged every day from two hours before sunrise to ten o’clock in the day, and again from four in the afternoon to about ten at night. If he had not relied on his own agents, but had personally scrutinized their labours, he would have lost his influence with the Nawáb Wazír entirely. The following story illustrates this:—One day Almás Ali Khán said to him: ‘Safdar Jang, although he had the business of one Súbah only to attend to, used not to spend the mid-watches over the affairs of the Súbah, and it is essential that you who have so heavy a burden should have a time and place fixed for busi­ness.’ Jhao L’al replied: ‘I know nothing of Saf­dar Jang; but I know this much, that the work of one pargana, one Súbah, or ten Súbahs is all the same. Every one who refers any matter to me must receive a reply whether it be ‘yes or no.’ For this business it is not worth while to have a time or place specially set apart.’ It was for this reason that the Nawáb Wazír liked him, and often used to say: ‘Hasan Raza Khán, Haidar Beg, and Tikait Rai were all three untrue to me, but Jhao L’al set my house to rights.’ This was a curious delusion of his.

After these affairs had been settled the Nawáb Wazír prepared for his tour of that season, but on this occasion he resolved to visit Allahábád, Cawnpore, and Farukhábád, to show off to the English and his sub­jects the dignity with which he had invested Jhao L’al. He gave orders for the repair of the buildings in the Fort at Allahábád which he had despoiled of some stones to remove them to Lucknow. From Allahábád he came to Cawnpore, and feeling sunubbed because no notice was taken of Jhao L’al by the officers there, he went on to Farukhábád. Here he removed Muzaffar Jang’s eldest son, and took the part of another of his sons.

The explanation of that is this: Muzaffar Jang, son of Ahmad Khán Bangash, having died, his eldest son suc­ceeded him. The Nawáb Wazír accused him of poison­ing his father and set him aside. Whether the charge was false or true, is not known; but there is a strong suspicion that this act was one of Jhao L’al’s plots, and his aim was to have Khudáwand Khán appointed Mukhtár. Jhao L’al was distrusted by the Governor, and he was always bent on elevating his own creatures. Thus he made friends of the Marhattas of Kálpi, and he looked on the strength of Ali Bahádur as his own on account of Himmat Bahádur, whose daughter had been married to his son in exchange.* He summoned from Rámpur Umar Khán, who had been the cause of Ghulám Muhammad’s rebellion, and placed him in the Nawáb Wazír’s service. Through him he caused complaints to be heard against Nasrulla Khán. His aim was to spread the influence of Umar Khán at Rámpur. When the Governor demanded an explana­tion, he pretended to let the matter drop and sent Umar Khán away, and replied that the Wazír had sent for him to get a sword from him. It was in pursuance of this scheme that he desired to instal Khudáwand Khán as Náib at Farukhábád. As the influence of this Khán over the Afghans of Mau, Shamsábád, and Farukhábád was not to be secured, while the elder son of Muzaffar Jang was on the spot, it is not unlikely that this led to the accusation which was charged against him.

Another event of this year was the arrival of Zamán Sháh Abdáli at Lahaur, and the hiding of the Sikhs in the mouse holes of the Panjáb. As it was supposed that the Abdáli, like his grandfather, would not stay at Lahaur, but would go forward to plunder Lucknow and Benares (for there was nothing in the ruined city of Delhi to satisfy the invading horde), the English prepared to resist him. They made the Fort of Allah­ábád their base, and having communication along the river Ganges, which was advantageous for the purpose of supplies, they formed a camp at Kannauj. Munitions of war and reinforcements came up in successive des­patches from Calcutta, and they remained in expecta­tion of the Abdáli’s approach. But when he had made his preparations to take Lahaur, he received tidings of the rebellion of his brother Mahmúd, the Governor of Hírát, who had been incited to this by the promise of the support of Muhammad Khán, the King of Persia. He therefore returned with all possible speed to Kábul, but he left an army of occupation in the Dúáb between the Atak and the Jhelum, about one-third of the Panjáb. This force succeeded in reducing that territory. As the Russian Army meditates a move on Persia, Muhammad Khán is now occupied with them. It is reported that a peace has been patched up between Mahmúd and Zamán Sháh; and the latter will return to Lahaur in the beginning of the winter. What advantage the English saw in occupying Kannauj is not apparent. Perhaps they intended that, after Zamán Sháh’s arrival at Delhi, they should march forward through the Bareli maháls on the banks of the Ganges to a fordable passage and there post themselves. By the occupation of Kannauj, Lucknow and Benares were not protected, for any one who intends to go to Lucknow will not go through Akbarábád, which would necessitate crossing both the Ganges and Jamna, but would cross the Ganges at Hardwár, and gather round him the Ruhelas of Ghausgarh and Rámpur, and go on unopposed to Lucknow and Benares. To guard Lucknow it is, therefore, most advisable to take up a position on the banks of the Ganges on the Bareli side. In this case the Ruhelas of Rámpur cannot make any sudden movement, and the closing of the fords of the Ganges is easy. Besides, the Ganges is commanded and the Fort at Allahábád is in the rear; and the conveyance of supplies is not threatened.

When the rumour of Sháh Abdáli’s approach was current, news reached Calcutta of an intention on the part of Jhao L’al to join the Abdáli. The Governor, Sir John Shore, became uneasy, and considered that no time should be lost. He took Tafazzul Husen Khán with him and proceeded to Benares by dâk. Thence he set out for Lucknow with 4,000 horse and foot, and suitable preparations. The Nawáb Wazír and Jhao L’al, who thought that the Governor was coming to arrange for the fight with Zamán Sháh, went to Jaun­pur to meet him, and returned with him to Lucknow. After the usual ceremonies, the exchange of turban and hat and so on, the Governor asked the Nawáb Wazír to remove Jhao L’al and appoint another Náib. The Wazír made all possible excuses, but finding it impossible on this occasion to resist, he prohibited Jhao L’al from coming to the darbár. He resolved to give the Niábat to Almás Ali Khán, and in order to deceive Tafazzul Husen Khán and to gain some of his own ends, he nominated Tafazzul Husen Khán also. Before obtaining the Governor’s sanction he gave Almás Ali his seal and some offices, and thus signified his appointment as Náib. That old wolf, notwithstanding that he had always protested his refusal of the appointment, now accepted it to assist the Wazír in his fraud, and to secure the continuance of Jhao L’al. The Wazír’s intention was that by giving him this appointment, the estrangement of the English should be perpetuated, and that the errors of Jhao L’al should remain concealed owing to there being no friction between him and Almás Ali, and thus gradually he would obtain an opportunity of reinsatating Jhao L’al. But the Governor knew that giving the Niábat to Almás Ali would be delivering the sheep to the wolf, and he declined to accept the nomination. He requested the appointment of Tafazzul Husen Khán. The Wazír had himself mentioned his name and could not refuse to appoint him. He complied with great reluctance. ‘The fool is taken in his own net,’ and so it was. The Governor after settling this affair and increasing the Wazír’s annual contribution to the Company by six lakhs of rupees for the maintenance of newly-recruited Turk sawárs, obtained the banish­ment of Jhao L’al to Azímábád, and returned to his capital.

After the Governor’s departure the Wazír evinced his dissatisfaction by at once turning out Major Palmer, who had been left behind to support Tafazzul Husen Khán, and other English officers from the houses in which he had lodged them when the Governor came to Lucknow. He was asked the reason of this, and he made some excuse. He is at times cross and at times pleasant to Tafazzul Husan Khán. He regrets the free­dom and license to which he was accustomed under Jhao L’al, and secretly seeks a change. Almás Ali also, on account of the snub he recived in connection with his nomination to the Niábat, shares the coun­sels of the Wazír and meditates evil, awaiting the turn of fortune.

It must be observed that the selection of Azím­ábád as Jhao L’al’s place of residence was injudicious, His conduct did not deserve so much notice. His total banishment was the advisable measure. To show con­sideration for such mean creatures is to lower the dignity of a Government in the eyes of men. The refusal to give effect to the nomination of Almás Ali was proper. He has by embezzlement and peculation brought together 20,000 horse and foot, and amassed a great treasure. To give such a person further power is impolitic. Besides this, he is such a spoiler that every province which was ever entrusted to him, though he was for several reasons maintained in its administration, he laid utterly waste. This is shown by the small revenue exhibited for his districts in the statement already given. Up to the present he has twice rebelled. Once, with his army, artillery, and treasure he attempted to join Afrásiáb Khán: and again in the same way he threatened to go to Kálpi, until Haidar Beg Khán conceded all his demands. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Bristow were each once removed to please him, and he then gave in. It is not unlikely that the fatal follies which we hear are being committed in the Súbah as a relish to the removal of these two gentlemen, may be intended to procure his cherished ends and those of the Wazír. But the appointment of Tafazzul Husen Khán is judicious, both on account of his own wisdom and sagacity and on account of the discriminating knowledge he has of the Wazír’s officials, and no better device could be hit upon for securing a good understanding between the English and the Nawáb Wazír; but to effect a radical good by putting the military on a proper footing, improve the country, or remove the evil practices which have become common, or reform the Wazír himself, is impossible while cross-purposes are at work. To expect this of the Khán, or any other native, is like look­ing on the house-top for an article hidden in the court­yard; for this end cannot be attained without the co-operation of the English power, and their supervision of the whole proceedings of the local officials and the army. Had the Wazír and his officials had any sense of shame, or appreciation of good advice, they would, during the ten or fifteen years that they have had abso­lute power, since Mr. Johnson and Mr. Bristow left, have effected reforms; whereas, through every one’s struggling to make affairs serve his own ends, they have brought matters to the present pass. Whoever be Náib, if he be weak and easy-going, and do not inquire into the Wazír’s conduct, he will find his evil habits render all government impossible; if he inquire into everything, the result will be a quarrel between him and the Wazír, and the humiliation of the Wazír will necessarily reduce the dignity of the Náib’s office. Suppose the impossible—that the Náib does correct the Wazír and eradicate or modify his injurious propen­sities, still the Naib cannot rid himself of his human nature, and where neither the Wazír nor the English exercise any control over him, how far will he restrain himself from seeking his personal gain? Suppose that a man of angelic goodness be found, as he is but one, how can he reform this medley concourse of soldiers and subjects and officials, who have been for years demoralized aud grown confirmed in their evil habits?

The proper plan for managing the Súbah is this: Let the Wazír be, once for all, duly admonished and his expenses limited; let him have control of them, and, as in Haidar Beg’s time, have no voice in reve­nue or military affairs; let all intriguing and muti­nous spirits be removed from about him, and some Englishman be appointed with full powers to the administration of the Súbah at Lucknow; an officer who is thoroughly experienced in government and who knows the people of India intimately, and who is loyal to the interests of both Governments; and let the Náib, Díwán, Khazánchi, Bakhshi, and other officials remain subordinate to him and draw up their estimates under his instructions, and lay them before the Wazír for sanction; let some English officers be appointed to superintend the troops, and provide horses and accoutrements, and pay the men regularly every month and see that they render service; let every one— soldier, official, or subject—who breaks the new regula­tions or resists, be at once expelled the country, so that those who remain may pursue their occupations in security, and every evil-doer vanish. All the old collectors and subordinates, and nearly all the old military officers should be got rid of, for they are puffed up with pride and are given to prodigality and a thousand other evils. They cannot submit to con­trol, and will not discriminate between benefactors and mischief-makers. It is impossible to correct them. The middle classes and the poor must be brought for­ward and appointed to offices. They will act accord­ing to orders and disinterestedly in the hope of gain­ing position and increased credit.

The interest of the tenantry lies in security for the poor and reducing the strong. A revenue tax should be assessed on each which he can pay, and at the same time himself subsist in comfort. Honest collectors should be selected from the middle and poorer classes, and should have no power to change the revenue assessment. In each district of the Súbah there should be a military station to repress the refractory under the direction of the collector. A formidable force of English troops should be posted at Bareli, even a fort should be built, so that the Ruhelas may have no time to scratch their heads. It is advisable to remove on every possible pretext the leaders of that clan from that country and from the Wazír’s army, until they become in the course of time power­less. In no other way can this be done. Otherwise in critical times they will emit the most dangerous sparks of mischief.