1189 A. H.
[4th March, 1775—20th February 1776.]

AT this juncture Mr. Middleton arrived in the province on the nomination of Mr. Hastings, the Gover­nor, and had hardly time to draw breath when Mr. John Bristow arrived in Lucknow to supplant him, on the nomination of General Clavering: and about the same time, the beginning of the year 1189 A.H., Mirza Sa’ádat Ali also came to Lucknow. The reason of this was that Asafu’d Daulah, immediately on his acces­sion, sent for his brother, and despatched Mahbub Ali Khán, one of the most reliable officers attached to Bareli, to undertake the administration and send Sa’ádat Ali to him. Mirza Sa’ádat Ali, having sounded Murtaza Khán Baríj and other officers round him, finding that no one would assist him, hastened to join his brother. In this year Nauroz Ali Khán died and Saiyad Mu’azziz Khán, younger brother of Mukhtaru’d Daulah, was appointed his successor as Subahdar of Allahábád, and left for that place with all the pomp, paraphernalia and circumstance of office. Muhammad Násir Khán Habshi also having died, the territory known as Sarwár was divided out to several persons.

Asafu’d Daulah demanded his father’s accumu­lated treasure from his mother, and there were many unworthy passages between them. At last the Begam, on obtaining a deed of release from her son, gave him 50 lakhs of rupees, Another of the events of this period was the dismissal of Haidar Beg Khán and the appointment of Mahbub Ali Khán to the chakladári of Korah. A resumé of the history of Haidar Beg Khán will not be out of place. His father was a native of Fatahábád in Kábul, an ignorant and insignificant Falaqchi, and all the relatives of Hai­dar Beg Khán to this day, whether born in Hindustan or in Fatahábád, have not a spark of discretion, and persist in practices which even lower animals abhor, but he was himself a discreet man, wise, and of flexible disposition. He and his brother Nur Beg were jointly employed in some small way in the administration of this Subah, and both were notorious for extortion, oppression, selfishness and perfidy. In the days when Beni Bahadur was Náib, having acquired some repu­tation and wealth, they embezzled the revenue of their parganas, and for this reason the late Nawáb imprisoned them and pressed them to disgorge. The elder brother succumbed under the blows and kicks of bai­liffs, and died from sun-heat. Haidar Beg Khán also was on the point of death when Bahár Ali Khán, tak­ing pity on him, informed the Begam of his wretched condition. When this appeal was made to the Begam, she was overcome by that tenderness natural to women, and exerted herself to save him. Haidar Beg Khán, having opened communication with the Begam, held out bribes to her followers. After a long interval he obtained the tahsíldári of chakla Korah, and after a second disgrace, further embezzlements of his came to light. He was now to drink a cup of the old brew,* but Saiyad Muhammad Khán, the brother of Mukh­táru’d Daulah, came to his aid and saved him from destruction.

In Rajab of this year I came to Lucknow with Saiyad Zainu’l Abdín Khán Tabá Tabái, who had been invited by Mukhtáru’d Daulah, The latter received him with respect and assigned him 2,000 horse and foot. In this place it seems proper to explain the con­nections which Zainu’l Abdin Khán had with this Government. The said Khán was one of the famous Saiyads of Mashhad-i-Muqaddas, and proficient in arts and sicences, especially in the science of medicine, and Safdar Jang treated him with respect and defer­ence. From the moment of his arrival in India he formed an intimacy with Muhammad Quli Khán and was inseparable from him. When Muhammad Quli Khán was imprisoned, he endeavoured to effect his release, but he failed, and fearing Shujá’u’d Daulah’s power, he went off to Bengal.

I was born in 1166 A.H., in the city of Luck­now. My maternal grandfather was Abu’l Hasan Beg Isfaháni, who was among the associates of Bur­hánu’l Mulk from the beginning of his career. After that Nawáb’s death he renounced the world and led a private life. My father was Muhammad Beg, who, hav­ing come to Hindustan, entered the military service of Safdar Jang and won his confidence. On the termi­nation of the struggles between the Afghans and Rája Nawal Rai, when Muhammad Quli Khán was appointed náib of the Subah, my father was appointed in his retinue. A friendship and intimacy sprang up between them. For this reason when Safdar Jang came into this Subah, and Muhammad Quli Khán was appointed to Allahábád, my father, not wishing to part from him, went to Allahábád. After the arrest of Muhammad Quli Khán, Nawáb Shujá’u’d Daulah endeavoured to conciliate my father, and maintained him as before in his civil and military charge. After two or three years, when the Nawáb came again to Allahábád, and Mirza Najaf Khán fled from the camp, he distrusted my father also, and resolved to imprison him. My father, leaving all his goods and wealth on the spot, fled to Bengal. The Nawáb confis­cated two lakhs of rupees in cash and property belonging to my father, and placed a guard over me, who was then in Lucknow. After a short time, out of regard for my family, he removed the guard and sup­plied money for my education, and treated me with favour. After two or three years, when my father sent for me, he permitted me to leave and sent me to Bengal. My father died a year after my arrival in Murshadábád. Then Zainu’l Abdín and I spent five years honorably in Muzaffar Jang’s suite in Bengal, until Mukhtáru’d Daulah induced me to return to Luck­now.

At this time Mr. John Bristow asked Mukhtáru’d Daulah to give Benares to the Company as jágír. Mukhtáru’d Daulab, on the condition of receiving sup­port in the seizure of Etáwah and Bareli, and of the recognition of the right to Allahábád, the income of which provinces was about Rs. 1,50,00,000, and also with a view to securing his own position, which was dangerous and insecure on account of the caprices of his master and the nobles round him, considered it wise to comply with this request and induce Asafu’d Daulah by specious arguments to acquiesce; but the result was opposite to what he anticipated, as will be seen from what follows. The hapless wretch involved him­self and all his connections in calamity.

Another event of this year was the Nawáb’s visit to Etáwah. This move was resolved upon, because Muhammad Iraj Khán, instead of exerting himself for the Nawáb’s purposes, had begun to intrigue with Mirza Najaf Khán, and the Emperor delayed to confer on the Nawáb the dignity of Wazír, and also because the Nawáb desired to seize the territory of Ahmad Khán Bangash, who had died a few months before the late Nawáb. Accordingly, having made over the níábat of the Subáh with the insignia of rule to Saiyad Muham­mad Khán, the elder brother of Mukhtáru’d Daulah, he set out in that direction with all his forces in the month of Shawwál. When he arrived at the bank of the Ganges, and two divisions had crossed, and the third was still on this side, orders were given to disarm the third division; but the men prepared to fight, and demanded their pay. When an English force, which was then encamped at Bangarmau, came up, and with the first and second divisions prepared to attack them, the unfortunate men fled in disorder, and the two divisions which were left were at the advice of Mukhtáru’d Daulah handed over to the English officers for training. But the English officers were soon removed, and the discipline of these battalions was entrusted to Basant Ali Khán. On the Nawáb’s entering Farrukhabad a yearly nazrána of 5½ lakhs was imposed on that province and continues to this day, and another sum in money and chattels having been levied by confiscation of Ahmad Khán’s property, the Nawáb moved on to Etáwah, and remained there some months.

Many events happened at this time. Among these was the desertion of several of Najaf Khán’s fol­lowers who came to the Nawáb’s camp. The cause of this was that Asafu’d Daulah, attributing to Zulfiqár­u’d Daulah the non-conferment of the dignity of Wazír, recalled while the seige of Díg was in progress, the auxiliaries, about 10,000 horse and foot, which Shujá’u’d Daulah had supplied to him. After this, by holding out bait to the officers of his camp, he gained them over and caused the dispersion of his force. Among those who swallowed the bait at this time was Fatah Ali Khán Durráni, who came over with five or six thousand well-mounted horse and foot, and a well-appointed battery and camel guns and abundant stores. But after some time, being pressed for money, and see­ing the Nawáb’s bad management, he sold all his property to the people in the camp for a trifling sum, and returned alone to his home. Zulfiqáru’d Daulah, not­withstanding these occurrences, did not despair but cap­tured Díg. After this he induced the Emperor to confer on the Nawáb the dignity of Wazír and thus put an end to all cause of quarrel. Zulfiqáru’d Daulah himself was created Náib Wazír.