This Mir-aaly-ashgar-kobra was a Séyd of the town of Fateh-p8r-sicri, in the province of Mevat, and had been in the service of the famous Emir-qhan, Viceroy of Illah-abad, who was himself son to another famous Emir-qhan, Viceroy of Cab8l. His father, Mir-gholam-ahmed, a very shrewd, and very wary man, was like­wise famous for courage and personal prowess. His son, in his youth, attached himself to a Dervish or Fakir, that is a Friar, who took care to initiate him early into many practices and customs used amongst those sort of people; so that he became an adept in all their arts, and in all their ways of life; and now become himself a proficient, he returned into the world, where he endeavoured by spreading the net of saintship and of holiness, to acquire power and authority; in fact he catched many a fish, and many an idiot, rose into celebrity, and assumed the surname of Kobra, that is, the great. But he had forged out another surname for himself, and this was that of Maass8m-el-arefin, a strange title, the signification of which we must suppose he well knew. In his speeches to his idiot hearers, he made use of such a lofty style, that they thought him endowed with those celestial gifts and graces to which he laid a claim, and which he said had not been communicated to the most glorious Prophets and envoys.* But as he had introduced some new laws about what is lawful and unlawful, (for instance, he held it unlawful to eat hen’s eggs) some intelligent person asked why he had made them unlawful to his disciples? He answered, that he had never said such a thing; but only that for his own part he did not eat any. His followers had trumped up several strange stories about him; for instance, that he once fell into a well, and on his being enquired after, and searched for, he was found standing in the air, without touching the surface of the water. This miracle having been immediately rumoured abroad, about five or six hundred persons flocked to his lodgings, professed their belief in him, and had the honour to be admitted amongst his disciples. In his youth he had asso­ciated to himself a learned young man, with whom he used to retire into a corner, there to read in his presence, some books of grammar and astrology; and having thereby provided himself with store of scientific words in Arabic, he used to retail them to his starers-at with a deal of emphasis in his discourses. Some persons put questions to him about his knowledge in the sciences; and to these he used to give this answer: “Yes, I have learned them all in the school of the Most High, in company with my master’s sons; there did I make my acquisitions.” He alluded to the infused science which had been bestowed on the two hand­some ones.* When in company with some new persons, he used to make use of such obscure ambiguous expressions, as made the by-standers suspect that he knew more than he would express; and that he had the gift of seeing into men’s hearts, and of guess­ing at their thoughts. In short, he was a shrewd, artificious, knowing man, who had found means with some of his disciples to be entertained in Emir-qhan’s house, where he had a pension. After that nobleman’s death, he had the good luck to be mentioned to Ata-ollah-qhan by a certain Vezir-qhan, an Afghan in his service; and that nobleman becoming desirous to see so extraordi­nary a personage, obtained Aaly-verdy-qhan’s leave to invite him over; and he sent him a great sum of money, desiring him to accept it for his charges, and to repair speedily to Bengal with all his people. The man on this invitation assumed all the insignia of grandeur, as the fringed Paleky, and the kettle-drum; and drawing together six or seven hundred horse, all of them his relations and disciples, besides a great multitude of other people, that followed on foot, he made his appearance in Azim-abad, with a retinue and a pomp that impressed every one with respect and awe. It was in the year Eleven Hundred and Sixty. After tarrying two or three days in the outskirt of the city, he continued his route to M8rsh8d-abad. In that short stay of his, he was visited by men of the highest distinction and rank, such as Hadji-ahmed, and Abdol-aaly-qhan, who hearing of his fame, and struck with his celestial gifts and celestial qualifications, flocked to see him; and he returned their visits with a great deal of composure. It is in Abdol-aaly-qhan’s house that, I, the poor man, had an opportunity to see him; and there I soon guessed by his actions and words what kind of personage he could be. But the many visits he had received from persons of high rank, and the singular respect with which he was treated, had rendered him so proud and assuming, that Zin-eddin-ahmed-qhan, who was no less a man than the Governor-General of the Province, and a nephew of Aaly-verdy-qhan’s, having not thought it proper to pay him a visit, the man took offence, and spoke of it: a particular which the young Prince mentioned to his uncle in his letters; whilst on the other hand, Hadji-ahmed wrote to his brother in high terms of him; and after having said that the Lord Séyd was this, and that,* he added, that he was nothing inferior to Mustapha-qhan.

Aaly-verdy-qhan’s thoughts were then engrossed by the affairs of Oressa, where he found that the vanquished Marhattas, although expelled from the frontiers of Bengal, had taken shelter, together with many of the dismissed troops of Shimshir-qhan’s and Serdar-qhan’s; and as same the departure of Abdol-res8l-qhan, and D8lobram’s imprisonment, there had not been any person of con­sequence and authority in those parts, he resolved to send thither Mir-djaafer-qhan with such a number of troops as the occasion required. On this principle, he gave the supreme Government of the Oressa to his son-in-law, Sàyd-ahmed-qhan; but appointed Mir-djaafer-qhan to be his Nàib, or deputy in that province, comple­menting him at the same time with the two Fodjdaries of Midnip8r and Hedjly, over and above the office of Paymaster-General, which he enjoyed these many years already. This new appointment was conferred upon him in a public audience, where he was honoured with a rich Qhylaat, an elephant, a horse, a sabre, and a poniard, with a serpich, and a Djica of jewels; after which ceremony, he was complimented with another set of jewels, elephants, and other presents by Sàyd-ahmed-qhan, the Governor-General, as from himself. These appointments being over, that General deputed Mir-Ismàil, son to his maternal uncle, to act as his agent at Court, and likewise, as his substitute in the Paymaster’s office; and he sent a gentleman called Sudjan-sing to govern, as his deputy, in the District of Hedjly. After these regulations, Mir-djaafer-qhan departed for Catec at the head of seven thousand horse, and twelve thousand foot; and in several days’ march, he met in the territory of Midnip8r, a body of Marhattas and Afghans whom he defeated. The Marhattas fled to Djalisser whither they were pursued by Mir-djaafer-qhan, who encamped on this side of the Kehnasa river, taking up his quarters on its banks; but without daring however to cross it, being intimidated by a report of some new troops of Marhattas which were to come from the Oressa. In a few days more another report ran that Djano-dji, son to Rhago-dji, was coming into that province with a numerous army. This intelligence frightened Mir-djaafer-qhan. He suddenly decamped from his post; and without leave from Aaly-verdy-qhan, without even sending him advice, he marched back, and took shelter in Bardevan; and all this with so much precipitation, that Djano-dji’s vanguard, that pursued briskly, could only overtake some elephants and some baggage of his, in his rear. This young Prince was encouraged by Mir-djaafer-qhan’s timidity, and he kept pursuing him for some time, to the surprise of all who knew that General to be at the head of sixteen or seventeen thousand men. Notwithstanding such a force, he retreated far off, without first ascertaining whether he was really inferior; and without having perviously tried the expedient of spears and swords. But Aaly-verdy-qhan who was perfectly informed of the state of things, sent beforehand Ata-ollah-qhan to the fugitive’s assistance, with a body of troops; and it was at this conjuncture that Mir-aaly-ashgar arrived at M8rsh8d-abad. However as Ata-ollah-qhan, on whose invitation he had come over, was already gone, he did not think it proper to pay his respects to the Prince, in that absence; but taking his route by the outskirts of the city, he went, and joined his patron with what troops he had brought with him. Ata-ollah-qhan, who on Vezir-qhan’s narrative, had become a greater admirer of Mir-aaly-ashgar’s, than the Afghan was himself, had no sooner beheld the man, and seen the many tricks with which he used to entrap the sots, than he became enamoured with him; and giving him his confidence, he carried him to Bardevan, where Mir-djaafer-qhan was arriving on his side. Djano-dji who had Mir-habib with him, and a numerous army of Marhattas and Afghans, finding Aaly-verdy-qhan absent, attacked the two Commanders; and a sharp engagement took place, in which Ata-ollah-qhan distinguished himself greatly; but none so much as the new comer, Mir-aaly-ashgar-cobra, who at the head of his brigade, composed Mir-djaafer-qhan and Ata-ollah-qhan
conspire against the Viceroy.
of men of his family or of such as were his disciples, pushed forwards with so much bravery and conduct, as deserved the encomiums of both friends and foes. But he was a man of projects as well as of heroical courage; and he inspired his protector with such ambitious views, that the latter finding himself at a distance from his master’s sight, and giddy with the fumes of his high com­mand, as well as elated with the little success he had had against the Marhattas, thought himself a man of importance; and he con­ceived the project of associating with Mir-djaafer-qhan, and mak­ing use of his assistance to entrap and kill Aaly-verdy-qhan, when­ever he should come to his support; after which performance he intended to assume the Government. All this was imparted to Mir-djaafer-qhan by the medium of one Mir-mogholy-qhan, a light headed foolish man, who was deeply rooted in that General’s confidence; and the latter, in the natural supineness and careless­ness of his temper, gave into the scheme, and agreed that after the intended revolution, himself should take possession of the Bahar and of Azim-abad; and Ata-ollah-qhan, of Bengal. But so many practices and parleys could not long remain a secret, and as soon as this partition-treaty came to the knowledge of Mir-abdol-aziz and of some others of Mir-djaafer-qhan’s friends, it was opposed with all their might, and their reasons made such a strong impression on that General’s mind that he repented of his mischievous scheme. So that his favourite, Mir-mogholy-qhan, fearing the consequences of what he had advised, quitted his service, and fled for his life.