The expedition into India.

AS A.D.1738. Nad. 51. soon as Nader had determined to extir­pate the whole race of the Afgans, he sent an ambassador to the Indian court, with an earnest request to the Great Mogul Moham­med, that he would prevent the fugitives of that nation from finding a retreat in his dominions. The Mogul received the Persian ambassador with every mark of respect, and dismissed him with a promise, that he would not fail to intercept the flight of the Afgan rebels, and that he would, for that purpose, send fresh supplies to the governors of the provinces bordering on Persia. Some time after, a Persian nobleman was sent upon an embassy to India, in order to renew the same request; and he returned with a repetition of the same promise: but, during the siege of Candahar, a great number of Afgans fled towards Cabul and Gazna, without any obstruction from the Indians of those provinces. A detachment of Persians was ordered to pursue them, but they made no very considerable slaughter, as they had been strictly forbidden to pass the frontiers of the Indian empire, and enjoined to do no injury to the subjects of the Mogul. In the mean time the Afgans were flying by troops to the provinces just mentioned; and it was soon discovered, that no step had been taken by the Indian monarch towards intercepting them in their progress. Nader Shah was highly irritated, to find his great designs baffled by the A.D.1738. Nad. 51. indolence of a perfidious ally, who, with­out any regard to a repeated promise, had allowed a safe harbour to the most dangerous enemies of the Persian Empire. He had the moderation, however, to suppress or dissemble his resentment, and to send a third ambassador to the Great Mogul, who arrived at Dehli on the second of May in the preceding year, where he had strict orders to stay only forty days: but the Indian ministers made no reply to his remonstrances, and constantly eluded his endeavours to be dismissed with a satisfactory answer. A whole year had now elapsed since the depar­ture of this ambassador; and Nader Shah, pro­voked beyond expression at this delay, sent a positive command to him to return immediately, either with the Mogul’s answer, or without it: we can assign no other reason for Nader’s expe­dition into India, than the insult he had received from the sovereign and ministers of that empire; and probably he had no intention at first to advance as far as Dehli. His great object was to reduce the Afgans to an entire subjection, which could never be effected, while they were permitted to lie concealed in India, whence at any time they might rush in swarms upon the borders of his dominion. Accordingly, at the beginning of May, he passed a rivulet called Mekhor, which was the common boundary of the Persian and Indian empires, and marched towards Gazna, the Capital of Zablestan. The governor and chief men of the city, finding themselves unable to oppose him, gave him an immediate admission within their walls, and, after the Asiatick manner, accompanied their offers of service with many valuable presents. A few days after this, Nader Shah adadvanced towards A.D.1738. Nad. 51. Cabul, and, in the course of his march, destroyed a considerable number of Afgans, who lurked in the mountains; but selected those, who had either youth or vigour, and enlisted them in his cavalry: in these vic­tories he received no little assistance from the valour of his son Nasralla, who made an excur­sion in the districts of Bamian and Gorbend, and returned with a great increase of glory. Upon Nader Shah’s approach, the principal inhabitants of Cabul came in a body, and offered to give him a reception in their city suitable to his dignity: but they had made this offer without the consent of the governor and the commander of the city, who refused to admit the Persian army, and were preparing to sustain a siege. When the Persians, therefore, began to pitch their tents near the walls, the garrison sallied out and attacked them with fury; but they were repulsed with great loss, and saved them­selves by a precipitate retreat. Nader Shah was soon informed of their insolence, and ordered some pieces of artillery to be planted against the citadel: the Indians made a bold resistance against a continued fire of several days, but were forced at last to surrender at discretion.

The Persian army lay encamped in the plains of Cabul till the middle of June; in which interval Nader Shah sent an expostulatory letter to the Mogul, containing a succinct narrative of the affront he had received, of his resolution to chastise the insolence of the Afgans, and of the obstruction made to his progress by the inhabitants of Cabul; he declared, that he had strictly inhibited the least act of violence from his soldlers, and that he desired nothing so much as A.D.1738. Nad. 51. the continuance of their mutual friendship, This letter was intrusted to an envoy, who set out for Dehli attended by several chiefs of Cabul, who were enjoined to confirm the truth of his assertions: but, when they reached Gelalabad, the governor of that place put the Per­sian envoy to death, and compelled the chiefs of Cabul to return. Nader Shah could no longer brook such a succession of injuries, but marched with great rapidity towards Gelalabad, and, on the twenty-eighth of July, encamped at Kende­mac, a place remarkable for the serenity of its air, and the beauties of its situation. From this place he detached a body of Persians against Gelalabad, who entered the city without oppo­sition on the tenth of August: but the governor Mir Abbas, conscious of his crime, and fearing the punishment due to it, retreated to a fortress situated on a mountain of very difficult access. The Persians attacked his intrenchments, and took the fort by assault: Mir Abbas was killed, together with the Indians that attended him, and his family were sent in chains to the royal camp.

On the twenty-ninth of September, the prince Rizakuli, who had been summoned from his province, arrived at Gelalabad, and was received by his father with every mark of affection and applause. Nader Shah spent several days in reviewing the prince’s army, and having imparted to him his design of penetrating into the heart of the Indian empire, appointed him Regent of Persia, with the full power, during his absence, of raising or deposing governors, and of acting as he judged best for the safety and dignity of the kingdom. The prince was permitted A.D.1738. Nad. 51. to wear a diadem, with the plume of feathers on the right side, after the regal man­ner, and on the eighth of October he returned with great pomp to the seat of his regency. A few days after, the Persian army marched to the east of Gelalabad, and halted in the station of Rikab, where Nader Shah received intelli­gence of a formidable army, that was pre­paring to oppose him. Nasserkhan, governor of Cabul, had assembled a considerable body of Afgans and Indians, and was resolved to dis­pute with the Persian invaders the passage of Peishor, which was also defended by a strong castle. Upon this information, Nader left the artillery with the prince Nasralla, and advanced with great celerity towards Peishor; the next day, after a rapid march, he reached the army of Nasser, who were so amazed at the incredible haste of the Persians, that their courage and resolution wholly forsook them: their ranks were broken in an instant, and those only escaped the sword, who had recourse to a precipitate flight. Nasser, and several Indian chiefs, were taken prisoners; and their camp was entirely pillaged: the captives were kept under a close confinement, and the plunder was distributed to the Persian soldiers. After this victory the fortress of Peishor was easily taken, and the King stayed several days in the adjacent plains, in order to refresh his troops, and to wait for the arrival of the prince Nasralla.

In this interval, Nader Shah received a piece of news, which gave him the highest affliction. His brother Zoheireddoula had undertaken to chastise a tribe of Leczies, that warlike and mutinous race of banditti, who inhabited the mountains A.D.1738. Nad. 51. and deserts, and lived in a perpetual defiance of any superiour power. He was at first extremely successful, and, having gained some signal advantages over the Leczies, and set fire to their tents, began to entertain hopes of extirpating the whole tribe: but those bold free­booters, who had been taught, by a long course of rapine, to practise every art of deceit, had recourse to a stratagem, which proved the ruin of the Persian troops, and occasioned the death of their commander. They appeared in order of battle, at some distance from the Persians, and, having enticed them to advance very far in the forest, they pretended to fly with every appearance of dismay and confusion; but, instead of flying onward, they returned on each side through narrow passes of the mountains, whence they poured down upon the Persians, who were eager in their pursuit. In this encounter, Zoheireddoula was killed by a musket-shot, and his troops were entirely defeated. There was nothing more remarkable in the life of this prince, than the continual series of misfortunes in which it was involved. He seems to have had no share of that enterprising genius, which so highly distinguished his brother, and to have been guided by a star directly opposite to that, which attended Nader in his most daring attempts. He was rash and inconsiderate in his projects, but wanted neither vigour nor intrepidity in the execution of them.

Nader Shah had no time at present for fruit­less grief, and, having appointed a governor of Azarbigian in the place of his brother, and sent troops to avenge his death, he led his army towards the province of Lahor, and conducted them A.D.1738. Nad. 51. safely over the five branches of the river Indus, which at that season were swoln with the rains, and flowed with the most rapid cur­rent. A numerous army was assembled on the opposite banks, under the command of Zekaria, governor of Lahor: but whether they were alarmed at the swift progress and formidable appearance of the Persians, or confounded at their surprising passage over the Indus, they retreated with a mixture of terrour and astonishment. As Nader Shah continued to advance towards the city of Lahor, Zekaria sent an officer of rank, with a considerable present, to implore his clemency, and to promise the strictest submission. This messenger had a favourable reception, and Zekaria, having received many marks of distinction, was confirmed in his government of Lahor. At the same time Nasser was admitted into favour, and returned, by the permission of his conqueror, to the capital of his province.

In A.D.1739. Nad. 52. the mean while, the Great Mogul was pre­paring to obstruct the progress of these victo­rious invaders; he had marched twenty-five leagues from the metropolis of his empire, and lay encamped on the plain of Karnal, with an army of thirty thousand Indians, and two thou­sand armed elephants: the rest of his very numerous forces were making all possible haste to join him, and were commanded by the most illustrious princes of India. It was not long before Nader’s emissaries gave him a full account of Mohammed’s situation; upon which he left Lahor, and arrived at Serhind on the eighth of January, whence he despatched six thousand Persians to examine the Indian camp, while he marched A.D.1739. Nad. 52. towards it with the rest of his army. On the tenth he reached Ambala, about thirty miles from Karnal; and, in the same night, the detachment fell upon the Mogul’s camp, and, having slain or taken prisoners a great number of the guards, retreated to Azimabad, where they were joined on the fourteenth by the royal forces. Nader was informed by the Indian prisoners, that the plain of Karnal was defended on the eastern and western sides by a broad river, and a very thick forest, that the intrench­ments of Mohammed were guarded by three hundred pieces of artillery, and that he was waiting for the vast armies of the Vizir, his commander in chief, and his other ministers. The next morn­ing the Persians continued their march, and pitehed their tents six miles from the Mogul’s camp; towards which Nader made an excur­sion, and returned after an exact survey of it. He then advanced to the east of Karnal, and, arriving at a large plain about a league from the Indians, he encamped in a very advantageous situation. In the evening he had intelligence, that Saádet, an Indian prince of very high rank, was hastening to join Mohammed with thirty thousand men. It was too late to inter­cept this reinforcement, which reached Karnal at midnight: but a troop of Persians, who had been sent for that purpose, attacked the rear of the Indians, and plundered the baggage of Saa­det. This loss exasperated that imprudent General to the highest degree, and drove him to the fatal resolution of advancing the next day against Nader Shah, without considering the disadvantage of acting offensively against an invading enemy, who might otherwise have been reduoed to great extremities in a country so A.D.1739. Nad. 52. little known to him, or compelled to fight upon very unequal terms: but Mohammed and the Indian princes, who had been softened by a life of luxury and indolence, deceived by the vast number of their forces, and wholly void of experience in military affairs, deter­mined to venture on a battle, and hastened to the support of Saadet, with a vain confidence of victory. They were soon joined by Khan­douran, commander in chief, Nezamelmolc, prince of Decan, Kamreddin, the Grand Vizir, and many other able generals, at the head of very numerous armies, divided into three bodies, which extended to an amazing length on the field of battle. Nader Shah was so far from being disheartened at the sight of this formidable armament, that he is said to have been animated beyond his usual degree of courage: he knew, that an army of soft and enervated Indians were little able to oppose the hardy troops, whom he had trained to arms by the most excellent discipline, and allured to engage with more ardour than ever, by the hopes of sharing the spoils of so rich a kingdom; he perceived the folly of his adversaries, in bringing to the field such enormous pieces of ordnance, which they were unable to conduct with skill, and in depending upon the number of their elephants, which could not fail to distress and impede them in a general action.

These considerations gave him such an assurance of success, that he ordered Nasralla to stay behind with the greatest part of the artil­lery, and rushed with a wild impetuosity upon the Indians. The shock was equally violent on both sides, but the two armies were con­ducted with A.D.1739. Nad. 52. a very different spirit; for while the Persians were able, with very little impediment, to seize every advantage that presented itself, their enemies were quickly thrown into confu­sion, and would have made but a short resistance, if so unwieldy a body could even have retreated with speed. After a scene of havock and disorder for five hours, the prince Saádet, who had been the first to take the field, was the first to leave it; and his troops by their sudden flight imparted a general terrour to Mohammed, and his ministers, who retired in haste to their camp at Karnal, and depended for their safety on the strength of their intrenchments. The rout of the Indian army soon became universal; the two nephews of Saádet, who were mounted upon the same elephant, were taken prisoners; Khandou­ran received a wound, of which he died the next day; and ten princes of eminent rank, with an hundred nobles and officers of distinction, and thirty thousand of their soldiers were slain in the action: a great number of Indians were made captives, and all their elephants, horses, and instruments of war fell into the hands of the conquerors.

After this victory, Nader Shah advanced to the camp of Mohammed, which he found so strongly fortified, that he could not attack it with advantage, but thought it more prudent to enclose it on all sides, and to distress the Indians, who were almost destitute of pro­visions, by a continual blockade: on the third day after this, the ministers of Mohammed, finding it impossible either to exist in that confinement or to escape from it, prevailed with him to pre­serve his life at the expence of his kingdom, and, by A.D.1739. Nad. 52. resigning his diadem, to calm the resentment of the conqueror. The great Mogul perceived the necessity of this expedient, and left his intrenchments, attended only by the prince of Decan, the grand vizir, and his other nobles. When Nader Shah was informed of his approach in this submissive manner, he sent the prince Nasralla to meet him, and himself received him at the door of his tent, where he took him by the hand with great mildnass, and placed him by his side on the throne. Mohammed resigned his crown in form, and was treated, on that day and the next, as a guest in the Persian camp, where he received every demonstration of respect. On the first of February, Nader Shah advanced towards Dehli; and on the seventh, he encamped in the gardens of Shalehmah; where Mohammed obtained leave to enter the city, in order to pre­pare his palace for the reception of his van­quisher. Nader followed him on the ninth; and was conducted to a magnificent edifice, built by the Mogul Shahgehan, which, upon this occa­sion, was decorated with every ornament, that the treasury of Mohammed could supply. That unfortunate monarch, finding himself reduced to the condition of a private nobleman, pre­pared to attend his conqueror with the lowest marks of submission: but Nader Shah soon raised him from the state of dejection into which he was sunk, by declaring that he would reinstate him on the throne of his ancestors, and that he would repair the late breach in their friendship, by maintaining a perpetual alliance with the Indian empire, and by giving him a sure support upon every exigence: but that he would stay some time at Dehli, to refresh his army after their long expedition. The Mogul was so pene­trated with A.D.1739. Nad. 52. this unexpected act of generosity, that he expressed his gratitude in the strongest manner, and having stripped his treasury of the most valuable jewels and curiosities that were reposited in it, he brought them as a present to Nader Shah. These treasures consisted of rich vases adorned with gems, vast heaps of gold and silver in coin and ingots, with a great variety of sumptuous furniture, thrones, and diadems: among the rest was the famous throne in the form of a peacock, in which the pearls and pre­cious stones were disposed in such a manner as to imitate the colours of that beautiful bird, and which was said to be worth two millions and a half sterling. The princes and ministers of the Indian court followed the example of their king, and vied with each other in making presents to Nader Shah, who received in this manner about nine million three hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds, exclusive of the jewels, gold, and valuable pieces of furniture, which must have amounted to more than double that sum.

On the thirteenth of March, when all affairs seemed to be calm and peaceful, a very unfor­tunate event had almost caused a fatal reverse in the fortunes of Nader, and compelled him to preserve the fruits of his victory, by an action no less horrid than necessary. Two Indian noblemen of considerable rank raised a violent sedition in the night, and inflamed the multitude to such a degree, that they rushed with a mad rage upon the Persians, who were quar­tered in the city, and, having slain a great num­ber of them, ran to the stable of the royal ele­phants, and put their keeper to death. When Nader Shah was apprised of this tumult, he ordered his A.D.1739. Nad. 52. officers to act wholly upon the defen­sive during the remainder of the night; and in the morning, finding the riot rather increased than abated, and sensible of his own danger, if the Indian army should revolt and join the rioters, he gave orders for a general massacre in that part of the city, where the sedition first broke out. Upon these orders the enraged Persians destroyed all they met, and demolished every building by which they passed: this dreadful carnage lasted several hours, and when the richest edifices in Dehli were levelled with the ground, and near thirty thousand of the inhabitants slain, the Great Mogul and his ministers interceded with Nader for the pardon of the other citizens; they entreated him to moderate his resentment, which they allowed to be just, and to be satisfied with the punishment he had inflicted upon the guilty, without shedding the blood of the innocent. Nader Shah complied with their request, and gave immediate orders for a cessation of the massacre; but he was determined to chastise the authors of the sedition, who had fled with about four hundred of their associates to a fortress not far from the city. Two Indian ministers were charged with the odious office of putting their countrymen to death: these unfortunate men, whose precipi­tate rashness had brought such a number of their fellow-citizens to destruction, were taken after a short resistance, and suffered the punish­ment which their folly deserved, though their good design, perhaps, might give them a claim to better success.

After a scene of such terrour and consternation, it will justly seem surprising that there should be A.D.1739. Nad. 52. any room in the breasts of the Indians for mirth and entertainment, yet such was their infatuation, that, in about ten days after the massacre, the nup­tials of Prince Nasralla with a daughter of the Mogul were celebrated with all the marks of joy and festivity. Mohammed presented his son-in-law with a rich vest almost covered with pearls and diamonds, with six elephants, and as many beautiful horses with saddles and trappings of gold, enriched with precious stones: and a whole week was spent in banquets, shows, pageants, and diversions of every kind, among which were the battles of wild beasts, which are trained by the Indians for that purpose. Nader Shah in the mean time gave an ample recompense to his army for their faithful services; and, besides the valuable presents which he distributed among his officers, he assigned a largess of above twelve pounds to every private soldier*: and, that his subjects in general might enjoy the fruits of his conquest, he ordered it to be proclaimed through all the provinces of Persia, that they should pay no kind of tax for the space of three years. As he was now preparing to leave India, he con­vened an assembly of all the princes and ministers of the Mogul’s court, and with his own hand replaced the imperial diadem on the head of Mohammed, and helped him to ascend the throne, which he had received from his progenitors: after this he harangued the Indian Ministers, and gave them the most salutary advice for the welfare of A.D.1739. Nad. 52. their country, enjoining them to obey in every respect the commands of their present sovereign. Mohammed expressed a most grateful sense of these favours, and entreated Nader to accept of all the provinces situated on the other side of the river Atok, together with those of Sind and Tata, and their dependencies. The King of Persia was glad to annex these provinces to his empire, as they were advantageously situated, and as some of them had been formerly con­sidered as part of Khorasan: he therefore readily accepted the present; and the Mogul made a cession in form of the territories just mentioned. On the twenty-fifth of May Nader Shah led his army from Dehli, and repassed the Indus; but a bridge, which he had built over that river, was broken down by the rapidity of the current before half his troops had passed; and the rest were obliged to cross it in boats: this accident detained them in that sultry climate till the middle of summer, and was the cause of their suffering incredible pain in their marches, from the very intense and oppressive heat. At this time Nader Shah formed a plan of renewing hostilities against the kings of Bokhara, and Kharezm, whom his son Rizakuli had defeated during the siege of Candahar, but whose entire reduction he reserved for himself. Agreeably to this design, he sent a number of approved artists to Balkh, with orders to build several barges, and to launch them in the Oxus, that he might at any time transport his men and ammunition into Turkestan, or the Transoxan Tartary.

Abulfeiz, king of Turan, or of Bokhara, as the oriental writers call him, had made several irruptions into Persia in conjunction with Ilbars, sovereign A.D.1739. Nad. 52. prince of Kharezm, and had com­mitted many acts of violence, for which Nader Shah now determined to make reprisals on them, and to chastise their insolence. They had been already defeated by Rizakuli, as it has been related; but, finding Nader Shah engaged in his Indian expedition, Ilbars had the boldness to pass the Oxus a second time, with intent to lay waste the borders of Khorasan. The prince, then regent of Persia, was at Herat, when he received intelli­gence of this incursion; and immediately led his army against the invader. Ilbars retired to a castle near Abiurd, where he imagined himself in perfect security; but while he was preparing to strengthen the place of his retreat, the gover­nor of Abiurd advanced with a body of men to examine the situation of the enemy: a report was instantly spread among the Kharezmians, that the prince Rizakuli was close to the castle with a numerous army; which false alarm threw Ilbars into such a panick, that he decamped in confusion and returned to the seat of his dominion. Nader Shah, in the mean time, was pursuing his march towards Cabul, which he left on the twenty-seventh of November, and advanced towards his new territories in the province of Sind: but he had not neglected to send ambassadors to the courts of Russia and Turky, in order to inform them of his success in India, and to pre­sent the sovereigns of those empires with part of his spoils. This embassy to Russia seems to have been merely ceremonial, unless we suppose it to have a mixture of vanity and ostentation; but he had other views in that to the Sultan, with whom he was far from intending to preserve a lasting amity: and he was willing upon this occasion to A.D.1739. Nad. 52. show him how far the Persian arms could extend.

In Nader Shah’s march through Sind, he met with some obstructions from the chiefs of several castles, who attempted to oppose him, but were all reduced to submission after a short resistance: but the groundless fears, and avarice of Kho­daiar, governor of that province, delayed him longer than the fierceness and valour of the other chiefs. This weak man had been very officious in paying his court to Nader Shah, during his conquests in Persia, and in sending him letters of congratulation upon the success of his arms: but, after the Indian expedition, he was so apprehensive of losing his treasures, and so afraid of falling into the hands of the conqueror, that he payed no regard to his repeated invitations, peremptorily refused to do homage at the throne of the Persian monarch, and fled to a strong hold in the midst of a barren desert, called Amercout, where he concealed his money and jewels in a subter­raneous cavern. When Nader heard of his flight, he resolved to pursue him, and to punish him for A.D.1740. Nad. 53. disobeying his command: accordingly he passed the river Sind over a bridge of boats, and, having marched over a rough desert, which had before been thought impassable, he arrived on the fifteenth of February, before the castle of Khodaiar. As soon as the silly Indian saw the victorious army under his walls, he attempted to make his escape; but was taken by the Per­sian soldiers, and brought with all his family and attendants before Nader Shah; to whom he discovered in what place he had reposited his treasure, hoping by that discovery to save his life, A.D.1740. Nad. 53. which Nader, however, had no thought of taking: but in order to make him sensible of his errour, he kept him in chains several days; at the end of which he gave him his liberty, re­stored him to his possessions, and appointed him governor of Tata and part of Sind, the rest of which province he divided among his faithful commanders.

After having settled the affairs of his new dominion, the king of Persia returned to Nader­abad, the city which he had built during the siege of Candahar, and from which he had been absent two years. He stayed but five days in this city; and advanced towards Herat, which he entered on the twenty-sixth of May: here he was joined by his nephew Alikuli, together with the young princes Imamkuli, and Shahrokh, who were received by the King with every mark of affection: they made at the same time an apology for the absence of the prince Rizakuli, who was detained by some affairs of great importance to the empire, and promised to meet the king his father at Badghis. Shahrokh seemed to be the favourite of the court, and it was remarked, that a prince of the same name, the son of Timur, had fixed the seat of his empire in the city of Herat: upon which the magistrates of that city struck a number of medals with the name and title of the young prince. In this place, Nader chose to make his triumph for the conquest of India, and to show his subjects the riches he had gained by it: as he was highly pleased with the peacock-throne, which he brought from Dehli, he had ordered his jewellers to make another in the same form, and with the same splendour, together with a pavilion, equally rich A.D.1740. Nad. 53. and magnificent. These works were now finished in the highest perfection, and exhibited at one view the finest pearls and, precious stones, that remained from the spoils of Dehli: they were displayed in publick on the fourth of June, which day and several others were spent in pageants, shows, and entertainments. On the tenth, Nader gave a considerable present to each of the princes, and, leaving them in Herat, advanced towards Badghis, where he met Rizakuli at the head of his army. As soon as the prince saw him, he ran to him and kissed his stirrups, expressing at the same time his subjection to his father and to his king: and Nader Shah, having raised him with great ten­derness, applauded in the strongest terms his prudence in the government of Persia, and his valour in the defence of it. After this they advanced to the royal tents, both of them equally ignorant of their unhappy destiny, and very little apprehensive of the dreadful events, which were to succeed to their long course of victory and good fortune. Nader Shah spent several days in reviewing the troops of his son, whom he amply rewarded for their services, and, having presented the prince with a diadem and bracelet set with gems of considerable value, led his forces towards the city of Balkh, where he had ordered preparations to be made for his expedition into Tartary.