In the year 1180 of the Hejiree, being the twentieth year of Hafiz Rehmut’s government, he gave orders that henceforth no duties should be levied on any article of merchandize throughout his dominions; his sirdars strongly objected to the measure, as depriving him of a large source of revenue, and consequently disabling him from keeping up such an army as the circumstances of the times required, but his object was to gain the affection of his subjects, and no persuasions could induce him to rescind the order. In the same year he caused the mud fortification around the town of Pillibheet to be levelled, and a brick wall to be raised in its stead, which encompassed the new town of Hafizabad, an extent of five koss* in circumference: he also built a strong fort at Jelolabad.

About this period, Shah Alum having taken up his residence at Corah, Hafiz Rehmut visited his majesty. At three koss from the town he was met by Mooneer-ood-dowla, Zoolfikar-ood-dowla, Nudjif Khan and Colonel Barker, and on the following day was introduced to his majesty. Khelats were presented to all the officers in his suite, and after a few days he returned to Pillibheet, where in 1181 he built a splendid mosque at an expense of three lacs of rupees.

The active scenes in which Hafiz had been engaged, had hitherto prevented his attending to the concerns of his own family: he therefore now gladly availed himself of an interval of tranquillity to arrange the nuptials of his elder sons. As the wife of Iradut Khan, he selected the daughter of Abdoolla Khan of Shahjehanpore: and to Mahomed Yar Khan he gave in marriage the daughter of Mahomed Khan Kumâl-Zâee: in the fol­lowing year (1183 Hejiree) Mohubbut Khan married the daughter of Abdool Sitar Khan, and Mahomed Deedar Khan (commonly called Mungul Khan) married the daughter of Mahomed Meer Khan Bâbur.

Ambition was the ruling passion of Nujeeb-ood-dowla, to gratify which he had consented to join Shooja-ood-dowla in his attack on Furrukhabad, as above related; and although since that time he had been too much engaged to revive his projects of conquest, and in too much personal danger to venture to express how much the interference of Hafiz Rehmut, on that occasion, had irritated him: yet no sooner was he relieved from his difficulties, than he planned new schemes for his own aggrandisement; and forgetful of the numberless obli­gations which he owed to Hafiz Rehmut, dared even to plot his ruin. An army of Mahrattas under Mahajee Scindia, Tookoojee Holkar, and Ramchunder Guneish, were invited from the Dukhun, and arrived at Delhi, where Nujeeb-ood-dowla met them, and informed the chiefs of his intention to wrest Furrukhabad from Ahmed Khan Bungish, and afterwards to invade Kutheir. Early in the year 1184 of the Hejiree, on hearing that Nujeeb-ood-dowla had advanced from Delhi, Hafiz Rehmut marched through Buddawun and Ooshyt to Kadir-choke, at which place he learned that Nujeeb-ood-dowla had been taken ill at Coel, and had retraced his steps, intending to go to his house at Nujeebabad; but that his eldest son Zabita Khan had proceeded to Furrukhabad with the Mahrattas. Nujeeb-ood-dowla’s illness increased, and proved fatal on the day he reached

Hoppur: his remains were conveyed to Nujeebabad, at which place a handsome tomb is erected to his memory.

Hafiz Rehmut sent fifteen thousand horse and foot under the command of his best officers to the aid of Ahmed Khan Bungish; and in a few days he received a letter from Zabita Khan, stating that he was detained against his will in the Mahratta camp, that he was by no means disposed to join in the attack on Ahmed Khan, and that whatever his father’s intentions might have been, he would not on any account oppose his brethren, the Afghans: he therefore intreated that Hafiz would devise some scheme for liberating him from the Mah­rattas.

The bearer of this letter had left the Mahratta camp at Patialee about twenty-four koss above Furrukhabad; Hafiz therefore marched by Saiswan to Futtehgurh, and encamped on the east bank of the Ganges. As Ahmed Khan was at this time blind, Hafiz did not wait for the ceremony of a first visit, but, unattended, hastened to the palace to consult what was most advisable to be done. A bridge of boats was constructed as expedi­tiously as possible, and the remainder of the army, amounting to about twenty thousand horse and foot, crossed the Ganges, and encamped between Futtehgurh and Furrukhabad.

Hafiz Rehmut deputed Khan Mahomed Khan to treat with the Mahrattas for the release of Zabita Khan, and for withdrawing their army from Furrukhabad. This officer was admitted to the tent of Tookoojee Holkar, who having heard his errand, communicated it to Mahajee Scindia and Ramchunder Guneish. These sirdars said that the districts of Etawah and Shékho­abad, though now held in jagheer by the family of Hafiz, had long been in their possession, and that if he would withdraw his claim to them, they would in return release Zabita Khan, withdraw their army, and never join any combination against the Afghans: but would at all times be ready to afford him assistance, when their services were required. Zabita Khan entreated Hafiz to accede to these terms; but the resignation of so valuable a jagheer was no trifling sacrifice, and Khan Mahomed Khan was again sent to obtain better terms.

While this negociation was pending, the whole of Nujeeb-ood-dowla’s army arrived from Ghousgurh and Nujeebabad, and encamped at ten koss from Futtehgurh, when Zabita Khan took advantage of a dark night to escape from the Mahrattas, joined his troops, and returned home.

The Mahrattas now prepared to carry on the war alone, and in several actions defeated the Afghans, who by no means kept up their former character. Hafiz was so much dissatisfied with the conduct of his troops, that he had given orders for their recrossing the Ganges, when the Mahrattas of their own accord broke up their camp and marched to Etawah, nor could the Afghans be prevailed on to pursue them.

Enayit Khan was summoned to Furrukhabad, that he might be consulted as to the expediency of resigning his jagheer, but he was by no means inclined to agree to the proposal, and requested permission to select from the army a body of men on whom he could depend, with whom he engaged to expel the Mahrattas from the country; but his father observed that no confidence could now be placed in the army, and that if Enayit Khan should advance relying on their bravery, he would sacrifice his life for no purpose, as they would undoubt­edly forsake him in the hour of need. Enayit Khan then recommended that the Russaladars should be dis­missed, and others appointed; and that a few of those who had disgraced themselves in action, should be brought to condign punishment; but Hafiz could not be prevailed on to punish men whom he had brought up, and Enayit Khan returned in disgust to Bareilly; Doondee Khan readily agreed to give up his claim to Shékhoabad, and Hafiz Rehmut then sent orders to Sheikh Kubbeer to resign the fort of Etawah to the Mahrattas, after taking from them an engagement signed by each of the sirdars, to the effect proposed by them to Khan Mahomed Khan.

Before the receipt of this order, the Mahrattas had arrived at Etawah, where Sheikh Kubbeer gave them battle, and repulsed several desperate attacks on his fort, when the Mahrattas finding that they had no com­mon antagonist, resorted to negotiation, and sent a vakeel to enquire the cause of Sheikh Kubbeer’s oppo­sition, when he must know that his master had resigned the district to them; to which the Sheikh answered, that he knew but too well the agreement which deprived his master of so valuable a possession, and that he was prepared to have evacuated the fort on receiving from them the signed treaty, had possession been demanded: but that as they preferred attempting to take the fort by storm, he was determined to shew them that some brave men yet remained among the Afghans. He added, that having laid in a store of grain for the use of the garrison, he must be paid its value, which was settled at a lac of rupees; and on receiving this sum with the treaty, he delivered up the fort.

The bravery and address of Sheikh Kubbeer so pleased the Mahrattas, that they wished to engage him in their service, and for this purpose made him many tempting offers, but his fidelity was not to be shaken: they there­fore made him a handsome present and dismissed him. Sheikh Kubbeer joined Hafiz at Furrukhabad, when the whole party returned to Bareilly, after an absence of eight months.

In the beginning of the year 1185 of the Hejiree, Doondee Khan died at Bissowlee; he was the son of Hussun Khan the elder brother of Shah Alum Khan, and consequently first cousin to Hafiz Rehmut, who as well from his near relationship, as from the sincere regard which he had borne to the deceased, caused a magnificent tomb to be erected to his memory. When the forty days of mourning were over, Hafiz divided the territory of Doondee Khan into three portions; one of which he gave to his eldest son Mohib-oolla Khan, one to his second son Futteh-oolla Khan, and the remaining third to be shared equally between the widow of Doondee Khan, and her youngest son Azeem-oolla Khan.

The late Nujeeb-ood-dowla had married a daughter of Doondee Khan’s, by whom he had two sons, Kulloo Khan and Mulloo Khan, who after the death of their father had been confined by their half brother Zabita Khan. On the release of these her grandchildren, the widow of Doondee Khan requested Hafiz to insist; accordingly, when presenting to Zabita Khan the khelat (or honorary dress usually given by the head of the family on the occasion of a death) he demanded the release of these young men, which was granted, and certain lands were set apart for their support: at the same time Hafiz admonished them to pay proper respect to Zabita Khan as their superior, on failure of which he could not protect them.

Scarcely could it be said that Ahmed Khan Bungish was relieved from his difficulties, when, notwithstanding his old age and loss of sight, new projects of ambition and revenge arose in his mind. The death of Nujeeb-ood-dowla, and the residence of Zabita Khan at Nujeebabad, suggested to him the possibility of placing Shah Alum on the throne of Delhi, with the aid of the Mahrattas; and thereby of securing to himself all that power in the imperial court which had hitherto been Nujeeb-ood-dowla’s. The proposition was eagerly accepted by Shah Alum, and he commenced his march from Allahabad; but ere he reached Furrukhabad, the mortal career of Ahmed Khan had closed.

Shah Alum continued his journey to Delhi, escorted by the Mahrattas,* and invited Hafiz to join him; directing him at the same time to exert his influence in preventing Zabita Khan from interfering with the court of Delhi. Hafiz replied, that severe indisposition deprived him of the honour of attending his Majesty; but that he would make known to Zabita Khan the king’s commands, and should he disregard them, his Majesty might rest assured that no assistance should be given to him by the Afghans of Kutheir.

Fyzoolla Khan (whose sister was married to Zabita Khan) was selected by Hafiz to convey to Zabita Khan the orders of the King: but that young man was little disposed to relinquish a post of honour so long held by his father, and finding that he had nothing to expect from the favour of Shah Alum, he prepared to enforce his claim by the sword. Fyzoolla Khan communicated to Hafiz the ill success of his mission, when Sheikh Kub­beer was dispatched to dissuade Zabita Khan from so rash an enterprise; but before he reached Nujeebabad Zabita Khan with his troops had crossed the Ganges and taken post at Sookurthal. Fyzoolla Khan and Sheikh Kubbeer, with their forces, encamped on the east bank of the Ganges to await the result.

The advance of Zabita Khan with hostile intentions was soon known at Delhi, and Shah Alum with the Mahratta army marched to oppose him. On reaching Sookurthal, they found that Zabita Khan determined to keep within his entrenchments: the Mahrattas therefore left a small body to watch him, while the main body, with the king at their head, crossed the Ganges at a ford near Chandee Ghaut, with the intention of plun­dering the country, and seizing the treasure amassed by Nujeeb-ood-dowla. A little battery commanded by Kurm Khan had been erected near to the ford, and two detachments under Sadik Khan and Saadut Khan opposed the passage of the river; but these were soon dispersed, and the battery was stormed with a trifling loss to the assailants.

When Zabita Khan learned that the Mahrattas had entered his country, he re-crossed the Ganges, and solicited aid and advice from Fyzoolla Khan and Sheikh Kubbeer. The former said that as the Mahrattas had now entered Rohilcund, it was impossible to foresee how far they might penetrate; that he should therefore pro­ceed immediately to Rampore to provide for the safety of his family. Zabita Khan was so distracted by this sudden invasion, that he lost all his presence of mind; and without having attempted the slightest resistance, mounted the elephant with Fyzoolla Khan and accom­panied him to Rampore. The troops thus forsaken by their leader, dispersed to their respective homes; and Sheikh Kubbeer with his own and Fyzoolla Khan’s forces marched to Bareilly. The town of Nujeebabad was given up to plunder, and the Mahrattas invested the fort of Nujifghur, in which the family of Zabita Khan resided. This fort being built of stone, was capable of holding out for a length of time, but Zabita Khan with his usual imprudence had neglected to lay in a store of provisions, and as no supplies could be procured from without, the gates were opened in a few days, and the families of Nujeeb-ood-dowla and Zabita Khan fell into the hands of the Mahrattas, with an immense treasure, the accumulation of a series of years.

These events occurred while Hafiz Rehmut was at Furrukhabad (whither he had gone on the demise of Ahmed Khan Bungish), and the news of them reached him on his return, at Tilhur, and induced him to hasten to Bareilly: but before his arrival, Bukshee Surdar Khan, Futteh Khan Khonsuman, Abdool Sitar Khan, from Ownlah, Mohiboolla Khan and Futteh-oolla Khan from Bissowlee, with their respective families, had fled to Pillibheet. Hafiz having assembled the sirdars, endeavoured to quiet their alarms by the assurance that neither Shah Alum, nor the Mahrattas, had any inten­tion

of molesting him: but they replied, that such an army having once crossed the Ganges, could not be withheld from plundering Kutheir; and that as no stand could be made either at Bareilly or Pillibheet, it was most advisable to send their families to the hills: to which Hafiz reluctantly assented; and the women and children were accordingly conveyed to Nanikmutta. Enayit Khan was left in charge of Pillibheet, and Hafiz proceeded to Gungapore (about four koss from Nanik­mutta), where he was joined by Zabita Khan, then on his route to Shahabad, to solicit the aid of Shooja-ood-dowla, the Nuwab of Oude.

The Nuwab had no confidence in Zabita Khan, and refused to interfere, unless Hafiz Rehmut should apply to him; but as the Mahrattas had advanced to Amroha, Mooradabad, and Sumbul, Hafiz deemed it inexpedient to absent himself, and dispatched Enayit Khan in his stead; still Shooja-ood-dowla declined interfering, and Mr. Harper (who held the office of collector of the péshcush) was deputed to bring Hafiz Rehmut to the conference. Finding that nothing could be done without him, he fortified his camp, and then with an escort of four thousand men, accompanied Mr. Harper to Shahabad. This occurred in the year 1186 of the Hejiree, corresponding with A. D. 1772.

On the arrival of Hafiz Rehmut, vakeels were sent to the King and the Mahratta Sirdars, to solicit the release of the family of Zabita Khan, the restoration of his estates, and to treat for the evacuation of Rohil­kund by the enemy; to whom his Majesty stated that unless in self-defence, he should never have molested Zabita Khan, or taken away his jagheer; that he was now satisfied with the punishment which he had inflicted, and that if the expenses of the campaign, amounting to fifty lacs of rupees, were paid, he would lead back his army to Delhi, and release Zabita Khan’s family. A second deputation was sent, when the Mah­rattas agreed to accept forty lacs of rupees, provided that Shooja-ood-dowla made himself responsible for the payment. The Nuwab declined entering into such an engagement, unless Hafiz gave him a bond for the money, adding, that he would not have acted as mediator, but from regard to Hafiz, whose country was now invaded. The whole of the Afghan sirdars entreated Hafiz to consent, promising to contribute their quotas towards its discharge, on which the deed was executed; and Shooja-ood-dowla having made himself responsible to the Mahrattas, they quitted Kutheir, leaving the family of Zabita Khan at Bareilly.

The Afghan sirdars, with their families, lost no time in leaving the hills, as independent of their sufferings from the want of proper accommodations, not less than eight thousand persons had died from the insalubrity of the climate, during their four months’ stay at Nanik­mutta. When Hafiz Rehmut arrived at Bareilly, he sent from his own treasury five lacs of rupees to Shooja-ood-dowla, in part payment of his bond, but each of the sirdars pleaded poverty in excuse for the non-fulfilment of their engagement.