At this period the vakeels of Mahajee Scindia and Tookoojee Holkar, waited on Hafiz Rehmut with a message from their masters, purporting that it was their intention to attack Shooja-ood-dowla, and proposing that in the event of Hafiz joining the confederacy, half the country which they might wrest from the Nuwab should be given to him; or if he preferred remaining neuter, they would make over to him Shooja-ood-dowla’s bond for the forty lacs of rupees, on condition of his not opposing them while crossing the Ganges, or during their march. They moreover added, that in the event of his rejecting both these propositions, the Mahrattas would lay waste and plunder his country. Hafiz answered, that through life he had made it a rule never to join the infidels in opposing the faithful; that he would not be allured into a deviation from the path of duty by their tempting offers; and that he was ready to stand by the consequences which might ensue from such a decision.

Hafiz Rehmut made known to Shooja-ood-dowla the propositions of the Mahrattas, said that he should with­out delay prepare his army to take the field, advised the Nuwab to lose no time in guarding the Ghauts, and con­cluded by requesting the return of his bond, as the money for the payment of which Shooja-ood-dowla had made himself responsible, had not yet been sent, nor could it be supposed that the Nuwab would now con­sider his engagement binding: as a necessary conse­quence of which, his claim on Hafiz ceased. Shooja-ood-dowla dispatched Syyud Shah Muddun as his vakeel, to express how much he felt indebted to Hafiz for his conduct on the occasion, to communicate to him the arrangements which had been made for the assembly of the army, and to promise the restitution of the bond as soon as the Mahrattas were defeated.

A body of the Mahrattas crossed the Ganges at Ram­ghaut; to oppose whom, Bukshee Ahmed Khan, with a small force, was sent in advance, while Hafiz collected the army at Bissowlee. The Bukshee was attacked at Asudpore by a squadron of the Mahratta horse, but repulsed them, and sent to Bissowlee for reinforce­ments; but before they could reach him, a larger body of Mahrattas attacked, defeated, and took him prisoner.

The sirdars were extremely dilatory in joining the standard of their chief, and as yet only about six thousand men were assembled, with which small force Hafiz proposed to march. His officers remonstrated against so rash an enterprise, and urged his waiting the arrival of further aid, as in the fort of Bissowlee he was perfectly secure. Hafiz indignantly answered, that he had never declined to meet an enemy in the field, and would not in his old age be indebted for security to a fortress, but that such as were afraid to follow him were at liberty to quit the camp; and of this permission not a few availed themselves. About this period Enayit Khan died in the 31st year of his age, and in the year 1187 of the Hejiree.

Hafiz Rehmut, with only two thousand men, marched to Asudpore, but in the evening he was joined by Mohiboolla Khan and Moostukeem Khan, with seven thousand men, and during the night several other sir­dars arrived, so that his force amounted to about twelve thousand horse and foot. Still the officers were unwilling to engage, till a messenger arrived from Shooja-ood-dowla to desire an immediate junction with his army, as he proposed to attack the Mahrattas without delay. The troops were immediately put in motion, and in the general action which ensued the Mahrattas were completely routed. Mahajee Scindia recrossed the Ganges over a bridge of boats, taking with him his prisoner Bukshee Ahmed Khan. Tookoojee Holkar unable to find a ford, fled towards Sumbul and Mooradabad; but being closely pursued by Hafiz, he again made towards the Ganges, and crossed at Buboonta Ghaut. General Champion and Mohiboolla Khan, with a part of the Nuwab’s troops, in the mean time pursued Mahajee Scindia and plundered his camp. A sum of two lacs of rupees was paid for the release of Bukshee Ahmed Khan, and the camp was broken up, when the Mahrattas quitted Delhi on their return to the Dukhun.

On the return of Shooja-ood-dowla to Oude, Hafiz sent Mahomed Khan and Abdoolla Khan to demand the restitution of his bond. The Nuwab denied having made any promise to restore it, or having authorized his vakeel so to do. The agents of Hafiz urged the generosity of their master’s conduct in refusing the tempting offers which had been made to him by the Mahrattas, and produced the Nuwab’s letters, whereby he bound himself to abide by the engagements entered into by his vakeel; they therefore insisted that the vakeel should be called on to declare whether or not he had, on the behalf of the Nuwab, engaged to restore the bond as soon as the Mahrattas were defeated. Shah Muddun was accordingly summoned, and declared that he had made the promise by authority from the Nuwab: this the Nuwab denied; and Shah Muddun, indignant at being charged with falsehood, retorted it on Shooja-ood-dowla. The agents of Hafiz supported the Shah, and expressed freely their opinions of the Nuwab’s duplicity, and the parties separated in anger. Khan Mahomed Khan and Abdoolla Khan returned to Bareilly and reported the ill-success of their mission; but Hafiz did not find it convenient to come to an open rupture with the Nuwab, and was therefore obliged to stifle his resentment.

About this period died Abdool Sitar Khan and Futteh Khan Khansuman; the former was succeeded by his son Abdool Jubar Khan, and the latter by his son Irshidad Ahmed Khan. Hafiz Rehmut remained a short time at Hafizabad, to celebrate the marriages of his sons Zoolfikar Khan and Hoormut Khan.

During the time that the army had been encamped near Asudpore, Shooja-ood-dowla had seduced from their allegiance to Hafiz a considerable number of the sirdars, and as the Nuwab’s intention to make himself master of Kutheir was no secret, several of them kept up a constant correspondence with him after his return to Oude. At the head of these ingrates were Bukshee Ahmed Khan, and the two sons of Doondee Khan, Mohiboolla and Futteh-oolla. To confirm them in their purpose, Shooja-ood-dowla inserted in a copy of the Koran the engagement which he had made with them, to which he affixed his seal, and this document being shewn by the malcontents, many more joined the confederacy. Moostushim Khan (son of Dillér Khan) actually received from the Nuwab an advance of fifty thousand rupees for the purpose of enlisting men for his service. These occurrences did not escape the notice of Hafiz Rehmut, and he caused Moostushim Khan to be apprehended, and brought before him. The criminal confessed his guilt and begged for pardon, which Hafiz granted from respect to the memory of his father: but the wretch, on quitting the presence of Hafiz, fled to Shooja-ood-dowla’s camp.

At this time Shooja-ood-dowla was engaged in an attempt to expel the Mahrattas from the pergunnas of Etawah and Shekhoabad, to which Hafiz objected, stating that these pergunnas had been given to his family by Ahmed Shah Douranee; and although by the chances of war he had been compelled to relinquish them for a time, yet that he had by no means given up his claim to them: that even at this moment he had it in contempla­tion to send a military force for the expulsion of the Mah­ratta Aumil: and that Shooja-ood-dowla’s present con­duct was highly ungenerous, and inconsistent with the friendship which had so long subsisted beeween them. The Nuwab replied, that the pergunnas in question having been conquered by the Mahrattas, the claim of Hafiz, on the plea of a gift from the Shah, had entirely ceased: that he felt himself as much at liberty to invade these pergunnas as any other part of the Mah­ratta territory, and that having been successful, he should not relinquish his conquest. Hafiz again urged the point in stronger terms, when the Nuwab told him that he would consider about the restoration of the pergunnas, and in the mean time desired that Hafiz would discharge the balance of thirty-five lacs of rupees due on his bond; but this was merely to afford him a pretext for invading Kutheir, and for this purpose he began to assemble his army.

As Hafiz Rehmut had during the last few years lost his best officers, and could place little confidence in those who remained, he was conscious of his inability to oppose Shooja-ood-dowla, and therefore offered to pay as much of the forty lacs of rupees as the Nuwab had paid to the Mahrattas; but this proposition was rejected, and with a British force in addition to his own, Shooja-ood-dowla advanced to the Ganges.

Puhar Sing, the deewan of Hafiz, strongly advised his master not to risk a battle, and offered to find funds for the payment of the thirty-five lacs of rupees, if Hafiz would permit him to wait on Colonel Champion, through whose mediation a reasonable period for dis­charging the debt might be fixed; but Hafiz said, that as he had not the money, and as none of the sirdars were willing to contribute towards the payment, he would not borrow, and was prepared to die in defence of his country. Puhar Sing again offered to procure the money from some Muhajins, but Hafiz would not con­sent, observing that as he must die some time, he could not fall in a better cause.

Hafiz Rehmut had assembled his troops at Ownlah, with the intention of opposing the Nuwab as he crossed the Ganges, when his spies brought intelligence that Shooja-ood-dowla had changed his route, and was marching viâ Furrukhabad to Mindee Ghaut, to cross the Ganges in his own dominions, and enter Kutheir from Shahabad. Hafiz immediately moved to Tanda, where he received a letter from Mohiboolla Khan, excusing his non-attendance on the plea of a want of cash. A sum of ninety thousand rupees had been borrowed from Irshidad Ahmed Khan, of which Hafiz desired his treasurer Saadut Khan to send twenty-five thousand to Mohiboolla Khan. The treasurer objected to the gift of so large a sum to a man who only pleaded poverty as a veil to cover his treachery, but Hafiz would not listen to any report unfavourable to Mohib­oolla Khan, and insisted that at least fifteen thousand rupees should be sent.

The army being reinforced by large bodies of the Rajpoot Zemindars, and also by the Pathans from Mow and Furrukhabad, they marched from Tanda to Fureed­pore; and Shooja-ood-dowla advanced from Shahabad to Shahjehanpore, where he was received and enter­tained by Abdoolla Khan, who afforded him great assistance, and enabled his troops to proceed to Tilhur. Hafiz also advanced from Fureedpore to Kuttra, only seven koss from Tilhur; but the mangoe orchards around Kuttra, in which the troops were encamped, were so thick that it was not deemed advisable to attack them in such a position, and Shooja-ood-dowla, at the suggestion of Colonel Champion, gave out that he intended to attack Pillibheet, where the family of Hafiz resided, and he made a movement in that direction. This manœuvre succeeded, and Hafiz ordered his troops to assemble in the plain, preparatory to their march to Pillibheet. The sirdars advised him to entrench himself at Kuttra, and to delay an action, as his army was daily increasing by the arrival of the Rajpoot tribes; but fearful for the safety of his family, he insisted on hastening to Pil­libheet.

On Saturday, the 11th of the month Suffur, in the year 1188 of the Hejiree, corresponding with the 23d of April, A.D. 1774, Shooja-ood-dowla advanced from Tilhur with an army amounting to a lac and fifteen thousand horse and foot. The principal sirdars were Meer Ahmed, who commanded twenty-two thousand infantry and an immense train of artillery; Bussunt Ullee Khan with fourteen thousand men; Muhboob Ullee Khan with nine thousand; The eunuch Lutafut with seven thousand; Syyud Ullee Khan with four thousand, and many others of less note; besides seven thousand men under the command of Colonel Champion. When the spies gave notice of the approach of the enemy, Hafiz Rehmut went to the tent of Fyzoolla Khan, and desired him to fight boldly so long as he (Hafiz) remained alive; but as soon as he should fall, to make his escape to Pillibheet, and take the females of the family to the hills. Having given these instructions he mounted his horse, and with ten thousand men advanced to the front of the army, which was now within the range of the enemy’s guns. The action soon became general: Moostukeem Khan advanced on the left wing, and was joined by Mohiboolla Khan with four hundred men, when they attacked the division com­manded by Colonel Champion. Fyzoolla Khan distin­guished himself and took a village in the rear of the enemy, from whence he opened a destructive fire on them, and Hafiz was seen galloping about in every direction, giving his orders with the most perfect cool­ness. At this time, Bukshee Ahmed Khan, who had already been bribed by Shooja-ood-dowla, pretending that his men would not stand in so hot a fire, quitted his post, and went over to the enemy. The defection of so large a body occasioned a general panic; many took to flight, and several of the chiefs followed the example of the Bukshee. A messenger now arrived from Moostukeem Khan, to say that he should be overpowered unless a reinforcement reached him imme­diately. Hafiz hastened to join him, and on the way his horse was shot under him; another was brought, and at a little distance he met Moostukeem Khan flying before the enemy. Abid Khan now intreated Hafiz to make his escape, as the day could not be recovered, but he refused to listen to this advice, and with the small remnant of his army rushed in amongst the enemy: though wounded in several places, he continued to distribute death around him, till a cannon shot struck him in the breast,[*] and removed him to a better world.

The fall of Hafiz was the signal for a general flight; the men returned to their respective homes, with the exception of a small body who accompanied Fyzoolla Khan and Ahmed Yar Khan to Bareilly. A Suwar, named Sooltan Khan, severed the head of Hafiz from the body, and carried it in triumph to Shooja-ood-dowla, who placed it and the body in a palanquin, covered it with shawls, and sent it to Bareilly. The principal inhabitants of the town went out to meet the body, and after the proper forms had been observed, it was interred. Hafiz Rehmut was sixty-seven years of age, and had governed the province of Kutheir twenty-seven years and some months.