To GHÛLÂM AHMED, KÂZY of NUGR; dated 24th Regular AHMEDY.
(9th May.)

YOUR letter has been received. You have written, that nine Frenchmen, together with their captain, had embraced the faith, and that the said captain humbly hoped to be honored with the command of of a Risâla of* Ahmedies. It is known: and our pleasure is, that ten rupees be given to each of them, and that they be all dispatched, under an escort [a safeguard], to the Presence, where, on their arrival, the aforesaid captain shall receive the honor he solicits. Peremptory orders for the payment of the above stipends, and for furnishing the necessary escort, have been sent to the Kilaadâr of Nugr.


The Ahmedies here mentioned were a military corps, composed of the converts (whether forced or voluntary) to the Mahommedan religion. It was instituted by Tippoo Sultan, with whom it seems to have been a favorite establishment; of the origin of which he himself gives the following curious account in the Memoirs already referred to:

“The Portuguese Nazarenes* established themselves, about three hundred “years ago, in a factory situated near the sea shore, and on the banks of a large “river. This place they obtained of the Râjah of Soondah, under the pretext of “trading [with his subjects]*: and here, availing themselves of the opportunities “which arose in the course of time, they acquired possession of a territory, “yielding a yearly revenue of three or four lacks of rupees, throughout which they “equally prohibited fasts and prayers among the Mussulman inhabitants, and the “worship of idols among the Hindoos; finally expelling from thence all who refused “to embrace their religion, which the Hindoos were required to do within three days, “under pain, if they remained in the country after that time, of being forcibly “converted to it. Some of the people, alarmed at this proceeding, abandoned “their property and homes, and took refuge in other countries: but the greater “part, considering the threatened danger as improbable, and not possessing the “means of removing their effects, preferred remaining; whereupon these infidel “Nazarenes, at the end of the appointed time, obliged them all to embrace their “false religion. Sometime after this, by means of gifts and presents distributed “among the Râjahs and Aumils of that quarter, they were suffered to erect “from eighty to a hundred idol temples,* in the countries of Nugr, Soonda, and “Kûriâl-Bundur;* in each of which they placed a Pâdre or two, whose religion, “in fact, was that of the Guebres;* and by whose means they prevailed, partly “by artifice, and partly by tempting the avarice [of the poorer classes], on vast “numbers of the inhabitants to adopt their faith. [Such was the state of things “here] when, by the divine favor, and through the aid of the Asylum of Prophecy,* “and with the help of the conquering Lion of God,* the port of Kûriâl fell “into our hands; on which occasion the odious proceedings of these accursed “Pâdries becoming fully known to us, and causing our zeal for the faith to boil “over, we instantly directed the Dewân of the Hûzoor Kuchurry* to prepare a “list of all houses occupied by the Christians, taking care not to omit a single “habitation. The officers of the Kuchurry, accordingly, employing the “Mûtusuddies of Soonda, Nugr, Kûriâl, &c. for this purpose, soon prepared “and delivered to us a detailed report on the subject. After this, we caused an “officer and some soldiers to be stationed in every place inhabited by the “Christians; signifying to them, that, at the end of a certain time, they should “receive further orders, which they were then to carry into full effect. These “men and officers being all arrived at their respective posts, the following orders “were transmitted to them, viz. ‘On such a day of the week and month, and “at the hour of morning prayer, let all the Christians, whatever their number “may be, together with their women and children, be made prisoners and “dispatched to our Presence.’ And on the sealed cover, or superscription, of each “of these dispatches, was specified the day of the week and month on which “it was to be opened and read. Accordingly our orders were every where opened “at the same moment; and at the same hour (namely, that of morning prayer) “were the whole of the Christians, male and female, without the exception of a “single individual, to the number of sixty thousand, made prisoners, and “dispatched to our Presence; from whence we caused them, after furnishing “them duly with provisions, to be conveyed, under proper guards, to Se­ringapatam:* to the Taalûkdârs of which place we sent orders, directing that “[the said Christians] should be divided into Risâlas, or corps, of five hundred “men, and a person of reputable and upright character placed, as Risâladâr, “at the head of each. Of these Risâlas, four (together with their women “and children) were directed to be stationed at each of the following places,* “where they were duly fed and clothed, and ultimately admitted to the honor of “Islamism; and the appellation of Ahmedy* was bestowed upon the collective “body.”*

Thus far the Sultan. Of these sixty thousand Christians, fifteen thousand may be supposed to have been capable of bearing arms, which number would form thirty Risâlas. But this corps was not composed exclusively of converts from Christianity. Soon after its establishment, it received a considerable accession of strength in the captives of the Kûrg or Koorg nation; all the males among whom, being compelled to embrace the Mahommedan faith, were afterwards enrolled in the Ahmedy corps, to the number (according to the Sultan’s own account in a subsequent part of this Memoir) of from sixty to seventy thousand men.* The united corps were distributed throughout the garrisons and districts of Mysore; and every where the strictest orders (says the Sultan) were issued, commanding those in authority to treat these new Mahommedans with the greatest ten­derness, and, in short, to consider them “as more precious even than their own souls.”