To MUNZOOR ALI KHÂN;* same Date. (23d June.)

HAVING heard, from Râo Bâl Mukn Doss, of the many excellencies and virtues which distinguish your character, the information has been productive of the greatest satisfaction to me. A bag,* containing an Urz-dâsht,* addressed to the resplendent Presence, and accompained by a Nuzr* of a hundred and twenty-one gold Mohrs, is herewith dis­patched; and I trust to your friendship and kindness, for presenting the same to his Majesty`s blessed notice.

Many Mussulmans are in the habit of carrying about their persons (in pockets and the like) for their convenience [or to answer occasional calls] gold Mohrs and Rupees. But, inasmuch as the gold and silver coins, stamped with the names of the rulers of the age, contravene the pre­scriptions of our liturgy, I have, on this account, devised and coined, and caused to be circulated, a new and superior kind of gold Mohr; in which the names of God, of the Holy Prophet, and of the august Prince of Sanctity and of Sages,* are introduced. Of this new coinage is my Nuzr to his Majesty composed; and I have likewise sent, in token of friendship, twenty-five of the same sort of gold Mohrs for your acceptance.

Considering me to be always anxious to hear of your welfare, you must occasionally make me happy by your friendly letters. Other particulars will be made known to you, by the letter addressed to you by Bâl Mukn Doss. For the rest, may content and gladness attend you.


Though the various pseudo-sovereigns, who sprung up on the dissolution or dis­memberment of the Mogul Empire, in different parts of Hindostan, soon threw off the authority of the Court of Dehli in all material points, they, nevertheless, continued to observe towards it some of the external forms of homage and dependence; such as styling themselves, in their addresses to the reigning repre­sentative of the house of Timur, “his faithful slave” or “devoted subject;” presenting him on certain festivals, and on other occasions, with the Nuzrs appropriate to royalty, and soliciting or accepting titles of honour from him. But the chief symbol, or vestige, of the nominal power, thus conceded to him, con­sisted in the general practice which had obtained among these upstart rulers, of continuing to stamp the current coins of their respective territories with the usual legend of the imperial coinage; by which means the Emperor, for the time being, became every where ostensibly recognized as the legitimate sovereign; and his name, at least, rescued from oblivion, and even rendered familiar to the people in general. Of this empty honour, Tippoo Sultan was, I believe, the first, and, indeed, the only one* of these self-created princes, who thought fit to divest him. Not content, however, with putting this affront upon the aged monarch, he had the temerity to aggravate it in the highest degree, by sending the latter a Nuzr, consisting of a coin, from the inscription on which the name and titles of Shâh Allum were entirely excluded. The argument, by which he attempted to justify this innovation, was sufficiently curious and frivolous, but was little calculated to reconcile, even a Mahommedan court to it: accordingly, as will hereafter be seen, it was not submitted to in silence.

Never having seen a gold Mohr, of the specific coinage employed by the Sultan on this occasion, I am, of course, not enabled to say to what degree he adhered, in the legend impressed upon it, to the sanctimonious principle by which he professed to regulate it. The gold Mohr, of which a representation is given by Captain Moor, in his Narrative of Little`s Campaign,* happens to be of the year Zubrjud,* or six years posterior to the date of the two preceding letters; and in this interval, the Sultan, no doubt, might have made some alteration in the inscription.

There is, however, in the publication just referred to, the figure of a double Rupee, struck in the same year (namely Jullo) in which Tippoo dispatched his Nuzr to Dehli; and it is probable that the inscription on the gold Mohrs, of which the latter consisted, differed little, or perhaps nothing, from that which appears on the Rupee of the same year. Assuming this for the fact, let us examine how far the inscription in question corresponds with the description given of it by the Sultan, in the foregoing letter.

On one side is the following legend, written here in the order in which I sup­pose it intended to be read:

1199 <Arabic>

which may be translated, “the religion, or faith, of Ahmed [i. e. of Mahommed] “is rendered luminous on earth by the victories of Hyder.* Struck at Putn “[i. e. Seringapatam] in the year Jullo* [or] Higera 1199.”

Here Hyder, though ostensibly standing for the Caliph Ali (one of whose names or titles it was) was, in all probability, intended by the Sultan to suggest the idea of his own father; whose name is, by this contrivance, introduced into the legend, without any direct or open deviation from the rule proposed to be followed. In like manner, the word Futah, though apparently conveying no other meaning than its usual and obvious one, viz. victory, may be safely supposed as designed to shadow out either his own original name, or that of his paternal grandfather, viz. Futah Ali Khân. Here, then, in two words, seemingly employed for a different purpose, has he ingeniously managed to impress his coin, not only with one of his own names, but also with those of his father and grandfather; and so far, without any verbal breach of the law he had imposed upon himself.

We will now enquire, how he has succeeded in the exergue, or reverse, of the coin under consideration?

The legend is as follows:


That is, “He [i. e. God] is the only Sultan [or Lord] and dispenser of justice. “3d [of the month] Behâry, year Jullo, and third of the reign.”

It is very remarkable, that the first word in this inscription (or <Arabic>) and, conse­quently, that which immediately precedes the word Sultan, is so impressed, as to be susceptible, without any extraordinary licence or exercise of the fancy, of being read Tippoo. For the tail, or lower part of the <Arabic> does not appear in its usual form, but assumes something like the figure of a crescent, and might, therefore, be very easily taken for an ornament, instead of a component part of a character. Omitting, then, the tail (as if it were nothing but a flourish) the rest of the word will be exactly the same as if it were the proper name Tippoo, written without the diacritical points, the omission of which, though certainly unusual in coins, is common enough on other occasions. Supposing this, therefore, to have been the Sultan`s design, the sense would be, “Tippoo, the only Sultan, the just.”

On the whole, then, it may be observed, that with the help of a few equivoques (of which he seems, on many occasions, to have been very fond) he has contrived, while fulfilling his promise of inserting in his coin none but the names of God, of the Prophet, and of Ali, to impress it also, without actually appearing to do so, with the names of at least “two rulers of the age.”

The date on the reverse of the rupee which we have been considering, shows that it was struck on the anniversary of his Jûloos, or enthronement, which took place on the 3d of Behâry of the year Sukh;* corresponding, as nearly as I can calculate, to the 10th of May 1783; and being, therefore, somewhat more than five months subsequent to the death of Hyder.*

It would not be easy to assign any consistent or rational motive for the conduct of the Sultan, with respect to the court of Dehli. If he thought it capable of promoting any of the objects of his ambition, and was, on this account, desirous of cultivating a good understanding with it, it is rather extraordinary, that he should have adopted the measure of rendering such a Nuzr to the Emperor, as a very little reflection might have satisfied him, was but ill calculated to conciliate the favour of that court towards him. If, on the other hand, he neither expected nor desired any thing from it, it is equally strange, that he should have put himself to any trouble or expence, in maintaining an intercouse with it. The mere news of the place (that, too, transmitted to him only at distant intervals) could prove very little interesting, and still less useful to him.