of BYÂZY. (27th February.)

YOUR letter has been received. You write, “that the European “[formerly] taken prisoner in the Pâyen-ghaut,* and whose original “allowance of two fanams* a day had been, in consequence of his “misbehaviour, reduced to one, being skilled in the mortar practice,* “you proposed converting him to the faith, and wished for our orders “on the subject.” It is known (or understood).

Admitting the aforesaid to the honor of Islâmism, you will continue to pay him, as before, two fanams a day. Let him also be employed in firing at the flag.* We have ourselves, however, brought the mortar practice to that degree of perfection, that children, of ten and eleven years of age, are taught to hit the point of a spear.

You may, as you propose, engage a sweeper, at the monthly wages of ten or twelve fanams, and employ him in sweeping out the Rung-mahl,* and the public halls of the Dewâny and Ehshâm.*


The European here spoken of was, no doubt, one of those unhappy British soldiers who had the misfortune to fall into the hands of this cruel enemy; and numbers of whom he forcibly detained, in spite of the stipulations of the treaty of Mangalore. It is not quite clear, whether the subject of the present letter was to be compelled to embrace Mahommedanism, or had expressed a readiness to do so. The latter, however, is not so likely as the former; though there is reason to believe, that some few of our wretched countrymen were induced to apostatize, with the view of alleviating the intolerable hardships of their situation.

The reader will be amused by the ostentatious boast made by the Sultan, of the perfection to which he had brought the practice of gunnery: but though there is, probably, some exaggeration in his statement, it cannot be denied, that he had accomplished much in this respect.

The directions, relative to the sweeper, show to what low and minute objects, particularly in matters of economy, the mind of the Sultan was accustomed to stoop. Other instances, of the same kind, will appear in the course of these letters; but a still greater number are omitted.

It may seem rather extraordinary, that a Hindoo (as Râjah Râm Chundur was) should be joined with a Mahommedan, in a commission for converting a Christian to the Mussulman faith: but this proceeding, however strange, will probably be thought much less so, than another of a somewhat similar nature, noticed under Letter CCCXXXIII.