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PREFACE

TO

THE SECOND EDITION.

THE first appearance of this sbort History was in 1844, and the whole impression having been long since exhausted, the present renewal, with some additions, in a limited number of copies, is chiefly for the supply of private friends and relatives. The principal details were obtained by me from the late Hon. Mountstuart Elphinstone, appointed on his first arrival in India as assistant to my father the judge and magistrate of Benares, and present at the time of the revolt.

There were episodes in the late Indian Mutiny not unlike the events here recorded. Had the first outbreak at Meerut, in 1857, been as speedily quenched, and the mutinous regiments prevented from marching to Delhi, the perils of that crisis might have been greatly diminished.

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Vizier Ali was probably encouraged in his attempt at Benares by the aspect of affairs on the side of Mysore, where Lord Wellesley had been summoned from Calcutta by the war with Tippoo Sultaun, terminated only by the defeat and death of that Prince at Seringapatam in the following May, about four months after the failure of Vizier Ali. Had the latter not been so speedily put down, the spread of revolt at such a period might have taxed the resources of the Indian Government. Lord Wellesley's appreciation of the service rendered at Benares is recorded at page 75, in testimonials from himself.

J. F. D.

VIZIER ALI KHAN

OR

THE MASSACRE OF BENARES.

The kingdom of Oude is the only portion of the great plain of the Ganges that is not immediately subject to the government of British India ; extending from the banks of that great river to the foot of the lower range of Himalaya, and surrounded on three of its sides by the dominions of the Company. Lucnow, the capital, though a large and populous place in early times, became the residence of the court as late as 1775, but soon grew to be one of the wealthiest cities in Hindoostan ;- rivalling those more ancient seats,

Where the gorgeous East, with richest hand,

Shower'd on her kings barbaric pearls and gold.
On the decease of the reigning sovereign,

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Asoph ul Dowlah, in 1797, the rulers of British India were compelled,' said Lord Teignmouth, by an extraordinary concurrence of circumstances, to become the arbiters of the disposal of a kingdom. The claim to succession lay between Vizier Ali, the reputed son of the deceased nawaub, and the lineal descendant of his father Sujah ul Dowlah, by name Saadut Ali. After some deliberation on the respective rights of these two claimants, the decision was made in favour of Vizier Ali, the presumptive eldest son and heir-apparent to the deceased sovereign of Oude. The ground of this decision was his acknowledgment of that youth, now seventeen years of age, as his own son, corroborated by a series of corresponding acts and declarations, and by the sentence of the Mahomedan law, which supported the validity of such a claim.

The reign of the young nawaub was, however, destined to be short. Reports and suspicions, at first so faint that they did not prevent his succession, though they had embarrassed the counsels which confirmed it, gained strength as to the spuriousness of his origin. It was ascertained at length, on indu

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