Page images

amafled, exceeds all belief. It was said that silver was found too cumbersome for the soldiery; gold being in such plenty. The historian observes on this occasion, as well as on the taking of Deogur, that the Princes of the Deccan had been for a great number of ages, amassing this treasure : so that their country had probably continued undiftur bed all that time.

In 1312 Cafoor ravaged the northern part of the Deccan again, and laid Tellingana and the Carnatic under a tribute : but the entire conquest of those countries was not effected until about three centuries afterwards, under the latter Princes of the house of Timur. Alla died in 1326. At this period all Hindoostan propet was comprehended in the Patan empire (so called from the dynasty in possession of the throne) ; and the interior policy is said to be to well regulated, that strangers might travel throughout the empire, in perfect security.

Rebellions breaking out in Tellingana, in 1322, and 1326, it was again subjected : and the whole Carnatic ravaged from sea to fea. But under a succeeding Emperor, Mahomed III. the Princes. of the Deccan assumed courage, and headed by Belaldeo, King of the Carnatic, they drove the Mahomedans entirely out of those countries; nothing remaining to them, save the fortress of Dowlatabad (or Deogur). About the same time (1344) the city of Bijinagur, corruptly called Bisnagar, was founded by the same Belaldeo. Mahomed, who appears to have been a weak. Prince, loft much territory, also, by rebellions in Bengal, Guzerat, and the Panjab: mean while, he was occupied in attempting the conquest of China, but was repulsed on the frontier. It is probable, from circumstances, that he went by way of Affam. This Emperor also planned the absurd scheme of transferring the seat of government, from Delhi to. Dowlatabad : and attempted it twice, but without success.

Ferose III. who succeeded in 1351, appeared more desirous of improving the remains of the empire, after the defection of Bengal

h 2


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

and the Deccan, &c. than of extending it, by arms. Canals, and public works, for the improvement of agriculture, and of the inland navigation, were his favourite objects, during a reign of 37 years. (See the Memoir, page 72.) The Moguls made another irruption in 1357, and the time now approached, when a more serious one was to take place under Timur, or Tamerlane. ' After the death of Ferose, in 1388, rebellion and civil war, during a course of several years, prepared the empire for foreign subjection: and a minority, in the person of Mahmood III. who succeeded in 1393, brought matters to a crisis. During the confusions attendant on the state of a minority, in an empire which could with difficulty be held together, by a veteran despot, the historian remarks an unusual circumstance : two Emperors in arms against each other, residing within the fame capital. In this state of things, Timur, who had already extended his empire over all the western Asia and Tartary, turned his arms towards Hindoostan in 1398. In the preceding year, he had sent his grandson Peer Mahomed, to reduce the Panjab, and Moultan ; and in October, crossed the Indus himself; and joining his grandson near Moultan, his army proceeded in different divisions to Delhi, which submitted, without what may be properly termed, a battle. This inhuman monster, who had credit enough with a poet of the present century, to be brought on the stage, as a hero, possessing great and amiable qualities, obtained in Hindoostan, the title of “ the destroying Prince :” and was truely worthy of it, from the numerous massacres and exterminations executed under his immediate direction. Timur staid in Delhi only 15 days : and then appears to have been on his return to the seat of his empire, when, hearing of a fortress in the Dooab, that had resisted the arms of a former Mogul invader (Turmecherin Khan) he marched towards it and took it. From thence he proceeded to the place where the Ganges issues out of the mountains, and where the Hindoos resort at certain seasons, in vast numbers, to pay their adorations to, and to purify themselves in that


[ocr errors]



sacred stream. His object was the extermination of these inoffenfive people; and he partly succeeded. From this place, turning to the north-west, along the foot of Mount Sewalick, he continued his massacres, though not without opposition, until he arrived on the frontiers of Calhmere. He spent little more than five months between the time of his crossing and recrossing the Indus: and appears to have paid more attention to seasons than Alexander did: as Timur chose the fair season for his expedition, whereas Alexander was in the field in the Panjab, during a whole rainy season (see Memoir page 101). Timur, however, may be said rather to over-run, than to subject, or conquer : for he did not disturb the order of succession in Hindooftan, but left Mahmood on the throne: reserving to himself the possession of the Panjab country only; and this, his successors did not retain long. His views were at this time, directed towards the Turkish empire ; and this made him neglect

which did not promise so plentiful an harvest of glory, as the other. During his life, which ended in 1405, he was prayed for in the mosques of Hindoostan, and the coin was struck in his name : but this might be more the effect of policy in the usurpers of Mahmood's throne, than the act of Timur. It does not appear from Ferishta, any more than from Sherefeddin, that this Prince carried much treasure, out of Hindooftan, with himn. But Nadir Shah's acquisition of the precious metals, at a later period, was great, beyond all ideas of accumulation, in Europe : and is only to be accounted for, by the influx of those metals from America, during that interval.

For the geography of Timur's marches, the reader is referred to the third section of the Memoir ; and to the

map. If Hindoostan was in confusion before this invasion, it may be expected that on Timur's departure, matters became much worse. The death of Mahmood happened in 1413; and with him ended the Patan dynasty, founded by Cuttub in 1205. The throne was then filled by Chizer, a Seid (that is, one of the race of the pro


[ocr errors]

phet Mahomed) whose posterity continued in it, until 1450: when Belloli, an Afghan of the tribe of Lodi, took poffeffion of it, on the abdication of Alla II. under whom all Hindooftan fell into feparate governments; and a potentate, styled King of the East, whose residence was at Jionpour, in the province of Allahabad, became the most formidable, among them : while the King of Delhi, had but the shadow of authority remaining to him. The son of Belloli recovered a considerable part of the empire; and in 1501, made Agra the royal residence. It was during this reign, that the Portuguese first accomplished the passage to India, by the Cape of Good Hope : but as their connexions were entirely with the maritime parts of the Deccan; and a part of it that had ever been independant of Delhi, no notice of this event, is taken by Ferishta. The empire fell again, into utter confusion, under Ibrahim II. in 1516; and this paved the way for the conquest of Hindoostan, by Sultan Baber, a descendant of Tamerlane and of Gengiz Kan; who reigned over a kingdom composed generally of the provinces situated between the Indus and Samarcand. Being dispossessed of the northern parts of his dominions, by the Usbecs, he determined to try his fortune in Hindoostan, whose distracted fituation flattered his hopes of conquest. His refidence at this time was at Cabul, from whence he undertook his first expedition across the Indus, in 1518. After this, he made four others : and in the fifth (A. D. 1525) he defeated the Emperor of Delhi, and thus put an end to the dynasty of Lodi. It is said that Baber crossed the Indus, this last time, with only 10,000 chosen horse; the enemy's Generals, by their revolts, furnishing him with the rest of his army. In this, we have a fresh instance of the small dependance that the Hindoostan Emperors could have, on their Viceroys and Generals. Baber reigned only five years in Hindoostan; during which, his chief employment was the reduction of the eastern

provinces. Nor did he relinquish his Persian provinces, by crossing the Indus. His son, Humaioon, succeeded him in 1530;

but the

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the short reign of Baber, did not allow time enough to compose the distractions that had so long prevailed; or to exterminate the feeds of rebellion : for the intrigues of his brothers, and the open rebellion of Sheer Kan, drove Humaioon, although a Prince of considerable abilities, and great virtues, from his empire, in 1541. His flight towards the Indus, and his sojourn among the Rajpoot Princes of Agimere, furnishes a striking picture of royal distress. During his stay there, his son Acbar was born, whom we may reckon among

the greatest of the Sovereigns of Hindooftan. The provinces on the west of the Indus were held by a brother of Hu maioon. The usurper Sheer, did not long survive his new dignity; being killed at the fiege of Cheitore in 1545: and was buried at Saferam in Bahar, his original estate ; in a magmificent mausoleum, which he had ordered to be constructed, during his life tine : and of which, a drawing has lately been exhibited in this country, by Mr. Hodges. Sheer Kan was of Afghan origin; and held the foubahship of Bahar, when he rebelled : and at his death, his empire extended from the Indus to Bengal. He left his throne to his fon Selim, but so very unsettled was the state of Hindooftan, that no less than five Sovereigns appeared on its throne, in the course of 9 years. In effect, there could not exist in the minds of the people, any idea of regular government, or regular succession : for there had scarcely ever been 12 years together, during the last, or the present century, without furnishing some example of successful rebellion. This induced a strong party in Hindoostan, to invite Humaioon back; and accordingly, in 1554, he returned, and met with but little resistance: but died in consequence of an accident, the following year. He was celebrated for the mildness and benevolence of his nature: and his return, notwithstanding the shortness of his reign, was a public blessing; as it was the means of seating his son Acbar quietly on the throne. When he was driven from his empire, by Sheer, he resided with Shah Tamasp, of Persia,


« PreviousContinue »