« ForrigeFortsett »
vanced the sum. These villages were farmed by Tookajee Holcar to a person named Tormuckjee, and on his death to his son Amujee. After his father's death the present rajah contrived to pay off the mortgage, and the representative of Holcar's family sent an order to Amujee to give up the villages. Amujee, who had now entered into Sindia's service, refused to comply, in which he was supported by Sindia. In consequence Bulwant Sihng attacked them by force, and having already taken two, and defeated a considerable detachment of Sindia's troops, is now going on successfully against the third.
I have abridged as much as possible Dr. Cruso's account of these transactions, and have generally avoided introducing disputes between the native princes of India, seldom interesting to an European reader; I insert this solely with the view of introducing the subject of a letter from Bulwant Sihng, rajah of Ragoghur, to Mhadajee Sindia, which tends to illustrate the high military spirit of the rajepoots, so often mentioned in these volumes. · The letter commenced with the intimation that Bulwant Sihng had heard of Mhadajee Sindia's intention to send a detachment from his army to attack him : he desired no paltry force might be ordered on an occasion, where he should be proud to see him in person: that so, if he proved successful, he might have the honour of repulsing a great man; if the fortune of war should be unfavourable, it might then be said that Bulwant Sihng, the rajepoot, had fought honourably to the last drop of his blood, in defending the liberty of himself and his subjects; but at length, overcome by superior strength, and overpowered by numbers, he
had laid his head at the foot of the elephant of the renowned Sindia.
On the 24th of April we travelled sixteen miles, passing through an open cultivated country; about half way we crossed the river Choper, and entering a valley between two woody hills, followed it& course for some distance. After riding through a thick jungle for three miles, we suddenly came in view of Jercoon, a large fort belonging to Bulwant Sihng, situated on a hill in the midst of a plain, which seemed an entire rock: the towers were of no great strength, and the face we passed bore the marks of a siege. From thence an indifferent road through a hilly country brought us to Maul-poor, the termination of the Ragoghur rajahship. The surrounding country was wild and romantic, the hills abounding with game. Here we saw a number of deer, and four large sabirs, or samboos, one considerably bigger than an ox, with hares, peacocks, and partridge* in incredible numbers. We pursued the game for several hours in this irregular tract, in a heat from ninety to a hundred degrees of Fahrenheit's thermometer, without the least prejudice to our health.
The following day's march of nineteen miles, through a fruitful well-cullivated country, belonging to the peshwa, produced nothing remarkable. On the 26th we travelled eighteen miles to Boora Doongre, generally over a dreary plain, on which we saw only two villages, no river, and a few pools of stagnant water. About five miles from Boora Doongre we passed the ruins of a small village, called Durdeli, where Mhadajee Sindia was encamped, when so completely surprised by colonel Camac, from Colarees, five years before. Colonel Camac's celebrated action, with the successful and gallant enterprize of major Popham at Gwalier, gave the highest credit to the British arms in this part of India; their names are familiar to all the inhabitants, who mention their exploits with mingled terror and admiration.
On this day's march we passed a great number of men, women, and children, on their way to their respective villages in the north, from whence they had been driven by famine, which had prevailed there during the last two years. The fertile and wellwatered province of Malwa had been the resort of numerous emigrants from the neighbouring countries labouring under this dreadful affliction.
The next day we travelled-, seventeen miles to Sasye Seroy,. through an open cultivated plain, where we passed Colarees, a large fortified town, with the remains of tanks, and a bouree, or large well, of very superior architecture. Its situation is rendered extremely beautiful by a rich surrounding grove, which forms a striking feature in the landscape long before we reach it. Sayse Seroy, where we now halted, is a large village, built entirely of stone, not excepting even the roofs of the houses, which are composed of large slabs, some a yard and a half square, laid on in so rude a manner, as to give a miserable unfinished appearance to the whole. It lakes the additional name of Seroy, or Serai, from a royal serai, commonly called a caravansary in Europe. It is one of those buildings erected for the accommodation of travellers, at moderate distances, on all the padshah, or royal roads, during the flourishing stale of the Mogul empire. Here the weary pilgrim, and poor itinerant, as well as the opulent merchant, found an asylum, and was supplied with some necessaries gratis. Most of these buildings are now in a state of dilapidation; those kept in repair by the Mahrattas are chiefly for the purpose of securing forage for the cavalry, as was the case at present. One gate- of the serai leads to a musjid, composed of open arches supporting a dome; near it are the remains of a tank and fountain, with a well of excellent water in good repair.
The town is populous, and contains a number of houses, all constructed with the materials beforementioned. The adjacent country abounds with a kind of rugged flat stone, with which the houses are covered, irregular in thickness, size, and shape, supported by others erected perpendicularly, and the intervening spaces filled up with a light coloured soft stone, without cement, or at best but loosely laid in mud. Notwithstanding these contemptible habitations, the culley, or general grain yard, abounded with all sorts of excellent grain. The town is surrounded by a wall of loose stones, nine feet high, with the usual gates. At a quarter of a mile distance are the ruins of several Hindoo temples; two of them, and a pillar adjoining, extremely well executed: the figures, in the style of those at the Elephanta, apparently by superior artists, are grouped in great variety, but partaking of a common defect in Indian statuary, which totally fails in the delineation of joints or muscle.
To the north of Sayse, which belongs to the Mahratta family of Yaddoo, or Jaddow, runs the river Bhaw Gunga, having plenty of waler; it falls into the Sind. On the 28th of April we passed Seepree, about eight miles from Sasye; this town is the residence of the managers of the Jaddoo family possessions in this country, originally amounting to three lacs of rupees annual revenue, but now greatly reduced. At this place Sir Charles Malel quitted the great Nenvar road, influenced by his former motive of proceeding by the nearest and most unknown routes, for the purpose of improving our Indian geography.
The following day we arrived at Dowlah Gaum, or Ghurr, a fortified village, about four miles beyond the river Ummir, now a dry bed, which we crossed where there was not the smallest stream. The surrounding country not only abounded with stones, but formed in some places an entire plain of stone, encompassed by immense rocks; no tract for sixteen miles together, (which was the extent of this day's journey) can exhibit more wildness, sterility, and want of comfort; we saw only two small villages, and very few inhabitants. On halting at Dowlah Gaum, one of our horse-keepers complained of a pain and swelling in the skin, and soon after found a difficulty in articulation. I very soon attended him, and found his jaw totally locked; ung. Elemi. was plentifully rubbed into his jaw, mixed with opium. He was put into a warm bath as soon as possible, and linct. Thebaic, mixed with a small quantity of water, being forced down, he got better within twenty-four hours, and at length perfectly recovered.
For two days we travelled through those stony regions, but on the first of May we left the steril rocky plain, and gradually ascended a lofty hill: the former contained a few villages, nearly depopulated; partly from the effects of a two year's famine, and still more from an oppressive government. On the side of this hill, we passed a large fortified town, called Dooa, or Deway, where we understood were iron mines, and works for the fabri