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many parts of his character formed a pattern for sovereigns in milder governments. But since the usurpations in the empire, the invasion of Nadir Shah, and the conquests of the Mahrattas, few traces of his excellent regulations exist ; we can only lament over their ruins.
I shall not attempt a detail of the cruel oppressions and inean advantages of the Mahratta pundits and governors, now dispersed throughout Guzerat, and occupying these magnificent remains of Mogul splendour. Their severe exactions have already rendered the district of Ahmedabad, once so flourishing and delightful, almost a desert ; and thousands of industrious subjects are annually leaving it, to seek protection under milder governments.
Departure from Ahmedabad-Mosques and Tombs at Peerana
Dolcah-Cusbattees-Correspondence with Mirza Zummaun, Vizier of Cambay-Slavery in India-Nabob's Entertainment at Dil Gusha-Professed Story-tellers at Cambay-Illustrations of Scripture by Modern Customs in India-Intelligent Brahmins-Departure from Cambay.
· We left Ahmedabad at day-break, on the 8th of May; some refreshing showers had fallen the preceding evening, which laid the dust, and arrayed every object with a lovely verdure. · This may appear a trifling circumstance in Europe, but it affords an unspeakable pleasure to a traveller in the torrid zone, and at this season of the year is very un. usual.
The costly mosques and mausoleums at Peerana, a sacred spot, seven miles from Ahmedabad, detained us a considerable time. These tombs are of white marble, adorned with ostriches' eggs, rows of false pearl, and wreaths of flowers. The walls, pillars, and domes of the mouldering edifices which contain them, are inlaid with small looking-glasses, agates, and cornelians, more gaudy than elegant, and very inferior to the shrines at Bettwah ; although these, from having been erected to the memory of Mahomedan saints, are held in higher veneration. The tracery of the
windows is extremely neat, and filled with stained glass from Europe, in the manner of our cathedrals.
From Peerana we rode five miles through a pleasant country to the banks
of the Sabermatty, forded its shallow stream, and continued our journey to Dolcah, a large town eighteen miles from Ahmedabad, where the offer of a summer-palace, surrounded by a charming garden, fountains, and groves of fruit-trees, tempted us to remain till the next morning
Dolcah, a cusbah or town, inhabited by landholders on military tenure, is four miles in circuit, not fortified, but surrounded by a mud wall; the gates are strong, and the town furnishes twenty thousand Cusbattees, who form a sort of equestrian inilitia ; many of them are warlike, of good family, and men of property. Dolcah is celebrated for several spacious tanks lined with stone: one of them is adorned with an island and bridge like that at Kokarea. Near these lakes are several ruined palaces, mosques, and tombs, once splendid and beautiful. The surrounding country was cultivated in large enclosures, planted with
mango, tamarind, and kirney trees. In times of tranquillity, the Dolcah purgunna yields a revenue of eight lacs of rupees, but the Coolies and Cotties already mentioned were then so very troublesome, that cultivation only flourished near the towns; the distant plains were assunzing the appearance of a forest overrun with a variety of game. The inhabitants of Dolcah assured us that their farmers and ploughmen were attended by warriors to keep off the banditti; and near every village we found centinels
stationed on the highest trees to give notice of their approach. As soon as a watchman discovers a troop of Cotties he blows a horn, or makes a loud cry, which is perfectly understood both by the peasants and cattle ; this is repeated by other centinels, and in a few minutes the whole country is alarmed; swains, flocks, and herds hastily retreat to the villages, always surrounded by mud walls or strong milk-bush hedges, and sometimes both. They are occasionally surprised, and these marauders have been known to drive off two or three thousand cattle at a time. The vilJagers, armed with bows and arrows, attack the Cotties when their numbers are not too formidable; but the latter being always on horseback have greatly the advantage. On account of these predatory incursions, our little escort of cavalry and Arabs, with the necessary attendants, generally occasioned an alarm as we travelled through the country.'
Early the next morning we left Dolcah, recrossed the Sabermatty at Angolah, and reached the village of Bursora, fifteen miles from Dolcah, before the heat of the day. Here we pitched our tents, and remained during the sultry hours. In the evening a ride of twelve miles, over an open cultivated plain, brought us to the gates of Cambay; the distance from thence to Ahmedabad, either by Keirah as we went, or by Dolcah our returning route, distinguished as the upper or lower road, is only fifty miles.
After leaving Cambay I had occasion to correspond with our kind host the vizier Mirza Zummaun, when in disgrace, and barbarously treated by the nabob his ungrateful master; his letters were interesting and pathetic: I insert one as a specimen. It was in
answer to a letter of mingled condolence and congratulation which I had written to him at the Frenchgardens in Surat, whither he had escaped from the nabob's tyranny, under the protection of Sir Charles Malet, then the English resident at the nabob's court, who made the most generous exertions in behalf of the unfortunate Persian, at the moment when the mute and bow-string, or some species of murder equally private and expeditious, awaited him in the nabob's durbar. With the letter I had sent him a drawing which he had requested, of the Temple of Fountains, at Dilgusha, which is the picture to which he alludes in the following letter. Translation of a Persian Letter from Mirza
Zummaun, late Vizier at Cambay, to James Forbes, Esq. dated from the French Gardens at Surat, 17th March, 1782.
[After the usual oriental compliments.)
“You keep an eye of pity and favour on your friend Mirza Zummaun; for this may
Alla protect you,
with health, and shower down upon you the dewdrops of felicity. May all my wishes for your happiness in this life be fulfilled, until you arrive at the celestial paradise !
“ Your kind letter reached me in good time, and afforded a gleam of pleasure to my sorrowful heart. I rejoice at your health, and most sincerely thank you for condoling with me in my misfortunes ; it convinces me that there are still men in the world who do not forget a friend in adversity. I cannot tell you what I have suffered from the nabob of Cambay, who