The government of Malwa not formally conceded to Bajee Rao as promised by Nizam Ool Moolk – The Peishwa’s arrangements in Malwa and Bundelcund, previous to attempting the conquest of the Deccan – Motives which deterred and prompted the Peishwa – Rughoojee Bhonslay is induced to undertake an expedition into the Carnatic – The Peishwa attacks Nasir Jung – plans frustrated at the outset – departs for Hindoostan – Chimnajee Appa recalled into the Concan to support Ballajee Bajee Rao – Operations against Sumbhajee Angria – interrupted by intelligence of the death of Bajee Rao – Brief retrospect of the rise and progress of the Mahrattas – State of the Moghul empire and of the powers in India – Imperial court – Nabob of Oude – Rajpoots – Origin of the Jhats – of Aliverdy Khan – of the Rohillas – Slate of the Deccan and Carnatic – Nabobs of Arcot – Kurnoul – Kurpa – and Savanoor – Tanjore – English – French and Portuguese – Raja of Soonda – Dessaye of Carwar – Mysore – Artificial revenue system of the Mahrattas – Remarks on – Character of Bajee Rao – His sons Ballajee Bajee Rao – Rugonath Rao – Jenardin Bawa, and Shumsher Buhadur.
Shortly after the departure of Nadir Shah, Bajee Rao sent a letter to the emperor expressive of his submission and obedience, and a nuzur of one hundred and one gold mohurs, which was acknowledged in suitable terms, and a splendid khillut579 sent in return. He is assured
by the emperor, that the rank, Jagheers, districts, and inheritance, already conferred on him, shall be confirmed, and that he may depend on finding his interests best promoted by continuing steadfast in his duty to the imperial government580.
Although no new Soobehdar, nor any deputy of Nizam Ool Moolk, was appointed to Malwa, yet no Sunnud was sent conferring the government on Bajee Rao. This omission the Peishwa considered a breach of faith on the part of Nizam Ool Moolk; but the Nizam’s army being still in Hindoostan, and some of Bajee Rao’s best officers and troops advancing from the Concan, he deferred enforcing his claims until a fitter opportunity. In the meantime he was busied in arranging the affairs of the province of Malwa, and strengthening his connection with the Rajpoot princes in the western quarter, along the banks of the Chumbul from Kotah to Allahabad, but especially with Juggut Deo and his brother Hurdesa, Rajas of Bundelcund. With these two princes he entered into a very particular and secret alliance, for the purpose of mutual protection and support against the Mahomedans. The contracting parties became bound by the most solemn oaths. The Rajas of Bundelcund agreed to accompany Bajee Rao in all his incursions across the Jumna and Chumbul,
and with the exception of the territory of Budawur581, to share in all prize and conquest in a proportion corresponding to the numerical strength of their respective forces; they promised, “in case of Bajee Rao’s being engaged in a war in the Deccan, to defend Bundelcund for at least two month% and if at the end of that time, the Mahrattas should not be advancing to their assistance, they will make the best terms they can as a means of temporary safety; but break them the moment they are joined by their Hindoo allies.” Bajee Rao’s share of the territories of the former Raja Chittoor Sal, exclusive of Jhansee, was now fixed at five lacks of rupees582.
These arrangements, to secure the northern frontier, were preparatory to a war with Nizam Ool Moolk, or an expedition into the Carnatic. The late success against Nizam Ool Moolk, his departure from the terms of agreement, his great age, the probability of contentions among his sons, encouraged or stimulated the Peishwa to attempt the subjugation of the Deccan; but the deficiency of his resources for so great a design, was the chief obstacle which deterred him from this undertaking. On the other hand, the prospect of contributions and plunder, by which he might liquidate his debts, and perhaps some secret encouragement from Arcot583, were strong allurements for venturing
into the Carnatic. But Bajee Rao was critically situated, and circumstances impelled him to choose the Deccan as the theatre of his operations. The party of Dhabaray, or rather of Dummajee Gaekwar, the agent of Ooma Bye (as her son Yeswunt Rao, even when he grew up, was incompetent to his situation), possessed very considerable resources, and, from causes already detailed, was always inimical to the Peishwa.
Rughoojee Bhonslay was jealous of the Bramin ascendancy, he meditated a revolution by getting the Raja into his own power; and as Shao had no prospect of an heir, Rughoojee may have contemplated the possession of the Mahratta supremacy by being adopted as his son. Futih Sing Bhonslay, the only Mahratta likely to supersede him in the Raja’s choice, possessed neither ability nor enterprise, and had failed to create power by acquiring popularity among the soldiery. Rughoojee had many difficulties to overcome in prosecuting a scheme of the kind. Although a party existed inimical to the Peishwa, Bajee Rao’s friends and dependants surrounded the Raja, and possessed his ear, if not his entire confidence; nor could Rughoojee Bhonslay nor Dummajee Gaekwar concert a plan or transact the slightest business without Bramin agency; should Bajee Rao, however, quit the position which he occupied between the territories of those two, there would be no obstacle to their uniting against him.
The subsisting difference between Rughoojee and Bajee Rao, arose from Rughoojee’s having plundered the province of Allahabad, and not having joined when he was ordered, according to the terms on which he held his lands and title. The Peishwa affirmed that he had no authority for levying contributions north of the Nerbuddah, and declared his determination, at the time of his marching from Poona, in the end of 1738, to enforce restitution; not to the owners, but to the Mahratta state, and to punish the aggression. A temporary compromise took place on the arrival of the Persians at Delhi; but the dispute was unsettled, and nothing but a sense of injury to their mutual interests prevented an open war584.
This state of affairs laid the foundation of schemes which had a great effect in extending the spreading but unstable power of the Mahrattas. Unfortunately there are few direct proofs to illustrate this part of their history. It is, however, certain that Bajee Rao and Rughoojee had a meeting, and that they were reconciled.
From all that has been stated, as well as from subsequent events, there is reason to suppose, that Bajee Rao unfolded as much of his schemes to Rughoojee as were necessary to engage his co-operation; and the plunder of the Carnatic, an eventual addition to his own territories in the Deccan, and a future partition of Bengal and Hindoostan, may have been urged by the Peishwa to excite his ambition and cupidity. In this conference may also
be seen, the real spring from which a host of Mahrattas were poured into the Carnatic585.
In prosecution of his plans of conquest in the Deccan, Bajee Rao, seizing the opportunity afforded by the absence of Nizam Ool Moolk at Delhi, commenced his operations about the end of the year, by surrounding Nasir Jing, the second son of the Nizam, who was encamped in the neighbourhood of Aurungabad with ten thousand men, but a very large body of horse and foot, with a numerous artillery advanced to his relief, and having effected a junction, Nasir Jung, thus reinforced, attacked
Bajee Rao, crossed the Godavery, in defiance of the Mahratta army, and moved in the direction of Ahmednugur, plundering the villages in his route586.
The Peishwa, being joined by Chimnajee Appa, with a body of fresh troops, principally Concan infantry, repeatedly attacked the Moghuls, and Nasir Jung was at length compelled to retire towards the Godavery; but after several months, the Mahrattas, tired of the unprofitable war, gladly entered on terms of accommodation, and a treaty was concluded at Moongy Pyetun, by which both parties pledged themselves to maintain peace, and mutually to refrain from plundering in the Deccan587. Hindia and Kirkoun, districts on the banks of the Nerbuddah, were conferred on Bajee Rao in Jagheer588, and the
Peishwa, without visiting Poona or Satara, in great vexation, amounting almost to despair589, set off with his army towards Hindoostan. Chimnajee Appa was called to support Ballajee Bajee Rao, the Peishwa’s son, engaged in hostilities in the Concan.
Sumbhajee Angria, still intent on recovering Kolabah from his half-brother, Mannajee, taking advantage of the absence of so large a body of troops, had again attacked Mannajee’s districts, and having rapidly taken Choule, Alybagh, Thull, and Sagurgurh, laid siege to Kolabah, and cut off the garrison from fresh water. Mannajee applied to Ballajee Bajee Rao, who was with the Raja in the neighbourhood of Satara. Five hundred men were accordingly sent to support the garrison, and an express despatched to Chimnajee Appa for instructions. Chimnajee had ordered his nephew to repair to Kolabah in person, and applied to the governor in council at Bombay, (with whom he had concluded a treaty, and maintained a friendly intercourse since his late campaign in the Concan,) to support the garrison at Kolabah, and assist them with water, which was immediately done. Ballajee, or as he was then invariably designated,
Nana Sahib, arrived at Kolabah on the fifth day’s march, and distinguished himself on his first service, by an attack on a party stationed under the protection of Heera-kot, which he drove into Sumbhajee’s camp, killed twenty-five or thirty men, and took Toolajee, the half-brother of Sumbhajee prisoner590. The English had arrived before Nana Sahib; they forced the fleet of Sumbhajee to run down to Severndroog, and compelled him to move his camp from the sea-side, where it was pitched on their arrival, and to throw up an intrenchment to protect his people from a heavy cannonade which they opened from their ships. Sumbhajee applied to the English for permission to retire to Severndroog591, but they refused to listen to his request. He however effected his escape by some means of which the Mahratta letters and manuscripts afford no particulars. Chimnajee Appa having joined Nana Sahib, they were concerting the reduction of Rewadunda, when accounts reached them of the death592 of Bajee Rao, which happened on the banks
of the Nerbuddah, on the 28th day of April 1740. On receiving this intelligence, Shunkrajee Narrain was appointed Soobehdar of the Concan, Khundoojee Mankur was left in command of a body of troops, whilst Chimnajee Appa and his nephew, after the usual ceremonies of mourning, which occupy ten or twelve days, returned to Poona, and shortly afterwards repaired to Satara.
The death of Bajee Rao is an event in Mahratta annals, which, on his account alone, deserves a pause. In the history of this nation, whose very existence was the confusion of other states, an occasional survey, however brief, of those powers with whom they have transactions, is absolutely necessary. The reader may now, indeed, be less at a loss to comprehend who the Mahrattas were, than European contemporaries of Bajee Rao, who heard of a people unknown a century before593, that had overturned ancient monarchies, who were plundering and burning on the east, and on the west, from the Hooghly to the Bunass, and from Madras to Delhi; yet, from the diffusive nature of their conquests, one may be apt, without some survey of the kind, combined with a retrospective view of their
past history, to lose sight of the rise and progress of their power, and of their relative importance in India. The Mahomedan wars, from the commencement of the seventeenth century, the plans and conquests of Sivajee, the state of the Deccan after his death, the increase of habitual rapine by the absence of controlling authority, the immense predatory power which was thus prepared, and the means of directing it, placed by the Moghuls in the hands of Shao, had all their share in accumulating the mighty mass of Mahratta force; and when we consider the skill with which Ballajee Wishwanath, and his successor, combined and guided the whole weight of such a tremendous engine of destruction, we cease to feel surprised at the havoc which it spread. Other causes, besides Mahratta progress, had concurred to complete the humiliation of the Timoorian dynasty, and at the period of Bajee Rao’s death the vast fabric of the Moghul empire was disjointed or in ruins.
Mohummud Shah had received his liberty and his crown, after both had been subjected to the will of a despot: Delhi had been plundered of upwards of thirty millions of pounds sterling; thousands of its inhabitants had been cruelly massacred; and Cabul, Tatta, and Mooltan were added by Nadir Shah, to his kingdom of Persia.
Khan Dowran, who was killed in a precipitate attack on the Persian army, had been succeeded as Vizier, by Kummur-ud-deen Khan, the friend of Nizam Ool Moolk, so that the faction of the Tooranee Moghuls remained in power, though contrary to the secret wishes of the emperor. Nizam Ool
Moolk, dignified with the title of Umeer Ool Oomrah, remained for some time at Delhi, but having heard that his son Nadir Jung meditated rebellion, he obtained the emperor’s sanction for transferring his title of Umeer Ool Oomrah to his eldest son Ghazee-ud-deen, and commenced his march for the Deccan.
Sadut Khan, the Nabob of Oude, died before Nadir Shah left Delhi, and his nephew and son-in-law, Abdool Munsoor Khan Sufdur Jung, was appointed his successor.
The principal Rajpoots, still tributary to the emperor, were those of Jeypoor, Joudpoor, and Oudepoor. Both the last mentioned states had been subjected to partial devastation from the Mahrattas; but the intimate connection subsisting between Jey Sing and Bajee Rao594, prevented such aggressions in the districts of Jeypoor.
The Jhats, originally a tribe of Shooders from the banks of the Indus, had, a short time before the death of Aurungzebe, established themselves in the territory between Agra and Jeypoor. Their chief, Chooramun, attained power during the confusion of the times, and the plunder of the baggage of Aurungzebe’s army, is said to have furnished the means of beginning the fortifications of Bhurtpoor. Though situated at such a distance from each other, the Mahratta progress was the cause of the rise of the Jhats, and being afterwards, from the
time the Mahrattas crossed the Chumbul, drawn together by mutual interest, a friendly intercourse has, for the most part, subsisted between them.
About this period, the usurper Aliverdy Khan established his authority over the provinces of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa. From a humble situation in the service of Shujah-ud-deen Khan, nabob of Bengal, Aliverdy had been appointed the nabob’s deputy in Bahar. Surfuraz Khan, the heir-apparent to the nabobship, was stationed at Dacca, and Moorshed Koolee Khan, the son-in-law of Shujah-ud-deen, was the deputy governor of Orissa, having for his Dewan, a native of Arabia595, named Meer Hubeeb. On the death of Shujah-ud-deen, Surfuraz Khan was appointed nabob. Aliverdy Khan rebelled, and slew him in battle. He also attacked and drove Moorshed Koolee from Orissa. Meer Hubeeb, the Dewan, a person afterwards so instrumental in Mahratta progress, also fled, but subsequently submitted, and entered the service of the successful insurgent. Aliverdy Khan was acknowledged by the emperor as nabob of Bengal, in consequence of sending a part of the property and jewels of Surfuraz Khan to court.
New states sprung up even in the environs of Delhi; the founder of the principality, afterwards known by the name of Rohillah, had been for some time rising into notice. The person who first
established himself was the son of a Hindoostanee Aheer596, a class of shepherds nearly similar to the Dhungurs of Maharashtra. An Afghan adopted him, when a boy, as his son, and gave him the name of Ali Mohummud Rohillah, which procured for him and all his followers the appellation of Rohillahs. He began his career under the deputy governors of Mooradabad, as commander of a small party of Afghan cavalry. He afterwards got possession of lands on pretence of paying a higher rent for them; and at last, on an attempt to suppress his encroachments, he raised an insurrection and defeated the deputy of the Vizier Kummur-ud-deen Khan; in whose Jagheer, situated in the Dooab, little more than a hundred miles to the southward of the capital, all these circumstances happened.
In the Deccan and Carnatic, Nizam Ool Moolk divided the revenue with the Mahrattas; except in the Swuraje, and where territory had been wholly ceded in Jagheer; the Nizam, in other situations, claiming sovereignty, as the Mahrattas did tribute, over all those states and principalities to the southward of the Toongbuddra, which had submitted to Aurungzebe.
Dost Ally, the nephew of that Sadut Oolla Khan, who in the year 1706 was left by Daood Khan as his deputy in the Carnatic Payeen Ghaut, had, in 1732, succeeded his uncle as nabob, but without obtaining the sanction of Nizam Ool Moolk or the authority of the emperor.
The country was breaking into many small states; the nabobs of Kurnoul, Kurpa, and Savanoor, the descendants of governors under the dynasties of Beejapoor and Golcondah, were closely connected with some of the Mahrattas, and had been, for some time, nearly independent. The son-in-law of the Nabob of Arcot, the well known Chunda Sahib, had obtained possession of Trichinopoly on pretence of affording protection to the widow of its late Raja.
The nominal Raja of Tanjore was the grandson of Sivajee’s brother Venkajee. Tookajee, the youngest of Venkajee’s three sons, was the only one who had issue; and at this period, two sons of Tookajee’s remained alive; the one, Syajee, was legitimate, the other Pertaub Sing was the son of a concubine. The government was administered under the name of the former, but the power was held by a Mahomedan officer, who since the time of Tookajee, had been vested with the command of the fort of Tanjore. Syajee, who some years afterwards placed himself under the protection of the English at Madras, was dispossessed by this officer, who raised Pertaub Sing to the head of the government in 1741; but the new Raja would not submit to the control of his minister, and freed himself from a state of tutelage, by assassination.
The English and French, who were so soon to take a part in the contentions and usurpations of the times, still remained on the defensive, unconscious of their own strength, or unwilling to exert it; and although the former, when driven to arms, had manfully asserted their rights on all occasions,
yet the merchants of those two great nations, in common with those of other European factories, sought only to increase their trade and privileges by humble submission, and frequent bribes or presents to the petty courts surrounding them.
The Portuguese had been severely humbled by the Mahrattas. The English at Bombay courted the Peishwa, through his brother Chimnajee Appa, for the purpose of obtaining an extension of commercial privileges, and a treaty had been settled with Chimnajee Appa at Bassein, in July 1789.
The Raja of Soonda, and the Dessaye of Car-war, had assisted the Portuguese in their war against the Mahrattas; but the Rana of Bednoor, whose territory adjoined that of Sumbhajee Raja of Kola-poor, appears to have remained neutral.
The Mysore state, though a declared tributary of the Moghuls, and of the Raja Shao, had for twelve or fifteen years, by the commotions of its neighbours, and the vigour of some of its officers, been exempted from the scene of plunder and exaction which devastated the greater part of India.
Such was the disjointed state of the Moghul empire at this important period. The detail of events has unfolded the parties, the feuds, and the domestic policy of the Mahrattas; but something remains to be said of the administration and character of Bajee Rao.
Having already dwelt upon the artificial divisions of revenue, adopted as a means of cementing union among the Mahrattas, it is fit to enquire, how far it tended to that end, and how long the detail of the system was preserved. That it did
create union, and give an immediate direction to the predatory power of the Deccan, is unquestionable; and it is probable the Mahrattas would never have spread their conquests so far, had not this means been devised for conciliating and controlling the chiefs. It was founded on a principle of self-interest, which, fitly directed to the views of a community, is unerring in its results; but it must always be remembered, that this principle, when misapplied or misunderstood, may tend as much to stir up sedition, and to create hostility, as to preserve union and ensure combination. Bajee Rao had not leisure to attend to detail or arrangement; the minute divisions which were made of the revenues, ceded by the Moghuls, served to provide hundreds of Bramin carcoons with bread; and every one interpreted the amount of his own, or his master’s claims to Surdeshmookhee, Babtee, Mokassa, &c. rather according to his power to enforce his demands, than his ability to prove their justice.
The more solid institutions of Sivajee are yet found amongst his native mountains, but the origin of the distribution of revenue in the year 1720, was, in less than fifty years, understood by few people in the Mahratta country597, and is now useful chiefly as an historical record.
With regard to Bajee Rao, when we look to the perplexities both foreign and domestic, in which he was involved, the confusion which continued to prevail in every branch of the administration is far from surprising. He manifested little disposition towards regular government; many of his countrymen accuse him of avarice; of some disregard to the observances of his faith; and of being so entirely a soldier, as to neglect every branch of finance and jurisprudence. Their opinions are entitled to full consideration, but will not greatly detract from the superior character of Bajee Rao. If he inherited some of the defects of his cast, he was free from their bigotry, and but slightly tainted with the meaner vices, which render the general character of Bramins when in power despicable. The strictures of his countrymen are best answered
by his embarrassments and his career. It is true he was inordinately ambitious, and in his last scheme of subjugating the Deccan, he completely miscalculated his means; yet he made the best amends for his want of foresight, by receding from the attempt in a creditable manner. Bajee Rao’s plans, like those of most men when formed amidst a choice of difficulties, surrounded by faction, intrigues, and danger, did not extend to remote futurity. As a politician, however, in suppressing much domestic opposition, in quickly discerning, and promptly counteracting the designs of Nizam Ool Moolk, he evinced penetration, talent, and vigour. His enlarged views, in fitly directing the only power at his disposal, might lead us to suppose him capable of the greatest undertaking, but a summary of character must reject speculation. As a predatory leader his qualities were great; he was brave and eloquent, enterprizing and skilful. The period at which he lived, and the circumstances under which he acted, are so very different from those of Sivajee, that a comparison cannot be succinctly drawn. Yet the distinctions are sufficiently obvious, and Bajee Rao, though a better man, must remain a much less distinguished character in history.
Bajee Rao was handsome in his person, and his manner was more that of a frank soldier than of a smooth courtier; when in the field with his troops he kept up no state, and shared in all the privations of the meanest horseman. An anecdote illustrative of his character is preserved from the following circumstance. Before Nizam Ool Moolk had seen
Bajee Rao, during the first campaign in which they were opposed to each other, the former desired a famous painter in his service to repair to the army of Bajee Rao, and bring his likeness, taken in whatever attitude he might first see him. The painter executed his task, and on his return exhibited the Peishwa mounted, with the head and heel ropes of his horse in his feeding bag, like that of a common Mahratta, his spear resting on his shoulder, whilst he was rubbing with both his hands some ears of ripened Joowaree598, which he was eating as he rode.
Bajee Rao left three sons. Ballajee Bajee Rao, the eldest, succeeded him as Peishwa; his second son was Rugonath Rao, afterwards so well known to the English; and his third was Jenardin Bawa, who died in early youth. He also left one illegitimate son by a Mahomedan mother, whom he bred a Mussulman, and named Shumsher Buhadur.
579. A sirpa, is an honorary dress, consisting of cloths for the turban, trowsers, girdle, and gown, complete; hence its name sir-pa, or head to foot. A khillut comprehends not only the dress, but all the additions of jewels, horse, elephant and arms, according to circumstances and the rank of the parties. On the occasion alluded to, Bajee Rao received two ornaments of jewels for the turban, and a pearl necklace, together with a horse and an elephant.
580. Original letter from Mohummud Shah.
581. I do not know whether this exception was meant in favour of the Rajas of Bundelcund, or the Peishwa.
582. Poona records.
583. Colonel Wilks states, that the Mahrattas were invited by Meer Assud, the Dewan of Sufdur Ali. Some confirmation of this appears in Tippoo’s circular letter, translated by Mr. Edmonstone; but I have met with no trace of it in any Mahratta record.
584. Mahratta MSS., and original letters.
585. The only authentic record I have recovered of the arrangement which preceded this expedition, and that bears no date, is a copy of the original authority by the Raja, which is not more loose and vague, than many Mahratta documents equally important. By this paper, I conjecture, that the Peishwa furnished the infantry, and, from subsequent events, it is probable that he by this means weakened his own army. The cavalry under Rughoojee was furnished by different leaders. I do not know who Koossajee Yessajee Bhonslay, the person Mentioned in the paper, was, but he is supposed to have been the commander of the infantry.
Literal translation of an authority issued by Shao Maharaj, to the Sena Sahib Soobeh.
To Rajman Rajasree Rughoojee Bhonslay Sena Sahib Soobeh,–
The following orders are issued to you, regarding the arrangements to be made in the province of the Carnatic, south of the Toongbuddra.
Districts, the collections from which, wholly belong to the Raja Shao:– 1. Trichinopoly, 2. Tanjore, 3. Arcot, including Ginjee, 4. Seringapatam, after deducting what is fixed by the treaty with government,
Other Districts:– 1. Sera, 2. Adonee, 3. Kurnoul, 4. Kurpa, 5. Phoot Mahal (or portions of various districts).
According to the amount which may be received from the above mentioned places, the Surdeshmookhee, Babtee, Sahotra, &c. having been deducted, the remainder being Mokassa, one half of it to be the share of Koossajee Yessajee Bhonslay, and the other is to belong to the Raja (Shoo).
In this manner the whole of the four first mentioned places, and the Surdeshmookhee, and Babtee, and one half of the Mokassa of the remaining places, being formed into one sum, one half of it is to be taken by you for the expenses of your troops, and the other half, being the amount belonging to government, is to be paid into the state treasury, by means of _____. (blank in the Mahratta paper, but supposed to be “the Mookh Purdhan” – Bajee Rao.) You and he, with mutual consultation, having made proper arrangements, are to gain possession of hill forts, forts, and territory. Whatever cavalry are required to be stationed for garrisoning forts and fortified places, are to be placed in them by you; and he will place whatever infantry are requisite. In this manner the forts are to be garrisoned. The sum, however, payable for the present year, is fixed at seven lacks, which is to be paid to the government as above; according to what is written, having brought affairs to a conclusion, by performing the service of the Swamee (the Raja), your conduct will be approved, and let the end be accomplished according to what is written. What occasion is there for writing much? dependance is wholly placed in you by Swamee. You are wise.
586. The respectable author of the Khuzaneh Amirah, was not aware of the junction of these troops. Shah Nuwaz Khan, author of the Muasir Ool Oomrah, was probably present during the service; but he does not, in his memoirs of Nasir Jung, mention the strength of the army, with which he crossed the Godavery. Nasir Jung appears to have been accompanied by the whole of his father’s park of artillery, which may have been sent back from Malwa; and Chimnajee Appa, in an original letter, states his army at thirty thousand cavalry, twenty thousand infantry, one hundred and fifty guns, three hundred swivels and jingals (or wall pieces), mounted on camels, and three hundred rocket camels. Allowing him to have greatly over estimated them, as enemies, there was still too large a force to authorize, as a general, such a venture on the part of Bajee Rao.
587. Original letter from Chimnajee Appa. Mahratta MSS. Nasir Jung’s army did not pass Ahmednugur. Sir J. Malcolm is under a mistake, in supposing that Nasir Jung burnt Poona.
588. Khuzaneh Amirah, Hudeequ-i-alum. Mahratta MSS. Chimnajee Appa mentions, that some Jagheer districts towards the Nerbuddah, formerly promised by Nizam Ool Moolk, were ceded, but their names are not specified by him.
589. The following passage occurs in one of his letters to his Mahapooroosh. It is without date, but supposed to be written at this period of disappointment. “I am involved in difficulties; in debt, and in disappointments, and like a man ready to swallow poison: near the Raja are my enemies, and should I at this time go to Satara, they will put their feet on my breast. I should be thankful if I could meet death.
590. He was released, but in what manner does not appear.
591. Chimnajee Appa’s letter.
592. On the death of a near relation, Hindoos are supposed unclean for ten days, during which, they are to be rigidly abstemious in every respect; this observance is called sootuck. Where the relationship is not near, or the death happens at a great distance, one, two, or three days are sufficient. The funeral rites ought to be performed by the nearest relation, and always last ten days, during which, or until the 12th or 13th day, the mourner is considered unclean. After a corpse is burnt or buried, the soul is supposed to hover round the spot for ten days before it wings its flight, to receive judgment from Yem Dhurm. In whatever place a Hindoo hears of the death of a parent, he shaves his mustachios, and performs all the rites as if present where the death happened. Bramins observe the anniversary of the death of their relations, and on the new moon, of every month, perform certain ceremonies to their manes.
593. Even up to the period of the death of Raja Ram, they were less known among Europeans by the name of Mahrattas, than by that of the Sivajees.
594. Bajee Rao had a secret agent residing with Jey Sing, the name of the envoy (Venkajee Ram) is mentioned in one of Bajee Rao’s original letters.
595. Mahratta MSS. Gholam Hussein Khan, author of the Seyr Ool Mutuakhereen, calls him a native of Persia, a pedlar from Iran. Meer Hubeeb was intimately known to the Mahrattas, who always designate him as an Arab.
596. Mr. Forster says he was a Jath.
597. There is an original memorandum from Nana Furnuwees, without date, amongst the old papers at Satara, desiring to know the period and origin of the distribution. On this paper is marked, seemingly as a memorandum of the answer sent, Boor Sun 1117 (about Anno Domini 1717). I have frequently found Bramin revenue officers in other respects very intelligent men, who said there was no difference in the origin of Jagheer and Mokassa, both being bestowed, as they observed “for the maintenance of troops, and consequently they must always have been the same.” The want of research and historical observation amongst the Mahrattas, in common with all Hindoos, is a greater obstacle to the attainment of information than can be conceived in a European country. Everything must be wormed out of them by attentive perseverance; in that way there is a wide field for the enquirer; but unfortunately, it takes years of experience, before a European is qualified to question a native of India. Since writing the above note, I have discovered a letter written in the year 1765, where similar queries are put, to know the meaning of the Swuraje territory. “The Swuraje” says the writer of the answer (Govind Rao Chitnees), “is the territory west of the Beema, and all which you call Swuraje, beyond that, is Zsiburdustee” (violent usurpation).
598. A sort of grain (Holcus Saccharatus) common throughout the Deccan. The meal the Peishwa was making, is a very common one in a Mahratta army, and if they have nothing else, they do not consider it great privation. A Mahratta cultivator frequently subsists for weeks on the ripening grain, with no other sustenance.
This collection transcribed by Chris Gage