« ElőzőTovább »
LITTELL'S LIVING AGE.-No. 130.—7 NOVEMBER, 1846.
From the Critic.
employed himself in removing, per fas aut nefas, Life of the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, of Kabul; all who stood in the way of the ease or the amwith his Political Proceedings towards the Eng. by the following account of the murder of Mirza
bition of his brother. How this was done appears lish, Russian, and Persian Governments, in
Ali Khan :cluding the Victory and Disasters of the British Army in Afghanistan. By Mohan Lal, Esq. Mohammed armed himself cap-a-pie, and taking
“On receiving the orders of the Vazir, Dost 2 vols. 8vo. Longmans.
six men with himn, went and remained waiting on As fair a specimen of the art of book-making as the road between the house of Mohammed Azine ever was produced by the most skilful bookseller Khan and the Mirza. It was about midnight when hack, in those palmy days when cheap books had the Mirza passed by Dost Mohammed Khan, whom not appeared to disturb the calculations of the Row. he saw, and said, What has brought your highTwo volumes on the life of Dost Mohammed ness here at this late hour? I hope all is good. Khan! Surely, this must be an ample memoir, He also added, that Dost Mohammed should freely minute almost to tediousness. Whence could so command his seryices if he could be of any use to much material have come? How, and when, and him. He replied to the Mirza that he had got a where collected ?
secret communication for him, and would tell him The mystery is not so profound as it appears. if he moved aside from the servants.
He stopped Not one half of the whole is devoted to the biogra- his horse, whereupon Dost Mohammed, holding phy; the other is eked out with selections from the mane of his horse with his left hand, and other books, parliamentary papers, and commen- taking his dagger in the right, asked the Mirza 10 taries on things in general, and the Indian war in bend his head to hear him. While Dost Mohamparticular. Mohan Lal has been, however, fortu- med pretended to tell him something of his own nate in a subject. Considerable curiosity is felt in invention, and found that the Mirza was hearing England about the fortunes of a foe who has proved him without any suspicion, he stabbed him between himself so formidable as Dost Mohammed Khan, the shoulders, and, throwing him off his horse, cut and a few of the more interesting passages from him in many places. This was the commencement the memoir will not be unacceptable to the readers of the murders which Dost Mohammed Khan afterof the Critic.
wards frequently committed." Dost Mohammed Khan is one of a very numer- After a series of such deeds of violence, Fatah ous family. His father was distinguished for his Khan's ruin came upon him unexpectedly. The warlike achievements, and to his skill and bravery Persians had attacked Herat; he proceeded with was Shah Zaman indebted for his throne. But, as his brother to its relief; Dost Mohammed was is not unfrequent in the strange drama of Eastern directed to besiege the city and seize the palace. romance, services were rewarded with the bow- This monstrous act of treachery was unhesitatingly string. The possessor of the throne feared the performed, although they had been received by the greater power of the man who placed him there. prince with entire confidence and friendship. An excuse was readily found for removing a He entered the city, as was arranged, with shadow from the path of the despot. The bene- his retinue, and after the sun rose and the Shah factor was murdered by the sovereign he had Zadah's courtiers had gone out to Fatah Khan, as made. Flis family were reduced to beggary, and usual, the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan massatwenty sons were thrown upon the charity of the cred the palace-guard and seized the person of the pious. After many changes of fortune, Fatah Shah Zadah Firoz. Afterwards he commenced 10 Khan, the eldest son, raised an army, dethroned plunder and to gain possession of all the jewels, the ungrateful Shah Zaman, avenged his father's gold, and treasure of the captive prince, and even death, by putting out the prisoner's eyes, placed went so far as to despoil the inmates of the househis brother Mahmud on the vacant throne, and hold ; and committed an unparalleled deed by being now a great man, took the boy, Dost Mo-taking off the jewelled band which fastened the hammed, into his service, and finding him ex- trowsers of the wife of the Prince Malik Qasim, tremely intelligent, admitted him to his confidence. the son of the captive, and treated her rudely in The scene
was shifted. Another revolution other ways. The pillaged lady was the sister of thrust out Mahmud, and raised another brother, Kam Ran, to whom she sent her profaned robe ; Shah Shuja, to the unstable throne. His first act and the Shah Zadah, or her brother, resolved and was to arrest the man who had placed him there. swore to revenge the injury. Fatah Khan was Dost Mohammed, with characteristic energy, informed of the immense booty which the Sardar gathered an army and hastened to the rescue of his had taken, and also his improper conduct towards brother. He besieged Kandahar, and starved the the royal lady ; and the Vazir planned to take the treacherous prince into submission. Fatah Khan plundered property from the Sardar Dost Mohamwas released, and the brothers determined to re- med Khan, and to chastise him for his deeds in the venge themselves by restoring Mahmud. After a palace. The Sardar, having heard of this, made short campaign, in which Dost Mohammed ex- his way through the mountains to join his brother hibited great courage and address, the army of Mohammed Azim Khan, the governor of Kashmir. Shah Shuja was completely routed, Mahmud He was there put under restraint by the direction restored, and Fatah Khan took office as his chief of the Vazir, who was preparing again tổ wage vizier ; and the young Dost Mohammed vigorously war with the Persians.”
The treachery was amply avenged. The prince ance of Dost Mohammed Khan, except that he seized Fatah Khan by a stratagem. His end became still plainer in attire and in talk, and easier thus told :
of access. The only difference we find now is that “ No tragedy of modern days can be compared of addressing him from this time as Amir. Before with that barbarous one that ended the life of the the Amir came to the final determination of extorVazir. He was conducted, blind and pinioned, tion, the head-priest, Khan Mulla Khan, satisfied into the presence of Mahmud Shah, whom he had him by saying that it was not contrary to the Maelevated to the throne. The Shah asked him to homedan law to snatch money from infidels, such write to his rebellious brothers to submit; to which as Hindu bankers, if it was disbursed amongst he replied with fortitude that he was a poor blind warriors of the true faith. As the Amir was prisoner, and had no influence over his brothers. really in pecuniary wants, and had the sanction of Mahmud Shah was incensed at his obstinacy, and the priest, he therefore seized all the Shikarpuri ordered him to be put to the sword; and the Vazir merchants, and demanded three lakhs of rupees was cruelly and deliberately butchered by the from them. The Amir sent openly, as well as courtiers, cutting him limb from limb, and joint clandestinely, his confidential men in all parts of from joint, as was reported, after his nose, ears, the country, who spared no time in forcing the fingers and lips had been chopped off. His forti- payment of the demands of their employer; and tude was so extraordinary that he neither showed where he had given orders to raise a certain sum a sign of the pain he suffered, nor asked the per- from certain bankers of a district, the persons empetrators to diminish their cruelties, and his head ployed on this occasion did not forget to fill their was at last sliced from his lacerated body. Such own pockets besides. Those who fell into the was the shocking result of the misconduct of his hands of these official banditti were tortured and brother the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan towards deprived of their health before they would part the royal female in Hirat. However, the end of with their wealth ; and those who escaped suffered the Vazir Fatah Khan was the end of the Sadozai by the confiscation of their movable property. realm, and an omen for the accession of the new Sham-shuddin Khan at Ghazni, Mohammed Usman dynasty of the Barakzais, or his brothers, in Af- Khan at Balabagh, and Mohammed Akbar in Jalaghanistan.”
labad, as well as the other petty governors of the Thenceforth, for many years, anarchy prevailed. various small districts, received instructions from Kings were set up and bowled down, passing the Amir to follow his example in seizing and toracross the stage as fast as the phantom progeny of turing, and thus depriving the wealthy of their Banquo. Victory ultimately rested with Dost money. This method of extortion did not remain Mohammed, who secured Cabul, while various limited in application for the infidels alone, but provinces were possessed by his brothers. How gradually it involved the Mahomedans. In the he did this, and how he wielded the power he had city many principal persons suffered, and among won, will appear by the following extract :- them a rich trader of the name of Sabz Ali, who
“ The Sardar stated on his return from Qand- was commanded to pay thirty thousand rupees, and har, that he had got rid of one enemy in the per- having refused the payment of so large a sum, he son of Shah Shuja, now defeated, but another was was confined in prison, and torture of every horrid powerfully wounding his heart and honor by the description was inflicted on him by the Amir. constant turn of affairs, and by the remembrance Some days he was branded on his thighs; and on of the inroads made by an infidel into the Mahome other days, cotton, dipped in oil, was tied over his dan land. In this he alluded to the conquest and fingers, and burnt as a torch ; and after many days possessions of the Sikh army at Peshavar; he of agony the poor man expired. On this occasion planned to declare a religious war, in the view that the Amir only uttered a word, that he wanted his having no money himself to levy troops, he could money and not his death ; which, however, could hardly persuade the people to take up his cause; not make him a loser, for he forced the relatives whereas, under the name of a war for the sake of of this victim to pay, and thus obtained this sum. religion, he might be successful. The priests were The whole country at this time was an appalling accordingly consulted, and all the chiefs, as well picture of extortion and torture, and he continued as his counsellors, and Mirza Sami Khan, concur- to spread havoc all around till a sum of five lakhs red in the opinion that the Sardar Dost Moham- of rupees was thus unjustly gathered up for the med Khan should assume the royal title, and pro- religious war of the faithful.” claim himself as king ; because the religious wars, And here let us introduce some passages from fought under the name and flag of any other than a his private life. king, cannot entitle the warriors to the rights and "It should not be omitted to mention that while honors of martyrdom, when they fall in the field. the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan was occupied by The Sardar was not altogether disinclined to day in endeavoring to increase his power and terriassume royalty ; but the want of means to keep up tory, he was not less active at night in planning that title, and the unaniinous disapproval of his re- the augmentation of the number of his wives, that lations, prevented him from adopting the name of he might complete the cabinet of his pleasures. In king. The Sultan Mohammed Khan was some instances, however, his matrimonial connecjealous of the Sardar's taking the royal title, that lions were merely political expedients, and not for he left Kabul on the pretence of going to Bajaur. any domestic comforts. The number of his married In the mean time, the Sardar, without any prepara- wives is not under fourteen, besides the numerous tion or feast, went out of the Bala Hisar with some retinue of slave girls. At present the mother of of his courtiers; and in Idgah’ Mir Vaiz, the Mohammed Akbar is his favorite, and takes the head priest of Kabul, put a few blades of grass on freedom to give him her opinion on important occathe head of the Sardar, and called him Amir-ul- sions. She is descended from a high family, but momnin,' or, commander of the faithful. The is very jealous of the other wives of the Amir. change of title from Sardar to the higher grade of Every one of them has a separate allowance, a Amir-ul-momnin, made no change nor produced slave girl, and a slave boy; and they occupy difany effect upon the habits, conduct, and appear- | ferent rooms in the palace of Haram Sarai, which
is encircled by a high wall. Only one door is the Amir with his bride retired ; and while amusthere for communication, where a few men, gene- ing themselves with conver
versation, he took a fancy rally of old age, (Qabchis,) are stationed. When for some grapes, and the bride handed him an egg, the slave boy is absent, the slave girl brings orders which he found, in fact, to have a better taste than from her mistress to the . Qabchi' for a purchase, any he had ever had before. He added that he or for any other purpose from the inside. If I re- saw his bride using her fingers with admirable member the name well, one of the wives of the alacrity in taking off the skin preparatory to swalAmir, who is named Bibi Gauhar, excited the lowing an egg, and that this activity continued till great jealousy and animosity of the mother of she finished the whole basketful, to his astonishAkbar Khan, who always sought for an excuse to ment; and he remarked that there were not less create the suspicions and the wrath of the Amir than fifty eggs in the basket !- In the number of agaiost the rival lady. One evening, there was a his wives the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan has one demand of firewood in the establishment of Bibi from the royal family, which case is unprecedented Gauhar, and her slave boy brought a quantity of it in record or even in rumor, for no one ever was alpiled on the back of the seller. His eyes were, on lowed to make a matrimonial connexion with the entering the palace-door, blindfolded, and his face royal or. Sadozai females. On the contrary, it was wrapped in a cloth, while he was conducted by the considered a great honor if any descendant of the boy. After unloading the burden from his back, Sadozai would marry a female from the Barakzai he was in the same manner brought back and let tribe, namely, that of the Amir, or indeed of any out of the Haram Sarai. Hereupon the pene- other tribe besides their own. When the decline trating and jealous mother of Albar Khan thought of that dynasty commenced, she attracted the sight this the best opportunity to excite some abusive but and attention of the Sultan Mohammed Khan, the unjust suspicion of her character in the heart of the brother chief of the Amir, at Peshavar, and a corlord. The Amir was quietly asked in through respondence began between them. She prepared Mohammed Akbar Khan ; and the mother of the to leave Kabul to be married with her intended latter, taking him aside, stated that it was a dis- husband, under whose escort she was proceeding. graceful thing that her . ambagh,' rival wife of the The Amir had also lost his heart for her beauty, Amir, was visited by her paramour, who came in and got hold of her by force and married her immeunder the disguise of a wood-seller; and she then diately. This at once created, and has ever since fabricated sufficient stories to make the Amir pre- maintained, a fatal animosity between the brothers ; pared to meet her object, for he appeared incensed, and the Sultan Mohammed Khan has often been and considered that it was not a fabrication ; and heard to say that nothing would afford him greater the poor lady, who a little before was the charm- pleasure, even at breathing his last, than to drink ing idol of the Amir, was sent for and ordered to the blood of the Amir. Such is the nature of the be punished for her misconduct. Her assertions brotherly feeling now existing between them; and of troth were not listened to, and he told Moham- the Amir has often and justly mentioned that these med Akbar Khan to wrap her all in a blanket, and, three words, commencing with the Persian letter throwing her on the ground, to strike her with 'ze,' and pronounced like z in English, are the sticks.
principal and deadly causes of quarrel among men, “ The son was now perfectly aware of the jeal- namely, 'zan,' (female,) 'zar,' (money,) and zaousy of his own mother against her, and did not fail min, (land.).” to inflict many most severe and cruel blows upon Mohan Lal enters at great length upon the hisher. She was not released until she fainted, and tory of the origin of the Affghan war. It seems appeared quite motionless in the bloody blanket. that a prominent cause of quarrel was the jealousy After some time, when she recovered, the Amir entertained by the Affghan chiefs of the English found that he had been deceived by his wife, the officers, who were continually intriguing with their mother of Akbar, and he apologized to the sufferer wives. One instance of this will suffice. for his sad mistake, and punished the fair inventor “A gentleman who had taken up his quarters at of the story, (Akbar's mother,) only by not going the house of the Navab Jabbar Khan, won the to her apartment for a few days. Bibi Gauhar heart of the favorite lady of his neighbor Nazir Ali was the widow of Mahmud Shah, afterwards of Mohammed, and she, crossing the wall by the roof, Mohammed Azim Khan, and is now one of the came to him. The Nazir waited upon me, and I Amir's wives. At breakfast one day the Amir reported the circumstance to Sir Alexander Burnes Dost Mohammed Khan asked one of his guests to while the defendant was breakfasting with him. eat an egg; to which he replied, that he had al- He, of course, denied ever having seen the lady ready eaten a considerable number of slices of roast on which the Nazir was dismissed, and I myself mutton, and feared an egg might cause an attack was always disliked from that day by that gentleof indigestion. This made the Amir burst into man for reporting that fact. The Nazir then comlaughter, and he said that the Amir Bangashi's plained to the minister of the king, and he sent us wife bore a more masculine taste and appetite for a note demanding the restoration of the fair one. eggs than his noble guest, who appears to yield in The constable saw her in the house, and gave his this affair to a female. In an amusing tone of testimony to this as a witness; but Sir Alexander voice, Dost Mohammed Khan entertained the cir- Burnes took the part of his countryman, cle of his courtiers with the following anecdote :- no justice. One night the very same gentleman When I went to the Bangash country to collect the was coming from the Bala Hisar, and abused the revenues of that district, political circumstances constable for challenging him, and next day stated induced me to marry the daughter of the chief, af- to Sir Alexander Burnes that he was very ill used, terwards known as the mother of Mohammed Afzal on which Sir Alexander Burnes got the man disKhan. According to the custom of the Afghans, missed by the king. The lady was openly shelthe parents of the lady place several baskets of tered at the house of the same gentleman after fruits and of sweetmeats, and one or two of boiled some time, and came to India under the protection eggs, colored variously, in the chambers of the of his relatives. Nazir Ali Mohammed and the Dewly-married pair. After the dinner was over, constable (Hazar Khan Kotval) never forgot these
acts of injustice of Sir Alexander Burnes, and thus shaved, and the beard of the host was burnt by the they were stimulated to join with Abdullah Khan Alame of a candle! The Amir Dost Mohammed Ackakzai, and to strike the first blow in revenging Khan always gets up before it is dawn, takes a themselves on that officer. A rich merchant of bath, makes his prayers, and reads a portion of the Nanchi, near the city, had two years previously Qoran' every morning. After that, Mahmud Akfallen in love with a lady at Hirat, and after great hund Zadah gives him some lessons in history as pains and exorbitant expense he married her, and well as poetry. He receives afterwards the state placed her under the protection of his relations, people privately in the dressing-room of the bath, while he went on to Bokhara to transact his com- and then comes out to hold his court. He sits there mercial business. In the absence of the husband, generally till 1 P. M. Now he had his breakfast, a European subordinate to the staff officer contrived or I may say his dinner, as it is just the same as he her escape to his residence in the cantonment. receives after sunset. When he has finished his The wretched man, on hearing this catastrophe, breakfast or midday meal, he sleeps till 4 P. M. left all his merchandise unsold, and hastened back He then discharges his prayers, and proceeds usuto Kabul; and there were no bounds to his tears ally to ride, sees his stud, and returns to the paland melancholy. He complained to all the author- ace, where he dines with his immediate courtiers ities, and offered a very large sum to the king to and friends. There is then some talk of his early have his fair wife restored to him; but she was not proceedings and of his future plans; and the wongiven up. He at last sat at the door of Sir William der, the jealousy, and the ascendancy of foreign Macnaghten, and declared that he had resolved 10 powers are discussed. Sometimes chess, and at put an end to his own life by starvation. When other times music, were the favorite amusements that authority appeared partly determined to order of the evening. He amused himself generally in the lady to be given to her lawful husband, she this manner till one hour past midnight. All the was secretly removed to a house in the city. chiefs are then dismissed, and on retiring the Amir Hercupon the envoy appointed two of his orderly resides in the apartments of his wives. They live men to enter the house, and to give her into the in separate parts, and the Amir pays a visit to one charge of the plaintiff; but now the very officer lady one night, and to another wife the next night, who had offended Nazir Ali Mohammed and Hazar and no one is visited two nights successively exKhan Kotval, came to Sir Alexander, and begged cept the mother of Mohammed Akbar Khan." him to pacify the envoy, which he agreed to do. On this a sum of four hundred or five hundred ru- Died, 13th October, at his residence in this city, pees was offered to the husband, if he would give the Hon. HENRY STEPHEN Fox, late envoy extraorup his claim to his wife ; and Sir Alexander dinary and minister plenipotentiary of her Britannic Burnes employed Nayab Sharif and Hayat Quaf- majesty, near this government, in the 56th year of lahbashi to persuade the poor husband of the lady his age. to accept these terms, stating that otherwise he Of this distinguished gentleman, who has resided will incur the displeasure of that authority. The so long among us, we are able now to present only poor man had no remedy but to fly to Turkistan, the following short biographical sketch. without taking the above-mentioned sum. When The Hon. Henry Stephen Fox was born in her paramour was killed, during the retreat of our 1791 ; and was the son of General Henry Edward forces from Kabul, she was also murdered by the Fox, third son of Henry Fox, the first Lord HolGhazis, with the remnant of our soldiers who had land. He was thus the nephew of the celebrated succeeded in making their way forcibly as far as Charles James Fox, and cousin of the late amiable Gandumakh.”
and enlightened Lord Holland. We may add, Although Dost Mohammed is reigning in full moreover, that through one of his female ancestors, enjoyment of power, his manner of life is repre- he inherits the blood of merry King Charles II., sented as debauched and dissipated in the ex- and consequently of Henry IV. treme; but Mohan Lal is nevertheless of opinion In his younger days, Mr. Fox was well known that, with all his faults, he is the only man who in the beau monde of London, as one of a coterie
the country, whose energy and firm- of elegant, gay, and witty gentlemen of high birth, ness can keep the rebellious chieftains in check. among whom were Lord Byron, Lord Kinnaird,
and others more or less celebrated in their time, ".On the whole, whatever odium may be attached whose deeds and sayings are recorded by Moore in to the Amir of Kabul, it is an unquestionable fact his life of Byron. that he is the only person fit to rule Kabul. Dost After the general peace in 1815, he visited the Mohammed Khan is of the Sunni religion, being continent, and by remaining too long in Rome, he the son of an Afghan; but as his mother is a Shia, contracted the malaria fever, which brought him to he is therefore suspected to be of her creed, though the verge of the grave, and produced an effect he does not confess it openly. He has indulged most deleterious upon his constitution. He then in all sorts of dissipation, and experienced all kinds entered the diplomatic career, in which his advance of hardships. When he gained power, he prohib- 'vas rapid, in consequence of his talents, as well as ited the sale and the use of wine, and prevented through the influence of his noble and political dancing girls from remaining in his kingdom, while connexions. He was the first minister plenipotenthe dance performed by boys was considered law- tiary of Great Britain to Buenos Ayres, from which ful! One day he was informed that some women he was transferred in the same capacity to Rio de were drinking and dancing privately in the house Janeiro, and thence to this government in 1836. of Husain, the servant of Nayab Abdul Samad, on Of the talent displayed in his correspondence on which the Amir sent people to seize them. The many delicate and difficult questions of international punishment inflicted upon them for drinking wine, law, of his uniform courtesy, of the amenity of his against the Mohammedan law and his own notifi- manners in society, it is unnecessary for us to cation, was the infliction of deformity instead of speak. They are all attested by those who have their beauty, in order to prevent them from appear- been placed in a situation to observe him.- Washing again in drinking parties. Their heads were lington Union.