Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

and the royal dames of Samarcand; but all the artificers in stone and marble were reserved, by order of Timour, to erect a Jumma-mesjed (grand mosque) on his return to his capital, on the plan of that at Delhi.*

Timour remained only a fortnight in the environs of the capital, and then removed to Feroozabad, on the Jumna, about six miles below Delhi, where he received, in token of submission, from the chief of Koteilah (or Mewat), two white parrots, which had been transferred from one Indian sovereign to another, from the time of Sultan Toghluk (A.D. 1321-5), and which must therefore have been at this time upwards of seventy-four years old.t He then entered the Doab, and proceeded to invest the fortress of Meirta (or Merat), about fifty miles N.N.E. of Delhi, which, under an Afghan chief, made a determined resistance. It was taken by storm, and the garrison, as usual, were put to the sword, the women and children being carried into captivity. Continuing his march to the skirts of the mountains of Sewaulik, his way being marked by fire and sword, Timour reached, at Peyrouzpoor, the banks of the Ganges. He crossed that river with a detachment of his army, about six miles

* Of the three towns composing this celebrated city, at the time of the invasion, we have the following brief description. “The town of Srei, situated to the east inclining to north, which appears to have stood on the same ground with the ancient city of Indraput, and of the still more ancient one of Hustnapoor, was encircled with an oval wall; and that of old Dehly, lying in the opposite direction of west inclining to the south, was inclosed with a similar rampart, but of much greater compass. Between these two towns, and connecting them together, were two long walls, giving protection to the Jahaunpunnah; an intermediate suburb, far more extensive than either of the former two divisions. The three towns communicated with the country and with each other by thirty gates." --PRICE, vol. iii. p. 266.

† Price, ii. 268.

higher up, and prosecuted his march to Toghlukpoor. Near that place, he was attacked from the river by a flotilla of boats; and it was not till after a severe contest that the Indians were defeated. After this, Timour found himself opposed by Mubarik Khan, at the head of a numerous force, which he put to flight, taking considerable booty. Scarcely had he removed from the field, when information was brought, that another large body of Hindoos were collected at the foot of the pass of Koupelah. At the head of only five hundred horse, Timour had the rashness to ad. vance towards this formidable host ; and for once, he turned his back upon the enemy, and fled from his pursuer.* He was relieved from his hazardous posi. tion by the unexpected arrival of a large body of troops under Peer Mahommed, his grandson, with whose aid the Hindoos were defeated with severe loss. He then advanced to one of the prayags, or junctions of the head-streams of the sacred river, where he found the Hindoos again strongly posted. They were instantly attacked, and, according to the Mohammedan historians, put to the sword. It is certain, nevertheless, that Timour's zeal to exterminate the worshippers of Ganges, suddenly gave way to considerations of prudence. “ Recollecting all at once, that the country was now effectually relieved from the polluted sway of the enemies of the true faith, and that his victorious legions were incumbered, beyond measure, by the im. mensity of the booty which had fallen into their

**The Author of the Rouzut-ul-suffa pretends, that Timour was called off from engaging sword to sword with the Indian chief who advanced to meet him, by an attendant calling out, that it was one of the imperial vassals. “ Misled by this false information, Timour turned short towards the neighbouring range of hills ;" and he was not undeceived till an arrow had brought down his pursuer.-PRICE, üi. 273.

hands, this mild reformer conceived the sudden reso. lution of returning upon his steps ; and accordingly, repassing the Ganges, on the very same day, by the hour of noon, he proceeded along the western bank of the river downwards, making a march of five kosse before he found it convenient to encamp for the evening....Satisfied with having purged the empire of Delhi from the pollutions of infidelity and idolatry, he now adopted the final resolution of withdrawing, without further delay, into his native dominions; and for that purpose, on the 13th of January, 1399, he quitted the banks of the Ganges, his operations on that celebrated river being confined to the short period of four days.”*

The course of his march now took him in a north. westerly direction towards the Upper Jumna. On entering the defiles of the Sewaulik mountains, he was again encountered by a native rajah, who had taken up a strong position at the head of a powerful body of troops. The conflict was fierce and sanguinary; and the natives, though beaten, seem not to have been dispirited. They took up a new position in a thick

[ocr errors]

* Price, iii. 276. There is some difficulty in determining the position of the places mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Toghlukpoor and the straits of Koupelah, from Sherefeddin's account of the march, cannot, Major Rennell remarks, be far from Loldong (fifteen miles S.E. from Hurdwar), where the British army completed their campaign in 1774, 1100 British miles from Calcutta. At the time of Timour's conquest (1398), the British nation had scarcely been announced to the people of Hindostan; nor was it till 200 years afterwards, that they found their way thither. Who could have believed, that the British conquests would meet those of Tamerlane, in a point equidistant from the mouths of the Ganges and the Indus, in 1774?"-RENNELL, p. 121, note. In some MS. maps in the learned Author's possession, two small rivers, named Coah and Peely, descend from the hills on the east of Hurdwar; and the confluent streams, he suggests, may be the Coupele or Coah-Peely of the history,

forest, impervious to the Mogul cavalry ; and Timour's soldiers had to cut their way by torch-light, through the jungle, for the distance of twelve kosse (about eighteen miles), by which means they at length reached the valley lying between the mountains of Koukeh and Sewaulik. The natives seem to have contented themselves with harassing their retreat, without attempting to make head against them in the open plain. In the course of the month which was thus occupied among the mountains and forests of this wild tract of country, Timour is stated to have fought twenty-seven battles, and reduced seven castles of singular strength. At length, he emerged into a rich district of corn-land, and entering the valley of the Jummoo, arrived at the town of Menou. The inha. bitants of this district are described as a tall, robust, and athletic people, whose country, from its hills and forests, was generally deemed unassailable. couraged by such a belief, after having conveyed their women and children to the tops of the remotest hills, the native chiefs, with the bravest of the men, took post on one of the most inaccessible ranges, whence they continually assailed the invaders with volleys of arrows and other missiles, insulting them at the same time with the most barbarous and savage outcries. For doubtless competent reasons, Timour conceived it advisable to confine his vengeance to the pillage of the town of Menou ; after which, on their return, the imperial troops entered that of Jummoo, where they found such prodigious magazines of grain and other articles of sustenance, as to furnish an abundant sup, ply for all their wants. On the 27th of February,

66 En

"*

* Price, iii. 283, 4. The Rajah of Jummoo (the Jimmugur of Dow) afterwards falling into the hands of Timour, in a skirmish with the year of his army, " it was thought advisable that the rajah's wounds should be made the object of peculiar care, and he was finally prevailed upon to make profession of the Mohammedan creed.” By this means, he secured the favour of Timour.

having crossed the Jummoo for the last time, and con. tinued his march about eight miles, Timour encamped on the left bank of the Chunaub. On the 7th of March, while the army were encamped at Jebhan, on the frontiers of Cashmeer, Timour left the army, to hasten in person to Samarcand ; and on the 9th, he reached the left bank of the Indus ; “ being the fiftyseventh day since his departure from the vicinity of the Ganges, and just five months and seventeen days from the period at which he crossed the Indus to the eastward, at the commencement of this memorable expedition.”

The manner in which Timour withdrew from India, was certainly very unlike that of a conqueror ; and there is reason to suspect, that the partiality of the Mohammedan historians has led them to throw a false colouring over this unglorious termination of his expedition : “ We do not find,” remarks Mr. Dow, " that Timour appointed any king to govern Hindostan. He confirmed the soubahs who had submitted to him, in their governments; and from this circumstance, we may suppose that he intended to retain the empire in his own name ; though he left no troops behind him, except a small detachment in Delhi, to secure it from further depredations." All that he appears to have reserved for himself, was the possession of the Punjaub; and this, his successors did not long retain. What is still more remarkable, it does not appear from either Sherefeddin, Timour's partial biographer and panegyrist, or from Ferishta, that Timour carried much treasure with him out of Hindostan. Dur

Price, iii. 287

« ПредишнаНапред »