Puslapio vaizdai

fitted up. Without losing her presence of mind for a moment, the fair forlorn rose slowly from the couch, and, without uttering a word, made the usual obeisance, touching first the ground, and then her forehead, with her right hand. The emperor also remained silent, the tide of former passion rushing upon him while he once more gazed upon her beauty, and above all, admired that indescribable mien by which her charms were rendered irresistible. The result was as she had foreseen. Jehangire folded her in his arms ; and the next day orders were given for the celebration of their nuptials. Her name was changed by an imperial edict to Noor-Mahil,— Light of the Seraglio,'--and she thenceforth held undivided sway over her husband, yielding to her father the real government of the empire. Many members of her family were raised to posts of eminence, to which they proved themselves entitled by their integrity and talents ; and their names, especially that of Chaja Aias, are still remembered with honour by the natives of India.

In mentioning this family, Jehangire is lavish of his praises. At the period when he wrote his memoirs, he had changed the name of Noor-Mahil to that of Noorjahaun— Light of the Empire,' a title indicative of the unbounded influence which she had obtained over him. Upon Chaja Aias he had conferred the dignity of Ettemaud-ud-Doulah ; and it is worth noticing, in passing, with what consummate plausibility and coolness he touches upon the transactions that led to his marriage with the object of his lawless passion :

• Ettemaud-ud-Doulah, it is almost superfluous to observe, is the father of my consort, Nourjahaun Begum, and of Asof Khan, whom I have appointed my lieutenant-general, with the rank of a commander of five thousand. On Nourjahaun, however, who is the superior of the four hundred inmates of my harem, I have conferred the rank of thirty thousand. In the whole empire there is scarcely a city in which this princess has not left some lofty structure, some spacious garden, as a splendid monument of her taste and munificence. As I had then no intention of marriage, she did not originally come into my family, but was betrothed in the time of my father to Shere Afkun; but when that chief was killed (!) I sent for the Kauzy, and contracted a regular marriage with her, assigning for her dowry the sum of eighty laks of ashrefies of five meth kals,* which sum she requested, as indispensable for the purchase of jewels, and I granted it without a murmur. I presented her, moreover, with a necklace of pearl, containing forty beads, each of which had cost me separately the sum of forty thousand rupees. (160,000l.) At the period in which

* That is to say, 7,200,0001.- One of those enormous sums, observes the translator, ' which startle belief!'


this is written, I may say that the whole concern of my household, whether gold or jewels, is under her sole and entire management. Of my unreserved confidence, indeed, this princess is in entire sion; and I may allege, without a fallacy, that the whole fortune of my empire has been consigned to the disposal of this highly endowed family; the father being my diwan, the son my lieutenant-general, with unlimited powers, and the daughter the inseparable companion of all my cares.'-p. 27.

It is creditable to Jehangire that he took an early opportunity on his accession to power, to mitigate, as far as he could, the barbarous and absurd custom which unfortunately still lingers amongst the Hindoos, of sacrificing the widows upon the death of their husbands. He directed that no mother should be thus

permitted to die; and that in no case should compulsion be used for the purpose of prevailing on widow's who were not parents to ascend the fatal pile. But although he interfered with the religious rites of the Hindoos in this respect, he professes the utmost liberality towards their faith in every other, remarking, that as they composed five-ninths of the whole population under his rule, and the whole of the concerns of trade and manufacture were under their management, he could not convert them to the true faith, without destroying millions of men.

• Attached as they thus are to their religion, such as it is, they will,' he adroitly observes, .be snared in the web of their own inventions; they cannot escape the retribution prepared for them; but the massacre of a whole people can never be any business of mine.'

To the assassination of individuals, however, Jehangire had no objection, as we have already seen. We now come to the avowal of another murder, made in terms the most explicit, without the appearance of even the slightest symptom of remorse on the part of the criminal. Abul Fazel, the great historian of India, and one of the most able and enlightened ministers who have ever wielded the destinies of that country, was recalled from the Deccan by Akbar in the year 1602. Dow relates, that on his journey he was attacked near Narwar by a body of banditti under the command of Orcha Rajaput, a notorious robber, who cut him off, together with a part of his retinue. Their object is said to have been exclusively plunder, and care is taken to deny, as a gross calumny of some writers, the assertion, that the prince Danial had any hand in this execrable deed. Danial was a son of Akbar, and a great profligate, who died of a debauch in the city of Burhampoor, in the Deccan, in the year 1605. Mark how calmly Jehangire points out the real murderer, and with what ingenuity he invents reasons (not unacceptable to Mahometans) for this cold-blooded proceeding!

• I shall

• I shall here record the elevation by me, to the dignity of a commander of 2000 horse, of Sheikh Abdurrahman, the son of Abul Fazel, although the father was well known to me as a man of profligate principles. For towards the close of my father's reign, availing himself of the influence which, by some means or other, he had acquired, he so wrought upon the mind of his master, as to instil into him the belief that the seal and asylum of prophecy, to whom the devotion of a thousand lives such as mine would be a sacrifice too inadequate to speak of, was no more to be thought of than as an Arab of singular eloquence; and that the sacred inspirations in the Koran were nothing else but fabrications invented by the ever-blessed Mahommed. Actuated by these reasons, it was that I employed the man who killed Abul Fazel and brought his head to me, and for this it was that I incurred my father's deep displeasure.'--pp. 32, 33.

The fact was, that Jehangire believed Abul Fazel to have been at the bottom of the intrigue already mentioned for placing Chusero upon the throne to his own exclusion. All this talk about the imputed irreligion of that accomplished minister is mere rhetorical invention, intended to cover under the specious cloak of patriotism and piety one of the most infamous deeds that stain the memory of the author.

Jehangire devotes several pages of his journal to the exploits of his father, which he relates with a natural filial pride, and an energy of style that sometimes rises into eloquence. He details also in a clear and forcible style the transactions connected with the rebellion of his son Chusero, 700 of whose followers were impaled alive in the bed of the Rauvy at Lahore. Severities of this description were a part of his system of government, and he thus attempts to justify it upon the ground of necessity :

* The shedding of so much human blood must ever be extremely painful; but until some other resource is discovered, it is unavoidable. Unhappily, the functions of government cannot be carried on without severity, and occasional extinction of human life ; for without something of the kind, some species of coercion and chastisement, the world would soon exhibit the horrid spectacle of mankind, like wild beasts, worrying each other to death with no other motive than rapacity and revenge. God is witness that there is no repose for crowned heads!—There is no pain or anxiety equal to that which attends the possession of sovereign power, for to the possessor there is not in this world a moment's rest. Care and anxiety must ever be the lot of kings, for of an instant's inattention to the duties of their trust a thousand evils may be the result. Even sleep itself furnishes no repose for monarchs, the adversary being ever at work for the accomplishment of his designs.'—p. 95.

The imperial autobiographer then proceeds to give a moral portrait of himself, drawn, it must be supposed, when he was in a melancholy mood

• While I am upon this subject, I cannot but consider that he to whom God hath assigned the pomp and splendour of imperial power, with a sacred and awful character in the eyes of his creatures, must, as he hopes for stability to his throne and length of days, in no way suffer oppression to approach the people intrusted to his care. For my own part, I can with truth assert, that I have never so far lent myself to the indulgence of the world's pleasures as to forget that, however sweet to the appetite, they are more bitter in the issue than the most deadly poisons. Alas! for the jewels of this world which have been poured in such profusion upon my head; they bear no longer any value in my sight, neither do I feel any longer the slightest inclination to possess them. Have I ever contemplated with delight the graces of youth and beauty? The gratification is extinguished, it no longer exists in my nature. The enjoyments of hunting and of social mirth have too frequently been the source of pain and regret. The finger of old age has been held out to indicate that retirement must be my greatest solace, my surest resource, and from thence must be derived my highest advantages. In short, there neither is nor can be in this world any permanent state of repose or happiness; all is fleeting, vain, and perishable. In the twinkling of an eye shall we see the enchantress, which enslaves the world and its votaries, seize the throat of another and another victim ; and so exposed is man to be trodden down by the calamities of life, that one might be almost persuaded to affirm that he never had existence. That world, the end of which is destined to be thus miserable, can scarcely be worth the risk of so much useless violence.

If indeed, in contemplation of future contingencies, I have been sometimes led to deal with thieves and robbers with indiscriminate severity, whether during my minority or since my accession to the throne, never have I been actuated by motives of private interest or general ambition. The treachery and inconstancy of the world are to me as clear as the light of day. Of all that could be thought necessary to the enjoyment of life, I have been singularly fortunate in the possession. In gold, and jewels, and sumptuous wardrohes, and in the choicest beauties the sun ever shone upon, what man has ever surpassed me? And had I then conducted myself without the strictest regard to the honour and happiness of God's creatures consigned to my care, I should have been the basest of oppressors.'

pp. 95, 96.

If Jehangire did not on all occasions do what was right, we may see from this remarkable passage that he did not err at least from an ignorance of his duties. No monarch has ever declaimed more plausibly upon religious and moral topics than he, and yet we have seen that he could put to death without hesitation any man who stood in the way of his ambition, or indeed any other passion. His character presents the strangest compound we have ever met of a really enlightened mind, mixed with vices and frail

ties that place him before us sometimes as a most cool and atrocious criminal, sometimes as little better than an idiot. The author makes a characteristic transition from the


subject on which he had been just engaged, to an account of the feats of some Bengal jugglers, which cannot, he thinks, but be considered among the most surprising circumstances of the age. The description of the operations of these men is, however, in itself by no means unworthy of attention, inasmuch as it shows the degree of perfection to which they carried their various contrivances for deceiving the imperial court. Jehangire was so struck with astonishment at the wonders which they wrought, that he ascribes them without hesitation to supernatural power. The jugglers were first desired to produce upon the spot, from the seed, ten mulberry trees. They immediately sowed in separate places, seed in the ground, and in a few minutes after, a mulberry plant was seen springing from each of the seeds, each plant, as it rose in the air, shooting forth leaves and branches, and yielding excellent fruit! In the same manner, and by a similar magical process, apple-trees, mangoes, fig-trees, almond and walnut-trees were created, all producing fruit, which Jehangire assures us, was exquisite to the taste. This, however, he observes, was not all:

• Before the trees were removed there appeared among the foliage birds of such surprising beauty, in colour and shape, and melody of song, as the world never saw before. At the close of the operation, the foliage, as in autumn, was seen to put on its variegated tints, and the trees gradually disappeared into the earth from which they had been made to spring.'

Major Price states, that he has himself witnessed similar operations on the western side of India, but that a sheet was ployed to cover the process. 'I have, however," he adds, ‘no conception of the means by which they were accomplished, unless the jugglers had the trees about them, in every stage, from the seedling to the fruit.'

The reader will be amused with the emperor's narrative of some more of these specious miracles :

One night, and in the very middle of the night, when half this globe was wrapped in darkness, one of these seven men stripped himself almost naked, and having spun himself swiftly round several times, he took a sheet with which he covered himself, and from beneath the sheet drew cut a resplendent mirror, by the radiance of which a light so powerful was produced, as to have illuminated the hemisphere to an incredible distance round; to such a distance, indeed, that we have the attestation of travellers to the fact, who declared, that on a particular night, the same night on which the exhibition took place, and at the distance of ten days' journey, they saw the at



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